Sen Çal Kapımı-Is It More Painful To Forget Or To Be Forgotten? Part 1/2
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Dear friends, welcome to the dark ages of SÇK. The dreaded 10 episodes (29–39) that traumatized us. Alas, this is not another essay to talk about how terribly we have been tortured with a constantly teary eyed Eda, a cruel Serkan and a villainous Selin. No, today I want to try to make peace with the amnesia plot. I know none of us were actually mad at the amnesia plot per se, we were mad at how it was handled and how much the producers dragged it. It could have been a lovely journey and we deserved it to be so. Then, let’s make it so. Take my hand. Let’s try and find the beauty in the 10 episodes that scarred us. Today we’re only going to cover 29–34.
Episode 29: The One Where Serkan Gets Back
“Because of you, in gardens of blossoming
Flowers I ache from the perfumes of spring.
I have forgotten your face, I no longer
Remember your hands; how did your lips
Feel on mine?”
― Pablo Neruda, Love
I know not everyone hated this episode. For some, the angst was really good. This is what Andrew Niederman said at an interview about his book Amnesia:
“Anybody who suffers from amnesia is in a very vulnerable state. They have to accept on faith what they’re being told about themselves and their past and their history. That sort of situation will lend itself to so many different plot lines and character problems that it’s an interesting condition for a writer to exploit.”
Leaving aside the shock of our ship of 28 episodes sinking deep down into the ocean, let’s take a look at everything positive here. Again, I’m adding, I’m not satisfied with the way it was written. As Niederman says, amnesia is a plot-line that can allow a story to grow immensely in many directions.
Most patients of amnesia, define their initial reaction to having lost their memory, as waking up in the morning. You know how it takes even us normal folk to get a hold of reality the first seconds upon waking up. Imagine feeling that way all the time. Imagine trying to make sense of reality. Imagine looking around as if you have started a new chapter in your life while everyone else expected you to resume whatever you have been doing so far.
I know it was a bit different in Serkan’s case because he only forgot the last year of his life which was with Eda. I think this is called dissociative amnesia, when the patient forgets a person or a part of their life. This type of amnesia is usually experienced after accidents or disasters. The best treatments for dissociative amnesia are cognitive and behavioral therapy. But Serkan tried none of it and tried to deal with it himself.
After the initial shock of Eda’s tears and sadness, I did feel sorry for Serkan too because he was being used and abused by Selin. He had no idea who Eda was and Eda wasn’t able to see past her disappointment to assess his situation. My heart goes out to Eda, if this were real life, I would drag both of them to therapy and hope for the best.
The kiss at the end of the episode hits differently. Serkan doesn’t remember Eda but just feels some physical signs that feel alarming to his comfort zone. For Eda it’s full of longing for the man he loves and misses. Pablo Neruda asks, “how did your lips feel on mine?” and the answer is different for both. The kiss at the end of the episode seems to put them on different paths rather than to move them closer. It also shows us forgetting and remembering is painful for both parties and EdSer’s journey to each other is not going to be easy.
Episode 30: The One Where Serkan Wants To Remember
Many of us tried to come to terms with Serkan’s contradicting behavior after his return. On one side he seemed to be wanting to remember the love he had with Eda, on the other he hesitated and drew back and hurt her saying cruel things. Of course looking back now, Eda’s behavior was contradicting her goal sometimes as well. Like the fake engagement game she played with Deniz.
The best scene in the episode was the one you see in the picture above. Eda retells the story she told Serkan in Antalya. The story of Apollo, the Greek mythology god, and the woman he had to leave because she was a mortal. The woman kept waiting but he never came. So Apollo didn’t want the woman to think that he didn’t want to be with her because she was mortal and that’s why he chose to lie to her and tricked her into waiting for him until she turned into a sunflower. This story of course is a creation of Ayşe in order to serve the plot and worked nicely.
However for the amnesia plot I would have liked to see a different allegory from mythology maybe one that could have drawn Serkan and Eda closer once again. I think one of the many problems in SÇK is to lean too much on the effect of repetition. Sometimes repeating things works because it enforces the meaning. Sometimes it just feels like repetition. Anyway, what I would have loved to hear on story time would be the story of Lethe, the Greek goddess who is the personification of oblivion or forgetfulness.
It is also the name of one of the 5 rivers in the underworld of Hades. It is said that, the dead lose all the memory of their past lives when they drink from this river. This is helpful for their reincarnation to their new lives. It’s interesting to note that there’s also a goddess of remembrance and memory in Greek mythology who is often compared to Lethe. This goddess is called Mnemosyne. She is one of the 9 muses in mythology who are believed to be inspirational goddesses of science, literature and the arts.
In the 10 episodes of the dark ages, this is one of the most painful scenes but also the most beautiful because it’s the first time Serkan is really curious to learn about their love. We think of mythology as nice stories but actually those stories help us understand the human condition. They explain the story of men and women living life on this earth and their journey. That’s why they stay relevant. Was the Apollo story Ayşe made up a foreshadowing of this amnesia plot? I doubt that. I will stick to Lethe, we sometimes need to forget to start a new life.
Episode 31: The One With Valentine’s Day
Many of you already know the poem Eda and Serkan reminisce here. It’s Eloisa to Abelard by Alexander Pope. It’s actually quite long and this is a small part of it.
“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;
This poem inspired the title and the theme of Charlie Kaufman’s cult movie Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. For those who still haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a guy who finds out that his ex girlfriend had her memories of him erased and in turn he does the same. I don’t want to spoil the rest for those who haven’t seen it but the moral of the story is that, some memories may hurt but they are vital to our existence for growth.
In SÇK context, Serkan and Eda’s memories are not painful since before his accident they were very happy and about to be married. What’s painful is that, Eda is the only one who remembers those memories now and for Serkan it’s as if they never happened. Every time Eda asks if Serkan remembers, it pains them both; Serkan, because he feels like he’s letting her down and Eda, because she loses hope that things will ever get back to normal.
What do we forget when we forget? How would it feel to forget someone or some part of our lives? Forgetting is never the solution. In EdSer’s case the amnesia is nothing but a test of their love. At least that is how I feel the series intended on using it. I also feel like they wanted to explore the possibility of them falling in love again. In the movie ESOFTM in the end Joel and Clementine see that even after losing they memories they are still drawn to each other. Perhaps that’s what SÇK writers wanted to show us as well.
This scene in the episode was one of the rare scenes where we felt Serkan’s longing for that love he can’t remember. Serkan’s longing is met with Eda’s despair. I know I promised I won’t vent in this essay but I just want to say, even without Selin the amnesia plot would have been a lot of angst so even with her out of the equation we would be interested in the story. Adding her to the equation and presenting her as Serkan’s confidant and later fiancee was just cruel to Eda and the viewers.
How do you move on from a love when you can’t? How do you get over someone who has already gotten over you? How do you cope with the loss of the one you love the most when you know he is alive and well and just doesn’t want to be with you? Is a valentine still a valentine when we have lost them? Maybe yes, love is love when it hurts too. As the poem says, Eloisa prayed to forget and her prayer was answered. I wish our writers when they decided on the amnesia plot, would have Eda forget everything instead of Serkan. Imagine how wonderful that would be. Something like the movie The Vow. Ah, my heart! Maybe some day someone will use that plot in a dizi.
Episode 32: The One Where He Starts To Understand
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
My favorite episode of the dark era is 32 and it’s not because we are served a kiss, a cuddle, a hug and some other things. It’s because we finally get a real conversation between Eda and Serkan. One where Eda reminds him why their love was precious. When Serkan can’t understand how come they had such a great love when on the surface they are opposites, Eda explains it by saying they used to understand each other without needing words. That their connection was so strong they instantly thought or felt the same things.
In this episode we are reminded why they fell in love with each other. We see how harmoniously they work together and complement each other, how attracted, even electrified they are of each other’s every touch and glance, how they enjoy each other’s company. Finally Serkan sees how he broke Eda’s heart and how hurtful his actions have been for her. He also starts to feel that possessiveness and protectiveness that you only feel for people you love and/or you are attracted to. He goes back to the office to help her, he goes outside in the snow to look for her. These are signs he already sees her as an indispensable part of his life.
As Emily Bronte’s words suggest, love is not being able to recognize where we end and our beloved starts. It’s becoming an entire entity, sharing a unified soul. This is the episode where EdSer starts to understand they have something. As they start to understand one another better their bond starts to grow stronger.
Episode 33: The One Where He Kisses Her
“love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky”
Love Is More Thicker Than Forget - E.E. Cummings
This is the perfect poem to decipher the meaning of love. Love is not one thing or the other. It’s a conflicting subject. Just as the contradictions in the poem, “mad and moonly” versus “ sane and sunly” many actions of EdSer in this episode are contradictory of how they feel about each other.
Love is many things but it cannot die. When a person is in love, no matter what their lips say, what they feel can’t be denied. Like Eda saying and thinking completely different things in the office. Like Serkan saying hurtful things but following Eda everywhere. Love is not something you can run away from or something you can avoid.
Love is deeper than we think just as it says in the poem, “all the sea which only is deeper than the sea”. What makes love profound though is its being many things at once just as described in this poem.
When do we know what we feel is love? It’s when we can’t overcome our adoration or interest in the other person. It’s when we become a little obsessed with what they are doing, where they are and what they think. There’s a reason it’s most fun to watch the beginning of a love story. Although it’s lovely to witness also how that love evolves, the start of something new and all the mixed feelings attached to love is something really precious to watch.
Episode 34: The One Where She Denies Loving Him
I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.
You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.
Oh plunge me deep in love — put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.
Sara Teasdale-I Am Not Yours
Part of being in love is also being in denial. We hardly ever accept that we are in love right away. In Eda’s case her circumstances are extremely complicated and looking back she seems confused but dedicated to her plans to see that Serkan is smitten with her already once more. Had she been less in love she would have noticed how he follows her around like a puppy and how his gaze is on her at all times, how he teases her and questions how she could get over her love for him so quickly.
I kind of adore Eda’s nonsensical denial and the face she puts out to Serkan in these episodes although I don’t agree with it. This is why I thought Sara Teasdale’s poem is appropriate to share here. The poem explains the mindset of a woman who wants her relationship to be different. Considering Teasdale lived between 1884–1933 it’s quite unconventional how she doesn’t want to belong to her lover but she wants to be lost in him. The metaphor she uses, “lost as a snowflake in the sea” is how she longs to unite and become almost a part of her lover.
In this episode while Serkan tries to make Eda confess her love, Eda tries to deny it which is understandable but also contradicts what she has been trying to do. All the “how well do you know your partner” and “trust test” nonsense is perhaps a demonstration of how in the face of true love, these things don’t matter. The cliches about what true love is or how it can’t be proven are not important. Serkan is right when he says love is not a game. As Teasdale’s poem, love is starting with saying “I’m not yours” and ending with “sweep me off my feet”. Love is contradicting yourself and even when you deny being in love, it’s surrendering to being completely taken by that person.
Dear reader, thanks for reading so far. It could not have been easy for some of you to remember these episodes that pained us a bit because we desperately wanted EdSer to be together. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts and musings on these episodes. I’ll post part two soon and with that we will close this painful chapter. Let me know your thoughts, I love reading them, find me as @edsavaseri on Twitter. Hope you have a beautiful day wherever you are in the world right now. Sending you good vibes and lots of love from a very hot Muğla morning.
Check the recaps of other episodes of SÇK:
Part 1: What’s In A Love Story?
Part 2: Are They Already In Love?
Part 3: Love Is Like A Fever
Part 4: Love Makes Us Stronger
Part 5: Growing Older and Wiser Together
Part 6: An Essential Guide to True Love
Part 7: Right Before The Dark Age
My other articles on Sen Çal Kapımı: