An atypical superhero story featuring an ordinary boy who must fulfill his destiny, Hakan’s journey ended perfectly with the completion of Season 4 of The Protector. In a groundbreaking cinematic journey, where the producers worked hard to maintain the foundations of Turkish storytelling, The Protector follows an internally consistent script that captures a young man’s discovery of how the past affects the future, the truths reside within the lies, loyalties are tested within the illusions, the light glows within the darkness and, most importantly, how true strength lies within.
Much of Season 4 is set in the past, with Hakan traveling in time and into Harun’s body, tasked with trying to understand how the battle with the Immortals can be resolved in the past. We learn how the Immortals, who are really cursed souls stuck in this world, also begin to learn that love can supersede the anger and provide a path to happiness. The path to vengeance does not change anything, and history will repeat itself again and again, unless one is willing to face the bitter truth or dig under the deceptions. Fear of death is often a debilitating way to live and can keep one from living a life of any meaning.
We are given insight into the histories of Harun and Valeria (Vezir), Husret/ Faysal and Ruya, Hakan and Zeynep, and each plot line is resolved in ways that are consistent with separation in time, and circumstances. Zeynep’s character morphs tremendously as she suffers through being an Immortal in conflict with her born duty of being a Loyal One, and also becoming the host for the Oracle at some point in the story. She is used as an effective plot device who serves as a prism into Hakan’s realizations of what he needs to do next. He never states his love for her and yet he is always driven by finding his place with her.
With surprising twists and turns in changing allegiances, history is re-written to create a future where the balance of good and evil can come out even. After multiple seasons of watching the ‘good’ side take a repeated beating, to experience the appreciable journey of faith and conviction finally lighting the way towards an ultimate resolution is very well done.
Season 4 is a cinematic experience to be treasured. From set design to cinematography to costumes to performance – everything is a notch above what has been done in the past, and the end product is a worthy contender in a crowded global field of super hero stories. Even though we learn the age-old truth about how lines between good and evil, heritage and choices, reality and destiny are intertwined in precarious ways as we navigate humankind over the generations, we are reminded that sometimes it is the most ordinary of men who can change the world with extraordinary choices.
If you are already a fan of the franchise, you will be deeply satisfied with this installment. If you have never watched it before, and have some notion of how Turkish storytelling pushes the boundaries of human choices within life experiences, you will find that what may superficially look like a mimicry of a Hollywood style action flick is, in reality, very much a Turkish show that manages to push the boundaries on multiple fronts.
Kudos to the entire production team for creating such a masterpiece. There are layers within layers that can be peeled back to understand a deeper meaning about life and choices. Netflix took a worthy risk with The Protector, redefining what Turkish drama means to local film makers and audience alike.
mh rating: 8/10