The fifth episode of Tyrant picks up with Barry deciding to get his hands dirty and go against his family’s wishes by brokering a peace agreement with the people of Abbudin. A plaza in the city center of Abbudin has been taken over by the people and is being used as a gathering place for their own Arab Spring moment. Ihab Rashid is their leader and he wants the resignation of Jamal Al Fayeed as President.
The show begins with Barry deciding to stand up Ihab for their arranged meeting in order to “take him down a notch.” Barry instead meets with the American diplomat John Tucker in order to find a way to meet with Ihab’s father, an exiled Sheikh, who had almost organized a peace agreement with Barry’s father twenty years ago. Barry tells Tucker that he is willing to trade inside information on the Abbudin government to the Americans in order to arrange the meeting.
Meanwhile, General Tariq is angry that he has had to ask his troops to stand down from clearing the plaza by force. Both Tariq and Jamal’s wife, Leila, seem to want violence and to show the awesome power of the Al Fayeed family. They have no regard for the political and social ramifications of their actions to the outside world.
In another side plot of Tyrant to get Molly more camera time, Rima, her maid, is caught stealing Vicodin from Molly’s bathroom. Why Molly needs prescription pain killers is never brought up, but presumably since she is a doctor, she just has them lying around. Rima’s brother has a broken arm, but she is afraid to go to the hospital because he was in the plaza, and is therefore wanted for arrest by the government.
The other side plot of the fifth episode of Tyrant involves Nusrat, the wife of Ahmed Al Fayeed, Jamal’s son. Nusrat and her husband have yet to consummate their marriage after a month’s time and he is getting upset. Jamal even alludes to a grandson by rubbing her belly as she cringes to his touch. Ahmed has no idea that the reason Nusrat does not want to have sex is because his father sexually assaulted her on their wedding night.
Back in the main plot of the episode, Jamal is angry that Barry is taking so long to arrange a meeting and broker peace with Rashid. Jamal does not know that Barry has no intention of meeting Ihab and instead is skipping the son and going for the exiled father, who carries much more political clout. Jamal feels that he looks weak for not acting sooner while his people protest in his city square.
Tucker is setting up the meeting with Sheik Rashid for Barry. Molly is worried that it is a suicide mission and that Barry does not realize he is putting not only himself, but also his family in jeopardy. She accuses him of using his family name, Al Fayeed, as an excuse to suddenly be interested in the politics of a nation he abandoned twenty years ago. She even says that he may be “getting off” on the power that has been thrust upon him.
Ahmed is still angry and goes to find Nusrat. She has run back to her parent’s home. She claims she wants a divorce and finally tells her father what Jamal did to her on her wedding night. In response, Nusrat’s father goes to plead for a simple divorce for his daughter from the president. The father claims his daughter is weak emotionally because he and his wife coddled her in her youth.
Jamal, in a display of aggression the viewer has not seen since the first episode, takes the man to a shooting range and tries to reason with the father at first by telling him the Al Fayeeds have given his family everything. The talking while intimidatingly shooting head shots at a target does not work. Nusrat’s father still insists on a divorce, so Jamal grabs the man and places him on a shooting target while screaming, “Nusrat will crawl back to my son’s bed and bear him children.” Then Jamal shoots the father in the arm for good measure.
The fifth episode of Tyrant continues with Barry getting the call from Tucker that the meet is on. They drive out to the desert and Barry must go alone over the border to the Sheikh’s compound. A black bag in placed over his head for security reasons. Once he arrives at the compound, the Sheikh meets Barry, but is in no hurry to talk yet. While this is happening, a man tries to stab Barry from behind, but Sheikh Rashid’s son shoots him. The short scene shows the strong hatred many in Abbudin have for the Al Fayeed family. The Sheikh insists that they break bread first before negotiations begin.
Next, Tariq and Leila meet Jamal to tell him of Barry’s plan to meet with Ihab Rashid. Jamal surprises them by saying he had ordered the meeting. Tariq informs Jamal that Barry had blown off the revolutionary leader and has not been near him for 24 hours. In fact, he also escaped from his security detail earlier in the morning. Jamal is angry and orders for Tariq to send in troops to clear the square, but only after he obsessively watches the Gadhafi video on his iPad a few more times.
Meanwhile on Tyrant, Molly goes to see her maid’s brother for his broken arm. It turns out to be a compound fracture and he also appears to have cracked ribs, which could mean internal bleeding. He needs to go to the hospital and Molly promises to keep him safe. When the medical unit arrives, they inform her that they must call the police because the man’s name is on a list of people to be arrested. She enlightens them that she is Dr. Molly Al Fayeed. The men are stunned and ask for a thousand apologies. Molly begins to realize just how powerful the Al Fayeed name really is in Abbudin.
Back at the Sheikh’s compound Barry is anxious to talk. They go for a walk and Barry explains how both men are exiles, and that they have a unique insight into the workings of Abbudin because of the distance that has been placed between them and the country, whether that be by force or choice. Barry wants the old man, and all of his wisdom, to negotiate a political peace between the people of Abbudin and the Al Fayeed family.
After the Sheikh squabbles a bit and tells Barry that he is not afraid of death, the American doctor tells Sheikh Rashid that he “believes that life itself is hope.” The scene cuts away after that inspirational quote, and Barry is next seen getting picked up by John Tucker in the desert. He says that the Sheikh wanted to sleep on his decision, but in the morning Barry was simply driven away.
Back in the plaza, Ihab Rashid is giving a rousing speech on how as long as the people stand together, the revolution will continue. His father then arrives back to Abbudin after 20 years in exile. The crowd and Ihab go silent as he walks up onto the stage. The Sheikh embraces his son and announces his return to the plaza.
Meanwhile, Tariq informs Jamal that Barry is back in the palace. Jamal is irritated and accuses his brother of being a liar and a traitor to his country for not meeting with Ihab Rashid. Then, John Tucker walks in and shows video on his cellphone of what is happening in the plaza. The government is just finding out that Sheikh Rashid is back in Abbudin. He demands to have an audience with the president to negotiate peace for the people. The fifth episode of Tyrant ends with Jamal being angry that his brother is undermining him, but he tells Tariq to have his men stand down in the plaza anyway.
Opinion by B. Taylor Rash