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Tara Ariano

S01.E03: My Brother's Keeper

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Highlights for this episode:

Leila Al Fayeed  did a talk to the hand move. I do not know much about Muslim culture, but I am pretty sure the women are not allowed to pull a talk to the hand move on their husbands.

 

Molly went from clueless, to passive aggressive scheming wasp in one scene. And she did it so cooly. Bravo Molly. Your true colors are starting to show.

 

The Huh moment for this episode:

 

Bassam asking do we still hang people here in public. I guess his google, Bing is routed through China where they remove all questionable actions of any repressive government in the world.

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Molly continues to baffle. By the way what does she do all day while Bassam is off handling country business? That’s a rhetorical question. LOL. I don’t think I want to know, unless she’s shown plotting to take out Bassam and Jamal and take over Abuddin herself. Anyway, she actually got pissed when Bassam suggested her and the kids go home. SMDH. She’s got to be a plant. Though that wouldn’t make much sense either with how long her and Bassam have been married, but at least it would explain her behavior. Right now her character makes no sense whatsoever. Everytime her and the kids come onscreen they completely destroy the momentum of the story and what little realism TPTB have managed to establish.

 

Tonight’s episode was a bit of a snoozer. There were many things I questioned. Would Jamal’s son, as old as he is, really be so clueless about his father’s reprehensible behavior that he’d have to be asked to leave a meeting when that reprehensible behavior is discussed? I find it hard to believe that he had no idea who his father is. Would the reporter’s daughter throw herself at the rebellion soldier without knowing for certain he was interested? I know that people are people no matter their ethnicity or religious belief, but I found that scene unbelievable and ultimately pointless (perhaps it’ll have more meaning in a later episode). I also questioned the US diplomat being invited to the President’s roundtable. The news they delivered to him did not have to be done in that setting and he added nothing to the scene. In fact, his response to the news delivered was cringeworthy. Actually all of the meeting scenes with Jamal failed to be compelling.

 

The only thing that was sort of interesting tonight was Bassam finally buying a clue about Jamal and confronting him.

Edited by Enero

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I wasn't paying that close attention.  It felt like "meeting, meeting, "private conversation," "meeting" "conversation in a car watching sparklers going off on some building" "prison conversation" "some guy gets hung off the back of a truck."  And then I deleted the recording, which means I think I'm done with this show.  I realized I had a hard time understanding what they were saying.  Would so much prefer arabic, or farsi, or kurdish or basically anything with subtitles.  

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The Huh moment for this episode:

 

Bassam asking do we still hang people here in public. I guess his google, Bing is routed through China where they remove all questionable actions of any repressive government in the world.

Wasn't Saddam Hussein publicly executed? Since he got rid of his accent by watching Fox News/CNN, there is no way he couldn't have known public hanging was still a thing.

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Definitely the weakest episode to date, but since it's only the third episode and it's summer, I'll give it more time.

 

It's still better than The Last Ship. although that's a pretty low standard.

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I said "Shut up, Molly," enough times that I may turn it into a drinking game.

 

Bassam is nearly as efficient as his brother in making himself enemies; they're just different enemies.

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The only thing that I liked is how the story managed to move Bassam to a place where having his family stay was a logical and reasonable choice in order to stay grounded. I would've loved it more if Molly the moron hadn't fought to stay in the top of the episode. If she had a convo with Bassam about using Skype to keep in touch and coupled that with concern about the government shut off the internet, it would have made Bassam's realization that he was going to be cut off from all the sane people in his life so much more palpable.

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Not sure if this was on purpose or not, but Bassam and Jamal confrontation over the rape was disturbing over how casual it was.  Jamal was just all "My bad on the raping!  But all that's over, I'm a changed man!", and acting more like he just a big party guy, instead of a rapist.  And Bassam seemed to accept it, although to be fair, I'm thinking Bassam might just be in the "Got to take whatever victories I can get, at this point" stage, at the moment.  But he needs to get this shit fixed.  Especially if Jamal continues to give "advice" to his son, about marriage.  I can't see that ending well at all.

 

Molly did seem to go past plan naivety and moronic status, and show signs that she may be a plant of some kind.  At least I hope so. No one can be this baffling.

 

No Alice Krige, sadly.  And barely any of the daughter.  I wish we got more of her, since she's like the one member of the family I kind of like, but it feels like this show is reserving all of it's "juicy" material for the son, which is lame, because he's such a tool.

 

Jamal and Leila are totally dancing around one another.  Definitely have a feeling that Leila is up to something, and this isn't because she "loves" him.  Interesting that Jamal seems to have figured this out, but is OK with it at the moment.  I guess he's not going to get to upset over having his hot wife be at his side for now (did I mention how gorgeous Moran Atias, is?)

 

Overall, a lot of talking and what felt like a bunch of set-ups, for this episode.  I'm still wondering what certain characters are going to be playing in the long run (Alice Krige, Justin Kirk's character, the reporter, etc.)  I'll keep watching, but it's still lacking on some levels.  I don't care how hitpicky it is; I still find all the English speaking is preventing me from fully getting immersed into the show, and just makes me approached other FX shows, like The Americans and The Bridge, for not shining away from subtitles.

 

And, I'm still waiting for Adam Rayner to impress me.  Jamal is a awful being, but Ashraf Barhom is pretty much stealing all their scenes from him, without even trying.

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I thought Barry achieved a lot.

 

Diplomat Andy was willing to look the other way on the initial hangings, whether or not they were guilty, just so martial law could be ended.

 

But Barry made sure the right man was hanged, had political prisoners released as a gesture of good will and got a trust fund for the children of the accused.

 

He supposedly left the country because he didn't like the way things are done so it's not too much of a stretch that he'd try to change things, since he's got some influence on Jamal.

 

So in every episode, he's getting more involved than the reticent exile he was initially portrayed to be.  He might have gotten discouraged or enraged after defusing the hostage situation in S1E2 and having the kids get summarily executed on the spot but he tried to push Jamal towards a more Western notion of justice (hanging the right man but having his children taken care of, getting the wrongly accused guy released as well as other political prisoners).

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I don't care how hitpicky it is; I still find all the English speaking is preventing me from fully getting immersed into the show, and just makes me approached other FX shows, like The Americans and The Bridge, for not shining away from subtitles.

 

Having the characters speak in English rather than Arabic with English subtitles doesn't bother me in the least.

 

It's not particularly realistic that they'd be speaking in English, but it's far less realistic that they'd be speaking Arabic with a simultaneous printed English translation popping up in the sky.

 

The only show that I know of offhand where the characters spoke the native language with no subtitles was Shogun.  Arguably that made sense since the story was largely told from the view point of an English ship captain who initially didn't understand Japanese.  So if no English translator was around, that was too bad for him, and too bad for the viewers.

 

I wouldn't say that was a particularly popular decision, although I don't think it affected the ratings much since there were only 3 major TV networks at the time plus PBS, along with a few local independent stations and an infant HBO and Showtime.  But that's not going to happen these days when there are so many alternatives on television alone.

Edited by Constantinople

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I said "Shut up, Molly," enough times that I may turn it into a drinking game.

Seriously.  She's supposed to be a professional woman with a thriving medical practice and the resultant call-schedule, appointments, obligations to her partners, etc.  So, what, she's just going to call in sick for the next three months?  What about their home?  Do the children have school or any obligations/commitments? 

 

 

Having the characters speak in English rather than Arabic with English subtitles doesn't bother me in the least.

 

It's not particularly realistic that they'd be speaking in English, but it's far less realistic that they'd be speaking Arabic with a simultaneous printed English translation popping up in the sky.

I agree.  It's rare that I can find an hour to sit in front of the TV, without any distractions, and watch a show.  I end up missing out on a lot of things, for example, on "The Americans," because I'm folding clothes or have popped out of the room and can't read the subtitles.  I know that's "my" problem, but I don't think it's all that uncommon, that people who watch shows on their couch (as opposed to in a movie theater) are a more distracted audience, and subtitles are just harder to deal with. 

Edited by annlaw78
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Oh, please take pity on those of us with 50-year old eyes and low-def television and keep the English.  The CC subtitles have a nice white type against a black bar background, but the show-generated subtitles are yellow and sometimes match the couch in the background.

 

I'm just now watching the episode, but it's past time for Molly to reveal an agenda.  It would be difficult to swallow a 20-year sleeper cell storyline, but I don't think it's too off the chain to show her beginning to appreciate that daily massage next to the palace pool.  The level of luxury at her disposal would defy imagination and so far, I've only seen her use it to get out of cruising Kayak for plane reso's.  There would be someone lurking with a honey-rosewater morsel anytime she wanted to stretch out her arm and someone else on standby to define her eyebrows with a long piece of floss.  She's an honored guest-slash-member of the ruling family.  I can easily see her taking a long look at Alice Krige and thinking, "Well, this lifestyle is rather appealing.  I never liked giving out my cellphone number to my patients anyway." 

 

Jaw gritter detail:   the son thinks he's cute that he can't master "as salaam alaikum" followed by "wa alaikum al-salaam"????  This would only come up a few dozen times per day.  Oy.

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Leila Al Fayeed  did a talk to the hand move. I do not know much about Muslim culture, but I am pretty sure the women are not allowed to pull a talk to the hand move on their husbands.

Why are you so sure of yourself if you don't know much about it?

 

Oh, Bassam. You learn that your bro is a rapist and instead of letting your family go far away from this craziness, you go beg your wife to stay so you can have "one sane person to talk to". Dude, ask your son to tell you about Skype. And his argument with Molly about the reasons she couldn't stay was weird. Never mind "obligations" back home, why is no one concerned about their safety! But the premise of the whole show is based on Bassam + family staying so I guess we just have to deal with the weird life decisions these people make.

Edited by glitterpants
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Leila Al Fayeed  did a talk to the hand move. I do not know much about Muslim culture, but I am pretty sure the women are not allowed to pull a talk to the hand move on their husbands.

 

Well for a start we're not talking about a homogenous culture, what's considered proper behaviour in different countries can vary enormously and can and does vary enormously in different sections of society and within individual families. Leila's clearly a woman who's had some overt power behind the throne and doesn't generally think much of her husband and its not like she did it in front of many people.

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the premise of the whole show is based on Bassam + family staying so I guess we just have to deal with the weird life decisions these people make.

Which is exactly what irritates me about the show. At least make the reasons they're staying work within the show's logic. The only person who doesn't get an eye roll from me for wanting to stay is the son, who is clearly enjoying the luxury of his surroundings. He's an idiot, of course, but I find him a believable idiot. The daughter seems like the only person in the family with any real street smarts, so of course we'll see little of her until she gets raped or kidnapped or something else where Bassam will have to unleash the Kraken. You know it's coming.

 

Molly should be wanting to get her family out of there yesterday, but her husband is reconnecting with his roots, and that seems to be most important to her. Bassam's reasons for staying are a little shaky, but I'm not sure they could be anything else. I find it hard to believe he would think his brother would be a  benevolent president. In the few days he's been there, Bassam has seen how violent Jamal can be. You can't just chalk that up to stress over their father's illness and death.

 

Leila's clearly a woman who's had some overt power behind the throne and doesn't generally think much of her husband and its not like she did it in front of many people.

I'd like to know more about her. She obviously has something Jamal wants and/or needs, but their relationship is rocky, to put it mildly. So what keeps them together?

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Jamal's rape of that woman was so vicious ("Watch this, kids!") I assumed it was retaliation for some political intrigue, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!

 

All of Abbudin would be better off if Jamal's pudendal artery stayed severed.

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Oh, I forgot:

 

When Molly vows to Bassam that the family will always be there for him ". . .as long as it's safe"  I had a happy snarky snort.

 

Let's see.  Multiple public executions and assassination attempts, hostage kidnapping, martial law, wedding gunplay, mutilation potpourri.   Yeah, they should be fine.

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That's a good point about them being able to decide to stay and suspend their practices indefinitely.

 

Two doctors couldn't afford better than coach tickets so they can't decide to ignore their jobs on a whim.  Unless bro Jamal gives them never-have-to-worry-about-working-again money, can they really take long sabbaticals from their practices?

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I really think it would have made far more sense for Molly to be a family therapist by profession.  Sure, it's natural for someone to want her partner reconnect with his long-estranged family, especially when all of that unresolved tension seems to eat him up as much as it does Bassam.  But I think it is a real stretch to extend that want to reconnect when said partner is the son of a dictator in a politically unstable country.  If she was a therapist, her hopes may have still seemed far-fetched, but at least I could see Molly's idealism being an extension of mixing up her professional and personal lives.  I am glad we got a fairly decent reason as to why she doesn't want to leave with the kids, but the reasons why the family went back to Abuddin in the first place are still so muddy and confusing that Molly reasons don't seem to help as much as they should.

 

I'd like to see more flashbacks that establish what life in Abuddin and in Bassam's family were like when he left.  I think I get Bassam's frame of mind at this point - "Wow, I thought things were awful when I left.  Now they're a million times worse!  I feel bad leaving while things are going so badly.  I'm a member of the ruling family, maybe if I stay awhile I can make it better" - but it's tough to be sure about that without knowing how it was 20 years ago.  I do think Bassam's character development is coming along a little better than the last episode.  

 

So how long is it before Nusrat and Ahmed begin fighting and she lets it slip what Jamal did on the wedding night?  Will Jamal have anyone on his side by the end of the season?

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That was Bassam keepin' it real.

 

I did a quick check on the costs of a flight from Tel Aviv to LAX (just two cities somewhat related to the plot), and, conceding that the price could change on a seasonal basis, the mid-range price was $3500 per person for first class.   Still a whole lot cheaper than buying out the whole plane, but I can see Bassam choking on that kind of expense.

Edited by stacey · Reason: Fixing quote box

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Actually $3500 for a first class on an intercontinental ticket like that is a good price.  Even coach would be around $1500-2000 and if you were to fly business or first class to popular European destinations, the price would be well over $5000.

 

In any event, the family seems upper middle class, with the son obviously having some taste for the luxuries hinted at in Abbudin.

 

So they could have money put away to take extended leaves from their jobs or if they lived it up, they really couldn't afford to do that.  Or maybe they are partners in lucrative practices which can afford to cover their patients indefinitely.

 

Plus the kids are still in high school but have to be thinking about applying for college?

 

So it wouldn't be a trivial decision to extend their stay.  But maybe the writers didn't think through beyond saying they were a typical American family from LA with two working parents in well-paying (but not investment bankers or hedge fund managers) jobs.

Edited by scrb

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Leila Al Fayeed  did a talk to the hand move.

 

And she did it so gracefully - very well done!

 

Let's see.  Multiple public executions and assassination attempts, hostage kidnapping, martial law, wedding gunplay, mutilation potpourri.   Yeah, they should be fine.

 

Molly should be super concerned about the hostage kidnapping, since Nusrat was a member of the royal family and even all of that protection didn't keep her safe.  Why on earth would Molly believe any of them are safe?

 

Who is Yousseff?  Is he Bassam and Jamal's uncle?

Edited by izabella

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Molly is not a plant she is a passive aggressive WASP who sees that her family can have actual power in this country but like a lot of Americans ( I said a lot not all) is unaware of the real danger. Case and point her son who also wants to stay because he has his gay eye on a hot thing but is naively unaware of what Muslims countries do to homosexuals.

Edited by Chaos Theory
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Would the reporter’s daughter throw herself at the rebellion soldier without knowing for certain he was interested? I know that people are people no matter their ethnicity or religious belief, but I found that scene unbelievable and ultimately pointless (perhaps it’ll have more meaning in a later episode).

 

 

I took that scene to mean they already had a physical relationship, she was into it and was being inappropriate only in the sense that others might see them, and he was basically pointing that out. Which makes the rebel leader a fraud, and his comment about offending Allah hollow, which makes him more interesting than if he was a true believer.

 

I also questioned the US diplomat being invited to the President’s roundtable. The news they delivered to him did not have to be done in that setting and he added nothing to the scene. In fact, his response to the news delivered was cringeworthy.

 

 

My take: The US has clearly helped prop up the government there, probably due to oil or some air base rights (like in real life). So the US diplomat knows he has to be there but still was glad to see the local gov't take a turn for the better, which was shown by his almost exasperated comment about "anything that stops mass arrests, etc. is OK with the U.S.!"

 

I couldn't figure out who they actually hanged at the end. They hung the guy whose life was destroyed by Jamal? And that was supposed to be fairness?

 

I have to admit, even as annoying as Molly is, I'm enjoying this as a summer show.

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I can see Bassam choking on that kind of expense.

 

Knowing Bassam, he refused the initial offer his father undoubtably made to pay for their plane tickets; he only reluctantly took the empty plane because the family missed their original flight and time was getting tight.

 

I couldn't figure out who they actually hanged at the end. They hung the guy whose life was destroyed by Jamal? And that was supposed to be fairness?

 

That was the guy, but he was also involved in...something. (Sorry, I can't remember what it was.) He lied about his involvement when he was in front of the council, and Bassam's journalist friend had the evidence for that. Bassam negotiated that his sons would be taken care of—instead of being killed along with their father—and that's why the guy reluctantly agreed to confress.

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The show is about color scheme. Right now it is shades of black; everything is choking on darkness. The show would be silly and unrealistic if Barry shows up and suddenly law and order Ian's shades of white light are the norm. what he brings is shades of grey. Yes his brother gets to hang a dude bit the dude is actually guilty and only the guilty guy gets hung. Plus bro gets to look good by letting people go who he knows are not terrorists. Shades of grey. It will be interesting how long Barry can keep it up.

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Yes his brother gets to hang a dude bit the dude is actually guilty and only the guilty guy gets hung. Plus bro gets to look good by letting people go who he knows are not terrorists. Shades of grey. It will be interesting how long Barry can keep it up.

 

 

I get that the show is dealing in situations that are terrible and making them only slighty less so. I just had a hard time getting my head around how the guy who was hung, whose life was ruined by Jamal in a hideous way and that caused his revolutionary activity, was something Bassam would view as justice. If the guy was involved in something different and unrelated, I could see it. But I didn't follow that discussion. I actually expected them to pull a switch after the hood went over the guy's head, so that whoever was hung was a clear bad guy to all, and when they didn't I was surprised. I did like how Bassam was so shaken after he learned the truth about Jamal. So it did show he was affected by these terrible options.

 

The larger question is if the arc of this show is Bassam making changes for the good over time, or Bassam being drawn down into the muck with his family. Given the name of the series, I'm gonna make an educated guess on that one.

Edited by Ottis

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Who says it was justice? We are not talking about American justice which for better or worse is pretty ideal world wise. We are talking about the better of two evils. Lie the previous episode with the kids who took the woman hostage; if it was the US the would have been walked out and gone to prison for a few years with some counciling but even with Bassam taking them down and the kids not actually killing anyone they still got a bullet to the head. Bassam is trying to avoid that kind of justice where he can. The guy who got hung was going to get hung there was nothing Bassam could do about that. He was at least able to protect his kids and maybe avoid what happened last episode from happening again.

Edited by Chaos Theory

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I wish this show would be better written. The premise is interesting, to have Bashar Al Assad as your protagonist, Udaj Hussain as his brother, Abuddin as mix of Irak, Syria and Jordan. But there are so many things they are inplausible. Everyone speaking english si problematic, because it took away any realism. Than US diplomat being present at the inner circle meeting or Jamal raping his son´s wife is also unbeliavable.

 

Than Barry and his family is stupid all the time for plot reasons presumably. I also find his way to solve problems in this episode bit off. He felt bad for what his brother did. His solution? He made sure the victim of his brother rape adventures is executed instead of captured islamic terrorist. Way to go Barry. I am sure it will not bite you into your ass, the released terrorist will not kill any member of your family....And really you do not have to be genius or to know the name of the show to know that. His naivety felt so forced.

Edited by GaiusB

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Knowing Bassam, he refused the initial offer his father undoubtably made to pay for their plane tickets; he only reluctantly took the empty plane because the family missed their original flight and time was getting tight.

 

 

 

 

That was the guy, but he was also involved in...something. (Sorry, I can't remember what it was.) He lied about his involvement when he was in front of the council, and Bassam's journalist friend had the evidence for that. Bassam negotiated that his sons would be taken care of—instead of being killed along with their father—and that's why the guy reluctantly agreed to confress.

I think the empty plane was their original flight, and Bassam's father had bought all the other tickets. I think bassam had asked if all the other passangers had boarded, and the flight attendant had replied that it was just them. I could be misremembering though

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Now that you mention it, I think you're right about the plane, jenniferlynne. I was thinking the family had missed the plane because they were late to the airport.

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That was the guy, but he was also involved in...something. (Sorry, I can't remember what it was.) He lied about his involvement when he was in front of the council, and Bassam's journalist friend had the evidence for that. Bassam negotiated that his sons would be taken care of—instead of being killed along with their father—and that's why the guy reluctantly agreed to confess.

 

The only thing the hung man (I think his name was Hasid?) was guilty of was plotting to murder Jamal and filling the syringe with bathroom cleaner.  I say "only" because he didn't attempt to use the syringe, his wife did, and because who could blame the guy for wanting to kill Jamal?  Hasid lied about the terrorist nephew being involved in the plot and the syringe being filled with ricin.  

 

But - Hasid was an accomplice to an attempted murder.  Bassam knew it, he understood Hasid would never be released because of the plot, and he knew that someone would have to be executed for the attempted murder in order for Jamal to save face.  Bassam was at least able to make the situation a little better by making sure Hasid's boys were cared for by Jamal.  So yes, the right man was executed, and Hasid died knowing his boys were OK, but I wouldn't say justice was served given Hasid's situation.

Edited by eejm
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Not sure if this was on purpose or not, but Bassam and Jamal confrontation over the rape was disturbing over how casual it was.  Jamal was just all "My bad on the raping!  But all that's over, I'm a changed man!", and acting more like he just a big party guy, instead of a rapist.

 

I laughed inappropriately when Bassam got all snippy and said, "yes let's ask your wife." Jamal looked at him with a "dude, bros before hos? Come on."

 

Having the characters speak in English rather than Arabic with English subtitles doesn't bother me in the least.

But that's not going to happen these days when there are so many alternatives on television alone.

 

Yeah, really. There's enough to rip on for the show where this isn't really affecting my decision to continue watching or not. A regular tv show just isn't going to have the cast speaking Arabic 90%+ of the time. They'd either have to hire all Arabic speaking actors, which wouldn't work because it's basically a show from a Westernized POV, or have the all the cast just speak phonetically, which would probably take forever to film. There are some tv cheats that you have to do. I can pretend there's a fictional country called Abbudin, I can pretend when they were at the president's council room that they were "speaking arabic." 

 

And I don't mind watching movies and tv with sub titles.

 

I'd like to see more flashbacks that establish what life in Abuddin and in Bassam's family were like when he left.

 

I thought the flashbacks were going to be a regular thing. Because it's important to know how Jamal got how he is and how Bassam got to the point where he had to leave. How bad was the country back then?

 

Molly is not a plant she is a passive aggressive WASP who sees that her family can have actual power in this country but like a lot of Americans ( I said a lot not all) is unaware of the real danger.

 

I watch the news everyday and I don't know how dangerous the Gaza strip really is. I know there's rockets being shot all over the place, so it's not where I'm going to go. However, if my spouse was the progeny of the ruling family in Syria or Iraq, I'd at least have a google alert on the place so I'd know that things like *hangings* were routine over there and probably have a little more concern if I actually had to go over there. She's so blase.

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I would have appreciated Bassam's desire to have Molly stay more if it weren't for the fact that his rationale is that he needs someone sane to talk to. Okay, first of all, Molly is not sane. She lives in some sort of glassed-in fantasy world (yes, I realize that maybe from Bassam's glassed-in fantasy world, that looks like sanity). But more importantly, if you think things are crazy and potentially dangerous, your wife is the last person you should be telling anything of any importance. Her existence is already a weakness that can be potentially exploited to get to you - if she knows anything, it's just multiplied.

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I would have appreciated Bassam's desire to have Molly stay more if it weren't for the fact that his rationale is that he needs someone sane to talk to. Okay, first of all, Molly is not sane. She lives in some sort of glassed-in fantasy world (yes, I realize that maybe from Bassam's glassed-in fantasy world, that looks like sanity). But more importantly, if you think things are crazy and potentially dangerous, your wife is the last person you should be telling anything of any importance. Her existence is already a weakness that can be potentially exploited to get to you - if she knows anything, it's just multiplied.

Damn Etta Place, Damn. Speaking the truth!

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However, if my spouse was the progeny of the ruling family in Syria or Iraq, I'd at least have a google alert on the place so I'd know that things like *hangings* were routine over there and probably have a little more concern if I actually had to go over there. She's so blase.

 

 

I'm intrigued by her ignorance. Because her first instinct should be to protect her kids. The kidnapping of Jamal's son's wife alone should have been enough to send Molly tearing back to the US with their kids, much less the death of a ruler and their obligations back in the US (practice, school, home, etc.). But she seems so hung up on, "It's important that you connect with your family" and fine with staying in what is clearly a dangerous place. It's bizarre, really.

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I'm intrigued by her ignorance. Because her first instinct should be to protect her kids. The kidnapping of Jamal's son's wife alone should have been enough to send Molly tearing back to the US with their kids, much less the death of a ruler and their obligations back in the US (practice, school, home, etc.). But she seems so hung up on, "It's important that you connect with your family" and fine with staying in what is clearly a dangerous place. It's bizarre, really.

 

Exactly. She can't even pretend to herself that her kids are safe because two members of their immediate family have been nearly killed and she doesn't seem affected at all. She wore a headscarf at the funeral, she clearly realises she's not in California anymore and yet she's acting like she and Bassam can't go to the family BBQ because of that stupid falling out he had with his dad years ago. I do think there's going to be a twist with her, but I hope its not that she's a plant, because she's a terrible one. She's not really guiding him to be a pro US "Tyrant", nor trying to manipulate events as they happen to her advantage. On the plane back in the first ep she was bitching about his closed off-ness and hitting his son when his son wanted to stay in a country on the brink of chaos because of the shiny things he gets to have, not trying to convince him that he could do good there. The US Ambassador seems to have it mostly covered when it comes to smoothing and oozing good diplomatic relationships and Amira and Leila are both more in tune with the nuances of the country and better placed to use their power. I'd actually prefer Molly to become a Tyrant and enjoy the lifestyle, it would be a different twist.

 

About the "justice". I do think that was about as good as it was going to get. Even if we compare it to the ideal version of "western justice" a guy involved in a murder plot against a presidential/royal family member is going to go away for a long time, their children shamed (though hopefully not killed) even if they had a "really (very) good reason"

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So, it turns out that Hasid's wife was not a Ihab honeytrap, and was actually serially raped by Jamal.  Ugh, Jamal, ugh.  

 

I wish that the "resistance" was a more secular.  I have a hard time really getting behind Ihab's struggle, when there are so many examples today of innocent civilians getting slaughtered by religious militants. 

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I took that scene to mean they already had a physical relationship, she was into it and was being inappropriate only in the sense that others might see them, and he was basically pointing that out. Which makes the rebel leader a fraud, and his comment about offending Allah hollow, which makes him more interesting than if he was a true believer.

 

I noticed that he was immediately uncomfortable as soon as she drew the curtain or closed the tent or whatever that was. That was an interesting detail, and accurate, I think. In a Muslim culture, it is considered inappropriate for a woman to be alone with a man who is not her husband, father, or brother.

 

Overall, I thought this was a better episode. Bassam seems to have a gift for political maneuvering and it will be interesting to see him try to outwit Jamal and his uncle (whose name escapes me at the moment) who feel that violence and torture are the only way to get results.

 

The one part of this show that is just ringing false for me, even more than Molly's naivete, is the storyline with the gay son, and his budding romance with the security guy's son. I find it hard to believe that a teenage boy in that part of the world would be so openly and casually pursuing a relationship with another guy. And for the son to be so willfully clueless is not believable either. 

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I finally was able to watch. I don't think Jamal's redemption arc will last long even with his little brother as advisor. Loved the fake platitudees from the American Ambassador and Jamal. Leila is a smart woman and his playing her cards close to her vest. I look forward to seeing her plan; she has to have one. 

Molly continues to irritate. The whole world is watching the broadcast from PBS and I'm sure Richard Engel is there since he's at every coup on the planet. But Molly is still clueless and will only stay if her husband assures her it's safe! Get a clue, woman

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I finally was able to watch. I don't think Jamal's redemption arc will last long even with his little brother as advisor. Loved the fake platitudees from the American Ambassador and Jamal. Leila is a smart woman and his playing her cards close to her vest. I look forward to seeing her plan; she has to have one. 

Molly continues to irritate. The whole world is watching the broadcast from PBS and I'm sure Richard Engel is there since he's at every coup on the planet. But Molly is still clueless and will only stay if her husband assures her it's safe! Get a clue, woman

 

This just made me laugh out loud because it really does bring into sharp relief just how nonsensical a character Molly is. 

 

Does she know that her new niece (in law) was kidnapped? And the abductors were shot in the street? Is she aware that there was a bomb plot for the wedding of her nephew (in law)? Or was she busy swanning around looking for the prettiest dress to wear to the wedding? Was she not on that plane when Bassam tried to flee all quick, fast, and in a hurry?

 

How is possible that this woman wants assurances of safety in Abuddin when her first, let's say, 96 hours has seen the bomb plot, the kidnapping, the street murder of teen boys, her brother in law almost murdered, and a public hanging? C'mon now!

 

Molly, you in danger, girl!

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