Tyrant Review: “Hail Mary” (Season 1, Episode 5)


Ihab has made a number of miscalculation, but it looks like his biggest mistake will be discounting the contribution of Samira. She is a really interesting character in multiple ways. She believes in what Ihab is trying to do in spirit, but she considers herself one of the people – something that Ihab has clearly lost sight of. She joined the fight in order to do what her father has been trying to do, what he ultimately probably raised her to do, stand up for what is right, but through different means. While Fauzi (Fares Fares) is writing blog post after blog post advocating for social justice, trying desperately to use this medium to bring it to the country through a peaceful avenue, Samira is taking to the streets.

More so than most of the periphery characters, Samira is demanding the attention of viewers. Although she doesn’t have the recognition that Ihab has, she would probably be a much better leader to this cause. She has also instilled a new motivation in her father to take his own advice, and get his hands dirty. There’s no doubt that with the change of the regime, there’s going to be some major changes in the works – especially under the influence of Bassam. This is also the primary reason that Bassam went outside of the obvious choices to make his plea for a peaceful end to the current social conflict. It was a ballsy move on his part, both because of his brother’s noted reaction and the dangerous position it put his person in, but it may pay off. If anything, watching Ihab stunned into silence was worth the risk (at least for me).

Once again, Bassam proves in this episode of Tyrant that it is the relationships you foster that make the biggest difference. As an American, more or less at this point in his life, Bassam reaches out to a neutral (arguably) American party for assistance in this delicate matter. Bassam has a ticking clock standing between him and a whole lot of people losing their lives unnecessarily. So he goes big, and aims higher than Ihab – he requests a meeting with Ihab’s father, who has been in exile for 20 years, much like his own voluntary exile. It’s a diplomatic solution to a political problem, and it was the intelligent choice – whether or not Jamal will choose to see that at the moment.

Jamal is a character who is very stuck in his ways. His mannerisms were instilled in him at a young age, and unlike his brother, he did not shy away from them. This lends itself to creating an invisible line between Jamal and Bassam, one which the brothers have tried very hard to ignore since the pilot episode. Eventually, there’s going to come a point where the story needs to confront this head on instead of skirting around the issue. It’s also likely that it will be at the behest of Leila (Moran Atias). Leila made an easily overlooked comment on tonight’s episode about Bassam’s ability to keep promises, and as the difference in opinion between the two continues to grow over the direction that the regime should be taking, her snide remarks will almost surely begin to surmount her higher reasoning.

Tyrant keeps the story going this week with a pseudo cliffhanger at the end of the episode, leaving viewers to wonder how Jamal will ultimately react to the new stipulations. It’s another strong outing for the show, and I definitely look forward to seeing more.