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David T. Cole

S01.E01: Pilot

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Barry Al-Fayeed is a California pediatrician who also happens to be the second son of a Middle Eastern dictator. Barry reluctantly agrees to return home with his American family for his nephew's wedding. Events thrust him into the complex and turbulent growing pains of a nation straining to break free from dictatorial rule.
Edited by stacey

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Okay, seriously, I cannot deal with how clueless Molly is. I get that Bassam hasn't told her much about his home or upbringing, but you're telling me this broad can't use Google? My boyfriend gets that I haven't spoken to my mother in 20 years because reasons, and she's not even the murderous tyrant of a country with notorious and massive human rights violations.

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I watched this out of curiosity. Basically it is a version of Bashar Al-Assad's life. Even the flag threw me as it so closely resembles the Syrian flag.

 

I don't know if I will watch again, but I like the characterization of Bassam.  His wife has no clue who he really is. It is like Kay married to Michael Corleone.

 

Does Bassam know that his son is gay? Because that is very interesting.

Edited by SimoneS

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I was fine until with it until Bassam's father died and Molly and the kids turned into idiots who apparently have never read the news or know how to use Google. This is a world where the same shit is going down in the middle east, but Molly is cluelessly wondering why they can't stay for the funereal of a brutal dictator.

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Generally, I'm still interested.  But I have a lot of questions.  Certainly about what the fuck "Barry" and Molly talked about for 19 years.  But, also: how exactly does it work to buy out the whole plane when, presumably, other tickets have already been purchased?  What happened to those other people?  Also, also: how did anyone know the [American] pilot's phone number so that Bassam could be informed of his brother's accident.  I mean, I guess it's possible, but it all happened instantly and in real life that kind of information gathering takes some time.  And, why did one of the long shots show Istanbul?  That was confusing.

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I was fine until with it until Bassam's father died and Molly and the kids turned into idiots who apparently have never read the news or know how to use Google. This is a world where the same shit is going down in the middle east, but Molly is cluelessly wondering why they can't stay for the funereal of a brutal dictator.

 

My eyes almost rolled out of my head when she told Bassam that he needs to have a heart to heart with his father.  Is this chick serious?  I agree with the rest of y'all.  How did she not Google these people in twenty years?  She could not tell Jamal is a bit off from his visits with them in California?  She cannot see Leila doing long division in her head?

 

I think the wife was miscast.  I like the sister in law (Leila) with Bassam better.  Molly seems like a clueless nag.  She needs a little ruthlessness in her to ensure that her family stays alive in this new environment.

 

Bassam is interesting.  He is like David Banner trying to keep his Hulk persona in check.  The guy is running from his ruthless streak and obtaining power may unleash everything he has been trying to push inside.

Edited by ToukieSmith
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I don't know if I will watch again, but I like the characterization of Bassam.  His wife has no clue who he really is. It is like Kay married to Michael Corleone.

 

 

Okay, seriously, I cannot deal with how clueless Molly is. I get that Bassam hasn't told her much about his home or upbringing, but you're telling me this broad can't use Google? My boyfriend gets that I haven't spoken to my mother in 20 years because reasons, and she's not even the murderous tyrant of a country with notorious and massive human rights violations.

 

I think Molly is far more clueless than Kay.  If Kay had access to the internet, she would have used it to read up on the Corleone family, but Molly appears to have gone out of her way to remain ignorant.  I also wonder what kind of education she had if she doesn't realize what a dangerous place a dictatorship can be when the dictator has just died, even if the dictator died peacefully.

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One thing always bugged me about Kay, MIkey C told her the band leader story at Connie's wedding,

So she got o n my nerves. Acting all brand new at the end.

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My eyes almost rolled out of my head when she told Bassam that he needs to have a heart to heart with his father.  Is this chick serious?

Molly's cluelessness is bad enough, but what about Bassam?  He knows exactly what he's going home to - why in god's name would he EVER expose his family to these guys?  On their home turf?  I know, I know - plot point.  Maybe I'm an over-protective dad but I don't think I'd let my kids get their head turned by their rich psychopath in-laws.  The whole situation is crazy-dangerous - why not just leave the wife and kids at home?  And (judging by the previews) why not send them the fuck home immediately as a condition of his cooperating?  

Certainly about what the fuck "Barry" and Molly talked about for 19 years.

 

 

I'm not sure if it's the writing or the woman who plays Molly but I don't buy for a second that these folks have been married for 19 years.  They act like they just met, and that the subject of 'brutal dictator dad' never came up.  If they did talk about it, I'd like to know why Molly is unfamiliar with the terms 'brutal' and 'dictator'.  

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So.... this is set in a Middle Eastern country, where English is the main language?  I understood why they would speak English whenever Present Barry and his family was involved, but everyone was speaking it.  I know it would have been a lot of subtitles, but The Americans have no issues doing that with all the scenes involving the Russians.  I know, a nitpick, but I just found it kind of odd.

 

I wasn't sure what to think going in, because of of the polarizing reviews I've seen.  Right now, my verdict is that it wasn't as bad as someone said, but I did have issues with it.  Mainly, I find myself annoyed with both Barry and Molly in their own ways.  With Barry, yeah I get he's been through a lot, but I just couldn't help thinking that a lot of this could have been fixed, had he just been open to his family that he didn't merely have a bad childhood, but his dad really, really put him through some dark stuff.  Even if he didn't want to reveal what he did to that man, just saying that his father brutally massacred people, would have done the trick, I'd would think.  

 

On the other hand, Molly just comes off way too naive and, frankly, dumb.  I mean, with everything that is going on in the news now, I can't believe she didn't think about the possibility, that his family could be dangerous, and this wasn't just a normal case of daddy issues.  She just came off pig-headed every time she was just like "Oh, why don't you just talk it out, Barry?!"  Maybe there is a very good reason for this, Molly.  Think, Molly, think!  But, yeah, because of all this, I really have problems buying that they would both have been married this long.

 

And, then there is Jamal, who is so over-the-top brutal and violent.  Yeah, I could have really lived without the rape and sexual assault there, show.  Did we really need three scenes of that?  And, of course, he would somehow survive that accident.  Meh.  I'm more interested Leila, and what's she going to do with him out of commission.  Of course, it helps that Moran Atias is insanely gorgeous.

 

Alice Kridge!!  That's cool.  Also curious to see what they're going to do with the reporter and the diplomat played by Justin Kirk.

 

The daughter wasn't too bad, but the son did annoy me a lot.  But it looks like they're setting him up for a big part of this show.  I'm pretty sure him being gay is going to factor in big time, since I"m sure they're going to go into how bad it is for gays in certain Middle Eastern countries.

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This was very much a mixed bag for me. Barry and Molly seemed more committed than in love. I give it five eps before Barry and his sister-in-law are banging. I didn't dislike Molly but she was a bit odd. Is she a psychiatrist? They have this vibe that they met, got married, had kids and over the years she figured out that she was the replacement family he was desperately seeking instead of his new life. She was driving me crazy with all her 'talk to your father' bullshit (though maybe she thought if he would just talk to him they could run back home and not have to deal with this crap again?) but he was also driving me crazy with the silent treatment. Dude if you want her to understand why you are acting crazy then tell her your brother just knifed a guy in a storage room. That should be plenty to get her on board your get the fuck out of here train.

 

While Google can tell you a lot about the dangers, I don't think it would have necessarily put them off. Molly has met Jamal and it seemed, the rest of Bassam's family. The kids know them. Whatever this country is, it is apparently well developed and successful. I can see Molly thinking that as long as they stayed around the palace and kept their armed guards around them they would be just fine. And I think that was probably true. She just didn't grasp how dangerous his family was on their own turf. And from what I saw of Bassam tonight, she seemed like she was at the point where she wanted it dealt with- if things were that bad, let her see for herself. If they weren't, deal with your family shit and let's get on with it.

 

I didn't like the kids. Emma wasn't as bad as Sammy but he's a moron. I can understand being dazzled but he's old enough to still be more cautious than that. It is interesting that he is apparently gay. I wonder if his parents know that.

 

Jamal was disgusting. When Bassam said he was beginning to think he was crazy I was like YES. I wonder if that could be the arc going forward? Jamal feels entitled to rule but Bassam recognizes how crazy he is and feels obligated to step in. The scene with the journalist I think was already hinting at the conflict between leaving his country in the hands of a ruler he knew was violent and what he wants for himself. At 16 he chose himself. I'm betting now he chooses whatever country and there's the family shit.

 

Overall, I'm in for next week. Bassam is really interesting but I can't see Molly as an Asma Al-Assad. I'm trying to withhold judgment on Molly to see where they go with her. I hope Jamal gets less focus. The rape scene was chilling and told me more about how power actually works in that country than all of the murder scenes combined. But I got that he is a psycho, show. Three examples were more than enough. I think the sister-in-law has potential and I am curious about the mother.

 

ETA: I'm grateful for the predominance of English. Not for me, I can read subtitles just fine, but because watching Molly and the kids think they are doing fine when they are really entirely out of their element is more interesting to me than watching them be self-conscious and feel like they were in a fishbowl because they couldn't understand anyone else's conversations.

Edited by l star

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I liked it, but the fact that I always liked Adam Rayner does help. He plays confliced well, and Bassam is extremely conflicted.

 

As was said before, Molly is extremely annoying so far, but maybe - just maybe - she's one of these people who want to believe there is a lot of good in the world and nobody is truly evil. Perhaps the US diplomat has been telling her how great the country's economy has been, and how good the presidency of her father-in-law is. So she cannot comprehend that something IS WRONG.

 

(It may also mean that she's not really intelligent. it's ok. Not every character has to be wise. She may just lack mental faculties and be too simple to understand the graveness of situation. Do we know what she does for a living?)

 

I wonder if the president told Jamal "your brother would be better than you" and that's what will loom above recuperating Jamal for the rest of the season (and turn him into brother-slaying wannabe). I also get strange vibes from Jamal's wife, Leila. It's clear she didn't want to sleep with her husband for quite some time. Still, in this society, it may be difficult for her to get a lover. I hope they're not setting up a situation, in which she sets her eyes on her brother-in-law (or they won't write it that she was actually bethrothed to Bassam, but as he left, and Jamal's fiancee died, they sort of ended together...)

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Molly's cluelessness is bad enough, but what about Bassam? He knows exactly what he's going home to - why in god's name would he EVER expose his family to these guys? On their home turf? I know, I know - plot point. Maybe I'm an over-protective dad but I don't think I'd let my kids get their head turned by their rich psychopath in-laws. The whole situation is crazy-dangerous - why not just leave the wife and kids at home? And (judging by the previews) why not send them the fuck home immediately as a condition of his cooperating?

THIS. Was a running thought through my mind the entire episode especially at the end on the plane. I kept thinking tell them you will stay but your wife & kids are going back to America.

Molly's stupidity about Bassam's family & what dictatorship in the Middle East is like was annoying. However the son's attitude & stupidity throughout the episode rubbed me the wrong way. I literally groaned with the hint of him being gay because of course he won't know that being gay is illegal & punishable by death in some Middle Easr countries.

Jamal's rape scenes & brutality were a bit much for me at times. The interpretation I took was that Jamal could never be as methodical/tyrantical as Bassam, therefore he uses brutality to assert his dominance.

I'll keep watching for now. It's the best new summer show I've seen thus far this year.

Edited by BestestAuntEver

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I liked it, but the fact that I always liked Adam Rayner does help. He plays confliced well, and Bassam is extremely conflicted.

 

As was said before, Molly is extremely annoying so far, but maybe - just maybe - she's one of these people who want to believe there is a lot of good in the world and nobody is truly evil. Perhaps the US diplomat has been telling her how great the country's economy has been, and how good the presidency of her father-in-law is. So she cannot comprehend that something IS WRONG.

 

(It may also mean that she's not really intelligent. it's ok. Not every character has to be wise. She may just lack mental faculties and be too simple to understand the graveness of situation. Do we know what she does for a living?)

I believe she's a psychiatrist.

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I found it very distracting that the actors who play the pediatrician and his wife are too young for the roles.  According to IMDB, Adam Rayner was born in 1977 and Jennifer Finnigan was born in 1979.  Rayner looks a little older, perhaps because of his lock of gray hair, but Finnigan doesn't look any more than her 34 or 35 years. So the couple was married when she was 16 and he was 18?   Yes, I'm sure the characters are supposed to be older, but I'm still taken out of the scene when I contemplate the woman as the mother of those two teenagers.   And as was mentioned above, she is the cliche of the impossibly skinny blonde woman who is a status symbol and marker of success the American way.  It would have been such an improvement if the character and actress were a little more realistically savvy, cosmopolitan and mature

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What is it with FX and their G-d M effing 80 minute episodes?

Is is so difficult to make a 60 minute episode?

 

...Mainly, I find myself annoyed with both Barry and Molly in their own ways.  With Barry, yeah I get he's been through a lot, but I just couldn't help thinking that a lot of this could have been fixed, had he just been open to his family that he didn't merely have a bad childhood, but his dad really, really put him through some dark stuff.  Even if he didn't want to reveal what he did to that man, just saying that his father brutally massacred people, would have done the trick, I'd would think.  

 

On the other hand, Molly just comes off way too naive and, frankly, dumb.  I mean, with everything that is going on in the news now, I can't believe she didn't think about the possibility, that his family could be dangerous, and this wasn't just a normal case of daddy issues.  She just came off pig-headed every time she was just like "Oh, why don't you just talk it out, Barry?!"

It's almost as if the writers were making fun of their own character when Jamal mocked the idea of Americans who wanted to go on Oprah and talk about their problems.

 

Maybe there is a very good reason for this, Molly.  Think, Molly, think!  But, yeah, because of all this, I really have problems buying that they would both have been married this long.

 

I too found it hard to believe they've been married 19 years. Apparently so did the writers since they mentioned it over and over.

For that matter, I find it hard to believe that Molly & Barry lasted longer than a couple of dates. Perhaps if more of the episode provided more background on their relationship -- how they met, what they have in common, something -- it wouldn't seem so implausible.

 

I didn't dislike Molly but she was a bit odd. Is she a psychiatrist?

This is hilarious.

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While Google can tell you a lot about the dangers, I don't think it would have necessarily put them off. Molly has met Jamal and it seemed, the rest of Bassam's family. The kids know them. Whatever this country is, it is apparently well developed and successful. I can see Molly thinking that as long as they stayed around the palace and kept their armed guards around them they would be just fine. And I think that was probably true. She just didn't grasp how dangerous his family was on their own turf. And from what I saw of Bassam tonight, she seemed like she was at the point where she wanted it dealt with- if things were that bad, let her see for herself. If they weren't, deal with your family shit and let's get on with it.

 

I give Molly a pass for exactly this reason. I also feel like Bassam has deceived her about who he really is because he has not wanted to face it himself. Even psychiatrists can be blinded by love. However, I agree with the comments that they both look too young to have been married 19 years.

 

I also get strange vibes from Jamal's wife, Leila. It's clear she didn't want to sleep with her husband for quite some time. Still, in this society, it may be difficult for her to get a lover. I hope they're not setting up a situation, in which she sets her eyes on her brother-in-law (or they won't write it that she was actually bethrothed to Bassam, but as he left, and Jamal's fiancee died, they sort of ended together...)

 

I am sure that some version of this will happen. In fact, I would expect Leila to go Queen Noor of Jordan on Molly's naive behind. Leila will maneuver to get Jamal and Molly out of the way so she can marry Bassam and have children with him who will inherit his power. The real life soap opera lives of the Middle East tyrants and their families can provide enough material to keep this drama going for years.

 

As for Sammy, being gay is dangerous in the Middle East if you are the average joe, not if you are the scion of a wealthy tyrannical family that loves and protects you. As long as he is discrete, there will be gossip, but no one would dare do or say anything to him.

 

I think that I will continue to watch because I am interested in where they are going and the acting on this is superior to almost every other current summer show that I am watching at the moment..

Edited by SimoneS
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Does Bassam know that his son is gay? Because that is very interesting.

I don't know if Bassam knows, but I think the daughter knows. I base this on her comment after Bassam mentioned that the bachelor party was a bunch of guys in a steam room: "You better be careful. This isn't America."

 

Edit: I just rewatched that scene and I think that the parents don't know because the kids waited until after the parents had left the room for that conversation:

Son: "A bunch of guys in a steam room. Bummer." with a smile on his face that makes it clear that it's not really a bummer.

Daughter: "You better be careful. This isn't America."

Son: "Thanks, mom."

Edited by paulvdb

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I wonder if the president told Jamal "your brother would be better than you" and that's what will loom above recuperating Jamal for the rest of the season (and turn him into brother-slaying wannabe).

 

I think the flashback scenes established that Bassam is supposed to be better than Jamal as a leader.  Remember when Jamal shot in the air at the wedding then asked Bassam if he wanted the gun?  I suspect Jamal constantly relives the pivotal day of his first hit and how his little brother stepped up to the plate without flinching.

 

I know that some Middle Eastern countries are as progressive as the US, but I thought it odd that Molly and Emma were not dressed more conservatively.  Wouldn't it have been more prudent for them to wear more conservative colors that don't draw attention?  Where were their head scarves?  It just seems like they were dressed like that they were traveling for a weekend in Miami or something, not the Middle East where women have to be covered head to toe because men cannot control themselves if they see a bare ankle or something.

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I'm grateful for the predominance of English. Not for me, I can read subtitles just fine, but because watching Molly and the kids think they are doing fine when they are really entirely out of their element is more interesting to me than watching them be self-conscious and feel like they were in a fishbowl because they couldn't understand anyone else's conversations.

Me, too.  I'm bad about doing other things while watching TV, and I really do miss a lot of what is said on The Americans, because I don't have my eyes glued to the set.  Now, that's clearly a "my problem," but I'm fine to assume that the characters are really speaking Arabic (or whatever the "native" language of the fictional country is) when Barry's family is not around. 

 

 

(It may also mean that she's not really intelligent. it's ok. Not every character has to be wise. She may just lack mental faculties and be too simple to understand the graveness of situation. Do we know what she does for a living?)

She's supposed to be an internal medicine specialist/internist. 

 

 

As for Sammy, being gay is dangerous in the Middle East if you are the average joe, not if you are the scion of a wealthy tyrannical family that loves and protects you. As long as he is discrete, there will be gossip, but no one would dare do or say anything to him.

It may be a situation of "what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander," but there has been at least one princess from that region executed for marrying without her family's blessing, so it's not like being privileged or royal (at least if you're a woman) necessarily exempts you from morality rules in some cultures.  But, since we don't really know what the "culture" of this fictional place is, it's hard to say what may happen to Sammy. 

 

 

Alice Kridge!!  That's cool.  Also curious to see what they're going to do with the reporter and the diplomat played by Justin Kirk.

I'm looking forward to see what they do with Krige's character, too.  There are several examples of European/"Western" women marrying into Middle Eastern royal families (notably queens of Jordan), and I think there is probably a lot to mine from that.  How does a woman who grew up in a democratic society with civil rights protections justify being Mrs. Dictator?  How does a woman who grew up in a society with equal rights for women feel about living in a society that may not have those same values (again, we don't really know what Abbudin's laws are for women)?

Edited by annlaw78

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Too bad Jamal is raging psycho and treat women like crap , seems like a fun guy to party with.

 

Liked the scene when he was getting his dance on at the wedding.

 

But ruined it with him violating that poor woman and his daughter in law.

 

Then punching his wife in the face.

 

Why can't I have nice things show,  must Ashraf Barhom play such a despicable character?

Edited by MrsRafaelBarba
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While Google can tell you a lot about the dangers, I don't think it would have necessarily put them off. Molly has met Jamal and it seemed, the rest of Bassam's family. The kids know them. Whatever this country is, it is apparently well developed and successful. I can see Molly thinking that as long as they stayed around the palace and kept their armed guards around them they would be just fine. And I think that was probably true. She just didn't grasp how dangerous his family was on their own turf. And from what I saw of Bassam tonight, she seemed like she was at the point where she wanted it dealt with- if things were that bad, let her see for herself. If they weren't, deal with your family shit and let's get on with it.

 

I thought Molly was indeed very, very naive and probably a bit of an idealist, I find it believable for this very reason.  Based on what the diplomat said at the wedding, it seems as though things in Abbudin have improved a lot (on the outside, at least) since Bassam was a kid, so I can see why she may have felt it was stable enough for the family to visit. The fact that Molly is a psychotherapist (?) also made me think that she's really on board with the idea of Bassam and his family talking out whatever differences they have.  And I can see how she thought the trip would be a really good opportunity for the kids to see a country very different than their own.  So sure, Molly's view is misguided and clueless from what we can see, but it does seem to be based in some relatively sound judgment.

 

But I got that [Jamal] is a psycho, show. Three examples were more than enough.

 

YES.  I guess the scene with his daughter-in-law (ick) showed that he isn't just fixated on sexually abusing one particular woman, but I think the "Jamal is a sociopath" is WELL established.

 

Other things:

 

- Did anyone else get the idea that Jamal may have killed his father?  He went into the hospital room after Bassam had left it, then he came out a couple of moments later to say that their father had died.  I’m picturing we’ll see a flashback later on showing Jamal smothering his dad with a pillow or something.  And like some other posters mention above, I think the father did tell Jamal that Bassam should have been his successor.

- I thought at first that Jamal attacking the terrorist's uncle in the storage area was just another scene showing how unhinged he is, but it occurred to me afterward that it was actually kind of a clever scene.  Yes, it showed (again) that Jamal immediately resorts to violence, but it also showed Bassam's political acumen at his suggestion that the whole family be invited to the wedding.  Along with the flashback scene of young Bassam shooting the man seemingly without remorse, this showed that he escaped Abuddin because he knew he would be a perfect fit for a dictator.

- A lot of critics have noted how Adam Rayner doesn't fit the role.  I get the criticism about him not being Middle Eastern (although the fact that Bassam has a British mother balances this out a little) and that he's a little young to have teenage kids (I think greying his hair helped age him a bit), but I think his acting style is a good fit.  He seems to gravitate more toward slow-burning, brooding roles and that's Bassam's personality to a T.  Sure, there might be a better fit, but I don't think he was a bad choice by any means.

- So who was the woman who Jamal was raping and took on the doomed car ride?  Someone he was obsessed with for some reason?  The wife of an insurgent?  I get the idea that she was not a random target.

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- A lot of critics have noted how Adam Rayner doesn't fit the role.  I get the criticism about him not being Middle Eastern (although the fact that Bassam has a British mother balances this out a little) and that he's a little young to have teenage kids (I think greying his hair helped age him a bit), but I think his acting style is a good fit.  He seems to gravitate more toward slow-burning, brooding roles and that's Bassam's personality to a T.  Sure, there might be a better fit, but I don't think he was a bad choice by any means.

I, too, understand that there aren't a ton of leading roles for Middle Eastern/Arab men, so it chaps that a white dude got this role.  But I think Rayner's good, and his intense, brooding thing works well for someone that is supposed to be having a lot of internal conflict about his family's past, his duty to his homeland, and his responsibilities toward his wife, children, and conscience. 

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Ugh.  I might give this a second chance but depends on the length of my toenails come next Tuesday.

 

Lazy limited writing the worst offender.   Instead of telling us the plane is bought up by daddy dearest how about just show us?  For me it would have made an actual dramatic impact if they boarded just thinking they were last and didn't know the plane only had them as passengers.

 

Also the direction.  Everyone lacks the slightest nuance.  And the decision to have flashback child of the corn Bassam emote in that singular fashion really makes those scenes dull and over wrought.  Instead of chilling.  Or rousing the slightest empathy or sympathy for the character.  All I get instead is 'kid with peanut allergy gets his first whiff of a just opened jar of Jiff'.

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Overall, I found it worth watching and will most likely stay with it, the big BUT being that if the violence keeps up or gets worse, then I may have to stop.  But overall, I think it could be a good story.  

 

Had not thought about Jamal killing his father.  Perhaps Daddy told him  it "should have been" Bassam...or that his last wish was that Bassam succeed him.

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Didn't the mother go in to visit with Jamal? Seems like that would have prevented Jamal from killing him.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure she did, so if Jamal did kill him, the only way he could have done it would be if she went along with it, for some reason.  Or he physically prevented her somehow, but I would find that hard to believe.  But, I do wonder if his father did tell him something about how he wants Barry to take over instead, and Jamel's meltdown wasn't due just to him passing way.

 

 

As for Sammy, being gay is dangerous in the Middle East if you are the average joe, not if you are the scion of a wealthy tyrannical family that loves and protects you. As long as he is discrete, there will be gossip, but no one would dare do or say anything to him.

While I think Sammy himself will be fine, I wonder if they're setting things up for something bad to happen to the other guy, if they get exposed.  Sammy will have plenty of protection, but I can't remember what the guy he was flirting with's relationship to the family was, and if he would be well protected, if this is going end up being one of those Middle Eastern countries that is dangerous towards homosexuals.

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While I think Sammy himself will be fine, I wonder if they're setting things up for something bad to happen to the other guy, if they get exposed.  Sammy will have plenty of protection, but I can't remember what the guy he was flirting with's relationship to the family was, and if he would be well protected, if this is going end up being one of those Middle Eastern countries that is dangerous towards homosexuals.

The other guy was the son of the head of security. He told that whole story about how his grandfather and great-grandfather had also been head of security.

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Didn't the mother go in to visit with Jamal? Seems like that would have prevented Jamal from killing him.

 

She may have killed him now that her real heir is back in town.

 

 

- So who was the woman who Jamal was raping and took on the doomed car ride?  Someone he was obsessed with for some reason?  The wife of an insurgent?  I get the idea that she was not a random target.

 

I got the same vibe too.  It appears they made her husband and children stay to listen to the assault.

 

 

Overall, I found it worth watching and will most likely stay with it, the big BUT being that if the violence keeps up or gets worse, then I may have to stop.  But overall, I think it could be a good story.

 

Me too.  I stopped watching Criminal Minds because the brutality of the crimes started affecting me.

 

 

I'm looking forward to see what they do with Krige's character, too.  There are several examples of European/"Western" women marrying into Middle Eastern royal families (notably queens of Jordan), and I think there is probably a lot to mine from that.  How does a woman who grew up in a democratic society with civil rights protections justify being Mrs. Dictator?  How does a woman who grew up in a society with equal rights for women feel about living in a society that may not have those same values (again, we don't really know what Abbudin's laws are for women)?

 

This fascinates me as well.  How do you know better then allow yourself to cosign something so heinous?  Is it only the ability to live better than 99% of people on earth?  Or maybe they think they can influence things for the better?

 

 

- I thought at first that Jamal attacking the terrorist's uncle in the storage area was just another scene showing how unhinged he is, but it occurred to me afterward that it was actually kind of a clever scene.  Yes, it showed (again) that Jamal immediately resorts to violence, but it also showed Bassam's political acumen at his suggestion that the whole family be invited to the wedding.  Along with the flashback scene of young Bassam shooting the man seemingly without remorse, this showed that he escaped Abuddin because he knew he would be a perfect fit for a dictator.

 

I thought that scene was all about Bassam and his reaction to what his brother does.  He is a natural politician; he knows how to dance on the line.

Edited by ToukieSmith
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As for Sammy, being gay is dangerous in the Middle East if you are the average joe, not if you are the scion of a wealthy tyrannical family that loves and protects you. As long as he is discrete, there will be gossip, but no one would dare do or say anything to him.

 

I think there has been at least one rumour that something nasty has happen to a high ranking person who was suspected of being gay but I can't remember where or under what circumstances. However, Sammy probably isn't facing prison, flogging, execution etc. Especially because he does have "escape or get told to go back to the US" as an option if/when things get uncomfortable. However its still not going to be the same as if he was in California.

 

I think this has potential, but I agree it went with some lazy writing to a degree. Hopefully that's just pilotitis and they'll go off in some unexpected directions after this.

 

This fascinates me as well.  How do you know better then allow yourself to cosign something so heinous?  Is it only the ability to live better than 99% of people on earth?  Or maybe they think they can influence things for the better?

 

Well some of them did have family links to countries in the Middle East so that helps. For others I guess this quote from a fictional series where a couple of women did the same thing applies "she said egalitarians have no problem adjusting to aristocracies as long as they get to be the aristocrats." I've been to a couple of places in the middle east where I was in business and tourist sectors and I could see it being easy to think "this isn't so bad" long term. I suppose some of them also fell very much in love with the "private" person.

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I was curious about Jamal's woman as well. She seemed way below him on the social/political food chain, so why did he seek her out for repeated sexual torture?

I'm hoping Molly gets taken out by the terrorists in an upcoming epi. It's hard to believe someone can be so stupid. For two people married for nineteen years they seem like complete strangers.

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Yeah, Molly's cluelessness took me right out of the show. Can this woman not read a room? The whole family vibe was incredibly tense, but she insists on telling Bassam to hug it out as if his father is Ole Crankypants from On Golden Pond.

 

Idealism is one thing, but in a post-9/11 world I find it incredible to believe that a mother of children with a Middle Eastern last name wouldn't have made it her business to know every aspect of what is going on in Abbudin, or at the very least force her husband to actually tell her what's going on with him and his family. For her to tell him he's "joyless" -- bitch why have you been putting up with his joyless ass for 19 years? This is a marriage?

 

Sammy. Oy. Hopefully whatever happens to him doesn't get too ugly, but I don't hold out hope for that given the several sexual assaults, murders, explosions and assorted violence we were treated to in the pilot. I try not to get too aggravated by a teenage character's insouciance about reality, but his "sweet!" responses to all the luxury, while understandable, also bugged.

 

And papa's last words, "it should have been you" [subtext: because you were the one who had the cojones to shoot up a dude when you were 10] - that was a chiller. These people don't play. 

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I'm hoping Molly gets taken out by the terrorists in an upcoming epi.

 

Molly will probably feel "lost" and "neglected" and will drift towards the American diplomat. For drama.

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Okay I am going to join the Molly is clueless bandwagon. W-T-F.

 

Molly is either a major Delta Bravo woman, in which case, when she gets demeaned by Jamal all doggy style. All I can say is, that's what happens to Delta Bravo women, when you don't have clue.  Or Molly is the best honey trap the CIA or Mossad ever laid. The CIA or Mossad found some young brilliant 16 year old snowflake and groomed her in the legend traditon just waiting for the right opportunity to use her. Molly is the Zero Dark Shagger. If Molly is the Zero Dark Shagger, Barry you will need Maury Povich, because one of those kids isn't yours. We know Jamal is partial to "jus primae noctis."

Edited by Watcher0363

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What if - "Barry" killed his father after the father said, "...it should have been you all along"

 

Barry then exited the room, paused dramatically outside the hospital room

 

ALLOWING Jamal & Alice Krieg go into the room to say good-bye...to find daddy dictator had already passed.

 

That would be quite a chilling plot twist.  :-o

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Idealism is one thing, but in a post-9/11 world I find it incredible to believe that a mother of children with a Middle Eastern last name wouldn't have made it her business to know every aspect of what is going on in Abbudin, or at the very least force her husband to actually tell her what's going on with him and his family. For her to tell him he's "joyless" -- bitch why have you been putting up with his joyless ass for 19 years? This is a marriage?

 

Especially with 9/11, more recent events *and Google*. Even if she thought his family seemed perfectly harmless, at the very least be curious about how things were affecting them and if it was going to impact her family. Especially as people she meets are also likely to be curious. I find it hard to believe they haven't been visited by which agency and asked about their family connections in 19 years. It's not like she's coming in to this post 9/11. Then again maybe she is a honeytrap or Barry's been giving them info whilst keeping her in the dark.

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Okay, seriously, I cannot deal with how clueless Molly is. I get that Bassam hasn't told her much about his home or upbringing, but you're telling me this broad can't use Google?

 

 

Despite a clueless wife, which I am letting go because honestly I know shit about politics and my own family tree so I am willing to let a few things go for piloty reasons, I am liking this show.   Most of the characters are interesting enough to be interesting enough.  Even the kids but then with the whole Middle East thing that is not surprising.  I am looking forward to the culture shock a gay boy and a straight girl encounter in this new world they are living in.    I am giving the show at least a few more episode before I give it a pass/fail.  

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I finally was able to watch. It certainly opened with a bang (no puns intended). I understand the gratuitous violence and assault for setting up the storyline, but I hope it's not as frequent in each and every episode. 

I'm looking forward to seeing more flashbacks to see why Bassam left and how Jamal grew from a timid boy into a sadist and rapist. 

I, too, find Molly insufferable. However, since this has been compared to the Godfather, I assume she chooses to be in the dark about her husband's family as many Mafia wives are portrayed. 

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Molly didn't bug me as a character until the plane ride home because the actress was driving me crazy with "I KNOW I've seen her before" recognition, but I was too lazy at the time to look her up! Once I saw that she had been on "Crossing Jordan" I recalled that during that period she had been at least one network's "It" girl, who was shoehorned into  a bunch of shows. As for her cluelessness on this series, I'm willing to give it a pass, as this was a pilot episode, and it was necessary to the story going forward to have the whole family "trapped" in this country. I like the lead character/actor. Had never seen him before. The daughter didn't register with me, but the son's plot should be interesting. Not just because of the gay thing, but because the kid actively disobeyed the father several times during the episode, so there must be something deeper there, or maybe the father suspects and had kept the kid at arm's length, which the kid caught onto ,and retaliated with brattiness?

Jamal was SO over the top, but then I remembered I was watching FX. The woman who was in the car with him was, IIRC, among the family that Bassam (Barry?) invited to the wedding to lessen the possibility of a terror attack. I wish she'd been successful.

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Okay I am going to join the Molly is clueless bandwagon. W-T-F.

 

Molly is either a major Delta Bravo woman, in which case, when she gets demeaned by Jamal all doggy style. All I can say is, that's what happens to Delta Bravo women, when you don't have clue.  Or Molly is the best honey trap the CIA or Mossad ever laid. The CIA or Mossad found some young brilliant 16 year old snowflake and groomed her in the legend traditon just waiting for the right opportunity to use her. Molly is the Zero Dark Shagger. If Molly is the Zero Dark Shagger, Barry you will need Maury Povich, because one of those kids isn't yours. We know Jamal is partial to "jus primae noctis."

I was thinking the same thing. Molly was hired by the father as a way to keep tabs on Barry. The cluelessness could just be a ruse so that Barry doesn't catch on.

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Now that I think about it maybe it just wasn't really an issue until now for Molly.  I mean yeah a little annoying that your husband doesn't talk about his FEELINGS but not all men do and Barry not wanting to talk about his past again annoying but not really and issue worth fighting about.  Her not knowing about his country is problematic but only if either or both parents had any interest in teaching their children their herratige.  They didn't.  I can see Molly going the WASP route with Barry's family and past.  Don't ask; Don't tell.  

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I flat out loved it.

 

I don't have too much trouble with Barry and Molly.  The show did a good job showing Barry as the kind of pediatrician who would interrupt his pre-vacation jog to allay the fears of a nervous mother who "thinks it might be strep." ( Molly's reaction:  "That's why I don't give out my cell phone number."   Heh.)  Barry's not a mystery to her--he's a warm, loving husband, father and physician, who sometimes lets people take advantage of his good nature.   Plus, Barry's brother's family has been to visit and everyone went to Disneyland and had a grand ol' time, tra la, tra la.  What, me worry?

 

So they never found the time to visit the family palace.  There were all those years of med school, residency, etc. and a couple of babies to raise.  I think the giant empty plane--and all it implied--came out of nowhere for her, and his reaction was her first disconnect.  You could tell smacking that mouthy kid was WAY out of character for Dr. Barry.

 

I had more trouble with the daughter getting off the plane in a sleeveless top.  I've been all over the Middle East and occasionally it feels like the lack of a wine list at dinner is the biggest difference from a Western country.  But of course that is never, ever true.  For women, Modesty is Rule Number One. Skip the shorts and get those shoulders covered up. . .and then it goes from there.  Nobody took a peek at Lonely Planet before they left?  There's a special section of interest for the mouthy kid.

 

Otherwise, the pilot set up a dozen different dark twisty paths to follow.   And Barry/Baseem:   Yum!  I can't wait.

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Why can't I have nice things show,  must Ashraf Barhom play such a despicable character?

 

Wasn't familiar with Barhom, but when he popped on the screen I thought "Wow, he looks like a Middle Eastern version of Jean Reno!" Too bad he's a sadistic psychopath. I think he (the actor) is kinda cute. (small voice)

 

 

Or Molly is the best honey trap the CIA or Mossad ever laid. The CIA or Mossad found some young brilliant 16 year old snowflake and groomed her in the legend traditon just waiting for the right opportunity to use her. Molly is the Zero Dark Shagger.

 

PLEASE let this be true. I CANNOT with Molly, for reasons already mentioned. The whole doe-eyed, naive, WASPY, blonde, trophy wife character might be a deal breaker for me. Just no.

Edited by Jade Foxx

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PLEASE let this be true. I CANNOT with Molly, for reasons already mentioned. The whole doe-eyed, naive, WASPY, blonde, trophy wife character might be a deal breaker for me. Just no.

She's so ridiculously blase about going to a foreign country in which her husband's estranged family rules -- what happens if they decide to seize her passports/her children's passports/her husband's, to keep Barry from leaving?  Indeed, it looks like that may be about to happen at the end of this ep.  I can understand her trusting her husband, and not being worried about a "Not Without My Daughter" sitch being instigated by him, but what about his family?  This whole hippy-dippy "it'll be good for you to get closure with your tyrannical father, and a great cultural exchange opportunity for our children!" mindset is hard to believe. 

Edited by annlaw78
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I hope they tone down the sexual violence, especially. It's really close to being gratuitous for me. Just because FX allows more leniency doesn't mean the show has to indulge.

 

She's so ridiculously blase about going to a foreign country in which her husband's estranged family rules -- what happens if they decide to seize her passports/her children's passports/her husband's, to keep Barry from leaving?

 

I know. I can understand (barely) her not being too curious about Barry's family, especially if he's put up the "do not ask" wall. But to have no sense of what's happening in the country? She didn't Google it a day or two before they left?

 

Someone's going to get tortured and/or killed because Sammy's gay. I hope the daughter doesn't end up raped or brutalized.

 

Justin Kirk is a riot. "Everyone loves fireworks!" I'm sure his character will turn out to be a total sleaze. And Jordana Spiro's character seems shady, too.

 

I think the woman in the car accident with Jamal was the same woman he was raping at the beginning, no? Or was this a different victim?

 

I totally get why Sammy thinks Jamal hung the moon. He's a really fun guy until he decides he's had enough of you and cuts off your hand or whatever.

Edited by dubbel zout
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