'Tehran' season 2 finale recap: An explosive end to a tense spy series

Tehran tenses up for explosive season 2 finale [Apple TV+ recap]

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Tehran season 2 finale recap: Who will double-cross who in the season finale?★★☆☆☆
Who will double-cross who in the season finale?
Photo: Apple TV+

In the season finale of Apple TV+ spy drama Tehran, Peyman is dead — and everyone is guilty.

Milad and Tamar need to patch up their frayed relationship if they have any hope of escaping the country and certain death. Marjan and Faraz must make sure they don’t look guilty as the investigation into the “accidental” death of the son of the head of the Revolutionary Guard commences.

And there’s still the matter of Peyman’s father, Qassem, whom Tamar swore to kill. Now, she has next to no shot at getting near him. It’s a lot of ground to cover in 43 minutes. And there’s still the more difficult task of making any of these people compelling enough to want to see them in a third season.

Tehran recap: ‘Blood Funeral’

Season 2, episode 8: In this week’s episode, entitled “Blood Funeral,” the Iranian secret service is already suspicious of foul play in the death of Peyman Mohammadi (played by Darius Homayoun).

Mossad agent Tamar Rabinyan (Niv Sultan) and her boyfriend Milad Kahani (Shervin Alenabi) argue out whether Milad’s deadly sabotage was the right thing to do. (In last week’s episode, he cut the brakes on Peyman’s car in order to use it as a battering ram — and hopefully push his father off a cliff).

Tamar predictably thinks he did it out of jealousy. Milad has been jealous all season of the men she’s been getting close to complete this mission. First Vahid Nemati (Sia Alipour), then Peyman. It’s a moot point now, though. Peyman’s dead and the mission is over.

One last shot at assassination

Or is it? Faraz (Shaun Toub) brings an idea to Tamar and Marjan (Glenn Close). Peyman’s funeral is tomorrow, and there will be a moment where Qassem Mohammadi (Vassilis Koukalani) asks for a moment alone with his son’s body. That will be their chance to kill him.

It’s slightly unbelievable that Faraz is now gung-ho on the idea of killing Qassem after all his high-flown language about honor and duty and whatnot. Plus, he only started helping the Mossad agents because they know he killed his deputy Ali (Arash Marandi) and they threatened to kill his wife.

But whatever. Too late to turn back now, I guess. So much so that when Marjan calls Mossad for the official green light on the operation, and she gets turned down, she straight out lies to Tamar about it. They’ll be killing him without official orders from the Israeli government. That’s gonna be a sticky thing to explain come tomorrow night when they’re all fugitives on the run from the Iranians.

Faraz browbeats Naahid (Shila Ommi) into coming to the funeral, too. He knows they’re being watched by both the Israelis and the Iranians. So he doesn’t want her alone and out of his sight while the assassination attempt goes down. She’s already been used as leverage once. Faraz doesn’t want a repeat performance of that particular feeling.

We’ve got the green light

Tehran season 2 finale recap: Who can you trust? Nobody, actually. I certainly wouldn't rely on Marjan (played by Glenn Close) or Faraz (Shaun Toub).
Who can you trust? Nobody, actually. I certainly wouldn’t rely on Marjan (played by Glenn Close) or Faraz (Shaun Toub).
Photo: Apple TV+

Faraz and Tamar head to the funeral renewed in their purpose, aware that they might be walking into a death trap. (Though admittedly not as aware as Marjan, who’s going to hang them out to dry if anything goes wrong.)

Marjan’s handlers find out she’s gone rogue and demand that she go in and retrieve Tamar from the funeral before they can kill Qassem. Marjan doesn’t look like she cares all that much about her life, but she heads into the funeral anyway.

There’s a snag at the funeral. Vahid (Sia Alipour) is there. He’s mad because Peyman stopped talking to him before his death because of the shabby way he treated Tamar and Milad (getting him arrested for a better shot at sleeping with her). He then goes and talks to Qassem and tries to rat her out. The secret service takes him away instead.

This is, once again, all very convenient. Marjan finally tells Tamar to call it off, to kill Faraz instead and flee the scene. She doesn’t do that either. Faraz catches her as she’s walking up on him with her hand in her purse. If they’re not going to poison him, what is the plan?

Naahid is in bad shape when Marjan finds her with the idea of killing her, but Naahid was faking it to get close enough to kill her instead. No one sees her die, though because something else gets their attention.

While Qassem is looking over his son’s personal effects, his phone rings. It’s Tamar. Kaboom.

She sends her regards

I’m not immune to the careful execution of a tense set piece. So I was relieved that the assassins finally got to achieve their goal, from a purely mechanical point of view. Director Daniel Syrkin is good at this kind of filmmaking. And the whole episode revolving around one very tense operation is a good choice.

I still remain unconvinced that Tehran has much to say, but I at least enjoyed this season finale when it paid more careful attention to who’s in what room with what murder weapon. It was also entirely too easy to predict that when Milad finally gets into the getaway car that there’s a bomb in the car — and Tamar’s mission of vengeance isn’t over yet.

I’m curious to see if Tehran gets another season on Apple TV+. But I can’t say I’m all that eager to know one way or the other.

★★☆☆☆

Watch Tehran on Apple TV+

You can watch the first two seasons of Tehran on Apple TV+.

Rated: TV-MA

Watch on: Apple TV+

Scout Tafoya is a film and TV critic, director and creator of the long-running video essay series The Unloved for RogerEbert.com. He has written for The Village Voice, Film Comment, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Nylon Magazine. He is the author of Cinemaphagy: On the Psychedelic Classical Form of Tobe Hooper, the director of 25 feature films, and the director and editor of more than 300 video essays, which can be found at Patreon.com/honorszombie.