A long walk down a hotel corridor. An early morning knock on the door to awaken a sleeping occupant. A body lying on a slab as a ritual cleansing is performed. The sharp thud of an axe that breaks up the cold hard ground. The introductory scenes of this episode extend the theme of death that ended the last episode where Tahir, Saniye and Fikret stand at the graves of Crazy Tahir and Sakine. This episode is a story of self-realization, acceptance and forgiveness.

Nefes opens the door to find a strange man who hands her a letter from Fikret. She begins to read the letter which opens with the confession that Vedat is Fikret’s son. He acknowledges all of the pain and hardships that she has endured as his responsibility and shame since they were inflicted by his son Vedat. He has one thing to ask of her; that is, she must hold on to Tahir. He says he will solve all of the problems that the two of them face, “the police, prison, and the ‘wanted’ problems,” and if he remains alive after his confession, it is because Tahir loves her and is merciful. As she continues to read, the scene shifts to the gravesite where Fikret introduces Saniye’s secret by referring to sins of the past that need to be recognized. Saniye, reluctant to speak, finally manages to utter the truth of Tahir’s parentage. He is the son of Crazy Tahir and Sakine.

Fikret, full of guilt and remorse, offers a stunned Tahir a gun and tells him that he’s tired. He has carried the death of two people on his back for thirty years, and he hasn’t slept at night in all that time. Fikret says he has prepared for his death by writing his will and performing ablutions. Now he wants to end the misery of his life by offering Tahir retribution. Tahir, unable to speak , finally walks away. Fikret tells Saniye that now that the truth is known, their burdens of guilt will be even heavier.

Mustafa sits at the kitchen table alone as Asiye enters with morning greetings. The house is empty, Fatih and Murat having taken Balim to school, mother Saniye away, and Nazar in the upstairs bedroom. Asiye and Mustafa sit quietly after Asiye pleads with Mustafa to tell her that the dark clouds hovering over their lives will soon be ended. The truth of Tahir’s birth, the absence of Tahir, Nefes, and Yigit, the anger of Cemil Dagdiveren, the court cases, and Saniye’s hateful refusal of Nazar and Nefes has cast a pall over the entire family.
[Let’s stop a moment and consider these facts: Fikret loves Tahir because he is the son of Sakine, the woman he loved and killed out of jealousy. His guilt for that crime is overwhelming. Fikret loves Vedat because he is his biological son whom he never acknowledged. His guilt for that abandonment cannot be assuaged, especially since Yigit is his true grandson whom he cannot acknowledge. Saniye is guilty because her jealousy led to the death of Tahir’s parents and her failure to tell Tahir the truth of his birth.]

At the cemetery, Fikret calls one of his men and is told that he’s at the police station with Vedat. Vedat walks into the precinct to retract his statement that Tahir Kaleli shot him. He says an employee of his from Istanbul is guilty. The desk sergeant asks him why, then, did Tahir Kaleli admit that he shot him. Vedat says he doesn’t know. They would have to ask him that. He goes on to say he feels light as a bird, that honesty is such a good feeling. Now, we know that is NOT the Vedat that we have seen, so what has happened to him?

The scene shifts to the night before when Tahir has rescued Nefes and Yigit from the mansion and Vedat, walking around in a drunken state, was found by Fikret and taken to his house. Vedat had passed out, but Fikret, determined to settle some affairs, told Doruk to sober him up with a cold shower and plenty of coffee. When Vedat is brought downstairs fresh from the shower, wrapped in towels, Fikret tells him to sit down. Refusing, Vedat starts upstairs, but Fikret has the men take the towel from his shoulders, orders the men to open a window, reminds Vedat that even the pants he wears belong to him, and once again, he orders him to sit down. He reminds Vedat that he still has the rifle and gun with his fingerprints on them. Vedat asks then why didn’t he turn them in before, that his “real” father was better about threats than he is. Fikret says he still may turn them in, but before he does, Vedat will go to the precinct and declare Tahir’s innocence in the shooting. He further says that he may return Vedat to the place where he found him in Istanbul and let him see if he can survive there now. Vedat answers with a sarcastic, “I love you, too.”
Still at the cemetery, Fikret receives a call from Vedat saying he did what Fikret asked. He denied that Tahir shot him. Fikret says, “Good. Now behave yourself and stay out of trouble.” Vedat dismisses that bit of advice, saying he can’t stay away from his own shadow. When asked where he wants to go, Vedat says to Fikret’s house.

Back at the hotel, Nefes and Yigit go down for breatfast and Tahir soon joins them. While Yigit plays with a toy in the lobby, Tahir tells Nefes about his visit at the cemetery and shares his confusion and emptiness.

At Esma’s office, Berrak asks for some free time while Esma visits with Ali. Ali is despondent because he was relieved of his command and he doesn’t know what he will do for work if he can’t be a policeman. He admits he knows nothing about commerce, that even working as a grocer would be hard for him. Esma says she doesn’t care what kind of work he does, just so he earns an honest living. At that moment, he receives a call from his associate Ilhan who tells him that Vedat retracted his complaint. Esma and Ali left immediately for the hotel (how did they know to go there?) where they tell Tahir and Nefes the good news. Tahir, however, is sceptical. He doesn’t know why Vedat voided the complaint and he’s suspicious, but Esma advises him to go to the prosecutor’s office and accept the situation as lack of evidence. Tahir, still reluctant, says there’s something wrong; Vedat isn’t so generous, and besides, he’s lying. Nefes tells him to do it for Yigit, that Yigit deserves a father who loves him. With her urging, Tahir agrees to go back to the family even though he sees everything so differently now. He feels like he doesn’t belong there.
Mother Saniye returns home and tells Asiye and Nazar that she told Tahir the truth about his birth. Asiye is shocked that she has seen Tahir because they haven’t known where he was. She calls Mustafa to tell him, and as Mustafa, Murat and Fatih are on their way home to question Saniye, Ali calls to tell them the good news that Tahir will be free. With horns blaring, the Kaleli boys drive up to the mansion to tell Asiye and Nazar the good news, and that Ali is bringing Tahir, Nefes and Yigit back to the house.

Fikret returns home to find Vedat in the kitchen cooking. When asked what he was doing, Vedat says he thought Tahir would shoot Fikret when he learned the truth, so he was making halva for Fikret’s funeral. He said he did what Fikret asked about dropping the complaint, and now he plans to go away, far away, and he hopes Fikret will be able to sleep since he has unburdened hi s conscience. Of course, Vedat doesn’t say what he will do before he leaves nor does he say if he will go away alone.

Gathered around the table at the Kaleli home, the family expresses their happiness in awkward conversations, telling Tahir about their worry for him, Nefes, and Yigit and about Murat kidnapping Nazar and Cemil’s anger. Finally, Tahir confronts Saniye in her bedroom. He tells her that he spent most of his time protecting Nefes from her because she blamed Nefes for upsetting the house, that she lectured all of them about “family unity” and manners when she hid the truth. The truth was that she killed his mother Sakine even though she says she didn’t. Learning the truth was like having a hammer beat his head. She took him in as her own child, but she refused the same acceptance of Nefes who wanted to call her “Mom.” The conversation is overheard by Nefes and Asiye, but Asiye assures Nefes that everything will be all right. They, as a family, can overcome this and raise the children together.

Soon after, Tahir, Ali and Esma leave for the prosecutor’s office, Yigit tells about living in the van, and Saniye has a conversation with Nefes. In that conversation, she doesn’t exactly apologize to Nefes, but she does try to explain her actions. She says Fikret was jealous of Crazy Tahir and killed him because he loved Sakine. She wanted to separate Tahir and Nefes because she was afraid Vedat would kill Tahir in a bout of jealousy the same way. Nefes said she understood why Saniye acted that way now that the truth was known.
At his house, Fikret pulls up a dead tree that he planted when he first came to Trabzon, a symbol of his efforts to rehabilitate Vedat. He tells his men that no matter how well he cared for the sapling, it didn’t thrive and live. He asks about Vedat and when told that he left, he tells Doruk to follow him and observe every breath he takes. Then he makes a call, apparently to a hospital, and asks for information about an “in-patient” who is there.

Nazar visits with her mother and Mercan at home and learns that Cemil is still upset and doesn’t communicate with them. Turkan says she doesn’t want Nazar to give up her dreams of getting a Master’s degree in nursing. Cemil comes home and ignores Nazar even though she tries to speak to him. When Nazar leaves, Turkan asks Cemil why he treated his daughter so poorly and he answers that Nazar is playing a game. Turkan says she was a child when she married him at age 16, but Nazar is an adult. Times have changed, Cemil answers, and nothing is the same as it once was.

Tahir returns from the court where he has been relieved of the charges against him. After the well-wishing of the family, he, Nefes and Yigit go to the seashore. Nefes tells Tahir that she spoke with Saniye and she understands why Saniye behaved as she did. She also tells Tahir to accept their good fortune even though Tahir knows Fikret made Vedat withdraw the complaint.

At the Kaleli home, preparations are underway for a celebratory barbeque. Mustafa is firing up the grills and Asiye is preparing food in the kitchen when Tahir and Nefes return. Tahir tries to talk to Mustafa but Mustafa refuses to listen. He says Tahir is his brother no matter what the truth is. Nefes and Asiye talk about Nazar and Murat’s circumstances and express their hope that Vedat is out of their lives for good. When all are assembled and the table is set, Ali arrives. He has come because Esma is there and he wants to resolve the little tiff they had at the courthouse about the teasing. She is not happy with him because he couldn’t take a joke, and he feels guilty for being a spoilsport. Nefes and Asiye convince Esma to forgive him, Nefes brings Saniye to the table to be with the family, and Osman Hoda gives a little lesson about recognizing one’s sins and forgiving. He tells a story about two dervishes who meet a woman of questionable repute at a river. After one dervish helps her across the river, the other asks why he would help such a woman. The one who helped her says that he did so because it cost him nothing and he put the burden down when they arrived on the shore.

At Fikret’s house, Vedat is drinking again. When Fikret approaches him about withdrawing the complaint, Vedat says he did it because he was told to do it. Fikret says no, that he realized that he was defeated, whereupon Vedat goes into a tirade about his childhood and the cruelty of his presumed “real” father whom he killed when he was only a child. He further accuses Fikret of trying to psychoanalyze him, but he doesn’t know anything about the science. He says Fikret thinks that he, Vedat, is defeated, but he’s wrong because Vedat always wins, the “house always wins.” In his drunken hysteria, Vedat finally collapses and is put to bed.

When the family dinner is over, Mustafa and Tahir find it difficult to settle down for sleep. Tahir leaves Nefes upstairs and goes outside to find Mustafa huddle near the still hot grills brewing himself a cup of coffee. Mustafa is brooding on the friendly relationship he has had with Fikret and now that he knows the truth, he’s confused about how he feels. Tahir says Osman Hoda’s lesson is correct. If they live looking back, they will trip going forward. Tahir receives a call from Fikret who invites him to come over for a talk.

Fikret is waiting outside when Tahir arrives. He tells Tahir not to be mad at Saniye. He says it’s dangerous to be angry with a “mother” because they can inflict a curse. He says he didn’t treat Gulendun, Vedat’s mother, well and his life has been cursed since. He is prepared to pay for his sins, expecting Tahir to take revenge, but Tahir says he’s unarmed. In the house, Vedat has awakened from his stupor and gone to the kitchen to drink water. He looks out the window and sees Tahir and Fikret.

Just as Tahir is about to leave, Vedat walks up quietly and puts a gun to his head. He tells Tahir they have a lot in common: 1) They claim the same woman as their wife 2) the same child as their son 3) their fathers aren’t their real fathers 4) their mothers aren’t their real mothers and 5) their parents are dead because of Fikret. Vedat accuses Fikret of keeping Tahir alive because of his guilt, but he hasn’t done anything for his own son about whom he should feel guilt. Fikret tells Vedat to put the gun down, but he doesn’t. He just keeps flinging accusations. Fikret finally bares his chest and tells Vedat to shoot him, but Vedat says that he won’t do that, because it would be too easy for Fikret to escape his guilt. He turns the gun on Tahir and at that moment, Fikret shoots Vedat who falls into the arms of Tahir (talk about irony!). Fikret is grief-stricken. He calls Osman Hoda to come for they must cleanse the body for burial, and while Osman Hoda performs the bathing ritual, Tahir digs the grave. Morning prayers resound in the distance as Vedat’s body is prepared for burial. When Osman Hoda asks for blessings on the departed, Fikret can say nothing.

Tahir and Fikret put the body in the grave and begin shovelling dirt, but Fikret is overcome with grief and anger. He leaves them at the grave and goes to the house. Inside he tears up the room that Vedat slept inl, saying over and over, “I told you, I told you.” He then removes his jacket and shirt and opens the windows wide for the clean cold air to chill the room. As morning comes, Fikret is still awake and prostrated by his anger, guilt and grief.

Tahir returns home and sits on the front step, unable to walk into the warmth and love of his home after the events of the night. He is joined by Nefes whose dream of Fikret as her saviour and benefactor has come true.
So Vedat is dead. Dare I say, Hallelujah? What comes next for the Kalelis?

Written By – Susan Watson



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