Why is this series so popular?  Well, I suppose it’s for many reasons:  1) every episode pulls us through an emotional wringer with its humor, family love, adventure, and unmitigated evil ; 2) with each new subplot, we get a glimpse into some fascinating customs of Trabzon life; 3) the writers tease us with glimpses of future action before bringing us back to the present scene; 4) and as the plot thickens, we must face the daunting odds of survival with our heroic couples, Nefes and Tahir, and Asiye and Mustafa.

Episode 23 of Sen Anlat Karadeniz  begins with an enigmatic situation: Mustafa and Tahir, are racing separately to save a kidnapped Asiye, while Vedat is placing the comatose Asiye in a wooden crate.  The brothers Kaleli are soon confronted with another of Vedat’s heinous tricks: their destination, a remote mountaintop house, is seemingly empty but for cameras all around the room and the voice of Vedat telling Mustafa he can only save his wife and unborn son one way . .a life for a life.  How did we get to this point when last we saw Asiye, at the Kaleli home and very pregnant, talking to two strangers who were asking for directions?

Just as the strangers confront Asiye asking for directions, we see Tahir, Nefes and little Yigit walking down the road to the house.  As they approach the front gate, the strangers mutter something and quickly leave. They get into one of two parked cars and Vedat, in the second car, orders them to leave immediately.  Tahir is suspicious but he doesn’t do anything other than close the flimsy gate. While this is happening, Fikret, the mysterious stranger/friend of Vedat is visiting with Mustafa at the waterfront office.  He seems to be interested in buying sand, but he never concludes a business deal with Mustafa. Before he leaves, Fikret asks about a family portrait behind Mustafa’s desk. Mustafa says the men in the picture are his father and his uncle, “Crazy Tahir,” the uncle who died in Instanbul, losing the woman he loved.

Nefes is still nervous about Vedat; she doesn’t believe he’s dead.  Tahir tries to reassure her, but her instincts for danger are too acute.  They visit attorney Esma only to learn that the DNA results for Ceylan have not arrived.  Ali is in the office, apparently because he is very much attracted to Esma. After the visit, Nefes walks to Nazar’s house to see Mercan while Tahir goes to the Kaleli office to see his brother.  Nefes is not welcomed at the Dagdeviran home, being driven away by Turkan the mother, while Vedat in disguise is welcomed by Cemil.

Tahir thinks Yigit, who will soon go to school, is ready for the circumcision ritual, the sunnet, so they begin preparations.  Since this custom is an important family event, everyone participates in decorating, inviting friends, buying gifts, preparing food, hiring musicians, and performing traditional dances.  Nefes and Tahir take Yigit to select his all-white uniform for his special day. Yigit doesn’t understand what he is preparing for or why Mustafa will be his helper. . .and no one will tell him, poor child.

Cemil, annoyed that Vedat is taking so long to destroy the Kalelis, decides to take care of Murat himself.  He tricks Murat into coming to the well to meet Nazar, but he is there instead with a bat. He beats Murat mercilessly until Turkan intervenes.  Poor Murat. . .he suffers for his love but he won’t give up, even when Mustafa orders him to stop. Because he refuses to go home in his dirty, bruised condition, he calls Berrak to bring him clean clothes.  Berrak helps Murat by bringing him fresh clothes, getting him medicine and staying with him through the night on the little boat.

The next morning brings pure delight for Tahir and Mustafa: Tahir with Nefes and Yigit is going to buy Yigit’s circumcision uniform to set the festivities in motion, and Mustafa is taking Asiye to the doctor to see a sonogram of his son.  That evening the celebration begins with prayer and singing as Yigit reclines on his special bed in the courtyard, surrounded by the male guests. The women are grouped in the house, following the vocal ceremony but not witnessing it. Afterward, the women join the men, the food is set out and the music begins.  A highlight of this segment is the brothers’ dancing. . .Tahir and Mustafa perform a traditional dance with knives, perhaps a version of the zeybeck, accompanied by a shrill pipe and drum, to the delight of everyone.

Ah, well. . .we know happy moments are few and usually very short.  When the evening concludes and the guest are gone, Mustafa receives a call from an unidentified number.  The caller says he’s the police and Mustafa’s ship is on fire. The men race to the waterfront, leaving the women alone, and as we can expect, Vedat has planned this so that the two previously inept goons can return to kidnap Asiye.  The men escape with Asiye, and since there is no fire on the ship, Tahir realizes this was a ploy to remove them from the house.

Poor Asiye.  Even in these terrible circumstances, she doesn’t stop fighting and threatening.  When Vedat removes the hood and she can see her assailant, she begins screaming at him. Even after Vedat says once his “wife” Nefes is returned to him, she will be freed, Asiye taunts him by saying “Nefes is Tahir’s wife,” over and over and over, until she is sedated to keep quiet.  Vedat calls Mustafa and tells him he will reveal Asiye’s location after Mustafa goes to the police and retracts the video that indicts Vedat for murder.

What will the next episode bring? Who is this mysterious Fikret that helps Vedat?  Is he somehow connected to the “Crazy Tahir” uncle who died in Istanbul? What does Vedat mean when he tells Mustafa how he can save Asiye?  Why does Nefes leave the safety of Idris house when everyone is asleep? What has happened to Tahir? What further evil can befall the Kaleli family at Vedat’s expense?


Written By – Susan Watson


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