Matilda In ‘The Club,’ Explained: How Did Matilda Fix Her Relationship With Rasel?


When Matilda was released from prison after serving her sentence for seventeen years, she planned on moving away to Israel. Soon after stepping out of prison in season one of The Club, she learned that her daughter, Rasel, was in trouble. Rasel grew up in an orphanage, and it was not easy for her to suddenly accept her mother. Matilda’s dream of moving to Israel remained unfulfilled, as she agreed to work at the Club Istanbul in exchange for her daughter’s freedom. While Rasel considered Matilda self-centered, there were secrets that she was completely unaware of. Matilda knew that her truth would surface one day or another, and when Rasel found out from Celebi that her mother was a murderer, Matilda had to confess the truth.

In The Club Season 1, we learned that Matilda belonged to an affluent family, but her lover, Mumtaz, ruined them financially and emotionally. Mumtaz was a Muslim man, but Matilda’s Jewish family accepted him, and he worked closely with Matilda’s father. Things started to fall apart when Matilda’s father and brother were arrested for evading the wealth tax. Even though they had the required documents, they were forcefully taken to a labor camp, where Matilda’s father eventually passed away. Matilda was devastated when she found out that Mumtaz was responsible for her family’s downfall. She murdered Mumtaz, and she had no regrets about it. Matilda chose not to disclose to Rasel that Mumtaz was her father, but when the truth surfaced it created further distance between Matilda and Rasel.

Even though Matilda joined to work at the laundry department of Club Istanbul, she eventually impressed the owner, Orhan, and she was asked to be in charge of the backstage. Matilda had also developed a fond friendship with the headliner, Selim, and supported him when his life was falling apart. Selim was the extravagant star singer of the club, but the growing political hatred resulted in Orhan asking Selim to compromise with his style to appease the Turkish Muslim crowd. Matilda’s success did not sit well with Celebi, but at the same time, he was not ready to be the spy for the politically charged group. Initially, Matilda assumed that Celebi was one of Mumtaz’s (her ex-lover and Rasel’s father) supporters, but it was later revealed in The Club that it was quite the opposite. Celebi worked for Matilda’s father, and Mumtaz had framed him for theft.

As a young man, Celebi was in love with Matilda, and once he figured out that Mumtaz was working against the interests of her father, he wrote a letter warning Matilda. Mumtaz got hold of the letter before it could reach Matilda, and he eventually conspired and framed Celebi. He had good intentions at heart, and he could have saved Matilda’s family had the letter reached the right person. Celebi’s affection for Matilda had not died down, but he was heartbroken when Matilda failed to recognize him at the police station. Celebi lost his job and reputation to protect her and her family, yet he held no value to her. From that moment on, Celebi decided to never go easy on Matilda. He wanted to see her suffer, but at the same time, his affection for her stopped him from taking any extreme steps.

Matilda reunited with her daughter after Ismet, her lover, failed to become a trustworthy father. Rasel was heavily pregnant when the mob attack began. She was searching for Matilda, and the chaos made her feel completely hopeless. Matilda frantically searched for her daughter while everything around her was being burned down. Matilda ultimately found Rasel in the streets, and the two walked to Club Istanbul. Celebi helped Matilda and Rasel during the Istanbul Pogrom. At the end of The Club season one, Celebi opened the doors of the club to them to escape the raging crowd. Matilda never gave up on her daughter and was there by her side as she delivered her baby on the stage of Club Istanbul.

Season one of The Club saw the birth of Matilda and Celebi’s romance, and in season two, we watch it bloom. Celebi admits that he had been in love with Matilda even during those seventeen years when she was in prison. Once they decided to be together, nothing could come between them. Their dream of owning Club Istanbul was shattered, but they never gave up on each other. Even when they had a huge tax bill to clear, Celebi expressed his love for Matilda while returning home from the club at dawn. It was not easy for Matilda to stand by Celebi after he sought help from Fikret Kayali. But at the same time, she knew that his intention was in the right place. Together, they were stronger than ever, and they managed to overcome one hurdle after another. When Kursat announced that he had taken over the club, Matilda and Celebi decided to run their own place, where they would employ a few of their staff. They were proud of the family they had built together, and no one could take away that sense of achievement from them.

While Matilda supported her daughter in every way possible, she was aware that a part of Rasel hated her. She wanted Rasel to become more independent, and it pained her to watch her daughter write letters to ex-lovers for five years, even though he never replied. She tried to make Rasel realize that Ismet would not return, but her daughter refused to accept it. Matilda tried to always protect her granddaughter, Rana. She was aware of how broken Rasel was and did not wish for Rana to suffer because of her mother’s unstable condition. She was happy for Rasel when Ismet returned, but at the same time, she hoped for her daughter to be more careful. The man who left without a word could not be trusted completely, but Rasel once again did not pay any heed to her.

Matilda was devastated when Rasel showed her identity book. Rasel had converted to Islam, and Matilda could not accept the decision. She was torn, knowing that she and her daughter would be buried in separate graves; even in death, they would be far apart. Matilda initially did not trust Ismet, but she eventually started to appreciate his presence. He was a changed man who had become more responsible and was providing the love and nurture that Rana deserved. When Matilda accepted Ismet, Rasel wanted her to maintain her distance from him. Since Ismet chose not to get romantically involved with Rasel, she wanted Matilda to behave coldly with him.

Matilda was not ready to accept another whimsical request from her daughter, and as a result, Rasel informed the entire staff at the club that Fikret Kayali was a partner there. It was not the first time that Rasel did something simply to sabotage her, and she was tired of her daughter’s behavior. But Ismet helped her realize why Rasel behaved the way she did. After meeting Kusrat, the main conspirator who targeted her father, she realized that maybe murdering Mumtaz was a selfish decision that she took without taking Rasel into account. Mumtaz did not work alone; there were people who influenced him. And even though she murdered him to ease her pain, her heart still ached thinking about her family. After apologizing to Rasel, she was finally able to mend their relationship.

Celebi proposed to Matilda in season 2 of The Club, and she readily agreed. They had their rings engraved and ready, and the wedding date was fixed as well. Matilda had never been happier—she finally had her daughter by her side, and she was about to get married to the man who never gave up on her. But everything was destroyed the moment Keriman shot Matilda. Till the very end, she fought for the people she loved. She wanted Selim’s murderer to be punished, even if it meant dying for the cause. Her dream of living a comforting life with her family by her side remained unfulfilled. But before dying, Matilda and Celebi exchanged wedding rings. Celebi married the love of his life, but under circumstances that he had never imagined.

Celebi struggled to cope with the loss of Matilda. He regretted not saying “I love you” back when Matilda said so. He desperately wanted her to hang in there, but after she was gone, he wished his last words had been more comforting. After Matilda’s death, Celebi and Rasel grew closer than ever before. After all, it was only Rasel who could understand what he was going through. He was glad to see Rasel spontaneously take on the role of her mother, and in the most unexpected way, the threat of losing the club was gone. The ending suggests that Matilda’s two favorite people in the world, Celebi and Rasel, will stick together as family. Life will never be the same for Celebi; after all, his world has always revolved around Matilda. When he poured his heart out to Ismet during the ending of The Club season two, he mentioned that even when he could not see Matilda, he comforted himself with the thought that she was alive and a part of the world that he was in, but the thought of her not being there at all was devastating for him.  

Matilda died with her family by her side at the end of The Club season two. Rana promised her grandmother that she would always remember her and write about every memory that they shared. Matilda came from nothing, yet her death affected everyone around her. Within a few years, she had won the hearts of those who worked at Club Istanbul. She will be remembered for being a dedicated employee, a brilliant manager, an encouraging friend, a caring parent capable of accepting her mistakes, and a dependable partner.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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