The royal physician has notes about Mehmed’s condition, what medications he was administered, etc. Ahmed tells him to double-check–people are saying his father was poisoned.
Cennet drags Anastasia into the baths and hands her over to the other women to get clean. After this she’s being presented to Sultana Madre Safiye.
Anastasia’s pretty awed by that. She remembers her dad standing at the olive tree on the top of the hill and telling her what she saw would one day belong to her. She’d be princess of the island. As the other women lather, rinse, and repeat, Cennet tells her Safiye is the most powerful woman on earth. She should never look her in the eyes and she shouldn’t speak until she’s spoken to.
Bülbül reports that Nasuh Ağa got back yesterday with the girl Safiye wanted to present to Ahmed as a gift.
Cennet brings Anastasia in and she stumbles, not sure when to bow. Safiye declares her a young bud waiting to bloom and asks her name.
Screw protocol, Anastasia throws herself at Safiye’s feet and starts begging “Reina Sofia” in Italian to please let her go home.
Safiye rolls her eyes and glares at Cennet . Damn, she can say a lot with those eyes. Cennet apologizes–there wasn’t time to train her properly.
Safiye doesn’t like the name Cennet picked either. She re-re-dubs Anastasia Mahpeyker. What’s the big deal? Before she was Hatice and before that Anastasia…it didn’t change who she was, did it? This is her first piece of advice for Anastasia/Hatice/Mahpeyker…a woman will have many titles and roles throughout her life. She’s different in each one–a girl, a woman, a mother–and if Nasia’s smart, and devoted to Allah, she’ll get to be Sultana. She just has to play her role. The future will be full of splendor for her if she’s loyal to Safiye.
OK, so…can she go home now?
Safiye answers in Italian and says she’s not going home. Safiye and her gown and tiara swish out of the room as she orders Nasia to be put in a private chamber. She’ll present her to the Sultan when she deems it appropriate.
Meanwhile, the other Madre Sultana is getting an update about Safiye bringing in Nasia. Handan is sure she’s doing it to control Ahmed. She tells her servant to bring in Señorita Dudu.
Cennet is taking Nasia back to a room, as Safiye ordered, but Dudu overrides her. There is only one Madre Sultana of the harem and that’s Handan. Handan wants the girl sent to the patio with the other concubines.
The “patio” is that large room the women were in last night. Dudu asks “Shayeste” to make room for Nasia and get her new clothes.
Cennet stops Dudu at the door and says this girl isn’t like the others. Safiye brought her especially as a gift for the Sultan. She’ll leave the rest to Dudu’s imagination. She tells the other women to treat Nasia accordingly. Cue hostilities.
Before bed they talk among themselves about what a waste it was to bring Nasia here when there are already so many other beautiful women. One of them tells Nasia that the Sultan is fat, over 100 years old, and uses witchcraft to cheat death. He has to feed on the hearts of young women. Behind her the other girls giggle and nod, as appropriate. Only one has escaped…she knelt on the ground without moving and the Sultan couldn’t smell her.
Dudu gets a scolding from Safiye for saying Handan is the only Madre Sultana of the harem.
Well, technically the title of “Madre Sultana” has passed to Handan. It’s the law.
So that’s the way it’s going to be? She’s just going to change her loyalties depending on who has the title? Safiye dismisses her.
Pasha Musa has arrived for a meeting with Halime. Kalenderoglu has agreed to their conditions and committed his men to overthrowing Ahmed and putting Mustafá on the throne.
In the harem, one Mean Concubine complains to another about Nasia being brought in especially to be the Sultan’s first. Mean Concubine 2 is like, “Oh yeah? Hold my apple.”
She walks right over to Nasia and says she’s got no boobs, she’s just a baby, she’s too skinny…the others join in.
Cennet comes in with Elizabeth and scolds them about treating Nasia like a caged animal. She tells Nasia to come with her.
On the way to wherever, Cennet introduces Elizabeth to Nasia and says that cat’s worth more than either of them and she’d better not ever mistreat it. She hands Elizabeth off to go flirt with one of the guards. Nasia follows Cennet, but stops when she looks around a corner and sees Cennet getting it on with the guard. She looks down at Elizabeth and notices the big ‘ol sapphire she wears on her collar….
And then Elizabeth gets away from her. Nasia tries to find her and ends up in Elrond’s back yard. She starts climbing a wall to either look for the cat or look out a window.
Ahmed sees her and gets a really good look at her bloomers before he tells her not to put her foot down where she’s just about to put it. So she falls and he falls and people are falling all over the place. Ahmed is, clearly, enthralled, but Nasia’s face is more like “Did I just break my head? Please tell me I didn’t just break my head!”
Once she’s verified she’s still in one piece, she shoves Ahmed off her and starts begging him not to tell “Cennet and all those other witches.” She asks what’s beyond the walls. Can she escape? She’s here against her will and she heard the Sultan’s a horrible man who eats women’s hearts.
“No he’s not!” Ahmed’s baffled about this whole eating hearts thing.
Nasia goes back to look out the window and Ahmed suggests she not go that way–there’s an acantilado (cliff) on the other side and she’d fall in. She really ought to go back, so they don’t just put her in a sack and throw her into the sea.
Nasia begs the Virgin for help and insists she wants to go home–her family’s there waiting for her.
Ahmed finally cracks a smile as she weeps. Then he tells her not to worry. No one’s going to hurt her as long as he’s here. He calls her Anastasia and she wonders how he knows her name.
Cennet told him. She said a rebellious, wild she-wolf was brought to the harem.
Nasia says Cennet’s the savage. She was just protecting herself. She’s sure she’ll get a beating when they find her. She begs Ahmet for help.
Sure, babe, but for now she should go back to the harem. He’s sure another girl will be chosen before her and they’ll have time to think of a plan. He tells her his name is Bahti (and that’s with that Germanic “h” sound phonetics examples describe as “like the ch in loch”).
And why should she trust him?
“Because I want to escape too.” He convinces her to go back and helpfully tells her which way that is.
Cennet found Elizabeth (big relief…y’all know I was more worried about that than the meet cute) and now she’s found Nasia. Bahti? Who’s Bahti? And where was she?
Nasia’s already catching on to how the games are played here. She says it’s more like where was Cennet. ‘Cause she saw her with that guy….
Cennet pinches her arm and threatens to cut her tongue out if she tells anybody.
Ahmed goes to visit Safiye (Just how many fancy dresses and crowns does she have?) and thanks her for his gift. The girl from the painting.
Safiye’s taking it as a good sign they met before she’d planned it.
Oh yeah, Ahmed met her at the most difficult time in her life. She fell on him like hope. Like a gift from Allah.
Safiye decides now’s a good time to remind him everything she does is for him.
From a balcony that offers a view into the harem window, Handan gloats that Nasia doesn’t look like she’ll last two months. She’s not to cross “the golden road” without Handan’s permission and neither is anyone else. It’s up to Reyhan Ağa and Dudu to see to it.
As for tonight…Handan takes Reyhan Aga’s suggestion and picks a Greek girl, Mahfiruz, who was personally trained by a Pasha’s wife. The women in her family are said to be way fertile.
Ahmed’s bored with the dancers. He tells Reyhan Ağa he wants to get the ceremony over with and go feed his lion. Reyhan dismisses them with a look and gives Mahfiruz the “He’s all yours” nod.
Ahmed can barely look at her as she starts undressing. Before she gets too far, he dismisses her. He’s the one who leaves, though. She’s just standing there holding her dress up with her hands wondering what she did wrong.
And out in the hallway, Handan’s servant says as much. Mahfiruz swears she didn’t do anything wrong. The Sultan must have chickened out.
Reyhan Ağa tells her not to say stuff like that. And get back to the harem. Handan’s going to be pissed.
Ahmed is determined to show the lion who’s boss. He’s trying to stay calm, repeating “I’m not a tyrant” as he and the lion look each other in the eye. Somehow the lion wasn’t chained up and Derviş was quick enough to shoot it as it lunged for Ahmed.
Ahmed’s got three slashes to the torso and the animatronic lion is dead. Derviş checks and someone cut the chain. He tells Ahmed this was a murder attempt.
In his chambers, getting patched up, Handan takes the opportunity to say “I told you so!” She asks Derviş who he suspects, but Derviş doesn’t have a clue. They were all looking for poisoned arrows–nobody was expecting a lion.
Ahmed asks the physician how it’s going with his dad’s death investigation. Since this isn’t CSI: Istanbul, it’s going to take him some time to go through the medicines.
Handan’s sure the person who set this up was Safiye, so she could put Mustafá on the throne.
Ahmed would like a private word with his mother….
Ahmed admits she was right, but this is so difficult…he thought his fear of death would be over when he took the throne, but it keeps growing. He doesn’t know how to carry this weight. He just keeps sinking deeper into the shadows.
Handan comforts him. He faced death tonight and his enemies will try again. If he doesn’t kill them, they’ll kill him. (Wow. So not comforting.)
Ahmed has summoned Safiye to that central courtyard to ask her opinion on his pardoning of Mustafá.
She says anything he does is correct. Besides, Mustafá is her grandson. She doesn’t want him to die.
She didn’t seem to care when it came to Mahmud. Mahmud died and Ahmed took his place. If Ahmed dies, she’s got Mustafá. Isn’t that what she’s thinking?
She doesn’t answer.
He asks how many steps from the mausoleum to the throne. 41. He counted. They tried to kill him last night.
Safiye seems surprised.
Ahmed says someone cut the lion’s chain, but he’s still here.
Well then, grandma asks him which finger of her hand would hurt the most if it were cut off. Answer: they all hurt the same. She’s not keen to sacrifice any of her grandsons, but as he knows, it’s his decision.
She says the storm is coming and she should head back to her chambers.
One of the servants hands Ahmed a scroll and he gives it to Derviş to give to the Sheikh Al-Islam. It’s Mustafá’s death sentence. (Nooooooooo!)
In her room, Halime’s packing all her sparkly things. She tells the kids they’re leaving once the sun goes down. She tells Dilruba people have put ideas in her brother’s head and he’s going to have Mustafá killed.
Bülbül is outraged that he didn’t hear anything about a murder attempt last night. Safiye gripes that someone’s playing games again.
Bülbül wonders if this could be Handan’s way of hurting her.
Nah, this is more Halime’s speed. But if it is Handan, she’ll drown in the Bosphorus.
Reyhan goes to tell Prince Şahin the lion ploy didn’t work. So obviously he’s a traitor, but I don’t know what side he’s playing for. He always seems to be in on all the meetings. And by the way, Şahin’s a suspect, since the lion was his gift.
Well, Şahin made himself a promise that Mehmed would die, and he did. Now it’s just Ahmed and Mustafá and the Ottoman line will die out, leaving the throne for “the descendants of Genghis Khan.”
Cennet brings Nasia some clean sheets and somehow this inspires Nasia to sneak out of the harem. She ducks around a corner as Sultana Halime and family sneak out through a secret passageway.
She saw enough to start pushing on the bricks, but Cennet catches her and says she’ll have to escape later. Tonight, the Sultan has asked for her and she’s going to make him happy.
Ahmed’s staring at her portrait in anticipation as his room clears out.
The far end of the secret tunnel is near a road in the woods where horses are waiting. Mustafá is definitely not in favor of this plan and wants to stay with his brother! Halime says Ahmed’s not his brother–he’s the lion and Mustafá is the lamb. He’ll have him killed.
Bülbül directs Nasia to walk down “the golden road.” It’s the path that leads to power, love, and happiness. It leads to the doors of Eden, but it can also send her to hell.
Nasia reeeeeally doesn’t want to go. Cennet grabs her face and tells her to get it through her head–tonight she’s either in the Sultan’s bed or in her tomb.
So a miserable Nasia walks into Ahmed’s room and decides she’ll try that kneeling and staying still thing to see if she can fool the Sultan.
Ahmed puts a hand under her chin and she bites it before actually looking at him. Wait, so he’s…? She can’t even get the word out.
Someone with a knife approaches a sleeping Mustafá and cuts off one of his perfect little curls. It’s Halime, doing a ritual…for what?
Nasia wakes up in Ahmed’s bed. They’re both fully clothed.
Halime’s been going all night doing a protection ritual for Mustafá. Menekşe begs her to stop–she said she wouldn’t do this again. But Halime’s determined to protect Mustafá.
Nasia’s trying to sneak out, but she notices the covered painting and her curiosity gets the better of her. Ahmed comes over and says it’s a beautiful painting of her. She smacks Ahmed with her shoes. Really?! It’s beautiful?!
He says he saw it in his grandmother’s room and…
Uh huh, and that’s when he gave the order to have her brought to him. As if she were a horse…or a goat….
Ahmed swears he didn’t. It was his grandma, who did it as a present for him.
Excuse you, she’s a person, not a present! She has a family just like he does (oh, I don’t know if you want to be bringing up family right now). She thought he was a good person when she first saw him, but he’s just a cruel king…the cruelest one she’s ever met.
She throws the painting on the floor and says she’s going to escape. He whispers that no one escapes from here.
Handan just catches her stomping off down the hallway and looks concerned. Oh! But not about Nasia…she found out Halime disappeared and took Mustafá.
We’re talking La Sultana on the forums.