I didn't see that coming, did you?
Okay, that's not entirely true. In my Tyrant Season 1 Episode 10 review, I actually wrote, "With Tariq still alive, it wouldn't be surprising to see Jamal turn against his brother and work with Tariq to maintain power."
Despite that comment, I was more shocked than I clearly expected by that exact outcome on Tyrant Season 1 Episode 10.
From the very beginning of the hour, it became clear that Bassam's plan wasn't going to go as expected, if at all. The Americans pulled their support and with good reason. I wonder if Bassam hadn't already approached Fauzi about writing the speech, if he would have given up on the coup plot.
Yes, Jamal would remain a dangerous wild card, but couldn't Bassam control that? Did Jamal's potential outbursts outweigh the risks of a coup? I'm not sure. With Tariq out of power, the major threat to the Abbudin people was cut off. It was the General who killed all the residents decades before. With elections planned, why couldn't Bassam let democracy play out?
Was he power hungry or an idealist? If I had to chose one, I'd go with the latter. He thrived on the power, but wasn't driven by it. There's a difference. He knew how to use his power for the greater good. He believed that he could help his country and also that usurping his brother's role would be good for Jamal.
When the brothers went fishing, Jamal basically gave his brother the go-ahead for the coup. He complained about his life as President and how he wanted a simpler one. I was suspicious of Jamal's motives for wanting to get his brother drunk and for all the sentimental conversations, but I thought he was testing his brother's loyalty out of concern, not out of facts.
While the brothers bonded while drinking and fishing, Emma and her aunt when shopping before their flight back to America. What? Okay, this was one of the more contrived storylines of the season. Who goes out shopping and then to a restaurant when they have to leave at noon for a flight? No one, right? The robbery just added to the irritation over this storyline.
I understand that the American Al-Fayeed's needed to stay in the country for the story to work, but they could have come up with a much better option. Since Jamal knew about Bassam's betrayal, I'm not sure why Molly, her sister and the kids weren't confined to the palace in the first place. Jamal hoped he was wrong about his brother, but they could have come up with a legitimate reason to at least watch Bassam's family.
The moment when Bassam and Jamal returned and Tariq was standing on the sidewalk in his uniform was gut-wrenching to witness. It's sad to say, but I felt like after the conversations on the boat, Jamal betrayed Bassam worse than the coup would have been. From the very beginning, Bassam kept his brother's best interest at heart and wanted to make the transition as easy as possible.
That was until Jamal told his brother, "The funny thing is if you had said you wanted this -- my presidency. I would have given it to you. I would have given you anything." My feelings shifted from gut-wrenching to heartbreaking in an instant. There were no winners here. The co-conspirators were rounded up including Nusrat and her father. It's not clear what happened to her, but her father was executed.
All that remained was for Jamal to decide what to do with his brother. Amira begged him to send Bassam and his family back to America where they could live in exile. With Abuddin's freedom on the line, I'm not sure he would go quietly. In the end, Jamal sided with Tariq and Leila who wanted Bassam executed.
Will Jamal actually kill his brother? I don't think so and we'll likely never know. FX hasn't renewed Tyrant for Season 2 yet. The ratings haven't been horrible, but they haven't been great either. I've enjoyed the first season and hope to see more of the struggles of the Al-Fayeed family, Abuddin, and the shift to democracy, whether legitimate or staged.
Where you satisfied with the ending?
The failure of the coup was an intriguing choice and one that for the most part felt authentic, especially that the new General would fall apart and confess. If I have a complaint, it's that I would have liked to have seen what comes next. If the show's renewed, then the ending works. If it's not, then one more hour to play out the failed coup would have been more satisfying.
Grade the Tyrant Season 1 Finale!