This week’s episode left me with a happy feeling, not only because of the long-awaited reconciliation, but for the long-awaited movement in character growth in the main pair. Even though many would have preferred a meaningful dialogue between Serkan and Eda before they came back together, sometimes there is more depth in what is not said. These are two people who no longer have doubts about the other’s love for them; they simply need to overcome their mental fears and believe that they are stronger together, no matter what they are facing. With that said, and in the interest of time, these are the arcs I wanted to explore further.
THE OBSERVANT LOVER
Eda is repentant from how she chose to hurt Serkan with her words and resolves to not give up on him. Her plan is to catch Babanne at her own game and close that chapter before she fully commits to Serkan. For the first time since they had become a couple, Serkan pointedly ignores her as he walks into the office and Eda, who could have spent the entire episode lamenting on what she has done and what she will do now that Serkan was distant, decides to make light of the slight, and is shown to be deeply affected by his scent and aura instead, deepening her desire to reconcile with him as soon as possible.
This is the first winning point for this new writing team. It had bothered me greatly that for a couple who were so passionately attracted to each other and who had consummated their relationship, Eda could be so nonchalant about the distance between them and remain so unemotional in the face of Serkan’s many attempts to heal their distance. Whether the script or the role’s interpretation, this is the side of Eda that was sorely missing – someone who cannot deny her love for Serkan, trusts that she is loved back and has full empathy for the struggles her beloved is also going through. Despite all the ways she has kept him at bay, Eda now not only has faith in Serkan’s discretion with Balca, she knows that he will take her back with open arms when she comes to him.
And Serkan, for his part, also knows that Eda still loves him. He knows there is something more behind the words she spoke, and he waits to understand how this will unfold. He no longer suffers his old insecurities of not being enough and, through her many actions over the weeks, he has come to fully believe in Eda’s partiality towards him. He takes his steps on the business front, going with his intuition that there is something amiss with Babanne and Seyman, but does not seek an audience with Eda. We do not see him broken and devastated; merely observing and waiting.
When Eda comes to him at the construction site, he sees in her the same struggle he went through from his decision to separate. He had felt compelled to let go, but he could not stay away from her. As such, even though Eda does not verbalize her dilemma, Serkan confirms his suspicion by goading her into remaining friends with him. Her haughty reaction is exactly what he had hoped for, but he still keeps away from pressuring her to tell him the reasons for her current decision to separate.
VC: @authorsanem/ twitter
This is a great distance traveled by Serkan. Not only does he trust in Eda’s love, he also trusts her to resolve her issues and come back to him. In contrast, it is Eda who has displayed the bigger trust issues. When Serkan let go of her hand in Episode 14, she does not trust in his love and fully believes in his hollow reasons. After a prolonged period of circular references until she finally discovers the truth, she does not trust that he will not hurt her again. This lack of trust and consequent actions had gone on for so long that from a script writer’s point of view, the only ways to move this forward were:
1) Through Eda’s dream, show that she has real fears about their union, be it her fear of being hurt again or Serkan being hurt
2) Allow that fear to grow so large under Babanne’s threats that Eda feels she has to take the step to separate with Serkan
3) Imply that the decision was so hard for her, that she will do everything she can to continue watching out for Serkan until she can be with him
4) Use distractions like Balca and Seyman, neither of whom pose anything other than an annoyance to the #EdSer relationship, as plot devices to demonstrate Serkan and Eda’s claim on each other.
The writers bring the last point to a head at the restaurant, where Balca overplays her hand by using Serkan's allergy to strawberries against him, and pays dearly by finding herself out of her pants and forced out of Serkan’s apartment. Kudos to Eda for calling Balca on her nonsense and making it clear that Serkan is off-limits.
VC: @authorsanem/ twitter
Once both Serkan and Eda openly acknowledge their jealousy, instead of playing shallow games of cat and mouse, their passionate reunion can be interpreted as the culmination of weeks worth of sexual tensions between two lovers whose hearts always knew better. Theirs is a possessive, all-consuming love and even though great moments had gone into building that impression about their love, it was shattered and then allowed to languish rather unconvincingly over a long period of time. The following scene, crafted carefully to capture the wildness of their passion while both say words that are more powerful than a mere ‘I love you’, leaves no doubts as to the depth of their desire for each other:
Given prior script choices and blended writing styles, the new writers have the challenge of rebuilding their fiery, mutual desire in a manner such that the way they look at each other and reach for each other, in their silence and in their togetherness, believably portray a couple whose love is unbeatable, passionate, and compassionate. I had hoped that Eda would choose to come to Serkan without him falling sick or in trouble, but I will take the cliched trope because it finally got Eda out of her mode of trundling along without an expressed direction around her plans regarding Serkan. Even though something intangible has left the script with Ayse and her team, I applaud the new team for pulling the story back up to a level where we can again imagine Eda getting lost in her dreams as she stares at Serkan.
LOVE IS SIMPLER THAN WE THINK
A few weeks ago, I had commended the simple trick Ceren and Ferit use to reset their relationship (re-enacting their first meeting). Even in real relationships, when issues get so heavy that we can no longer discuss them, sometimes a simple ‘reset’ or restart is the only way forward. There is no real reason Serkan and Eda cannot be together. Both separated driven by the fear that being together will hurt their beloved. And both realized that even if the reasons are not fully resolved or the past cannot be changed, there is no reason they cannot fight them together.
It is more than fitting for a show that had started as a female-centric narrative, that it is Eda who takes the step to overcome her final inhibitions and propose to Serkan. They do so in a setting that is meaningful to the start of their relationship, and it is symbolic that Eda is able to get past her fear of enclosed spaces as she reaches for Serkan with the rings. Serkan looks pleasantly surprised but not at all taken aback by his impulsive, beautiful Eda as she says the welcome words, “I have set aside all my fears to come to you. Will you marry me?” – a re-enactment of the dream she had had in Episode 25, with a slight reversal in roles.
We stay along a journey to take time to marvel, and sometimes internalize, at what was, what is and what can be
Since the beginning, I have thematically kept my reviews focused on aspects of the script and characterization, and how that plays into the relationship dynamic between Serkan and Eda. I don’t focus on every arc in the 2.5 hour show, because I am mindful of the challenges of filling up screen time for that long every week.
As such, it will have some lesser important scenes such as the Alex, Ayfer, Aydan trio, or the burgeoning trio among Melo, Leyla and Tahir or the deadpan but funny skits by Sarp, or the ferocity of Fifi, or the gentle astuteness of Seyfi, or the blossoming love between Ceren and Ferit, and now the new arc with Piril and Engin, and their family dilemmas. These are comic relief and/or plot mechanisms that do not require deep introspection, and as long as the characters do not regress, they serve as ways the ancillary characters have their own growth in their lives, as they revolve around the main pair. I hope the writers will keep a cohesion to these side arcs as well as the main love story so that each episode seems like a complete product as opposed to an amalgamation of disjointed skits.
I do not wish to compare the changes in writing teams and recognize that it is challenging to maintain a consistent tone in a layered narrative. Apart from the sorely needed movement in Serkan and Eda’s relationship, much else from the episode fell into the oblivion for me. Perhaps it is a mental fatigue from trying to remain engaged in a story that should have moved faster. With the change in pace and plot direction after three months, maybe I will enjoy upcoming moments more even if the profundity of the story seems to have diminished. Or maybe the charm of the show remains as a precious memory just like the honeymoon period of a new relationship. Over time, we obtain more depth in our union and learn to incorporate many more facets into the relationship, but nothing compares to the heady feelings of those first months, when everything is fresh and beautiful.
I look forward to the next phase of Serkan and Eda’s relationship, in hopes that the imagined impediments in their union will be rooted in intelligent and coherent plot choices.
Till we meet again.
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