As Eda and Serkan try to understand what it means for life to bring them back together again after a decided and painful breakup five years prior, Episode 41 plunges us into some important philosophical questions about a woman’s self-determination, entitlements, parental rights, fairness in relationships, and so much more.
Screenwriter Volkan Sumbul said of Turkish drama, “The scripts generally develop from big and powerful dramatic conflicts. Nobody would watch otherwise.” Over the past year of watching Sen Cal Kapimi, I have come to appreciate this point more. Even though we as the audience want for the couple to be together and work through their problems, perhaps mimicking the petty details of everyday life does not make for good drama on screen. As such, I am cognizant that several of the plot choices are a function of pacing out this conflict.
Nevertheless, part of the strength of Ayse’s writing is that I find underlying themes left to my interpretive imagination, which provoke an intellectual exploration invariant of whether it is real or reel life.
One of the hottest debates for this episode has been whether Eda was ‘right’ in keeping Kiraz from Serkan and whether Serkan has the absolute right to be the one with the right of refusal on being a part of his daughter’s life. The number of ‘rights’ in the previous sentence is rather daunting, but when one thinks about the fact that ‘rights’ came to be as what could or should be protected by the law, the question takes on dimensions that I found to be an interesting philosophical exercise.
By law, there is no absolute right that a father, especially one out of wedlock, has to be informed about a pregnancy.
Whereas the institution of marriage has some rights protected by the law, relationship dynamics between two consenting adults are not. People will do what feels best to them based on the experiences they lived.
Even though I came upon a plethora of judgmental comments about Eda’s choice to keep the truth from Serkan, I cannot take stark sides. Eda is shown to have worked in Kiraz’s best interests, believing that her daughter would thrive better imagining a father who was a loving hero as opposed to the reality of a father who did not want her or her mother.
As a protective, unmarried parent, it is completely within her privileges to make this decision for her child. She could have used Kiraz to secure the future with Serkan she wanted, but she decides otherwise based on the information she had available to her at that time.
Through further insight into Eda’s perspective on the breakup, we come to see that since Serkan receives his clean bill of health, he starts to push Eda away, getting aggressive when talking about marriage, children and their future. He tells her the further she goes away the better, and she finally leaves. Even though she had suspected pregnancy, she didn’t get confirmation until she reached Italy.
Being rejected in such a spectacular fashion is credible grounds for her to believe that Serkan would do the same with news of his child, leading her to make a painful decision to raise their lovechild on her own. Eda doesn’t keep Kiraz from Serkan out of spite, but out of love for Kiraz and maybe even out of love for Serkan. Unlike Selin, who was willing to punish Serkan with a pregnancy not of his making, Eda spares Serkan believing this is what he truly wants. She nourishes Kiraz’s imagination about her amazing father without ever vilifying Serkan but tries to raise her to be an independent young woman. Eda’s actions are rooted in love.
Serkan’s actions thus far are not as well explained. After everything she endured for Serkan, including being his pillar of support through a difficult, life-changing treatment plan, to be made to feel like she no longer fulfills Serkan must have been devastating for Eda. She is shown to have accepted the many obstacles that wedged a distance between them and also accepted Serkan’s words that he wished to become immortal through his work. An excuse he used for their first break-up as well, when the audience had better insight into his reasoning.
After he manages to shove Eda out of his life, he does not make any overtures towards checking on her. His absence or apparent lack of remorse may have created further grounds for Eda to believe he truly meant all the words he said. This chance meeting after five years is fortuitous but Serkan’s renewed interest in Eda is, at best, confusing to Eda. She is regretful about hiding the truth from Serkan but, from the knowledge she has available to her, she is entitled to pick the moment to disclose the truth to him.
That is, if Serkan is entitled to decide on Eda’s behalf, Eda is also entitled to make decisions based on his choices, especially if her choices are meant to protect and nurture her child. I just wish plot choices did not include teaching a 4/5 year old to lie through her teeth…
LIKE FATHER, LIKE DAUGHTER
It has been a joy for me to watch Serkan and Kiraz evolve just as Serkan and Eda had evolved. A man who is resolutely against children cannot help but be taken in by the spitfire without knowing what she must mean to him. From a cinematic standpoint, it makes sense to work with a child this age because getting a meaningful performance out of a child younger than this would be difficult and, at four or five, she is still at the magical age where she welcomes new people and experiences without any filters. This reflects both in her performance as well as in her sparkling character.
Given Serkan's ignorance of his relationship with her, the symbolism of her abilities to do magic, build aesthetically, being particular about her tasks, her morning habits mirroring Serkan's - all create wonderful opportunities to watch a desirable plot development. These scenes leave one with a silly grin on their faces; isn't that the purpose of entertainment? As such, regardless of the moral debates around Serkan's absolute or relative right to know about Kiraz from the beginning, this plot line has been a great opportunity for Kerem to showcase interesting aspects of Serkan's character.
YIN YANG OF SERKAN’S LOVE
For Serkan, it is very possible that, true to his nature, he pushed Eda away for her own good - as defined by Serkan. I thought it beautiful that Eda tells Serkan out on the terrace, “I would have even agreed to be miserable with you, Serkan.”
Out of his desire to protect Eda, Serkan never fully understood that Eda’s joy came from being with him and being able to face life together. A perfectionist by nature, he felt that if he could not be the complete man for her that he wanted to be, Eda could not possibly love him enough to want to stay for the longer-term.
Perhaps Serkan’s oncologist shared something private with him regarding his fertility or chances of recurrence of his cancer or other physiological effects that Serkan deems to be detrimental to Eda’s future. He foresees her future constrained by his life situation and decides that she is better off without him. There are two possible evidentiary support for this hypothesis.
1) Aydan, annoying as hell as she is, says that the root of her anger towards Eda is because she left Serkan. When multiple folks remind her that Eda’s departure was a result of Serkan’s words, Aydan says that he spoke with his tongue and not his heart. After Eda leaves, he locked himself in his room for months. Aydan witnessed Serkan’s true despair that others may have missed.
2) Serkan tries several times to create scenarios where they can talk in a more soulful fashion. Some may be his ill-planned attempts to pretend that the last five years never happened because a clean restart is easier than trying to talk through all the whyfores and therefores. When talking in the café at the office, Eda tells him that she has resigned herself to the failure of their relationship. Serkan asks if she’s not interested in his side of the story at all. This also raises the antennae for more to come from his perspective – we hope.
The question that comes to mind is why suddenly now? Why this urgent need to be back with Eda, especially when he has generally been aware of her whereabouts since she left? One probable answer lies in the fact that for cancer survivors, being in complete remission for five years post-treatment is a big milestone. Probability of longer-term survival seems high enough that many doctors may claim that one is cured. Serkan has reached this milestone and as such may feel more confident about restarting a life with Eda, knowing that he is likely to be there to help her weather her life.
Serkan knows that for him there has not been anyone other than Eda, and there cannot be. He also believes in his heart that the same is true for Eda. And now that fate has brought them together again, he is unwilling to let her slip away once more. This is a bit of a plot hole that we just need to roll with. If Serkan was pining for her so much, and he was getting close to the five year mark, he should have gone out looking for her as opposed to waiting for fate to drop her back in his lap. A proactive Serkan would have made for an even more exquisite set up.
AN ETERNAL FLAME
I have always found it to be a wonderful artistic choice to show Eda yearn and pine for Serkan as much as he seems to for her. Her open admiration for his physical being, her desire for him, her becoming visibly affected by him, are all a very healthy and positive depiction of a young woman who knows how to love in an assertive manner.
The end of the episode brings a welcome and very well placed kiss between the two. As Serkan is trying to have Eda confess that she did not forget him while he has remained in love with her, Eda understandably reacts in anger. This is not the first time he has pushed her away but could not tolerate the idea of her moving on. Amidst her torrent of words, he kisses her. There is no real remorse in his actions, but what is more memorable is in how she kisses him back.
It brought me to tears to understand her loneliness from all the years she could not hold her beloved. The months of her pregnancy when she could not turn to him for support. Giving birth to their child by herself, with only her memories of him serving as her life partner. Seeing Serkan every time she sees Kiraz but not able to touch him or draw strength from him. Not knowing how he is thriving in his life and whether he remains in good health. Feeling that she needs to move on with her life, but never really able to. And now, here he is, touching her and kissing her, rekindling the passion she has tried to suppress for so long. This scene really could not be more perfect. I will just hope that the spell is not broken with another slap!
I feel the reason that so many of us are drawn to the angst of the #EdSer love story lies in the strength of their perceived bond. Their well constructed dialogue pays appropriate homage to what they have experienced and why their hearts are as fractured as they are. In Ayse’s telling of the story, so much of their love and regard for each other need not be said but comes through in small to big instances.
Serkan provoking a reaction from Eda through creating work scenarios that challenge her authority, Eda taking pleasure in Serkan’s appreciation of her work, Serkan taking care of her mother’s plant as a way to hold on to her, Eda’s valiant efforts to prove that she has moved on but unable to keep her restraint, and so many more of such subtle points that Ayse is simply masterful at bringing to the fore.
What we see on screen is almost a full body experience and that is what makes it different and special. We experience their story as though it is bigger than life. Some of the plot choices, acting, framing, colors, and more, overshadow the few discrepancies in script and characters. As I have already mentioned in the past, after barely surviving the monstrosities that are episodes 29 – 39, I will be watching the next few precious episodes with a far more forgiving eye. As long as the #EdSer dynamic evolves in a meaningful way, my journey with Sen Cal Kapimi will have been fulfilled.
Till we meet again.
If you enjoyed this piece, and would like to follow my weekly reviews, please go to the footer to subscribe to my blog!
For earlier reviews of SCK, go here.
* All pictures and video clips belong to their original owners. No Copyright infringement intended.