Once again, I’ve found it hard to get started with this review. My mind has been churning ever since I watched Episode 55 twice, once in Turkish, then with English subtitles. I’m becoming better at watching without dialogue that can I understand fully. I don’t take any credit for that. Rather it’s an acknowledgement of the skills, creativity and pure soul which is brought to us by these remarkable people, both on and off screen, who ARE Cukur.

The first twenty minutes are intense and action-packed, full of violence and sudden death, many deaths, over a hundred young men died from a “unit” of Karakuzu, bar one survivor. Karakuzu are sheep, black sheep with all the baggage that comes from being outsiders with negative labels. Ceto has brainwashed his ‘brothers so thoroughly in Karakuzu culture that they have no idea that they are really lambs to the slaughter. Wave after wave of young men have been mown down in repeated engagements with the battle-hardened Kocovali who are all skilled marksmen, coolheaded, focused and experienced street fighters… To date, they have few casualties. This time it’s a bit different.., Medet is down. More of that later.

Mahsun has been worrying about the brothers who are killed or hurt. not. It’s of little consequence really to Ceto whether the brothers are dead or alive, they’re valuable in either state. He is told by his ‘fam’,
“You nearly died and we sacrificed an army of our brothers. And for what, Ceto? Look how we are, my fam.’

At the end of the last episode, we witnessed Yamac giving Mahsun the ‘gift” of a ribbon tied folder which contained many records of Karakuzu who were, by then, dead. The injunction was that the folder was for Mahsun’s eyes only, with the warning that it would blow up, but not in any way that Mahsun would be expecting Clever, clever Yamac hinted that Mahsun would be able to understand because of his superior ‘education’. Mahsun has begun reading the file and is fighting hard to not believe that what he is reading is true. Ceto, his fam, whom he loves so much and whose very life is entwined with his, would never be involved in something like this. The worm of disbelief is at gnawing his grey matter and the disconnection process has begun.

Yamac is a lateral and highly creative thinker who runs with his instinct and makes quick decisions based on that instinct. He is quick to act and often does so without first explaining himself. This drives the literal and plodding Cumali crazy. He wants detailed explanations and plans of action. That’s just too bad, according to Selim who has developed an admiration for this action man quality in his little brother. It’sIt where Yamac’s charisma comes from. Cumali snorts in frustration. Charisma? What’s that? The charisma factor is part of the conversation at an informal “summit” meeting of the three brothers who are very concerned about the irrationality of Ceto’s hatred of Salih.

His seeming determination, no matter how many Karakuzu die in the process, to obliterate Salih seems crazy, given that the other brothers are not being targeted. They have decided that Salih has triggered some old stuff in Ceto’s past and that it has to do with ‘…dancing like a girl.’

Ayse has confirmed that something deep in Ceto had been touched and that he appeared to be having some sort of a breakdown. When in a fugue state after the dancing organized by Salih with his red handkerchief outside Ceto’s apartment, Ceto had mumbled about not wanting to ‘dance like a girl.’ Even more intriguing and disturbing, he has cried out to his mother, asking why she had left him, when or how Ayse had no idea.

I think that Yamac has picked up on the deep-seated trouble in the relationship between the tightly enmeshed pair of senior Karakuzu. There’s something very wrong here, and I’m willing to bet that it’s a folie a deux operating. We’ve heard it said before that neither Ceto nor Mahsun can function alone, that one is ‘the heart’, the other ‘the head’. It’s been this way for a very long time and it seems that Ceto was the founding force, if what we saw during Ersoy’s playground recruitment is to be believed. In the rare psychotic disorder that is folie a deux, that is “madness by two”, partners share the same delusional beliefs and support one another in that belief. Such relationships are unusually close and the psychosis only broken by separation. Sometimes the trauma of that separation is so intense that specialized medication is needed, as is careful therapy by a mental health professional. What chance of that for these two who’ve built a delusional brotherhood based on mind control of vulnerable boys and on casual mass murder?

And now this new factor which is so horrific that Ceto dare not share it with his ‘fam’. This harvesting of organs from the dead Karakuzu, documented, photographed, records carefully coded. Yamac has seen this discovery as the breaking point. There’s a very dangerous time coming in Cukur should this relationship really start to unravel. Ceto’s face is often twisted and contorted these days. Mahsun looks as if he has been hit by a stun gun.


The trouble is the man is swinging wildly between terrible grief and a violent, murderous rage over the shooting of his friend, Medet. He keeps watching outside the intensive care unit as Medet struggles to stay. Others are there, but it is with the arrival of Idris and the gentle comfort and strength offered by his father that Salih can know, finally that his father loves him as he loves his other sons. Idris respects Salih’s loyalty to his friend and his grief but is concerned that Salih does not let up on himself so that he loses sight of his real goal, the protection of his family. He should stop beating himself up now.

Much of this episode is about Salih’s new directions. But not until the drug lab is incinerated, Ceto is confronted and as many KarakuzuKarakuz as possible are exterminated. While he accepts a place in the Kocovali family, Salih will not accept any reward or payment that might have been Kahraman’s. This he explains to Yamac with whom the brother bond has been getting stronger. He tells Idris he’s glad and grateful to now be known as his son, but Salih also acknowledges he misses the lone wolf bad boy part of himself from the old days. Cumali has been converted to his support team. Salih’s second dancing stunt on the streets during which the physical disintegration of Ceto begins in earnest causes great hilarity to Cumali.

By the end of the episode, Medet has regained consciousness and is appeased by expressions of affection from Salih. Celasun who is also a second tier Kocovali, being damat and not blood has agreed to become the lieutenant of a new group of proactive urban warriors under Salih’s leadership.

Like the rest of the womenfolk at the renovated mansion, Saadet is witnessing the re-emergence of Sultan from her earlier semi-comatose state, now that her mother in law is back in her environment and solidly in charge of all the comings and goings. All those women, getting above themselves and inviting people without checking with her, the mother of the house, can’t be tolerated. Even Ayse, now divorced from her son, is called into the fold. No doubt about it, Sultan likes being Queen Bee. Idris has returned and so far, touch wood, there is no sign of his fancy woman.

This Cumali, oldest of the Kocovali boys, is getting it on all sides from the womenfolk. He takes himself so seriously and gets so wound up, but we see flashes of a wry sense of humour. He’s still paying in liquor to sit with Yildiz in the nightclub, but by the end of the episode has asked her to marry him. Little does he know that he is the subject of dynastic manipulation by his father who is planning that he will marry the stroppy but straight-up daughter of Uluc Reiss, that Damla who’s moved into the mansion and is causing all sorts of waves already. And his mother, he thinks really missed having him to needle for so long and is making up for it at every opportunity.

Yamac is plotting, planning, doing mysterious things. A lot goes on in his head that others aren’t aware of and he has a true talent for finding bizarre and useful new people. This time it’s a crazy dealer who doesn’t much care for money but appreciates good music and machine guns.


Yamac is clear that the key to defeating the Karakuzu is breaking apart of the folie a deux relationship between Ceto and Mahsun. He spells it out,
” We need to make him confront this. We’ll make him face it.” That this might be the only slight chance of redemption for Mahsun crosses my mind. I know he does awful stuff but when I discovered he had been a lost six-year-old hiding under a boat when first found by Ceto, my heart got a little softer.

Yamac’s stroke of genius comes in the form of large trucks bedecked inside with large blown-up photographs of mutilated, “emptied’ corpses of dead Black Sheep manySheepmany of them stuck together with parcel tape. Mahsun is tricked into viewing the pictures.

He is sickened by what he sees, but every part of his being screams that this is not true, Ceto would not do this. The denial is so strong that even a confession later in the episode, by the doctor in charge of the organ mining operation cannot, at first, convince Mahsun that what he is seeing is real. It takes some time for his resistance to crumble. Watching either member of the pair come apart is painful in the extreme.

Whilst setting out to destroy the toxic relationship between them, some very disturbing information about their backgrounds as children comes to light. Given what either of them suffered then, their current state is understandable. Their behaviour is unacceptable. As the task of destroying this toxic bond moves into the end phases, the violence of the Karakuzu erupts into the destruction of much of Uluc Reiss export property, his ships and an old, well-respected restaurant. Explosions and gun battles leave very few of Ceto’s men alive. Yamac and company can sense that the end is very near now. As they sit in the coffee shop they are aware of a loud conversation outside that Mahsun is really taking his disgust and rage to Ceto. They scramble to take their chairs to the roof above the barbershop, audience to the verbal carnage below. They witness the coming apart of the ashen-faced Ceto and the final rage of Mahsun, walking away as he tells Ceto that there is no possible return, that the older man can expect nothing from him now.

The last scene spotlights a huge Cukur symbol on the wall above the barbershop. Seven Kocovali men stand clapping and jeering on the deck whilst the two Karakuzu slowly understand that they have been seen and listened to. Mahsun is walking away. Ceto is even more ashen-faced. The game is up. They kept an eye on Mahsun…he was the important one, so said Yamac. It seems to have worked.

I’m left thinking at the end of this episode that, as the relationship between Ceto and Mahsun is self-destructing and the psychosis is becoming evident, the strength of the bonds between the KocovaliKoocovali is getting exponentially stronger as the individuality of each man is honoured by the others. They complement one another and celebrate one another’s individual talents.

For next week.
What is the mysterious thing that Selim wants Alico to find in the library?

Written by: Judith Kelleher





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