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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tyrant 3.1: Barry -> Bassam

With the terrible killings this week in the United States, I didn't have the heart to review the Season 3 debut of Tyrant, a story in large part about killings in the Middle East.  Indeed, it's tough to say whether the murder of two innocent African-Americans by police in two different American cities, followed by the murder five police in Dallas, is less horrendous than anything that actually has been happening in the Middle East, or in the fictional narrative of Tyrant.

Of course, fiction can be safely watched from the vantage of point of its not actually happening.  But one of the great strengths of Tyrant is that it seems very realistic, and that's impressive indeed, given that the root of the story is the improbably proposition of an American pediatrician becoming the dictator of a fictitious Middle East country.

But Tyrant has pulled this off remarkably well, and it's come to some fruition now in the season 3 premiere, with Barry solidly - well, more or less - in charge.  He's far more humane than his nearly killed brother, but he has an underlying ruthlessness that occasionally comes to the fore.  Does he really believe that Ahmed's wife committed suicide in her prison cell?  Surely he knows Aziz well enough to know what he is capable of doing.  But chances are Barry will do nothing about this.  Or maybe Barry would, but Bassam won't.

His love life is also worth following.  He loves that women he met in the desert, but he also loves his wife Molly.   Significantly, she's on some level aware of this, which promises some interesting developments this season.   Come to think of it, Leila probably still loves Basham, too, to add another powerful character to this mix.  In fact, in some ways, Leila has always been my favorite character in this series.

I'm glad, by the way, that Jamal is still alive.  Not that the character really deserves to be, but he's too provocative and Hamlet-like to throw away.   So I'm looking forward to more - and hoping that what we see in Abbudin is worse than what's happening in our fragile real world.

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