Mar 26, 2023

"What Were We Running From": Murderous Mother, Lesbian Daughter, Elegant Hotels, and Istanbul. What's Not to Like?


There's been nothing new with gay or beefcake potential on Netflix for weeks.  I would cancel the service altogether, but it's the best place to find international tv shows, and who wouldn't want to watch something from Norway, Belgium, Japan, Korea, or Malaysia?  On in this case, Turkey.

What Are We Running from?, a seven-episode tv series, doesn't sound at all promising: a mother and daughter (never named in the episode guide) are living like fugitives in a luxury hotel. However, Perihan Magden, who wrote the original novel, also wrote Ali and Ramazan, about two gay boys, and Two Girls, about two maybe there will be some gay subtexts..... 

Scene 1: A  hotel that doesn't look very luxurious, night.  Teenage Bambi and her Mom are asleep in the same bed, fully clothed. The desk clerk calls to warn that the police are on the way.  Actually, it's a SWAT team of twelve military police with rifles drawn.  They ascend the darkened stairs and enter the room., but the two are gone!

Scene 2: A super-elegant hotel.  Feet exit a taxi.  Teenage Bambi, narrating tells us that they are her (plaid dress, sneakers) and her Mom (high heels, wearing black).  They are at their new hotel, "full of pinned-up souls and an evil crowd."  Ok, this place is elegant!   Mom haughtily orders for the best room in the joint, and pays cash for the first month, then orders all of their clothing -- kept in boxes instead of luggage --to be laundered (not the best way to remain incognito, lady), 

On the way up in the elevator, two old ladies go on and on obsessively about beautiful Bambi is.  But she's dressed like Pippi Longstocking!  Mom glares; Bambi cuddles close to her, embarrassed.  Bambi: "We don't have a house, because we are each other's home.  We have hotels."

Scene 3:  The best room at the hotel, with a balcony overlooking the beach.  Meanwhile, Desk Clerk Oglan (Kaan Altay Koprulu, top left) discusses the weird transaction with his associate.  "Those two didn't act like mother and daughter."  Maybe they're lovers?  "And why don't they have luggage?"  The manager decides to check them out.

Scene 4:  They head to the indoor pool, Mom dressed like Morticia Addams.  Bambi does a double-take at a passing woman.  Lesbian!  Bambi swims while Morticia ---um, I mean Mom -- times her.

Meanwhile, at dinner, the two old ladies are telling their friend about the incredibly beautiful, fantastically gorgeous girl and her Morticia Addams mother.  

Scene 5:
A disco.  Bambi brings drinks through the gyrating crowd, pausing to check out the hot girls, to the darkened beach, where Mom is waiting.  Note: the "pinned-on" souls pretend to feel, but are actually empty inside. Mom warns her against attracting attention.  Your Morticia Addams outfit is more likely to do that, lady.

Left: Birand Tunca, who appears in every episode, but I can't place him.

Scene 6:  The female desk clerk is being interviewed by an unseen person (a cop, no doubt). "They were too different to be mother and daughter. The moment you see them, a million questions pop into your head!"

Cut to Mom and Bambi browsing in an incredible bookstore.  Twelve tiers of books!  The clerk wants to recommend some books, but Mom brusquely shoos her away.  Then she sees a model car and becomes upset.

At the beach, Mom explains that it's just like her Dad's car.  "I hate this car and everyone who drives it!  They're all vicious and arrogant!"  So she smashes it with a rock, burns it, and buries it.  

Scene 7: Night.  They had dinner in their room, and now they're asleep -- in the same bed.  Surely a luxury suite has more than one bedroom.  Morticia goes onto the balcony to smoke and sees a car approach -- just like the model she burned!  She rushes out into the parking lot to confront the driver, but he drives away.  Not her dad?

Back in the hotel lobby, she overhears the manager firiring a staff member because she broke a plate.  Mom glares angrily at him.  Why not intervene?  

Scene 8:  Bambi swimming, while Morticia times her and the male desk clerk complains: "Why are they dressed like that?"  "Easy: to hide their femininity, so they won't get hit on."

On the way through the lobby, Mom sees that car again!  She sends Bambi off to breakfast and rushes out to confront the driver -- but is waylaid by the two "your daughter is so incredibly hot!" old ladies -- and the car is gone!  She overhears the manager saying "Yes, sir." -- is her evil father staying at the hotel?

Meanwhile, Bambi is eating breakfast, when the two old ladies approach with their friend: "You have got to see this girl!  She's so incredibly sexy!  If I was only 60 years younger, I'd be inviting her to Lesbian Pride!"  Mom rescues Bambi; the friend stares: she knows them from somewhere...

Scene 9:  After shopping, Mom and Bambi march through the lobby as the Manager is berating the staff.   He notes that they keep offending guests with their rude behavior.  And why do they never eat in the dining room?  And never allow housekeeping to clean up?

Desk Clerk Oglan and the Bellboy (Daniel Koral) wonder why they go shopping every day, when they brought boxes of clothes with them.  The boxes are about to be delivered now: he rushes up to check them out, but too late.  Wait -- the stuff they brought with them hasn't been delivered yet?  No wonder they have to shop!

Scene 10:  Mom and Bambi arrive with a vanity table for their room.  "Now they're buying furniture?"  the staff gossips. "What else is hidden in there?"  They decide to wait until the room is empty, and then snoop.

Cut to Mom and Bambi putting on makeup and their Morticia Addams and Pippi Longstocking outfits, and heading down to the hotel restaurant. Wait -- their table is in the middle of the room, in full view of everyone!  They are shocked.  After they sit down, Mom calls over the "dumbass" head waiter to berate him, and then pull the tablecloth off the table.  Bambi: "Mom always tries to teach someone a lesson."  Uh-oh, now they'll be back in their room before the staff finishes snooping.

On their way out, the Manager warns Mom that he'll kick her out of the hotel if she continues to act like a jackass.  Mom counters: "Due to the horrible service, we're leaving tonight." Uh-oh, he called Bambi "a freak."  Something terrible is going to happen!

Scene 11:  The Manager calls his driver to bring the car around.  Wait -- he can afford a driver?  Then he goes to his super-elegant room, has a drink, and feeds his fish.  Someone else is in the room...

Cut to Mom washing her hands in the hotel restroom.  Washing the blood off?  The old ladies' friend comes in and recognizes her!  She rushes out to tell her associates.  Plot dump: years ago, Morticia disappeared after her own mother was murdered.

 Mom runs to the room and tells Bambi "It's time!"  They rush down the stairs, pushing the fire alarm so they can escape undetected. They jump into a taxi, head to the bus station, and get on a bus to anywhere.

Then the staff appears to check out the room, in spite of the fire alarm.  It''s completely refurnished like a bizarre living room, with lights, doilies, and dolls.

And forensics arrives at the Manager's room.  He's been stabbed, and his finger cut off and fed to the fish.  The end.

None.  You have to hustle to find male characters.

Gay Characters: I think Bambi is a lesbian, and maybe trans.  A review notes that in the Disney movie, Bambi is a boy, but somehow it has become a girl's name.

Mystery:  If they want to keep from being noticed, why do they dress oddly, behave oddly, and make diva demands?

Will I Keep Watching: Definitely.  I just wish there were more Turkish hunks wandering around.

Update: In Episode 2, a girl asks Bambi to hang out.  Still no heterosexual interest.

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