Talk about having a bad day.
Not only was Jamal betrayed by his wife, resulting in charges for crimes against humanity (and after serving a really nice dinner to his accusers), but his moment of narcissistic triumph was cut short by...Nusrat.
Tyrant Season 2 Episode 12 was not just an excellent season finale, if the worst should happen, it will work as an adequate series finale.
But let's not think about that. Certainly the writers spent a fair amount of time setting up possible storylines for a third season. Fingers crossed that they (and we) get that from FX, because I'm dying to know if Barry manages to stay away from Daliyah, what happens to Leila and Ahmed in the aftermath, and what exactly the "multilateral effort to affect regime change" is.
Let's go ahead and jump into the deep end: Having Nusrat shoot Jamal was the perfect bookend to the Tyrant Season 1 Episode 1. Jamal had to die. We all knew it. Having his daughter-in-law as the shooter adds resolution to his raping her on her wedding night. If this episode ends up having to play double duty as a series finale, that detail will have even more significance.
I know some people may be upset about the predictability of the shooting, but I'm going to disagree. I did actually start to think there was a chance that Jamal would go to jail instead, but even if the assassination was a fait accompli, the skill with which is was executed made it superbly watchable.
That last shot of Jamal and Barry from above was flawlessly framed and composed. Leila and Barry's dialogue was concise, true to character, and just perfect. Her last line works just as well to close out the series as it does the season.
Jamal's stunt with the press conference was just so quintessentially Jamal, as was his "apology" to Barry at the hotel. In fact, all I could think during the later scene was "Where did Jamal find a 12 step program from sociopathic narcissists?" He continued to live in his own world right up to the end.
I did not commit this crime. Therefore...why should I step down? Should we allow our future to be dictated by apostate Arab states, by foreign meddlers? Should we let the so-called international community, and traitors within Abuddin succeed in the...Jamal
In light of his demise, I appreciate that. His crazy had been toned down the past few episodes, I assume in order to let the anguish of other characters shine through. It was an understandable decision on the part of the writers and producers to do so, but I'd missed his outbursts.
In fact, I was almost disappointed that he didn't choke Leila when she admitted that she was the one testifying against him. Going in alone was either very brave or very stupid (ok, probably both). Based on the way she was touching her throat at the end, I think she was a little shocked too.
Moran Atais absolutely killed it tonight (again). One of the things I loved about this season was the great material that the writers provided her with. Her struggle with not only giving up her position but betraying her husband allowed the actress to give vulnerability to an outwardly cold character.
The scene with Barry after Jamal signs the confession was magnificent. Leila goes from baring her true self to attempting to manipulate the situation to her (and Ahmed's) advantage in the blink of an eye. Best of all, Barry calls her on it, which is something that does not happen to her nearly enough.
This is the last thing I ever wanted to happen. But now that it has... I feel...I feel like I can breathe again.Leila
One of the story lines that didn't exactly get resolved was the Daliyah-Barry-Molly triangle. I know a lot of people are fans of Barry and Daliyah, but I'm going to have to align myself firmly in the Molly-Barry camp. For one thing, I think that Daliyah can do a lot better than Barry.
I really liked his explanation of their relationship to Sammy though. It might not have been the full truth, but I do think that's the essence of it.
If he could just leave her alone, things would be better for both of them. Daliyah needs to go and complete that solar engineering program and live out her dreams, and Barry needs to stop trying to make her share the blame for his actions. Her reception of his advances would be a moot point if he'd stop stalking her.
You didn't have to pick up the phone.Barry
He needed to spend more time working things out with his wife now that he's back. If they don't discuss their religious journeys for more than five seconds, what was the point of that arc? If they don't tell one another about their almost-lovers, it might as well have not happened. Those stories (and more) needed more pay off, and hopefully we'll get that with a third season.
There were a few things that didn't work for me this season (like totally wasting having Jake Weber on the show), but the second season was definitely superior to the first. The ratings might not have ended up where FX would have liked, but hopefully one of the executives likes the show enough to keep it on the regardless. Everyone keep your fingers crossed for an announcement to happen soon.
Watch Tyrant online and share your thoughts on the finale (and the possibility of a third season) in the comments section!
Elizabeth Harlow was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She left the organization in October 2018.