The appeal of Sen Cal Kapimi lies in the layered peeling of a love story that is meant for the ages. And for such a love that we want to last forever, we have to allow the journey to unfold as defenses crumble a little at a time, revealing the strength of heart and character we come to admire in the lead couple.
Episode 5, filmed over the Eid holidays, provides many beautiful moments, but a superficial glance might suggest that not much progress was made in the #EdSer relationship. I beg to differ.
Serkan is a character to be discovered and he is not the type to lay down his hand as soon as he knows the goal he wants to reach. We have already seen this in how he approaches his projects and business dealings. He only unveils the minimum he needs to and only informs those who need to be informed. His interactions with Eda are not much different.
Serkan is smitten with Eda from the first time he saw her come out of the shadows in the dark auditorium. Given how strict he is shown to be in all matters of his life, it is not an accident that we see the softer side of Serkan in only two areas: Eda and Sirius. In their inner strength and beauty, they have touched him in ways not much else has. Both are wounded by life but rise above it and respond to a patient and steadfast love. And Mr. Serkan Bolat is nothing if not steadfast.
THE MELTING ICE
On the surface, Serkan is an unyielding man, which is reinforced by the reverence he receives in his professional world. As Eda repeatedly flouts these boundaries, we do not see Serkan put up a real protest. Except his one outburst in Episode 3 where he treats her poorly when he feels too affected by her, we see Serkan quietly acquiesce to Eda's childlike enthusiasm for life. Maybe Ayfer's counsel about how Eda has created this world for herself despite childhood traumas make him even more sensitive towards allowing her to flourish, but he seems to derive genuine pleasure from indulging her whims.
As the crew descends upon Antalya, having sidestepped a disaster with a partial copy of the engagement contract, Serkan and Eda have fallen into more of a physical comfort in being with each other. Holding hands and exchanging sweet words when in company seem less forced. So much so that for the audience it is difficult to discern what is done for Selin's benefit and what has always been Serkan speaking to Eda.
As they settle into their penthouse suite, and it becomes obvious that Eda's wardrobe is ill-planned for the caliber of this trip, Serkan 'sponsors' a fresh new wardrobe, leading to a fun and flimsy sequence of Eda trying out various outfits, while dressing up Serkan in silly accessories in the process.
NO ONE could have ever imagined rigid Serkan willingly put on pink eyeglasses, but he does so with a wry smile on his face. And herein lies a truth about their characters. The power of Eda is her authenticity. She is so natural in her enthusiasm and impulsive zeal for life, which is supported by a sharp and creative mind, that she never seems to be ditsy or scheming in wanting to manage her man. You get what you see, and Serkan is smart enough to understand this.
We see multiple instances of Serkan willingly give into Eda's various requests: dip in the ocean, play volleyball, take her along on his nighttime hike, go for a swim on his all important day, and more. There is no exasperation in his demeanor and he makes it clear that he enjoys Eda's company. In the process, we see him loosening up with the rest of his team as well.
When Eda challenges him on his pattern of becoming cold with her every time they come closer together, he matter of factly says that he will not do that. And this is just before they go swimming in a lagoon, giving way to a gorgeous, visual representation of their trust in each other, displaying a closeness that is not designed for anyone's benefit but their own.
Even if Eda is unaware of the depth of what they have between them, Serkan is fully aware. And it is this awareness that makes room for Serkan's public display of making Eda more important than anything else at the end of the episode.
The Ice King has melted.
Eda & Serkan at the lagoon
HEART OVER MIND
Mr Birol describes love to Serkan, who seems to bristle from how close to the truth it is for him. "If your eyes are constantly looking for her, if you still haven't given up on her despite all her craziness, then it's love." Serkan, who never takes a step without mapping out the consequences, fits this description to the fullest.
During his all-important awards ceremony, we see him keep an eye on the commotion around Eda. When Eda willingly walks over towards the paparazzi to help quell the fires of wild rumors spread by Kaan, Serkan leaves his speech and his award, takes her hand without a word, makes a public display of his protectiveness of her, and sails off into the sunset, just as Eda had described to the Birols over their dinner.
VC: @emsaras/ twitter
This parallelism is a part of Ayse's magic in her poetic screenplays, but it is also a natural extension of what we are discovering of Serkan. Underneath his strictly disciplined existence lies an attentive man who willingly absorbs Eda's dreams and desires and, to the extent possible, he wishes to fulfill them. He is allowing his heart to triumph over his mind, though for Serkan it is not a mutually exclusive journey. I believe, in his mind he already knows he wants to be with Eda, and he is allowing his heart to be vulnerable to the pain that comes with pursuing such a love.
Through the Birols, we are given an older version of Serkan and Eda. Two people who obviously complement each other fully while having a passionate relationship that keep them bonded despite their differences. To still look at each other with admiration and love is foundational to an everlasting love. One cannot be in a meaningful relationship without mutual respect and even though Serkan gets exasperated with Eda's impulsiveness and Eda is annoyed by Serkan's robotic mannerisms, they deeply admire each other's abilities and recognize the strengths the other represents in their respective lives.
Settling in for an evening together
Ayse loves to refer to Greek/Roman mythology in her love stories, and here we are given the story of Apollo and one of his mortal loves, set against the Temple of Apollo in Side, which is close to Antalya. While Serkan reveres Apollo as the God of sun, poetry and more, and is marveled by the architectural significance of the structure, it is Eda who has the story of Apollo and his love.
In reality, she mixes two stories. One of Apollo and the river nymph Daphne, and that of Apollo and Marpessa, the mortal. Unlike Eda's story where Daphne the mortal grew old waiting for her love with an immortal and eventually morphed into a different form at the end of her life, in the myth Apollo and Daphne were not fated to consummate a love. Daphne was turned into a laurel tree at her own request as she did not wish to be Apollo's wife.
Marpessa, on the other hand, was sought by Idas (a mortal) and Apollo (an immortal God). She finds herself being able to decide her destiny between her suitors and eventually settles on Idas as she knew that her relationship with a God will be short-lived.
In the case of Eda and Serkan, and the parallelism one can draw from this, it may seem that she entered a fake relationship with a supposed God and, maybe, down the road she will decide that she loves the man within. Their mutual willingness to be burnt by the other may unfold through how this myth was shared.
We are given some more insight into Alptekin, who is not as sinister as we were led to believe. It is clear that Alptekin loves his son. When he surmises that Eda is genuinely important to Serkan, he makes a gracious effort to get to know Eda's family. He is a man who understands human potential, but lives within a broken family system where his relationships with his wife and son are wanting. Episode 6 promises to provide more insights into Serkan's past and we hope to get more insight into what has brought the Bolat family to this level of dysfunction.
PETTINESS OF ENVY
Much as Selin protests with Ferit, she is jealous of Eda. Selin is intimidated by Eda's natural grace because even though Eda does not have the strength of a rich family or higher education behind her, she has raw potential in her and Selin recognizes that is what Serkan is drawn to.
Towards the end, when Kaan makes his move with the fake statements to the paparazzi, Selin swoops in with her competent "PR" hat to contain the situation. Even though Piril and Engin stand up for Eda to try and protect her, Selin insists that Eda make a statement to the paparazzi because as the PR specialist she knows best. Unfortunately, her stricken expression when Serkan takes Eda's hand and steers her away from the vultures, gives her intentions away. Under the cloak of professional competence, she wanted for Eda to slip and fall.
Both Kaan and Selin seem to be driven by poor intentions. They strive for external validation of who they are and as such the heights they can reach always remain far below what is possible.
Part of the appeal of this show lies in an ensemble cast that genuinely seem to respect and enjoy each other. I thought it was quite the nod to Kerem's 'filter' from his Instagram stories, when folks around the dinner table at the Bolat's claim that they have no filters (when they speak), but it was a funny parallel! These little details speak to an intelligent cast and crew who seem committed to creating a great end product for our viewing pleasure.
Needless to say, I loved Episode 5. With this show, my emotions become overwhelmed quickly. It reinforces the silent strength of true love, where its expression is not in empty platitudes but in small acts of kindness and selflessness. I leave you with a scene from this week as it draws a parallel to one of my all time favorite female characters: Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman (1990). In the movie, Vivian was in a 'relationship' with Edward for money, much like Kaan's allegation, but in Sen Cal Kapimi, even though Eda is in a 'relationship' with Serkan, there is a natural purity to their budding love that is hopeful and endearing.
The Ladies in Red
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* To rewatch your favorite Sen cal Kapimi scenes or skim the series, check out this episode guide on Ginger Monette's blog