Love in Balance
What can I say about episode 24…. it was monumental. It was poignant. It was playful. It was splendid. Bravo to the writers and bravo to the actors! An old secret and a new one were revealed, and our lovers hit a critical milestone. The acting was superb by all, but episode 24 goes to Akin Akinozu for his Oscar worthy performance. I doubt there was a single dry eye in the viewing audience from 1:51:57 of the episode onward.
In the last episode Reyyan and Miran had found master Gabriel, the man who had made Dilshah’s ring. Reyyan is desperate for Miran to hear from the master jeweler’s mouth that Hazar had ordered the ring for Dilshah. But alas, Azize Aslanbey manages to foil the plan yet again. As the episode begins, master Gabriel, under threat from Azize’s thug, Mahmut, tells Reyyan the ring was made by Mehmet Aslanbey.
Reyyan doesn’t believe him of course and stubbornly insists that he is lying. Disappointed, but determined not to give up, she and Miran head back to Melike’s. As they are leaving, we see that they are being watched by an unknown person. This person knows that Master Gabriel was threatened to lie about the ring by Mahmut and reports this to someone on the phone.
Back at Melike’s house, the couple run into Azat who can’t seem to get it through his head that Reyyan and Miran are in love and are married. After the requisite Azat/Miran squabble scene, the couple separate: Miran heads to Aslanbey mansion and Azat, Melike and Reyyan head back to Shadoglu.
At the Shadoglu mansion, Zehra learns that Yaren knew about the Aslanbey revenge plan and did nothing to stop it. She demands that Yaren leave the house which prods Nasuh to reinvigorate his plan to marry off Yaren. This is the last straw for Yaren who we find is in possession of the letter that Hazar had with him the night of his fall. She has now moved completely to the dark side and vows to use that letter to destroy all of them. What her devious brain will come up with only the writers know...
Also at the Shadoglu mansion, Zehra who is in possession of the second Dilshah letter (the one that discloses Miran’s paternity), is in two minds about giving the letter to Hazar. She tells Esma that she will not give the letter to Hazar until she confirms that it was actually written by Dilshah. One can’t help but think that if she had been as diligent in investigating the man her daughter was going to marry so many months ago, perhaps they wouldn't be in this mess. Nevertheless, she is now determined to verify the letter. Interestingly, while she won’t show Hazar the letter, she does show it to Yusuf, the old man from the farm who has somehow managed to make himself part of the family. The old man agrees that she needs to confirm the truth of the letter (who Yusuf is and what his role is, is a complete mystery at this point). She also wastes no time in admonishing Reyyan for being with her husband and demands that she sign the divorce papers and never see Miran again.
Reyyan, of course, cannot sign the papers because she loves Miran and deep down inside she believes he is innocent of the charges against him. But she is also certain that her father did not lie. She thinks that perhaps Hazar was mistaken… that in the dark of night he did not see who had pushed him. While grappling with this a note is slipped under her door. The handwriting on the blue stickie note is identical to the blue stickie note she was given when she was kidnapped so many episodes before. The note tells her to go to Dilshah’s (Miran’s mother) village where what she will learn will change everything.
The next morning, armed with the mysterious blue note Reyyan heads off for the village. Miran learns about this from Melike and finds her. After a great deal of arguing, the two go to Dilshah’s house together where Miran learns from an old friend of Miran's maternal grandmother that everything Azize had told him about his mother is a lie. Also there he learns that his mother was tormented by the Aslanbeys (though initially it appears as though he is reluctant to believe this).
After an emotional few hours at Dilshah’s house, the couple head back to Midyat where they see Elif ready to enter the Shadoglu mansion. Elif has been grappling with her conscience and finally decides to come clean. She first tells Azat that she pushed Hazar, but Azat does not believe her. She then asks Azat to take her to the Shadoglu mansion.
In the final scenes of the episode, Elif barges into the mansion and yells for all to hear that she was the one who pushed Hazar, and that Hazar is lying. Reyyan does not believe Elif and accuses Miran for putting Elif up to this. She tells him she feels sorry for him and that she will never fall for any of his tricks again. Miran is visibly taken aback by Reyyan’s complete lack of understanding of him. He tells her that if in her eyes he is so despicable that he would do such a thing, then he has nothing more to say. With these words, he takes Elif and leaves the mansion. Reyyan seems to regret her words almost immediately, and is shocked that Miran has actually left her. Just then Hazar tells her that indeed Miran has been telling the truth from the beginning, and that he was not the person who pushed him. The episode ends with all in the Shadoglu mansion standing with their mouths open in shock and everyone in the audience cheering.
Other notes of interest.
There is an adorable scene where Gul Hanim who has missed Miran very much sends him a message from Reyyan’s phone. Miran goes to the Shadoglu patio where he’s met Reyyan several times before expecting to see her, but instead finds Gul Hanim waiting for him.
Miran and Firat seem to have patched everything and are brothers once again. The scenes with the two are also very poignantly done.
Nasuh is now very regretful of his treatment of Reyyan and is trying to make it up to her. There is a touching scene where he asks Reyyan to bring him coffee. With this request, it seems as though the world has been handed to her. She has been so starved for her grandfather’s love that a mere request for coffee has sent her into orbit.
And now my analysis.
Let’s start with Reyyan. Over the past several episodes we have seen a very different Reyyan. Her complete and blind faith in her father has brought forth her mistrust of Miran and her reaction to him has been nothing short of unpleasant. Reyyan is in a very difficult and painful situation. Her relationship with Miran began with deception and lies, but she is drawn to him. He is charismatic and passionate and relentless in his pursuit. He has opened up his heart completely to Reyyan and she has seen what his love is like. In a previous episode she tells Melike that no one will ever love her the way Miran loves her. His love is hypnotic and Reyyan cannot escape it. It is easy to confuse this feeling of attraction with love.
Reyyan’s empathic nature helps her to understand why Miran did what he did, and what has motivated him all his life. She understands that Miran’s actions are a result of the lies he’s lived. Whether one accepts this as an excuse or not is irrelevant because Reyyan has accepted it. She has forgiven Miran for what he did and she has decided not to give him up. If they lived a normal life without all the evil games around them, Reyyan may never have to face her mistrust of Miran, and Miran would spend his whole life making up for his initial mistake. On its face this may be acceptable for many, but such a relationship is unbalanced and a recipe for resentment. Her mistrust of him will inevitably rear its ugly head and she will unknowingly hold his mistake against him throughout their relationship. This will lead to Miran feeling perpetually guilty, and ultimately it will lead to resentment. For their relationship to flourish, for the two to live a content life, they need to be on a level field. This means that Reyyan will have to trust Miran as much as he trusts her, and Miran will have to forgive himself just as Reyyan has forgiven him. And perhaps even more importantly, BOTH will have to fight for their love.
Reyyan tells Melike that she loves Miran very much and can’t give him up. She says that she sees truth in his eyes but her heart is torn. She believes her father more than she believes Miran. This is natural and Miran understands this. He tells Firat “She is right. As far as she knows, her father has not lied to her before. But I have. I have deceived her.” Firat reminds him that he made up for it by jumping after her from the bridge. “Nothing can make up for the pain I’ve put her through.” This is what Miran believes which is why he accepts her sharp words and her anger. This is the reason he has been steadfast in his pursuit in the face of humiliation. He plans to spend the rest of his life making it up to her. This is wrong too! Love isn’t guilt. Miran is operating under the assumption that once Reyyan sees her father’s true face, she will trust him. This assumption was put to rest the minute Reyyan confronted him.
Until Reyyan heard the confession from her father’s mouth she trusted him blindly. If Hazar had kept quiet, Reyyan would have been riddled with doubt. Now she knows. There is no doubt. But she has offended Miran very deeply. The woman he had put on a pedestal, the woman who looked at him like his mother did, doesn’t know him. She thinks him so low as to use his “sister” in his game. The irony here is that Miran indeed stooped that low before. He used Gonul, his wife at the time, in his game of revenge. This is an inescapable fact. But how will they overcome this? The simple answer is through experience. With this one event, Miran’s honesty has been proven. The next time, Reyyan will not be so quick to judge. And the next time, even less, until one day, she will trust him completely. But right now she owes him an explanation.
Let’s move on to Zehra now. She’s fast becoming one of the most despicable characters in this series. She holds in her hands the one document that can end the enmity between the two families, but she hesitates to disclose it. Why? She says she wants to make sure the letter is real. This isn’t convincing because she knows Hazar recognizes Dilshah’s handwriting. She needs only show to him the letter to know its authenticity. She implies that even if the letter is real, Miran wouldn’t believe it. Alright, she doesn’t know that Miran has samples of his mother’s handwriting, but how does this impact the fact Hazar has the right to know? The only reason Zehra is keeping the letter back from Hazar is because she wants to be in control. She wants to control what he knows. She wants to control what Reyyan knows. In fact, she wants to control what everyone knows. She cries that the burden of this knowledge is too much for her. But she is disingenuous. That Dilshah gave Hazar a son, that this son is the Shadoglu heir is eating away at her. Zehra quiets her conscience with these excuses while she continues to manipulate Reyyan, Hazar and now Nasuh. Was she always like this? or did circumstances make her this way? What will happen when Hazar realizes she’s had the letter and didn’t tell him? What will happen when Reyyan realizes she’s been lied to about her paternity, and that Zehra was the one to instigate the lie about Miran? I don’t see a good future for Zehra which is just as well, because Reyyan deserves much better than her as a mother.
Azize had very few scenes in this episode, however, I can’t help but think that she’s up to something. We know that she sent Mahmut to threaten master Gabriel to lie about the origin of the ring. How did she find out the two were in quest of the ring? If she’s having Miran followed, she must know where he is all the time. Wouldn’t she know that Miran went to Dilshah’s village? Does she have a hand in any of this?? I have a very bad feeling about this, but I can’t put my finger on it.
And now, onto Miran. This episode was significant in Miran’s understanding of his past. He learns one critical thing: that Azize and Esma both lied to him about his mother’s past. At first when he enters the house, he doesn’t believe it is his mother’s. He sees the photograph of a man and a woman with a young girl. To him they could be anyone. So ingrained are Azize’s lies that he can’t accept an alternate reality. But then, in his mother’s room he finds definite proof. The handwriting on the back of the picture he has is identical to the handwriting in one of the notebooks in the room. The floodgates open. He loses his balance.
Akin Akinozu performance was brilliant in these scenes. His tear-filled soulful eyes, his anguished cry “Annem! Annem!”, his deep sense of loss…. “They hid you from me. They stole you from me” he whispers in a small voice. The world he knows crumbles before his eyes. He learns about his mother, his grandmother and his grandfather from the old woman. Yet when he hears that his mother was tormented by the Aslanbeys he refuses to believe it. That truth is too much for him to bear. It’s blatantly clear that heresay will not be enough for Miran. He will need tangible evidence to convince him of this fact. One piece of evidence is with Zehra and the other is with Yaren. We can be certain the letters will not make their way to Miran any time soon. Is there something else that will make this case?
What can be going through Miran’s mind after all this? Is what he has seen enough to veer him from his vengeance? Perhaps if confronted with this, Azize will feign ignorance. Perhaps she will tell him she didn’t know about Dilshah’s village…though this is unlikely. Dilshah was most likely a servant in the Aslanbey mansion when she became the target of Mehmet Aslanbey’s “love”. Miran knows this now. And Miran knows something else now too…An invisible hand is leading Reyyan and Miran to the past.
In the final scene, when faced with Reyyan’s accusation, he can not believe that Reyyan could think him so vile. This blow was too low for Miran to take. The man who begged and pleaded, who withstood humiliation from everyone just to convince his beloved, could not bear this unfair judgement. Has he given up on Reyyan? Very unlikely. Miran is offended. He is disappointed. And he is misjudged by his beloved. I suspect it will take only a simple explanation for him to forgive her. But for the time being, Miran is right. He can not and should not accept this assault to his pride. And just as Miran did, Reyyan must fight for their love.
This episode was the culmination of the last three episodes beginning with Hazar’s fall. Over the course of the last three episodes we saw Reyyan suspect Miran initially (which is her instinct due to her mistrust of him) and we saw Miran convince her with his words and actions. We then we saw her revert back to mistrust when Hazar lied and Miran once again worked to convince her, this time facing a greater hurdle. And I think she did believe him deep down inside, but in the end when faced with the choice that her father lied or Miran lied, she chose to believe her father. That would have been bearable had she not accused Miran of playing games. Nevertheless this is indicative of what their lives would have been had this mistrust continued.
The writers are brilliantly unraveling the evil genesis of Miran and Reyyan's relationship. Their love was born from vengeance, but at its core their love is pure. Little by little the evil will be peeled away and only the core will remain. At the same time, the writers are bringing the lovers to the same point in their love. The Adam and Eve metaphor told by the old sage in season 1 is salient here. Up to this point, Miran has been the one longing for their love. It is time for Reyyan to long for it. And eventually the two will be together at the same point. Ararat.