I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.― Khaled Hosseini
Oh my heart, this was an exceptional episode this week. We finally have the big secret out and can now deal with the aftermath and move towards the reconciliation of Eda and Serkan. As painful as the news coming out was, it was a necessary step on their path back to one another and their reactions to it were realistic and believable for their characters. Hande Erçel and Kerem Bürsin both gave outstanding performances in episode 20 and I commend them both for their physical and emotional portrayals of two people in love going through a terrible crisis.
The story progressed a lot this week, with Eda and Serkan, but also with some of our secondary characters. Selin has turned into a pathetic, petty gal and Alptekin has shown his true colours at last, but more on them later. Aydan is fully out in the world and reclaiming her life, and just in time it seems. Melo has a new job after having learned just how nasty Selin is and quit her position with her and Ayfer seems to be on the road to opening a catering company. Lots going on so let’s dig in.
What I loved
Eda and Serkan
I can’t overstate how much I loved Serkan and Eda’s interactions in this episode, both the incredibly painful conversations about her parents and his handling of that news and also the moments of them trying to figure out a path forward. It doesn’t seem like Eda is interested in being with him again romantically but I believe all her actions after she came back from the mini-vacation she took with the girls were her testing him to see if she could trust him again. She laid out conditions in a contract, something that he can understand, but refused to let him read it until he had already signed it. She is pushing him to see how much of his tightly wound nature he is willing to give up for her.
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.― Mark Twain
The rift between them isn’t over something small. Her parent's tragic death has impacted and coloured her entire life, and she is understandable re-traumatized by the news of Serkan’s father’s involvement and the details of how it all happened. More so, she is incredibly hurt that Serkan kept this news from her for so long, and even broke up with her so he didn’t have to tell her. The fact that he was ultimately wanting to tell her is coming too late as it seems as if to her that he was only telling her because the news was going to come out anyway. She is hurt and angry at him and doesn’t believe him when he tells her that he just didn’t want to hurt her and was afraid that she would never forgive him. She tells him that she wouldn’t have any reason to forgive him as none of it was his fault, but that they could have weathered this together. My take on this is that this is true, she wouldn’t have held anything against Serkan and would have wanted to lean on him for support. We see her wanted to do it in the scene where she confronts the contractor Kadir and she reaches for Serkan but can’t bring herself to take the comfort that she desperately wants.
Eda has been behind him and trusted him at every turn up until this point and it is devastating to her that he didn’t trust her enough to tell her when he first found out and then broke up with her and lied to her about why. This heartbreak coupled with his lack of trust means that she can’t take him at his word now when he tells her how much he loves her and that he would do anything for her. And she wants to believe, she is dying to believe, but at face value, he isn’t trustworthy. We, the audience, know that it was his insecurity that prevented him from telling her this awful truth, but she only sees his actions and does not trust his words. So, she is testing him, putting him through hoops to see how far he is willing to go to win her back. Is this right? I don’t know, but I see her point of view. She needs to see some action on his part to justify her faith in him. Doesn’t hurt that her ‘punishments’ are pretty benign but also hilarious. Serkan hugging Erdem was comic gold.
The road to reconciliation between the two of them is crystal clear as the depth of the love they have for one another shines in their eyes. But this is a big hurt between them and not one that is quickly or easily gotten over. I don’t think Eda is wrong to keep Serkan at arm's length for a while until she’s sure of him. I love the characterization of Eda here. She isn’t actively trying to hurt him. She’s not being mean or vindictive *cough, Selin*. She is making him show her what she truly means to him and how much he loves her. For his part, I think that Serkan now knows just how much she loves him back, if she was this miserable about their breakup her love for him is strong and real.
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.― Mahatma Gandhi
Serkan is willing to go to whatever length to prove to Eda that he loves her and will do anything for her. She is mad that he is still trying to control her, and he continues to do that by asking Leyla to tell him where she goes and who she meets with, so we still have that to resolve in their relationship but there’s only so much of his personality that can change at a moments notice. This will continue to be a bone of contention for them. Leyla was willing to go along with this plan because she loves both Serkan and Eda and will be a ‘bad’ person for them. She’s the best.
I swear the writers are giving me everything I ever asked for with this character. Her evolution from haughty, dismissive shrew to loving ‘mother-in-law’ to Eda was exactly where I had hoped they would take Aydan. Not only can she leave the house by herself now, but she is also ready to jump back into life with both feet. It really hit me that she had never actually been to Serkan’s office in person, she wouldn’t have been able to go to his graduations, any of the buildings he created or seen all of what her son has accomplished. She has also come to see the positive effect that Eda has on everyone and is fully embracing her and actively trying to get Eda and Serkan back together. I loved how she was so positive with Serkan, who is despairing of ever being with Eda again, she sees the love between them and gives him hope for their future.
She has now uncovered just what a terrible person her husband is but ultimately I think she will weather his betrayal and come out stronger. She will have the support of her son and Eda and I really hope that she and Ayfer become good friends, it’s my last request for Aydan’s character.
Eda and the Kizlar
The kizlar take a quick vacation away so Eda can clear her head and figure out what to do. They talk and laugh and we see the positive effect being with her friends has on Eda’s demeanour. She does love them like family and being with them is a balm to her soul.
I have stated in previous reviews just how much I love the relationship between Eda and her friends. The writers and actors have created four distinct characters that are believable friends and each with their own story and agency. Each have a different take on life and love but they support each other no matter what, and I appreciate that each of their voices are heard and valued equally. Melo and Ceren believe that love can conquer all while Fifi’s philosophy is to get out after one mistake in a relationship. There are points that can be argued in each of their points of view but they listen to each other. These are the friendships that need to be fostered onscreen and in real life, friends who listen and care and are allowed to disagree.
Melo quits her job with Selin in solidarity with Eda and maybe because she realizes that Selin isn’t actually the good person she thought she was. I loved her conversation with Seyfi at the coffee bar at Art/Life. They echoed all the things that we the audience were saying about Selin, “why did she have to stay with Serkan, aren’t there hotels in Istanbul?” “Doesn’t she have any friends she can stay with?” I swear the writers must be looking at our posts on Twitter.
What I liked
We are wrapping up a lot of story in this episode, both for good and for bad. Efe is leaving to go back to Italy, I’m not sure what the original plan was for this character but he, like Kaan before him, have turned out to be weak ‘villains’. Eda will stay on at Art/Life in his place and I do believe grandma is coming in as the secret partner sometime soon.
Ayfer seems to have a new occupation as a caterer now. She has provided food for a few events now, and seems to be excelling at it. She needs a different assistant as Fifi does not look comfortable in the kitchen. Maybe she and Aydan can start a catering company together?
The fashion show was cute and a great opportunity to show off the beauty of all the female characters on the show and the reactions of their male counterparts. I do think Leyla should have been included rather than Selin but it did give the opportunity to have Selin in the ugliest dress I have seen since the 1980’s.
What I disliked
Okay, hold on, I’ve got a lot to say here, obviously.
Boy, howdy. Selin is no longer a grey character but moved fully into the dark zone. She barges into Serkan’s demanding answers and spills the news about the death of Eda’s parents before Serkan can. I guess we could justify her excuse that she is a partner in the holding company and might deserve to know what’s going on, but it was years ago and doesn’t affect the company now and she didn’t have to go to Serkan for this information. She could have gone to Alptekin directly or to her own father who would have been active in the company at that time I assume. But she isn’t actually interested in the accident, she is mad that Serkan is keeping something from her and she is out of the loop. She has likely been his confidant their whole lives and she can’t stand now that he doesn’t care to talk to her. Serkan confronts her at home, and he rightfully lets her have it. He sees right through her excuse about the company and flat out tells her that their relationship will never be anything more than work-related, he doesn’t even want to be friends after what conspired at his house earlier in the day. It’s a sad end to a lifelong friendship but Selin had it coming. She is finally coming to recognize that she isn’t as important as she thought she was to Serkan and her dreams of being with him, later on, are never going to happen. I think that she always thought that ultimately the two of them would be together, even the day before she was going to marry Ferit she was holding out hope for that, but the final nail has been put in that coffin.
Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.― Criss Jami
Of course, she is gracious and steps away with her dignity. Just kidding! She is petty and vindictive and uses the few means at her disposal to try and drive a wedge between Eda and Serkan. She tips off the paparazzi that they have broken up, not sure what that accomplished other than annoying Eda and Serkan and then switched out the restaurant locations for the dinner between them at the end. Again, sad for the moment, but easily fixable. She really has become rather pathetic and I can’t honestly believe she would say out-loud to Piril that she doesn’t want Serkan to be happy if she isn’t. What grown woman admits that? Even to a friend? And expects Piril to understand her, and complained that Eda looked at her funny. UGH.
She is so delusional about her place in the world that she shows up at the meeting for the woman’s group and the fashion show as if she would be welcome. I’m glad Eda told her exactly what she thought of her. Selin can’t yet wrap her brain around the idea that she isn’t the heroine in this story and she won’t get her happily ever after with Serkan.
Again, I’m not sure if this was always the plan for this character but it is suiting the narrative now. Alptekin in the last few episodes has been shown to be a cunning coward and now we find out he is cheating on Aydan. It seems like it was with someone from the holding company as Aydan recognizes her right away. We have never witnessed any great love between Aydan and Alptekin so I’m hoping that she won’t suffer too much from this betrayal. So this, coupled with Serkan washing his hands of his father likely means a swift exit for this character. This works with the reconciliation of Eda and Serkan as it means she won’t ever have to see the man who was indirectly the cause of her parent's death.
What needs to happen next
- We are on the path to reconciliation for Eda and Serkan, we can see it happening before our eyes, and I hope it isn’t too drawn out
- I’m hoping for an interesting take on Eda’s grandmother, I would like her to be three dimensional and not just out to ruin Serkan and/or break up he and Eda
- I really, really want Ayfer and Aydan to be best friends
So, overall a great episode and one I really enjoyed. Special shout-out to Hande Erçel this week for giving a heartfelt and beautiful performance as Eda. Extremely emotional scenes are very hard to play without descending into melodrama and she perfectly encompassed Eda’s despair, hurt, anger and pain in this episode. All kudos to her and to Kerem Bürsin for giving such great, believable, heartbreaking performances. This show has transcended the rom-com genre and given us some amazing dramatic scenes.
Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.― Marvin J. Ashton