It was a relief to discover that the hand on Aziz’s shoulder in the cemetery from the last episode was Gulten’s and that she was there to support him, along with his best friend Altan.

I like to think I’m a reasonable woman, not easily swayed by an aversion to excessive violence, though I concede that dramatic intensity may require beatings, shootings, punch-ups, whatever. Most times I also concede that both victims and perpetrators will, in the manner of any good comic book, get up after the scene and walk away. I take my models for this sweeping statement from Donald Duck, Roadrunner, the Phantom and a whole variety of characters who peopled the junk reading of my childhood. I didn’t read too many, my mind being already directed at an early age to “good” literature, by the nuns who taught me.

Physical assaults I can take in a dizi, but when the cruelty becomes psychological, to the point of emotional torture, which I consider coloured a good deal of this episode of “Vuslat”, I get angry. It’s the kind of violence that is hard to identify, difficult to name and so very harmful because its effects are insidious. And it’s what two of the men employed to get their own way. I was not surprised at the behavior of Tahsin, who we know is scrabbling to save himself, but I was shocked at Aziz’s treatment of Feride, with whom he purports to be so in love. We have a very descriptive term in New Zealand for how I wanted to respond to Aziz…I wanted to punch his lights out!!!

Now that is a paradoxical and unseemly response from me, Mrs Anti-violence herself and eventually I forgave him just a little bit as the episode continued. I think there is some hope that he will wake up to himself as Altan insisted he must. Will Aziz take Feride into his confidence? How will Emine be able to hold on to the secret once Altan tells her that Aziz is pretending to not remember?

Aziz tells us he is aware that the two people his pretended amnesia will hurt the most are Sultan and his beloved Feride. His attitude to his sister is based on a lie about his motivation in getting engaged to Nehir, whom it is plain she detests.

“Do you have to get engaged to her for this?” Sultan is worried about the physical aftermath of Aziz’s injury and extended coma.

The speed with which he has acted gives her great cause for concern even if he explains his decision as a “reward” for Nehir’s actions in saving the company whilst he was unconscious for so long. She accepts his explanation with reservations, but still can’t pretend to like her potential sister in law. ‘Ugh!!!” she says when Nehir is heard approaching her and Aziz.

Sultan is kinder to Aziz than she is to her other brother She is very cold to Kerem, who has disappeared from her life whilst she has been dealing with the death of her mother and Aziz’s coma. When he finally shows up.

He tells her he knows she is angry at him, speaking in his usual flippant, almost mocking style, Sultan turns on him. She is not angry with him so much as disappointed. Everything is a toy and a reason to make fun of others for Kerem, she says, “You’re playing with the lives and feelings of the people who love you,” And, cutting Kerem to the quick, which is clear from the hurt so obvious in his eyes. “Kerem, brother, I love you so much but I can’t understand you.” Kerem rushes off and drives his car very fast whilst his internal struggle is played out, once again in solitude. His mocking behavior is a strategy he has adopted to both cope and hide his true feelings and he has been made aware of just how damaging this strategy is to his relationship with his sister whom he loves dearly.

Several times we are brought back to the spiritual dimension of the story by those most powerful of spiritual beings, Salih and Abdullah, my messenger angel, who seems to be asleep, but takes everything in.

I think there is a parallel with Aziz’s coma, during which so much mental and spiritual activity took place. Emine and Feride visit the antique shop in the hope of finding some peace after Feride’s distraught outburst at the hurt she is experiencing with Aziz’s treatment of her. She doesn’t understand, but still believes in him as he entreated her to do earlier in their relationship.

“My Aziz wouldn’t do that!’ she weeps at the idea that he has thrown her over for Nehir who is so absolutely awful to Feride that if I were close to her, her lights would be in danger of terminal damage. She is just as dreadful, even physically violent again and threatening to Serpil, who has some of the truth and is beginning to share it with Aziz.

Back at Salih’s store and mostly male meeting place, Feride is fascinated with an old book of personal writings and letters that were never sent, written by someone whose identity we are not told. Salih is repairing the book and hands it to Feride in a gesture of profound kindness, asking her to read aloud from it. As she does, we are taken to short vignettes of various character for whom passages of her reading have a particular relevance. None more so than a few lines which ponder the importance of learning to be alone and to do some important work on one’s own, which is where Feride finds herself now. She is, the passage hints strong enough to do so and should take advantage of such an opportunity. Wise Sali!!

I’ve decided that one of the reasons why I love this programme so much is the respect it shows to several older actors whose talents it showcases. Contrary to the ethic of the Coen brothers and their confronting 2007 film, starring the brilliant Javier Bardem and that redoubtable pensioner Tommy Lee Jones, this IS a “Country for Old Men.” I’d never noticed Erdem Akakce much before. Who will ever forget him as the barefooted hospital visitor to whom Aziz gave the shoes from his own feet? I’ve called him a messenger angel, such as Michael or Gabriel, before. Again, his wisdom is condensed into a one-liner which warns that taking the wrong path cannot take one to the right destination, a most pertinent message for all, but mostly for Aziz. I researched Akakce on You Tube and found he has a whole other life as a singer. As I watched his very creditable, rather laid-back version of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” I burst out laughing. The two roles seemed so incongruent.

Mehmet Ozgur is remarkable for the variety and gravitas of the roles he has played, from beloved father in “Calikusu”, through pedophile in ‘Suskunlar” and many other challenges to Uncle Salih Kolube in “Vuslat” where his goodness is the counter to the evil in Tahsin, played by Osman Alkas, himself a frequent player in Turkish dizis. There are other older men who stand out for the strength of their performances and the women are well represented as well. Sennur Nogaylar is my favourite as Gultan in a role similar to her earlier work in “Ask ve Ceza”.
The younger, but mature and kind Altan assumes his true importance in this episode

He is in love with Emine and has not understood her refusal to communicate with him. He’s determined to sort their stuff out, which upsets Yalcin, persisting in the time tested Turkish male role of controlling younger female relatives. Emine stands up to Yalcin, insisting on the right to make her own life choices. “I shouldn’t choose a life because who’s Emine?”
Altan is uncompromising in his disapproval of his best friend’s treatment of both his sister and first fiancée. Aziz queries him about Feride’s wellbeing and Altan is furious, rejecting the explanation he is offered.
“You turned her life to a torture and you ask me if she’s OK!” And more explicitly,when Aziz, asserts that he will make it up to both Sultan and Feride, Altan replies.
“Of course, if you don’t lose them till then.” And “You can’t control; people feelings as you want.”

I’m still angry with Aziz but am beginning to understand his motives a little better. Saying the he “has to do it”, he explains that no one will believe his amnesia story if he “remembers” Feride who has only been in his life for a relatively short time. He is counting on her faith in him to be strong enough to deal with his eventual revelations of the truth. Altan tells him, and Gulten is in agreement, that Sultan may very well turn on him and Feride leave him if they find out the extent of his lying to them.

Sultan is really struggling with the pain caused by the loss of her mother, as Aziz discovers when he finds her at their mother’s grave, weeping .She has felt unloved and abandoned by her mother and by others of her family and she pours out her hurt and disappointment to her beloved brother.

And is Aziz ever feeling the loss of his beloved Feride! Staff at the holding company notice that his emotional memory seems to be working fine. Ha cannot abide another man finding her attractive and the only way he can deal with the young man who offers to drive her home is to act the heavy boss and comment unfavourably about the clothing he is wearing. I rather wish Aziz would relax a little more himself when it comes to work clothes. He may be sartorially splendid in his waistcoats and tight jackets, but I prefer a bit more skin. Just saying…

Anyways, back to what is really going on for Aziz. He’s spelled out his plan to drive nefarious Nehir and tricky Tahsin into a corner because he knows they’ve been up to no good while he was unconscious. He needs to pretend he’s forgotten about Feride in order to appear convincing. He’s almost undone when he experiences her distress over the missing plant, grown from a seed he gave her. And he talks to her in his mind, saying he will buy her another, he’ll fix it alt. The risk is that he may slip up and speak
out and it is a piece of brilliant acting to see his eyes change as if he has shut a venetian blind on his emotions. He still has pictures of Feride on his mobile phone and I am convinced that he is in her district late at night because he cannot bear her absence in his life.

Is he really tracking his father’s movements and surprised by Tahsin’s rendezvous with Feride’s mother? Does Aziz know that his father is blackmailing Firat, who is Hasibe’s son and who has been unable to bring himself to steal to Tahsin’s order from Uncle Salih at the antique store?

And is Tahsin about to learn that Hasibe has possession of the gun with which he murdered Feride’s mother so long ago?

I’m coming to the understanding that a good way to deal with this “Vuslat” story is as a classical whodunnit a la Agatha Christie , amplified with a love story worthy of many other memorable Turkish dizis, and spiced up with a bit of supernatural, spiritual learning which is oddly reminiscent of the Dennis Wheatley devil pot-boilers I read as a fourteen year old just because I knew the nuns would disapprove. We don’t get many answers in these early episodes, but there are questions and mysteries added each week and I think we just have to be patient. All will be revealed in due course, I’m sure. And we’ll find out a bit more about the new characters who have just arrived on the scene. That Damla looks like a real hussy.

I was relieved to see towards the end of this episode that the game is on again. After all, the main Satranc-i-Urefa protagonist in this particular round is our main man, who will need help and understanding to set up an authentic life, honouring his own name, Aziz, which means “saint” in Turkish. Good luck to him, it’s a big ask. Salih uses this session as a teaching opportunity and closes off early.

I guess Aziz makes a good star tto holding on to the most precious thing in his life by finding and folding his arms around Feride, even if it’s accidental.

I’m hoping that he understood just how much she loves and misses him from the incident of the missing spindly plant and her relief when it was found. Even if the finder was the young man who had the temerity to fancy Feride… And probably because Feride has shocked him into action by hinting at her plans to study in Italy for a year.

I just hope he wasn’t followed into Feride’s neighbourhood by Nehir who has already been posed a couple of searching questions and may soon start upping the ante in her determination to be rid of Feride and to possess Aziz.
I guess I’ve mostly forgiven him, but Aziz better think a lot more clearly about the collateral damage and not make assumptions about getting away with hurting the two most valuable and loving women in his life. As usual, THE VOICE is my undoing when it comes to Kadir.

Written by: Judith Kelleher.


You can watch live on Show TV every Thursday at 8 pm Turkish time. Or on Youtube on Show Tv’s official channel.


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