Tyrant Season 1 “The tale of two brothers”.
By Paul Fiander
This series could well be called “A Tale of Two Brothers” as we follow the chaotic lives of the Al-Fayeed family. On one hand we have the heir apparent Jamal, a pretty nasty piece of work who borders on the psychopathic spectrum. On the other is the younger brother Bassam or Barry as he prefers to be called. The westernised younger brother who left his home and is returning after 20 years of self-enforced exile. The home is the fictional state of Abuddin where the Al-Fayeed’s are the ruling family and do so with an iron fist.
The series is a look at the way politics occurs when different factions all want something different and over the ten episodes this plays out to a high watermark. However it’s the relationship and changing characters of the Al-Fayeed brothers that is the pinnacle of the show in my estimation.
From here I will try to be spoiler light but this is a look at the characters of the brothers and the way they develop within the show so be warned there may be a spoiler ahead;
Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed
When we first meet Barry he is a mild mannered paediatrician who is unable to say no to a patient although he may be late for his flight. This setup gives you a glimpse into the character of the man. Unassuming and driven, the image of him running down the street shows the fact he has a drive. As the series gets into its stride we see some of the factors that led to him leaving Abuddin in the first place and some that kept him away. Most of these seem justified and as a viewer I could easily understand why he wanted to stay away. Then comes the switch, Barry for all his positives shows a huge dose of the messiah complex in his drive to repair the state of his birth. For a man who had not been home in twenty years he shows a large degree of hubris in his thoughts and actions. His actions eventually lead him to a place where he has the choice to change the country but it is in the sense of his own ego that he makes his decision on whether to proceed or not. His actions open him up to issues within his family and the greater world but the most interesting aspect for me comes from the Doctor with a messiah complex who believes he can fix anything.
To be clear the depiction of Jamal by Ashraf Barhom is spot on. You hate the man for what he does throughout the series; from rape to torture to murder no sin seems beyond his scope. But there is humanity to the character that we do not see in his younger brother. It can sometimes be easier to identify with a flawed character as we view ourselves as better people then they are. This may be why Bassam is such a hard sell when it comes to the compassion stakes. Jamal though is built up as a tortured soul who has his position forced upon him. His actions can be fault of as the actions of a man who has never grown up and lives in an odd fantasy world. The other side to that coin is that he is a murderous psycho with a passion for killing. Whichever side you fall (I personally think he lands somewhere in-between) as the series builds you cannot help but like the man in some of his interactions. The love he shows for his brother is touching at times but you are always acutely aware that he could snap at any time.
The two brothers are the glue of the show and it is well worth watching if you get a chance and I for one cannot wait for the second season to finally hit these shores.
Tyrant is available via FOX on SKY. You can watch the whole of season 1 now.
All images courtesy of FOX.