Black isn't a somber enough color for the crazy events this hour
Following an episode that hit the lowest of lows with not one, but two gruesome deaths — Emma’s savage murder, and Jamal’s somewhat heartbreaking demise at the hands of his son Ahmed — it’d seem that there’d be nowhere to go but up in this season’s fourth episode, right? Yes, and no — especially with one particular bombshell of a revelation.
The night kicked off with Bassam and Molly dealing with the death of their daughter in wildly different ways. For starters, religious tradition throws a wrench into the matter of how to bury and mourn Emma. Bassam wants to proceed with Muslim tradition, while Molly believes that her daughter, a non-religious American, wouldn’t want to be commemorated with such ceremony. With that frosty argument, they’re left to grieve separately, though they come together to plan retaliation and revenge for Emma’s death. (Under General Cogswell’s direction, Abbudin forces will use American technology to plot the Caliphate’s whereabouts and proceed with a base bombing.) Unfortunately, utilizing some chess-like moves and remarkable foresight, the opposition moves some children from a nearby school to their training camp — which as you could probably guess, leads to the death of even more innocents. Guilt, much? The news of the attack gone wrong adds to Molly’s guilt and grief over her daughter, and leads her to a dark place where the only appropriate outfit is a pair of stain-crusted black PJs and her sole accessory is medicine bottles, downed in a desperate attempt to wash away the pain. Though Bassam is no less sad about his daughter, he has Daliyah willing to comfort him, and the distractions of politics to deal with, both which perhaps leave him much less supportive of Molly than he might be otherwise. What this means for their relationship — or what little there is of it? SO MUCH DRAMA.
In a somewhat surprising and welcoming twist this season, Sammy has become a more prominent character. Yes, there’s the story line with his professor — with whom, I should add, things took a decidedly hot and heavy turn — but there’s also the way he’s stepped up both as a comforting presence to his mother and a moral compass of sorts for his father as he urges him to confront his pain over both his daughter and current state of governance. It’s appropriate then, that Sammy is dressed in a dark suit and tie that mimics his father’s attire in this scene, which sees the two conversing in the palace war room after the doomed plans against the Caliphate are ordered.
Sophisticated, meticulously put together in head-to-toe designer separates and carefully coiffed: No, it’s not Leila I’m describing, but rather, her sister Safiya. This gorgeous woman — the genes in that family! — has been estranged from her sister for years, though it’s not apparent if it’s because of Leila’s dislike of her, or her brother-in-law, a shipping magnate. No matter, Safiya’s arrived with a proverbial olive branch in hand to help her sister’s presidential run. (For the record, she’s not motivated solely from sisterly love — rather, it’s because she doesn’t want the Caliphate to take control of her husband’s business.) Still, the two sisters appear to be cut from the same cloth, especially when Safiya kicks off campaign planning by introducing Leila to a British-accented strategist who swiftly creates a campaign platform stressing a message of “strength, stability, security, and prosperity.”
NEXT: The lady in red gets down to dark business
Fresh off putting together the foundation of her campaign, Leila — dressed in a caped ensemble that references Wonder Woman — proceeds resolutely with next steps. Yes, there’s the affair with General Cogswell (Am I the only one who wanted their steamy scene to last more than 40 seconds?!), but there’s also her determination to start anew in her relationship with her beloved son, Ahmed.
Are you ready for what could possibly be the biggest bombshell of the entire series to date? Leila shares the news of Ahmed’s parentage in the aftermath of Emma’s funeral (where, as seen in the image above, she looked every inch like a Jackie O mourning — with a Middle Eastern twist, of course.) To be sure, it doesn’t seem like great timing but given Ahmed’s deep-seated frustration and disgust over his deadly deed, Leila pulls the ultimate secret from the folds of her voluminous tunic. Jamal is not Ahmed’s father. “You’re Bassam’s son,” she tells him, hoping to soothe, though she has no idea that his self-loathing stems from his murderous act of the last episode.
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And to answer your next question, nope, Bassam doesn’t know that he’s Ahmed’s father. “Now is not the time to tell him,” she continues. “Promise me, you won’t tell him, Ahmed.” Her son — and the audience — could criticize her for the secret, but as Ahmed says, “What’s the point of judging?” One gets the immediate sense that Ahmed is relieved to learn the truth, but is there a chance the news could complicate his own political ambition and loyalties?
While we’re on the subject of political ambition and loyalty, how’s this for a face-off? In a scene where Fauzi tells Bassam about his intention to run for president, the two — the former dressed in a casual blue button-down, and the later in a somber suit — appear for a moment to be opponents in the truest sense of the word. Once united by respect and brotherly love, the two are ravaged by personal pain and though they might go about it differently, a burning desire to set the country right keeps them the same. As for Bassam’s reaction to Fauzi’s announcement, your guess is as good as mine. Is he surprised. Shocked? It’s hard to gauge for sure, but it sets the tone for upcoming conflict that’s sure to be must-see TV.