Episode 43 illustrates why Sen Cal Kapimi continues to have such an active fandom rooting for the love story between Eda and Serkan. They have been torn apart in horrific ways more than once, more often by their own follies than not, but we continue to have faith in the strength of the bond that ties them together. The bond that helps them work through their walls and find each other again.
Setting aside the expected digressions in the dizi world, there are elements to Serkan and Eda’s story that resonate with young and old, and also with those who have to traverse the pitfalls of a committed relationship. Relationships are such that when we have found a soulmate without whom life seems incomplete, we are willing to endure the greatest pains, and even humiliation, so that we can protect the moments of pure joy and perfection.
For the sake of fiction, we are shown Eda as the steady pillar of the relationship as Serkan navigates his circuitous journey in life. In reality, it would not be fair for one person to carry the full burden of the relationship for so long. However, this makes for good television for a predominantly female audience, because it fulfills the classic Beauty and the Beast trope, where her steady hand heals the scarred heart of the ‘beast’. She brings out the best version in him, loves him fully with all his flaws and that teaches him how to love.
Much as this trope promotes the idea that women must be the adaptable one in making a relationship work, it also conveys a message of empowerment as the woman can steer the narrative as well. In addition, Sen Cal Kapimi does a decent job of showing how Serkan’s deliberate and innately kind personality creates a worthy partner for Eda, because he is almost always portrayed to be working in her best interests as he understands them, however misguided his actions may be.
The purity of their intentions for each other leads to a faith in their love; one that triumphs over the curve balls life throws their way. Through the narration in this episode, it is this faith in their love that gets validated after a string of disappointments over the last several episodes. In this stage of their story, they are two people who can never love another, are deeply in pain from being separated but have learnt to go through the motions of life without the other. Their need for each other is in every breath they take, and they share a child together. How will they grow from here?
Here are my top notes for the week and why I am back to cheering for their love to flourish.
TO LIVE OR NOT TO LIVE, THAT IS THE QUESTION
As Serkan discovers the truth about Kiraz, both Eda and his reactions are laced with agony.
For Serkan, it is a slew of inner conflicts arising from his knowledge that he cannot father a child, acknowledging the miracle that is Kiraz, not knowing the truth for so long, missing out on being a part of that journey, still fearing that he will leave them halfway if he was a part of their lives, accepting his part in why their chasm has grown to this extent, and so much more. He is a tortured soul who has internalized his loneliness, believing that he chose a path that is better for Eda.
By habit, Serkan self-punishes and creates his own hell on Earth because his upbringing and life experiences have taught him that he deserves to suffer. He cannot stay with Eda thinking that he cannot have her purity partake in his suffering, and he cannot stay away from her because she is his only hope for a better existence.
Eda, who has struggled with her conscience for five years for keeping Serkan in the dark regarding Kiraz, cannot leave his side until she is able to explain herself. She desperately wants for Serkan to become a father to Kiraz but at the same time she has the magnanimity of heart to understand that Serkan needs time.
This is the beauty in Eda that I admire the most - her ability to love with her whole heart. I don’t see her as a pushover who is accepting of Serkan’s bad behavior, but I see her as someone who is compassionate towards a man she understands is broken in unthinkable ways. And she extends her patience for him to embrace the possibilities of life with her.
When Serkan expresses his reluctance in embracing fatherhood, without knowing the truth behind his decisions, Eda is hurt, disappointed and aggravated, especially when she knows that he has met their beautiful daughter. This excerpt from the scene where Eda reacts to Serkan’s decision is a magnificent performance by Hande. We get insight into both their wounds, which are raw and bleeding.
She is frustrated that, from her vantage point, Serkan’s rigidity hasn’t changed. She is broken that Serkan doesn’t understand how much Kiraz needs a father, not a mere provider.
They are poles apart in how they think about life. Eda's personality lends itself to making the most of life when faced with mortality whereas Serkan wants to remain caged and entombed in preparation for mortality. When she lost her parents, under Ayfer’s loving care Eda learnt to seek love as her guiding light, remembering her parents’ love for her even if they were no longer with her. Serkan, after his brother’s sudden death and his parents’ inability to care for him, learnt to remove expectations from human interactions and turn towards professional competence with machine precision as that is a constant when human emotions are not.
In this current predicament, Serkan fears what he does not know. His own experience with his father is so nasty that he cannot trust himself to be a good father. Coupled with his understanding that he remains at high risk for a recurrence of his cancer, he doesn’t want to be the reason Kiraz’s life gets darkened – neither by his deficient personality nor by his premature departure. He is so crippled by this fear that he would rather keep himself from her and Eda, and continue to punish himself with his solitary life. He does this without understanding the depth of the hole in Kiraz’s life he leaves.
Once he does know, the question Serkan answers for himself is whether he will continue to choose breathing while he is dying, or will he finally choose to live while he is breathing.
The polarity of Eda and Serkan and how they individually and collectively embrace life is what makes their love story special. Their ability and potential to learn from each other and grow with each other is so great that when the story is told well, even the angst is worthy of watching and appreciating. For many episodes, Serkan has remained a closed book, making it difficult to relate to his erratic choices. Sometimes, his reasoning was so poorly explained to not at all that it was easy to wish for Eda to leave this toxic relationship. It is not her job to be his life-long therapist. It is their collective job to figure out how to be equal partners in a relationship. For that to happen, they will both need to grow as human beings, together. If that growth potential is no longer there then a relationship begins to disintegrate.
From the time Serkan expresses that Eda isn’t the only one who suffered, that he went to her graduation without her knowing because it was part of why he had let her go, to his full confessions on her doorstep, I cried for his silent anguish. I also appreciated that Eda is shown to acknowledge his words even if she isn’t ready to forget the past fully and just move on, pretending nothing happened.
It is powerful for Serkan to articulate that Eda should stop hurtling caustic words towards him out of her anger and accuse him of erasing her from his life because it could not be further from the truth. He has survived on his memories of her, in his belief that by letting her go he paved the way for a better life for her. This compilation of two scenes in Episodes 41 and 43 makes it clear as to how important it is to Serkan to know that Eda doesn't truly believe he forgot her, or for him to imagine that she forgot him even if he wants for her to find happiness without him.
[the translation in 43 is incorrect. He says, "be as angry as you wish but don't say that I forgot you."]
He knew she wouldn’t leave him if he wasn’t harsh and he didn’t want to deprive her of motherhood, of her chances with building a fulfilling professional life, because he had already experienced the first round of how much life gets depleted during treatments for cancer. Serkan doesn’t fear death, but he fears what his death will do to the ones he loves.
After this conversation, his pep talk with Engin and after learning from the doctor that after 5 years his chances of survival are good, Serkan finally brings himself to go through the videos and photos Eda left for him. Kerem owned this scene with aplomb as his every emotion is etched on his face through each of the stages Eda shares with him. Her desire to include him as her partner in crime in this journey of parenthood, her loneliness when things got difficult, her desire to capture all of Kiraz’s milestones that would have been important to him had he been with them, all hits him in the soul.
He cannot turn back time and ever do this again, because Kiraz may well be his only miracle child. Her vivacious smile, her precocious personality, are all so much a part of him and Eda, fatherhood beckons to him.
It is this natural flow of Serkan uniting with elements within himself, as part of his journey back to his family, that is beautifully done. Eda’s patience in love and Serkan’s inability to ever love anyone else are all leading towards the fruition of their imperfectly perfect love story. Neither are flawless but they keep trying to make it work. Is this much different than what we all strive for in our lives? Those who have become impatient with the recursive plot line may be looking at it at face value because fiction can afford to make life look neater and more linear. Real life is anything but and building long-term relationships can have us go through many recursions of our insecurities stemming from the same issues. Which is why I reassert that those of us trying to make a committed relationship work may have more patience for this love story than those whose threshold for relationship dynamics is different.
As a sidebar, I do wish to acknowledge the fine line between a toxic relationship and one where the two together are working towards each other. When Serkan’s actions seemed rooted in self-serving shenanigans without much heed to Eda’s needs and pain, I was one of the louder voices asking Eda to leave. This was most true in the episodes where Serkan’s amnesia created a character none of us could understand. Ayse’s Serkan is different. He is a tortured soul who is learning to love and learning to break out of his shackles. His brush with death took him back to factory settings because he is all too familiar with the aftermath of death and he wished to spare his Eda from the same anguish from his loss. But, with Eda back in his life and through their earnest conversations, he is learning that not every experience needs to be the same. He can choose to give them so much love during their lifetime that in the unlikely event he is unable to live a full life with them, they could also remember him in the same way Eda remembers her parents. Life is unpredictable on a good day.
Naming Kiraz is an artistic and meaningful choice for the #EdSer relationship. The flashback to their shared memory of talking about cherries, and the connection that it also represents infinity is the kind of symbolism Ayse does very well. Kiraz is the infinite symbol of their love, whether they come back together as a couple or not. She ties them together in life because neither can deny their parenthood. How they choose to fulfill their responsibility is a different matter, but Kiraz will remain the biggest legacy of their love story.
I have mentioned this in earlier reviews but showing Serkan develop a bond with Kiraz independent of his knowledge of their biological connection is well done. When he meets Kiraz for the first time since he learnt the truth about her parentage, he is still undecided about whether he will take on being her father. Left to care for her, he behaves with her as he has in the past and continues to connect with her as though they are at the same level. Perhaps she fulfills a need in him of having his inner child be acknowledged.
And it is during one of these exchanges that something magical happens. First, Kiraz gives him a unique perspective on how to get out of sticky situations without overthinking the problem and second, she shows him that even without understanding his dilemma, love comes for free. When she kisses him, he is unprepared for the connection but it is not unwelcome.
It makes me think that this is the second part of Serkan’s journey of coming out of his chrysalis. In the first part of his journey, he was a man who had chosen solitude and did not have faith in love. Eda kissed him awake from that particular nightmare. Now he is plunged into another nightmare where he is prepared to stay in solitude again because he doesn’t trust in himself to be a good father, and Kiraz’s kiss is the beginning of a second awakening.
When Kiraz goes missing on her birthday, Eda reaches out to Serkan and I find it endearing that only he can calm her down. This had been a similar situation in Episode 29, when Eda is hysterical with Serkan’s stand-offish behavior post-amnesia, but during that time when he held her and asked her to calm down, she did. Even through the fog of the most difficult time, he manages to connect with her and give her strength. These subtle scenes, enacted with soulful performances, are what makes this storytelling special for me because these validate the depth of love we believe them to share.
In the search for Kiraz, in his logical, deliberate fashion, Serkan is the only one who is able to piece the puzzle together and find Kiraz at the top of a hill, trying to send a message to her father and inform him of her birthday. This is when Serkan begins to appreciate how large his absence is in Kiraz’s life, how incomplete she feels without him. She has father figures in her life but that does not take away her need to feel her father’s love. It is because of this desire that a little girl with unfiltered imagination believes the lie that her astronaut father is out in space and only if he knew how much she loved him, he would come back to her.
And once again, Serkan's second fairy girl teaches him that her love is far greater than the sum of all his fears and that he should be there for her.
This final scene when Serkan comes dressed as an astronaut, holding the balloon with the note Kiraz released as a calling card for her father, is sheer cinematic perfection. To nourish the magical mind of his child, Serkan, who has an aversion to being humiliated, comes in a costume to appease a child’s deepest desire so that the kingdom created in her mind does not come crashing down. Publicly, he accepts his daughter, prioritizing her needs over his. He is already a better father than Alptekin ever could be.
VC: @sencalkapimi | IG
This episode was painful but necessary. The belated communication between Eda and Serkan was imperative. Presumptions about each other have been one of the biggest issues in their relationship, and by acknowledging their child and her needs, these presumptions will soon need to feel immature. They must both think of Kiraz’s well-being first as they try to heal the distance between them. I trust Ayse to provide an intelligent journey as they reunite as parents and consenting adults.
Many of the scenes of Serkan in this episode reminded me of Yigit Kilic in Seref Meselesi, which is one of my most favorite characters, also played by Kerem Bursin, in one of my most beloved stories of all time. Yigit also made many mistakes in life which leads him to a sense of despair about how he could not be a father to his little girl. While the story of Yigit and his family remains an unfulfilled promise, it will be beautiful to watch Serkan bring his family together, and grow in love. For all the ways some characters distract from the story, it is the strength of a love story well told that keeps me going with Sen Cal Kapimi.
Till we meet again.
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