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ShellSeeker

S01.E09: Gaslight

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As the plans for the coup continue to take shape, Jamal proves how far he will go to punish those who oppose him, and Barry's relationship with Molly is pushed to the limit after she learns of the repercussions that await their family.

 

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If I cared about Molly or her relationship with Bassam, that scene with him blowing her off would have meant something to me. Unfortunately, Molly has been so inconsistently written and motivated that I don't care. If she and her dipshit sister end up collateral damage, I will be perfectly fine with it.

Bassam cannot possibly be naïve enough to think they could detain Tariq's men and everything would be cool.

Edited by HunterHunted
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I'm starting to feel like we should just rename the entire series, "Shut up, Molly." All her self righteous preaching is instantly abandoned the minute things personally affect her.

 

I'm starting to think that Adam Rayner's sole facial expression is "Constipated."

 

Come on, Bassam, you're really shocked that your brother would kill a planeload full of people? That kind of thing is exactly why you're planning a coup in the first place. What did you think you were getting into, a pillow fight?

 

Jamal is written as a monster, but like so many monsters, he's still the most fascinating character on this show. To be fair, it's in large part because Ashraf Barhom is acting circles around everyone else.

Edited by AlliMo
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Jamal is such a tragic character. I 

nearly teared up when he told Bassam he was the only one Jamal trusted. I almost felt bad for Molly this episode. If she had been written differently at the beginning of the series, I may have. Leila really cares for Jamal. That was a powerful scene with her and Bassam when she cried and said Jamal had to be protected. Bassam is such an ass for allowing her to blame herself for not running away to the Maldives with her husband. 

Best line from Bassam, "I want my kids to be proud of me." Best line from the Ambassador, "It's not surgery, Barry, it's a coup. Shit happens" 

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Agree that Bassam just came off way too naive.  I mean, was it really that surprising that Jamal would kill those men.  Jamal is clearly unhinged and you start planting seeds that people are trying to overthrow him.  You then tell Leila, who is just as big of a nutter.  It isn't that surprising he would change plans, and just straight-up kill them.  Really, I know we we're suppose to think he was cold, but Tucker's "Shit happens" pretty much is the accurate description of a cue, I would think.

 

Man, if the big suspense is that, if Bassam goes through with this, he might lose Molly and the kids, then that is one big failure.  When Molly dropped that big dramatic "bombshell", I was just like "Not seeing the downside, here."  I mean, sure, the daughter is decent enough, but being free of Molly and the son (not to mention, the stupid aunt) is more then a fair trade-off.  Of course, this would all change, if I actually cared about Bassam/Molly as a couple.  Instead, all of their scenes are just Molly flailing around and being inconsistent, while Bassam just stares blankly at her.

 

Finale next week!  It's really not a good thing that I"m actually rooting for Jamal to somehow thwart this.  But I'm just at the point where I'm pulling for Jamal and Leila to somehow prevail, and rule like the crazy, violent, psychotic couple they are.  Maybe Tucker can pull a Roose Bolton, and betray Bassam.  That would be hilarious.

Edited by thuganomics85
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LOL, how many times did Ambassador Tucker say "shit" in this episode?

There goes crazy Jamal doing stupid shit again.

It's also interesting that Uncle Tareq has Bassam's number.

Eh, Adam can still just stare at the camera and I'll tune in. His blue eyes are beyond beautiful.

I didn't even think about the family having to go into protective custody wherever they go.

I still think the general is super sexy. So, so good looking.

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Bassam cannot possibly be naïve enough to think they could detain Tariq's men and everything would be cool.

Oh yes, he can be.

This is a guy who was plotting with Nusrat's father, the telecomm magnate, in broad daylight at a popular restaurant.

A guy who was outfoxed at every turn by the Sheikh, and was blindsided when the Sheikh called for a presidential elections.

A guy's who's negotiating strategy on any issue basically boils down to "Thank you sir, may I have another". In the first episode he was late for his plane because he couldn't even convince the mother of one his patients to take her son to one of his colleagues.

Yet somehow this guy thinks he can run a country.

 

 

Still LOL @ Bassam's shock and outrage over Tariq's men .

I was like, really dude?

So he really thought no blood would be shed?

When Molly has greater insight into what could happen, it's time to pack your bags, catch the next flight and start handing out lollipops to your patients.

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Season (or series?) finale next week.  I feel as if I've seen nothing since the pilot.  Many people have said that they hated the kiddie characters and their story, but I find it interesting that they've done nothing with Sammy and his potential gay dilemma.  Like it or not, that story should have been told with regards to how homosexuality is viewed in this country.  I'm surprised that FX was seemingly squeamish on this story.

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Word to all the comments about Bassam's naivété. When has a coup EVER been bloodless? Good lord. And Molly. She could have been interesting, but the writing for her was so terrible from the get-go.

 

I almost feel sorry for Jamal. He's a monster, but he can be reasoned with up to a point. And yes, Ashraf Barhom is the best actor by a mile on this show. Jamal is also the best-written character by a mile, though I think Justin Kirk does a great job with his part.

 

Like it or not, that story should have been told with regards to how homosexuality is viewed in this country.  I'm surprised that FX was seemingly squeamish on this story.

 

I don't think it's squeamishness at all. I think it's the show having other priorities. The show is called Tyrant, not My Gay Son in Abuddin. If there's a second season, maybe they'll go into the country's culture more deeply. We barely got anything about it the way it is. Islam seems to be the main religion, but how strict an interpretation? Are other religions tolerated? How free is the press? What is the class system? Is there free enterprise?

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Word to all the comments about Bassam's naivété

 

I also think that the American Embassy staff is using him as a straw man for their own, not yet known, purposes.  I wouldn't be surprised if they had another candidate for President lined up and are playing the game too.  Maybe it's Leila.

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Word to all the comments about Bassam's naivété. When has a coup EVER been bloodless? Good lord. And Molly. She could have been interesting, but the writing for her was so terrible from the get-go.

 

I almost feel sorry for Jamal. He's a monster, but he can be reasoned with up to a point. And yes, Ashraf Barhom is the best actor by a mile on this show. Jamal is also the best-written character by a mile, though I think Justin Kirk does a great job with his part.

 

 

 

 

I don't think it's squeamishness at all. I think it's the show having other priorities. The show is called Tyrant, not My Gay Son in Abuddin. If there's a second season, maybe they'll go into the country's culture more deeply. We barely got anything about it the way it is. Islam seems to be the main religion, but how strict an interpretation? Are other religions tolerated? How free is the press? What is the class system? Is there free enterprise?

The not my gay son in abuddin was a very clever response but I would submit, if they were not going to give it any REASONABLE attention, then why incorporate it into the show at all?  Personally, I found everything else that's been shown thus far, especially the political aspect, to be crap.  I don't think this is going to get a season 2 either.   Nothing I've seen warrants it, but I'm anxious to see what the FX numbers say.

Edited by Syndicate
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FX had no problems presenting homosexual issues on American Horror Story, so I don't think the network is squeamish to go there. I assume they'll address it more when they develop the son's storyline.

Regardind the title, who is being gaslighted, Jamal or Bassam?

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One thing struck me as a little odd.

From the timeline that Molly provided, it's only been a short time since Jamal & Bassam's father Khaled has died. A few months? They also said that Tariq's shindig with his Elite Guard was an annual event. Thus, if I understand correctly, this is the first Elite Guard retreat -- or whatever they called it -- since Jamal took power.

I'm a little surprised that Jamal wasn't planning on attending, however boring it may have been. Perhaps that's another example of why Jamal isn't suited for office, because he's not willing to put in the time to suck up to the military that an aspiring dictator should.

Given that Bassam is planning on stabbing Jamal in the back, I'm not surpirsed that Bassam failed to mention it (assuming Bassam even thought of it it). But I am surprised Tariq didn't mention it.

The not my gay son in abuddin was a very clever response but I would submit, if they were not going to give it any REASONABLE attention, then why incorporate it into the show at all?

People will differ about what's reasonable.

They've spent far more time on Sammy than Emma even though Sammy is a dipshit and Emma has a functioning brain.

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One thing struck me as a little odd.

From the timeline that Molly provided, it's only been a short time since Jamal & Bassam's father Khaled has died. A few months? They also said that Tariq's shindig with his Elite Guard was an annual event. Thus, if I understand correctly, this is the first Elite Guard retreat -- or whatever they called it -- since Jamal took power.

I'm a little surprised that Jamal wasn't planning on attending, however boring it may have been. Perhaps that's another example of why Jamal isn't suited for office, because he's not willing to put in the time to suck up to the military that an aspiring dictator should.

Given that Bassam is planning on stabbing Jamal in the back, I'm not surpirsed that Bassam failed to mention it (assuming Bassam even thought of it it). But I am surprised Tariq didn't mention it.

People will differ about what's reasonable.

They've spent far more time on Sammy than Emma even though Sammy is a dipshit and Emma has a functioning brain.

That's fine!  We'll remove the word reasonable and I'll still say that Sammy went nowhere character-wise.  But neither did this entire show IMO which is probably why it's likely done after next week.

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why incorporate it into the show at all?

 

Because they had to give Sammy something. And it was also a way to give a (TINY) bit of information on what Abuddin is like.

Edited by dubbel zout

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I thought that Leila goaded Jamal into blowing up the plane, not just detaining/arresting the elite guard which was Tariq's power base.

 

So there is support for the coup because people had been dreading the day Jamal would take over.  But Leila doesn't have PTSD, she's just an Arab Lady MacBeth?

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Finale next week!  It's really not a good thing that I"m actually rooting for Jamal to somehow thwart this.  But I'm just at the point where I'm pulling for Jamal and Leila to somehow prevail, and rule like the crazy, violent, psychotic couple they are.  Maybe Tucker can pull a Roose Bolton, and betray Bassam.  That would be hilarious.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. 

 

I got the impression during the Bassam/Tariq convo that the real reason Bassam was going through this whole coup business was simply to get back at Tariq.  Certainly, that was the most expressive acting I've seen from Adam yet.

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she's just an Arab Lady MacBeth

 

I don't think Leila is quite active enough to be an Arab Lady Macbeth.  She certainly whispers in Jamal's ear every so often, but we don't really know what her ambitions are except for Jamal to stay in power. It's a tribute to Moran Atias that I feel I know Leila better than I probably should, because the writing for Leila has been pretty minimal. It's been more consistent than that for Molly, but that's not saying much.

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Jamal is such a tragic character. I

nearly teared up when he told Bassam he was the only one Jamal trusted

Bassam is not only naive, but freaking stupid if he really believes Jamal and his family are just gonna take their money and ride off into the sunset

 

If the coup is successful the first thing Barry should do is put a bullet through his own head.

 

I don't see how he can began to think he can do the Country any  good, when he  kills his brother rival then betrays his brother to get what  he killed his rival for. Then say it's because his brother is unfit to run the Country .

.

He is going to have that same stupid look on his face when he learns Jamal is dead or some other collateral damage happens that he" didn't sign up for".

 

I think he is more dangerous  than Jamal because he is willing to sacrifice anyone including his immediate family and his excuse is carrying out what his father started. What did his Father start? and why was it not finished?

Haven't seen much good that his father has done for HIS Country.

There seem to be chaos in the Country while his Father was alive.No democratic elections.

 

Jamal is honest about who he is and makes no excuses for it. 

 

 

Man, if the big suspense is that, if Bassam goes through with this, he might lose Molly and the kids, then that is one big failure.  

Taking his kids to see where "they came from" was so arrogant. What's so good about sitting around in a tent drinking tea? Is this why he is willing to betray his brother, so folks can sit around under a tent laughing and drinking tea? 

 

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I guess i am in the minority, I like Molly. Except for the first episode I think the writing for her has been ok. No where near as good as Jamal and Bassam (which i thought was a mistake) but i think she was written well considering. The problem i have is that the show focused too much on the two brothers and the politics and not on the family which i actually found more interesting.

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It seemed to me that they're setting it up so that Bassam is going to kill Jamal next week.  All the comments about how Jamal would never ever ever in a million years kill a family member, and how Bassam is so so so loyal.  Really seemed anvilly to me. 

 

Then Bassam can make his "I smell poopie" face for the next 40 years.  Interspersed with "I made poopie."

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Pretty good episode.  I still don't really buy into Bassam's motivation for doing all this, but that's more a knock on the last 2 episodes, as I thought it was a good episode if you can buy into that.

 

One potential nitpick.  The Americans were adamant last week about how Bassam should keep this strictly to himself and not tell a soul, even his wife.  Yet this week, they need to inform her about her and the kids' relocation to a safehouse when they return home.  What exactly was going to happen if Bassam hadn't alerted her to the plan?

 

Looking forward to see how this wraps up next week.  No word from FX on a season 2 yet, but based on the ratings, I'd be cautiously optimistic.  It's doing slightly better than The Americans, which got renewed, and about even with what Fargo was doing in a same slot a few months ago (though no word on that show's fate either).

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Pretty good episode. I still don't really buy into Bassam's motivation for doing all this, but that's more a knock on the last 2 episodes, as I thought it was a good episode if you can buy into that.

One potential nitpick. The Americans were adamant last week about how Bassam should keep this strictly to himself and not tell a soul, even his wife. Yet this week, they need to inform her about her and the kids' relocation to a safehouse when they return home. What exactly was going to happen if Bassam hadn't alerted her to the plan?

Looking forward to see how this wraps up next week. No word from FX on a season 2 yet, but based on the ratings, I'd be cautiously optimistic. It's doing slightly better than The Americans, which got renewed, and about even with what Fargo was doing in a same slot a few months ago (though no word on that show's fate either).

Fargo was renewed:

http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/07/21/fargo-louie-renewed-by-fx/284641/

For more info you can check out the Fargo in the Media in the Fargo forum. I hope Tyrant is too.

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One potential nitpick.  The Americans were adamant last week about how Bassam should keep this strictly to himself and not tell a soul, even his wife.  Yet this week, they need to inform her about her and the kids' relocation to a safehouse when they return home.  What exactly was going to happen if Bassam hadn't alerted her to the plan?

 

Bassam told Molly about the coup was because she was so reluctant to take the kids back to the States on such short notice for seemingly no reason. If she hadn't known about the coup, I think she would have been told on the plane ride back. That way she couldn't inadvertently spill the beans, but she and the kids would be properly safeguarded. Since she already knew about the coup, there was no reason to hold back the other information.

 

That's how I saw it, at least.

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One detail about this episode that I really liked was in the late night meeting between Jamal, Bassam, and Tucker.  As Jamal questioned them, Bassam and Tucker started to glisten with perspiration.  They were really sweating it out, literally!

 

(It's Tucker, right?  I keep thinking of him as Andy Botwin.)

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So.... they had a tape of Jamal with this mistress and her murder by pillow at the end of the conversation was completely unnoticed?

Doesn't that same conversation imply that Barry "took care of the problem"? I have to rewatch, but its possible that the Americans know or suspect about Barry's complicity in the Sheikh's murder, and are keeping that secret for their own future purposes. Unlike Barry, Jamal might even realize that the Maldives conversation led to the murder and the implication for Barry, and he might be doing all this to help not just himself (although he could probably sleep safe at night even if everyone found out he was a cheater, murderer, and had his opponent assassinated) but mostly to keep his dear brother's reputation intact and nose clean.

 

Regardless, Tucker and his CIA, I mean State Department, associate only revealed the marital indiscretion to Barry, because that's all he needed to know to do what he plans. Revealing that his brother committed a cold-blooded murder for no apparent reason (I'm sure Tariq's men had to clean up the "mess"), might be too much for Barry to handle, and maybe they planned to reveal that later if Barry started backing out or needed more reasoning (although, "he came to them" and all).

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Since she already knew about the coup, there was no reason to hold back the other information.

But why tell her anything about anything that she might spill?  Even a change in her demeanor might give something away, or who knows if Molly might be daft enough to say something dumb.  So hows about this: Bassam tells her that Tucker whispered in his ear that there may be trouble brewing, specifically aimed at her children.  Probably a good time for the americans to head back to their own. I'd like to think even Molly wouldn't be stupid enough to complain about how this upsets her busy schedule.  

 

Probably wouldn't be far from the truth.  How does Bassam not realize that a palace coup is gonna put everyone in mortal peril?  Does he really think Jamal is gonna just get on a plane and go?  Does he think the opposition isn't gonna put Jamal against a wall the moment they get the chance?  And right next to him, his brother and family?  Or that General Sexypants and Ambassador Andy are necessarily share his vision for the future of the country?  I can't decide what's worse, Bassam's naiveté or his utterly appalling tradecraft - even cursory surveillance would tell you pretty much exactly what Bass is up to.   This is Homeland told by idiots. 

Edited by henripootel
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But why tell her anything about anything that she might spill?

 

Because he's an idiot and Molly has to have something to do? I really do feel like they had no idea what to do with Molly after she harangued Bassam into going to Abuddin.

 

It bugged me that she was annoyed with Bassam taking the kids to see the tribal regions. Maybe his reasons for it and timing aren't great, but he had a point that the kids should see where they're from. Molly was the one who wanted Bassam to connect with his family. Shouldn't her kids have the same chance?

 

Everything about Bassam's American family has been a bust.

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Looked to me like the kids were basically written out of the show because they were too boring.  Even Sammy's hookup with that guy was predictable and boring.  Doubt it had anything to do with the network's desire to deal/not deal with sexual taboos.  There was no mention or sighting of Jamal's son and his wife.  I mean, where does that plot line actually go?  

 

Whoever gave the guy who plays Barry acting lessons ought to be shot.  A cardboard cutout has a bigger range of emotions.

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I think the daughter has been shown to be fairly well-aware of her surroundings throughout the series. She even was checking the news on the way back from their field trip. Otherwise, she hasn't done much. I think they should have sent the family away earlier though. 

 

If I cared about Molly or her relationship with Bassam, that scene with him blowing her off would have meant something to me. Unfortunately, Molly has been so inconsistently written and motivated that I don't care. If she and her dipshit sister end up collateral damage, I will be perfectly fine with it.

 

When Molly dropped that big dramatic "bombshell", I was just like "Not seeing the downside, here." 

 

I think the show tried to do too much and as a result they just screwed up Molly. She's all over the place. Not to mention it's ridiculous she'd be working in an ER there. 

 

When has a coup EVER been bloodless?

 

I believe the Roman Senate voted Caesar dictator for life. So that. I can't think of another, so it's extremely rare. Barry should be glad. Jamal got rid of the guards for him, if he's successful. They're out of the way. 

 

I tend to lean in the direction of the actor playing Barry very restrained, hence the wooden-ness. The father said it "should have been him" before he died, and here Tariq said, "I know what you are." 

 

So, I'm anticipating that he's going to unleash it at some point. It's a tough acting choice (assuming I'm right) because you have to bottle it up really hard for so many episodes. 

 

I think the show is ok overall. It's enough to make me make sure I watch every week. I'm curious if Jamal will figure out what's going on though. 

 

I do think the USA sees Barry as more of a leader they can control rather than Jamal. 

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I didn't even think about the family having to go into protective custody wherever they go.

 

 

I had been wondering what Barry's plan was regarding after the coup. Staying in country wouldn't seem to make sense, unless he thinks his family would adjust to being under constant guard. And going back to the US would seem to leave them all vulnerable. I'm still not sure what Barry is thinking there.

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I think that's the point. He's not really thinking everything through. Hence his shock at the plane exploding. Once they start this coup, the shit is going to hit the fan and it's going to be a quite a mess. 

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And going back to the US would seem to leave them all vulnerable.

 

Bassam didn't think anything through, but I think the family will be safer in the U.S. than if they stayed in Abuddin. We have no idea what sort of diaspora there is, but I think it's safe to assume that it can't be enormous. And it might even be sympathetic the coup. But that's another flaw of the show: We have no idea how Abuddin's neighbors, let alone the world, views it.

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I don't see Jamal as a monster, sure he is violent, but he appears to be trying to fill the role in life he was given even though he doesn't want it. Barry, IMO is the truly evil one, but I figured they would make the "American" brother the clever evil behind the scene guy. My feeling is that Barry always knew what he was which is why he left and stayed away. New he's back and becoming exactly what Tariq and Yussef said about him. 

I like the show. It's intriguing. Jamal's son is useless.

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I had been wondering what Barry's plan was regarding after the coup. Staying in country wouldn't seem to make sense, unless he thinks his family would adjust to being under constant guard. And going back to the US would seem to leave them all vulnerable. I'm still not sure what Barry is thinking there.

 

 

Bassam didn't think anything through, but I think the family will be safer in the U.S. than if they stayed in Abuddin. We have no idea what sort of diaspora there is, but I think it's safe to assume that it can't be enormous. And it might even be sympathetic the coup. But that's another flaw of the show: We have no idea how Abuddin's neighbors, let alone the world, views it.

 

 

Given that the guard outside of Bassam's hotel door fell asleep in the first episode, apparently on the very first night that Bassam was there, I think I'd go with Ashland Oregon over Abuddin.

 

Plus, they have a Shakespeare festival.

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After LA and the Middle East, Bassam's family may get sun withdrawal pains if they move to Oregon.

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