Even though a very busy week with travel and work, I wanted to pen some of my thoughts of the magnificent return of Sen Cal Kapimi in Season 2, with Ayse back at its helm. Producing a 140 minute show is challenging even with immaculate preparation. To be able to do so such that we find the familiarity of the characters we had admired from the beginning speaks to the subtlety required to achieve that outcome.
For this week, I wanted to focus my essay primarily on Serkan and Eda, and how and why their interactions still make sense after a 5 year time jump. I will not focus on minor lapses in script and execution, with the recognition that it is no mean feat to recover a story from the disaster zone it had parked itself in.
A RIVER BENDS
We see Serkan back in his pre-Eda form of the arrogant, self-entitled, self-important architect, whose identity has purged the humane side of Serkan Eda had helped to nourish during their relationship. A survivor of harsh treatments for a brain tumor, that may or may not have been malignant, he chooses his career over Eda.
When faced with mortality, he is driven by a need to leave a legacy that is bigger than a love well lived. Even though Eda stands by him throughout the treatment phase in the hopes that they can finally live their life once the nightmare is over, as has been the norm for #Edser, she plunged into a new one.
Eda understands how much of herself she had lost in her bid to fight for their love and for Serkan. She recognizes that she cannot change a person to her mold if he doesn’t wish to change. It is exhausting to carry the full burden of the relationship on one’s shoulders when the other’s emotional growth remains light years behind one’s own and, hence, the headstrong beautiful Eda accepts defeat and she moves away. A forceful river, who until then had ploughed through her obstacles in life, decides to bend around this one. Unable to stop loving him, a part of him remaining with her for the rest of time.
Eda leaves and goes to Italy for her higher studies. Serkan keeps tabs from a distance, through published materials, unaware that Eda gave birth to their beautiful baby girl by herself. With support from Melo and Ayfer, Eda has become a successful landscape designer of international repute and moves to the coastal city of Sile for a year. Serkan’s firm is retained to do a major renovation project at the hotel where she is restoring the grounds, and they meet.
With Kiraz being a well-kept secret from Serkan, who is very expressive of his dislike for children, Eda engages with Serkan cautiously, trying her best to get him to leave. She has accepted her solitude and it is obvious that her world revolves around Kiraz. After everything she endured, she has also accepted that in the end game, her love for Serkan wasn’t enough for him to overcome his fears. She did not wish to obligate him into a relationship and keeps the truth about Kiraz from him. She cannot possibly bring herself to have Serkan hurt Kiraz that way she has been hurt.
Being rejected by someone whose love and acceptance we crave is devastating.
APPLE DOESN’T FALL FAR FROM THE TREE
I have made assertions in the past that Serkan is very much like Aydan in some respects. Self-entitled and selfish to the point that they lack empathy for their partners. After a five year relationship with Kemal, Aydan continues to keep him hidden from Serkan. This is a twisted way to be prioritizing her son’s needs, because she wants to give him time to accept another man in her life. Molly coddling him and enabling him to be the one who throws a temper tantrum when things do not go his way is terrible parenting in any culture. They are both so self-centered with a myopic view over what’s important to them that, when the time comes, neither feels terribly guilty about stepping over their partner’s feelings.
Aydan did the same thing with keeping Eda in the dark after Serkan’s accident. She was so concerned about doing whatever required to ‘protect’ her child, that her logic left the building along with her dignity. With such precedence and learned behavior, this version of Serkan surprised me far less than the stranger that emerged through the pens of writers other than Ayse. When in fear and uncertainty, both Aydan and Serkan are like turtles who retreat into their shell that others cannot penetrate.
LIFE IS TO BE LIVED
I am very glad that the toxic dynamics of Eda and Serkan’s relationship from their first try did not survive. Both Eda and Serkan were rigid personalities. We saw Eda adapt to the outlandish changes in Serkan’s life but what that left us with is a woman who had made her relationship with Serkan her only dream. We saw a woman who internalized all manner of emotional abuse in the hopes that she will finally have her happy ever after with the man of her dreams. And in this quest, she forgot how to live.
Five years after the fact, at dinner with Serkan, Eda finally expresses herself, and I love how she says that “… you forgot about real life.”
Through the fantasy of falling in love, we start to make compromises. Sometimes, these compromises grow so much that we become unrecognizable to ourselves, with a lost connection of what a life of meaning might have been for us. It is only when Serkan rejects her with full cognizance – not as a result of some accident or circumstances – that she recognizes Serkan for who he is.
A man who is still so driven by his own demons, who left himself so ensconced in a shell of his making for much of his life, who still has a need to climb the corporate ladder not laden by his father, that the chance to embrace life scares him. And now that he has reached the synthetic pinnacle he had imagined for himself, and still finds himself unfulfilled, does he realize what he purged when he shoved Eda out of his life.
SECRETS IN LOVE
Kiraz is a beautiful addition to the version of love story Serkan and Eda could not live. She remains a symbol of the strength of that love. A reminder that life is messy but even within that mess we can produce something beautiful that brings hope.
VC: @jb_kg_sg/ twitter
We see Serkan drawn to Eda again without the knowledge of Kiraz. Did he have a subconscious need to set her free when he saw how much of her life had already been spent in managing his crises? He tells her that had they been together she may never have gone to Italy. Perhaps that is true. If they had been married and Kiraz came along, Serkan could never be Engin and be a stay at home father. Between the two high powered individuals, it would have been Eda who would take a back seat in her career. And it would become grounds for life-long resentment that she never got to fulfill her potential.
Today, both Serkan and Eda have reached the kind of professional success they had dreamt of, though for Eda it is more of a journey than a destination. They are confident in themselves and they no longer need to have a mentor mentee relationship. As they engage as two individuals who are at par with each other, the unveiling of the secrets surrounding Kiraz should lead to interesting philosophical discussions. But the reality is never as simple as ‘a lie is a lie’.
Mothers are fiercely protective of their daughters, especially those of us who experience an unjust world due to patriarchal choices. Serkan has destroyed Eda’s sense of trust in him and he needs to earn it back in order to learn about his child. Eda does not owe Serkan anything because she has paid more than her fair share throughout their tumultuous relationship.
I hope that, in this second round, they learn to have a more mature discourse where both are willing to accept their flaws. Spending an inordinate amount of time bickering and in fits of jealousy would be a very poor use of this second chance, where both have gone through a journey to become more mature and enlightened about love, life and existence.
After seeing Eda after so long, Serkan realizes that he never got over Eda as he had thought he would, and wants to rekindle their love. True to his character, he is just as selfish as ever, pretending that Eda should be just as ready to jump back into a relationship because he is now willing to apologize and move on. Much like in episode 8 where he shows up at the flower shop, pretending that Eda will just forget the way he treated her with his accusations of theft. Inflated egos are our worst enemies.
It is obvious that Eda also never really outgrew her love for Serkan either. However, I am looking forward to an Eda who stands her ground because she now has a daughter who needs to learn how to hold her own in a world where men often take us too much for granted.
Till we meet again!
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