Catching Up on 'Tyrant' - Plus, the 'Scream' Series Premiere


Tyrant | Episode 2: “Enter the Fates” |
Jamal survived an assassination attempt, Barry roamed the desert, Molly mourned and Leila proceeded with business as usual. The two big stories playing out in “Enter the Fates“ was Ahmed’s attempt to prove himself amid growing pressure to assume more responsibilities for Abuddin.

Back in America, Molly continued to grieve the “loss” of Barry. Something her children seemed incapable of doing. Their rather blasรฉ reaction to their father’s supposed execution was as trying on their psyche as learning the grocery store was out of their favorite flavor of ice cream. The respective Al-Fayed youngsters seem to lack much emotional range outside of angry outbursts.

The curious development of the episode included Molly’s fortuitous run-in with a lawyer, who already appears ready to pounce on the freshly minted widow. Barry is roaming the desert trying to survive, and a guy is already putting the moves on his wife, talk about unfair.

Sammy did rightfully point out that Barry put himself in the position he was in. His decision to risk his family’s safety so he could perform a coup d’รฉtat in the hope of becoming the ruler of his country, without taking any considerable consideration into how that would impact his family, was bad.

He knew he was risking it all, failing and having what happened occur, and he also knew that if he had succeeded, he would’ve been physically separated from his family for the unforeseeable future. In truth, there’s not a whole lot of difference between the separation he and his family are enduring now compared to the one he was voluntarily working to create. 

Side Notes / Burning Questions: Why was the gunman only looking at Samira when he was describing his plans? Ihab is the leader of their cell, and he is sitting right there. It’s hard to believe that he wouldn’t have called the gunman out on his disrespect. Why didn’t we see Abdul’s side of the conversation when he was talking to Sammy? So far, Ahmed has yet to display any characteristics that resemble his parents. He is not cunning, shrewd, or ambitious.

It’s hard to imagine a couple as distinctive in their characteristics as Leila and Jamal are, having a son who is as feeble as Ahmed. It’s clear the writers are trying to play off the juxtaposition. However, from a genetic standpoint, it is a bit of a stretch. Jennifer Finnegan continues to impress as the bereaved Molly.

Episode 3: “Faith” | Jamal dealt with the fallout of his uncle’s unauthorized serine attack on Ma’an, and an unwitting Leila attempted to help her people heal. Barry found refuge with a kindly villager and his family. Back in America, Barry’s estate was settled, and his inheritance delved out solely to Sammy, Barry’s male heir. Despite inheriting a fortune, Sammy still only had bad things to say about his father. There were two looming plot points that cast a shadow over “Faith.”

The first was why Jamal took responsibility for the civilian attack when he was confronted by Leila. He never signed off on it or had any preconceived suspicion that his uncle was plotting to do it. So why didn’t he exonerate himself? It’s a dreadful thing for him to take false accountability for, and it unnecessarily undermined his relationship with his wife. His here was mind-boggling.

By the episode’s end, Moran Atias had given yet another staggeringly powerful performance as the composed Leila broke down after an outraged young woman whose sister had been killed in the attack threw blood on her while she was visiting the injured.

Clearly shaken, she kept her chin up until she confronted Jamal, and all of her illusions of first lady dignity were subsequently shattered. Matias’ performance has cemented Leila as one of the more complex female characters on TV, with her portrayal emitting equal parts ferocity and vulnerability.

Side Notes / Burning Questions: Is no one finding Barry’s American accent disconcerting? It is strange. Will Barry hook up with the wife of the man offering him shelter? Is the show setting up a future without an emphasis on Molly and the kids? With Barry out of the picture and them relocating to America, they seem to have all lost a foothole in the main storyline. 

Scream | Series Premiere | It’s been three years since the last “Scream” movie debuted, a creatively satisfying venture starring most of Hollywood’s newest crop. Despite those strengths, the movie failed to ignite the box office. This a possible indication that audiences have grown tired of Ghostface and his myriad of attempts to kill Sydney Prescott. MTV’s latest scripted drama is not the hot mess critics would have you believe. It is engagingly entertaining with a spooky edge.

The move away from Neve Campbell’s disastrous damsel is a welcomed one. The show definitely lands in guilty pleasure territory. The young cast of relative unknowns appeared to be on their sea legs before finding their rhythm by the episode’s end.

The storyline of “Scream” lends itself to the week-to-week cadence of suspense TV can offer, in comparison to the more compact storytelling in movies. If you’re a fan of “Pretty Little Liars” and other teen dramas, chances are you might enjoy this one too. The show also deserves high praise for name-dropping “Bates Motel,” an instantly endearing mention that proves the show is on the right track.

[Featured Image by FX]