by Paola Cesarini
The opening scene of Season 2 of “The Protector” jumps back in time to 1632. A couple is congregating for a tryst. What is unusual, however, is that the man is a Protector and the woman (Piraye) is an Immortal. The natural equilibrium between the two sworn enemies is quickly restored when the Immortal kills the Protector, once it becomes evident that his shirt and dagger have lost their magic. This scene introduces a key piece of information that will make sense only much later in the show.
Back in the 21st century, Hakan and Leyla are in a hospital room where Zeynep lies unconscious as a result of the Hagia Sophia events at the end of Season 1. Hakan appears nervous and fidgety. Moreover, something is clearly off about Leyla after her miraculous resuscitation.
Next, the action moves to the Museum of Natural History where Piraye and Okhan steal a large bug trapped in amber. There are only two minor differences here with Jurassic Park. The bug in question is a grasshopper, and their purpose is the annihilation of humanity. The next scene reveals that Leyla’s resuscitation through Faysal’s blood comes at a high price. The Immortal now controls her mind, and she has become Immortal-like (but not quite a full-fledged Immortal). She cannot be killed unless by the Protector’s dagger or an Immortal.
Back in the cistern, we meet Azra, the Master of the Loyals and a couple of new members. In the end, the motley crew that will support Hakan and Zeynep’s efforts against the Immortals is composed of two elderly individuals, two 20-something years old and an adolescent.
In the best and last scene of the episode, Zeynep wakes up alone in her hospital room. Her sense of loss, abandonment and confusion is palpable. This leads her temporarily to go rogue and take revenge on Derya, after extracting from her valuable information about the Immortals’ deadly plan. However, once she learns that Faysal has publicly implicated Hakan in the Hagia Sophia incident, Zeynep returns to the fold. With her besides him, the Protector gains enough renewed energy and determination to claim the leadership.
The second episode opens with the Immortals intent on carrying out their annihilation plan involving the stolen insect from the Natural History Museum. Initially, Hakan and the Loyals believe that the Immortals are seeking to unleash a biblical-like locust plague on Istanbul that would cause widespread destruction and famine. A visit to Zeynep’s entomologist friend, however, reveals the Immortals’ scheme as a much more sinister ploy. The stolen specimen is actually a carrier of the infamous black plague, which in the Middle Age caused the demise of a third of Europe’s population.
Here we get a glimpse of Hakan’s jealousy of Zeynep. A tension is clearly building between these characters, which becomes even more manifest later on in the episode, when they vehemently argue over Leyla’s reliability in the fight against the Immortals. Needless to say, Zeynep is right, while Hakan is in full denial of the situation.
In another scene of episode 2, we witness Rüya and Faysal’s relationship. Clearly, not everything is perfect in paradise. He appears rather clueless about her feelings, while she is at best lukewarm towards him. Their reality is far from the idyllic love that Faysal had so nostalgically described in season 1. We also learn that Rüya is unwell. While Hakan’s blood revived her, it appears to have only partially restored her invulnerability.
In episode 2, the conflict among the Immortals comes to a head, when Faysal opposes their plan to annihilate humanity and kills one of his “colleagues” with his bare hands. The reasons why Faysal can claim authority over the other Immortals are still unknown. Such authority, however, is being undermined by the fact that Faysal is allegedly too fond of humans and, consequently, not too eager to carry out the Immortals’ chief mission — i.e. the annihilation of humanity.
Finally, we learn that one Immortal — Vizir — is absent from the group. He is apparently a “loner”, who does not appear clearly in any of season 2 episodes. We will have to wait until Season 3 or 4 to learn more about him.
Episode 3 is action-packed. In the opening scene, we learn that Hakan is now in a mental asylum, where he is closely guarded as a dangerous criminal. No one believes his story about “The Protector”. Next, the Immortals manage to clone an astonishing number of locusts from the ancient amber-encased museum specimen in a very short time.
Apparently, the Immortals’ ultimate goal is “to return home”. However, the episode provides no further information about this idyllic place. Levent, who at the end of episode 3 is revealed as Hakan’s presumed dead older brother, makes his spectacular entrance as a nurse aid in the mental asylum where the Protector is being held against his will. He succeeds in freeing Hakan and joins his quest to prevent the Immortals’ attack.
Faysal, in the meantime, is more worried about Rüya’s condition than his fellow Immortals’ evil plan. Despite his superior intelligence, he continues to be surprisingly oblivious to his wife’s deviousness. He thus orders Leyla to get Hakan’s blood to heal his wife. Leyla obeys. Soon, however, she runs into Zeynep and — unbeknownst to Faysal — manages to inform her that she is under the Immortal’s control, and that has taken Immortal-like character herself. They proceed to forge an unlikely alliance to help Hakan’s thwart the Immortals’ induced spread of the Black Plague. In the meantime, Zeynep has been declared a fallen one by the Loyals’ Master.
The last few scenes see Hakan, Levent, Zeynep and Leyla successfully thwart the Immortal’s stadium plot. The sequence is both captivating and suspenseful. In the end, the Protector kills his first Immortal: Okhan. There are thus only five Immortals left to eliminate. While this is good news for our hero, it is really unfortunate that such a good actor as Boran Kuzum was disposed of so early of.
Episode 4 opens with a flashback showing how Levent survived the Immortal’s attack during his childhood. Subsequently, he explains how he was raised by a Loyal family as their adoptive son. His narrative, however, sounds evasive and, hence, suspicious to everyone but Hakan, whose enthusiasm at having found a surviving family member leads him once again to throw caution to the wind. Next, with some encouragement from Zeynep, Leyla confesses her condition to Hakan and the others. He is devastated.
At that very moment, Faysal takes control of her mind to propose a deal to Hakan: his blood to save Rüya in exchange for Leyla and the talisman shirt. When it comes to plotting a strategy to respond to Faysal, Hakan again stubbornly ignores Zeynep’s advice. Instead of trusting the one person who, thus far, has been consistently steadfast, rational and correct, he chooses to listen to a newly found brother, whose life story is quite nebulous. And who, to no one’s surprise, will turn out to be a traitor.
Hakan’s (and also Leyla’s) insensitivity towards Zeynep in these scenes is remarkable. To the Protector, Zeynep seems to count only as a means to an end. Meanwhile everyone else, including the recently resurfaced brother, is fully aware that Zeynep is in love with Hakan. Hazar does a great job in this episode trying to dissimulate Zeynep’s suffering. At this stage she appears fully justified to walk out on Hakan.
Given the premises, everything that can possibly go wrong during the exchange with Faysal does go wrong, and in the end it is the lovely Ceylan who pays the ultimate price. In the end, Faysal walks away with the Protector’s blood, Levent with the magic shirt, Hakan with a shoulder wound, and the Loyals with staggering losses among their ranks.
Episode 5 opens with Hakan’s threesome nightmare, in which he finds himself in a bed being reprimanded by both Leyla and Zeynep for his careless behavior. When he wakes up, however, reality proves even worse as the Loyals inform him of Can and Ceylan’s death, and Leyla’s disappearance.
In the next scene, we see Levent arriving at an underground casino, where he robs a table of heavy gamblers. He will later rob a bank as well while enjoying the invulnerability granted to him by the magic shirt. In these sequences, Engin Öztürk does a very good job portraying a rather unhinged Levent. Hakan once again acts as his usual impulsive self, and sets off to hunt Levent on his own. At least this time, he does not attempt to rescue Leyla before recuperating the shirt first.
Meanwhile in the Immortals’ den, Leyla is killed and then resuscitated with another Immortal’s blood. Her new mission: kill both Hakan and Faysal. At home, Faysal revives Rüya with Hakan’s blood, but then inexplicably leaves her alone a few moments later. Miffed, Rüya decides to go about town on her own in open defiance of Faysal’s wishes.
Hakan finally finds out the real story about his brother, which involves not only lying, stealing and marauding with a gang, but also having indirectly caused his adoptive family’s death. Next, Hakan tries to get Zeynep to help him find Levent. However, his attempt is ineffective, because he appeals to her sense of duty rather than to her feelings towards him. She thus refuses to abandon her plan to travel to Oxford for a research fellowship. In the final scenes, Hakan manages to locate Levent. The punitive expedition, however, is soon set aside as Hakan sympathizes with his brother’s quest for revenge, and readily welcomes him back into the fold. In light of Levent’s responsibility for Ceylan’s death, the ease with which Hakan forgives him is rather disappointing.
Episode 6 starts with Azra, Levent, Hakan and Leyla reuniting in the cistern. Levent is back into the fold and has returned the magical shirt to Hakan. Leyla is released, but Hakan ignores that his girlfriend is no longer under Faysal’s control but under that of another Immortal’s.
At home, Faysal and Rüya seem to be arguing all the time. She faults him for not having killed the Protector yet. He claims that his failure is due to the fact that Hakan is highly unpredictable, and therefore very different than his predecessors. It would thus seem that Hakan’s impulsiveness might serve a purpose after all.
Hakan and Leyla leave town for the coast, where they reach a beautiful house on the cliffs. There, they live a romantic interlude, but their conversation seems to avoid difficult topics. Indeed, because of Leyla’s inability to account for her disappearance, an atmosphere of mistrust lingers. Meanwhile, Zeynep makes final preparations to leave the country. Azra tries to convince her to stay, but it seems to no avail.
Armed with shirt and dagger, Hakan confronts Faysal, who tells him that Leyla is no longer under his control. He and Rüya narrowly escape Hakan’s wrath. Furious, Rüya leaves Faysal, and proceeds to take over his business empire. Back at the cistern, Zeynep reappears, and so does Levent claiming that he knows where the Immortals are hiding. Meanwhile, Hakan and Leyla cooperate to eliminate Piraye.
Their success clearly indicates that Leyla was not under her control. Indeed, it is Rüya who holds influence over Leyla now, and uses it to attempt on Hakan’s life. On Faysal’s suggestion, however, Zeynep intervenes at the last minute to save Hakan, but is forced to kill Leyla in the process.
Episode 7 opens with a desperate Hakan impulsively burning his (thankfully fireproof) magic shirt and dagger. It then moves on to Rüya’s easy seduction of Levent. Next, the Loyals learn about Rüya’s takeover of Faysal’s empire and decide to stop her plan. Zeynep thus goes in search of Hakan, but what she finds is a sad and angry young man, who wants nothing to do with the Protector’s mission.
In the meantime, Rüya and Faysal meet again, but it is quite clear that they no longer trust each other. Indeed, Rüya has a plan to strip the Protector of his powers, which she notably fails to share with Faysal. The meaning of the season 2 opening scene is finally revealed. Apparently, the talisman shirt and dagger loose their power if either the Protector, or someone from his lineage, fall in love with an Immortal. Rüya’s true motive for seducing Levent is now clear: weaken the Protector.
Having once again changed his mind, Hakan comes back to the cistern to recuperate shirt and dagger. He is now on his own private revenge mission to kill all the remaining Immortals. However, he ignores that, because of Levent’s infatuation with Rüya, his powers are gone. Before he even realizes the grave danger he is in, Hakan falls into Faysal’s trap, which the latter set in the hope to regain Rüya’s favor.
A skirmish between Faysal and Hakan ensues. However, it quickly ends once the Immortal realizes that Hakan’s shirt has no power. Obviously, he knows that this could only happen if Rüya was being unfaithful to him. Jealous Faysal becomes a force to be reckoned with. Hakan and Zeynep penetrate into Faysal’s company to thwart Rüya’s plan, but Mergen stops them. Hakan then learns that his loss of powers is Levent’s fault. Just when everything seems hopeless, an unlikely ally comes to the rescue: Faysal.
At the beginning of the last episode Faysal explains to Hakan and Zeynep that the Immortals’ plan is to produce a poisonous substance that kills all life on earth (but apparently not the Immortals). Its secret ingredient: the Protector’s blood, which Rüya can easily get from Levent, now that he has fallen completely under her spell.
Back at the cistern, Hakan has a hard time trying to convince the Loyals to work together with Faysal in order to stop Rüya and Mergen’s deadly plan. Also, the shirt and the dagger are still powerless. Thus, Zeynep suggests that they consult the Oracle to figure out how to restore their magic. She reveals that only if Hakan manages to overcome his fear of losing someone else in the fight against the Immortals, will the talisman shirt and dagger accept him again as their master. The Oracle also tells Faysal that Rüya will never be his again.
Hakan agrees to a meeting with Levent, in a last ditch attempt to get him back. They fight atop the ancient gates of Istanbul and Levent prevails, but he refrains from killing Hakan when for a moment he seems to snap out of Rüya’s spell. Meanwhile, Hakan puts a tracker in his pocket, which will lead to the Immortals’ hiding place.
Zeynep follows Hakan to the city gates. Once she finds him, she decides to confess her feelings to him. Upon kissing Zeynep, Hakan’s shirt and dagger recuperate their magic. Obviously there was another way to restore their power, which the Oracle failed to mention. Hakan can now attack the Immortals and thwart their deadly plan.
In the subsequent action, senior Loyals Serdar and Azra die almost immediately, while Zeynep manages to neutralize Levent. Hakan kills Mergen and sets off with Zeynep to look for Rüya and Faysal. When the latter realizes that the Protector won’t let him get away with Rüya, he shoots Zeynep. From the scene, however, it is not clear whether the shot is fatal. Now there are only three Immortals left, Rüya, Faysal and Vizir, whom viewers have yet to clearly see. Hakan is left all alone.
In the last scene of season 2, Levent is about to pour the deadly Immortals’ concoction into Istanbul’s water supply in order to regain Rüya’s favor. He is however shot by a sniper, presumably Vizir. The sequence is cut before revealing whether the bullet has reached its target.
A native of Italy, Paola Cesarini has a Ph.D. in Political Science and worked as an international civil servant, a university professor, and a leader in higher education for many years. She is fluent in six languages and is currently learning Turkish. She lives in Denver, CO with her husband and two children. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, classical music, swimming, skiing and exploring other cultures.
@Copyright by North America TEN and Paola Cesarini