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ShellSeeker

S01.E08: Meet the New Boss

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Fed up with Jamal's unpredictable and violent nature, Barry conspires to start a coup and remove his brother from office; while at the same time Jamal is so moved by Barry's willingness to do the unthinkable and hasten Sheik Rashid's demise, that he stops at nothing to prove his worth to his brother.

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So, so much "Shut up, Molly," in this episode. I cannot with her acting like Bassam has betrayed her when she's been constantly pushing him to involve himself the entire time. To be fair, I don't hate the character, just how inconsistently she's being written.

 

Poor Nusrat just gives no fucks anymore. I'll honestly be shocked if she hasn't killed herself by the end of the season.

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Is the U.S. woman with Tucker the woman lawyer on The Strain? I can't find her on IMDb. Jamal was uncharacteristically aware with others this episode, as Bassam was uncharacteristically manipulative with others. I hate that I'm loving Jamal! While Molly's away, looks like Bassam may play. Speaking of Molly, she reminds me of an Anime character.

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Honestly, the daughter is the only member of Barry's American family that I can stand.  Every time his wife, sister-in-law, and son are on the screen, I want to do a 3 Stooges inspired multiple slap.

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Nusrat offering herself to Jamal was heartbreaking, she's given up .

Yes that was Leslie Hope, from The Strain.

Thanks, I thought I might be getting my shows mixed up. Next we'll have vambies invading Abbudin...

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FX sure loves Leslie Hope, it seems.  First, The Strain, now this?  Next, she'll be showing up on Justified.

 

Ha!  Of course, after finding out Bassam gave The Sheikh the final blow, Leila's would suddenly like him more.  The way her eyes lit up: totally gave off a "That's hot!" vibe.  You are a crazy woman, Leila!  And I love you for it!

 

Seriously, I really have to believe that there is some re-conning going on,  and we're suppose to forget almost all of Molly's actions in the pilot.  Because it just doesn't make sense.  Bassam was the one who wanted to bail early on; she wanted to stay and "work things out."  She's now talking about how people get hanged, but was so naive back then.  She is just such an annoying contradiction.  Just bad writing, IMO.  Jenna is just as obnoxious, but at least it was fun watching Bassam be like "Now, whose money are you planning on using for this 'shopping spree''? to her.  I flip between finding Bassam a dumb bore, to loving how he seems to almost hate his family.  When Sammy was whining about having to leave and saying he would talk to him, I was like "Yes, please do!", because the way Bassam was, there might have been another slapping on the horizon.

 

Jamal is just so fascinating to watch, now.  I mean, wow.  He is basically acting like what he did to Nursat was a minor offense, and his apology had a "My bad!" feel to it.  He really seems to know he did something wrong, but it's like he doesn't realize how bad it is. How does someone become like that?  I actually find that kind of interesting.  And, of course, his loyalty to Bassam for what he did, was bizarrely touching.  He's such an irredeemable, psychopathic asshole, and yet he's the character I"m most interested in.  Go figure. 

 

I really have a bad feeling that Nursat isn't long for this world.  Offering herself to Jamal means she isn't the "Doesn't give a fuck, anymore" phase, and I can't see that ending well.

 

So, the cue is starting to take place.  Of course, I have to think something will prevent it from working out.

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Now they have me feeling bad for Jamal.

It's about time that Basam show some balls and tell the wife what is going to be done.

The sexy colonel is on Basam's side!

I like him.

So now the daughter-in-law is insane? WTF was she doing?

I'm proud of Jamal that he walked away. He is not the animal we all thought he was.

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Um mm Barry, you're full of shit.

 

Given how much Barry has bumbled through the talks with Sheikh and the election process, I'm finding it little hard to credit that he could pull of a coup.  But at least the colonel told Barry what a dumb ass he was.

 

The elections are scheduled to take place in 2 years, Ihab's starting point is to reschedule for 6 months and you talk yourself down to 9 months?  That's some great negotiating skills Barry.  I think I'll let Ihab purchase my next car for me instead of you.

 

Kudos to Tariq for putting up Walid as a straw man in the presidential election.

 

The scene between Nusrat and Jamal reminded me of the ending in Scarface when Gina confronts Tony.  Who knows?  Perhaps Nusrat will take Jamal out before killing herself.

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Poor Nusrat just gives no fucks anymore. I'll honestly be shocked if she hasn't killed herself by the end of the season.

 

That's how I figured this episode would end - that Jamal would take Nusrat up on her offer and she'd commit suicide by the end of the episode.  I was pretty shocked by her boldness in trying to seduce him, though.  That was unexpected.

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Yes, Molly was annoying, but I actually saw more of her point this time. She had integrated herself into this country, willingly, and now Bassam wants her to leave. She wasn't inconsistent on this point. Where she blew it was playing the martyr for having stayed, when she was the one who wanted it more than Bassam.

 

Leila knowing what Bassam did adds a new wrinkle to Bassam's plans to send Jamal and his wife off to a wealthy retirement. It is one thing if a former tyrant dictator  claims Bassam knocked off the sheik as the dictator is headed out the door. Now two people know, and while it is the dictator's wife, it is still a second person. It almost felt like Bassam was thinking, "Hmm, maybe something needs to happen to Leila" after she came to see him.

 

The mechanics of the US-supported coup are interesting.

 

Pretty much done with Nusrat. It seems unlikely that someone who grew up in that country would be unfamiliar with the way women are treated, including sexual attacks (even if some are "covered" under marriage), and she also must know that her behavior now makes her a further target (for more attacks, or for assassination). It won't take Jamal long to decide she is more of a burden than a benefit. 

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This episode showed women in various states of undress. So much for the notion of Muslim laws restricting the rights of women.

Jamal wants to go fishing with kid brother. Ah the child-like psychopath ("just below Jeffery Dahmer").

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So, so much "Shut up, Molly," in this episode. I cannot with her acting like Bassam has betrayed her when she's been constantly pushing him to involve himself the entire time. To be fair, I don't hate the character, just how inconsistently she's being written.

 

I know, right? I feel like we've missed a few conversations between Bassam and Molly where she told him she's starting to like Abbudin and wants to really try to settle in. That's the problem with Molly: Everything with her happens offscreen, and we're supposed to fill in the gaps. The trouble is, these are giant gaps. When the bratty kids are more established than the main character's wife, something is very wrong.

 

I was pretty shocked by [Nusrat's] boldness in trying to seduce [Jamal], though.  That was unexpected.

 

I liked that. It was a totally fucked-up move, of course, but I liked that she was trying to get back some agency with Jamal. His apology totally cracked me up. "Stuff happened; it was for the good of the family; we're friends, right?" Oh, Jamal, you beautiful sociopath.

 

The aunt is totally a goner. Will she or Nusrat die first?

 

The elections are scheduled to take place in 2 years, Ihab's starting point is to reschedule for 6 months and you talk yourself down to 9 months?  That's some great negotiating skills Barry.  I think I'll let Ihab purchase my next car for me instead of you.

 

Does the show realized it's making Bassam look so ineffective and stupid?

Edited by dubbel zout
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The aunt is totally a goner. Will she or Nusrat die first?

Gawd, the Aunt please! Totally worthless character; no redeeming qualities ecxept the ugly American. If she stays, she needs to be ransom fodder.

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Rayner finally conveyed something with his face!  The look he gave to Jenna when he asked her what money she would use for shopping was quite chilling, I thought.  It was the very first time that I thought Rayner might have it in him to play Bassam in a believable way. Instead of "I'm ordering pizza" look, this was "I'm ordering pizza and it will arrive the moment I say it will arrive and it will be perfect" look.   I wonder if it was just a fluke.  

 

Ugh, Molly.  Why can't the writers figure out what they are supposed to do with her?  Did they completely forget their previous scripts had Molly being the one pushing to first go to Abuddin and then was the one pushing to stay while also being completely fucking ignorant of what sort of place Abuddin is?  It's atrocious how inconsistent they are with her.  

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For some reason Molly asking who could possibly be calling Barry irked me....I don't know someone helping run the transition of power in this crazy politically charged nation we are hanging out in might want to chat....

Edited by sparklemotion

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I thought that was an awful episode, mainly because of Molly and son.  I truly can't stand either of those characters, and I really do wish they will get on the plane and never be seen again. 

 

Best line:  the one about the money for Jenna's shopping trip.  I agree that was actually the most expressive delivery Barry's been able to accompliah yet.  Although, when he and Leila hook up, maybe he can show some emotion.

 

I really wish the show had shown us Jamal with his David Lee Roth hair.

 

I'm still firmly on Team Jamal (yeah, his apology to Nusrat was lame, but at least he tried), but now I hope Tariq survives, because he's the only really competent chracter on the show. 

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I really wish the show had shown us Jamal with his David Lee Roth hair.

 

I second this.  

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I really wish the show had shown us Jamal with his David Lee Roth hair.

 

Jamal's comment about David Lee Roth confused me, once again about the chronology.

 

That's the sort of thing I'd expect someone to have done 30 years ago when David Lee Roth still had pretty high visibilty.  Jamal said he did it when Bassam was in California, and we know Bassam was still in prep/high school 20 years ago (because the chemical attack took place when Bassam was attending Whatever Academy).

 

So Jamal would have had to grown out the hair more recently than 20 years ago, which is odd unless it was part of an early mid life crisis.  But I also can't imagine Jamal's father letting his adult son grow out his hair that way.

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Every time they say 20 years ago, I'm just going to substitute 30, because it all makes more sense that way.

I got a small glimmer of hope in this episode that Rayner has been playing Barry expressionless on purpose because Barry is supposed to be repressing his tyrannical instincts, and as the metamorphosis into Bassam progresses we will see more expression.

Edited by Abstract
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Every time they say 20 years ago, I'm just going to substitute 30, because it all makes more sense that way.

 

Yeah, the main characters are ten years too young for their histories. The time line on this show is all messed up.

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When Molly and Bass am were arguing, Not Without My Daughter came to mind.

I was scared he was about to slap her.

I think that's where they are heading.  You're beginning to see Barry is annoyed his wife is talking back to him, rather than just doing what he says.  Right now, he has a sort-of-legit excuse (to him) for it: I'm having to wheedle and coax and negotiate all day, can't you just give me a break (oh, and, I'm planning a coup and trying to keep you safe, can't tell you that, again, to keep you safe).  But I think it's probably only a matter of time before he starts wanting his wife and children to be more obedient and less lippy/American.

 

That said... it's not like Leila is a compliant little submissive wife, and nor is Ahmed some sort of cowed, worshipful son, so having an "Abuddin" marriage or upbringing has not really affected the family relationships Jamal has, given him more respect as the paterfamilias, etc.

 

The show has really shown Barry's devotion to and empathy for his brother.  I'm having a hard time understanding why he would sacrifice his relationship with his brother (who he knows is messed up, but that doesn't stop his loving him) over a country he up until last month had very few ties to.  There's the greater good and all, but except for Fauzi, we really haven't seen him relate to "regular" Abudinnis.  I don't think he much cares for Ihab or his family.  Perhaps it's just some latent, repressed grandiose ambitions to power coming into play??? 

Edited by annlaw78

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Perhaps it's just some latent, repressed grandiose ambitions to power coming into play???

Well, his dad did say he should have been the next Tyrant, I mean President, of Abbudin. 

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Perhaps it's just some latent, repressed grandiose ambitions to power coming into play??? 

 

I think that's precisely what it is.

 

I think that's the whole overarching story they're in the process of telling. I think when young Bassam shot that guy, he was horrified, and decided he didn't want to be "That Guy." So he got out, made a life for himself in the US, all that stuff. But underneath it all, he is That Guy. And as much as he tries to deny it, especially to himself, deep down he knows it. He's always known it. And it was just a matter of time until something, anything, pulled him back in.

 

I think he's going to continue to try to make himself believe he's the benevolent, progressive, western-minded leader who's going to bring his homeland out of the depths of violence and unrest and tyranny, and into peace and prosperity. For a time. But it won't take much for him to "realize" that it's "impossible" and that the "only" way to "save" his homeland is to be the Tyrant. Because that's "the only thing they know" or whatever. And he'll use that to justify/rationalize anything and everything once he finally, truly embraces his own inner Tyrant. Meantime, the process is already well underway.

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I think it's probably only a matter of time before he starts wanting his wife and children to be more obedient and less lippy/American.

 

I really hope this doesn't happen. I think it would be OOC. Right now Bassam is under enormous stress because of trying to get the coup off the ground. He's got a very small window to make that succeed, and he's trying to keep his family out of it. Molly pushing back is the last thing he needs or wants. But he's never been shown to want Molly to be more of a "traditional" wife, and I can't see that starting now. (All of this points out, again, how weak the writing for Molly has been. We really need some scenes where the two of them talk about more than just the kids or how busy they are.)

 

I think it would really hurt how viewers see Bassam if that happened. I can see him realizing things aren't going to change overnight for Abuddin and that embracing some of his inner Tyrant is going to be necessary, but I think he truly wants Abuddin to become more inclusive and progressive. It's just that it might take some force to get that to happen. Anyway, who's to say the sheik or his son wouldn't turn into a different kind of tyrant? Just because there are elections doesn't mean the change will be a good one.

Edited by dubbel zout

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It's a bit difficult to judge what's in-character for Bassam because so many around him are completely inconsistent characters.  Previously, Molly was the decider for the family.  The only decision she was originally opposed to was leaving Abuddin immediately after Barry's father died.  But she was the one shown to want to go to Abuddin, the one who wanted to stay, the one who didn't want to return home after Barry wanted to stay himself.  Except now, she's claiming that he's made all the choices for them.  So, how do we determine if Bassam is really controlling of his family or not, in a way that could lead to a tyrannical control?  It's impossible.

 

We can look back to some of his past actions.  Kid!Bassam didn't want to be told to leave the platform when a bomb was coming his way, he told his father what to do after he shot that man.  Kid!Bassam has been portrayed as very much enjoying control, both over himself, his family, and in the lives of other people.  We saw him wanting to be in control of where he sat on the plane that his father bought out.  He refused to accept the offer of first class seating regardless that it would cause the flight attendants more legwork to reach him and regardless that his father probably never would have known where he sat on the plane.  Even when he became an advisor to Jamal, he seemed to want to control the situation on his own.  He kept Jamal in the dark about going to see the Sheik.  He also waits until everyone is gone so that he can advise Jamal when they are alone, as alone is when Jamal can only listen to him and not be potentially swayed with the words of other advisors.  Then finally, there was the mega slap he dished to his son.  In part, the stress of the situation (father dying, worried about backlash due to what his father said, understanding things could spiral into danger for the Al-Fayeed family) is an excuse for the slap.  But still, he slapped his kid into silence.

 

In short, Bassam's actions have been very controlling.  Still, apart from that slap to his son, he hasn't really controlled what they say and do. This is leaving aside the fact that Molly says he has even though everything we've seen contradicts this.  The inconsistent characterization of Molly makes it difficult to accurately assess the situation with the family.  And there is also Rayner's terribly wooden acting that confounds things further.  

 

Still, we do have Bassam's actions that indicate a controlling nature.  If the coup is successful and he runs for president, his family will be important to the image he wishes or needs to convey in order to be elected.  Sending them away would have been helpful, out of sight out of mind sort of thing.  But will they be allowed to leave?  They were stopped previously and I would think someone like Tariq would have a good eye on Bassam and his family to see what they are doing.  If they stay or are made to stay (which is likely since sending them off is effectively removing them from the show and I'm sure they have contracts), how much of a hindrance to the election would they be?  Bassam would be running against the Sheik's family (the son or the uncle), and the son, at least, has fairly extremist views especially as it concerns women.  Since the Sheik and his family gained a lot of popularity, Bassam might find it necessary to meet that extremism in order to stay afloat in the election.  In that way, and considering his controlling nature, I could see him become much more controlling of what his family does and how they present themselves.  

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Ha!  Of course, after finding out Bassam gave The Sheikh the final blow, Leila's would suddenly like him more.  The way her eyes lit up: totally gave off a "That's hot!" vibe.

 

Did you see how she slinked into the room to talk about "working together?" Horny minx. She's going to be the one to kill Jamal. (just my speculation)

 

 

Given how much Barry has bumbled through the talks with Sheikh and the election process, I'm finding it little hard to credit that he could pull of a coup.

He doesn't necessarily *need* to do anything but convince the principals that he's legit; i.e, Not Jamal. That's kind of the point of the little pow wow with Tucker and the new lady. (Also, yes, m&m s are a candy. Hee.) As Tucker explained, there's a lot of moving parts. Barry just has to get his family out of the country. 

 

Yes, Molly was annoying, but I actually saw more of her point this time. She had integrated herself into this country, willingly, and now Bassam wants her to leave.

 

I still find it hard to believe that the wife of the President's brother can just go work in a hospital ER. Despite the logistics; is her USA license to practice medicine legal all over the world? She's a massive security risk, unless she's got 2 bodyguards around her all the time. 

 

I have no use for the kids. They should have been sent home because they haven't advanced the story. Molly is all over the place. When she was yelling at Barry by the shore I don't know why it didn't occur to TPTBs to have him say, "you told me to get involved in the first place." The aunt is merely a plot device because

The aunt is totally a goner.

 

Clearly. They aren't going to kill off the kids or Molly, so she is the family death That Makes It All Real. Come on, show. And I like you. Please do better. Or actually, fuck it, don't make Barry that much of a family man in the first place.

 

I'm surprised we got to a coup this soon into the show. I figured it would be the season ender at the earliest. Although a lot still has to happen. 

 

But it won't take much for him to "realize" that it's "impossible" and that the "only" way to "save" his homeland is to be the Tyrant. Because that's "the only thing they know" or whatever.

 

That's fine with me. It's classic elements of tragedy. I'm a big boy, so I don't need the show to handle me with daintiness. Slap Molly, tell her to get on the plane, overthrow your brother, and go fuck his wife. I assume there's got to be a turning point where Barry goes off. It better be good. 

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I think he's going to continue to try to make himself believe he's the benevolent, progressive, western-minded leader who's going to bring his homeland out of the depths of violence and unrest and tyranny, and into peace and prosperity. For a time. But it won't take much for him to "realize" that it's "impossible" and that the "only" way to "save" his homeland is to be the Tyrant. Because that's "the only thing they know" or whatever. And he'll use that to justify/rationalize anything and everything once he finally, truly embraces his own inner Tyrant. Meantime, the process is already well underway.

 

 

I think that seems to be the way the show is going, which makes me question how long it can last. Because once Bassam is king, what's left? A few loose ends? We just end up back where we started, with his father. In fact, if they let Jamal live (and they should, he is awesome) and he becomes the next Tariq, then we have a perfect reset. And at this pace, that could be accomplished in a handful of episodes.

 

The alternative is more annoying: A Gilligan's Island-style, "It *almost* worked out but then fails" again and again, to stretch out the eventual conversion of Bassam to tyrant. That would get old very, very fast. Bassam tries a coup that fails at the last minute. Bassam finally leaves the country to see a sick old friend and almost stays away but has to go back to save his SIL for Molly. The people elect a different leader and Bassam is ready to give in and oops, the leader-to-be has a heart attack and dies. Over and over. Please no.

 

I can't imagine what the locals make of Molly's sister. It would be cool if she ends up learning what is happening before Molly and begins to help the resistance. She doesn't seem that smart.

Edited by Ottis

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We just end up back where we started, with his father. In fact, if they let Jamal live (and they should, he is awesome) and he becomes the next Tariq, then we have a perfect reset.

 

I would watch the shit out of that.

 

I hope TPTBs actually focus on telling the story they want to tell and not make a show that's designed to run 5, 6, 7 seasons because things would get contrived soon. This is really a finite show. I could buy that this coup actually fails since Barry is largely an idiot, but I think he could come back and run in the election against Jamal. 

 

I'd like the show to end with someone blowing Barry's head off and then another Tyrant taking his place. 

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You could have a Homeland situation where Jamal was intended to only be around for one season but his popularity makes the producers keep him on.

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I hope not. TPTB should stick to the story they want to tell. If Jamal has to go, too bad for us. 

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Rayner finally conveyed something with his face!  The look he gave to Jenna when he asked her what money she would use for shopping was quite chilling, I thought.  It was the very first time that I thought Rayner might have it in him to play Bassam in a believable way. Instead of "I'm ordering pizza" look, this was "I'm ordering pizza and it will arrive the moment I say it will arrive and it will be perfect" look.  

 

 

I got a small glimmer of hope in this episode that Rayner has been playing Barry expressionless on purpose because Barry is supposed to be repressing his tyrannical instincts, and as the metamorphosis into Bassam progresses we will see more expression.

 

Bassam certainly showed some Tyrant-esq behavior in this episode.  More and more, I am convinced that he will be the Tyrant mentioned in the title but that his transformation will be gradual.

 

It was interesting when Yeussef (sp?) noted that the Father Al Fayeed and Tariq were somewhat opposite in how they executed leadership and as messed up as it was, it worked.  However, at the end of the day, they were both Tyrants.  While Tariq was the one who set-up the Sheik for the purpose of being able to launch the attack in Ma'an, it was Father Al Fayeed who consented and continued with the business-as-usual style of leadership.

 

It would be interesting to see Bassam as the president and Jamal as the military chief, especially given that Jamal has that special brand of crazy.  However, i'm not sure that Jamal is as smart as Tariq.  On the whole, Jamal is not manipulative like Leila and Barry are shown to be... he's just a rapist thug with child-like tantrums and ideals.

 

The scene between Nusrat and Jamal was very powerful and unsettling.  He was all "My bad.  It was just procedure, you know.  Let's be friends?  Be a wife to my son?" and she was like "I hate life.  Ran out of fucks to give.  Why don't you just finish the job."

 

Molly is as Molly does.  Now all of the sudden she is aware of the dangerous situation they are in?  How did she manage to put the blame on Bassam when she was the one who pushed for them to stay and for him to make ammends with his family? 

 

Despite all of the snark this show gets, I really love it!  Looks like the next episode (season finale?), is going to be kinda dynamite.  Well, according to the previews anyway.

Edited by MissScarlett
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Does the show realized it's making Bassam look so ineffective and stupid?

 

Plus, him prancing around in Dad Jeans while organizing a coup made me giggle.

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Plus, him prancing around in Dad Jeans while organizing a coup made me giggle.

No joke. The beard with the Dad Jeans makes me think of some aging has-been country singer.

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