So what’s in an episode title, anyway? Sometimes nothing — and sometimes, everything. As this week’s title suggests, much of the hour revolved around Daliyah and her role in both Abbudin’s politics and in the personal life of its president, creating a whirlwind of events that provide a dark hint at the breakneck pace of drama to come. That said, it’s time to break down the action, outfit by outfit.
Though Daliyah’s face and clothing are smeared with blood at the top of the episode — a remarkable contrast to the peaceful, sky-blue hue of her dress — the good news is girlfriend’s okay! She survived the attack, which means she and Bassam are free to engage in their new favorite extracurricular activity. Even with endorphins racing at full speed, it’s not all fun and games: Bassam is kept busy with reports about “constant, low-level attacks” throughout the country, and Daliyah is torn between her head and heart after Fauzi proposes in a less-than-romantic fashion. (“You’re a widow in a culture that’s not very kind to widows. You have a son that needs a father. I’m tired of being lonely.”) There’s also the matter of whether she should continue her work with the Truth and Dignity Commission. For Daliyah, though, there’s no real choice — her work with the commission must continue, and to that end, she decides to call the group to order. (With Leila at the witness stand, no less.) Oh, and about that marriage proposal? Fauzi ‘fesses up to Bassam about proposing to the beautiful Daliyah, and to his credit, Bassam stays mum about his feelings for her — though in this episode, the two swap “I love you’s.”
Fresh off recruiting and training new resistance members (including one with whom he embarks on a creepy romantic relationship), Ihab meets with Sheik Al-Qadi on the matter of the rising political tension in Abbudin. Though Al-Qadi goes with every intention of making peace as potential allies, Ihab isn’t at all responsive to the idea. Their opposition is manifested in their choices of clothing — Ihab in an edgy leather jacket, Al-Qadi in traditional garb — and leads to a heated moment where Ihab nearly kills Al-Qadi. Were it not for Caliphate leader Sheik Abdullah, he would have. Abdullah’s rationale? “Poison bait, back to the nest,” he tells Ihab. “They’re trying to turn us against each other.”
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Leila’s tracking low with potential voters who see her as sympathetic to the current government — and that’s because she IS the government. In a move based partly on political motivation and partly on her true feelings, she gives her first major public address, denouncing the terrorists and creating waves by saying she intends to stand as witness during the next Truth and Commission hearing. It’s more than a simple address; clad in regal silver with a confident tie of red around the waist, it’s Leila’s way of taking matters into her own hands and singlehandedly changing the narrative around her political beliefs and opinions.
NEXT: When your outfit is just too cute for prison…
Despite the cheery and bright detailing of her beautiful tunic, things aren’t sitting too well with Nafisa, who’s pulled into questioning when her husband meets with Ihab. And it’s worth noting, Nafisa isn’t interested in being a martyr. (Though for the record, she did tell her husband he was doing the right thing in meeting Ihab.) Luckily, she’s pulled out of confinement just moments before Al-Qadi arrives home. Unfortunately (see how this show deals its twists and turns?!), Al-Qadi is subsequently rushed to the palace, where Bassam confronts him about his meeting. “You will not come to power through the front door of an election just to open the backdoor to that man,” he says. He proceeds to ban Al-Qadi and his Freedom party from standing in the upcoming election, which unexpectedly provides Leila fodder for one of her most impressive political maneuverings to date.
In deference to the observant Muslims in attendance at the commission hearing, Leila wears a blue sheath and voluminous coat made glamorous with the simple addition of a jeweled brooch. With a deceptively simple speech, Leila wins the crowd as she compliments Daliyah’s poise and sacrifice, while acknowledging her own shortcomings. “Some people are born brave,” she tells the crowd from the witness stand. “And for some it takes a long time. It took me a long time.” Tearing up ever so slightly, Leila earns the affection of all in attendance — the first of many small steps she’ll need to take if she ever becomes president of Abbudin. Not that she’s unsure of what to do: Leila follows this success by resigning as foreign secretary, freeing her up to criticize the Bassam and his policies — namely his decision to ban Al-Qadi from election — as needed for her political gain. Now, there’s only one thing standing in her way: Her relationship with Cogswell, which is documented when a mysterious bystander snaps a photo of them mid-embrace. It’s ironic, especially since Leila had told her sister earlier in the hour that her relationship was a “risk” she was willing to take.
With Sammy’s relationship with the professor posing a threat to the palace, the Caliphate gaining ground, and his personal life a bit of a lie, it’s obvious Bassam has a lot to deal with — and only four short episodes remaining in which to do so. Who’s to say where Tyrant’s twists and turns will lead? Fans, leave your thoughts and theories in the comments below!