"Tyrant" Season Two Quick Thoughts: So Far, So Good

Let’s talk about Tyrant, shall we?

You might have already read my Entertainment Weekly Community recap of the Tyrant Season Two premiere. In the article, I wrote:

If you read my recaps of the first season, you’ve gone through my roller coaster of emotions, starting with outrage, then resigned hatred, then intrigue, and finally, hope that Bassam would rot in his prison cell. Not because I like Abbudin being subjugated—if I’m for anyone apart from Leila and Nusrat, I’m for Ihab Rashid, since he actually wants to rid the country of the Al-Fayeeds. I just like seeing Bassam finally get his back after being a narcissistic jerk for most of the first season.

To be honest, I actually liked this episode a lot. The writing is a lot tighter than last season, the characters seem to have better-defined roles and limitations, and best of all, Bassam’s kids weren’t in most of the eipsode! There is the threat of Bassam’s oldest, Sammy, coming back into the fray due to his huge inheritance, but we’ll deal with that later.

Even though we’ve only seen one episode of the new season, it really does feel like the writing team watched the first season, saw where they went wrong, and actually made an effort to tighten up the writing, characters, and direction of the series. As to what last season was like…I’d rather forget, because it was a mess.

Even though we’re just in the first episode, it feels like there won’t be any superfluous episodes like the one in which Sheik Rashid was so easily killed off by Jamal and Bassam. That particular episode seemed like it was riddled with holes, chief of which being that someone could have easily found Jamal pummeling Sheik Rashid into the toilet rim by simply walking into the men’s bathroom. It was a public men’s bathroom, by the way. Also, Ihab wouldn’t have left Bassam in the hospital room with Sheik Rashid, not after Ihab was already suspicious of Bassam and his motives. Don’t even get me started on that ridiculosity with Jamal his affair with that white woman. What was she there for? Who was she? Why did Jamal have to kill her? He could have just paid her off!

I’m hopeful, but again, it’s also the first episode. The writers still have to prove themselves from last season, because last season was quite awful. If Sammy’s written as an actual character instead of the directionless one he was before, that’d be great. One of the biggest problems I had with his arc as a character is that his quick love affair with the Al-Fayeed bodyguard wasn’t as explored as it could have been. In fact, many subplots, such as the kids that took Nusrat hostage, Jamal’s history of inflicting sexual abuse, and Bassam’s own past and mental state, have yet to be explored as much as they could be. But maybe the writers have a plan for all of this in this season.

What did you think about this first episode? Give your opinions in the comments section below! Also, make sure to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, and check out my Tyrant recaps on Entertainment Weekly!

TYRANT — “Mark of Cain” — Episode 201 (Airs Tuesday, June 16, 10:00 pm e/p) Pictured: (l-r) Moran Atias as Leila, Ashraf Barhom as Jamal. Photo credit: Kata Vermes/FX.