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Spoilers ahead for "Little Egypt," a.k.a. the first episode of FBI Season 2 on CBS.
FBI delivered an intense Season 2 premiere to prove that the CBS drama will deliver more of the heart-pumping action that fans have come to expect after the first season. That said, "Little Egypt" wasn't an hour of non-stop action, although it did kick off with a devastating explosion of a restaurant, and culminate with a high-stakes chase through Central Park to stop a terrorist attack. It was largely character-focused as OA dealt with some very personal conflicts when it came to the case.
The episode brought OA and Maggie along with the rest of the FBI in New York City into a case after a bomb detonated in a restaurant that OA had loved as a child. The crime originally seemed to be perpetrated by a racist individual who wanted to strike out at Muslims, but it was later revealed that Muslim terrorists were actually responsible.
OA had to go undercover to try and prevent another incident, but he was shocked when a fellow undercover FBI agent pushed two young man too hard, seemingly turning them into terrorists when they may not have chosen that path if left alone. OA was pulled between his sympathies for his community as a Muslim American and his responsibilities as an FBI agent.
FBI showrunner Rick Eid, who also wrote "Little Egypt," chatted with CinemaBlend about the Season 2 premiere, and he said this when asked why he decided on such a character-focused episode to kick off the new season:
There'd been a lot written and discussed about the OA character being Muslim and Arab Muslim, and I just wanted to do something where we were able to dramatize what that really meant. What did it really mean to be an American Arab Muslim FBI agent living in New York City in 2019. What does that mean? The tension between his life as an FBI agent and his life as a proud Arab Muslim. I just wanted to see those put in conflict.
The case was personal for OA right off the bat since he'd loved the restaurant that was attacked by the terrorists. Then, the more that the Muslim American community was impacted and involved by the crime, the more he was conflicted.
OA was sadly lacking in anybody else at the FBI who could really relate to OA in his position. For as close of friends as Maggie and OA are, OA faces challenges that Maggie will never have to deal with.
"Little Egypt" put the spotlight on OA and what he was always bound to struggle with in a way that FBI hadn't yet, ahead of the Season 2 premiere. There will undoubtedly be plenty going on in Season 2, not the least of which is what may be necessary to launch the FBI: Most Wanted spinoff, so getting some early characterization was a strong way to kick things off.
Rick Eid (who is also showrunner on NBC's Chicago P.D.) went on to address whether viewers would see more of this as Season 2 progresses:
I think we'll see more of his character and who he really is, and we'll dig deeper into him as a person. I don't know that we'll necessarily live in those kind of issues all the time. We want to round out the character... As a person, treat him as a multi-dimensional, multi-layered human being.
With "Little Egypt," FBI added some additional layers to OA and his conflicts as an American Arab Muslim living in New York City nowadays. Even if the show won't focus on this aspect of OA on a weekly basis, those layers will be present for viewers as the season progresses to enrich his character. This episode was a bold start to a new season, and a treasure trove for fans of the character.
"Little Egypt" also spent some time showcasing the dynamic between Maggie and OA. Despite her best efforts to help OA in his struggles, she didn't quite give him what he needed when he came to her to vent. To her credit, she realized that she'd made him a mistake and apologized. They shared a warm hug, and it's clear that they're on good terms.
Rick Eid described how Maggie and OA's dynamic will function in Season 2, saying this:
I think in Season 2 you're gonna see that Maggie and OA partnership and friendship has evolved and that they understand each other more and they're there to offer advice and help and support when needed. I think that their relationship's taken to a new level. I think you're gonna see those two, their dynamic this year will be a little more nuanced than it was last year.
Considering the stress and challenges of their work as FBI agents, viewers can be reassured that they'll have each other throughout Season 2. Their relationship was already endearing throughout the first season, and added a depth of characterization to a plot-heavy program; that the dynamic "has evolved" for Season 2 can only be a good thing. More friendship is on the way!
Find out what's in store for OA, Maggie, and the rest when new episodes of FBI air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Rick Eid also weighed in on the possibility of a crossover between FBI and the Dick Wolf shows on NBC, and there are reasons to be optimistic. For some additional viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, swing by our fall TV premiere schedule!
The next episode of FBI is called "The Lives of Others," and it will see Maggie and OA on the search for the son of a "mommy blogger" when he's kidnapped. The mom's job as a popular blogger complicates things, as she has two million followers who must be sifted through to try and narrow down who could be the kidnapper. Meanwhile, Kristen must try to adjust to life as a field agent, which involves working closely with new partner Stuart. Be sure to tune in!