A martriarchal Tyrant — Alice

A martriarchal Tyrant — Alice Krige shines in Fox’s series

Alice Krige plays the widowed matriarch to the fallen President of Abbudin, in this excellently portrayal of the lives of the dictators. The power struggles and past hauntings are well shown of a family struggling to survive and perhaps find a better way forward for them to survive, and the well being of their countries’ people.

A martriarchal Tyrant — Alice

The series opens with a doctor named “Barry” — Americanised from Bassam Al-Fayeed — son of the dictator of the country of Abbudin.

He seemingly starts his day going for a run and flashes back to the memory of an overbearing strict father on the way to a ribbon cutting event. At this event, a truck bomb explodes in an attempt to kill the dictator. His father Bassam and older brother Jamal are in attendance. Gruesome events expand on this event resulting in Bassam — at an incredibly young age — murdering on of the perceived attackers of his family. The wedding of Jamal’s son forces Bassam and his American family to travel back to Bassam’s birth place of Abbudin. His American family, knowing that he was effectively from a Royal family, had no concept of the degree of opulence that awaits them.

The excellent portrayal of the vast juxtaposition of the extravagance of the Al-Fayeed family to the countryman of the country of Abbudin is fascinating. There is a very clear divide between those that have and those that have not in Abbudin. The obvious deep ceded hatred, and fear, of the Al-Fayeed family is impossible not to see in almost every frame.  Even as a watcher of the show it is impossible not to harbour a hint of envy at the extra-ordinary opulence of this family.

From the outset, we see the next in line to power, Jamal, sexually assaulting  a mother in her own home, while her husband and child sit outside the bedroom door and can hear their mother and wife being violated by Jamal. The acts of utter horror subjected to the woman culminate in her actually almost severing Jamal’s offending ‘member’ with her teeth whilst racing in a Lamborghini in Abbudin’s fantastic windy coastal roads, resulting in a cliff hanger ending for episode one.

Tyrant-1x02-03The matriarch of the series, Amira Al-Fayeed,  is well played by Alice Krige. As the widowed matriarch of a very powerful man, Krige expertly plays a mother who tries to bridge the gap between her families’ ideals and what we hope are her own conflicting thoughts on the treatment her husband has inflicted for years.

Bassam clearly thinks very differently to his brother, who was indoctrinated over the decades by his brutal father. He has a much more “American” way of thinking — seeking a better description, which is scorned by Jamal at almost every turn.

Bassam speaks in the series of how he drew inspiration from a book on the Apartheid struggle in South Africa, and he quotes from with two lines that sum up the series:

“I am worried about the price we will have to pay for either side to win”.

“A white man said about the blacks `My greatest fear is that by the time that we have come to love, they will have come to hate.'”

This explained beautifully the struggle that faces the people of Abbudin, and when the exiled leader of the revolution party, Sheik Rashid, asks Bassam if he had come for love, and Bassam replies “I have come to talk.”

My only complaint would be that Krige doesn’t get as much airtime as her fellow South Africans would like. Let’s hope we see a lot more of Krige in episodes to come, because she is sensational.