On The Run
Episode 8 of Little America begins with a Syrian man called Rafiq receiving a text from his partner and finding an excuse to get away from his family dinner, much to the disdain of his Father who tells him to be quick. After hooking up with his lover, he turns and sees his Father, who chases him away.
We then cut forward to Damascus three months later to see Rafiq working in a restaurant with burns on his arm. After work he heads out for drinks and a smoke with Zain who tells him he’s filled out his asylum papers and will be moving to America soon. Zain introduces Rafik to his friend Alvaro but as they head out to a bar, the owner tells them it’s closing and they need to leave. As they do, he steals two bottles of drink and they dance the night.
In the morning, a sobbing Zain phones Rafiq and tells him not to come to work. Rafik doesn’t listen though and arrives to find the entire restaurant destroyed and Zain himself bloodied and beaten. Given he’s not safe anymore, Rafiq is forced to run. He thanks Zain for his help and hugs him goodbye before awaiting asylum to America.
We then cut forward one year. Zain is in America and tells Rafiq not to give up via a postcard and to keep checking his status while working and saving money. After seeing photos of his family online, Rafiq smiles sadly before seeing that his status has changed to approved. He snatches up the money he has and heads to the embassy where he’s stamped officially and en-route to the United States.
Rafiq makes it to America and wanders along the streets trying to find his friend. He finally makes it to Zain’s quaint house and the two embrace before heading out together to a gay bar. As he looks on in wonder, he sees people embracing their sexuality openly – something he’s never seen before. As Kelly Clarkson begins playing, Rafiq cries tears of joy, as we cut back and see he left a note for his Father telling him he’s safe and hopes he is too.
During the post-episode scene we see that Rafiq met his husband in that club and the two were later married.
With a changing tone throughout the episode, The Son ends Little America on a really positive and thought provoking note. Seeing the sheer hostility toward homosexuality in Syria is pretty eye-opening and the ending with the gay club is a powerful message and a perfect send-off for this character. It’s a harsh world out there and this episode perfectly captures how much the Western World takes for granted sometimes without feeling overly preachy or pretentious.
Little America has been a really solid anthology series over the past 8 episodes and given the premise there’s certainly scope here for some interesting stories in season 2 to play out. For now though, The Son is the perfect send-off to round out a series that’s one of Apple TV’s best effort to date. Let’s hope this is a sign of promising things ahead for the streaming platform!
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