We left the last episode with Celasun’s gun pointed at the back of Cumali’s head. It is dark, they’re on one of Cukur’s myriad roofs and Celasun is quietly weeping. Clearly, this is not something he wants to be doing. Luckily, Celasun is spared the task of executing Cumali and we are not sure at the start of this episode what that is all about, anyway. We do know that Celasun’s up to date knowledge of the rooftop escape routes is what saves them from a group of well-armed Black Lambs. That and a ladder wielded by Yamac who is getting mighty sick of the Don Quixote strategies that Cumali is adopting, in his insistent and ill-advised outbursts, usually involving guns and multiple deaths.

The Cervantes reference reminds me of Ceto’s “Rambo Cumali” which is right on the money. Cumali’s attitudes and behaviour are dangerous to him and to others, including the families and loved ones of people like Celasun who feel obliged to join Cumali in his adventures. Unfortunately, Yamac slips up in reminding Cumali of other people’s family ties, forgetting for one moment the loneliness which is his big brother’s constant companion.
Much of the early part of this episode is about relationships and love, the love of men for their women. One after the other, we are reminded that each of the Kocovali men has been separated from women they love. First, Idris continues telling Selim the terrible story of his obsessive and all-encompassing passion for Meliha which eventually took away his ability to function in all areas of his life and work.

A decision was made by the Cukur leaders that the only solution was to remove Meliha from the picture, that being best achieved by her death. Either Idris would kill her, or the group would do it for him and Pasa would be the witness to the carrying out of the sentence. Idris shot her, eyes shut, three times and turned away. He could not look and did not know that she had survived. Only at the meeting, he holds now with “Mrs Bulent”/Meliha does he (and we) learn of the bullet which lay beside her heart for thirty-five years, unable to be removed till medical advances eventually made it possible. She had lived with the reality of the bullet slowly being “pearlized” by her own body. Now that it has been removed, it is Idris’ turn to carry both the bullet and the story. As he leaves, Meliha hands Idris his “belongings”, a box containing an exquisite rosary, one bead of which is the bullet eventually removed from her chest.

Selim is appalled by the story. While there is no direct explanation, it is not difficult to make the connection between the new Kocovalli son born at a time when his father is absolutely emotionally unavailable and unable to form any bonds with a baby he cannot even see, so much is he caught up in his obsession with Meliha.

A s this part of the story is told, the sound of three gunshots adds to the horror of Idris’ narrative. In this episode ,I notice more than ever the presence, importance and power of the sound effects and music of Cukur. The opening credits have been accompanied by the music of ‘old” Cukur from Season 1, Kocovalli, insistent, building in tempo and excitement, signalling danger and rooftop pursuits, like it was before the Kurtullari. Soon we know the gunmen of the Black Lambs are here because we instantly recognize “their” music. Toygar Isikli is so clever as he trains our ears to instantly match auditory and visual cues to match the rapid cuts between parts of the story and between time frames. This continues throughout the episode which is a particularly ‘busy’ one.

Salih is on a solo drunk, determined, aggressive and not really caring what anyone says or does. When asked to pay he is impervious to threats of being beaten up, informing the bar “heavies” that he’s quite used to being beaten, that it’s actually one of his hobbies. As the wrist of one of his assailants is raised, it is grasped from behind and to the strains of “Heycani Yok”, his signature tune, Yamac is on the scene., having been called there by the ever vigilant Medet. Exactly what he needed and wanted, a bar full of out of condition minders just waiting to be beaten up. Yamac glories in the workout offered him while a drunken Salih looks on approvingly. Soon the bar room floor is littered with unconscious bodies and the two brothers stroll out, each with a bottle, to carry out a leisurely conversation in which they discuss first of all, the extent of Salih’s inebriation and the reasons why he found it necessary to get so drunk.

T he news that Saadet may still be alive is what has upset Salih. He tells Yamac how much he misses his wife. In one of the most beautiful passages I have seen in Cukur, Salih explains that he believes Saadet is still alive.
“Whenever I close my eyes, she’s right next to me. The smell of her, her warmth. I knew her value.” This is Erkan Kolcak Kostendil at the peak of his acting powers, as he describes the love for his beloved Sadis, for whom he will do anything. His face is illuminated, his eyes glowing, yet sad as he explains to Yamac that he would surely understand, because Yamac would do the same for Sena.
“You would go straight to hell for the one you love. So, no problem to do so.” Salih will do whatever is necessary to find and save his Sadis.

Yamac meets, lovingly, with Sena. He has been waiting on her doorstep. They hold one another, not talking and there is a feeling of comfort and kindness in their coming together even though there is still distance and things to work out.

C umali, poor lonely Cumali, the socially inept and emotionally clumsy ex-prisoner has shown himself capable of great love with the way he embraced the troubled daughter of his dead brother. He is seen outside the home of Yildis, an old lover who now has three children she feeds from her earnings “on the game” . He watches the family at the meal table. I wonder if Cumali is destined to spend the rest of his life without love.

T he most poignant of scenes, however, amongst the members of this family which is trying to salvage love from the wreckage and chaos which came with the wedding massacre and which has a long, sad history of death, destruction and toxic secrets, is a simple one. Selim has been trusted to take care of his mother while Idris is meeting with Mrs Bulent/Meliha. Idris opens the door to find them both asleep, Selim on the floor next to his mother on the couch, holding hands peacefully.

Meanwhile, back at the drug kitchen … production has been slowed down and the meeting with the Bulgarion purchasers reveals that there are issues both with the quality and quantity of “Good” that is available. Further down the track, Cumali causes even more issues in supply and demand with his interception of a supply truck and a brutal dealing to of the Black Lambs who are escorting it. As payback for the hostage taking ploy of Ceto and Mahsun to protect their delivery to the Bulgarians, this effort by Cumali has his Gung-ho trademark. We leave that scene with Black Lambs lying on the road, having been instructed to hold their hands up, so that Cumali can “liberate” them from their membership rings. The method is implied but obvious. We don’t see it, for which I am grateful. The violence in this show is pretty graphic at times.

Sena has made it her mission to reconcile the brothers with their parents who have been living some distance from Cukur, just getting on with existing. Idris takes on the daily chores and looks after his traumatized wife whose days pass in a fugue and who needs to be fed like a baby. By day he works in the local fruit and vegetable market and they eke out an existence with the help of reject produce from which Idris cuts the rotten parts. Mostly they stay out of the headlights and life is very different from the old days in Cukur.
Sena brings the granddaughters first. Celasun is furious because, at all costs, he wants to keep Aksin safe and he is insistent that he do it his way. Later, there will be a painful reunion with Yamac who is shocked when he sees what has happened to his mother and who berates himself to Sena. Idris has mellowed, something fundamental has shifted in him and he asks to see Salih who is astounded at first that he has been called to his father.

The meeting between them is brokered by Yamac, who has the sensitivity to leave Idris and Sali alone. In a scene of emotional depth and beauty, Idris accepts Salih as if they had always been together. Father advises son about such matters as cleaning himself up and getting a haircut, ironic for the former dandy, Vartolu Saadettin, he of the red suits and Brilliantined hair. Sadly, the meeting between the two is marred by the creation of yet another family “secret’, this one involving the so-called healthy progression of Saadet’s pregnancy whilst she is in fact, a captive of Ceto and Mahsun. Salih’s efforts are painful in the extreme to witness and I feel like screaming at the screen about this being yet another deception within the family, which cannot help but cause harm in the long run. I just want them to love one another, this father and son.

I dris is lucky, I think, to have a chance with this son, once lost, now found. Salih is capable of great love, as we have seen with his patient, unwavering devotion at a distance towards Saadet. He also has a deep and rare love for his friend Medet who is now dangerously ill as a result of damage done by a bullet. Medet is likely to need transplant surgery and it’s my guess that a mission to make that happen will soon be foremost in Salih’s decision making.
Alico, too, has the role of peacemaker. He always engenders love in those who know and interact with him.

Earlier in the episode ,we saw a past effort by him to bring Meliha and Idris together. Both have been aware of each other’s survival for some time and Alico, in his innocence, has wanted them to meet again. Idris pleads his case with Alico, to not face her again. He asks how anyone could face the person they (believed) they had killed. Alico, in one of his most illuminating and incisive comments yet, states,
” But everyone kills the one they love. You’re not different at all. Mrs Meliha’s not dead, she’s still here!”
Idris will not budge. He makes Alico promise to be the go-between in getting anything that Meliha may need. This all, of course, was then, before the destruction of Cukur and of the powerful Idris known to Meliha. This is now and the rules have changed. Meliha has been shocked at Idris’ weakness.

T he last part of this episode sets up a probable future for Salih, who may need to assume his old persona, or at least some parts of it if he is to survive. Led on a false trail, Salih makes his way through a labyrinthine tangle of corridors to find the leaders of the ‘new’ Cukur in an underground chamber where they reveal a captive and very pregnant Saadet behind a one-way screen. The ‘offer’ is yet to be made but it’s pretty obvious that it will involve making drugs and that it will happen very soon.

I imagine that both Ceto and Mahsun are glad that they failed in their earlier attempt to eliminate Vartolu at the end of his last drug making ‘contract’.

Written By – Judith Kelleher



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