Sep 01 2015

Tyrant Season 2 Finale – “Pax Abuddin” Review. The End of an Era?


Season 2, Episode 12

Airdate: Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 10:00 pm ET/PT on FX



Forgive me; we’re brothers. I was lost without you…I’m ready to apologize to everyone—to Molly, Rami, to all the people I’ve hurt.” – Jamal Al-Fayeed

Now that the war with the Caliphate is over, the future of Abuddin is in flux. Will Jamal remain in power with his wife Leila (Moran Atias) and son Ahmed (Cameron Gharaee) by his side? Will Barry return to America with Molly (Jennifer Finnigan) and their son Sammy (Noah Silver)? That, and so much more, is addressed in “Pax Abuddin,” an extremely poignant season finale filled with outstanding acting by all involved.

Barry and Molly's love shines through.

Barry and Molly’s love shines through.

“Pax Abuddin,” on its face, is the culmination of a love story, of sorts, for the American branch of the Al-Fayeed family. Throughout the season, Barry, Molly, and Sammy have grown and come to not only appreciate but respect and love each other once again. Emotions are at the center of this passionate episode, with the most touching being the farewell scenes involving Barry and Daliyha (Meila Kreiling), and Sammy and Halima (Olivia Popica), as well as the reunion scene with Barry, Sammy and Molly. All of them are heartbreaking in their own right, as each character realizes not only what they came so close to losing, but what they hope to gain now that the war is over.

Molly and Barry’s reunion is a thing of beauty. Both Molly and Barry flirted with having romantic liaisons with others—she with Jimmy Timmons (Jake Weber) and he with Daliyah—each thinking they would never see the other again. Finnigan was exceptional throughout the season with her portrayal of Molly’s emotions that ran the gamut from disbelief and anger, to depression and loneliness, and finally, in “Pax Abuddin,” acceptance, love, and hope.

Daliyah and Barry's love was inevitable given what they went through.

Daliyah and Barry’s love was inevitable given what they went through.

It is hard for Barry to contain his feelings for Daliyha, and vice versa. They owe each other so much yet understand they can never truly be together. Each has a life to return to, no matter how hard or how much it hurts. The emotionality of their initial farewell scene hits hard (yes, there is more than one), almost bringing a tear to my eye. How does one say goodbye to someone who has made such an impact in their life? Kreiling has the most expressive eyes, and she knows how to use that attribute to convey feelings without uttering a word.

Ahmed, a man who has learned to stand on his own two feet.

Ahmed, a man who has learned to stand on his own two feet.

There has been a tremendous amount of character development throughout season two. Sammy has grown exponentially, coming to love and respect his father without question, but the character who has changed the most since the beginning of the season is Ahmed, and I’m not just talking about his new haircut. He has finally learned who his parents are and what they’re capable of, and he doesn’t like them very much. Who would? It is refreshing to see him stand by Nusrat (Sibylla Dean) after defying his mother in the past few episodes. Gharaee has done a tremendous job of taking Ahmed from being his father’s puppet and a momma’s boy to a man who now commands Jamal’s respect and Leila’s love. Nusrat, too, has undergone a transformation, changing from an innocent girl who was raped by her father-in-law on her wedding night in season one to a tightly wound woman who has lost so much and finally takes control of her future in “Pax Abuddin.” What that future holds remains to be seen.

What can I say about Leila, the woman with but a single care—herself? She has never been trustworthy although she has been convincing in her love of her husband. That changes in “Pax Abuddin” as she seeks protection for both herself and Ahmed, driving a hard bargain with the Arab Council to secure a seat “at the table” for Ahmed going forward.

Jamal hears the charges against him from the Arab League.

Jamal hears the charges against him from the Arab League.

With his presidency in jeopardy, Jamal, true to his nature, is arrogant and condescending when tooting his own horn about how much he has done for the country. But nothing will help him given the “sworn testimony” of someone inside the palace who knows the truth about the gassing of the citizens of Ma’an. The funny thing is, Jamal wasn’t responsible for that genocide.

Jamal’s apology to Barry leaves a lot to be desired considering the hell he put Barry through. Despite that, Jamal wants them to work together. “I cannot do this without you.” It’s a little late for Jamal to come to that realization. While his talk with Barry tugs at the heartstrings, he’s never been one to trust. While he appears to give up and resign his post, what happens in the last few minutes of “Pax Abbudin” is beyond shocking, to say the least. It’s something no one anticipates and is the perfect cliffhanger should Tyrant be renewed. If it’s not, the scene provides the perfect ending to a series that has not only opened the fans’ eyes to what living in the Middle East is like, but taken us for quite a ride as the Rashid and Al-Fayeed families battled each other for power.

Other Observations

As dramatic and emotional as “Pax Abuddin” is, writers Chris Keyser and Howard Gordon find the perfect moment for a bit of levity during Barry and Molly’s first time alone together since she left Abuddin after Jamal’s proclamation that Barry was to be executed. They decide they need to “get to know each other all over, from scratch.”

Barry, in a deep voice: Hello, my name is Bassam.”

Molly: “Hello, Bassam.”

I would like to take a moment to remember those significant characters who met their demise this season. First and foremost, Amira, Barry and Jamal’s mother, played by the beautiful, soft-spoken, and talented actress Alice Krige. Amira deserved a better death than the one that befell her. Then, there was everyone’s favorite terrorist, Ihab Rashid (Alexander Karim), who transformed from a man who wanted fairness and equality for the people of Ma’an into a radical extremist operating as crazy Omar Abu’s (Darius Homayoun) right-hand man. And beautiful Samira (Mor Polanuer), who had visions of justice and change and was loved to a fault by her father Fauzi (Fares Fares). What a tragic death at Barry’s hands! If you remember, Ihab and Samira began the season fighting to free Barry from jail, and ended the season fighting against Barry. Lest we not forget Abdul (Mehdi Dehbi), who, by all measures, is the reason Sammy became a man. He taught Sammy that love is a beautiful thing, no matter whether it’s between a man and a woman or two men. There are others, of course, such as Ahmos Al-Yazbek (Nasser Memarzia), who befriended Barry at the most important time, saving him from near death, and his sons Kasim (Armin Karima) and Namir (Doraid Liddawi), who died before their time, fighting the good fight.


The people of Abuddin want what they want.

The people of Abuddin want what they want.

In this season’s premiere episode, “Mark of Cain,” I wrote “[Barry] has become the symbol of hope for those who oppose the Al-Fayeeds in power.” As we close out the season with “Pax Abuddin,” that statement remains true. Barry is still Abuddin’s symbol of hope for a country that has undergone a tremendous change. While we do not yet know whether Tyrant has been renewed for a third season, “Pax Abuddin” provides enough of a story line to justify one. Or, is that just wishful thinking on my part?


What do you think of “Pax Abuddin?” Is Barry “finally free?” Do you think Barry and Daliyah are meant to be together? Leave me a comment below or tweet me @SeasideTV. I’d love to hear your thoughts and discuss them with you.

**UPDATED: Thurs 10/08/15 – Tyrant has been renewed for third season. Read more here.**

Stay current with Tyrant by visiting its official website.

LIKE the series on Facebook.

Follow Tyrant on Twitter, using hashtag #TyrantFX. You can also follow Jennifer Finnigan (Molly) @jennigan, Moran Atias (Leila) @MoranAtias, Cameron Gharaee (Ahmed) @camerongharaee, Alexander Karim (Ihab) @AlexanderKarim, Leslie Hope (Lea Exley) @lesliehope, Noah Silver (Sammy) @noah_silver, and Anne Winters (Emma) @AnneWinters_.

All photos Kata Vermes/FX © 2015 FX Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.



© 2015, Linda. All rights reserved.


Love TV, movies, and books--mostly mysteries, with a good love story thrown in every now and then. I have four adopted dogs who I adore. I love trying new recipes, and enjoy eating what I make. English language perfectionist. Reading in bed, Italian food, warm weather, the beach, all types of games = favs!

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