“Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.”
Max Ehrmann — Desiderata 1952
One could say life is an endless struggle. However at least it’s not in vain. At least it’s a journey we take to becoming who we want to be. As we’re growing up, we form an ideal portrait of ourselves. In childhood it starts with the question that we’re asked repetitively by adults, “What do you want to become when you grow up?”
With the candor and innocence of our childhood we reply with whatever that comes to our mind, a teacher, a singer, a firefighter. As we grow older, dreaming becomes insufficient and we find out that we need to work on those dreams or pick up new ones, to become something that will be accepted and respected by others and not just by us. I guess that’s what becomes of us when we stop being a child.
Episode 4 of Son Yaz is titled “Don’t Cry” and it’s one of my favorites as it’s heavily loaded with messages about growing up into who we want to be and how to deal with finding ourselves in a reality which we don’t like. After all, life should be something we enjoy, and we have the power to change who we are. Our life is not a stamp on our forehead and we get to choose who we want to become at any age and change the narrative of our lives. We all deserve a second chance in life as long as our essence is good. That’s the message I got from the episode and there were many more. Let’s take a look at what happened and what the other messages were.
Women In Struggle
The episode starts with Halil Sadi offering Akgün a way out. He asks Akgün to stay close to the prosecutor and to provide them information. Ahmet tells Akgün privately that he has given his word to Akgün’s late mother to protect him and he’s still trying to do that. In the meantime Yağmur is sad because Kaan broke up with her and even though there’s nothing between her and Akgün, she is not able to tell Kaan the truth about why she has been helping Akgün since this is not her secret to tell.
Selim overhears a conversation that takes place in front of his house. Fatih offers Canan to work together on a case as a lawyer. Canan says she’ll think about it. After Fatih leaves she notices Selim and invites him over for coffee but as they’re drinking it, Selim annoys her and right in front of him she calls Fatih and says that she has accepted his offer.
After being found on the shore by Selim and not telling him the truth about his abduction, Akgün sees Yağmur crying on the couch swing. This time it’s Yağmur who doesn’t want to tell but Akgün is persuasive. She tells him Kaan broke up with her. Once again Yağmur asks him if his necklace has any meaning to it and he replies that it doesn’t. As he stands up and leaves, he utters the words that have ended up as the title of the episode. He tells her not to cry because her smile is like the sun. Surprised by this unexpected compliment Yağmur stares behind him in amazement.
The next day Yağmur and Canan go to the bar association to register Canan. She’s really enthusiastic before they leave, even putting on a pair of black heels left from her internship days. Unfortunately when they get there she’s shocked by the young law graduates who form a long line. This really breaks Canan’s spirit since she didn’t expect to have so much competition as a lawyer. Canan had to postpone her dream about becoming a lawyer in order to raise her kids. But even though it’s not her fault she still feels guilty about it.
After they finalize Canan’s registration, to celebrate this, they go to Emel and Metin’s restaurant. As a coincidence Selim and Akgün is passing by the restaurant and they join them as well. Serap drops by the restaurant too but she shows a different face than usual. She says that she can’t find Kaan and thinks that Yağmur might know where he is. Kaan takes off in the morning without telling her anything other than he’s not going to go law school and he’ll wait one more year and take the university exam again. Serap uses a very patronizing tone with Yağmur and openly blames her which makes Canan angry. In the heat of this argument Naz blurts out that Kaan and Yağmur broke up.
That morning Selim drops by Fatih and tells him that he doesn’t want Canan to work with him. He forces Fatih to make something up and withdraw his offer. Fatih chooses the most unfortunate time for this. He calls while Selim and Canan are quarreling about Yağmur having a boyfriend since Selim has just found out that Kaan and Yağmur were dating. Canan is really sad after these news which come as the last straw and she kneels down and starts crying over these news and complaining about the blisters the shoes gave her. Selim is shocked as he probably didn’t think Canan cared about working this much.
In this part of the episode, which takes place in the first hour, the struggle for each and every female character is relatable. Canan’s realization of how hard realizing her dream can be and her doubt about not being cut for this job is all too real and a bit painful to watch. Yağmur is in a situation where her quick wit can’t get her out because she has to be loyal to Akgün who confided in her even if it’s at the price of losing her longtime boyfriend. Serap’s frustration about Kaan is relatable even though her attitude towards Yağmur is hostile. She is worried about her son’s questionable choices for his future as they’re all based on his feeling about Yağmur.
We Are Not Kids Anymore
While Akgün tries to find out who the secret witness is, Soner and Eray meet Naz at Emel and Metin’s restaurant. Naz has a big mouth so it doesn’t take them long to understand who she is. One night, after work, they offer to take her home, and even though she hesitates at first she accepts soon after and they come to the Adalet complex where she helps them pass the secure gate telling the security guy they are her friends.
I have to say in the first episodes I found Naz a bit dumb because of these things, and I’m glad she became more likeable as the show went on. This also marks the beginning of a possible love triangle since both Eray and Soner find Naz attractive but she seems to have eyes only for Eray.
At this point Kaan is still not reachable on his phone all day and Serap and Yağmur look for him everywhere. That night finally Naz informs Yağmur that she saw him in someone’s instagram story and that he was seen at a cafe on the beach. Kaan is with his best friend Arda and some girls. He’s drunk and when Yağmur gets there he doesn’t want to talk.
After she leaves he pulls out a gun. Claiming that it’s not loaded he fires towards the sky and it fires and everyone is scared and run away except for Arda. Yağmur comes back running begging him to let go of the gun. Akgün is also nearby as he said to Selim that he’d take a walk. After a short while, hearing the gun shot he comes and takes it out of Kaan’s hands. Arda takes Kaan home.
In his drunk state, Kaan tells Akgün that he was the one who turned them in to the police. He also tells Akgün that Yağmur never trusted him as much as she trusted Akgün. Kaan’s jealousy is a bit childish nevertheless it’s also understandable since we as the viewer can see the bond #Akmur have formed in just 4 episodes.
Akgün helping Selim with the runaway witness ends up being one of the funniest scenes in the episode. They really make a Tango and Cash like duo. Akgün finally has the information he needs but he hesitates to give it to Halil Sadi.
When Canan is treating Selim’s scar that night, she teases him saying being a prosecutor isn’t enough for you? Actually many people of the law have made fun of this aspect of the show because prosecutors never chase criminals directly or join in on police raids. I think Selim’s character was written this way to make a point. He really wants to chase and arrest the criminals with a passion. Where the law can’t help he’s willing to go that extra mile and take a gun in his hand if need be.
Metin and Serap’s confrontation is interesting. After hearing Metin lie to his wife about the afternoon they spent together before coming to the dinner, Serap is angry with Metin. She doesn’t hide it, so Metin finally knocks on her door and asks her what’s wrong. She doesn’t beat around the bush. She asks him why he lied and he doesn’t have a good reply.
Selim sees Canan putting the black heels in the trash in front of their house. When he asks her why she did it she tells him about her day. I loved how sincere and intimate this conversation was. Canan is such a mature and self observing character. The shoes are a perfect symbol of something we outgrow of. They represent the weight of Canan’s unrealized dreams about her career. She feels guilty and insufficient. She is afraid that after all these years she spent inactive she won’t be good at her job.
In this episode I loved the approach the show took on this. We all doubt our abilities sometimes. Especially the skills we haven’t used in a long while. It’s also not a shame to be unsure of what we want to do. But we must not let fear guide us. Fear has the habit of disguising itself as improbability, making us think we’re not gonna make it. Many people give up on their dreams because of this. So I really love that they touched upon this.
Canan is different from Yağmur and Selim (who are very much alike even though they deny it). Yağmur and Selim are built to try harder when they are not successful, they are self-motivated. Canan is the type that needs a bit more motivation and reassurance from loved ones and that’s okay. This is why Yağmur and Selim teaming up to rent her an office is great since it will give her that motivation. As she is very proud she doesn’t want to accept this at first, but when Selim tells her, “I’m forever indebted to you for taking care of our kids without any help from me for 18 years, please let me at least do this,” she accepts his help but promises to pay him back anyway.
Akgün is like Canan in needing motivation to take action. The conversation between Selim and Akgün that they have in the kitchen is proof of that. Selim wants Akgün to pursue better things for himself, like going back to university. He reminds Akgün that he was kicked out as a sophomore due to his criminal record and that he can help with that as a prosecutor he can be his guarantor to clean his record so that Akgün can go back to get his degree.
Akgün doesn’t rejoice at this news. I feel like it’s fear stopping him. He doesn’t answer Selim when he asks if he’d want that. He asks Akgün if his mom would want him to go to school? Then he recites the poem Akgün’s mother wrote in her letter. In the show they changed it a little but I will include the original version here. It’s a poem by a very famous Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet Ran (1902–1963).
LET’S GIVE THE WORLD TO THE KIDSLet's give the world to the kids at least for a day
Let them play with it like a fancy balloon
Let them play singing songs around the stars
Let's give the world to the kids
Let's give it like a huge apple like a warm loaf of bread
Let them feel full at least for a day
Let the world learn friendship at least for a day
Kids will take the world from our hands
And they will plant immortal trees.
After reciting the poem, Selim says to Akgün, “I think your mom would want you to study.” But Akgün replies, “We’re not kids anymore.” Selim repeats that he should think about it again and that he’s ready to help in any way that he can.
Making Peace With Who We Are
After his conversation with Selim about going back to school, Akgün recalls a childhood memory. Selçuk wants to teach him to use a gun so he gives a gun in Akgün’s hand and tells him to aim at a box. There are bird sounds coming from the box so Akgün doesn’t want to shoot at it and Selçuk getting angry at his hesitation tells him, “If you have pity everyone will pity you.” When Akgün refuses completely, he says to his son, “Nothing will become of you!” This is a major insult coming from a parent. Selçuk wanted Akgün to be like him, tough and merciless because that’s what he thinks anyone needs to survive in this world.
Metin visits Kaan and since clearly he needs some guidance, gives him some valuable advice. When Kaan questions him about his own questionable choices in the past (Metin left school and his rich family behind just to be with Emel) Metin says that he made the decision according to his heart and not someone else. Metin clearly says if you’re going to make radical decisions, make sure they are because of you and not for someone else. This is good advice since Kaan’s decision to not go to law school, even if he gets in, is clearly because of Yağmur.
Akgün also comes to talk to Kaan and tells him why Yağmur has been helping him and he also hands him his father’s gun. Kaan is finally relieved. When Selim comes home that night he finds Akgün in a bad mood. I have to say I didn’t quite understand the transition to this scene. But I think Akgün feels guilty for the things he is doing. When Selim asks what’s wrong he confesses to being the reason behind the shooting in the club.
He says that he’s too dangerous to stay with them and that Selim should send him to Istanbul. Being the easily triggered man that he usually is, Selim gets very angry and this really is a scene worth seeing. Selim tells him he needs to calm down and Akgün leaves the house. As he’s walking, he bumps into Yağmur. Since he thinks Selim will send him away he treats this meeting as a farewell.
Yağmur asks him why he told Kaan everything and he says it’s because she was upset. When he asks her if she loves Kaan, she replies, “I have never dreamed a dream he wasn’t a part of. He’s the right one for me. If that’s what love is..” But he doesn’t let her finish, he just says, hope you’ll be happy. That’s when she notices this is a farewell. Finally he even tells her the story of the necklace and explains the bullet is the one that killed his mom. She kisses and hugs him, it’s a friendly hug but I think this just adds to the many things they only tell each other. Aptly his final words are, “ If you remember me one day you’ll say he only told that to me.”
The next day doesn’t turn out to be as Akgün planned because Selim takes him to the police station and makes an officer remove the tracking device. He tells Akgün he’s not who he claims to be (a dangerous person) everyone makes mistakes and only a few deserve a second chance and also that in his essence he’s a good boy. He says he wants to believe Akgün and that he shouldn’t try to take his anger out on himself rejecting good things that are placed in front of him.
As they’re getting back home because Selim is eager to find out which university Yağmur ended up entering they stop at a gas station. Akgün wants to tell Selim about the witness thing too but he doesn’t get the time. While Selim gets off to get some snacks, Ahmet and his men come and show him a photo of Selim and his mom and say that Selim threatened his mom to testify against his father. The episode ends there with a teary eyed Akgün.
We Are Enough
As usual, episode 4 brings forth a great debate on how we lead our lives. What can become of us? If we don’t believe in ourselves, nothing really. Akgün and Canan are afraid of change and of getting out of their comfort zone. Akgün’s fear of going back to school and Canan’s hesitation about going back to practicing law is very similar. Kaan’s indecision about going to school is understandable since it hasn’t really been his own dream to begin with. He only chose law to be with Yağmur.
We must check back on our dreams sometimes to make sure they are our own as we all have the habit of adopting the dreams of our loved ones as if they are our own. It could be a parent, a lover or even a close friend. In this episode Soner was struggling to prove himself to his father again. If we are not accepted by the people we value it does take a toll on all of us. We need to remind ourselves that we don’t need anyone’s validation to be whole. What other people think of us is merely their thoughts and not the reality.
When we have doubts about our ability to do things, we must do a reality check to see if it’s because of fear of the unknown. When we stop letting our fear deciding things for us, we can then start making more beneficial decisions for ourselves. Let me end with another part from the Desiderata (Desired Things) poem by Max Ehrmann. I highly recommend you to read all of it here later.
“You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
Dear reader, thank you for reading so far. So, do you feel happy about the person you have become or becoming? I for sure am still working on that. Are you enjoying the show so far? It’s safe to say Son Yaz is my favorite TV show at the moment. Let me know what you think about this article or the show in general, find me as @edsavaseri on Twitter. Your comments and shares give me immeasurable joy so please keep them coming.
Hope you have a great day, wherever you are in the world right now. Sending you peace and love from a sunny Istanbul day. I hope you’re staying healthy and safe in these pandemic days.