Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Set in 1950’s Istanbul, The Club (or Kulüp by its native Turkish tongue) is a soapy melodrama full of deceit, lies, big revelations and big characters. With a second part still to come, The Club sows the seeds needed across its six episodes, with plenty of twists and turns along the way.
The story here though revolves around Matilda, a mother who’s recently been released from prison. Although she was originally serving a life sentence, Matilda is out after 17 years. Her main drive here though is Rasel, her estranged daughter. Rasel has no idea of her mother’s existence, but as the first episode comes to a close that soon changes. What follows is a slow building of bridges, as she and Matilda start to rekindle their relationship. Only, further secrets over who Rasel’s father is, what happened in the past and present day romantic issues threaten to destroy their relationship forever.
Around this dominant story are several other subplots, mostly revolving around a club in Istanbul that plays host to several different characters. The first comes from hotheaded and slimy Celebi, who runs the club. He has his own reasons for being cruel to Matilda and Rasel. There’s also Selim too, a showstopping male performer who’s desperate to make a name for himself. When the club is desperate for a new headline act, they take a gamble by signing him up. Alongside these characters is Orhan, who oversees proceedings.
All of these people have their own stories and issues across the season, which is nicely presented across the season. However, it’s Rasel and Matilda’s complicated mother/daughter relationship that takes the lion’s share of the run-time. That’s good because it’s easily the strongest part of The Club. While the other subplots are okay to watch, the love triangle with Rasel feels overplayed at times.
Aesthetically, the 1950’s is brought to life nicely with plenty of lavish sets, beautiful interiors and glitzy locales. Now, I’m not a historian so I can’t speak about how accurate all of this is for the time period but a couple of linguistic anachronisms aside, everything looks pretty authentic.
Fans of shows like Morocco: Love in the Times of War, High Seas and Cable Girls should find enough to like here. This soapy melodrama has plenty in the tank to warrant a second half, especially given how abruptly it ends. Whether the second half can build on this to elevate the material beyond its soapy means though, remains to be seen.
Verdict - 7/10