I’ve needed to let this episode “brew” for a couple of days before I could start writing about it. So much is going on that I’ll be selective about the parts I comment on, otherwise I’d be writing for a week and boring people to tears. So here goes.

I was pleased that Feride didn’t stick around to find out why Aziz was, out of the blue, snuggling up to her in the street. She was far more interested in what was going on between her stepmother and Tahsin and ran off to find out.
“What are you up to, Mum?”
Aziz was left open mouthed and I thought “Good job!” Probably a bit mean on my part, but he’s still carrying on semi ignoring her in this episode, expecting he’ll be able to smooth talk his way back. Perhaps his little sister will wise him up about the new guy at work who’s flirting with her…and she’s flirting back.

Serve him right, I thought. Altan and Emine are still warning him that he expects too much of his so-called “ex” and that he should tell her what he’s doing and why. Otherwise he’ll risk losing her.

As I come to grips with what was a complex and confusing chapter of this road trip to salvation, I’m becoming aware that many of the characters are heading for their own personal day of reckoning. This is not just Aziz taking up the ‘saint’ connotations of his name and living accordingly once he is able to get at “the truth”, whatever that might turn out to be.

It is also Tahsin heading to the pit of destruction, inevitably, no matter how he scrabbles to turn other players in the game of his life and that of his family into pawns which he can manipulate at will. He is like a
puppeteer with too many strings and he is not aware of what is going on out of his direct sight, on the peripheries of the stage.

I believe that in the end, Tahsin will be defeated by his own smugness and sense of entitlement which has seen him join forces with Nehir, with her snake craving for more and more power. Fully achievable, of course, if she can only get Aziz to that altar and thus become a fully paid-up Korkmazer. With legitimate access to the family finances she will be able, she thinks, to further conceal the havoc she and Tahsin have wrought on the family finances whilst Aziz was in a coma. A lot of damage can and did happen in those four months.

In this instalment of the Vuslat mysteries, Aziz is hot on the trail of the financials of his holding company. In this he is aided by a smart new employee who alerts him to possible discrepancies in the books. Serpil is also a loyal employee who wants him to take back his power and he begins to seek answers from her.

The trouble is that having a conversation with her is impeded by the “innocent” and breathy arrival of Nehir in his office in time to prevent disclosure. Surely Nehir must be picking up from Aziz by now that he has doubts about her handling of the financials…he even asks her if she has something to hide. In her inimitable fashion, she turns on those who she sees as threats and works at installing a back-up team, including a new girl in the office, Damla who resents Serpil’s cool air of authority.
Luckily, Aziz has his smart friend Altan on whom he can call for all sorts of assistance, including surveillance and burglary of important documents.

Later Nehir recruits Hasibe, stepmother to Feride, with a declaration of hatred towards her rival, as she sees it still, for Aziz’s affection. Hasibe and
Feride have already had a bitter confrontation in which the older woman is told that she is no longer wanted or respected as a mother figure. Hasibe is ruled only by her love of money and we see in this episode how thoroughly and easily she is corrupted by her greed. She “sells” her stepdaughter to Nehir and the stage is set for a tragedy, unless someone intervenes. Hasibe’s rock bottom seems an inevitability. Not only for her treatment of Feride, but also for the callous and calculating way she has sold her ailing husband’s shop out from underneath him yet collaborates with Tahsin in an elaborate deception which keeps Feride’s father in the dark about the sale.

There has been a definite shift in the energy of the all the games that the people are playing since the last episode. The toxic pull and power of all the family secrets which motivate players either to further disguise their hidden histories and agenda, or, on the other side of the game board to seek to blow their opponents away are heading for a cataclysmic climax.
No-one understands or manipulates the other players more strategically than Kerem, who has invented his own game which he uses to “try out” combinations until he gets a plan of action sorted out. His game plan is worked out with a personalized set of billiard balls. Illustrating a world view diametrically opposed to that of Aziz, he has printed pictures of himself on the white ball and of Aziz on the black, illustrating the resentment he still holds against his foster brother.

Aziz’s ball is set spinning in the middle of the tray to indicate that the black one is the favoured child still, the one who sets the world in motion for the others.
“Firat, this ball, Aziz, is right in the middle of the game. It’s always being protected. Someone has to hit it. Me!”
So, he explains the rules to Firat.
“I built the game. Do you know the best part of playing alone? I always win!”
Now though, he wants to lure a rookie player into his team, so far only one strong. Himself. But he understands that Firat has been forced to work for Tahsin, sent to do some document gathering and stealing of a watch from Salih’s antique shop. If Firat joins The Billiards Team, he can protect himself and provide said information to Kerem. Surely a Win/Win situation.

This is a masterly acting performance by Umit Kanticilar as Kerem the flippant and smart mouthed head of the Ready Wear section of Korkmazer Holdings and the loneliest family member of them all. He has been searching for his roots and we find just how single minded he has been in hiding his true feelings under the veneer he presents to the world.

For Kerem, who loves his toys and makes all the rules, has found his grandmother in Feride’s home and has been, finally, led to his mother in a mental institution. She rocks endlessly, sitting on a hospital bed in a locked room., her hair matted and dirty, dressed in a coarse hospital robe, her back to the tiny window through which he observes her. One cannot help but observe that his heart is breaking and that his game of one has been the only safe way to protect his lonely heart. Letting Firat in, trusting someone is very, very risky for Kerem but the pain of what he has discovered is insupportable.

We are not sure just who he means when he says.
“You locked my mom in herself,” and “Death, prison, dungeons, these are simple for you.” Kerem is hell-bent on vengeance.

“I’ll send everyone who caused this to where my mom is locked up”, and “I’ll take down anyone who comes across me, recklessly!” One of these
people is sure to be Tahsin, who has a long and as yet undisclosed history with, Feride’s family. One senses that the skids are well and truly under the big man. Earlier. Chakal had told Uncle Salih that he had found a lead to the person responsible for the murder of his family years ago and there was a hint that Tahsin may be implicated. Hasibe is blackmailing him over a gun she holds and his older son makes him sit through a very uncomfortable “family” dinner during which he sweats in the presence of “Sir” Abdullah.
My messenger angel, Abdullah, is busy delivering gifts and returning lost treasure, including, at the end of this dinner, the wrist pins for which Aziz had searched in the opening dream sequence of Episode 1 and which connect him to Feride. I am not quite sure of the symbolism of these cuff links yet but think we will find out soon. Various pieces of jewellery were significant in the first season of “Vuslat”, as were clocks and watches and it seems this will happen again from now on in this season. Uncle Abdullah has given the old watch into Feride’s hands, she thinks in safe keeping for Aziz.

Aziz recognizes the truth and authority in the older man and asks for his blessing. Significantly, Abdullah avoids the blessing and instead warns Aziz that he cannot expect to arrive at the right destination if he is using the wrong path. I am unclear why he is at the family dinner to start with. Is he connected to those invited by blood or is he an invited guest?

Aziz had arranged the dinner to “finalise” a date for the wedding, which causes great excitement for Nehir, but the dinner falls apart and the stated aim is not achieved. Instead of setting a wedding date, Kerem hijacks the conversation by announcing that he has found his mother…much discomfort ensues.

Aziz’s “fiancée” is angry. In the course of describing his new game, Kerem has told Firat about the danger Feride is in from Nehir.,
“Nehir gets angry, she gets dangerous when she gets angry.”
“If she gets angry, she haunts Feride like an evil spirit.” And,
“She hits Feride. Feride, she fell in the pit.” ( Feride ball hit into the pocket by the Nehir ball.) Certainly, the snake is determined to be rid of Feride who had already tackled her,

“Aziz doesn’t remember me and you’re engaged to him. What are you still worried about?” Nehir cannot bear that the other woman is called to Aziz’s office and invites herself into the meeting so that conversation is prevented. She tries to dismiss Feride, from the company but is prevented by Kerem who reminds her that he is the boss of the section which employs Feride.

“Feride is not going anywhere. I won’t let that happen.” Further, he rubs it in,
“Feride is very comfortable. Like she doesn’t care my brother doesn’t remember her,”

The danger to Feride is clear and present in Nehir’s plotting with both Hasibe and Tahsin to rid themselves of the young designer and in the
trash talk with which she fills the ear of Damla. But Serpil knows and upbraids the new recruit for gossiping.

There has been a shift at the antique shop, too, Salih has been missing for some time, doing things which no one knows about. This is confusing for some of his ‘regulars’ In a poignant and beautiful section of this episode, we share a reprise of the writer’s strategy from last week, in which Salih
had Feride read out loud from an old book as we were taken on a ‘tour’ of the main players to connect them with the text. This time, Salih himself does the reading and reasserts the need for souls to be taking care of themselves, to grow and learn. Again, we are shown where people are and what they are doing, each in their own life game. We know it won’t stay the same. The ground is still shifting.

Gulten is deeply worried about Sultan who seems to have slipped into a depression. Remembering the kind and gentle Ahmet, the son of Salih with whom Sultan had been comfortable in the past, she enlists his help to

once again befriend her charge. Sultan seems less bonded with her brothers these days. She’s told Feride she doesn’t feel good in the new house. Her ground is shifting, too.
Salih conducts a new game in the antique store. The spinner is reluctant to spin, but eventually the symbol for air/sky is reached on the board. Salih teaches about this, the essence of soul.
“Soul”, he says, “is a piece of the light of God.”
Distilling the lengthy lesson into a single sentence, Salih tells the small group, his sons and Chakal,that what they must do is “Get out of that dark dungeon and show your beautiful face”.
Out of the blue as far as Chakal is concerned, one of the people under suspicion for the murder of his family arrives to talk to him.

After the aborted dinner party, Tahsin and Nehir meet and continue plotting Feride’s elimination. Nehir follows this up with her meeting with Feride’s stepmother.

Aziz has been shocked by the news that Feride has agreed to leave the company after all and goes driving towards her neighbourhood, hoping that she will forgive him.

Feride delivers his grandmother into Kerem’s hands and heads off to meet Emine. A black van pulls into the curb beside her and Aziz witnesses two men bundle her into it. He is shocked but follows the van to the rocky out crop at the coast where Feride is standing precariously close to the edge, blindfolded. As she removes the black cloth from her eyes, both she andAziz see that it is Tahsin who is responsible for her abduction.

Feride wants to know what is Tahsin’s problem with her family. He replies that he is more concerned about his son. What his original intentions are we are not sure now, but it seems most likely that Aziz has saved her life by following her.

Oh, and Altan announced that he and Emine are getting married. He hasn’t proposed yet. I think he might be in for some very sore ears for a while.

Written by: Judith Kelleher.


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