White knights, cheerful brights and dark drama -- are you ready?
Don’t be fooled by the slightly optimistic tone of this week’s episode. “Ask for the Earth” was one of the series’ darkest chapters to date, as it seemed most characters took an “each man for themselves” approach that peeled back the layers on plenty of carnage, deceit, and yes, a supersized dose of scandal. Enough with the teasing — are you ready for some drama?
Doesn’t Mahdiya look pretty in pink? Well, despite her outfit’s flirty, cheerful colors, Mahdiya is on a dark mission this hour and departs for Dresden, where she intends to carry out an attack on an anti-terrorism conference being hosted in the city. And despite a slight moment of hesitation, Mahdiya proceeds at full blast — literally speaking, of course — and bombs the lobby of the hotel where Leila and other conference attendees are littered about.
While Mahdiya is pondering her possible place in heaven as a martyr, Leila is concentrating on more worldly pleasures: Namely, masquerading as a mere civilian during her time in Dresden. No longer the former first lady of Abbudin, Leila is free to act on her own wishes…to dress as she pleases, to love who she pleases, and to live as a free woman of the world. When she’s not between the sheets with Cogswell — who’s also at the conference, natch — she’s dressed in colorful, sophisticated clothing that hints at an easier, more European-leaning sensibility than her typical wardrobe choices. Case in point? This Sofia Loren-esque cherry-red sheath dress and sassy wedges. With her approval rating in Abbudin at an all-time high, it seems la vie est belle — at least until the hotel bombing, which has serious ramifications for her and for all citizens of her native city.
NEXT: Molly’s dressed in white for the mission at hand
Molly returns to Abbudin from rehab, surprising Sammy and Bassam with her unexpected appearance. Though no longer suicidal, a steely Molly sees herself as a white knight of sorts, standing up for her daughter and all the innocent children whose lives have been lost over the course of Abbudin’s violent history. Dressed as she is, in varying cream-colored hues, one need not guess as to the seriousness of her objective — especially when she tells Bassam in no uncertain terms that a) despite his affair, they will remain married; and b) he must declare war on the Caliphate, without further consideration to what that might mean for the next president. Them’s fighting words. Bassam is stirred to action, giving a televised address where he announces the upcoming presidential election will be cancelled until the Caliphate is “destroyed once and for all.”
Uh oh. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and whoever came up with that quote must have envisioned Leila in this outfit. Dressed for a public address in shimmering gold — her way of signifying she’s above the dirt and grime of the political fray, perhaps? — Leila declares she’s no longer an Al Fayeed (“I am Leila Hadad!”) and casts some serious shade on Bassam’s decision about postponing the presidential election. She also reveals her plans to shut down the palace and turn it into a people’s park upon her election to the nation’s highest office. “The president will live in a humble home,” she says. Um, Leila living in a modest digs? So far, we have yet to see homegirl live comfortably in nothing less than really chic dwellings, so I’ll believe it when I see it.
So what, no nookie between Daliyah and Bassam this episode? I think most mistresses would tell you that once the wife returns, the husband usually lays low for awhile. (For the record, I base this statement on my many years of binging television dramas.) Daliyah finds herself calling Bassam on repeat, without response from her boo. For all intents and purposes, Daliyah is the pushed-aside mistress — until she decides to exercise her voice and call a hearing of the Truth and Dignity Commission, where she publicly proclaims Bassam’s cancellation of the presidential election a crime. Yup, she went there — and Bassam doesn’t like it one bit. Despite his “I love you’s,” the man’s on a mission and will not let anyone stand in his way, which is why he has the Abuddinian military storm in on a hearing with the news the commission has been officially disbanded. On, and total side note: Great earrings, girlfriend.
Well, if the events outlined above indicate one thing, it’s that relationships are about to get even messier as the lines between politics, loyalties, and love become increasingly blurred. Is Daliyah Bassam’s outspoken enemy, or is she his lover? Is Leila a scorned candidate, or a surefire political player? What about Molly? Is she a mere politician’s wife, or is she steering the ship? And let’s not forget that telling scene between Sammy and Ahmed, where the former is annoyed that the latter, dressed in a soldier’s uniform, barred him from interrupting an all-important meeting where Barry announces his intention to declare war on the Caliphate. “You’re just a senior officer in the army,” Sammy says dismissively. When will he discover he and Ahmed are more than just cousins? If there’s anything we can be certain of, it’s that tension in Abbudin — where Bassam has just instituted a curfew — is simmering at an all-time high. There’s no telling what will happen, especially with just two episodes left this season.