This was a tough finale. It was emotionally raw and delivered blow after blow. But, that final scene of the three siblings leaning on one another in unity beautifully contrasts the opening scene of the series, where Safiye was vehemently scolding Gulben, while Han listened in defeat in the next room. Over the course of the season, the dynamic in the household has shifted, such that Gulben and Safiye have begun to heal or at least opened the door to healing, while Han is now trapped behind so many doors of trauma that he has lost himself entirely. Spoilers follow.
Trauma in Men & Women via the Derenoglu Siblings
Though all four children were impacted by Hasibe, especially the elder three, the way in which Safiye and Gulben manifested their traumas has been very active and blatant. Their excessive cleaning habits, fear of germs and distrust of the outside world were visible from that first scene; the sisters each have a physical manifestation of their trauma: Safiye’s cleaning, Gulben’s soiled sheets and Neriman’s self-harm are discernible tangible products of their pain. The women had the freedom to express their traumas as publicly and loudly as possible, almost feeling somewhat entitled to not conform to ‘normal behavior’ because of their difficult childhood. They could be confined to their house because they knew that Han would be responsible for managing the outside world. His traumas were accordingly hidden, and other than his dumpster dives, much of his behaviors and how he processed the events of his childhood remained concealed. Despite his night or his mental state, he always arose early the following morning, pristinely dressed, to be the face of their company. There is an important comment here on how various manifestations of trauma can be more freely expressed by women than by men, perhaps making it much harder for men to heal, which has been brilliantly showcased through this story. Since Safiye voiced her condition in the loudest way possible, it seemed as though she was the most traumatized. But, as the sound of her trauma was moderated, it allowed viewers to see just how tangled Han's mental state was.
And, heartbreakingly, we learned the high cost of this messy head space, as an accounting of sorrows takes place when love blooms in the heart: when Naci returned, he reconnected Safiye to her young angelic self, slowly allowing her to start to heal; when Esat reciprocated Gulben’s affection, for a brief time, she was able to control her body’s responses; and when Han’s heart opened for Inci, he sought to heal himself as he never had before; he began to actively acknowledge his jealousy, his anger and his belligerence, even willingly seeking therapeutic help, and voicing his darker traits aloud to Mehmud Bey. But, since he has been unable to express his traumas for so long, much of his wounds have festered and figuratively have become infected, and poisoned even his well-intentioned actions, such that even though the love in his heart allowed him to try to heal, in the end, he could not heal fast enough, before fate’s dark hand intervened.
The Death of Inci & Han’s Redemption:
Naci’s imprisonment in the boiler room transformed Inci’s perception of Han. But, as we learned this episode, Hasibe locked him in the boiler room for so many nights that he began to feel rather ‘at home’ there, in the darkness. And, given what we know of Hasibe and how terrible she was to her children, it is possible that Han may have begun to prefer the filth of the boiler room to the clean upstairs. Viewed in this light, Han may have felt that confining Naci to the boiler room enabled him to remain ‘safe’, until he could agree to try a treatment. This explanation, surprisingly, does redeem Han’s character. Unfortunately, despite Inci’s decision to return to Han, not in forgiveness, but in love, she is killed in a vehicle collision. Before the ambulance can arrive, she dies in Han's arms, with their hands intertwined above her womb.
This scene was brutal and perfectly showcases Farah Zeynep Abdullah’s superb performance throughout the series and the magical chemistry she shared with Birkan Sokullu. She has imbued Inci with so much depth and authenticity that from the first moment we were introduced to her on screen, it was easy to understand why Han became so enamored. She brought so much light and joy to Inci’s character; her natural charisma was wonderfully enhanced by the modest punk style that she adopted, all of which enabled her to really shine as Inci. I can’t praise her performance enough. She will definitely be missed.
Gulben & Esat:
Much of their story in this final episode seemed a bit extra. This pairing has been defined in the past few episodes by quirky attraction, laughter and friendship; accordingly, Gulben’s avoidance strategy was immature and Esat’s hurtful words to his mother were uncalled for. Sennur Hanim pointed out a harsh truth that must be discussed. Just because Esat loves Gulben, does that mean that he must love her illness as well? Wouldn’t he want her to seek help? Where was the discussion about treatment or healing? That was the biggest omission from this story line, and Esat’s hasty marriage proposal just didn’t fit. There was no need for it, as the ‘marriage bandaid’ would not have solved the very foreseeable problems that Sennur Hanim brought up. Would that these two could have communicated more directly with one another; and, Gulben’s reasoning that she needed to remain beside her family was just a cover for her real answer, which is that she can’t fathom how to heal herself and cannot find fault with his mom’s words. These final scenes felt a bit like a missed opportunity for them, especially because these two could have ended this season on a much more positive note.
Safiye & Naci
There is a beautiful balance to their relationship. Though he returned to ‘save’ her, ironically, she may have given him the resources to save himself. Sending him abroad to get treatment with his wife and child beside him, Safiye has given him the gift of hope. And, he, was only able to overcome his internal walls, built during his father’s illness, with her very clear and direct faith in the power of love, medicine and prayer. I hope that these two are able, at the conclusion of the series, to find themselves in a cabin in the woods, staring at a photo of their grandchildren.
This has been a challenging, but rewarding dizi to review and has inspired much thought and reflection. A big thank you to cast and crew for the outstanding performances, beautiful cinematography and intelligent script. Wishing you, dear readers, a wonderful summer ahead!