Tyrant Season 3 Episode 3 Review: The Dead and the Living

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It is not a good time to be an Al Fayeed. 

The family continued to decrease in size on Tyrant Season 3 Episode 3, with the losses of both Jamal and Emma.

I'm starting to wonder if there will be anybody left by the end of the season. The death toll is starting to rival the one on Game of Thrones!

Jamal finally bit it, and I don't think anybody in Abuddin will be shedding tears over his demise. We in the audience might miss his outrageous outbursts and his fascinating, guilt-ridden, narcissistic personality, but we'll be the only ones. And even while I'll miss him, I think he hung on too long.

I can see how Ahmed's discovery and subsequent patricide was a way to wrap a plot thread that's been dangling since Tyrant Season 1 Episode 1, but I would have been much more satisfied if he'd died at Nusrat's hand. Especially because she's a fictional character, taking that last bit of agency from her seems like a harsh blow.

My one hope is that maybe Ahmed can grow from this.

I was rooting for him to put the pillow back down – Jamal was so close to death anyway, and renal failure isn't a picnic – but I understand why he didn't. Now it's time for him to move on and figure out what to do other than be a poor little rich boy. 

All of us are victims. The dead and the living.


Emma's death was much harder to stomach, and to see coming (okay, maybe I wasn't paying attention to the credits listing Anne Winters as a "special guest star"). After her absence from Tyrant Season 2, I was really looking forward to seeing this character grow. There were so many directions they could have taken her.

Her arguments to Rashid raised my hopes that Emma would somehow become part of the peace process, that she would be able to become a force in her own right, and not a virginal martyr. Now that she's been murdered, the question is: how big of an impact will the character continue to have?

Sometimes characters are killed off and immediately forgotten (RIP Rami), but the death of a child will obviously serve to move Barry and Molly's narratives forward, both in terms of the struggle against the Caliphate and in regards to their still shaky marriage. We'll have to wait to see what traction others will get from her death. 

Then let's make peace. [pause] You don't really want that. You don't kill to survive. You kill to feel alive. That's why I feel sorry for you.

Emma [to Ihab]

At least Sammy hasn't fallen victim to the "bury your gays" trope (yet). The exploration of being a young gay man in a socially conservative country is compelling to be sure, but I wouldn't hate seeing the character having a little bit more depth. Like his cousin, Sammy needs to find his role in the family and in Abuddin. 

Or just move back to America or Europe like a sane person. That seems unlikely though, so maybe he could get involved with a project like the Truth and Justice Commission or Halima's group. Maybe he could meet an age/power dynamic appropriate love interest who helps him integrate into whatever gay community Abbuddin has.

Sammy: I think it will always surprise me to see you pray. You still believe...in God? With everything that's happening?
Barry: I'm trying.

As the season continues, one thing I'm looking forward to is seeing how explicit the show runners will get in drawing parallels between their Caliphate and ISIL. In Tyrant Season One, the focus of the story really seemed to be more on the power dynamics within a family, and the idea that you can't escape your past. 

But with developments in the real world and an increased focus on religion in Tyrant Season 2, it's impossible to try and ignore parallels to and commentary on current events. By adding secularist journalist Fauzi back into the mix, along with new characters like social moderate Saddiq and religious leader Sheik Al-Qadi, we're getting a more nuanced view of the dynamic political situation.

There are still a lot of topics that have been danced around that would lead to a greater understanding of the culture and politics of fictional Abuddin, but with the focus shifted the Caliphate, that seems less important. The motivations of all the different groups comes to the foreground instead. 

Barry: What do you want?
Ihab: I want you to live in agony for the rest of your life, like I will live in agony for the rest of mine.

And of course, personal motivations impact those of the groups. If the new characters can be developed to be as complex as Leila and other familiar faces, then we have a satisfying season to look forward to.

Tyrant Season 3 Episode 4 ("A Prayer For Our Daughters," airing July 27th on FX) will see the Al Fayeeds dealing with their most recent losses. From the title, it's a pretty good bet that Fauzi and Barry will be reconnecting. But how will Sammy, Leila, and the rest of the country deal with the loss of the first daughter? 

If you missed any of "The Dead and the Living," you can always watch Tyrant online. You'll want to be up to date before joining us in the comments section! 

The Dead and the Living Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (36 Votes)

Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.

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Tyrant Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

Sammy: I think it will always surprise me to see you pray. You still believe...in God? With everything that's happening?
Barry: I'm trying.

All of us are victims. The dead and the living.