I’ve had trouble getting going on this review, mainly because I couldn’t really get a handle on Episode 25. While I’ve been trying to start writing, a couple of lines from a poem I studied at high school about a thousand years ago have come to the foreground of my over-stuffed brain. The poem was Sir Walter Scott’s “Marmion”, written over two hundred years ago and the lines that have been playing over and over in my head are famous and still deadly accurate.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive.”

And I began to think more broadly than the plot, attending more to the themes of this very complex series. The screenwriting of “Vuslat is extremely clever, complex and perplexing. No sooner do I have, I think, “got it” than something changes or a new piece of information, seemingly unrelated to anything else, is dropped in, more lies are told. The denial, the family secrets, the business manipulations are contributors to the theme of deception which is tearing two families apart.

In this episode, it becomes clear that while everyone is caught up in either spinning or trying to untangle this web, from either family it is a daughter who is being most wounded by the game of deception. The Korkmazer offspring have been held unwitting hostages to their father’s lust for power and money and Sultan has been shielded by her brothers from much of the fallout from Tahsin’s manipulations. Until now. At the beginning of this episode, she is signalling to Aziz that she wants the truth.

Telling her “Not now, Sultan”, he is caught up in replaying the scene in his head where Feride has been threatened by his father that he can make her disappear and that he would hurt her family if she chooses Aziz rather than leaving. Aziz is worried and furious. He is hurting because she has given his ring and necklace back. In the middle of his thoughts about the possible loss of his love comes the news that Nehir, his fiancée whom he can hardly bear to touch, has had an accident and is on the way to the hospital

Tahsin has found out first and has headed to the hospital where he makes a show of care and concern for his future daughter in law. The full extent of Aziz’s contempt for his father is shown as the younger man notes how kind and thoughtful Tahsin is being towards Nehir – and wonders out loud why there was never any of the same generosity of spirit for him and his siblings. Tahsin has truly lost his son, who tells him to “Shut up, forever,” when the older man starts to give him advice.

Feride’s family is in disarray on the street late at night. Hasibe, dressed up to the nines in the new coat with the price tag still attached, thinks she has been stood up by Nehir and walks home in the dark already muttering to herself about possible payback. Firat, who has decided to accept Tahsin’s “job” offer to spy on his sons, has not been aware that his mother has been, like him, caught up in Tahsin’s web. Easily distracted from her strange behaviour when Feride also comes home late at night, he snarls at his sister who has totally had enough by this stage of a very difficult day. Slapping her brother’s face, she demands that he does not yell at her again and advises her brother and mother to wake up to the way Tahsin has been manipulating each of them without the other knowing.

Feride feels let down by everyone, including Emine who has broken her trust, but the two makeup and Feride cries herself to sleep as her great friend comforts her.

In the meantime, Nehir has been installed in the Korkmazer mansion in order to recuperate from her accident. The usual inhabitants of this abode, apart from Tahsin, are appalled at her presence in their midst. Sultan tries very hard to move in with Feride, unsuccessfully because of the unpleasant Caglar family dynamics which have already made Emine feel unwelcome. These troubles have also been the trigger for bad behaviour by the youngest Caglar, Can, at school, causing Feride to be called away from her work.

A little about the Korkmazer dwelling. It is stuffed with the ugliest, most ostentatious furniture and ornamentations I’ve ever see. The bed in which Nehir is installed is a gilded monstrosity which matches both her monstrous personality and her carefully constructed and polished exterior.

Hasibe eventually comes to visit her and is utterly captivated by the equally tacky gilded lounge furniture.

She is green with envy and in a humorous scene in the Korkmazer bathroom we see her at her greedy worst as she tries out the expensive face creams and perfume, which she slips into her bag, commenting that it wouldn’t be missed.

Some of the deceptions which are driving relationships between people begin to show. By the time the episode is complete, there will be so many cliff-hangers for our puzzlement, just like the Agatha Christie-style I mentioned last week. Just for starters my favourites to puzzle over, so far,
Faik can talk and he only wants Feride and Yalcin to know. Why?

What is the secret that only Faik and Yalcin know?
What is Chakal up to in what looks like a factory with a lineup of men who look like they mean business of some sort?
How much does Salih know about this?
Who is Tahsin plotting with on the phone?

I’ve been very interested in the development of Kerem’s character so far. It seems to me that his emotional survival has been possible because he has been hiding his true self behind a smart-ass and flippant exterior. He has dealt with others who challenge his protective armour by mangling their given names or by assigning them nicknames which are deadly accurate. He loathes Nehir and has no problem calling her “snake” or “poison” to her face. He is not taken in by her at all. Feride he rescues, this time from the gaggle of office girls who are caught up in the news reports which Nehir has engineered for publicity as she leaves the hospital. Aziz has refused to get involved in comments and has sped away as soon as possible.

Before he leaves with Feride to visit a warehouse to inspect fabrics, Kerem is challenged by her to give her respect by pronouncing her name correctly. She is not “Mrs Frido” as he has mockingly called her but“Fe-ri-de”, which she makes him repeat several times He can’t bring himself to accede to her completely and still mutters the old name under his breath.

Two things from this conversation. Feride is standing up for herself with the men in her life, first Firat, now Kerem, Aziz yet to come.
And Kerem has a soft spot for Feride as he sees her hurt by his brother and the “snake”. As they are travelling he challenges her to sit back and enjoy the good weather, to relax. He had noticed that,
“When my brother’s mind went off, you fell into space.”

I think there are hidden depths in Kerem. I also think that Aziz feels the same way, given the small smiles of recognition and understanding he tries hard to suppress when Kerem comes out with a truth which is hidden behind the usual dissembling. I think back to the very beginning of “Vuslat” to the cruel and cutting comments Perihan had made about Kerem needing to be ejected from his foster family and, by contrast, her suffocating love for her son. Kerem’s resentment of Aziz, whom he also loves, is rooted in the pain of his childhood as an “add-on”, barely tolerated by his adoptive parents, often overlooked by his brother and loved fiercely by his sister, who has told him outright that she doesn’t understand him.

Yalcin also puzzles me. Why is he asking Salih to pray for him? And why does Salih tell him he always does so, already. Why is his relationship with Yagmur, the new cop in town, so fraught with stress? What history is here? He’s a good looking, personable man. Why doesn’t he have a wife? Fiancee? Girlfriend?

So, deception is a major theme in “Vuslat”. The other obvious human failing that snakes through the story is greed, as personified by Hasibe who has sold her husband’s shop to get money to finance her dreams of successful social climbing. Her son Firat, acknowledges his own love of money and tells her that she made him this way. He describes when he was a child listening to her every morning berating her husband and his sister over her needs and wants for money.

The other monstrously greedy person is, of course, Tahsin who has been scrabbling to keep control of whatever enterprise has been crumbling around him. There is evidence that whatever he has been involved in has the potential to destroy the holding company and he has been very carefully weaving his web of deceit so that others will take any heat off him. It’s not really working that well any more, though. Tahsin doesn’t care who he hurts or who he uses. Other people are like pieces on a game board, pieces he thinks he can move around at will. These people include his own family, Nehir and her mother whom he threatens with public disclosure of her shady financial deals. He comments that he has been assisted by her daughter’s obsession with his son.

Aziz is getting close to the truth, ably assisted by Serpil and the new accountant who is smart with figures, but a social klutz.

Tahsin thinks he no longer needs Nehir once he has been able to blackmail her mother into supporting his nefarious schemes with a large financial injection. When Nehir accuses him of using her, he agrees and adds that he has gotten more than he ever expected. He has no further use for her, he says. She should also realise that his son neither loves nor wants her and she should leave him.

Nehir’s rage is further compounded by a photograph of Feride and Aziz happily together. This has been sent to her by a disgruntled staff member who has been upset by Kerem and Feride’s trip to the warehouse without her.

Aziz has found Feride on her own outside the holding building and has taken the opportunity to speak his heart to her. He had been so afraid his deception of her might cost him her love, especially since she had given him back his engagement ring and necklace. He is carrying them in his fob pocket and puts them in her hand just as she had put them in his, telling her that they both belong to her just as she belongs to him.

The significance of this is not lost on either of them and is emphasized by Aziz’s instruction that she is to start wearing them when she has forgiven him, not for any other reason. Though there was still much to go through, it seems that their path is set and Feride can go in the happiest frame of mind since before both were injured at the fashion parade.

So, Nehir’s rage at the Korkmazer men suddenly knows no bounds and she sets in motion an act of intikam which will guarantee, had she only thought about it, her estrangement from Aziz forever, once he finds out she was responsible. Nehir calls a newspaper friend and discloses the background to and method of Perihan’s death. She tells of the poison prepared for Feride which Aziz had also drunk. She tells of the mother’s suicide. As expected, the impact is viral and the Korkmazer offspring find out this horrendous story from online reporting backed up by braying reporters forcing their way into the holding company to seek comments.

Tahsin is enraged, but for his family, the devastation is utter, especially for Sultan. Her memory of her mother is destroyed in a moment as she realizes that Perihan had been responsible for poisoning her own son and causing a coma from which he might never emerge. She disappears, driving off and followed by Kerem who loves and values her above everyone else in his life. Finding her car abandoned near a wood, he panics when he can’t find her at first. Eventually she calls to him where she is sitting, weeping, against a tree trunk. She wants to know why Kerem has followed her and says she wants to be alone
He tells her, “You are the conscience of this family. When did I ever go away from you?”
She talks of her hurt that her mother both left her and poisoned her brother. Kerem is uncompromising in reminding her that her name is Korkmazer and that she must fight back if she is to deal with the people who are wanting to hurt her and her brothers.
“People are crashing our hearts for their ambitions, ”she explains.

Tahsin orders the destruction of Salih’s antique shop in the search for the mysterious watch which seems of great significance to all the players in this life game. Yalcin is visiting the shop and the usual game of Satranc -I – urefa has been laid out. This week there are only four participants, Salih, his two boys and Yalcin. The tile which is reached tonight is “Sadness” and from Salih’s instructive talk, it seems clear that its message is going to be more than useful for people in the larger life game going on outside the antique shop. Yalcin is able to respond as the armed local police commissioner when masked men come to carry out Tahsin’s orders. Little does Tahsin know that the watch is in his son’s hands, given to him by Feride. We are left with the masked men and Yalcin in a standoff with Salih and his boys beside him.

At the same time as Yalcin is facing the masked visitors to Salih’s shop and Kerem is comforting his devastated sister in the woods, Tahsin’s paid assassin is stalking Feride in her neighbourhood. Aziz has enlisted Altan’s help to find Nehir, whom he plans to call to account for the news story. Worried about Feride, he comes across Firat who spits his hatred of the Korkmazer family in Aziz’s face before showing him documents from Tahsin’s office which are recorded on his phone. These he will use as collateral to protect his family, he says.

The standoff between the two men is interrupted by a gunshot. Aziz realizes that Feride may be the target, but he doesn’t yet know that she is out in the street looking for her little brother who has run away from the tension at home. He and Firat scatter in different directions to check out what has been happening Someone, who we are not shown, has wounded the man with the gun, who gets up and keeps coming for Feride. Aziz runs into her and begs her to hide herself. Almost at the same time Can arrives in the shadows and Feride is desperate for him to hide as well.

Aziz grapples with the gunman and eventually, a shot rings out. We are not shown who is shot or what damage is done, The episode closes on a closeup of a very shocked Aziz after that gunshot.

Next week, folks.
And did you notice how many of the characters acknowledged they were living a game and were deciding to play by their own rules?
How many unanswered questions were added to the pile this week?

WRITTEN BY: Judith Kelleher



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