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Series: Tyrant

Tyrant is an American television series airing on f(x). It tells the story of Bassam "Barry" Al Fayeed, a Los Angeles-based pediatrician who just happens to be the son of the dictator of a fictional Middle Eastern country called Abuddin. After years of hiding from his past, he returns home with his American-born family to attend his nephew's wedding, and ends up having to succeed his father.

This series contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Sammy being gay and his relationship with a palace guard seems like it's going to be significant early, especially since it's an Islamic country. But the story is quickly and unceremoniously wrapped up. From that point forward Sammy has little screen time and contributes nothing to the plot making him essentially demoted to extra.
  • Arbitrarily Large Bank Account: When Barry and his family are rushing to catch their flight to Abuddin, they arrive to find a deserted boarding area. When an airline employee appears, Barry asks if everyone else has already boarded. She replies that his father has purchased all the seats on this flight, and that they will be the only passengers.
  • Artistic License - Gun Safety: Emma exhibits VERY poor gun handling skills in the second episode.
  • Batman Gambit: Barry and his confederates set one up to convince Jamal that Tariq is plotting against him. Barry "reluctantly" reveals that Tariq has been taping his visits to his mistress, and convinces Jamal that these tapes are being distributed among the Elite Guard, and thus Jamal should start rounding up Tariq and those who are most loyal to him. The whole thing relies upon Jamal's pride and paranoia to work, and it almost succeeds... but then Leila gets wind of it, and convinces Jamal that, rather than simply rounding the men up, he should arrange for them to be killed in a false-flag operation.
  • Being Good Sucks: Barry uses his connections to get a friend's daughter out of jail. How does she thank him? She spits in his face.
  • Cassandra Truth: As soon as she arrives, Emma Al-Fayeed is well aware things are not what they appear to be in Abuddin.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hoo boy. When Barry and Jamal were little kids, someone tried to kill his dad during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. During the ensuing crackdown, Barry watched as his dad's security forces killed several suspected dissidents in front of him. And then the old man tried to get his big brother Jamal to shoot a guy, but Jamal was too afraid, so Barry himself ended up doing the shooting. He's been haunted by guilt ever since.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Courtesy of Jamal in Episode 4. And his wife walks in on him.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Jamal, of all people, confesses this to a prostitute. He hasn't been happy since he was eleven, making a necklace out of seashells on the beach. He then murders the prostitute for little reason.
  • False Flag Operation: Sheikh Rashid implies that the bombing of the army barracks supposedly done by his followers, which derailed the original peace talks and led to the infamous gas attack on Ma'an and the Sheikh's injury and exile, was in fact ordered by Barry's father Khalid. Barry's mother Amira reveals General Tariq perpetrated both the bombing and the gassing without Khalid's permission.
    • When Barry successfully gets Jamal to believe Tariq plotted a coup against him, he has an entire plane full of Tariq's men blown up, with the implication that it will be blamed on the insurgents.
  • First Episode Spoiler: Khalid dies and Jamal gets in a car accident, resulting in Barry being forced to stay in Abuddin to help manage the transition.
  • Freudian Excuse: Khalid tries to raise Jamal to be ruthless and strong enough to succeed him and lead the country. The end result of his manipulative brutality is a male Broken Bird with the power to make others pay for his suffering.
  • General Ripper: General Tariq Al Fayeed. Had Barry not intervened, he would have allowed Nusrat to get killed just so he'd have a pretense for a crackdown. And after Barry defuses the situation by promising the kidnappers a fair trial, Tariq proceeds to order the boys' summary executions.
  • Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: Sammy gets some solid sense-slapping at a time where he was being dangerously stupid (well, more so than usual). Jamal also gets one from his wife when she demands something along the lines of "so your father's dead? Less grievin', more leadin'". He slaps her right back.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Jamal dumps his frustrations, miseries, and unfulfilled sexual drives on Fatma, a married woman from a poor family that can do nothing about him. The entire neighborhood knows (he comes with his noisy red sports car and his guards), there are children in the house while he's raping her (it's in the middle of the day), and it's pretty obvious that everyone around is having a miserable time-even he doesn't seem to be enjoying himself at all. The adultery is portrayed as very bad.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Barry may not be a monster like his brother Jamal, but he's still kind of a jerk.
  • Groin Attack: Jamal forces a woman to give him a blowjob, while driving a sports car. She ends up biting him.
  • Henpecked Husband: Jamal gets no respect from his wife, who nags him about "stepping in charge and being a man" right after his father died, to the point of slapping him.
  • I Warned You: When Barry and his family are trying to leave Abuddin.
    Barry: I told you we shouldn't have come.
  • Kick the Dog: Jamal slams Sheikh Rashid's head into a toilet during one of his frequent coughing fits. Made worse by the fact that Jamal made it look like a Pet the Dog act mere moments before.
  • Lady Macbeth: Leila actively encourages Jamal's more brutal habits. As much as she dislikes him, she seems to love the power that comes from being married to him, and thus doesn't want to see him overthrown.
  • Meaningful Background Event: As Barry and his family are being escorted back to Ma'an, their plane can be seen taking off for home in the background.
  • Morality Pet: Barry, to Jamal. They both know it.
    "I missed this. Being brothers."
  • Na´ve Newcomer: Molly Al Fayeed. She apparently has no idea why Barry doesn't want to be there.
  • The Needs of the Many: After Jamal beats Sheikh Rashid into a coma, Barry chooses to euthanize the old man rather than let him wake up, as the latter contingency might have resulted in him revealing Jamal's actions, which would have destroyed any hope of peace negotiations between the Al Fayeeds and the Rashids.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Barry's plot to convince Jamal that Tariq and the Elite Guard are plotting against him goes horribly, horribly wrong, resulting in Jamal killing off two dozen Elite Guardsmen in a fake terrorist attack.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Barry slaps his son when he insists he wants to stay in the country, making it perfectly clear that he believes the situation is dire indeed.
  • President Evil: Khalid in spades. Jamal goes into The Caligula territory at times.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Jamal is immature, irresponsible, thoughtless, and takes out his frustrations on people who are helpless against him. He has aspects of a Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up.
  • Qurac: Barry's father is the dictator of Abuddin, a fictional Middle Eastern country.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: The first time we see Jamal, he's raping a married woman. Guess what kind of a guy he is...
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sheikh Rashid nearly negotiated a peaceful end to Abuddin's civil strife twenty years earlier, but was thwarted by General Tariq Al Fayeed (and an unfortunately timed bombing on army barracks). Naturally, as the standoff between the Al Fayeeds and Ihab Rashid threatens to turn bloody, Barry reaches out to the Sheikh to try and end it. Despite the bad blood between the two families, the Sheikh gives him all the hospitality due to a guest.
  • Straight Gay: In the first episode, Sammy is shown getting chummy with a young Arab guy, but displays no stereotypical Camp Gay behavior. The Arab guy, Abdul, is also notably devoid of stereotypical gay mannerisms.
  • Stupid Evil: Jamal is a rapist, a misogynist, and a bully. He's not particularly clever or pragmatic or even smug about these things; it seems more like an extreme case of "Spoiled Brat acting out".
  • Spoiled Brat: It comes in plenty of different flavors, given that these are the children of very wealthy, powerful families. The wealthier the family, the more dangerously spoiled the brat.
  • The Starscream: Tariq has been working for many years to turn Abuddin into a military dictatorship.
  • The Stoic: Barry puts a great deal of effort into not expressing his feelings about anything, especially not about his childhood.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Jamal is stupid enough and evil enough on his own, but his monstrous uncle (and chief military advisor) and his vicious wife encourage him to be even worse.
  • Trauma Button: In the pilot, Barry's carefully-constructed stoic facade suddenly falls apart during the wedding, when Jamal fires a gun into the air, causing him to experience a flashback to the day he killed a man. He quickly flees the room to head off an anxiety attack.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Jamal and his wife Leila are pretty miserable together. Jamal complains that she never loved him, never "was a woman" to him, and that he on the other hand always loved her.
    • Of course, Leila was once in love with Bassam.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story/No Celebrities Were Harmed: Bassam's story seems oddly similar to Bashar al-Assad's, an unambitious MD who is forced by circumstance to succeed his dictator father at the helm of a Middle Eastern state.
    • Jamal, meanwhile, seems to bear more than a passing resemblance to Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein's older son.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Freedom fighter Ihab Rashid. If not for his violent rhetoric and methodology, he would probably be an Anti-Hero.
  • The Wise Prince: It seems like Bassam is the Good Prince and Jamal is the Bad Prince, until we find out that it was Bassam that executed that prisoner, not Jamal, and that he does indeed have the potential to commit evil.
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