Does Distance Make the Heart Grow Fonder?
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I honestly think Turkish productions should consider reducing their episode airtime to one hour. What occurred in this episode could have been conveyed in one hour and saved the cast and crew hours of film time especially in these precarious times we're in.
The episode starts with Reyyan telling everyone of her decision to leave, but as expected no one pays attention to her desire to be left alone. The entire family follows her down the alley begging her to stay. After saying enough hurtful words, she manages to break free from Miran and her family and heads to a train station. Not knowing where she'll go, she is face to face with her younger self. She gets on the train and just when it looks like she's leaving she gets off realizing that she can't leave everyone behind.
Meanwhile, Azat who still hasn't gotten it through his thick skull that Reyyan can never love him, goes off alone to drown his sorrows in a bottle of his favorite alocoholic beverage, leaving Elif behind. The fact that Azat has left Elif alone makes Handan happy. Why in the middle of everything that's happening Handan would want to separate the two is just a huge mystery to me. But I've given up trying to understand these things.
Still in the dark about Yaren's whereabouts, Handan pretends she's in labor and refuses to go to the hospital to give birth until Yaren comes home. Nasuh tells everyone that Yaren is now with her husband Harun at the hotel and Cihan rushes of to bring her back. Yes dear readers, after Nasuh's vow to never let Yaren set foot in the house, Yaren and Harun come back to the Shadoglu mansion to live.
Gonul who's just finished digging up her brother's grave comes back to the Aslanbey mansion under the secret watchful eyes of Asiyeh the new housekeeper who seems to know a lot about the Aslanbeys. Angry at Azize for lying to her, she hatches some sort of plan that includes Firat. She tells him about his adoption papers which apparently are fake, and tells him that Azize used the fake papers as leverage to get her to divorce Miran.
Furious about what he's learned, Firat storms into the Esma's house and confronts Azize in front of his mother. These scenes obviously confirm that Firat definitely is NOT Gonul's brother.
After Reyyan leaves her family, Miran and Hazar run out to find her. For some odd reason that I can't understand, everyone thinks she's lost! They go to Shukran's house, she's not there, and after being cruelly shunned once again by Shukran, Miran goes to the swing, she's not there... Hazar goes to the hotel, she's not there... I think they should just leave her alone because she needs to digest everything that's happened to her. But no, that's not what the writers have in mind. We're forced to endure hours of abuse, regret, and tears.
Finally, Miran and Hazar both go to Esma's house to make sure that Azize hasn't done something to Reyyan. They don't find her there either, but they do run into Firat after his encounter with Azize. Here, we find out that in fact it was Miran who asked Esma to go with Azize to keep an eye on her plans. Firat is furious with Miran but when he finds out that Hazar is not Reyyan's father, and that Reyyan has "disappeared", he runs off to find her too.
We are then subjected an inordinate amount of tears, regret and self pity from Miran, Hazar and Reyyan. When Reyyan gets a Facetime call from her mother, out of consideration for her, she doesn't let on that she knows about the lie. She's kind and compassionate to her mother who is far away and not aware of the chaos that Yaren created. That's of course because she has two very willing punching bags right in front of her. Lucky Zehra has gotten off quite easy in my opinion.
Finally it's morning and Reyyan wakes up at the train station with Firat next to her. Somehow he's found her and tells her he will take her wherever she wants to go. She wishes to go to Azize. There she finds out that Azize knew that she wasn't Hazar's daughter when she planned her revenge. She also finds out that Gul had been there earlier because she had left that all important doll. At this point, I have no idea whether Dilshah's letter is in the doll anymore. It seems as though every one in Midyat has had a go at it.
Reyyan's meeting with Azize serves to clarify two things for Reyyan; 1) that Azize will stop at nothing to get revenge even now, 2) that no one in her family is safe. She threatens Azize and goes with Firat to some cafe where she is met by Shukran.
Shukran has now taken Reyyan under her wings. She vows to protect Reyyan the way she could not protect Dilshah. She tells her that she sees a lot of Dilshah in her. It's lines like these that make me rebel. Clearly Reyyan is hurt and she has every right to be. And she is lashing out very cruelly at the two men she loves. While I don't condone cruelty, I can understand Reyyan's reaction. But please, please don't expect me to believe that Reyyan can be compared to Dilshah. Reyyan is basically a decent young woman who's been dealt a mixed hand in her life. She's trying to figure it out, which I'm sure she will because she's loved and she is alive. Dilshah's life was tragic. Alone and abused with no way out she endured for the sake of her son.
Anyway, Miran who has spent the night at the swing wakes up determined to find Reyyan because apparently he can't "breathe without" her. This dependence goes beyond all realm of understanding. The girl has just realized that she's been deceived her whole life and is just now understanding her grandfather's reaction to her growing up. Any normal person who's been the brunt of her cruel words in the past would stay away for a while... but Miran is not normal. He's a glutton for punishment as we see over and over again in this episode and the previous episodes.
Reyyan and Shukran go back to the village and Miran and Hazar alerted by Firat meet her there. Miran begs her not to stay away from him because he can't breathe while she's not near. Hazar begs her forgiveness again but is once again harshly sent away. Hazar seems to get the message, but Miran does not. He comes back with Mavi (her horse) and takes her on a very beautifully filmed ride. She tells him that he's not good for her and that she needs to be away from him so she can breathe. So it appears that he can't breathe without her and she can't breathe with him. She tells him not to follow her anymore and finally, I think, he lets her go.
Before Miran comes with Mavi, Reyyan gets a call from Azize and heads out to see her. Azize gives her a document revealing who her father is but Reyyan tears up the paper without reading it. She tells Azize that Hazar is her only father and that she plans to go back to her family and her husband and that she will be the one to bury her. Mind you this is right before she tells Miran that he's suffocating her.
There are also two confusing scenes with Azat and Elif. In the first, Azat arrives home in the morning in a drunken stupor making it apparent to Elif that he's is still in love with Reyyan. He tells her he never made any promises and he didn't deceive her into thinking that he loved her. She takes off her ring and seems to leave him. But in a later scene, Azat wakes up after his drunken stupor to be met by a loving Elif. It's not clear whether Azat imagined the previous scene or whether Elif changed her mind about leaving.
After Miran leaves Reyyan alone to ride by herself he heads back to Shukran's house, where once again he is pushed away by his grandmother. This time he doesn't leave. He asks her to help him. He tells her that she and Reyyan are the only people he has in this world and that Reyyan keeps running away from him. He wants his grandmother to take his hand and tell him this will all pass. To watch this scene, which in my opinion almost made it worth slogging through the long and tiring episode, scroll down.
Hazar who is now defeated and deeply regretful returns to the Shadoglu mansion to find Yaren there. He tells Cihan that he will not stay where Yaren is and asks to pack Gul's things and leave. Just at that moment, Reyyan's horse runs to the gates of the mansion without her. Panicked, Hazar calls Miran to let him know.
The episode ends with Reyyan who is face down in the river being lifted up by an unknown man in black.
Those were the events in the episode, now onto the review.
I give this episode a 6 out of 10. The highlights of the episode for me were the filmography, the coloring, the video angles, and the beautiful backdrop. But the writing and sequencing of the scenes left quite a bit to be desired. Clearly, the purpose of this episode was to show Reyyan's hurt, anger, confusion and her struggle to deal with the truth. In my opinion, this struggle which began last episode and dragged tediously thoughout this episode could have been handled quite effectively in a one hour episode. The long drawn out overly dramatic scenes did nothing other than diminish the most critical characters and trivialize others.
So what ultimately came out of her struggle? She realized that she cannot leave her family behind. In the process, she let off all the steam that she had been holding inside her entire life for all the injustices she'd experienced... for all her broken dreams. This truth was the impetus for Reyyan to finally realize that what she had lived was an injustice and prodded her to take her life into her own hands.
And how did she do that? Well, I don't really know. Because by the end of the episode it was unclear to me what Reyyan planned to do. Did she want to go back to her family and her husband as she told Azize? Or did she want to be away from Miran and her family so she could "breathe"? Whatever it was we will never know because now she's in the hands of some unknown person who is likely to change the trajectory of the show.
Also, I was a bit puzzled and very disappointed by the conversation she had with her mother while she was at the train station. I don't know why the writers felt they had to include that in the script. The person who has most to answer for the lie is Zehra. I can't fathom what the writers hope to achieve by showing Reyyan's kindness to her mother on the one hand, and her cruelty to her father on the other hand. I can only speak for myself, but the tone of that conversation as compared to her treatment of Hazar left me with a bitter taste. As much as I understand her plight, I found it hard to sympathize with her. It would have been best if the scene with Zehra was not included.
I'm also extremely frustrated by the writers' insistance on making Miran a door mat for Reyyan to stomp on. He has become such a shell of his former self that I am now convinced that the Miran Aslanbey of the first season was just a fleeting character. I am now even more convinced that the writers have a different vision of Miran than I, or perhaps most of Hercai fandom do.
Perhaps I have been so spoiled by dizis like Asi and Karadayi that I expect too much. In both of those dizis both the male and female characters were strong. It didn't mean that they didn't show moments of weakness, but the weakness was not dependent on taking down the male character. It's possible that the writers of this series are not capable of portraying a strong woman without denigrating a man. Or perhaps they are capable but Miran Aslanbey is simply not the man we thought he was. Perhaps Miran Aslanbey is the vehicle by which the grievances of disgruntled women are to be allayed. Tamam. I'll accept that and I won't harp on this topic any more.
Suffice it to say that I found Miran to be quite selfish and needy in this episode. Reyyan wasn't the only one who felt suffocated by his constant presence. I was too. I would have preferred him to calmly tell her that he loved her and would be there for her whenever she was ready to come back to him. I would have preferred if he was confident of her love like he was in season 1. But I suppose his guilt and shame and his insecurities overtook any rational thought. And that's not surprising anymore.
Ok, now onto some of the side stories. The past few episodes, Elif has had a very minor role, mainly standing around with various shocked, stoic and puzzled expressions. She wasn't even a major figure at her own dowry party a couple episodes ago, Sultan was. With a reaffirmation of Azat's continuing love for Reyyan, I am not sure where the writers plan to take this love story. When Azat returns from his night out, Elif takes off her ring and seems to be leaving him.. but then she's back and hugging him. What is she thinking? Perhaps a clue to this can be drawn from one scene in this episode. Reyyan had just found out that Gul had been with Azize earlier and she calls Elif to find out if Gul is alright. In their coversation, Elif tells Reyyan that she was right in everything she had said and that she was right to leave. Clearly, Elif now sees Reyyan as a threat where before she did not. Is Elif's character changing for the worse? We will see in future episodes I suppose.
As for Harun and Yaren... their story is so strange that I really can't analyze it in any depth. It's not at all clear to me why Harun wormed his way into the Shadoglu family and why he felt he had to marry Yaren. Will their relationship ever amount to anything? Is Yaren even capable of caring for someone other than herself? Who knows? And frankly, who cares. But what is obvious is that Harun is in cahoots with the blue note sender who seems to know everything that goes on in the Aslanbey mansion. Perhaps Sultan's new housekeeper is also an accomplice. Anyway, there is still no real indication who Harun and his patron are and what they are trying to achieve. Are they friend or foe? Hopefully we'll find that out soon too.
So now we're left with the question.. who is the mysterious man in black who has rescued Reyyan from the river? Is he Azize's loyal henchman Mahmut? Is he Reyyan's biological father sent by Azize to confuse matters even more? or is he someone else? And finally, how will Reyyan and Miran get together this time? Will Reyyan need rescuing from this unknown man? or will she get out of this mess by herself?
I hope we get some answers next week. In the meantime check out this lovely scene between Miran and his grandmother.
On a totally unrelated note, several Turkish dizis have paused filming during this Coronavirus outbreak but Hercai has not. I am hoping that the Hercai production team and the TV outlets understand the seriousness of this issue and also pause filming until it's under control. Turkish dizi cast and crew work long hours and under very difficult working conditions, let's not put added stress and pressure on them by compromising their health. And let's hope the issue is solved quickly and the world can go about its business soon.