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"Benim Adım Melek": Season 2. Episodes 1-3



The title of this show translated into English means "My Name is Melek" and Melek means Angel – she has to be!  "Benim Adım Melek" tells the story of a beautiful woman, who -- faced with a recent cancer diagnosis, an abusive, cheating husband (Alpay) and two out-of-control teenage twins (17-year-old Defne and Kerim) -- decides to flee Germany with the twins and 5-year-old Seyit Ali jr. to return to her family in Gaziantep. Not sure what our Melek was thinking! She had not spoken to her family for 20+ years ever since they cut off all communication with her for having jilted Halil, the son of very old family friends (Zümrüt and Cumali Sirhan) to run off to Germany with her then newly met, and later abusive, cheating husband. Her actions also resulted in permanent enmity between the two families and especially the previously close friends (Cumali Sirhan and Seyit Ali Karadağ).  Melek is the undiscussed protagonist of the story. Viewers will spend every episode either crying, rejoicing, or wishing they could shake some sense into her. 



This might be a good moment to introduce the family to avoid the spinning head syndrome as more and more of them come into the picture.  

Seyit Ali is the patriarch of the Karadağ family, whose wife died while giving birth to Mithat, the youngest Karadağ. Melek is the middle daughter who acted as a mother to Mithat growing up. Mahmut is the eldest child. He is married to Kadriye, a trouble-making gossip. They all live in a large mansion together with Seyit Ali’s older sister, Nefise, and a mother and daughter domestic help team called Beyhan and Uzilla.

Seyit Ali

Cumali is the patriarch of the Sirhan family and had two sons. The first died in military service. He was married to Vildan and they had one son; Ömer. The other son is Halil, whom Melek jilted. Alpay is Mekel's ex-husband and father to her 3 children. Funda is the new wife of Alpay and was previously his mistress Kenan. Seyran is an army buddy of Alpay and newly married to Mithat. 

Cumali Sirhan

Back to the story!   By returning home Melek hopes to give her children roots and establish a relationship with her family, which she hopes may help them get through life should her cancer turn out to be terminal.  She does not tell anyone about her cancer because she wants their love to be real and not because they feel sorry for her. This will prove to be extremely frustrating to those of us watching her trials and tribulations during the series. Fortunately, more and more people will be let in on the secret in due course. 

Finding out why she did what she did, how she is treated by the family, how she copes with her cancer, and what kind of relationship she will have with Halil, occupies viewers during the first season, and will likely provide a lot more drama in the second!  

"Benim Adım Melek" is set in beautiful Gaziantep (Antep) one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, located in southern Turkey, 60 miles north of Aleppo, Syria. Watching any Turkish dizi is as close as you can get to actually being there since most are filmed in actual locations rather than sets. They are in real homes, real companies, real hospitals, etc.  In BAM, the added bonus is seeing the Antep scenery, the historical mansions each with a center courtyard, the narrow cobbled stone streets, and the traditional market places called Hans..both families in BAM are long-established traders at a Han (one is a famed Baklava baker and the other, a famed Kebab maker) and much of the storyline is centered around the Han. One may easily imagine what life must have been like hundreds of years ago and still is today.  


Previous Season Recap

The first season of "Benim Adım Melek" ended with episode 28 in April at the start of Covid-19 lockdown. Cumali, the Sirhan family patriarch has gone away to the country home, which he bought together with his oldest friend, Seyit Ali, the Karadag family patriarch, many years ago. Determined to stay away from the family and the anger he feels at being disobeyed by his son and grandson in his demands that they end their association with Melek and Defne, he appears to have a heart attack. Will he live or die?

Melek has discovered a diary written by Halil 20 years ago, expressing his love for her. Will she confront him? Will she finally tell him the truth as to why she jilted him all those years ago?

Kenan tells Alpay he has plans to make the Karadag and Sirhan family pay for what he believes is their part in his son’s death. (Dun, dun, dun). Alpay as always is walking around like a grenade whose pin has just been removed and is looking forward to seeing the fruits of Kenan’s plans as payback for what he believes is shoddy treatment by the two families who are keeping him away from his children. He is obviously unaware of his failings in the parenting department and his history of acting against the interests of his children having something to do with that).  


A New Season

The opening scene of episode 29 of Season 2 gives us what we’ve been waiting for, Melek running in the rain to Halil’s house and asking him whether the things in his diary are true..did he indeed love her all those years ago? And then she wakes up!!! Another Turkish dream scene to drive us to drink! This time however they did not keep us waiting long, after waking up from her dream, Melek does speak with Halil. He then confesses that he did love her, and still does. She tells him why she left and all is good in our lives at last.  

Halil and Omer go looking for Cumali, only to see a police search going on in the water. Frantic with worry and a crying Omer, they are relieved when Cumali turns up alive and well behind them. He continues to refuse to return home.  

Defne and Kerem decide that they will try to earn their Grandfather’s love. Defne and little Seyit Ali will stay at the mansion and Kerem will stay with his Mom. They believe they can slowly bring Seyit Ali and Melek together again.  

Kenan tells Alpay that Halil and Melek are talking together about the past. Alpay has a meltdown and says he will not allow them to rekindle their love. Alpay..a divorced Melek and married someone else!  

Seyit Ali visits Cumali at the country house daily where they rekindle their longstanding friendship that had been damaged for so long because of Melek’s jilting of Halil.  

Mahmut and Mithat’s relationship continues to disintegrate as Mahmut again expresses his disapproval of Mithat’s relationship with Seyran. Halil invites Mithat and Seyran for dinner which angers Mahmut even more.  

Zümrüt (Cumali’s wife) confronts Defne and tells her that she will not marry Ömer as long as Zümrüt is alive. Defne calls Ömer and considers ending their relationship. Ömer refuses to allow her this way out.  

In Episode 30, a memorial dinner is being held for Ömer’s father, who was killed in military service. Ömer chooses this moment to announce to both families that he has signed up with the army and will be leaving soon. When he returns he will marry Defne. No need for me to elaborate further; you can imagine the reactions – Ömer by his actions appears to be totally tone-deaf.  

More angry discussions between Cumali and Seyit Ali about what as parents they have to do to get Halil, Ömer, Melek, and Defne to listen to them and end their relationships. This could get boring!  

Funda happens upon Alpay and Kenan talking about Melek and Halil’s rekindling relationship and hears Alpay staying he won’t allow it. Funda is livid and questions Alpay’s interest in Melek.  

Melek has a relapse and is rushed to the hospital by Halil and Mirza. They are informed that she is not responding to treatment. Halil is devastated. Melek hears him telling Mirza that he will not let her go through this on her own, that they will fight it together, and that they have only just started their road together. This was a very touching and emotional scene. Melek reassures Halil that she will fight, that she wants to be around much longer for her kids and for Halil.  

Mahmut chances upon Mithat, who has just received delivery of his new kebab food truck. He loses his temper and starts breaking the truck in the middle of the road, totally destroying it. Mithat remarkably for someone who also has a hot temper, does not attack his brother. By now viewers of Turkish dizis will be aware that hot tempers are a genetic condition not uncommon in Turkey. Mahmut having left nothing more to destroy, walks off and is distraught at what he did, Mithat is saddened and in shock.  

Zümrüt comes to the copperware studio where Melek is working, for no reason other than to express her hateful and mean-spirited thoughts about Melek and Defne. She says as long as she is alive, no Sirhan will marry a Karadağ. Melek, having discovered her backbone, tells Zümrüt that she will not allow her to make Defne suffer.  

Kenan tells Alpay that with Omer going into the army and Cumali refusing to come back to town, their business is vulnerable. He arranges to purchase one of Cumali’s supplier debts thereby making Cumali indebted to him. The episode ends when the bailiffs arrive at Cumali’s shop thanks to Kenan’s shenanigans and Alpay aggressively confronts Halil and Melek, who are together having tea after her doctor’s appointment. Cumali is watching, unbeknownst to them all.  

Episode 31 starts with a mindless display of testosterone by Alpay, who confronts Halil and Melek angrily about their relationship. Funda meanwhile is wondering why this matters so much to Alpay. Cumali suffers an anxiety attack just seeing Halil and Melek together. This very Turkish reaction to ever-present low blood sugar or high blood pressure culminates in Cumali fainting. This spell proves to be useful because it stops the situation from escalating and is a good place to go on to the next scene!  

Seyit Ali (Melek’s father) chances upon Defne and Omer on the street. Defne is about to faint from fear as she knows how opposed her grandfather is to her liaison with Omer. Omer tries to ask for Seyit Ali’s understanding (he has forgotten for a moment that he is talking to an old man with views from a previous century). Seyit Ali stops Omer in his tracks (with just a look – that’s how Turkish elders roll), telling him that his anger is not about the past but how they are forging ahead with their relationship despite Cumali’s and his objections…Respecting your elders and obeying their wishes is embedded in the Turkish psyche by the way.  

Ömer and Defne

Back at the Karadağ mansion, Mithat (the kind of guy every woman wants) confronts Kadriye about her relentless gossip and badmouthing of Seyran, the woman he loves and to whom he is engaged. Kadriye, on the defensive, vehemently denies (lies) that she is doing so and proceeds to further inflame Mithat when she likens Seyran to a dog you might find on the street and put a collar on. This of course makes Mithat very angry and he throws pots and furniture around to avoid violence towards a woman. Before any further damage can be done Seyit Ali Sr. arrives. Mithat discovers ice in his veins and quietly requests that they allow him to live his life the way he sees fit and that Mahmut do nothing to prevent him from earning his livelihood. He is here referring to the fact that Mahmut completely destroyed the new food truck that Mithat had just purchased, in a misguided effort to stop Mithat from leaving the family business.  

With Cumali secluded in his hilltop retreat and Halil busy with Melek’s medical issues, Kenan (old army buddy and now a business partner of Alpay) seizes the opportunity to exact some revenge on Halil and pit father against son. Anonymously purchasing some of Cumali’s supplier debt, foreclosing on it, and arranging for bailiffs to seize Cumali’s goods he nonetheless makes a public display of being the good Samaritan by collecting donations from the marketplace to help Cumali pay the debt. Cumali is blaming Halil for spending time with Melek instead of keeping an eye on the business. Halil is convinced that Kenan and Alpay are behind his current trouble as they have no other enemies in Gaziantep who would have resorted to a foreclosure.  

Returning to the Karadağ mansion, we find Mahmut, who until now was the amiable happy go lucky mini Dad to the family, morphing into an anxiety-producing, wildly yelling, unreasonable person. His reaction to being told by his father that he was wrong to destroy Mithat’s truck and has to pay for the damages is definitely exaggerated. Cue to “we should move out of the mansion and into our own home Kadriye”...please do!

Filling out the rest of the episode: Kerem meets a young woman who seems to be trouble but has piqued his interest.   Ömer is going to do military service and makes the rounds to say goodbye. Is he really going to do military service? (These days young men can limit military service to 21 days if they pay a fee) Cumali allows himself to be hugged but will not give his hand to be kissed and won’t give him his blessing since Ömer insists that he will not give up his relationship with Defne – Cumali’s reaction is very typical old Turkish, while Ömer’s is the modern way we are used to. 

Mithat decides he and Seyran will get married immediately so as to put a stop to all the gossip and interference in their lives.  Üzila (housemaid with a crush on Mithat) distraught at the news of Mithat’s marriage cuts up her trousseau.

At the end of this angst-filled episode, viewers get to share little Seyit Ali’s sünnet and party. The sünnet, (circumcision) and celebration is both a religious and cultural right of passage for little Muslim boys (Turkey is 99% Muslim).  Religiously it signifies the beginning of a connection to God and follows the teachings of Islam and the Prophet Mohamed. Nowadays more and more parents opt to have it done at birth, particularly in the larger cities. However, there is still a large percentage of families, especially in the more conservative and religious parts of central and eastern Turkey, which continue to do it the traditional way at around age 5 or 6 (the age at which a young boy will understand the right of passage) or even later if financial limitations don’t allow for an earlier celebration. It is an expensive proposition because friends, family, and neighbors both near and far are invited to the party at which plentiful food and drinks are served. Similar in style and cost to a wedding, the burden to the parents can be huge. Presents for the boy being circumcised are tradition, and the anticipation of gifts may go a long way in allaying the natural fears of the young boy undergoing circumcision.  

The Karadağ courtyard is festively decorated, the guests arrive and the celebration starts with music and dancing. Mithat arrives arm in arm with Seyran and her daughter; the reaction is predictable. If this were not already enough, Alpay arrives with Funda. He takes a metal pipe and in full view of everyone at the party, bashes in the windows of the decorated family car parked outside and walks into the courtyard.   

Tune in next week to find out whether Alpay survives his violent gatecrashing actions; how Halil and Melek’s newly budding relationship plays out; what the news of Mithat’s marriage will do to the already splintered Karadağ family; and whether Melek’s cancer treatment will prove fruitful.

"Benim Adım Melek" airs on Wednesday on TRT1!

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2020 19:23 pm (UTC) Filed Under:
Nilgun (@sxmscorpio) is a « guest » contributor.