Tyrant Review: “State Of Emergency” (Season 1, Episode 2)

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Barry is clearly torn between what his gut is telling him to do, and what he knows needs to happen. The point in the episode where he begins to feel empowered by the idea of being part of this influential family (i.e. “I am an Al Fayeed”), is the turning point when he realizes not only does he need to stay for the sake of his brother and the future of his country, but for himself. This is the first time we see him exhibit any pride in his family legacy and acknowledge his role in it.

His mother has been consistent in noting the lengths to which Barry leaving affected his father, but she has yet to allow herself to admit the toll it has taken on her. Now that her husband is gone she is is hiding the weight of her emotional baggage behind Jamal’s current predicament. There is clearly more at play, especially in regards to the Uncle, and it wouldn’t be surprising if her concern for Barry staying has more to do with her own fear of Tariq (Raad Rawi) than actual regard for Jamal as the new leader of the country. Tariq is clearly a hothead who doesn’t believe in falling in line. His appointment as general may have been a ploy for the former president to keep him under control.

Tariq may look at his brothers death as an opportunity to elevate his position and take control of the country. His only true adversary is Barry, and in his mind, Barry’s stay is only temporary. Jamal, although he rises to the occasion (no pun intended) in this episode, he is still very pliable. If left to his own accord, it’s likely that Tariq will be able to push his own agenda through Jamal without too much objection.

Tyrant is still working out some of the kinks, but it is gaining momentum as the story continues to unfold. The characters are coming into their own, and the plot definitely has an edge to it that makes it stand out against a backdrop of mediocre summer viewing options.