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The Club Review 2021 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew
A young woman points a gun, then shoots a man to death on the roof of a building. She locks the pigeon cage after most of the birds have flown away.
The Gist: Seventeen years later, Matilda Aseo (Gökçe Bahadir) is being released from prison as part of a blanket pardon from the Turkish government. She had been convicted of murder and given a life sentence. The first place she goes is to David (Murat Garibagaoglu), the head of a local Jewish community center for women.
She wants to leave Istanbul and settle in the relatively new state of Israel. David encourages her to stay and meet her daughter Raşel (Asude Kalebek), who has been living at an orphanage ever since Matilda went off to prison. Matilda has no desire to see the daughter she felt she abandoned; she even tears up the current photo David gives her.
Meanwhile, we see Raşel romancing a somewhat older cab driver named İsmet Denizer (Baris Arduç), who just broke the heart of Raşel’s friend Tasula (Merve Seyma Zengin). Raşel decides to play the sympathetic friend while not telling her that she’s the mysterious “blonde” that İsmet is paying attention to. One thing that we learn about İsmet is that he has no relationship with his father, Ali Seker (Istar Gökseven), who brings immigrants from Eastern Europe to Turkey to work for cheap in places like Club Istanbul.
Raşel helps Tasula get her ID back from Club Istanbul’s manager, a tough man named Çelebi (Firat Tanis) so she can leave his clutches. After they break in, Raşel discovers a stash of bootlegged booze that Ali Seker made at the club. When Çelebi discovers her there, she attacks him, but he ultimately grabs her and calls the cops.
In the meantime, a bandleader and singer named Salim Songur (Salih Bademci) appeals to the club owner, Orhan Sahin (Salih Bademci) to let him be the club’s new singer. While Orhan doesn’t normally hire male singers, Salim tells him that his act will attract both European tourists and Turkish locals. Considering he’s in tough negotiations with the current singer, he decides to give Salim a try.
David and Matilda go to the police station to get Raşel out, but when Çelebi sees her, he decides to not revoke his complaint. She goes to the club to appeal to him, but he tells her that after what she did, there she will need to repay him. So he tells her to sign over a blank bond in order for him to revoke his complaint. She objects at first, but he tells her that he can work off the bond at the club.
In order to protect Raşel and ensure that she doesn’t start of her adult life as a convict, she agrees to Çelebi’s terms. It’s also when she realizes that she needs to come face to face with her daughter for the first time.
Created and directed by Zeynep Gunay Tan, The Club sets up an interesting story, where a mother convicted of murder reunites with her daughter after 17 years, but all sorts of external influences make that reunion fraught with danger and negative emotion. It certainly feels like it’s a reunion that neither side wants, and the implications of it will make for interesting drama.
The performances are all excellent, especially Bahadir and Kalebek as the leads. Kalebek is especially strong as Raşel, whose ability to shift attitude and appearance according to the situation is shown in her charming performance. Bahadir displays the hardened bitterness of someone who has been in prison for almost two decades.
Of course, we don’t know who she killed or why. We suspect that story to come out in bits and pieces as the series goes along. We’re especially intrigued with how Çelebi ties into the murder she committed; is it a close friend or relative, or is it something else? Çelebi is intriguing because on the surface he seems like he’ll be the show’s villain. But he’s got other motivations beyond greed, and we hope those will be revealed during the first season.
The club itself will be a character, and it’s very much a part of this show. The high ceilings and ornate fixtures show that it’s not a seedy club, but maybe one that hosts the most influential people in Istanbul. And we’re intrigued by the character of Salim, who sings during a rehearsal about being himself. He’s pretty obviously deeply hidden in the closet, which makes sense given the 1950s setting and the attitude towards gays in countries like Turkey. How will he manage his new gig and make sure he isn’t caught being his “real self”?
Although the first episode does move a bit slowly, the pivotal moment, where Çelebi basically blackmails Matilda into indentured servitude, does a good job of setting things up. We’re looking forward to seeing the story play out from there.
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