The Secret of the Ring
The plot thickens… At the end of the last episode we saw a terse Reyyan storming her way into the Aslanbey mansion and ordering Miran to come down to her. In her hands she held the divorce papers that her mother, Zehra, so obligingly had drawn up.
As episode 23 begins, Reyyan confronts Miran in front of all the Aslanbeys and reminds him of the lost letter (that's right she doesn't give him the divorce papers). She tells him if he wants to find the truth he needs to help her find it and Miran agrees. As this is the first time Azize hears about the letter, she is taken aback. She tells Miran that she is sure the letter is another trick of the Shadoglus and is likely written by them. To her surprise, Miran tells her he will know if the letter is real because he knows his mother’s handwriting. He pulls out an old picture of his mother with her writing on the back to prove it.
Elif (who has turned into a blubbering fool overnight) is once again stopped from confessing her guilt by Sultan who having overheard the two talk about Dilshah’s plea to Hazar for help, shows Miran her own scars. Miran now knows there are many hidden Aslanbey secrets and doubts begin to gnaw at him.
Outside the Aslanbey mansion, Gonul and Firat share a poignant moment where Gonul tells him that her brother is alive.
At the Shadoglu mansion Reyyan and Yaren have a confrontation which leads to Azat exposing Yaren’s culpability in Reyyan’s dishonor. Azat tells Nasuh in front of his parents that Yaren knew Reyyan would be shamed in the town square and yet she kept quiet. This surprises Reyyan, who almost immediately forgives Yaren, and begs her grandfather not to reveal this detail to her parents so as not to upset them even more. Reyyan's reaction surprises the Shadoglus and even more, the viewing audience.
Zehra now has Dilshah’s second letter but she can't seem to decide whether to give it to Hazar or not. She probes Hazar to see whether he's known that Miran is his son, but is keeping it from her (eye roll emoji here). While Zehra is deciding what to do, Hazar is being consumed with guilt about his lie to Reyyan and has nightmares about the night of Dilshah’s death. Much soul searching and introspection goes on among the members of the Shadoglu family since they have all had some part in making another’s life miserable (Perhaps a device plot to slow down an already slow episode).
Reyyan’s sole purpose now seems to be to clear her father’s name. She learns that contrary to what Hazar told her, the jeweler who made Dilshah’s ring for Hazar is still alive. Under the pretext of needing time to clear her mind, she asks her parents to let her go to Melike’s village for a few days. Nasuh learns about Reyyan’s plan but decides that for Hazar’s good, Reyyan must be prevented from finding out the truth. (I'm sure one day we will find out how this makes any sense.)
Meanwhile, Reyyan calls Miran to join her in her quest and the two go off in search of the secret of the ring. They spend a tumultuous night together at the home of the jeweler who is old and infirm. While there, the camera pans to a hilltop where an unknown person seems to be watching the two lovers from a distance.
The next morning the young couple face the old jeweler who immediately recognizes the ring. Miran, perhaps afraid to hear the truth, tells Reyyan he will wait in the car and will hear the answer from her mouth. Those were the events of the episode.
Now for the analysis...
The tone of this episode was somber, yet hopeful. If this sounds paradoxical, that’s because it is. Essentially all that happened in this episode was a paradox.
Nasuh loves Hazar dearly but will not allow him to learn the truth about the basis for his slander. And he feels guilty about all he has done to Reyyan over the years, but does not want her to find the truth. Zehra flaunts her cross as a long suffering mother, yet cannot decide whether fulfill the pleas of another suffering mother. Hazar is consumed with guilt yet he cannot bring himself to tell Reyyan that he lied. Elif is on the verge of confession but doesn’t have the courage to confess. Miran has numerous clues about his mother’s situation and yet he refuses to believe. And perhaps the most frustrating of all, Reyyan forgives Yaren without blinking an eye when she finds out that Yaren could have stopped her dishonor, yet she refuses to admit the slightest doubt that Miran might be guilty of pushing her father.
Clearly this episode was meant to bring to closure some outstanding questions from season 1, and begin the shift in character development for some key characters. It was somewhat successful. Nasuh’s guilt over his treatment of Reyyan is a positive step toward eventual healing between the two. But Nasuh will never be a true master of his house because he does not know how to heal his family. He hides the secrets of the past because he believes to do so will be in the best interest of his family. A wise man he is not, and will never be.
Gonul’s character on the other hand is evolving. Her conversation with Firat is superb. She shows herself to be a young woman who wants a normal life, but has been caught up in a deadly game. Her helplessness is apparent. And Firat, who has been Azize’s loyal henchman, is beginning to wake up to his patronesses vicious games. It will be interesting to see what these two young people will do in future episodes. Will it be Firat who will foil Azize’s master plot? Will it be Gonul?
Of the Aslanbeys, perhaps Sultan (brilliantly portrayed by Gulcin Santircioglu) has suffered the most at the hands of Azize. This is a bold statement given Azize’s decades long brainwashing of Miran, but it is, in my opinion, accurate. Sultan was abused, deprived of her son, locked up in a mental institution, and made to use her daughter as a pawn in Azize’s game. Yet she survived. And at times she was even of benefit to others. Sultan is cynical and hard because of what she has endured. Because she is a survivor, Sultan will always do what is necessary. And sometimes what is necessary maybe harmful to others. She stopped Elif from confessing because she believes that a separated Miran and Reyyan is best for the family. If the couple are separated, she says the Shadoglus and Aslanbeys will be at peace. Does she truly believe this?
Hazar on the other hand, is a weak man. He stood by and watched his father abuse his daughter all her life. He won’t tell his daughter the truth about her paternity because he’s afraid he will lose her, and he has resorted to lying to separate that same beloved daughter from a man whose love for her is pure in order to protect her. The road to redemption for Hazar is long and it is painful. Weakness of character is the most harmful attribute, not so much to the person who is weak, but to those around him. Hazar’s weakness brought dishonor to Reyyan. After all, would Miran have ever pursued her as a target of his revenge if he knew she was not Hazar’s daughter? Hazar’s kind words, his gentle demeanor, and his caring treatment of those around him are all a farce. They are his attempt at making up for the weakness in his character. But when the chips are down, Hazar Shadoglu is nowhere to be found. Reyyan’s realization of this fact will devastate her.
Zehra and Handan, the two Shadoglu mothers, are as different as can be. In this episode Zehra’s introspection led to nothing. We learn very clearly in this episode that Zehra is not who she appears to be. She seems soft on the outside but there is no softness inside her. How can a mother read the desperate pleas of another mother for her son and yet keep it a secret? This woman is a cold, hard rock. Handan on the other hand, is hard and callous on the outside, but soft and generous on the inside. No one would call Handan a pushover, yet she is putty in the hands of her husband and her children. The contrast between the two women couldn’t be any more stark. It will be interesting to see whether Zehra will show Hazar the letter. Even if she does, in my opinion it is too late.
Reyyan’s character is a huge contradiction in this episode. She has chosen her father over Miran, yet she calls him to help her. It is evident that she is angry at Miran for supposedly pushing her father. So she snaps at him and speaks hateful words, never failing to remind him that he lied to her. She tells him that after they find the truth about the ring, they will never see each other again. In short she's ready to abandon Miran completely, at least in her words. It seems as if she wants him by her side just to torment him. Yet... she forgives Yaren for everything she did to her. Yaren, whose sole purpose in this series seems to be to torment Reyyan, is on a higher level for her than Miran, who jumped after her to near death, took a bullet from her, and defied his family for her. Are we to believe of Reyyan’s mercy because she forgives Yaren? Are we to believe of her compassion because she doesn't want her parents hurt with the knowledge of Yaren's plotting? A compassionate person would never speak such harsh words as Reyyan spoke to Miran. A merciful person would be able to see the pain in her lover’s eyes. The fairytale Reyyan has disappeared and a glaringly human, flawed Reyyan has taken her place.
This is perhaps a good thing. Reyyan’s constant badgering of Miran to get out from under Azize’s spell has been annoying. Clearly if such a thing was easy, Miran would have done it by now. But it is not. He has faith in his grandmother, just as she has faith in her father and mother. There are cracks in Miran’s faith, this is certain. Azize’s plot to separate the two, his discovery of Sultan’s abuse, and the possibility that his mother might have asked for help, are all holes in the veil that covers his eyes. But for Reyyan there is no such crack yet. She has full faith in her parents. She believes her parents can do no wrong. When the veil over her eyes is lifted, then, and only then, will she understand Miran.
And now onto Miran. Miran continues to be steadfast in his love even in face of her abuse. He can read Reyyan’s eyes, her heart, her soul. He is more connected to her than he is to himself. He has opened his heart completely to her. He tells her what she doesn't know about herself; that deep down inside she believes he is innocent, otherwise she would not be with him, she would not be in the same city, she would not want to breathe the same air as him. He tells her he believes in the justice in her heart even though her words hurt him. It is painful to watch her treatment of him, her dismissal of him and of their love. He encapsulates all of our frustration in his response to her question of why he was still with her…“I’m here despite your father’s lies, despite you not wanting me here, even despite my mother. If you can’t say it’s because of love, I don’t know what to tell you!”
Miran’s love for Reyyan is a great love. It is the love of fairy tales. It is the love of legends. We need only to see Reyyan reciprocate. I sincerely hope we don't have to wait long.
*The single contradiction in Miran's storyline happened in the final scene of this episode. His thoughts in the final scene of the episode seemed to suggest that his belief in another life for the two of them was not possible because he didn't intend to give up on his revenge, and she would not give up on her father. If this was more than a passing thought, then the great love story ends here because without Miran's steadfastness there is no story to tell..
Despite the contradictory and somewhat disjointed nature of the episode, it was relatively good. We have a better understanding of some of the characters, Hazar seems to be starting to remember what happened on the night of Dilshah’s death, and even though Reyyan is frustatingly obtuse, there are deepening cracks in Miran’s belief in his grandmother. Perhaps this will mean nothing, perhaps this will mean everything. It’s hard to say.
There are also many questions that arose from this episode too…
How did Reyyan all of a sudden give up on trying to find the lost letter and move onto the secret of Dilshah’s ring? Are we ever going to find out where the first letter is? Will Elif ever confess to the right person? Will the jeweler tell the truth about ring? Will Zehra be the one to tell Hazar that Miran is his son? Who are the people following Miran and Reyyan? Are they the same people who kidnapped Reyyan? Does Miran really intend to carry on with his revenge after all they've experienced? And more importantly will we ever see a great love from Reyyan equal to Miran’s love for her? In hopes of getting an answer to at least one of these questions, I will tune into Hercai episode 24 next week. Meanwhile check out the beautiful clip below.