Culture clashes and warring forces make for interesting wardrobe choices
With just three episodes until the season’s end, tonight’s Tyrant was fast, furious, and full of action for all our main characters. That said, the evening’s themes revolved around topics concerning politics — naturally — but also cultural mores and traditions in a way that seemed to make “Bedfellows” one of the more interesting episodes to date. Combined with a heady mix of politician-ready garb, traditional gear, and Leila’s trademark glam, it made for a fun night of fashion — so let’s get to it, shall we?
Throughout the episode, Bassam suffers from visions of his dead daughter, goading him to take action against the Caliphate. There’s something tragically Victorian about Emma’s appearance, dressed as she is in blood-stained, lace-embroidered muslin. She was innocent, a victim of time and place — and yet, a victim of the type of violence that has persisted for hundreds of years, making the classic shape and design of her garment all the more appropriate. Still, it’s a terrifying vision for Bassam, who’s sleep-deprived and running on pure adrenaline — which means that when he learns about Leila and Al-Qadi’s political alliance, he doesn’t hold back. “I never want to see your face again,” he spits at her. And that’s not the only surprise he gets this episode: During that very same conversation, Leila reveals he’s Ahmed’s father. “We may never see eye to eye politically ever again, but we’re connected,” she tells him. “It’s a legacy, a legacy of love. Mine at least.” And while it’s worth noting Bassam does tell Ahmed he knows of his paternity, only time will tell whether their genetic ties will ever grow into a true father-son bond.
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While Bassam was left battling personal and political demons, Fauzi proceeded to go full-steam ahead with his campaign. His purple shirt and suit combination is a far cry from his usual rumpled clothing, offering just a hint of his ambition and desire to be seen as worthy. It’s just too bad that donning purple — the traditional color of royalty in Western culture — isn’t enough to convince the people of his capacity to rule. In fact, it looks like he might not be a match for the combined forces of Leila and Al-Qadi, who, with a corner on both progressive and religious voters, may prove unbeatable.
NEXT: Get a load of this golden girl
Speaking of teamwork, it looks like Sammy may be losing his plus-one. Professor Elemin has been scared silly and is doing the equivalent of running for the hills: He’s leaving the country for Dubai, where he has a job interview for a professorship. His wife — beaming, dressed as she is in humble clothing designed to let her blend in quietly — excitedly shares the news with Sammy when he “bumps” into them on the street. Sammy keeps his surprise close to the chest, but later, on a visit to the professor’s office, takes him to task. Make no bones about it: Elemin’s bravado regarding his sexuality and political rebellion has run out, and he indicates as much with his abrupt address. “I’m not like you, or your other friends,” he tells Sammy regarding his sexuality. “I thought you understood that.” And with that, he effectively ends their relationship — with a snap of his fingers, no less.
Safiya has played a surprisingly prominent part in her sister’s presidential campaign — though from the hue of her headscarf, you can imagine she sees herself as the golden queen steering all the behind-the-scenes action. And while she doesn’t approve of her sister’s relationship with Cogswell, she has maintained a hands-off approach. Until now, that is.
Guess who paid off the photographer who snapped those photos of Leila and Cogswell smooching? Yup, that was sis, not that she discloses this to Leila. Safiya scares her sister with news about the pictures, warning her to be discrete…a message Leila carries to Cogswell. But Cogswell doesn’t scare easily, and instead, decides to take matters into his own hands by killing the photographer. When Leila’s sister finds out, she’s horrified — after all, an innocent was killed in the matter. But Leila? Well, she’s rather impressed Cogswell took matters into his own hands to keep her safe, and tells him as much.
Leila is dressed in beautiful white — the color of innocence and martyrs (cough Emma, cough) — for her first official address with Al-Qadi as her running mate and future prime minister. As thrilled as the people seem to be, there’s one dissident, and that’d be Nafisa. She doesn’t approve of her husband cozying up to Jamal’s widow, which leads to a small spat between the two women. It’s also worth noting Leila’s outfit stands as contrast to Ihab’s bride Mahdiya, who (curiously) was dressed in dark clothing. Perhaps it was a hint of things to come, as their wedding is bombed by Abbudinian forces on Bassam’s command. Sheik Abdullah is one of the casualties, and the entire affair spurs Ihab to declare war via videotape. War is here, and there’s no telling where it might take Tyrant — which could leave Leila’s white dress as the one bright spot of optimism in what might become a murky war of sparring wills.
What did you think of this episode? Yay or nay? It’s likely the next few installments will focus on war, especially with the end-of-hour reveal that the Abbudinian military is contemplating a coup. (Note that Cogswell has made it very clear American forces will not side with such a decision.) And with personal ties and cultural persuasions becoming even more important — as evidenced by the professor leaving town and Halima being slut-shamed during a routine walk with her boyfriend — it seems everyone on the show will be walking on tiptoes if they want to survive, much less thrive.