“Once on a time, the ancient legends tell,
Truth, rising from the bottom of her well,
Looked on the world, but, hearing how it lied,
Returned to her seclusion horrified…”
Rudyard Kipling — A Legend of Truth
When are we ready to hear or understand the truth? When are we ready to speak the truth if we don’t dare to get hurt or face the consequences? And finally, when what we think of as the truth turns out to be a lie, or something utterly different than what we imagined, how do we deal with it?
The third episode of Son Yaz is titled “Garbage Bag” and it’s one of my favorite episodes, although it’s fair to say there hasn’t been an episode of Son Yaz that I haven’t enjoyed yet. This episode allows us to get a better understanding of the characters and their motivations for their actions. It also leaves us with some questions.
Since I’m writing these looking back at the episodes and currently we’re expecting the 16th episode to air, please keep in mind that I try not to get affected by what happens in the future episodes. Please keep that in mind as you read when you feel like judging the characters.
First I’d like to say a few words about Akgün. This episode Akgün’s struggle affected me deeply. The episode’s title is taken from something he says to Selim, as he says, “I’m not a garbage bag that you can throw out the minute you get a chance”. Selim’s reply comes later and it’s reassuring because he says, “If you were a garbage bag in my trunk I wouldn’t leave you on the side of the road at the first chance I get, I would take you back to the dump where you come from. I don’t know if you’re a criminal to be, that’s for you to decide.”
Akgün and Selim’s Decisions
The third episode starts with Yağmur helping Akgün to escape to Chios island in Greece. After they successfully convince a fisherman that they’re lovers, they rent his boat and start waiting in the open sea for Akgün’s transfer which never happens because Selim catches them. He is furious with both of them, but mostly with Akgün and he decides to take Akgün back to Istanbul to decide what he’s going to do with him.
When they are back in Istanbul he decides to abandon him and he makes another prosecutor talk to him to give him two options, Akgün will either go to jail, or he will be kept at a safe house until his father’s trial where he will testify against Halil Sadi. I loved this scene because Akgün said exactly what he thought and felt. Selim and his father didn’t give him a chance, he ran away because he felt it was the only way he could be the one to call the shots about his future. Selim’s actions are cruel, he doesn’t try to understand him, they are not equals, since they are not peers.
In the interrogation room, Akgün knows Selim is behind the glass and he is listening to his words. Selim tries hard not to be affected by Akgün’s plea to not go to jail. Akgün knows Selim thinks of him as a potential criminal. So Akgün signs the papers without reading and accepts going to the safe house. In another room Selim talks to Selçuk and asks him if he wants to say something to Akgün. Selçuk gives a letter to Selim, saying it’s from Akgün’s late mother. When they get out of the room to transfer Selçuk, Akgün is also in the corridor leaving with the police officers to go to the safe house. Akgün says some really harsh things to his father, since he’s still angry with Selçuk for being an informant.
As both Akgün and Selçuk leave, Selim remembers his own childhood. During their conversation Selçuk reminds Selim of his chilhood when his own father was also a part of the criminal world. Selçuk tells him, the reason he wanted Selim to be Akgün’s protector is because Selim was able to crawl out of that crime world and he wants the same for Akgün. The scene ends with Selim’s memory of himself as a child, cursing his handcuffed father in the corridor as police offers take him away.
I think this is where Selim changes his mind about Akgün. He later stops the car that’s taking Akgün to the safe house and hands him his mom’s letter. Then they have the conversation I mentioned in the beginning. After their conversation Selim gives Akgün another chance to stay with him. When they go to Selim’s house in Istanbul they are surprised by Altay. Altay runs away from Çeşme and comes to Istanbul to visit his father. He tells Selim that he wants to stay with him from now on. Selim on finding out Altay has ran away from home, immediately calls Canan and all three leave for Çeşme.
Telling The Truth Is Harder But Better
Canan is relieved to see Altay is fine but is still saddened by her son blaming her for the divorce. I have to say, Canan is a great mother, at least she really tries to be. She always tries to understand Yağmur and Altay without blaming them for their mistakes. So the decision is made that Altay will stay with Selim for a while and Selim takes the blame for Altay accusing Canan for the divorce as he should.
He says he’s going to fix this. While Selim and Akgün are in Istanbul Canan and Yağmur have a heart to heart conversation about Yağmur’s anger towards Selim. Canan tells Yağmur she shouldn’t blame Selim for being who he is. He stayed away to protect them and to defend what he believes is right and we shouldn’t blame people for being who they are. That’s good advice right there and one of the reasons I say Canan is a great mother.
I really admired the fact that both Selim and Canan defended each other to their children. That’s good parenting, acting as a team, especially if you’ve announced your kids that you’re getting a divorce.
The next morning they all meet at Canan’s house for breakfast. At some point while they prepare breakfast, Selim is super attentive to Canan’s accidentally burned hand and Altay and Yağmur watch them with heart eyes. I need to say a few words for Altay this episode. The child actor, Ata Nedim Arman did a great job in this episode as the frustrated teenager. His adoration for his father was portrayed so naturally. I think this young man has a bright future ahead of him as an actor. In all his scenes he really knows how to disappear as the actor and just become Altay, it’s commendable.
After years of neglecting his family and leaving the kids’ responsibility to Canan, at the breakfast table Selim tries to take some of that weight off Canan’s shoulders by telling the kids that everything will be better and he’ll be more present in their lives from now on. He also organizes a family dinner at Emel and Metin’s restaurant. Altay still blames his mom for being the one to want the divorce in the first place. At the end of this scene it was really emotional when Selim kissed both Yağmur and Canan before leaving, in an affectionate way. Both of them not being used to receiving affection from him are surprised and pleased equally all the while they try to act nonchalant about being kissed.
Hiding The Truth Helps No One
While Kara family is still handling the divorce news, Akgün sits home impatiently with the electronic monitoring device that has been put on his ankle with Selim’s orders. Soner still wants to get his revenge from him for stabbing his hand. He also keeps bullying Eray and uses him to provoke Akgün.
While Akgün thinks it was Eray that called Selim to hinder his escape, it was actually Kaan who called the cops which really if he thought for a minute, he would just let Akgün run away and his problems would have been solved. Reacting with jealousy, Kaan makes a mistake and actually prolongs Akgün’s visit with the Kara family.
Kaan is not happy to see Akgün has returned to Adalet Sitesi (adalet=justice in Turkish, site= complex/block). I feel for Kaan especially in these initial episodes. He lives and breathes for Yağmur and of course with Akgün’s arrival he feels threatened. Serap as a single mother struggles to make their finances work, in addition, as she puts it, Kaan doesn’t recognize his own value and needs Yağmur’s love and approval to be happy so as his mom she’s worried.
I feel for Kaan because he lacks the presence of a good father figure in his life. Serap has the best intentions but unfortunately we don’t always need to hear the truth, we also need to hear it from the right person. Otherwise our ears are deafened to it. Just like Altay (who will stop blaming his mom after talking to his father), Kaan also needs to hear the truth from someone who is not afraid to hurt him.
Serap and Kaan’s argument leaves Serap shattered and as she’s crying she runs into Metin. He tries to console her and they sit at a cafe they used to go as friends when her husband was still alive. This is all too innocent but at night at the dinner for the Kara family she eavesdrops on Metin telling Emel they ran into each other and he brought her there. He hides the fact that they sat down and talked at the cafe. This makes Serap suspicious, as it should. It also made me think, why do we find it so hard to tell the truth sometimes? Why did Metin hide this detail from his wife?
This Truth Might Hurt A Little
Selçuk wants to thank Selim for taking Akgün under his protection once again so he gives him a name, a man who leads Halil Sadi’s finances. Selim organizes a police raid at his lover’s house and because he also needs to spend more time with him, he takes Altay with him. After the raid, he also takes him to the police station. This is where Altay sees how his father works for the first time and recognizes how ruthless he can be. While he’s looking for his father Altay sees the recording of the interrogation from a door left ajar. He also sees the arrested man’s crying wife and baby at the station.
Later when Selim and Altay leave the station to kill some time at the beach before the dinner, Selim finds out about this and they have a lovely conversation. When Altay asks him why he is punishing the woman and the baby as well, Selim confesses he may not be the superhero Altay thinks he is. If he thinks so highly of his father, it’s only because Canan made her kids think that way by what she told them about Selim. If they have a high opinion of him it’s thanks to Canan.
On Akgün’s front, Soner makes Eray say some nasty things about Akgün’s mom on the phone. This naturally drives Akgün crazy and he tries to go and get even with Eray but Yağmur sees him and tries to stop him. While they’re arguing Kaan sees this and this makes everything worse since he misunderstands the whole thing, because he’s jealous of Yağmur.
Yağmur and Akgün don’t seem to get along perfectly but she’s still the one that he confides in the most. As she tries to stop him, he blurts out that he can’t even read his mom’s letter. Kaan and Akgün’s argument turns into a fight and Kaan breaks an ashtray on Akgün’s head. Thankfully Yağmur calms him down before things get even worse.
While Akgün is sitting in front of the house, Canan notices his head is bleeding and they take him to the hospital. At the hospital Yağmur notices that he’s still trying to escape to find Eray. She asks him to at least read his mom’s letter before going. As Yağmur thought after reading his mom’s sentimental note for him, he changes his mind.
Living With The Truth
After the events of the day, when they sit down to talk, Kaan asks Yağmur who Akgün is and why she’s helping him, but she can’t tell him. It’s not her fault, as it’s not her secret to share but she also can’t convince Kaan that she’s just helping Akgün. When Yağmur asks him why he doesn’t trust her, he replies “do you trust me?” Unfortunately it is revealed that neither of them trusts the other.
In the end he breaks up with her. What’s interesting to me is that Akgün and Yağmur know each other for a short amount of time, but they really trust each other and listen to each other. Kaan and Yağmur have known each other since childhood but that bond has not been built between them. This shows that trust is not a matter of time but a matter of the heart.
Yağmur finds it easier to share her sorrow with Akgün in the second episode when she’s crying on the shore. Akgün can’t help but share his grief over his mom’s letter with Yağmur before his fight with Kaan and later at the hospital. Why doesn’t Yağmur tell Kaan about her problems? In the first episode, when she meets her friends at the seaside and Kaan clearly understands she’s not well, she chooses to jump from the rocks to the sea, rather than explain how she feels.
Kaan is not a guy who wouldn’t understand. I think it’s just that sometimes sharing our sentiments comes naturally with some people and forced with others. Yağmur and Akgün have that special connection where they can feel each other’s pain. They don’t feel embarrassed to share their feelings with each other. So it’s not a question of finding Akgün more attractive than Kaan or anything else, it’s more a question of feeling more connected to Akgün than Kaan.
At the family dinner, an uninvited guest drops by. It’s Fatih, the lawyer who is Canan and Selim’s university friend. Selim sees him at the Courthouse during the day and kind of suspects he’s got a shady client. At the dinner Selim discovers that Canan has been working with Fatih as a translator for some legal correspondence. They’ve been working together for more than 2 years. When he asks Canan, she says she told him, but like many other things he ignored it. Selim observes that Altay and Fatih get along very well and interprets this as Fatih trying to replace him. He’s really agitated but before he can act on it, he receives an urgent call and has to leave.
Akgün gets kidnapped by Soner and his men and they take him and tie him up. Selim gets notified that Akgün’s electronic monitoring device stopped signaling. Soner threatens to shoot at Akgün’s hand just as he stabbed Soner’s hand. But Ahmet gets a call from Halil Sadi who wants to speak to Akgün. Once again Halil Sadi destroys his son’s authority and wants to speak directly to Akgün. He tells Akgün he knows Akgün is not an informant like Selçuk, and he’ll give him a chance to help them to bring down Selim. If he helps them, Akgün will get all the privileges he had before to use as he likes. The episode ends with Akgün’s startled face.
Akgün realizes, just when he has decided to forgive and forget, that there’s no way out of this world for him. Every time he succeeds in crawling out of the hole, they pull him right back in. Selim realizes that getting back his family is not going to be that easy since he’s been gone for too long and Fatih’s role as an insignificant old friend has changed to someone a lot more important than he considered.
All in all, it’s a great episode to question our understanding of what the truth is. The truth is out there, it’s up to us, to decide what we are going to do with it. We may accept it, we may try to run away from it, we may try to swallow it. No matter what, it is something we have to live with. If we choose to lie instead of telling the truth we may end up lying to ourself. If we end up hiding the truth from those we love, to protect them or to avoid conflict, we may lose them. As in Kipling’s poem, if the truth knew what the world has come to, maybe she would want to hide too. It’s a cruel world but still if we don’t have the truth to rely on, we don’t have much else.
Dear reader, hope you enjoyed this recap of episode 3 of Son Yaz and my thoughts on the concept of truth in the episode. Let me know what you think about this essay and the show in general. I’m @edsavaseri on Twitter. Reading your comments makes my day, so bring them on! Have a great day wherever you are in the world right now. I’m sending you good vibes from a warm Istanbul evening.