Before you read any further, Atiye does end on a cliffhanger. I had a feeling it would given the way the season has been going, however we are given some crucial answers to some of the bigger questions around Atiye and it has been renewed for a second season. For that alone, it’s worth sticking it out with this one. On reflection, the season has been a bit hit or miss at times, dominated a little too much by familial drama and to be honest, I’m not quite sure the twist at the end really works but I’ll discuss that more at the end of this recap.
The season 1 finale of Atiye begins in the depths of the cave system, as archaeologist Nazim digs into the purple crystal and finds something glowing behind it as the word “Atiye” floats in the air. This is during the past and Zuhre appears before Nazim outside and rips a page out of his journal, telling him it’s Atiye’s job to discover this location.
Back in the present, Atiye is imprisoned while Serdar watches her arrest unfold on TV. Only, the screen crackles to life and a voice tells him she needs to be at the Solstice Door. Serdar doesn’t know where it is though and this prompts a countdown to begin on his phone. With a race against time, Atiye begins scribbling the familiar symbols from before in her prison cell.
Hannah, Professor Oner’s assistant, arrives at Erhan’s and it’s here we learn she’s the masked thief that’s been around the dig site and been pestering the others all this time. She gives Erhan another countdown – this time for 24 hours to bring the missing pages of the journal to “them” or Atiye will face a grim end. While he rushes off to see Oner and try to figure out where the missing pages are, Atiye is visited in her cell by an apparition that reminds her how powerful her words can be.
While Serdar struggles to stop his son from confessing to the murder, Serap tries to explain her actions to Mustafa, who walks away in disgust. In a flashback we see her burning off the star symbol on her arm, signifying that she’s actually part of this whole prophecy. While Erhan searches for answers, Seraf heads in to see her daughter and apologises, handing her the necklace. It’s here we learn the truth about Zuhre, around how she was vilified by the village for being a witch and how she hid while watching the different villagers burnt. She had a sister, Seher, who happened to have a star symbol on her forehead and this ties in nicely to the same girl Atiye has been seeing all this time. It turns out the prophecy foretells a door that can only be opened by Atiye. Is this the same door Serdar is looking for?
At the graveyard, Erhan stumbles upon a clue in the form of numbers on a gravestone, helped in part by a bumblebee guiding the way. As he deciphers the code, Erhan opens the cryptograph and reveals the missing pages from his Father’s journal. As he reads the notes, they discuss time as a non-linear entity and explain that Atiye means his future and he needs to protect her. As he reads the words, she arrives at his apartment and convinces him to come with her, back to Gobekli Tepe. As they do, Serdar teams up with Hannah and together they head off as well.
Unable to deal with the guilt any longer, Ozan tries to hang himself, a premonition he experienced several minutes prior when he entered his house, but the banister breaks and he’s unable to follow through. However, on the ground he discovers a secret compartment and as he pulls the string, finds a whole room full of photos and letters. It’s here he sees that Serdar has been watching Atiye her whole life.
The countdown continues and Ozan sees firsthand that it wasn’t actually him that killed and set-up Cansu – it was Serdar. As he holds his head, Hannah confronts Erhan and holds him up at gunpoint, taking the pages and subsequently stabbing the archaeologist in the back. Serdar is then arrested for murder thanks to his son ratting him out.
Atiye stumbles into the cave not long after and discovers the same shards of purple crystal from Nazim’s flashback. She crawls through the tunnel and as she does, comes across Cansu, dressed in robes. As she holds onto her, she disappears as a black cloud descends across the landscape outside. As she lets go, instead of Cansu is a woman named Elif and worse, as she turns and heads outside, she sees the familiar symbols from before on the wall opposite.
I am grateful that Atiye answered some of the pressing questions around who the star-symboled woman is and why she’s so important but to be honest there’s a lot of unanswered questions here that I’m not sure a second season will resolve (but I am happy to be proven wrong of course!). The idea of a time tunnel is something that’s been overused recently, especially with Netflix Originals. Dark is probably the most obvious example but even The Stranded pulled off this same stunt and now with a third show following this same plot trope, it does feel a little forced and unoriginal.
What was Serdar’s end-game too? I get that he’s been watching Atiye but why? What is this Solstice Door? Is it the time tunnel we saw her crawl into? What is the countdown for? And who is the mystery voice that ominously seemed to control his actions? The more I think about Atiye the more I actually find myself frustrated by the number of questions raised here.
Having said all of that, if you’ve followed Atiye this far you’ll inevitably be invested for the journey and thankfully Netflix have green-lit a second season too. I’m confident that this will have more answers around what’s happening how much is left unresolved. Plenty of fans will be anxious for the second season to arrive sooner rather than later though and I for one, am interested to see what direction they go with that one.