Review by Joan Hiver
MERHAMET Is a must-see series for fans of quality Turkish dizis and certainly for fans of Ibrahim Celikkol. It relates a triumphant story of a young woman’s personal battle against the fate she was born with.
How and where does a reviewer begin to discuss such a powerful, intricate, relevant, and impacting drama as the one presented in the Turkish dizi of 2013-2014, MERHAMET ? Adapted from the novel, KAHPERENGI by Hande Altayli, the dizi was written for television by Mahinur Ergun. Neither a single episode describing Narin Yilmaz’s journey to escape unfathomable circumstances to become a lawyer, nor her love story with Firat Kazan, leave the viewer indifferent or unaffected. Likewise, the fate of members of Narin and Firat’s families, their friends and the unexpected ending have a lasting impact on the viewer.
MERHAMET Is a must-see series for fans of quality Turkish dizis and certainly for fans of Ibrahim Celikkol. This fine actor excels in portraying the young high school student, the freshman university student and the adult Firat. The same goes for the actress, Ozgu Namal, as she portrays high school Narin and the contemporary Narin. For Turkish dizi fans, MERHAMET is one of those dizis which offers the viewer an intense, serious treatment and perspective on the subjects of family dysfunction, abject poverty, education for girls, child and spousal abuse and small-town mores. The dramatic human events clearly demonstrate that for some, life offers no mercy or ” merhamet “. As the viewer lives misery and misfortune along with the characters, there are times when the viewer calls out for mercy on behalf of these characters.
Fallbacks in time
The drama is set in Istanbul in the year 2013 . As action in the present is greatly impacted by events of the past, the present is transected throughout the dizi by relevant events which occurred in the years 1996, 2000, 2001.These fallbacks, rather than flashbacks, in time are lengthy and fill in the gaps for the history of Narin’s journey to the present, as well as offering her perspective on her love story with Firat. If one were to connect the fallback scenes, a separate dizi could exist.
Although these historical fallbacks are mostly Narin’s recollections, Firat also remembers important events and shares his perspective with the viewer. In a similar fashion, other characters integral to the plot, such as Narin’s sister, Sadiye, and Firat’s half brother, Sermet, or Babur, complete the full picture of the past .These fallbacks in time are an essential device in the story which help explain to the audience that unless one reconciles with one’s past, one cannot go forward and find peace and happiness in the future. Eventually, Narin and Firat come together, but not before they each come to terms with the issues of the past.
The first scene of the dizi takes place at the Istanbul home of Narin’s best friend, Deniz. Deniz is hosting a party for her sister, Irmak, who has just returned to Istanbul from Switzerland, where Irmak has been working. Accompanying Irmak is a young man named Firat, who is introduced to Deniz and Narin as Irmak’s boyfriend. Even though in a state of complete inebriation, Narin immediately recognizes this Firat as the Firat she has not seen for about twelve years ; the Firat who disappeared from her life without worthy explanation, after a scarring night in both their lives.
Narin is not sure if Firat recognizes her but, later on, we discover that he, too, has remembered instantly that this Narin is the love he was forced to abandon. This fateful encounter with Firat at Deniz’s, in addition to Narin’s earlier sighting of her father whom she has not seen or given a thought to for thirteen years, propels the present-day narrative. Narin’s recollections provide the viewer with the necessary history to explain the present day Narin and how she has achieved her childhood goal of becoming a lawyer. They also explain the nature of and pain behind the Narin, Firat love story.
As Narin’s thoughts take her back to 1996, to her first encounter with Firat, Narin simultaneously is flooded by the painful childhood experiences of her life in the village of Yaslihan with her mother, Hatice, her father, Recep, older brother, Mehmet, and younger sister, Sadiye ; something which Narin has not done since she left for university. For the first time in twelve years, Narin wonders what has become of her mother and two siblings whom she left behind and shut out of her life completely. Narin’s chance meeting with Firat prompts her to open the mythical Pandora’s Box and allows every evil, every traumatic childhood remembrance and a terrible experience at Firat’s house to escape from the locked box of her mind.
Contrasting family backgrounds
While Firat Kazan is the only son of one of the wealthiest families of Yaslihan, Narin comes from such dire poverty that most days she and her siblings go hungry.
Even in the cold, wet winter, she goes to school only with socks and flip flops on her feet. The dysfunction in her family results from the actions of both parents. Not only is the father a jobless, lazy ne’er do well who believes that others owe him a living, but the mother is also totally useless in caring for her children.
Hatice, the not very smart nor attractive daughter of a fairly well-off family was married off to Recep because no one else would marry her. Recep was persuaded to marry her because of the inheritance he had been promised by her father. Recep, in love with another woman named Ummuhan, hates his wife and refers to her as black Hatice while he refers to his two daughters, Narin and Sadiye, as Hatice’s black snakes. Recep likes his son only marginally more because firstly he is a boy and secondly, Mehmet is a good football player who can provide the family with a meager stipend from the local soccer club and the future possibility for big money if he succeeds as a draft choice for professional football. Besides dreaming of Mehmet being drafted by Besiktas Football Club, Recep lives only for the moment Hatice will inherit so he might be able to run away with his lover, Ummuhan .
For her part, Hatice lives so in fear that Recep will desert her that any little pittance given to her by her mother is oftentimes not spent on food or other necessities but rather on soothsayers or holy men to read prayers in order to prevent Recep from abandoning them. The utter contempt and lack of love by the father towards his wife and his own children culminates in unprecedented verbal and physical beatings while Recep’s alcoholism further contributes to his abusive behavior.
Unfortunately, Hatice’s cognitive shortcomings, her desire to enable and appease her husband and her oblivion to the hardships her children are experiencing from the lack of basic necessities, humiliation at school and in the village, the pressure to quit school, complete the abysmal portrait of a totally dysfunctional family unit. For Mehmet, Narin, and Sadiye, life does not provide them with even the mercy of at least one functional parent which they can count on. Dependence on oneself is crucial. This message prevails in the minds of all three children from an early age.
Narin: An impoverished and merciless family background
One of the most heart breaking scenes for this viewer happens when Sadiye (Narin’s sister), who experiences more trouble than her siblings withstanding hunger pains, goes out on her own and finds a job folding some newspapers for the village convenience store owner in return for some chocolate and a piece of bread with cheese. Unable to meet her quota because she runs out of newspapers, she asks the owner if he will still give her bread with a little cheese regardless. She promises to finish the task when she gets more newspapers. As she sits on a bench, in front of the store, having just taken a bite from her tiny sandwich, her father appears from the coffee house and swoops the food literally from Sadiye’s mouth. This merciless act is just a lesser example of the many more significant acts of cruelty which fill the daily lives of the three children because of their father’s lack of conscience, sense of feeling or connection to his own flesh and blood.
Of the three siblings, Narin is the smartest. Even though Recep is aware that Narin is an excellent student who has the greatest potential to succeed, leave the quagmire of poverty behind and pull everyone else out of the swamp as well, he is blinded by his bitterness, his sexist attitude and his selfish desire for immediate inconsequential financial gratification. His zealous, brutal wish to prevent Narin from going to school past her twelfth birthday is matched only by Narin’s determination to finish high school with marks so excellent that she will be accepted at Istanbul University Law School.
Luckily for Narin, she is supported tremendously by the Head Teacher of the school who recognizes her intelligence and perseverance and the injustice of Narin’s situation. In cooperation with the Head Teacher, Narin is aided by Necati Abi, Manager of the local football club, who is able to control Recep since Mehmet’s future as a footballer rests with Necati. Everyone knows that Mehmet is not very capable academically but his ability at football gives him some level of respect in his father’s eyes. It is easier for Mehmet to pour his energy into this activity than to struggle with school lessons in order to climb his way out of the life of poverty. In many ways the entire family, except Narin, count on Mehmet’s selection by professional soccer as their familial lottery ticket.
When Mehmet is shot in the leg by his girlfriend’s brother and his girlfriend dies during the honor killing, his career comes abruptly to an end before it even has begun. The family totally falls apart as hope for anything better is shattered . Once again, life shows itself as having truly little mercy for some people. However, is it life which can be blamed for serving people merciless outcomes or are decisions made by people like Mehmet the real culprit. Furthermore, this major incident in the life of Mehmet is a foreshadowing of events to come in his and Sadiye’s life which will have merciless and significant impact.
Narin’s and Sadiye’s recollections of the childhood years show a sibling solidarity against the hardships and the beatings.
The memories also reveal the little cruelties which are played on one another in order for the children to feel, even for five minutes, less like a victim and more like a lord over the other. The relationships amongst the three and their individual approach to adversity and life has much to do with their level of intelligence and personality. All three know that their mother is not a good mother, incapable and hopelessly oblivious to reality ; but they excuse her. Their sentiments towards their father are completely different. All three dislike him and know him for the uncaring brute he is. How can they forget the countless times he has eaten the little food the three have managed to scrounge up. Or the time the cold is so unbearable that Narin burns the table and chairs. They know Recep hates them. In short, he is a terrible father, but he is their father.
As an adult, Narin proclaims that a bad father is like a knot in your heart and a longing forever. In dealing with Recep, they act as one unit. One time on Narin’s birthday, in order to have peace and to avoid a beating, Mehmet concocts a story about having come into contact with mumps. He knows Recep has never had mumps so he will leave the house as Recep will fear getting sick.
The dynamics among the siblings is to be expected. As a boy and the oldest, Mehmet has it easier. Many times, he goes to the village where his father is drinking and gets some food while the girls go hungry because girls are not allowed there. Sadiye is always hungry and the child least able to withstand the routine hardships they face. Mehmet lacks any resourcefulness and gets into many bad habits never thinking of the consequences of his actions. His relationship with a girl sold into prostitution costs him his career in football and costs his sister, Sadiye, her dreams.
What forces are at play in sealing a family’s fate?
There are many instances where the three siblings handle their misfortune in different ways. The solutions each finds to face adversity have much to do with their quite different personalities and intellectual abilities. Whereas Mehmet is a pitiable loser who allows life to defeat him at every turn, never lifting a finger to help himself, Sadiye takes on the role of enabler. She sacrifices herself twice for Mehmet’s sake. The first time it costs her Zafer and the second time it results in an unwanted pregnancy and Sadiye being forced to give up her baby. Where Mehmet and Sadiye fall into the trap of their fate and stay victims of a self-fulfilling destiny, Narin decides to become the master of her destiny.
Narin is brilliant intellectually. She recognizes that intelligence is not enough. A person must apply this intelligence constructively. She understands the need for a plan, discipline, tenacity, and self sacrifice. As she cannot rely on support from either parent, Narin must learn to work methodically within the mainstream to move forward. Without ever losing her self -respect or expecting something for free, Narin works, studies, and sublimates her ego for the goal she never loses sight of. When Firat proposes to her in the middle of the town square, she refuses him, even though she loves him because she knows that to accept his proposal would be detrimental for both her and Firat’s future.
Narin knows that for Firat’s father, her background is not acceptable. She knew this in 2000 , 2001 and she still understands this in 2013 when Firat’s father tells him he must marry Irmak because of her wealth and social standing. Ultimately, the fate of the three siblings is sealed not just by their poverty but also by their own personal make-up and effort. Both Sadiye and Narin leave behind the swamp of Yaslihan but are they able to leave behind the scars ?
Unbreakable sisterly bond
Narin’s triumph is not just due to her personal effort but it is also due to the help of benevolent people. The most significant of all the good people Narin runs across is Deniz Tunali, her law school classmate. Deniz comes from one of the richest families in Istanbul. At a young age, Deniz and her sister, Irmak, are orphaned after a car accident takes their parents’ lives . The younger sister, Irmak, is sent off to boarding school in Switzerland. Although Narin and Deniz have encountered one another around campus, they are not friends. That all changes after a traffic accident.
As Narin is crossing the street one day, she is hit by Deniz’s car. The accident is Deniz’s fault because she is talking on her cell phone. Deniz ‘s sincere concern for injuring Narin plus her fear that she might lose her driver’s license if Narin presses charges against her, make Deniz suggest that Narin stays at her house until she recovers. The recuperation period serves to initiate a friendship which develops into an unbreakable sisterly bond between the two. Deniz’s appearance in Narin’s life during the hard university years in Istanbul is like a life support for Narin. Without Deniz’s material and psychological support, the result may have been completely different for Narin. Appreciating this, Narin never forgets the significance which Deniz has played in her life.
Deniz’s life too may have taken a different direction were it not for Narin’s influence. Although she is intelligent and, like Narin, in possession of a strong personality, loneliness caused by her parental loss has given Deniz a loss of purpose. Her attitude to her studies is not serious and she is prone to frivolous, impetuous behavior. Narin helps Deniz fill the void of her lost parents and regain purpose in her life. She acts as an anchor, and Narin’s pragmatic approach grounds Deniz. The friends share everything and Deniz is the only person Narin has told about her childhood and her relationship with Firat. Narin has allowed only Deniz inside the invisible wall she has constructed.
The different experiences and backgrounds of the two girls complement each others’ shortcomings and attributes .They are such kindred spirits and inseparable that Irmak is pathologically jealous of Narin. When Narin realizes that Irmak’s boyfriend is ” that ” Firat from Yaslihan, she hides this information fearing what this revelation might mean for Irmak’s relationship with Firat. Narin is ready to avoid a confrontation and possible reconciliation with Firat in order to prevent Deniz from having to choose between her loyalty to her biological sister or her soul sister’s feelings. As the contemporary plot unravels, Narin and Deniz prove how their strong relationship serves to fortify them in times of adversity and vitalize them in times of joy. Perhaps true mercy means having soul mates in life. The dizi’s ending might suggest that Narin and Deniz remain together even in the life after death.
Firat: A privileged family life but not without dysfunction
Firat Kazan and his family are the diametric opposite of Narin Yilmaz’s family in terms of wealth and position in Yaslihan, but Firat Kazan’s familial situation is not without its own degree of dysfunction.
Even though he is very handsome, has a magnetic personality, material privilege and the certainty that both his parents love him, Firat does not live with an honorable specimen of fatherhood either. His father is authoritarian and expects Firat to follow his edicts. A large portion of the Kazan wealth is from illegal business and money laundering. An affair with his housekeeper has not only produced an illegitimate son but has also triggered the mental instability of Firat’s mother.
For most of his youth, Firat has not only witnessed an estrangement between his parents but he has also had to experience what it feels like to grow up with what amounts to an absentee mother. During his adolescent years, his mother is withdrawn from reality, medicated, and locked in her room. Years later, Firat’s mother is sent away entirely following the tragedy in which she accidentally kills her husband’s lover. During his youth, Firat is not aware that his father’s young apprentice, Babur, and Firat’s nemesis in Yaslihan, is actually his own half brother, a truth Firat does not learn until 2013. The screenwriter makes a point of demonstrating to viewers that familial dysfunction and abuse is not restricted to class or economic level. In fact, many of the characters in the dizi suffer from some level of dysfunction either because of the behaviour of their parents or because fate takes the parents away, as is the case with Deniz and her sister, Irmak.
Sadiye’s story (Narin’s sister)
No one character gets to experience shattered dreams, the lack of love, the entrapment of poverty, the betrayal of siblings more than Sadiye. No one character learns the lesson that in this life there is no mercy and that only individual effort will help one survive more than Sadiye.
When Recep and Ummuhan’s adulterous affair is exposed, something Narin and Sadiye have known for a few years about their father and Ummuhan is made public. Not only does Ummuhan’s husband banish her, but also the villagers join in stoning the adulterous couple. After this, the situation for Hatice and her children becomes utterly tragic. Mehmet is lame and cannot work or keep any job. He falls into gambling and while Narin is focused on studying and working, she has little time to keep track of the goings on of Mehmet. Sadiye has left school and has a job in the town bakery where she has met the owner’s grandson, Zafer, who is about a year or so older than Sadiye. The two fall in love and make dreams about opening their own bakery.
For the first time in her life Sadiye is truly happy and feels as if there can be the hope of a new life in store for her. Narin supports Sadiye and the two sisters talk about a wedding and Sadiye dreams of life with Zafer. These dreams are shattered when Mehmet accepts money from the town tailor in exchange for his sister. Later we discover that the tailor is the exhibitionist who had revealed himself to Narin and Sadiye! When the tailor’s perverted behaviour towards Sadiye becomes known, a spectacle ensues in the town center with Narin hurling accusations at her brother for his role in allowing Sadiye to go to the tailor’s shop. Zafer feels honor bound and he kills the tailor. In order to protect her brother and salvage her reputation, Sadiye refuses to explain to the police about the indecent proposal of the tailor and what she was experiencing. Without Sadiye’s testimony describing the tailor’s advances, Zafer has no defence.
Sadiye blames Narin for making everything public thus leaving Zafer no choice but to murder the tailor. Not only is Sadiye’s trust in her brother broken but she blames Narin too. Sadiye’s dreams for a wedding and a future with Zafer are shattered. Even though Sadiye hopes to wait for Zafer, he informs her that he only defended his honor by killing the tailor and he declares their relationship finished. Very soon, Mehmet finds himself in trouble yet again with the loan sharks and yet again, a despondent Sadiye believes that it is her duty to save her brother. She repays her brother’s debt by sleeping with the loan shark. Desperation, no self esteem following a lifetime of betrayal and abuse, no one to count on, lead Sadiye to this decision. When she closes the door on her mother and brother about a year later and, all alone in life, goes to Istanbul, it is no wonder that her naivete leads her to a sordid life. Whenever she has placed trust in others, Sadiye has been burned.
Unfortunately, Sadiye is one of those people who is unable to learn from past mistakes even though her experiences have shown her otherwise. In 2013, when she is reunited with Narin, she continues to make choices which prove her inability to make sound judgements. The scars are so deep in Sadiye that she will require much therapy and love in order to move forward.
The strength of this series:
The viewer experiences empathy for even those characters who behave badly
All manner of human and material deprivation, indecency, deviance, inhumanity is depicted in this series. In some other series, the viewer might reject the above as pure fiction. However, in MERHAMET, the viewer experiences empathy for even those characters who behave badly. Pathologically jealous Irmak may not be forgiven but the viewer seeing the circumstances of her life tries to excuse her. Similarly, Sermet Karayel is also somehow understood. The main reason for this is the use of the fallback in time technique which places the characters’ lives into context and explains painstakingly the struggle of each character.
This is especially true in the case of Babur, who as the illegitimate son of Hikmet Kazan, turns into Firat’s nemesis out of jealousy and bitterness. At the same time, he falls madly in love with Narin. Babur’s obsessive love for Narin follows Narin well into the year 2013. Another major reason the dizi is successful in dealing with such serious topics is a pronounced lack of melodrama and hyperbole in both the script and in the performances of the actors. The audience is willing to accept and not to dismiss or disbelieve. Likewise, the viewer tends to suspend passing judgement on any of the characters’ actions. How can one harshly judge a character whose evil- doing or meanness comes out of an instinct to survive ; or, because this character has never been shown human kindness ? How can mercy be shown when life has never offered even the slightest mercy ?
The viewer witnesses that in MERHAMET, life itself is a villain. As well, the writer tries to be the one who metes out punishment to a particular person ; thus, not leaving the audience feeling that evil has gone without some form of justice. The writer hands out consequences just as life does. For instance, every one of Irmak’s schemes is revealed and she pays by the hand of those around her.
Violent behaviour and one’s past will have to be reckoned with
Recep is another character who is dealt with realistically. When Recep and Ummuhan leave Yaslihan, they eventually settle in Istanbul. Through Ummuhan’s efforts, they open a knitting shop and general haberdashery. They have two children together and Ummuhan’s son from her first marriage goes to live with them too. Fate has it that just before Narin sees Firat at Deniz’s house, she notices her father in Istanbul and follows him. She discovers that her father seems reformed and living a happy, peaceful existence with his new family, much to Narin’s chagrin. Recep’s transformation and supposed redemption does not last nor is it romanticized by the script.
When he meets up with Narin and Sadiye in 2013 and finds out that Sadiye has lived a life of prostitution, his behavior reverts to former baseness and he attempts to kill her for her disgrace. He turns to alcohol again and this time he does not beat a wife he hates, but beats Ummuhan, the woman he purports to not be able to live without and claims to love . Do abusive people ever change even when the excuses for their abusive behavior are removed! As much as he may desire to have his sins forgiven, as he says whilst in the police station, he only knows violence as a solution. This is clearly also proven by his beating of Zafer, ironically, because Zafer has beaten his wife, Sadiye. Later, Recep pushes Zafer out of a second-floor window and when Zafer doesn’t succumb to these injuries, Recep succeeds in murdering a comatose Zafer by suffocating him. The patterns and habits of abuse and violence are awfully hard to escape as are one’s memories of the past. A person can shut them away for the short term, but eventually, violent behavior and one’s past will have to be reckoned with.
Sermet: A story of personal growth
Sermet, a.k.a. Babur, Karayel is one of the most catalytic characters in the dizi. His role in the past has been important for both Narin and Firat and for the whole Yilmaz family. In the present action of the story, Sermet’s persona is essential to the plot. As the dizi’s anti-hero, his character embodies good and evil. On the one hand, Sermet is a cold-blooded gangster; on the other, he is known to display kindness and by applying his own peculiar code of justice, he performs good deeds.
As the illegitimate son of Hikmet Kazan, he has grown up living his own dysfunctional life. Upon permanently leaving Yaslihan, Babur assumes a new persona and drops the name Babur. By adopting the name Sermet, he tries to reinvent himself in the hope that he will become a gentleman worthy of Narin. Upon meeting her new client, Sermet Karayel, Narin realizes that he is none other than Babur. She discovers that he has been stalking her since she left the village and he continues as he fully expects to make Narin his bride.
On many occasions, both in Yaslihan and in Istanbul, Sermet has amounted to nothing less than a guardian angel for Narin. The irony is that on that fateful night when Narin runs half naked into the night, it is Babur who encounters Narin and helps her compose herself and regain her dignity. Sermet has always hated Firat but more so because Firat has feelings for Narin. He considers Firat a dishonorable philanderer, unworthy of Narin.
When the truth is revealed to Firat that Sermet and he are half brothers, their relationship undergoes a shift. Before the end of the dizi, they learn to appreciate that the same blood runs through their veins. The one person who is able to see into Sermet’s heart and bring out his goodness is Deniz. From their first meeting, both experience an affinity for each other that eventually turns into love. Because of his growing feelings for Deniz, Sermet is able to let go of his obsessive love for Narin and replace it with a healthy mutual one. In Sermet, Deniz finds the decisive real ” macho ” man she always talked to Narin about.
Narin’s personal battle against the fate she was born with
In the midst of all the poverty, human misery, cruelty, and depravity, MERHAMET relates a triumphant story of a young woman’s personal battle against the fate she was born with. Intricately part of Narin’s story of success is the growth of a beautiful love between an unlikely pair of young people. Although the story of Narin and Firat is abruptly cut before it can be consummated, the love they felt has never left the core of either of them, even if bitterly buried for twelve long years.
As extraordinary as a rose flourishing in a bog is the relationship which flourishes between Narin Yilmaz and Firat Kazan. Narin is unable to hold back neither her subconscious memories of her childhood, the hardships connected to her struggle to get an education, nor the key events in their love story once she lays eyes on Firat at Deniz’s party in 2013 . As if a secret key has unlocked her memories, try as she does, Narin is powerless to stop the tide . She wants to know what has become of her mother, Mehmet and Sadiye.
Firat transfers from his private school in Istanbul to the high school in Yaslihan in 1996. Immediately upon setting eyes on him, Narin is mesmerized by his good looks and magnetized by his charisma, as are all the girls .She immediately starts dreaming about him. She makes a fool of herself several times as she gawks and on other occasions as she tries to get him to notice her. Amazingly, Firat Kazan is aware of her presence. As time jumps from 1996 to the year 2000, Firat and Narin have become best friends who crave each other’s company and counsel.
Even though Narin bears no resemblance to the girls of his social environment, no one attracts Firat like Narin. The irony is that although her clothes prove her social class and reinforce her poverty beyond a doubt, Firat sees past these embellishments. Firat jokes about how sexy the ill fitting, conservative clothing her benefactor has given her is. He sees only her natural beauty, her indomitable spirit and spark. He recognizes her intelligence and her tenacity and knowing of her plans to go to university and become a lawyer, he is immensely supportive. At one point, when he worries that she might give up because of her situation, he tells her that he hopes she is not stupid enough to settle for fate. No matter how many girls Firat goes out with, Narin is precious and unique among all girls.
Firhat and Narin: An extraordinary love story
Their love can only be described as extraordinary. Between them is a spontaneity, a freedom. Each provides an oasis for the other and Narin proclaims in 2013 that Firat was everything to her. He was her father, her brother, her lover; he stopped her from making mistakes. Most of all, he was her friend. He is someone she can dream with and someone she can actually have an intellectual conversation with. Firat, from his side, loves that she is smart and naughty and claimed that he could not explain what was in her eyes that drew and held him. In the midst of the madness which each of them lives, their love provides them with humor, intelligence, freshness and respect. It reinforces their ability to withstand the assaults from life. As their love progresses from level to level, Narin reaches the end of her high school years.
Together, she and Firat discover that she has made it to Law School at the University of Istanbul. On the night that Narin consents to consummate their love, they are interrupted by Firat’s crazed mother who believes Narin is her husband’s lover. She attacks Narin and hurls insults at her. Firat is unable to control his mother and Narin escapes in her underwear, struggling to put her skirt on, hysterical, into the night. Narin does not understand why Firat does not come after her ; why he never tries to contact her after that night.
What Narin does not know is that after she left his house, his father and Babur arrive and during a horrible confrontation, Firat’s mother accidentally kills Babur’s mother. Firat is given an ultimatum by Babur that he must never contact Narin again or his father will be killed. Firat has to choose his father and so he leaves to pursue his Masters’ degree in the USA. Narin and Firat are left, victims of life without mercy.
Fortunately, life does bring Narin and Firat together but not until they resolve their issues from the past. Firat’s discovery that Narin still has the telephone which he had bought her and their unexpected trip to Yaslihan opens the door to understanding and forgiveness. When Narin discovers that her mother and brother died after she left for university from carbon monoxide poisoning and that Sadiye survived but is missing, she realizes the importance of dealing with her past and of finding her missing sister. Narin realizes that Firat is the only person with whom she can make that trip back in time. She learns that in spite of her triumph, a successful career and a comfortable existence, the formula for happiness is not complete.
The viewer is quite satisfied with the outcome for Narin and Firat. They marry and Narin gives birth to twins. Deniz finds happiness in Sermet and they too marry and Deniz is pregnant. Sadiye appears on her way to completing secondary school and getting therapy. Unfortunately, the dizi does not end here. It ends rather abruptly and without much logic for such a serious and realistic script. One can attempt to connect the ending to the theme of life being merciless, but that is a rather trite and quite simple explanation. The ending is best left alone and MERHAMET judged as a whole and not on the final minutes.
Life is not merciful to everyone
MERHAMET is a dizi which recounts a very profound story with some of the best acting ever. The script excels at presenting a realistic picture and the consequences of dysfunctional families, abuse, and poverty. The lives of the characters cling to the viewer’s very soul. MERHAMET encourages much thinking as it raises many questions and teaches a few lessons about life, love, friendship, courage, and the importance of families. The dizi opens one’s mind to how easily one judges others without a thought to the circumstances they may have lived in their homes.
Several years after the incident of indecent exposure, the sisters find the mask worn by the pervert. The girls burn the tailor’s mask. Sadiye remarks that you can burn an object like the mask, but you cannot burn the evil, as in the case of their childhood home. Life is not merciful to everyone. What happens or does not happen during childhood affects one’s entire life. One cannot go back to the past to change it, but one needs reconciliation with it in order to really move on and find true peace.
Article Copyright by North America TEN authored by Joan Hiver
Author: Joan Hiver is a retired English Literature Professor who has taught English Literature at both secondary school and university levels. For many years Joan also served on the Board of Directors of an International Private School. At the moment, she is trying her hand on writing a children’s book. A native of Canada , Joan moved to the United States after her marriage. She is the mother of three children. Joan discovered the Turkish dizi when she and her family lived in Europe. Besides being a die-hard fan of Turkish dizis since 2006, she enjoys sewing, needlepoint, gardening, cooking and detective fiction of any kind.
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