Nah it’s confirmed that #MehmetBozdag is officially spying on my reviews of Kurulus. After all, I had written a pitch for him a few months back to join his writing team as a way to enhance the script of KO and although I did not land the gig, much less Bozdag even knowing I exist or that I wrote a pitch it seems the show is now clicking on all cylinders with swagger!
And no I hope you did not take me seriously above in regards to the spying bit because neither am I important nor am I a professional writer and some hotshot to even warrant spying on my points of critique/areas for improvement for the show! ????????
Kurulus Osman for me has officially taken a massive, creative leap in this episode. A seismic shift in its characters and how the world of Osman Bey is being built is distinct from the uber frustrating season 2. We are now truly seeing a multi-faceted Kurulus Osman, something that it has lacked severely for the most part up until now as the layers have only existed for just a handful of primary characters. But in this episode, in a season now being defined by layered characters and stories, it went to a whole new level on that front. Read on to find out why I am not being hyperbolic.
So this episode showed Osman Bey’s political shrewdness and how he managed to outsmart Nikola yet again in a sublime manner. Yet so much happened in this episode in the lead-up to it that it would be unfair to sum it up exactly like that. The reason is that we saw the hero’s side for the first time since perhaps almost NEVER get ample screen time, in particular the support characters like Boran, Cerkutay, Goktug, and Aygul. Not only that but the partnership and collaboration between Bala and Malhun keeps blossoming and such a massive contrast from the needless, petty rivalry that was shown last season.
For the first time, Goktug actually expressed his thoughts and emotions on the events happening around him rather than just existing as the head alp waiting for his next order from Osman Bey. We saw him try to protest against Turgut Bey and suspect his motives for bringing back dead Catalan warriors as a gift to Osman Bey. But this didn’t end here as we saw him once again try to rationalize his intuition regards to Turgut Bey during the dinner feast with Boran. This is what I have been wanting to see that characters outside of the power couple show some personality to them rather than just existing to serve their Bey. To have concerns, aspirations, dreams of their own!
And this didn’t stop there as Boran & Gonca for what felt like the first time ever were shown having dinner twice and having some light moments with Cerkutay. Simple scenes like this build goodwill for support characters which has sorely lacked in Kurulus for a major part of its run so far. But in season 3, Bozdag has finally taken notice of this long-running problem and is visibly starting to make it a point of emphasis to allow characters other than Osman Bey, Bala & Malhun to make valuable contributions to the overall story. We also got a scene where Boran sang his now-famous Osman Bey Marsi with Goktug, Cerkutay, and other alps as a bonding experience, so reminiscent of Ertugrul’s trio of elite alps. As I said, this is the most substantive proof in the shift that’s occurred in season 3, and signs of this came from the onset of the premiere of this season itself when the two new Tekfurs Kosses & Rogatus were introduced alongside Mari and the new Turgut Bey.
Speaking of Turgut and Mari, this episode solidified their inevitable union. I mean it’s practically a bygone conclusion for those who know! ????
Turgut Bey himself demonstrated that he is not here to just be another person that Osman Bey has to save and that he took initiative and completed a mission that Osman’s alps failed to accomplish. And he did this to increase his reputation among Turkmen Beys and challenge Osman Bey for leadership of Anatolian Turkmen tribes. While he is driven by this ambition, he doesn’t appear to have ulterior motives of enmity towards Osman Bey and this was proven when he joins hands with Osman to fight against Aya Nikola and conquer Kestel village, an Inegolian vassal.
This was also perhaps the biggest sign of the change in scriptural approach from Bozdag because it may just be signaling that the da’wah of Osman Bey is going to become a far more collaborative effort than the one man, the superhuman narrative we have seen for most of the show so far. And if this is indeed the case which it surely is looking like at the moment because of what Osman says in the climax that this da’wah requires more than his own lifetime, then it would be far more historically true to the times of real Osman Gazi rather than this cinematic imagination that has made him appear to be one-man wrecking crew unto himself up until now. This has got me really excited and I am hoping this becomes the new norm and that Turgut Bey is the powerful ally that Osman Bey has needed unlike Umur Bey last season who due to his own selfish and often times tom foolery fell severely short of fulfilling that role mostly due to bad writing.
Mari herself was more than a damsel in distress and she continues to be an excellent addition to the show. Her chemistry with Turgut Bey is fiery but more importantly, her ambition gives her a purpose beyond potential romantic interest. This was superbly captured in the scene where Mari & Kosses had a heated argument about keeping the meeting with Malhun secret.
Cerkutay & Aygul have had a budding relationship brewing since last season and in this episode, it came to its crescendo with Cerkutay asking Aygul to marry him. Yet another example of how peripheral characters were given time to demonstrate their personalities outside of being warriors of Osman Bey. Cerkutay’s hilarious yet innocent proposal was befitting of his character. And Kumral Abdal only enhanced it further with his words of wisdom to encourage Cerkutay not to give up after initially not getting the answer he wanted. I hope to see how Aygul processes all of this as she has been through hell in the past and so Cerkutay’s proposal understandably surprised her and caused her to shed tears and walk away. This would be an interesting point of exploration for Aygul’s character.
Adding to the revival for support characters, even Bahadir and Gokce got to show their personalities. Bahadir’s motives to betray Umur Bey and Malhun and work for Kosses remain untold but this is what I am talking about when I say we really are seeing a concerted effort to make even tertiary characters intriguing. Gokce also expressed her disappointment at Malhun for not tasking her with looking after Orhan while she’s away on a campaign, citing that it’s unbecoming of her hanim considering how they have been friends. Again, a character showing signs of life beyond existing to cater to their masters alone.
The collective tribal life also got a major boost with Kumral Abdal narrating the events of Ghazwa Khaybar and the bravery of Hazrat Ali (RA), the person whom Osman Bey tries to emulate in his own battles to the young alpleren. It was a great example of building ideal role models for the youngins to follow showing a glimpse into the culture of tarbiyah within our tradition.
Bala and Malhun getting along so well and Malhun anointing Bala as Orhan’s second mother officially was a clear-cut sign of just how much their relationship has progressed at a rapid pace in this new season. Bala reciprocated this earlier in the meeting with Osman after Malhun had returned from visiting Mari, by showing a gleeful expression in the light of hearing Osman praise Malhun’s intelligence for bringing him critical news of a new caravan coming from Damascus. This is exactly what I wanted to see last season but hey at least we are finally here and long may it continue and both hatuns continue being supportive of each other which only bodes well for the eventual bond between Orhan & Aladdin.
On the tekfurs front, we saw all 3 of Nikola, Rogatus, and Kosses get checkmated by Osman Bey when they were expecting a surrender from him. If this was not enough, Osman also skillfully launched a political campaign to win public opinion in favor of him over Aya Nikola among orthodox Christians living in Kestel village by leveraging Priest Gregor’s positive experience of living under his jurisdiction. The entire sequence of Priest Gregor making his public speech to the people of the village was such a beautiful homage to the historic Ottomans and their justice among the non-Muslim subjects under their rule. It was a powerful and equally moving visualization of the various historical records that exist from non-Muslim accounts of various kinds which speak of the justice witnessed under the Islamic State. It will now be interesting to see how Nikola deals with the backlash from Rogatus and Kosses as well as other tekfurs and especially from Rogatus considering their latest alliance to end Osman Bey.
And the climax was simply awesome and pumped me up, aided greatly by Turgut Bey’s appearance as Osman’s backup plan against Nikola’s trap.
All in all episode 69 arguably was the most well-rounded episode of the entire show so far and it may just be the creative shift we have been asking for. Multiple subplots got plenty of airtime and all had smooth synergy with the overall plot which really enhanced the main arc involving our Osman Bey. Can’t wait to see the new episode!