Episode 8 is a necessary stop on this journey with Serkan and Eda. For all his gentle characteristics, Serkan harbors immense arrogance that lets him forget to treat Eda with respect at all times. In a relationship, if one cannot feel like peers, if there are reasons to feel superior as opposed to complementary, it is the warning signs of future divergence.
Serkan often loses objectivity in his reactions and his habitual protection of his self-image keeps him from apologizing fully to Eda when he undermines her integrity. It is immensely gratifying to watch a show that provides such a deep commentary on how and where women should draw their boundaries, where they should never compromise their morality and how they keep themselves from becoming an apologist for poor behavior from her man. I have always held that people will treat you the way you allow them to treat you, and in this episode both Eda and Melo set some stellar examples of how to navigate life with self-respect and dignity.
Serkan has issues with his ego. We see this a number of times in how he treats Eda, Piril, other members of his team and even Engin at times. For someone who makes it a point to acknowledge his team when accepting his award, he often approaches work as if it is a one-man show. In his anger, he tells Piril that whether it is the professional or the personal, the point of focus is always Serkan Bolat. With an ego the size of Texas (no offence, Kerem!), his lack of empathy hints at someone who has learnt to sanitize his feelings and only able to relate to the world from his own point of view.
It is this ego that limits Serkan’s expressions. He is very disturbed by Eda’s distance and his deep-rooted belief that he is not good enough for her puts him on the offensive when Kaan plays his game. Logic suggests no one other than Eda could have done this and he convinces himself that Eda should be asking for forgiveness.
Translation credit: www.expressdizi.com
He misses her, feels bereft without her and he doesn’t fully understand how to process his feelings. He has put himself in a difficult conundrum. On the one hand, he wishes to protect his self-image and let go of Eda before she rejects him; on the other hand he likes the version of himself Eda brings to life and as such he keeps on finding emotionally stunted ways of crossing paths with her and tries to entice her to remain within his world.
Here is the sequence of themes he pursues:
“Please don’t take off the ring … because people will talk; let me figure out a solution”
“I want to trust you but…”
“You cannot abandon work. We have a contract and you need to fulfill your responsibilities”
“Sirius misses you”
“I love your work. I’m giving you project lead” (as if this should be the golden goose Eda has been waiting for all her life)
“My upbringing makes it difficult for me to trust anyone. I trust you.”
Unfortunately, this is too little too late.
“Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have” – J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Serkan has been brought up with a sense of entitlement that he under appreciates. He never had to struggle for money to go to college or beg for startup up funds for his business pursuits. Even in recent times, he needed the signatory support from his father’s holding company to successfully play the bidding game on Kaan. He works hard for his firm and has an exemplary sense of work discipline, but he does it at the expense of having an emotional connection with those around him.
Serkan’s rough ways are reminiscent of the stories the business world knows of Steve Jobs of Apple. A visionary man who changed the world, Jobs has a terrible reputation for his interpersonal skills and who went through phases in life where his downfall was just as dramatic as the highs he experienced. He eventually passed away prematurely from liver cancer but his biography hints at many personal prices paid for the success he achieved. If he hadn’t changed his ways over the years, he might have been very lonely during his last days. Life and love changed him, and if stories are to be believed, he achieved a sense of enlightenment only few can hope to achieve during their lifetime.
The way Serkan handles the leak of his designs, his treatment of Eda, his unwillingness to accept that his mistake is beyond an 'out of control' reaction, are all indicative of a stunted emotional intelligence that makes him unable to be a true partner for someone like Eda, who has her own wounds to heal. After claiming that no one can make her cry, for Serkan to have no empathy towards what she is feeling from his distrust and public humiliation illustrates how much Serkan still needs to grow.
TRUST & INSECURITIES
The big theme this week is trust. Serkan trusting Eda. Ferit trusting Selin. Melo trusting Kaan. And through these three arcs we are shown a range of trust issues that can fester in a relationship, while all of them seem to be rooted in personal insecurities.
Through Alptekin’s interactions with Aydan, we come to understand that as I theorized last week, the loss of their son affected the family dynamics deeply. In an effort to keep Serkan at an arm’s length, Alptekin has not only been emotionally elusive, but also somewhat emotionally abusive. He has been openly critical of Serkan (perhaps to harden him in life), has repeatedly undermined him and has forced Serkan to become a survivalist. When someone cannot even trust in his own father, it is not surprising that he ends up having deep-rooted trust issues in all other spheres of his life. This is what we see manifest in Serkan and his inability to trust his instinct where Eda is concerned.
The only person we haven’t seen Serkan yell at so far is Selin. It may be that there is implicit trust because of their shared childhood and professional partnership, in addition to Selin’s professional competence. They were also in a relationship for three years. Whether that relationship was passionate or not, one develops a sense of comfort and companionship with a person like that and Selin’s loyalty stokes his ego further. This is why when Serkan discovers Selin’s lies regarding the leak of the contract, something fundamental will shift in he how thinks about loyalty and trust.
Ferit is forever insecure about Selin and her feelings for Serkan. He eavesdrops, checks in on her, follows her, lies to her and these are all designed to understand the risk of her leaving him for Serkan. It is good that he overhears Selin’s conversation with Serkan, where she confirms what he already knows. Ferit is the logical choice for Selin. What is interesting is that Ferit genuinely loves her enough to accept being the logical choice as opposed to the one she is passionately in love with. We will have to see how this plays out but I feel sorry for Selin. She gave her heart to Serkan a long time ago and she is still trying to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. Sometimes, a complete and clean break is the only way to go and maybe we will still see an outcome where Serkan and Selin dissolve the partnership at the holding.
A quick side note and shoutout for Ferit: even though he is portrayed as a mild and weak character, he showed much more integrity than most male characters by admitting his mistake about sending the photo to Kaan. Manhood can be defined in many different ways.
Melo has self-image issues of her own and when someone like Kaan gave her a little bit of attention, she believes it to be true love. She ignores all sorts of warning bells and pursues this ‘love’ with a naivete that is almost illustrative of ALL the things a girl shouldn’t do. When she discovers her folly, what I loved is how she does not wallow in self-pity or self-justification, and works with the gang to bring Kaan to task.
Throughout their time together, Eda has made plenty of mistakes but there has never been any doubt about her intentions. Even when assessing the merits of a situation based on evidence, there has to be objectivity in how those variables are interpreted. Eda’s past mistakes involve her taking on more than she can chew but she never endangered the company by comprising on her integrity. Without any such precedence, to insinuate that Eda has a financial relationship with Kaan since she is the only one who could have leaked the designs violates this principle of objective assessment.
Serkan also asserts that Eda never accepts her mistakes or apologizes. This could not be further from the truth. Her whole reason to enter into this relationship game was to atone for her mistake. Every time her impulsiveness got them into trouble, she apologized for the trouble she caused Serkan. Serkan is projecting himself onto Eda when he tells Ayfer that Eda should be asking for forgiveness. This is how distorted Serkan’s objectivity can be in order to protect his self-image.
Having lost Eda, Serkan is lost himself. In his unsettled state, he is lashing out at everybody. Engin, Seyfi and his mother do not hesitate to hold up a mirror in front of him, and he begins to waiver. Eda refuses to engage with him or respond to his pittance of an apology, and he begins to understand the depth of what he forfeited.
VC: @Hailz12343, twitter
Even his father explains to him what we all know: Eda healed a damaged family by just being herself and Serkan should become creative in how to fix it. At this point, everyone in his world (except Selin) is rooting for Serkan to fix things with Eda, and he is being pushed to be the one to change and grow. In all his other relationships, everybody adapts to his rigid principles and this is a new journey for him. His willingness to shift and change is a testament to how deeply he feels for Eda. Throughout the episode, as illustrated in the section on Self-Image, we see how he keeps trying different tactics to try and reach Eda.
DIGNITIY & INTEGRITY
I cannot say enough good things about how Ayse had Eda respond to the unfounded allegations Serkan made on her personality and pride. She is wounded by his lack of trust and remains unyielding to his efforts to mend their distance. She remains consistent in her expressed plan to stay away from Serkan, prove her innocence and then move out of his life altogether. She delivers on her responsibilities, producing stellar work in the process, does not dissolve into tears in front of Serkan nor ever demand how he could have questioned her integrity. She doesn’t let her bitterness with Serkan change her interactions with others, and this is most obvious when she runs into Serkan and Sirius at the park. She’s affectionate with Sirius but keeps that separate from her interactions with Serkan, who does not deserve a softening from Eda yet.
VC: @demirendil, twitter
When Serkan provides his stilted explanation about trust and admits to trusting her without any evidence, Eda articulates that more than his humiliation and punishment, it was his lack of trust that broke her. She returns her ring and bids farewell. She protected her boundaries in the most respectful and dignified manner possible. No ridiculous hysterics or unnecessary interferences that skews her method of interactions with Serkan.
With the return of her ring, by the end of this episode their relationship arc has come to where it needs to: at a starting point where Serkan and Eda choose to be in a relationship because they love each other. Selin’s shadow removed from their interactions, it will also remove doubts about the authenticity of their gestures towards each other. Eda is restrained in expressing her feelings because she doesn’t think Serkan truly loves her or that her overtures may be unwelcome. This feeling was accentuated with his distrust in her because if he truly loved her, he could never have imagined her as a thief.
With Eda overhearing Serkan’s admission that Selin would be the logical choice for him, leaving it to Selin’s interpretation that what he feels for Eda is not logical, and later Serkan’s admission that he trusts her without proof, both the Selin and trust issues are dealt with efficiently through credible plot devices. I have great hopes for Episode 9 and the path Eda and Serkan choose as a way to heal towards each other, in a journey that is built on mutual respect and desire.
STRENGTH OF NARRATIVE
Ayse’s storytelling continues to enthrall me. There is complete consistency in character development. Neither of Eda nor Serkan behaved in unexpected ways, and the slow unraveling of their personality is a nod to the reality that no one changes overnight. It would be unbelievable if Serkan was immediately apologetic and contrite in his response to Eda. This kind of plot and character development also create great opportunities for the actors to portray a nuanced characterization that they can build on over time. For example, I loved how Hande/ Eda had tears in her eyes each time Serkan disappointed her with his response.
Why shouldn’t I return the ring?
Translation credit: www.expressdizi.com
Why should I come with you?
Translation credit: www.expressdizi.com
As a woman, one of my guiding principles is to have articulation around my boundaries, in how I establish and communicate them. I love that Eda is a strong, assertive personality capable of forging a mindful path through life.
I also love that Serkan is shown as a flawed male character who has personality issues that are not normalized or portrayed as acceptable. Who better to play the role than Kerem, who has been a vocal supporter of women’s rights in public forums and has often called for men to change their mindset.
I fully support Ayse’s brand of feminism, where women draw their strength from within and are able to take a dignified stand while embedded in a patriarchal system. Ayse's women are self-reliant and able to solve their own problems.
She also upholds ways men often define the narrative because society and/or circumstances have allowed them to do so. Her portrayal provides far more realistic examples for us to follow than dramatized versions where women are often shown to be rebels without a cause, which de-legitimizes the feminine journey.
In today’s society, it is important for women to understand how to develop the traits and instincts required to navigate a rapidly evolving social system. I feel Ayse showcases fundamental traits women can develop that help us in any situation. And it is because of this opportunity to uphold important social issues through this beautiful tale that I find myself carving out time for the show and my analysis each week.
REEL TO REAL
One of the most fun things about Sen Cal Kapimi has been the behind the scenes engagement from cast and crew (Anil & Sarp, your bromance is becoming legendary in the fan circle!). It is fantastic to see a team having so much fun during the process of creation and it validates the golden truth that the “only way to do great work is to love what you do”. They come across as a genuinely fun loving, authentic group of people and make it so much more meaningful for us fans to be a part of the journey. I had written an article a while ago about the healing powers of Turkish drama, and for me Sen Cal Kapimi is my new path for healing. We live in difficult times and to have a visual representation of the beauty of human connection, love and emotional growth is the kind of drug we all need.
Till we meet again.
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