This episode is so beautifully done with so many layers that it is difficult to encapsulate it all into one post. As both Eda and Serkan try to internalize their repressed feelings from their impending parting, I felt their pain as though it is my own. The kind that is so deep and palpable that it feels like you have to cut it with a knife just to get some relief. It reminds me of this beautiful short poem by my friend Usha Akella, a published poet whose work carries great influence from the works of Jalal-ud-din Rumi and the mysticism of the Sufi order:
All that I loved I loved because I loved you,
All that I lost I lost because I lost you,
I loved everything as a consequence,
I lost everything as a consequence,
Love has a way of spilling over,
Grief has a way of flooding within.
- Usha Akella,
from her book A Face That Does Not Bear The Footprints Of The World
And it is this visualization of grief flooding within that gives shape to feelings of deep despair that simply have no other place to go. For those of us who have not found ways to express such grief and we internalize our sorrows, we can drown under the weight of the heartache. This is what I perceive of how both Eda and Serkan deal with their profoundest feelings while both think they have lost, and to watch that enacted to perfection by Kerem and Hande brought emotions to the surface I didn’t think I could feel when watching a show. The way they flounder in their anguish is a remnant of how each carry the wounds of their past, which inhibit their abilities to reach for the things they truly want. They also lack the arrogance to assume that life owes them such gifts.
TRUE LOVE: LETTING GO
Despite Serkan taking Eda’s hand in front of Selin after her all-important ultimatum, with a triumphant look on his face that communicates where his heart belongs, both Selin and Eda choose to have their own interpretations of the situation. Eda assumes this is still part of the game since Serkan resolutely refuses to answer in words what his intentions are, and Selin still holds out hope in case Serkan has the sudden epiphany that his bond with Selin is the kind that will endure.
Within their uncertainty about the other’s true intentions, Serkan and Eda struggle to let go of each other. He admits to finding excuses to see her, and she fights against every feeling within her to physically remove herself from his proximity. She has so much faith in his logical brain that she cannot bring herself to imagine that Serkan will go against reason and pick her instead. She feels he likes to have her around but she also knows that she cannot survive being ‘around’ while he builds a life with Selin. In this exchange, they are both so much in pain and yet both willing to let the other go because they think it is in the other’s best interests.
Translation credit: www.expressdizi.com
If I ever had to define true love, it would be this. You love the person beyond yourself and both Serkan and Eda demonstrate this in their selflessness. Eda tells Aydan that she played out the game for Serkan’s sake so he can reunite with Selin, she gives Selin the gift of Serkan’s love as she prepares to leave his life forever, and Serkan tells Engin that he will let her go because Eda cannot bear to be with him.
The client’s estate that Serkan and Eda visit has some similarities with the gardens depicted in the castle of the Beast in the classic story of Beauty and the Beast, awash with unwieldy rose bushes and bramble spread lavishly across the space. The flowers remain as a symbolic reminder of a love that blossoms even when the players part ways, leaving a trail of broken hearts and shattered dreams.
Serkan narrates the story of the original owner who was a stern, workaholic man deeply in love with his neighbor but the lady became tired from waiting on him, and married someone else instead. Broken from his unrequited love, the doctor leaves the estate forever, never to return. Serkan uses the opportunity to tell Eda that even robots have a heart, and Eda uses the same story to empathize with the doctor, who leaves everything behind because he is unloved.
Later in the day, still believing that Serkan will be with Selin, Eda prepares to leave for good. A panicked and desperate Serkan recruits Engin for help and, failing that, runs after her to again implore her to stay. Neither is able to say the words the other needs to hear, and both are reduced to tears from the well of sadness they are unable to express as they part ways. The threat of an unrequited love is debilitating and both Kerem and Hande have a masterful portrayal of the kaleidoscope of emotions the characters feel. Two strong personalities who live on the motto of ‘I will bend but I will not break’, are broken.
In another parallel, we have Eda reading to Serkan from The Little Prince, a book Alptekin has been collecting for Serkan over the years. Neither able to say goodbye, they extend their time together by picking random pages from the book and reading excerpts that are almost akin to reading fortunes with tarot cards. A deeply symbolic book, there is depth of meaning in every sentence, and the most perfect ones for Serkan and Eda is a collection of disparate paragraphs strung together, some of which is used in the skit in the show:
“Flowers are weak creatures. They are naïve. They reassure themselves as best they
can. They believe that their thorns are terrible weapons . . ."
"I ought not to have listened to her," he confided to me one day. "One never ought to listen to the flowers. One should simply look at them and breathe their fragrance. Mine perfumed all my planet. But I did not know how to take pleasure in all her grace. This tale of claws, which disturbed me so much, should only have filled my heart with tenderness and pity."
"The fact is that I did not know how to understand anything! I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words. She cast her fragrance and her radiance over me. I ought never to have run away from her . . . I ought to have guessed all the affection that lay behind her poor little stratagems. Flowers are so inconsistent! But I was too young to know how to love her."
"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"The men where you live," said the little prince, "raise five thousand roses in the same garden--and they do not find in it what they are looking for. And yet what they are looking for could be found in one single rose, or in a little water." And the little prince added:
"But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart . . ."
Both the metaphorical references highlighted above and the poetic undertones in how each of Serkan and Eda try to convey their feelings without saying the words pull at heart strings like no other Turkish story I have watched so far. There is a depth of intelligence in how the stories have been woven to capture the heartache of two souls who cannot dare hope that their love is meant to be.
MATTERS OF CONSEQUENCE
Serkan understands how empty his life will be without Eda and he tries everything he knows to do. Abandoned and sidelined as a young boy soon after his brother’s sudden death, he does not have it in him to come and claim his dues when it comes to emotions. He begged to stay but he was still sent away because the parents needed to survive the tragedy themselves. Self-absorbed with the loss of the older son, the needs of a much younger son seems an emotional burden they are ill-prepared to deal with. As such, Serkan learns to survive on his own, keeping himself closed off from being hurt that deeply again.
In his delirious state, he expresses his true feelings and his desire to be with Eda. She readily complies and holds him until he finds peace in her arms, while he remains unaware that he had told her what she needed to hear. In the morning, when he doesn’t remember the details, Eda is heart-broken and leaves in dignified silence. She accepts the emotional abuse from Aydan because, unlike Selin, she has no desire to insert herself where she is not wanted.
Translation credit: www.expressdizi.com
Aydan is particularly cruel in how she dismisses Eda and asks her to keep the ring so that Serkan will not be reminded of her. The exchange indicates that Aydan is aware of how much Serkan is affected by Eda but for someone who cannot even leave the grounds of her home, change is difficult for Aydan to deal with. It is more her own self-preservation than Serkan’s best interests that drives Aydan’s decision to keep pushing Serkan towards Selin. This is not much different than what she did with Serkan when her older son died. To protect her well-being, she is willing to push Serkan towards choices that are not optimal for his well-being. Hande’s depiction of a stricken and wounded Eda is so perfectly done in this scene that I had to come back and watch it a number of times to marvel at the depth of this simple exchange.
Another strain is Selin and her callous mode of keeping Ferit warm while she waits on Serkan. In a way, Serkan does the same because in his heart Selin is Plan B. He calls Selin as soon as he believes Eda is no longer in his life. His environments, familial relationships and coping tools have taught him such calculated moves as the only way to survive and perhaps the same is true for Selin.
At the end of the day, the only matter of consequence is Serkan being able to reach for his happiness because it is best for him and not because it is the most logical solution or the best one for Aydan. His past and his present inhibit Serkan from knowing how to have the courage and the strength to accept the risk of rejection.
We discover the unexpected twist that Alptekin’s company is responsible for the premature deaths of Eda’s parents. It is due to an oversight and lack of audit of a sub-contractor’s work, and Alptekin mindfully removed any traces to his company. It taught him the lesson to be careful in future projects but he was never held liable for his mistake. Ferit discovers this and is able to get a shareholding in the company in exchange for his silence and keeping the truth from Serkan. Alptekin does not know that the lost lives have any connections to Eda but it will open new wounds and schisms in the families as the truth comes to light to all players involved.
This portends the possibilities of Serkan paying for his father’s sins and also exposes the universal flow of how the truth will eventually emerge when deep injustice is left unpunished.
We also have Ayfer discover about the marriage contract and, coinciding with her business being on the brink of bankruptcy, she feels particularly inept in her role as Eda’s guardian. She feels belittled that Eda had to resort to the contract and game of love to regain her scholarship, and in order to help Eda get away from Serkan, she reaches out to her mother behind Eda’s back. Eda’s scholarship to Italy is courtesy of the grandmother she has worked hard to avoid being beholden to. Eda is likely to pay the price of Ayfer’s indiscretion.
CRAZY IN LOVE
Even though Eda offers her goodbyes, Serkan still cannot stay away and follows her taxi. He has asked Selin to wait for him, but he cannot make himself change direction. He looks at the reassembled torn note Eda left at his house which says “See me not with your eyes, but with your heart.” It was reminiscent of what Eda had read to Serkan from The Little Prince, “I ought to have judged by deeds and not by words.” and a quote that appears much later in the book, also mentioned above.
Combined with the replay of the Sen Cal Kapimi song he had listened to with Eda, his memory is triggered and he remembers that he had asked Eda not to leave him and that he wanted to go with her. The editing is a little amiss in this section because Serkan’s a-ha moment is not as obvious when he connects all the dots about his ask, her decision to stay with him and her crest-fallen expression the next morning when she realizes he did not recall what he said during the night and why she tore up the note. When he does realize that there is a remote possibility she loves him back, he chooses to chase Eda’s taxi down, a nod to the Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson starrer "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days."
Translation credit: www.expressdizi.com
By the time he catches up and gets her out, he has already reached the point of no return, willing to lay his heart at her feet. The couple of things that I loved about the confession is that even though it is such an emotional moment for them, the two cannot help but bicker about who is more fed up and why. I loved that the script maintained the integrity of their personalities because Serkan suddenly going all soft and mushy would be going against his character.
When he declares his love, he does not say the customary Seni Seviyorum that is one of the first Turkish phrases I ever learned as an international fan. He says what is more true to the depth of love and passion that has been portrayed thus far, “I am crazily in love with you”. When he kisses her, her response is answer enough and his expression suggests that he submits fully to the consequences of taking this step.
FATE & DESTINY
My first review on the show tried to capture my feeling that the narrative appears to be a cosmic collision of equals. We meet a man who is willing to be enlightened and we meet a woman of strength who does not cower to prejudices about her status. As we discover other related details around how the lives of Eda and Serkan are connected from the past, it deepens the belief that these two souls are meant to be together.
Selin believes having knowledge of life details about someone makes one a worthy partner but that really is the least common denominator. Understanding the other’s scars and knowing how to heal them is a bigger test of longevity in relationships. Selin has the facts and she knows Serkan gets sick when he is upset. Eda, without the facts, knows how to heal his sadness.
When fate and destiny bring two souls together who are meant to be, the path they forge together show again and again why they just fit so well, like complex puzzle pieces that belong. And this is the aspect of the storytelling in Sen Cal Kapimi that I love. Through subtle exchanges, poetic interludes and gentle glances, we come to feel a love that transcends reason, time and space.
SEN CAL KAPIMI
We are introduced to the new song Sen Cal Kapimi, sung by Basak Gulumcinelioglu who plays the character of Piril.
Crooned to an acoustic melody, Basak’s clear, soulful voice captures the story of Serkan and Eda perfectly. A relationship that started with hatred but morphed into something deep and meaningful that neither can articulate. What would their answer be if the other came and knocked on their door now? The lyrics of the song, translated in English are:
You (are a) high, ruler, nobleman,
I only bloomed.
Would it be, what would you say?
Can you like me too?
You looked at me so charmingly,
Then you ran away from love immediately.
We also don't have an agreement, okay,
If you fell in love with me too...
We started with hate,
I couldn't accept it.
I'm waiting to open,
Come and knock on my door.
We started with hate,
I couldn't accept it.
I'm waiting to open,
What would happen
If you knocked on my door.
Piril’s character is an interesting one, where she is portrayed to be married to her job and displays characteristics that are dry, logical and calculating. To learn that Basak is actually an architect by training from a family of architects, but chose to follow her passion in acting, make her portrayal of Piril even more insightful. Piril is what she ran away from but the circle of life is such that her most prominent role in her acting career thus far is to convincingly portray what she could not live in real life. The talents of these stars have layers that provide further authenticity to their characters, which make them so much more relatable than in many other shows where everything seems much more contrived.
Once again, I am taken by how complete the production is with the script, acting, cinematography, aesthetics, choice of music, fashion and so much more. The accessibility of the celebrities through their frequent fan engagement via social media, their multi-talented, humble demeanor all present moral standards we as social beings want to strive for. Especially, when news channels are rife with the ugly underbelly of human existence, to have something enchanting to bond over is food for the soul that cannot be articulated with words. It’s the feeling we are left with and it captures for me what I had written in a poem a while ago:
“I implore the vastness,
To collapse into a single drop;
That floods within
The deserted chambers,
Bringing a renewal
As rain to parched lands.”
As Dogdugun Ev Kaderindir (“DEK”) comes back with its second season next Wednesday, Sen Cal Kapimi is well poised to maintain a strong showing as the story has successfully changed gears just in time, keeping the audience hungry for more. Much as I enjoyed DEK, I know what I will attempt to watch live next week. To sustain me till then, I will be feasting my eyes on this incredible fan edit by @CoolCatKerr on YouTube, set to the song "Hugging you" by Tom Rosenthal
Till we meet again.
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