Three words sum up for me the sense of impending trouble in this week’s episode. Disillusionment, and disintegration and ultimately, destruction. There is so much evil behind the façade of an ordinary family and business life that it seems certain that all must be dismantled before any kind of normality can prevail.

From the very first scene, we see people having their illusions about those they care for stripped away. Emine has learned to love Altan, believing that she has found a man who is gentle and grows flowers for the pure enjoyment of their beauty. Yet here he is, in front of her eyes, noticing her presence but rushing, off revolver in hand, safety catch off, ready to fire. What will happen to this relationship?

Altan is going about his business as protector of Aziz, who has wounded the would-be assassin of Feride. Aziz has no illusions about who has ordered the killing but needs Altan to get confirmation from this man that Tahsin has ordered this “hit” on the girl his son loves. Using minimal but effective physical torture, Altan can do so and it is not long before Tahsin is also confirmed as the source of the attack on Salih, his sons and Yalcin at the antique shop.

Here we begin to see the enigmatic Chakal at work. He wields a good deal of power even in his long-lived grief for his family who have all been killed. Several men take up positions between the antique shop people and the balaclava-wearing gunmen who have been sent to destroy the shop as they search for that important watch. In a tension-filled standoff, the bandits are eventually stared down and drive off.

But Necmi Chakal has recognized them and not too much later they are captured, tied up and interrogated about the source of their employment.

Again, this job has been ordered by Tahsin. Every illusion Aziz held about his father has now been stripped away and the younger man has more than sufficient cause to begin the dismantling of his father’s evil business. He is assisted in this by the skilled forensic accounting of the new boy in the company, Mr Enes, who is able to pinpoint the exact time and financial transaction which began the rot in the holding’s affairs. When the hate-filled Firat spits out his plan to release stolen confidential business documents to the press, Aziz tells him to go ahead…he had intended to do something similar to himself. The wind is taken out of Fira’ts sails.

Mr Enes is in love and we are treated to a gentle and humorous interlude between him and the object of his affections, the lovely Serpil, who is wise and loyal to Aziz. Mr Enes may have an IQ of 139, but he’s a klutz, clumsy and overwhelmed in Serpil’s presence. He keeps doing dumb stuff, which Serpil takes in her stride even to the point of waiting in the dark for the callout man to come and rescue them from an overheated car.

He spills coffee all over himself and Aziz recognizes the naivete and obvious passion the young man can’t disguise in Serpil’s presence. Amused but respectful of the younger man’s emotions, probably not too different from his own feelings for Feride, he tells Serpil to get a change of clothes for her would-be suitor from the store of clothes designed and kept by the holding.

It’s one of the things I love about “Vuslat”, which after all, means “Beloved”, this possibility of love and kindness despite the hatefulness and greed which characterize the behaviour of Tahsin, Nehir, Firat and Hasibe

There are disaffected staff at the holding ready to act as supports and spies for Nehir, who seems to have an endless supply of money.

What Nehir has never done is realise that you can’t buy love and she still imagines that eliminating Feride will guarantee her access to Aziz, with whom she is totally obsessed. She seems to have no idea what damage she has done to the man she purports to love, his sister and their foster brother with the newspaper story in which she revealed their mother’s poisoning of Aziz. And Perihan’s subsequent suicide when she realized the poison intended for Feride,, who was taking her son away from her, had also been swallowed by her precious son. Now he was in a coma and there was nothing she could do about that except die.

Or was this truly what happened? Did Tahsin have an active part in the elimination from his life of the wife he secretly hated? Certainly, in this episode we see him looking very smug and satisfied as he ritually burns his wife’s photograph.

The behaviour of the greedy four steps up a notch or more as each seeks their own way, at the expense of each other if need be. Nehir will do or pay anything to eliminate Feride and Hasibe will not do a thing until she has been paid. In this case, a lot of money to remove her stepdaughter from the scene. A pile of banknotes hidden in her wardrobe to betray her husband’s daughter, beloved elder sister of Can, the youngest of the Caglar siblings.

Can has gone missing on the streets. Feride who loves the youngster fiercely has found him just before the eruption of violence with the would-be assassin and Can is carrying a slingshot. It is, he explains his “gun” because all the guys carry guns and he wants to protect Feride. The pair cower in the shadows as the violent encounter between Aziz and the paid killer continues till the arrival of Altan.

Nehir’s obsession with Aziz continues unabated. Tahsin has no further use for her, telling her that even though she was handed his son “on a golden tray”, Aziz has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want her. Furthermore, it’s time she “cleaned up her own shit” and he advises her to do just that. I take this to mean the mess she has made with the holding’s finances, for which Tahsin is aiming to take no responsibility.

Firat is raging, out of control and ready to lash out at anyone. He is ruthlessly cruel to Sultan, setting out to destroy any loyalty and love she might have for either of her brothers. He describes himself as a thief, paid by Tahsin and Kerem to spy on each other. He is full of hate most of which I strongly suspect is for himself. Later in the episode, Firat is firmly escorted into Salih’s presence by Abdullah. It seems he needs some of the specialist emotional training available to troubled young men in that most unique of all antique stores.

I am impressed by the performance of Baran Bolukbasi as the troubled and fiery Firat who lives a good deal of his life in the shadows and has not taken responsibility for his own choices, preferring to blame others for his shortcomings. I am sorry that he chooses not to avail himself of the opportunity to love and be loved by Sultan. I hope there is redemption for Firat in the end.

But in this episode of “Vuslat”, it is Umit Kanticilar who takes my breath away with the quality of his portrayal of Kerem. The sequence in the forest with Sultan made me cry….I worked as a school counsellor with young men for a number of years and encountered many who had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of witnessing traumatic things, or being in such events, Not many cultures allow men to discuss such trauma, expecting that they will keep their sadness, anger and fear to themselves and tuck their emotions away inside. This is what Kerem tells us he did after the death of the first Firat, his step-brother and Aziz’s little brother.

He and Sultan are talking about hard stuff…Sultan has been devastated by the news that her mother had been responsible for poisoning Aziz and putting him into a coma. So heavy was Perihan’s guilt, that she took her own life. Her father is not to be trusted and her beloved Aziz is due to marry Nehir whom she detests.

Kerem loves Sultan, probably the only person he does love apart from his grandma about whom he is still learning. Because he trusts her, Kerem takes a huge emotional risk in telling her that he has been searching for his mother and has found her in the locked room of a mental hospital.

His mother, Alice, has “lost her mind” he tells Sultan. She keeps asking everyone, endlessly, the same question, “Where is my son?” She even asks Kerem that when they finally are face to face. Kerem has learned to mask his emotions. His expression does not change much when he explains to Sultan that he had always pictured a different response when he first met his mother. You can only see the sadness in his eyes.

An important piece of the puzzle for Sultan who has been enraged at the family secrets kept from her and is now after whatever truth she can find. Kerem tells her the reason why Aneta, his grandmother is so drawn to Sultan and why she calls the young woman “Alice”. It is because Aneta is caught in a time warp with memory problems and the physical likeness is so strong she believes the young woman to be her long-lost daughter Alice who is also Kerem’s mother. There is no physical relationship between Alice and Sultan, he says, but one is left wondering…

Kerem has not grown up with the love and care of a father and his encounter with Salih at the antique shop is priceless. He is stunned when Salih, as he does with all young men, calls him “beautiful boy”.
“Who, me, beautiful boy?” Kerem ponders then obeys, instantly shocking himself when Salih calmly directs him to do some heavy lifting in the shop. .Kerem has grown up with Gulten and other servants in the mansion and has never done any manual labour. Salih treats this “beautiful boy” exactly
only is there lifting, but floor washing and an amused twist to Salih’s mouth when Kerem is not looking.

The ultimate task is making a coffee for each of them. That is almost a bridge too far as Kerem admits he has never made coffee ever before. Salih insists and it is one of the funniest sights to see him struggle through the bead curtain with a tray and two coffee cups. Salih drinks, commenting that the coffee is good. Kerem knows better and grimaces as he swallows, forgetting himself and tipping the slop in the saucer onto the floor he has just washed, then trying to rub it away surreptitiously with the sole of his beautifully polished shoe. Salih insists on Kerem sitting close as they drink in companionable silence and Keren watches as he completes the assembly of a rosary made from sparkling beads in jewel-like hues. He gives a paper bag to Kerem, asking him to give it to his sister.

And then, an act of pure grace towards this lost and hurting “beautiful boy” who can’t quite believe what he has just experienced. Salih hands the rosary to Kerem as a thank you gift for his labour. Kerem is delighted and says he loves the colours. Salih comments that he expected that would be so, as he knows about Kerem’s beautiful garden and his love of flowers.
The place which is reached in the Satranc game this episode is “Sadness” which seems entirely appropriate for the events, particularly between Kerem and Sultan in the forest. It was hard to follow the commentary on this week’s game, as some of it was in Ottoman Turkish which isn’t easily translated.

Aziz has been reflecting on the dangerous situations and hurts to Feride since he has known her After Altan helps take away the would-be assassin, Aziz knows he must see Feride. He’s worried for her and seeing her tears when she finally meets him on the street, he gathers her in his arms and comforts her. He knows it will not be much longer till they are together again. Utterly in love with Feride, Aziz can’t stay away from her at work and there is a delightful sequence when she talks to him about her ideas for her new season’s fashion collection and all he can do is look at her face. The chemistry between these two is very powerful and I wonder how they manage to restrict it to their acting roles.

They begin to watch a video which Can has given Feride, showing his mother’s shocking financial greed. It is at this point that Nehir breaks into the room and begins to berate Aziz. Feride is furious and storms out, Aziz leaves Nehir flat and races out after Feride. The message to his “fiancée” is clear. The danger to Feride increases exponentially.

The winds of change are beginning to blow in the holding, and in the neighbourhood, where it seems all of these families became entwined in the past and where long held secrets are insistent on coming to the surface. Yagmur has arrived back with her mother who is Feride’s aunt. She has knowledge of family history and expresses shock at the family likenesses both Feride and Aziz have to family members from the past. Faik is not happy to see Aziz in his house and the last act of this very fast-paced episode sees him throwing a glass through a window in frustration.
Seems like some of thse parentgs have some facing up to do and some truths to tell. And Aziz plans to start the process in the morning with the deliberate dismemberment of the family holding.

A question. Have you noticed how often flowers are important in “Vuslat”?

WRITTEN BY: Judith Kelleher



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