And the gold medal in slut shaming goes to...Abuddin!
Tyrant Season 3 Episode 7 featured angry mobs, blackmail, and more. Okay, so, that's somewhat par for the course with this lot. What really drew the stories together for me tonight was the women compromising their own values and positions in order to achieve their larger goals.
But let's start with the ladies. Halima, Leila, Mahdiya, even Nafisa – each involved with a man that they love, each working toward their own political vision for Abuddin in a culture that does easily accept women in positions of power.
Leila was having to deal with compromising herself on two fronts: politically, she sacrificed ground to Al Qadi in order to form a coalition, and personally, she backtracked in order to be with Cogswell.
I'm conflicted over this new coalition between Leila and Al Qadi. On the one hand, forming a coalition was a smart thing for Leila to do. She was never going to have the support she needed on her own, for a variety of reasons. And as the other minority party, Al Qadi makes a certain degree of sense.
Except that Al Qadi's (supposedly) conservative Islamist values makes this partnership so very unbelievable. And let's not even get into the two of them planning a judicial and legislative system on the back of a napkin.
I get that constitutional conventions aren't as sexy as presidential elections (at least, not to other people), but this is the kind of thing that supports the complaint I've had since day one: the Tyrant show bible is not nearly fleshed out enough. A work about politics has to give the audience an understanding of history and culture for it to work.
Safiya: Who are you people?
Leila: "You people?"
Safiya: Isn't there any limit to what you'll do to get what you want?
Her relationship with Cogswell, meanwhile, could have tanked her political career. Hell, it still could. She's willing to give up a lot to be with him, and he may have her back with the Abuddinian military, but I'm not sure he understands what a huge liability he is to her.
Sure, the "blackmailer" turned out to be Safiya trying to prove a point in the worst way possible, but it just as easily could have been some college student like Kattan who wouldn't want money, but to just destroy her reputation.
Halmia's Boyfriend: That's crazy. You know, that's...that is giving him all the power.
Halima: I'm a woman! He *has* all the power!
Speaking of Kattan, his denouncement of Halima was a perfect example of just how delicate a woman's reputation in that country can be. That had to be the quickest jump to an unjust accusation of slut shaming since Much Ado About Nothing.
What I respected about Halima's story was that she recognized the limitations put upon her by her society, as unjust as they were. I really appreciated that the writers addressed the dichotomy of the character: she may be politically progressive, but in her private life, due to her upbringing, she's a little more conservative.
I just hope that her boyfriend really listens to her. He was a little too much the oblivious horny teenage guy, being overly pushy with her about sex at exactly the wrong moment. Of course, without that pressure, she wouldn't have been able to explain her internal compromise.
Halima's boyfriend: I love you and I want to make love to you.
Halima: Me too. Me too...but it can wait. Those other things I want can't wait until I'm married.
As for Mehdiya and Nafisa, both are having to suppress their own desires in order to support the men in their lives. Neither has that much agency at this point – I find it especially ironic that one of the last decisions Mehdiya was able to make for herself will effectively prevent her from ever doing so again.
She can't really be happy with Ihab's decision to abandon her. I was actually half expecting her to announce a pregnancy to get him to change his mind. Of course, the consummation of their relationship begs us to ignore a whole host of issues, starting with the idea that a conservative religious army is a logical place for a steamy consensual affair.
Nafisa's been trying to use her husband to implement her
brother's ideals for a while, and she's got to be shaken by his sudden self partnership with perceived she-devil Leila. It's a shame that these two are on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum, but maybe Leila will be able to share her woke-ness with Mrs. Al Qadi.
I prefer honest to polite.Nafisa
"Bedfellows" did have some really great moments apart from the roles of the ladies. Bringing back Anne Winters as Emma to haunt Barry was a surprising but effective move. It reminded me somewhat of Don Draper's hallucinations on Mad Men, but with context, and I especially liked the creepy way Emma jumped from family reminiscing to demanding revenge.
Another high point of production was the way the scenes of Leila and Al Qadi speaking to the supporters were editing together. The show often jumps from one characters story to another, going back and forth, but this time actually worked. The splicing was cinematic, the monologues played together beautifully, the shots were set to parallel one another. A+ work.
Haitham: That means this country is about to remember it's worst self, again. It's when people like me would... They come for us in the middle of the night and we disappear.
Sammy That's not gonna happen. I know my father.
Haitham: No, no, no...You knew, you knew him before he sat in that chair. The office changes everything.
Barry may be going off his rocker, but Molly will be back to knock some sense into him on Tyrant Season 3 Episode 8 ("Ask for Earth," airing August 24th). Of course, having to juggle his wife, his lover, and his baby mother might only cause his delusions to worsen.
You can catch up and watch Tyrant online if you missed any episodes this season. We'd love to hear your thoughts on "Bedfellows" down in the comments section. What did you think of Ihab's coup? Is Haitham gone for good? Who's going to be the next victim in the fight for Abuddin?
Elizabeth Harlow is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.