Love is Not Enough
There’s a Hollywood movie based on a 1959 novel called the Manchurian Candidate. A political thriller where the son of a politician is brainwashed to becoming an unwilling assassin. Azize must have read that book from cover to cover. What she did to Miran was nothing short of creating an assassin.
In a very heartbreaking scene we see young Miran one year after his parents death. He is 5 years old, on a swing, crying as he listens to Azize begin to tell the story that she would repeat over and over for 28 years. Why did she give him a year’s respite? Because during that year, she showed Miran unconditional love. She consoled him, caressed him, loved him, fed him, wiped his tears, cleaned his wounds and bound him to her. And when she was convinced of his trust, she began to fill his head with lies.
Such a pernicious character is rarely seen on screen. But yet, this is what we have in Azize.
Here's the recap...
This episode begins with Hazar believing that Dilshah’s letter has finally convinced Miran to give up his revenge. He tells the incredulous Shadoglu family that the revenge is over. We find out that it was Hanife who had given Hazar the letter, explaining that she found the letter in Yaren’s room while she was cleaning. Hazar confronts Yaren who tries to cast the blame on Hanife but to no avail. Hazar has seen Yaren’s true face and he is unmoved… at least for now. Turkish dizis have a way of backtracking.
Has Miran given up his revenge? Regrettably no, he has not. Why he still has not defies all logic, but let's proceed, shall we?
We see a Miran who is devastated by what he has in his hands. His mother’s words… her pleas for help. Has he been lied to? What kind of devious lie is this, and why was it told for so many years? Miran goes to the place where he feels most able to think, to the swing along side the cliff. There he remembers the scene I described above.. a year after his parents death. This is where Reyyan who has been searching for him, finds him… at the edge of the cliff, looking down.
The two go back to the Aslanbey mansion where Miran confronts Azize with the letter. Why he still believes he can get any kind of true answer from Azize, is beyond my comprehension. I hope there is a method to the writers' madness, but I fear the writers are in danger of making Miran look ridiculous. That has happened before in Turkish dizis, and it is not inconceivable here. I hope I am wrong.
Nevertheless, as expected, Azize feigns surprise and ignorance, but in a surprise move Sultan verifies the truth of the letter. She tells Miran that she was with Dilshah when she wrote the letter and she tells Miran of Mehmet’s constant abuse. She even confirms that Dilshah sought Hazar’s help. But she tells him that later, Dilshah changed her mind about leaving but Hazar would not leave her alone. This of course served the purpose of saving Azize from explaining the letter and of leaving doubt in Miran’s mind about Hazar’s intentions.
Meanwhile, Azize now suspicious of everyone around her, calls Hanife to their secret meeting place. After the confrontation, Reyyan and Miran head to Shadolgu mansion where Miran intends to go face to face with Hazar but they are sidetracked when they see Hanife going to meet with Azize. There, Hanife who is warned by Harun that Miran and Reyyan are listening to them, pretends to break off her connection with Azize for setting the Shadoglu farm on fire. Miran and Reyyan overhear this and confront Hanife as she leaves the hiding place. Reyyan tells Hanife to never return to the Shadoglu mansion.
We later see that Hanife, in an attempt to save herself and coached by Harun, confesses everything to Nasuh who allows her to stay under the condition that she spies on Azize on his behalf. Hanife has become a triple agent… working for Nasuh, Azize and Harun.
Miran now thoroughly confused by the content of the letter and the knowledge that Azize was responsible for the fire, goes to the hut with Reyyan. Reyyan confronts Miran in frustration when she sees Miran’s continued uncertainty about Azize. Visibly disheartened and exhausted, she accuses Miran of refusing to believe the truth. She reminds him that even with all that Azize has done to them, he still falls at her knees and cries. Reyyan has a point.
Miran's attachment to Azize is abnormal, but it is clearly the result of Azize's efforts over the years of systematically breaking down Miran's identity and replacing it with behaviors and beliefs that she wanted him to have. It will take a great deal of will power and mental focus for Miran to reverse Azize's thorough brainwashing, but first he will need to recognize the truth of his situation. Reyyan recognizes this and admits that she does not know how to fight against it. I felt very sorry for Reyyan in this scene because she is truly terrified she will lose Miran, not because of a lack of love between the two, but because of his intense attachment to Azize. Ultimately she knows that Miran's allegience is divided and this clearly is not an ideal situation in a marriage.
At the Aslanbey mansion, Shukran, confounded by what she’s heard and seen at her daughter’s gravesite, asks to see Hazar. The two meet privately away from the mansions. Azize, confident about her influence over Miran, calls him and tells him about this meeting apparently in order to stir up trouble. Miran and Reyyan go to the meeting place and after an outburst (again!) Miran reluctantly listens to Hazar’s version of the past.
After listening to Hazar’s heartfelt recounting of his relationship with Dilshah, does Miran soften and ask Hazar to tell him more about his beloved mother? Does he hug Hazar and thank him for trying to save his mother from torment? Nope, he doesn’t. Instead Miran accuses Hazar of winning his mother’s trust and forcing himself on her and then killing her. Yes. This is what the screenwriters have written. I don’t know how far they had to contort themselves to come up with these lines, but they did somehow. Any normal person in possession of the letter, hearing Hazar’s words and the way he said them would have softened. But Miran’s annoying, childlike tantrum was unbecoming of such a character.
Anyway, let’s move on. We do get a hint at a possible reason for this obstinance when he screams, “That child you played with was me! Don’t you dare try to play with my conscience now!” Presumably the writers are conveying Miran gripped with the fear that he has done evil to an innocent person. If Hazar didn’t kill his parents, then what he did to Reyyan is even more heinous than he could ever imagine.
Needless to say, Miran’s words and posturing are not that of a man confident in his actions. The Miran of the first season was confident because he “knew” he was collecting a debt. One can argue that he was hurting an innocent person along the way, but Miran viewed himself as an innocent person hurt by Hazar’s act. Call it collateral damage. But now, after the letter, after Dilshah’s pleas for help, and after knowing the truth about his “father”, what little confidence he had left is completely shaken. While Miran has regretted hurting an innocent person, he has always believed the truth of Azize’s words about her parent’s death. This truth is beginning to crumble. [ A plea to the writers: We have seen Miran in every possible humilating, downtrodden situation... We have seen him weak and helpless. We have even seen him childlike. We understand his emotional state... please give us the chance to see him dignified, confident and strong (without yelling and tears).]
After witnessing Miran’s childish tantrum and his stubbornness in the face of truth, Reyyan has enough. Frustrated and angry, she tells him that if he refuses to believe every evidence that’s presented to him, than there is nothing she can do and leaves him to marinate in his own self pity. And in my opinion, she is right to do so. His attack on Hazar in the scene after Hazar’s heartfelt recounting was too much for me, and I suspect for most of the audience. Miran sounds like a broken record even in the face of the most credible piece of evidence.
In a subsequent scene Sultan sums up what everyone in the audience has been thinking “Always the same song! ‘did you do it grandmother? I did grandson. Why grandmother? I did it for you grandson.’ Enough! I’m tired. Be a little creative. Find some new phrases.” Yes indeed! find some new phrases. We’ve seen the same thing over and over again. Azize gets caught and Miran brushes it aside and reverts to revenge mode. We in the audience hope this is the last time!
Moving right along….
After his confrontation with Azize, Miran goes back to the hut and is joined by Firat who has heard the truth about Dilshah and Hazar’s love from Esma. Of course for some ridiculous reason (Esma is afraid that Miran will think Dilshah was salacious!!) she orders Firat NOT to tell Miran about Hazar and Dilshah’s love. The two friends battle it out in a tense scene and we hear why Miran actually believes Azize’s lies… “I didn’t have my mother near me as you know… Instead of kissing my mother’s face, I had to kiss her gravestone. Grandmother was both my mother and my father to me. So I believed her.” And indeed that’s why he continues to believe her, despite every evidence to the contrary. The dialogue in this scene is beautiful but once again its beauty is lost on me because it is hard to fathom such stubbornness… such inability to face the truth. These words uttered 10 episodes ago would have been more appropriate.. but after so many events, after so much evidence, these words ring hollow.
Meanwhile, Nasuh who has learned that Azize was responsible for the fire at the Shadoglu farm, decides to host a big party in honor of Azat and Elif’s wedding and vows that the marriage will result in a Shadoglu heir. Hanife promptly passes this information along to Azize at Nasuh’s request and the ball is set in motion.
After his beating at the hands of Firat, Miran surprises Reyyan on the rooftop of the hotel and asks her to come back to him. She gives him an ultimatum hoping to jolt him into reality. She tells him that if he comes to the wedding dinner that evening, she will know that he is trying to believe the truth, but that if he doesn’t she will know it’s over. Reyyan tells him that she loves him very much, but that in their case, love is not enough. Truer words were never spoken.
No one can doubt either person’s love for the other, but their lives are so embroiled in deceit and lies that even the purest love would not be able to survive. Sure they will have happy moments, but the swamp around them will always pull them down. They deserve much better than that. Sadly, until Azize’s lies are revealed, and until Miran begins to use his head, they will not be able to live their love properly.
Mine is not a popular opinion, but I prefer the two to separate for a while so that Miran can find his truth without external influence. The scenes with the two of them together have become stale and repetitive recently with Miran constantly doting on Reyyan and Reyyan pulling away. I’d prefer separation until the two are ready to be husband and wife.
That night at the dinner Azize calls Handan to meet. She tells Handan that if she brings Elif back, Azize will end the revenge. But that if she is forced to take Elif by herself, not only will the revenge not end, but Azat will also be a target. Promptly in the following scene Elif is seen leaving the hotel and entering Azize’s car. Also at the dinner Gonul devastates Reyyan by telling her that Miran won’t be coming.
In the final scene of the episode Miran and Hazar meet on a rooftop (possibly the hotel rooftop) where Miran makes Hazar a proposal: The two will work together to find the truth under the condition that no one knows they are working together, not even Reyyan. We are left with the impression that Miran believes the letter is the truth, but he still does not absolve Hazar of his parent’s murder.
Other notes of interest:
Gonul is definitely up to something and we find out what that is. In a meeting with Firat, she asks that he transfer all the Aslanbey wealth to her, and she will take all the appropriate steps to deal with Azize. Sultan is also up to something, or rather she seems to know more than she is telling. In a conversation with Gonul she says “I would never help Azize Aslanbey. But I know that her kingdom is about to collapse. Not now, but when we want it to happen.” Regardless of her actions, sometimes helpful, sometimes not, Sultan is not to be trusted. Sultan’s sole purpose is to rule the Aslanbey fortune, and she will endure all sorts of abuse to achieve this goal.
There are two scenes which I found to be filler scenes. In both scenes Yaren tries to convince her parents that Harun is not what he seems to be. She calls Harun to the mansion in an attempt to trick him into showing his devious side without success. Harun is apparently not only smarter than Yaren, but just about everyone else in the series. Other than to show Harun's cunning nature, these scenes added nothing to the story and unncessarily extended the episode.
Now onto the analysis…
For some time I have been very concerned about Miran’s character development, particularly that his character is in danger of becoming ridiculous and irrelevant. There hasn’t been a single episode over this past season where Miran hasn’t screamed at the top of his lungs or cried. There hasn’t been a single episode in this season where Miran hasn’t flitted from one opinion to the next and reverted to revenge mode. But with the final scene of this episode, I believe that Miran Aslanbey is back. Here’s why.
From a conversation between Firat and Miran in episode 1 of the last season we get the impression that Miran is a meticulous and calculating person. He exudes confidence and determination (Indeed this is a large part of what has made Hercai a popular series).
According to Firat, Miran had put together a detailed plan to deceive the Shadoglus which took two years to materialize. Step by step he endeared himself to the Shadoglus, won their trust, and drew them into a business endeavor which led to his marriage with Reyyan. After the revenge and for the remaining episodes until this point, Miran was portrayed as being lost, confused, easily influenced and almost childlike. He has been hamstrung by his faith in Azize and his love for Reyyan, changing his opinion from one minute to the next.
In his conversation with Hazar in the final scene of this episode, Miran said, “this letter only proves that my grandmother lied to me. It does not prove that you didn’t kill my parents.” One cannot argue with the logic of this statement. He is faced with two conflicting stories about his mother; one from Azize who he knows has lied to him, and another incomplete version from Hazar who has also lied to him. The only pure piece of evidence before him is the letter from his mother.
That his mother could rely on Hazar in her time of need is what prods Miran to seek a partnership with him. Miran now knows that there is a truth, and that truth is neither what Azize has told him, nor the incomplete story Hazar has told him. He also seems to realize that with Reyyan by his side, his senses will be clouded. He will need a clear head to proceed. I believe Miran has gone back to his core… the meticulous, calculating Miran of the first two episodes of this series.
The events of the episode as annoying as they were, nominally served to show Miran breaking from the confusion that had plagued him for the past 28 episodes. At least this is what I have gleaned from the events of the episode.
His mother’s letter, Hazar’s words, and more importantly Firat’s confrontation have jolted him back into reality. For too long he has explained away Azize’s misdeeds. Something is not right and Miran now knows this.
After the revelation of the last episode, I was surprised and disappointed as were most of the Hercai fandom, to see Miran’s persistent rudeness and anger towards Hazar. In doing this, the writers have risked diminishing an iconic character. Clearly this episode was meant to show how deeply ingrained Azize’s lies are in Miran’s mind. But if that were the case, they should never have let Miran see the letter because the words in the letter are an undeniable cry for help. In the letter, Dilshah even writes “May God be pleased with you.”
These are not meaningless words. There is no logical explanation for Miran NOT softening his stance towards Hazar other than that the writers wish to diminish Miran’s character. The audience does not deserve this, Miran does not deserve this, and definitely Akin Akinozu, who has painstakingly created a memorable character in Miran, does not deserve this.
Having said all that, in the final scene Miran was calm, cool, calculating and confident as he faced Hazar. I hope that I’m right in believing that the Miran Aslanbey of episode 1 is back. Because if I am, then I pity anyone who stands in his way.
Haydi Hercai team! The audience (and Reyyan) is ready to be impressed by Miran Aga.