Way to go, Yamac!! I didn’t know who Aras Bulut was channelling in his crazy opening performance this week. Steven Tyler screaming out the ultra-climax of “Dream On”, Robert Plant climbing that stairway? Hopefully not those equally crazy members of the 27 CLUB, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Kimi Hendrix and others who didn’t reach their 28th birthdays. How old IS Yamac anyhow?

He’s the youngest of the Famous Five, those adventurous Kocovali brothers, and it isn’t too long into his ghetto blaster driven solo performance on the back of a truck that we discover that he is had a gutful of his big brothers’ ongoing war. The constant “stuff” between Cumali and Salih is driving him crazy and he is letting us know, out VERY loud, that its time for him to do something about it, so they can all get on with the real business at hand. The thing is, we already know that Yamac’s mental stability is suspect from time to time. Not to worry, though.

What he is doing is rather more than a musical rant: Yamac is strategizing, using the sound to bring to the outside the processes going on inside his head so that he can clarify his thinking. It’s a proven technique, in the “real” world, to use music for thinking and learning. Mozart’s gentler music is often “prescribed” to aid memory and to settle nerves in the classroom, for example. Rappers work their thoughts to the surface in rhythm and spoken rhyme. It’s not as crazy as it looks if we really listen hard to Yamac. Kemal, in the cab with Metin, sums it up,

“It’s like he’s in there but not in there…”, while this process is not new to Metin who suggests they leave him alone until he calls them.  He’s working out how they got to be where they are and how to fix it.

Like a lot of “crazies,” Yamac is incredibly creative and this episode sees the genius that is unfolding in his fertile and overactive mind. My guess is  My guess is that Yamac has hypomania, a variant of manic depression where “up” periods can result in some of a person’s best work. High energy levels, rapid speech and thinking, little need for sleep can be harnessed and used to problem solve. It is no coincidence that he evokes the names of Caesar and Napoleon. Both were military strategists of genius status even though they had flaws comparable with those of his big brothers.

This IS an episode about craziness. We should be pretty used to events in “CUKUR” presupposing we get it that the impossible often happens. Scores of henchmen get mown down each week, for example. Neither Ceto nor the Kocovali boys, nor the Afghans of Feyzullah have any problem finding recruits who will happily pick up a machine gun and blast away. Soap operas, even the best of them like this one, require that we suspend our disbelief of all kinds of stuff. You can drive away in a beaten-up truck which is riddled with bullets from those machine guns, survive without a scratch and drive off.

There are all sorts of crazy in Episode 40. One of the most disturbing has to be the obvious pleasure that Mahsun feels when killing. Our first sight this week of Mahsun has him cutting a throat and then machine-gunning a minion from the other side, whichever “other side” it might be at this stage. It’s all in a day’s work. Later he is left with one survivor from a machine gun barrage. The boy lifts his arms in surrender. Mahsun calmly tips the boy’s head forward and shoots him anyhow. If one were to summarise Mahsun’s behaviour to date and one was a psychiatrist, it would be hard to go past diagnosing that this man belongs to a very small number of people who have the Dark Triad as fundamental to their personalities. These three aspects, the psychopathy of the killer who glories in his work of murder, the narcissist whose only real love is for himself and the Machiavellian whose catch cry is that the end justifies the means create a deathly cocktail made even more terrible when obstacles get in the way. Yamac has become such an obstacle for Mahsun, more than once blocking his actions and causing him to lose face in front of the Black Lambs.

Such frustration is impossible for a Dark Triadist to bear and I fear for her safety once Mahsun can manipulate time alone with Sena.  Alico’s discovery of women’s underwear, damaged and torn and in Mahsun’s trash left a cold chill down my spine.

There is this dark stuff, crazy of the worst kind, but there were some mad moments from this episode that had me laughing out loud and members of my family rushing into my office to see if I was OK, such were the hoots of mirth I couldn’t help.

There’s an awful lot of chains in “Cukur” and many creative ways to utilize them. The sequence involving chains, padlocks, pulleys, Ceto and Cumali reminded me of an insane Cirque du Soleil sequence. Who dreams up this stuff in the “Cukur” creative team? They surely have a warped sense of humour. At one stage the struggle to get at one another from lengths of chain which are just a little too short, the camera pulls back and we are left with Ceto en pointe, a little guy in a balletic pose stretching out to touch fingers to the stick insect that is Cumali. I have no idea how either actor could keep a straight face while filming this scene.

Getting the measurements just wrong enough to create human cocoons with rope must have been an interesting task. As usual, I enjoyed Salih’s sardonic quips and ability to wrest humour out of dire situations as he and Medet were strung up and put on hold as hostages. As time passes in this strange form of captivity, the relationship between the two men is renewed and strengthened, with Medet owning that being under such physical duress has made him mad and that he has said things without thinking. Salih reveals just how much having a wife and a child on the way have transformed him. He holds out no hope for Saadet’s survival, knowing that her captors are ruthless.

But the humorous highlight for me has to be the “bedroom” scene where Aras Bulut lets his comic ability out to play. He enjoys the “tryst” enormously, but his purpose is to get information. He asks Feyzullah what kind of a leader he is, and in suggesting that the Afghan played two sides off against one another,  he might also be interested in another kind of two-sided activity. If this activity were to be ‘outed’ at home, his position would be untenable. I think Feyzullah, with the customary deadpan expression on his face, gets it that Yamac, who says

“We’ve both got to survive, Afghan” is not making a serious proposition. They’d both be laughed out of their respective “tribes”, or shot or both at the mere hint that either could swing both ways. Such an idea is outrageous.

After this terrifying fake proposal delivered by Yamac with a wicked grin, Feyzullah is put to sleep with a tranquilliser. There is more than a hint of mania in Yamac during this scene, and at other times an excessive excitement accompanies his actions. He is aware, sometimes, that his thinking is impaired, admitting that his mind “comes and goes” When asking Feyzullah what kind of leader he is, there is a sense that he is also asking that question of himself.

The “musical broom” scene and the return of Ceto to Mahsun allow Aras Bulut free licence to show his superb acting talents. This is very definitely “his” episode, but others have important things to show us as well.

Celasun has been involved in rescuing some young men from an act of unspeakably mad torture involving hot water and male genitalia. His family is under such stress and his financial situation so bleak that he heads back towards his old allies and “brothers” who are glad to have him return, the only question being why he hadn’t asked for their help earlier. The women in his family are slowly being reconnected, in some very unexpected ways. The manipulative Karaca bears watching, as usual.

Selim has always been cast into the role of the “Lost Child” in his dysfunctional family. It seems that no matter what he does, even save his mother’s life after she chokes on her food, he cannot be allowed to be “Found”. I am furious at Idris, who whilst acknowledging the rescue, states that neither he nor Sultan can ever forgive Selim. For his part in the downfall of Cukur. Such forgiveness would, of course, threaten the stability of the beliefs Idris has had about family and call into question his own refusal to tell Selim why he wasn’t wanted. I don’t like Idris much. Never have.

When I first started watching Turkish drama, I was immediately impressed by the ease with which Turkish men can communicate with other men by touch. This is not a common feature of the men in my country unless (said tongue in cheek) they are in a Rugby or Rugby League scrum or lined up, arms around each other’s backs whilst we listen to national anthems before the Test Match of the day.

As an aside, some of anthems these are very boring and musically suspect. An exception is the Argentinian one which is about as long as a One Act Operetta. Argentinian men, some of whom are nearly as handsome (not quite) as Turks, don’t seem to have a problem with touching. The Aussies do though, being of stern colonial stuff and their anthem is short and jolly and bouncy. Ours is awful though we do sing it in both Maori and English. The Kiwi boys are usually visibly glad to let go of each other by that stage and to exert their true manliness with a war dance, the Haka. Look it up if you’re not English, French, Aussie etc where Rugby is played. There are lots of versions on YouTube. Sometimes it’s an embarrassment, other times I love it.

Back to Cukur. Much of the mayhem in this episode goes back to the antipathy that Cumali holds against Salih, still, over the death of that Golden Child of the Kocovali clan, Kamrahan, killed years ago by Salih. Cumali, despite some thawing, still wants intikam. He does not understand that Salih has been taken hostage in the course of trying to free him. Yamac has told him so. It takes a very long time for the message to sink in. Finally, it does get past Cumali’s conviction that the best way to deal with enemies or suspects is to kill them.

In a very powerful scene, Cumali reaches out to take the hand of his “new” and wounded brother. He has asked Yamac to confirm that Idris is indeed Salih’s father. Salih takes his time about responding to this acceptance. He so wants to be one of these brothers, he finally touches back. The peace is made, the admission to the brotherhood complete when Cumali covers both hands with his second. What a demonstration of the healing potential of touch. I hope they can maintain the peace.

I have laughed at and agonized over Vartolu, now Salih, since he first turned up in Cukur.  I’m not sure if he has a designated role in the family. It might be healthy if he hasn’t. I love Salih

I took a liking to Cumali since he arrived in Cukur. I enjoy his dry wit. I also think there’s a bit of the “Scapegoat Child” in Cumali. I love Cumali.

Selim is sad and alone. He is showing courage and determination to make amends. I hope others will stop loading their stuff on him but I don’t think they will. I think I’m learning to love Selim, the “Lost Child”.

And Yamac? He is an amazing young man. Complex, emotional, loving, talented, probably a bit crazy, He owns up to being mad. He is the family favourite, the “Youngest Child”.  I do hope he’s past 27. I love Yamac.

After this episode full of crazy stuff, the boys better get it right for the next episode. There are some very disturbing indications that their womenfolk are under threat from the true crazies, Ceto, Mahsun and the Black Lambs. There’s lots of lunatic stuff that didn’t even get a mention here, there was just so much of it in Episode 40. You all know what I mean.

Oh, and there’s one more person. He’s already an adopted member of the Kocovali family, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he turns out to be as much of a real brother as Salih. I hope so. I absolutely adore Alico.

Written by: Judith Kelleher



  1. THANK YOU for this. I am so happy to see an english review. I feel a bit alone being an english speaking watcher sometimes. I really appreciate it, sometimes my subs lose things in translation.

    I LOVE what you have written and agree with it all. Yamac is an Angel king, Cumali a brilliant, dry, sarcastic breath of fresh air, V is showing potential to repent and be a part of things, Selim is still the saddest character. I hate Idris.

    Thanks for this. Can’t wait to read more.


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