“Tyrant” ended its premiere season with an unpredictable ending to a predictable storyline. Though it’s not a surprise the way some of the show’s threads ended — of course Molly, Sammy and Emma weren’t getting out of Abbudin to spend Season 2 back in Los Angeles — the fact that Bassam’s coup was a failure was the most logical event to happen all Season 1.
We can all universally agree that Barry’s planned coup was stupid, right? Yes, Jamal is a monster, but if there’s one thing that “Tyrant” has shown time and again it’s that he isn’t always a monster. Once the US Embassy said things in Abbudin would work out just fine without the coup, Bassam should have tucked his tail between his legs and gone back to behind good ol’ Behind The Scenes Barry to do good for his home country.
Instead, he ruined everything — and thank goodness, because he would have made things more of a mess if he succeeded. Regardless of whether or not Jamal should be on the throne, Barry shouldn’t be either. It’s clear that his drive for power is clouding his judgment, and what’s most terrifying about that is he doesn’t even recognize how power hungry he is.
Season 1 ends with Bassam sentenced to death by Jamal, just as Molly had feared he would be. His coup failed because he made all the mistakes he could have made: Not listening to his advisors, trusting people he had no right to trust and not letting logic rule. He won’t actually die in Season 2 (obviously), but hopefully he learns some lessons as he weasels his way out of a death sentence.
Hopefully Howard Gordon and the writing team behind “Tyrant” learned some lessons from Season 1 too. There were a lot of missteps this past season, many of which can only be explained away by a “maybe they’ll get to it in Season 2.” Remember when Sammy being gay was a focus of the show? And that rape of Nusrat by Jamal that was only addressed a handful of times for the rest of the season? Long throw-style storytelling only works when the people behind the scenes know how to catch the pass.
If “Tyrant” gets a second season, there’s a lot to be fixed. The actors should step up their game, the politics should feel more pointed and every line of script and moment of screentime should be considered valuable. Gordon’s previous hits “24” and “Homeland” were more effective when those three elements were focuses, and “Tyrant” still has the opportunity for that sort of quality.
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts on the “Tyrant” Season 1 finale.