Season one of this series introduced a heavy message about spousal abuse, neglect and attempted murder; season two continued with themes of abuse, kidnapping, and attempted murder by an old villain, Verdat,  and a new one, Genco Tamer. Now, season three appears to continue the theme of violence against women and the injustice women suffer when their abusers are acquitted and their emotional turmoil is ignored by society in general.

There is a strange introduction to this season opener: Nefes seated before a camera recording a message about society ignoring violence against women; another brief scene shows a woman being murdered on the street in front of a public building by a man she knows and apparently loves.

This first episode is like a pot of vegetable soup. . .there’s a little bit of everything thrown in the pot, but the spices are missing. We find the Kalelis dealing with Nefes’s difficult pregnancy, Genco practicing his evil skullduggery to avoid punishment, Hazan supporting Melek’s accusation of abuse against Genco, the Dagdiverens missing their daughters Nazar and Mercan, Ali dealing with Genco’s crime and Tahir’s temper, Esma defending the innocent, Fikret straddling the line between good works and the dark Mafia world, and two new characters finding trouble with very little effort. . .a frightened dancer suffering at the hands of Genco, and a young man who seems to court disaster flagrantly. The new character, Ferhat, is played by Ali Ersan Duru, the handsome actor who played Sultan Mahmud in Kalbimin Sultani and Albasti Beybolet in Resurrection Ertugrul.
The episode opens with the piercing screams of a woman hemorrhaging from an ectopic pregnancy and the anguished cries of her husband as he drives frantically to the hospital. The saga of Nefes and Tahir continues.

Tahir manages to get Nefes to the hospital in time for the surgeon to remove the ectopic embryo and save the embedded one. The family has gathered at the hospital to support the couple and rejoice that Tahir will become a father to his own child as well as little Yigit. Tahir knows that Genco masterminded the kidnapping of Nefes that risked her life, and he is determined to seek vengeance. Both Mustafa and Ali attempt to stop him, but Tahir is determined to make Genco pay when he finds him indulging in a manicure and a facial. As usual, Tahir points the gun, makes serious angry threats, but then patiently listens while the villain explains his innocence. This scene is so familiar that the interruption by Ali’s arrival is anticipated. After all, Tahir doesn’t kill anybody. He just threatens to do it.

Nefes has awakened from the surgery and asks for Tahir. Since he isn’t at the hospital, the whole family and their friends fill her room, each talking over the other to hide the fact that Tahir is absent. In his effort to stop Tahir from shooting Genco, Ali calls Mustafa and videos the scene for Nefes to see and speak to Tahir, but after a few halting words, Nefes faints during the video chat. Tahir, panicked by her condition, runs out of the room followed closely by Ali. When Tahir arrives at the hospital, he continues his rage only to be calmed by Mustafa who pleads with him to consider Nefes’s fragile state. When Tahir is finally allowed into Nefes’s room, he promises never to hold a gun again if God will make Nefes well and let their child be born healthy.
Genco, ever the evil mastermind, makes one of his men take the responsibility for the kidnapping. Even though Ali doesn’t believe the man’s confession, there is no tangible evidence that Genco is involved in the crime.
Mother Saniye has the three grandchildren, Yigit, Balim and baby Eren in the park where they are visited by Turkan who is on her way home from shopping. At the Dagdiveren home, Turkan greets Cemil with a grim face and a serious reminder that he has promised Mercan to Genco’s son, and she vows not to give her daughter to Genco, the man who has abused his wife and step-daughter and who has endangered Nefes’s life. Later, we learn that Turkan sent Mercan to join her sister Nazar in Istanbul.
A time lapse of three months brings us to the Kaleli mansion at night where a debate about snoring takes place between Tahir, Mustafa, Nefes and Asiye. Nefes has returned to health and a peaceful night in the house lasts until the couples go to bed. Mustafa is in dire need of a CPAP or other anti-snoring devices, Asiye is desperate to shut him up so she can get a good night’s sleep, and Nefes, suffering from backaches, gets a back rub before wandering outside for fresh air. Joined by Tahir, they walk to an apple orchard where Tahir climbs a tree and steals several apples, only to be caught by the owner with a shotgun. I guess these scenes are supposed to be amusing and heartwarming, but actually they’re boring.
Fikret, always a loner, sits by a fire outside, pondering his life’s purpose. A thoroughly likeable character who seeks absolution for his past sins, Fikret is the problem solver whereas Osman Hoda is the moral guide for the Kalelis.
Melek and her mother Nilufer are staying with grandmother Hanife and Hazan in the mountain cabin. Charges have been filed against Genco for sexual molestation of Melek and the court date is approaching. Genco has threatened Melek about her testimony; he sends her a barrage of texts on her cellphone to remind her of his threats.

Hazan, Melek, Nilufer and Hanife join the Kalelis for a picnic and swimming at the seashore. Saniye gets buried in sand, Tahir teaches Yigit to swim, and Mustafa gets sunburned, but all of this family fun is just to contrast with the looming disappointment. Genco has hired a man to cut the brake fluid line on Hazan’s car. His hopes are that Hazan will wreck because of failing brakes and Melek will be unable to testify against him. The wreck happened, but no one was hurt. Melek, remembering Genco’s threats, tells the judge that she lied about the sexual abuse and then she faints. A ridiculous scene follows the court scene when Genco reminds Turkan of Nazar’s marriage to Vedat and the wedding to Murat that never happened because Nazar ran away. That scene is followed by Genco leaving the courthouse and addressing Melek and her family, asserting his innocence and asking Melek and Nilufer to return home.

Later that night Genco calls Fikret for a meeting. When Fikret arrives, Genco tells him that they will have drinks, a nice dinner and entertainment before they discuss business. Before the Russian’s dancing girls appear, Genco once again asks Fikret if he emptied the truck carrying illegal guns to protect him or Murat Kaleli, the driver. He said he wanted to do business with Fikret but he didn’t want any surprises. Fikret repeated his previous answer that he saved Genco’s cargo. This apparently reassured and pleased Genco because he called for the dancers to begin their entertainment.

During the dance, Genco recognized one of the girls, and she recognized him in horror. She ran from the dance floor into the hotel corridor, but she was soon caught by Genco’s men, put in his car and taken to a remote spot in the woods. A flashback indicates that Genco raped her when she was 16 years old. Now, 15 years later, she faces the punishment she escaped in the past. . .being buried alive. Fikret and his men have followed Genco’s caravan and save the girl only to have her run away into the woods. At one point, she falls, loses her necklace and resumes running. When she realizes that the necklace is gone, she retraces her steps in the dark and finds it. It is a locket with pictures of a young man and a girl inside. She kisses the picture and says, “Ferhat.”

A flashback shows Genco forcing the girl at gunpoint to write a “Dear John” letter to her fiancé, Ferhat, saying she doesn’t want to live a life dependent on his limited wages from Genco. She wants to live without financial worries the way movie stars live.
Nefes gives a rather startling message as she and Tahir sit outside that night. She says that psychologists say 1 in 3 women face violence, and it’s more important to tend to the victim’s emotional state than worry about punishing the abuser. . .hmmm, I don’t think I agree with that totally. Tend to the victim, yes, but punish the abuser harshly.
When Fikret arrives home, he tells Doruk to get some men and find the girl before Genco finds her. Then he is greeted by an elderly woman who tells him Mr. Cevdat has died and his son Ferhat needs to be notified. Fikret calls Ferhat to tell him his father has passed away but there is no answer. The scene shifts to Istanbul where we see Ferhat getting out of a fancy sports car and being greeted at the door of a nightclub. He swaggers in, helps a girl retrieve 200 TL from the bartender, and spies a blonde who intrigues him. He makes a wager with the bartender that he can seduce the girl with no problem, but his friend thinks the seduction will not be so easy. Ferhat makes his moves on the girl and she appears to be receptive. He then interferes in a couple’s evening, arguing with the guy before giving him a “Glasgow kiss” and being taken to jail. During the argument, he receives a call from Fikret telling him that his father has passed away, but he doesn’t listen or he doesn’t hear the words.

The runaway dancer escapes Genco’s men and makes her way to Hanife’s cabin in the mountains where she steals clothes hanging on the clothesline and shoes left at the door. The episode ends with Ferhat, sitting in jail, reading the faded, torn, taped and wrinkled “Dear John” letter.

What can I say about this episode? The family scenes at the hospital are too familiar; the only thing amusing about the beach picnic is Saniye buried in the sand; the snoring scenes were not particularly funny; Melek’s lie in court was expected; Tahir’s threats are always useless; Genco’s violence against the dancer is reminiscent of Vedat; Fikret’s rescue of the woman unexpected but in character; maybe the most interesting element comes at the end when we meet the new character Ferhat and discover his connection with the dancer and Genco.

Written By – Susan Watson



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