“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”
― Sophocles, Antigone
Have you ever been given a second chance? If you have, you probably know how rare it is. Diziland’s young gem Son Yaz (Last Summer) braced our screens 12 weeks ago and offers a feel good story suitable for all ages. It has a wonderful cast, a picturesque background (Turkey’s Çeşme and Alaçatı which are both towns in İzmir), and lovely characters in all of which you will find a part of yourself. Some think it’s very much alike to Medcezir, I’d say more like The O.C. which Medcezir was a remake of but minus the rich vs poor cliche.
Son Yaz airs on Fridays with some tough competition. However it slowly gained a viewership among those who are sick of tear jerking shows with storylines that go nowhere. This show is what a real drama should be, it’s the story of people like most of us, not rich, not poor, normal middle class people. If I had to tell someone what it’s about in one sentence, I’d say it’s mostly about making mistakes and second chances. In this essay I’d like to give you an idea about the show’s story and characters and for those of you who haven’t started watching the show, I will only refer to the first episode, so don’t you worry! I intend to expand the viewership with this, let’s hope it works!
The Protagonist of the show is Akgün Gökalp Taşkın (Alperen Duymaz) who is a 20 year old college drop-out. He is the son of Selçuk Taşkın (Arif Pişkin) who was the leader of a crime organization but he has been in jail for the past 8 years. One day, Selçuk calls for the prosecutor Selim Kara (Ali Atay) who had him arrested and says that if he promises to protect (and take under his wings) his son, he’s going to provide him valuable information to end the crime organization he was a part of.
This is how the story starts. Both characters are very interesting. Ali Atay as Selim Kara, the idealist, tough prosecutor with a soft side and Alperen Duymaz as a young and reckless Akgün have instant chemistry on the screen when they meet. Selim tries to persuade Akgün to accept the deal he made with his father. Akgün refuses and blames his father for being an informant. Selim is not forgiving against crime and people who choose a life of crime so in the beginning he only accepts this deal hoping to bring down this organization.
Ali Atay’s Selim Kara is so well drawn as an antagonist. He uses his body and his voice so well. As an actor who is mostly known by the Turkish audience with his comedic role as Mecnun in the absurd comedy show Leyla ile Mecnun, I’ve read that some have a hard time getting used to seeing him being not funny. In interviews his co-stars say he’s still the funniest person on set but here he has a more serious role. I have already seen him in a drama before, called Masum (Innocent — you can watch on Blu TV) so I know he can do both. As Selim Kara he manages to be even scary sometimes, especially when he’s mean to Akgün and he shouts a lot when he’s mad, but he’s also very gentle and understanding when he wants to.
When Akgün’s father implies that Selim’s father was from the crime world as well, Selim gets mad but it’s important for us to know that, because it helps us understand Selçuk’s motivation for handing his son to the man who arrested him and put him in jail. Selim is a man who has dedicated his life to fighting crime and to be able to do that he had to rasp his softer side. He demands respect and he doesn’t have a hard time earning it, like the time he leaves Akgün on the highway for implying that he took a bribe to do this.
Akgün as I said is the protagonist but this show gives as much time as needed to all its four leads and also takes its time with the side stories. I must say, it never gets dull or boring. The dialogue is superb, it’s very realistic, the word choices, the jokes, the slang is on point.
Alperen has done a marvelous job with Akgün. When Akgün first appears on the screen his head is being pushed inside a sink of water. It’s more a funny scene than a tense one and is perfect foreshadowing for all the times that beautiful head of his will keep getting itself in trouble. Alperen amazes with the layered personality he created with Akgün. Akgün is tough but still succeeds in being vulnerable. When the prosecutor or his father get mad, he becomes a little boy. He really commands the screen, lets his emotions be absorbed by the audience. With this role Alperen really proves once again that he’s not just a pretty face. I know Alperen since Bodrum Masalı which is a fantastic show if you haven’t seen it already.
The women are the heart of the show for me and to be honest if it wasn’t for them, the show would have the danger of being a typical male dominated story and I would totally lose interest if it were that way because there are so many of those. Selim’s daughter Yağmur (Hafsanur Sancaktutan) and his wife Canan (Funda Eryiğit) are both perfect examples of the modern woman struggling among a male dominated world.
The show’s writers Deniz Dargı, Cenk Boğatur and Cem Görgeç do a great job with all characters but for me they must be applauded especially for the female characters. Deniz Dargı is known mostly for Güneşi Beklerken, Güneşin Kızları and Benim Tatlı Yalanım. These are all great references. She does a fantastic job with Son Yaz as well. Son Yaz shows us a story can be quite simple, and it’s the characters and how they will deal with things that makes a story interesting.
Canan is a great example of women who have been overshadowed by their husbands. Selim has always prioritised his job over his family and because as a prosecutor he was involved in fighting crime he chose to keep his family away from him to keep them safe. He neglected his family and when the show starts he’s not aware of the effect that has had over each one of them. If it wasn’t for Canan’s abrupt, “I want a divorce” on the phone maybe he would still expect his family to overlook or accept this neglect. Funda Eryiğit embodies perfectly the beautiful Canan who became a mother at a very early age. We really feel her frustration and how she tries to protect her kids. If you enjoyed Funda’s acting check her in Bir Başkadır (Ethos) on Netflix. It’s a fantastic show and she is amazing in it.
Yağmur had to watch her mother and brother feel tormented over the absence of her father. She misses him too but her longing has turned to anger and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. Altay (Ata Nedim Arman) is Canan and Selim’s second child. He’s younger so all he wants is to have more time with his dad, he’s not angry with him like Yağmur, he just desperately wants him around. Hafsanur Sancaktutan is a really young actress ( she is 21 years old) that I’m watching her for the first time. Her most known work is Aşk Ağlatır where she shared the screen with Menajerimi Ara’s Deniz Can Aktaş. She may be the youngest here but I loved her portrayal of Yağmur. Unapologetic and definitely not fragile as people think she is. She is her father’s daughter for sure.
When Selim hears the word divorce and Canan doesn’t answer his calls, he instantly becomes hysterical and decides to drive with Akgün to Çeşme which is a town in İzmir and where Canan and the kids live. And so the real story unfolds. Selim is a man who takes a lot of risks and they’re not all calculated. He’s highly intelligent but he does act selfish and does stupid things. However he has a good conscience and always tries to understands his mistakes, although sometimes he is a bit late.
Canan is sick of Selim’s neglect and she feels like he doesn’t l involve her while taking decisions. She feels like he looks down on her and she’s not exactly wrong about this. A lot of women in society are forced to be happy with what they’re given. As long as a husband isn’t cheating or beating the wife, she is made to feel like she must be happy with that person, especially for the sake of her children. The show makes a good point portraying that a happy marriage is not just that.
In the show we’ll watch two love stories simultaneously, one is young love between what seems like complete opposites — Akgün and Yağmur — and the other one is between Canan and Selim which is a bit battered and scarred relationship. They seem to be fit for each other unlike Akmur but in reality between Akmur there’s more harmony. Obviously Canan and Selim love each other very much and are still attracted to each other but is that enough to stay with someone?
While Selim tries to give Akgün, (who has been involved in the crime world since a young age) a second chance, Canan and Selim also give their relationship a second chance or at least they try. I love the fact that there are no saints in the show. They all make mistakes and hurt each other. While we are watching sometimes we get angry with them but always from a compassionate place. They make a lot of mistakes, they have prejudices, they hurt each other, they tell each other lies. But in the end they find common ground, they apologize and do their best to correct their mistakes.
An honorable mention to the side characters and stories around the main story and personalities. Canan’s big sister Emel, her husband Metin and daughter Naz as Yağmur’s cousin and best friend are all great and realistically portrayed characters and in the first episode they seem like the perfect family (opposite of the Kara family). Yağmur’s docile boyfriend Kaan seems to be living and breathing only for Yağmur. Kaan’s mother Serap is a widow struggling as a single mom. The new mafia leader’s son Soner seems like a rival of Akgün in the crime world.
When Yağmur helps Akgün to escape from the mafia guys, she does this out of fairness, trying to protect the underdog that he is. I find it funny that while they were driving in the car, he said to her “you’d like me if you knew me” and she replies, “no way!”. We know they’re destined to fall in love, this is a dizi after all, but that made me think, in life we judge many people knowing so little about them. There are for sure a lot of people we never gave a first or a second chance to get to know them.
I told you about the storyline and some of the characters but have I been able to tell how much I love it? I love this show because nothing gets dragged for too long. I love it because it doesn’t take 10 episodes for the truth to come out. I love it because we get to watch 2 love stories for the price of one! I love it because of the music and the beautiful surroundings that I have missed so much. I love it because I can relate to the feelings the characters are going through. I love it because the story can still surprise me! Finally I love it because why not, a show about making mistakes, trying to mend those and about giving or taking second chances. I love any story that reminds me of the best parts of being a good human being. What about you?
Dear reader, are you watching Son Yaz? What are your thoughts about the different relationships of Akmur, Cansel, Aksel? Do you enjoy the summer vibes it gives? I’m planning on writing more on Son Yaz, I think my new piece on it will touch on the justice and law aspect of it and how it relates to relationships in the show. If you enjoyed this or would like to share your thoughts, find me on Twitter at @edsavaseri. Please if you liked this share it so more people will find out about the show. The show needs more viewers so it keeps going. You know the drill. Have a great day, wherever you are in the world right now. I’m sending you happy and healing thoughts.