Fresh off a trip to Egypt — and a Golden Globe win for leading man Ramy Youssef — Ramy‘s protagonist returns in the Season 2 premiere pretty much where he left off at the end of Season 1: religiously lost and emotionally unsatisfied. His trip to his ancestral homeland did not go as planned, ending with the death of his grandfather and a romantic encounter with his cousin.
Yet there is hope for him yet in the form of Sheikh Ali (played by True Detective‘s Mahershala Ali), a spiritual guide who agrees to take our titular hero on a journey of self-discovery and reflection. Read on for highlights from the episode, titled “Bay’ah.”
THE PATH OF THE PROPHET | Ramy’s path will be rough, though, and he displays throughout the episode that he has a lot of work to do. Ever since getting back from Egypt, he has been sitting at home eating candy, watching porn and masturbating (yes, all at the same time). He’s been absent from work and has not been attending Friday prayers. Things have gotten so bad that his friends had to talk to his mom, who speaks to the local imam.
So Ramy goes to the imam, who immediately starts questioning him about the death of his grandfather. While Ramy is upset about that, he is more focused on his relationship issues and porn addiction. But the imam wants nothing to do with that, shutting Ramy down before he can even really begin and sending him off with a standard prescription of Quran reading, Wudu (ritual cleansing) and fasting. “Be like our Prophet. Our Prophet did not watch porn,” the imam argues. “It’s just, the Prophet did not have porn,” Ramy points out.
HELP WANTED | On his way out, Ramy runs into Michael, the mosque attendant and Muslim convert Ramy met all the way back in the third episode of Season 1. He invites Ramy to join him at the new Sufi Center, led by the “radical” Sheikh Ali. “Like cool radical. Not ‘radical’ radical,” Michael clarifies. Ramy has to turn him down due to a dinner with his family and his father’s new boss, but says he will keep it in mind.
Before dinner, though, Ramy pulls a shift at Uncle Naseem’s jewelry store. Naseem says he planned to fire Ramy when he got back from Egypt but, after the customers asked for him while he was away, decides to make him a partner instead. And, as a congratulatory gift, Naseem gives Ramy a revolver. (More on this in a moment.)
DINNER TIME | At dinner, Ramy is joined by his father Farouk, his mother Maysa and his sister Dena, as well as his father’s boss, the boss’ wife and the boss’ senile father. Farouk goes to great lengths to try to impress his new employer, letting him call him Frank, trying to shut down his wife as she discusses Desperate Housewives and innocently confuses Eva Longoria with Jessica Alba, and even downing a whiskey, despite his not drinking alcohol.
Frustrated and bored, Ramy excuses himself to the bathroom. He sets aside his gun (guess he did not have time to drop it off?) and begins to masturbate. (As one does when a guest in their father’s boss’ home?) However, he is interrupted by the senile man. (This is why we lock the door, people!) Then, in a moment straight out of a horror thriller, the man grabs the gun and points it at Ramy. He eventually lowers the weapon… only to raise it to his own temple! Thankfully, a call from the senile man’s son ends the encounter. However, he ends up stealing the gun. (And the breath out of my lungs. I thought this was supposed to be a comedy!)
HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY | After dinner, Ramy heads to the Sufi Center, where he catches the end of Sheikh Ali’s very intense session. The sheikh calls Ramy aside to get his full story, and Ramy immediately begins complaining about his father abandoning his religious principles just so he could impress his boss. However, the sheikh has no interest in his father, and pushes Ramy to talk about himself.
“I feel like I have this hole inside of me that’s always been there,” Ramy tells him. “This emptiness. And I’m always trying to fill it with something.” He explains that he started watching porn to quell the urge to have sex before marriage, but that it only made it worse. He laments the affair he had with Salma during Ramadan and confesses what we have suspected all along: that Ramy did indeed sleep with his cousin on his trip to Egypt. “Our grandpa died and I f–ked my cousin,” he says.
Sheikh Ali agrees to take Ramy as his student, and the two form a bay’ah — a binding spiritual contract. He then invites his new student to pray with him, but not before making Ramy promise that he showered since he last masturbated. “You must come to Allah clean,” he instructs. Welcome to the path, Ramy. And good luck.
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