I enjoyed Episode 22 for its movement of characters and story. We had some necessary shifts in arcs that had been languishing for some time, and to finally have decisive development felt satisfying. This is particularly true for the finality of the characters of Alptekin and Selin, both of whom seemed to have lost their way from where they had started.
Serkan and Eda reach a new stage in their relationship, where lies have been confronted and both explore ways to strengthen their trust in each other.
We get twists in the story in the form of Balca, who may seem an unwelcome third wheel but I view as a necessary plot device for Eda to fast track her confused state of mind about how exactly she should be approaching the relationship with the man she loves so deeply.
With all these interwoven stories that feed each other, these are the themes that stood out to me.
CHANGE IS A CHOICE
Albert Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”. We have already established that for a relationship to thrive, intelligence goes beyond the intellectual and encompasses the emotional as well. Until now, we have seen the transformation of Serkan, from a robotic workaholic to a sensual, sensitive lover who holds Eda in the highest regard. He has allowed her to break through his inhibitions around his expressions of love, and opened his heart to make him willing to take risks in the name of love.
The truth is out and Serkan has expressed in every way he knows how that his decision to ‘break up’ was to protect Eda. As she hesitates to take steps towards him after being burnt so badly, where she doesn’t trust that Serkan knows how to build a relationship, they have a moment in the elevator where Serkan kisses her as she is trying to remain calm in an enclosed space.
I found it rather jarring that after being responsive to the kiss, Eda’s instinctive response is to slap him. The justification is probably that she liked it too much for her own good and this was a way to break the spell. Offense is often the best defense. It is good that Serkan takes it in his stride and goes in for round number two, which makes it clear how much he respects the ornate contract between them.
This is aligned with Serkan's willingness to take risks even when Eda is wildly gesticulating her reluctance to forget what they have just lived through. However, I have to express my pet peeve about physical contact. As we try to embrace enlightened times, just as much as I loathe male violence towards females, I also loathe this portrayed lack of self-control in women where slapping their way out of an argument or situation is their sole expression of their opinion. “Hands to yourself” must be taught to both genders. This is the second time Eda has hit Serkan and it would be good if it is the last. She is intelligent and articulate enough to express exactly what she is or is not willing to do.
Even though there is the popular opinion that Eda is being childish, my interpretation is different. Eda is fresh from deep hurt where she made herself believe that Serkan picked his career over her. On its heels came the revelation that he hid a life-changing truth from her, communicating that he didn’t trust in her love enough to think she would stand by him. Just because he is now being open and honest doesn’t suddenly strip her off her inhibitions. We all try to protect our hearts from being hurt, and she needs to make sure that Serkan will not bail on her in this manner again. After all, he had shared many of the same platitudes with her before he had separated.
When Selin’s lies come to light and Eda acknowledges that she also hid the truth from Serkan, she realizes that sometimes choices are made on behalf of the other person with the best of intentions. She becomes willing to entertain his three wishes, the first of which center around finding their way back towards being a couple again. Where she is welcome to show up at his doorstep without notice, but he promises to keep it fairly platonic over a movie. This is a couple who have consummated their passionate relationship, are obviously very attracted to each other, but Serkan is willing to express that he will keep that at bay until she fully trusts him again. He will work on building a meaningful relationship with her.
The nature of balanced relationships is such that it is often like two people moving around on a boat without it toppling. Without communication and coordination, things fall apart but it takes time to understand how to trust each other fully and begin to move in concert so that both can remain standing. Sometimes one needs to stand still while the other makes all the moves and vice versa.
Before the start of their relationship, Eda was the patient one in the face of uncertainty around Serkan’s feelings for Selin. Once they started the relationship, she felt she had expressed her deepest love by sowing her mother’s seeds in Serkan’s garden, but he let her go while standing next to the tub. Now that Serkan is fully sure of himself, he needs to be the still one while Eda learns how to fully trust him again. She needs to learn to trust her instincts about him and remember that underneath all the layers lie the man who loves her the most in the world. She needs to learn that having an ego leads to loss in love and start to watch for the signs carefully to appreciate that Serkan has already shed his ego around her when he declared his love in front of everyone and gracefully accepted her many gestures of rejection in front of everyone as well.
And it is this fundamental change that will have to come from Eda, which she begins to realize. Her hitting Serkan, goading him to hire Balca, not going to him the first night he asks, still playing at the contract game when convenient - are all coming from a mixture of mistrust and ego, and Balca will prove to be the impetus for why she changes. Just as Serkan cannot imagine her with anyone else, in reality neither can Eda ever forfeit him to someone else. Balca is no Selin who will play mild games at love. She is a woman on a mission and she will bulldoze through any obstacle, where the means will justify the end. Eda is smart enough to see Balca for the temptress she is and there is nothing like another feisty child in the playground vying for the same toy to evoke the sense of possessiveness in the original owner!
Eda will realize quickly that keeping Serkan sexually starved or guessing, as a ploy to control him, will not be beneficial. I expect that the sexual tension will rise between the two as Eda comes to him to lay her claim on her man. This journey of the two finding their way back into each other’s arms will be a far more enticing plotline than showing a snake like Balca have any real ability to wedge a distance between these two.
WOMEN: A SPECTRUM
Balca and her superficial buddy are being brought in as examples of yet another dimension of women whose focus in life is to snag the man they feel is worthy of them. Whether the man genuinely wants this or not is of secondary concern. The goal is to win the trophy of her choice and that is what Balca is shown to be. Whereas we had Selin who had credible reasons to fall in love with Serkan from their shared childhood, and keep running after that love because the pain of rejection made her lose herself, Balca has no such scruples. She will be chameleonic, and adapt to whatever she thinks will intrigue Serkan. I would not be surprised if at some point she starts imitating Eda while she tries to discredit Eda through conniving ways.
It has just been one episode, but it takes a clever script and subtle acting to portray all this about a character. The way her provocativeness changes when Serkan is around, her professional prowess at its best when showing off to him, her understated messaging that she does not believe in changing a man, her effort to ingratiate herself to Aydan – all speak to a very clever woman, and an equally delusional one. Serkan may instinctively understand this about Balca and has already taken a number of opportunities to express how affected he is by Eda, but Balca is so sure of herself and her worthiness that she feels Eda is a mere bump in the road because Serkan hasn’t met his true match yet.
It will be fun to watch all the ways her devious mind eventually fails her.
On the other hand, we have Aydan, who is trying to piece her life back together as news of her divorce breaks in the society. At the association election, as she gives her impassioned speech, I loved her sense of dignity and compassion as she accepts the truth and wishes to extend her helping hand to women who are not as lucky. With authentic characters like Aydan, Eda and even Selin, it is obvious that Balca is here to illustrate a contrast.
I have made this point over the last two weeks that both Alptekin and Selin’s characters had hit an unredeemable wall. It didn’t come as a surprise that they both made a relatively abrupt but gracious exit from the show. I say gracious because both insinuated at themes in their characters’ lives that are believable.
Alptekin’s cowardice has been known for a while but there was outrage when he indulged in an affair so soon after leaving home. At being found, there is no big drama about their divorce but a quiet acceptance from both Alptekin and Aydan. Through the various hints throughout the show, Alptekin’s claim that he really didn’t have much of a marriage since their elder son passed away makes sense. This feeds his innate sense of unhappiness and incompleteness, which translates into a string of bad choices in how he chose to be a father and a husband.
It is not justification for his actions but merely an observation about how certain factors can lead us into making detrimental choices even when we know it will hurt our happiness. When he finally steps away from Serkan, who is unable to look at his father with respect, his only solace is to have understood Serkan well enough to know that someday Serkan will find it in his heart to forgive him.
Father and son relationships are just as complicated as mother and daughter relationships. The young father carries the burden of modeling for the child life values that will someday make the child forgiving and respectful towards the father, but Alptekin chased his fortunes instead and shoved Serkan off to boarding school when he needed his parent figures the most. While Aydan tried to make up for her absence, Alptekin allowed his arrogance to keep his son at a distance until it was too late to atone for his choices.
Selin’s character started off as being quite relatable as a woman who was trying hard to move on from the love of her life, but kept getting pulled back when she saw another woman moving into the space she had vacated. We understood her courage in telling Serkan that she would leave everything for him but when she is ultimately rejected because Serkan truly falls in love with Eda, followed by Ferit’s rejection, Selin begins to lose touch with herself.
In her effort to regain her sense of worth, she starts to exert her power against Eda where she can, and begins to slide to the depths of someone who cannot bear to see Serkan and Eda happy together even though she understands she will never get Serkan back. In her pettiness, she does things she is not proud of but, through the way the plot moves, she is eventually able to find a graceful exit for herself.
She comes clean in her complicity in hiding Ferit’s mistake, she points the finger at all those who were also directly and indirectly complicit, she expresses her loyalty to Serkan by not giving into Efe’s blackmail and eventually sells her shares back to Serkan, leaving him as the largest shareholder in the holding.
From what she overhears, Selin understands Balca’s personality and enables her to hone in on her focus on Serkan, but there is also some professional truth to her advice. As the PR manager, Balca will need to understand Serkan very well given the dominant role he plays at the firm and the holding. She doesn’t give Balca specific gossip that are designed to create a wedge between Serkan and Eda; she merely sets the ball in motion.
Even though Selin has disgraced herself with her many choices, I still liked that she held her head up high as she left, conceding defeat to Eda in a manner that matches the Selin we had come to know in the earlier episodes. She leaves as a woman trying to find herself again, and there is power in that.
Bige is truly masterful at her craft, and the way she portrayed the complex emotions a Selin experiences – from despair, to defeat, to envy, to anger, to a maniacal desperation - it was beautifully done. We understand that one cannot force love, and it is sad that Selin had to learn through many painful lessons that one cannot demand love when one doesn’t truly know how to love herself. She spent so much of her life trying to adapt to the rigidity of Serkan, in the hopes that he would come to her, she forgot what she should be chasing and why.
I could not help but wish her well in her new life, and I wish Serkan was shown to have more compassion towards her at the end. The truth remains that he played with her emotions while he knew how desperately she loved him, and did not stop from calling on her help, until he decided it was time to stop. Within the perceived perfection of Serkan, Selin exposed some shades of grey that makes him human. He could not will his heart to love Selin but neither could he let go of the power he felt from her adulation.
ROOT OF LOVE
A defining factor in the great support for the love between Serkan and Eda is the sensuality of their relationship. Starting from the first episode, where it is obvious that they are just as affected by each other’s physicality as they are about their personalities, it feeds the sexual tension and desire between them. It creates the innate sense of two pieces that belong together and this particular clip is perfection in capturing this sensuality.
VC: @CoolCatKerr/ YouTube
This aspect of their relationship became unbelievably subdued during their separation period, where there was no hint of the tension one expects between two people who had shared a passionate relationship in the not too distant past. It is great to see a revival of this sensual desire between two young people who really do not have any real reason to stay away from each other than their own inhibitions.
Part of why Serkan willingly signed the contract is to have a chance to stay within Eda’s life. With time, he gains confidence in her love for him, and he is willing to adapt to her whimsical requests if it means she will understand how deeply he loves her back. I liked that in the elevator Serkan reminds Eda that too many whims can exhaust a lover, and that she should not forget men and women have an unwritten contract between them as well. This, with added insinuations from Balca that trying to change someone is not her chosen method in a relationship, Eda starts to understand that she is really fighting against herself.
The scene at Mrs. Lehman’s atelier is so picturesque and a throwback to the depth of oneness they have shared, that it is fitting to see both equally and deeply affected by the memory of it. I see it as a foreshadowing of more to come as Serkan teases Eda out of her shell and reacquaints her with her prior self, who was willing to love Serkan with complete abandon. Who was willing to accept and love him with all his flaws. Who only set standards of life values that Serkan wants to evolve to. He doesn’t change because he is forced to, but because he is inspired to. And Eda will be the same.
Herein is the root of their love. They both met in the other a magician who casts a spell on what their individual souls resonate with. As Eda’s inhibitions melt away, it will be beautiful to witness all the ways they find the best versions of themselves when they choose to be together.
At the end of last episode, there was an uproar within the fandom when we thought that Ayse and her writing team had been replaced. Surely that is why Serkan, the health freak and human hater, could possibly concede to Balca coming into his home after office hours, especially when he is expecting Eda and, God forbid, relent to ordering a pizza from a pizzeria he actually likes?! Just as Serkan and Eda explore paths of forgiveness so that they can enjoy their journey together, we also need to find paths of forgiveness when scrutinizing a weekly show.
This is a series that needs to have forward plot movement and there are only so many tools to be employed to showcase chosen arcs. If we like the theme of Eda being forced out of her cocoon, then a Balca is necessary. If we like the theme of Serkan loosening up from the rigid man we first came to know, then we accept that his habits will evolve. He was waiting on Eda but she didn’t come, and perhaps he assumed she wouldn’t.
Balca is new to his company, making an effort to be proficient with her work and she has strategically claimed hunger. With the newfound kindness bone that Eda has surgically placed inside him, he is being civil in inviting her in. His wariness comes through his statements about an amazing woman in his life and maybe he begins to have fun with finally having the potential of getting a rise out of Eda. It’s not much different from how Eda used the swim instructor or all her flirtations with Can the photographer. It is a part and parcel of their relationship, and it will feed the passion with which they will embrace each other down the road.
Serkan and Eda cannot be apart, and a relationship is far beyond just having loving moments together. It is about coming together on a path where they can also learn to walk in companionable silence and that is the part of their journey that I am enjoying. I did not get frustrated with their stand-offish mannerisms, because they are methodically working their way back towards each other. I far prefer this over episodes 14 – 19 where they could not explore any growth in their relationship because of the one big lie in between them.
It is also enjoyable to watch the Serkan/ Engin/ Ferit/ Erdem dymanics evolve through pure comedy gold, and also how all the girls continue to grow together. Engin’s haphazard proposal and Piril’s acceptance is a cute touch, but all the side relationships melt into the background against the blazing one from #EdSer. With that said, I look forward to the ways they will continue to blossom together, as they take on the new twists coming their way.
Till we meet again.
If you enjoyed this piece, please go to the footer to subscribe to my blog!
* All pictures and video clips belong to their original owners. No Copyright infringement intended.