Little America Season 1, Episode 8, “The Son” ends with the best chapter presenting a man fleeing from his cruel, oppressive religious family.
This recap of Apple TV+ Series Little America Season 1, Episode 8, “The Son” contains significant spoilers.
- Read the Season 1 review.
- Read the recap of the previous episode (7).
- Access the archive of all the episode recaps.
Episode 8 finishes Little America Season 1 in impactful fashion. “The Son” opens up in Syria. Rafiq is enjoying dinner with his family, delivering desserts to the table. His brother announces that he is getting married. Someone texts Rafiq with “I’m here” so he tells his father he is off out to get more sugar. Rafiq meets a man called Tamim; he kisses Tamim, telling him that it is going to be okay. Rafiq’s father catches him kissing the man. The following scenes show Rafiq running away from his father in the woods with a burned arm.
3 months later Rafiq is in Damascus working in a kitchen with friend and colleague Zain. Rafiq gets a text warning him that his brother is still looking for him. Rafiq is clearly paranoid, and when Zain jests with him in the streets he gets irritated. He asks Zain if he’s scared of being gay but Zain has bigger plans – to move to America and try and make it in acting.
Later, Zain and Rafiq are joined by Alvaro. They are soon kicked out of a bar for being gay. Zain steals alcohol and runs away. When they return home, Alvaro and Zain dance intimately.
Life escalates for Rafiq fast as Episode 8 shows the true nature of his situation. He receives a phone call early morning from a sobbing Zain who tells him not to go to work. Rafiq goes to work and sees that the restaurant has been smashed up. Rafiq’s brother has found him. Zain tells him to leave immediately and flee to Jordan. Zain helps him with documents to help him get over the border — “I’ll see you America”.
Rafiq is now in Amman, Jordan — he pleads his case on the UN asylum system. He refreshes the page while in the internet cafe waiting for a decision. A man interested nearby clears his internet debit with the store and invites him for a drink. While in bed with this man, Rafiq explains the burns on his arms.
Rafiq explains that his father flamed his arm with fire to make him understand what hell will feel like for being homosexual. Episode 8, “The Son” shows the horrific treatment religious laws are in some cultures.
One year later, Rafiq gets a postcard from Zain who is in America. Rafiq checks out his brother’s Facebook and sees that a new baby has been born into the family and he gets emotional. Despite the horrific treatment from his family, he still misses them. He refreshes the page in the internet cafe one more time and he sees that he has been approved — he is ecstatic.
Little America Season 1, Episode 8, “The Son” ends with Rafiq arriving in America. He finds Zain’s house and they embrace. Rafiq rides a bike and takes in the air — freedom. When he goes to a nightclub with Zain, the bouncer will not let him in as he has no ID. The owner shows the bouncer the birth date on Rafiq’s papers so lets him in. It’s a gay night club and Rafiq looks overstimulated by what he can see. Zain’s favorite song comes on — Kelly Clarkson, “Breakaway”. Rafiq consumes the song with happiness and sadness at the same time — he is free, but it’s slightly bittersweet that strict, cruel religious rules have split him from his family. A scene shows Rafiq’s father receiving a letter from Rafiq that tells him he is safe — his father looks on, and we can assume he is relieved despite his backward beliefs.
It’s incredible the empathy Rafiq shows for his family despite the harsh treatment that he can still send them a letter letting them know that he is okay. The credits roll and it explains how Rafiq met his future husband at that club.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.