Welcome to Abbudin, where the weather’s always warm, politics are frequently in flux, and romantic relationships are totally and completely complicated. That’s right: This hour of the FX series dove deeper than ever into matters of the heart, revealing loyalty and love aren’t the same thing. (And in some cases, definitely don’t mix). The drama didn’t disappoint — and as it turns out, neither did the fashion. Let’s jump in, shall we?
A group of Muslim girls heading to the prayer room on the university campus sets the scene for an hour which sees Bassam — facing a recent on-campus bomb scare — decide to prohibit the use of spaces set aside for religious use, the rationale being it will put a pause on potential religious-fueled fervor at school. While Bassam’s trying to create a bridge between government and religion, he faces some trials at home as Molly, whose despair has turned into severe depression, decides to check herself into a German inpatient center. She does so against Bassam’s wishes, but off she goes. Whether we’ll see Molly return remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: The missus being gone means Bassam’s bed is officially empty.
On anyone else, this ‘70s-style velvet suit would look cheesy, but instead, it manages to look like a super-glamorous pair of pajamas. (Like something the future president might wear, perhaps?) Unfortunately for Leila, her poll numbers are bad, and her rapport among the distinguished ladies of the Abuddinian Women’s Forum is even worse. Then there’s the fact that she’s been called to appear before the Truth and Dignity Commission. As she sees it, nothing good can come out it, which means her political career might end as quickly as it began. But there’s plenty on her plate to keep her occupied, including her growing sense that Daliyah has it in for her. Even so, she tells Bassam that Daliyah is “the kind of woman a man might fall in love with.” Could this be her way of letting Bassam know she’s emotionally moved on from whatever feelings they might have once shared? That certainly seems to be the case, as evidenced by a love scene with General Cogswell later in the episode. And it’s worth noting he’s in deep, telling her, “I’ve been in love with you for five years. I’m never leaving you again.”
NEXT: Bed hopping, Bedouin-style
“Do you want to build a snowman?” This might not be Frozen, but the Disney movie definitely seems to be the inspiration for Daliyah’s impressively thick braid. She’s present when Fauzi gives a stirring speech in the university square, and to her credit, doesn’t turn beet-red when he mentions he had a dream about her (and name-drops Angela Merkel in the same breath). The guy is definitely feeling all sorts of obsessed, as evidenced by the fact that later that evening, he drops by with a gift to thank her for the meal they shared last episode. It’s just too bad she isn’t around to receive the gift, given she’s at the palace with Bassam…in bed. That’s right: One of their routine late-night phone calls turned into a late-night gab fest, which lead to some hand-holding, which turned into… Well, you know. Sorry, Fauzi. Maybe there’s hope he could win politically, since Cogswell is seen cozying up to him as the leading political contender. The plot thickens!
Nafisa’s bright, colorful outfit could suggest a tendency to go rogue, to espouse a “wherever the wind may blow” attitude, but this woman is F-O-C-U-S-E-D. She suggests — rather forcibly, I should add — her husband Al-Qadi speak at the university and use it as a platform with which to kick off his campaign. “Make the president your enemy,” she advises. Instead, he emerges as a peace-making icon as he prevents a riot by calming down angry students in near conflict with on-site military. Seems like the stuff a president is made of…right?
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What else does a lady wear for a seduction other than scarlet? I guess one could say leopard (kidding, but not really!), but the fact is Daliyah looks irresistible in red. It’s a bit of a departure for her, too, as she’s usually seen in soft colors. In the moment, her affection for Bassam seems real — tangible and beautiful, even — but what does their liaison mean for her work with the Truth and Dignity commission? And Bassam’s political future, should he choose to have one? As Jamal’s record shows, having a mistress is standard practice for an Abbudinian ruler, but what should happen if the truth comes out? Would it be a reflection of his so-called American values? Or could it be a public strike against him as a passé habit more befitting a grossly privileged politician?
Though the episode ends without Ahmed having any one-on-one time with Bassam — the latter actually turned him away when poor Ahmed showed up at his study, requesting to shadow him at work — there’s still plenty of time left this season to see whether any sort of father-son relationship will develop between them, especially because Sammy spent most of the hour in Professor Elemin’s arms. And fans, do you approve of how Tyrant turned up the heat in the romance department? It’ll be interesting to see how these two very different couples — Leila and Cogswell, Bassam and Daliyah — fare in episodes ahead, especially with the added pressure of the upcoming presidential election and the burden of shared secrets between them. Someone turn down the A/C — it’s about to get steamy!