The plot of Netflix’s Series, ‘Midnight At The Pera Palace,’ follows a young journalist who goes back in time, and suddenly all hell breaks loose! Esra, a journalist and an avid reader of Agatha Christie novels (something that she mentions in every possible conversation), wants to write about various global concerns, but her editor forces her to stick to the clickbait. She was asked to write about the Pera Palace on its 130th anniversary in one such briefing. She met Ahmet, the hotel manager, who familiarized her with the history of the hotel. Ahmet spoke about the various occurrences that took place a hundred years ago as if he was a witness to their history. Since it started pouring heavily, Ahmet offered Esra to stay at the hotel.
Before midnight, Esra found a key next to her bed. She believed it must have been Ahmet who left the key to the door of the room in which Agatha Christie stayed. Overjoyed with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Esra entered the room and crashed on the bed with the key in her hand. Just when the clock ticked to 12, there was a sudden earthquake, and Esra was transported to a different era! And thus began Esra’s journey through history, though the consequences of maneuvering space and time can never be good, can it?
Major Spoilers Ahead
Who Was Peride? What Happened To Her?
With beady eyes and no idea about the consequences of her actions, Esra tries to blend in with the 1919 crowd. But her appearance was snarked at by the people around her. The Pera Palace was truly a symbol of luxury during those days. It hosted every important person in Turkey, from the members of the Turkish National Movement to even British army personnel. Esra caught the eyes of British Prime Minister David Lloyd George when she spoke with certainty about the Turkish victory. Esra was unaware of the fact that history could be distorted. What might seem like a minor mistake could turn into a major problem if the history was tampered with.
Ahmet could sense a problem when his finger started to turn black. He went back in time to find Esra. Meanwhile, Esra was followed by Halit (upon the advice of the British), a businessman who worked for the foreigners. As Era and Ahmet hid away from Halit in one of the hotel rooms, Esra noticed a picture of a woman who looked just like her. When they felt that Halit was no longer looming in front of their door, they decided to go back to room 411 and travel back to where they came from. (But of course, such simplicity is not meant for period dramas with time travel). When they entered the room, they discovered the body of a woman who looked like Esra. She had died a few minutes back; Ahmet noticed her handkerchief with the letter “P” stitched on it. He recognized it as the Peride handkerchief, a historical element that was preserved by the hotel. But, Peride was responsible for an extremely significant historical event. She was supposed to inform Gen. Mustafa Kemal about his possible assassination by the British, which would lead to the strengthening of the Turkish resistance movement. Since history was now distorted by the untimely death of Peride, Esra and Ahmet planned to restore it.
Esra would pretend to be Peride and would conduct her duty as she was supposed to. With very little knowledge about Peride’s life, Esra embarks on this strange journey, hoping to solve a greater problem as she had always wanted to.
The Pera Palace Keys And Their Secrets
Ahmet always believed that he was the only one who knew about the Pera Palace secrets. He knew how going back in time could lead to terrible outcomes. He protected the key to the room for over 30 years, making himself believe that the world could collapse without his surveillance. But, upon reaching the past, he realized that he was wrong. Peride knew about the key and its capability. She wanted to use it to find out who was behind the assassination and help Gen. Mustafa Kemal defeat him. Peride’s diary had all the secrets written in it, and just when Ahmet was trying to fathom the vast expanse of the problem, he was attacked, and the diary was stolen. It was from Peride’s diary that Ahmet learned about Dimitri, a hotel employee who knew about the secrets.
Ahmet visited Dimitri’s house and found tens of similar-looking keys, which meant there were that many gateways. When Dimitri tricked Ahmet, he pushed him off into the sewage. After days of struggling, he finally found his way out and was determined to know the truth. He got Dimitri arrested for a false charge and promised his freedom in exchange for his knowledge. Dimitri explained that his master was the man who first learned about the keys. When his wife died young, he tried to go back to the past to save her. What he realized in the process was that by changing the course of history, he was turning demonic. He later murdered his wife, whom he had saved. He had curved several keys from the soil on which the hotel was built (that once used to be a graveyard), thinking that it would be in demand. But he soon realized that his idea was terrible, and he killed everyone who knew about the keys and their secrets except Dimitri.
Dimitri tried to attack Ahmet once again but failed. Ahmet tried to explain the reason they were there. Dimitri later started helping Ahmet and Esra fix their mistake.
‘Midnight At The Pera Palace’ Ending Explained: Who Murdered Peride?
When Halit was shot by a British official, Ahmet’s arms started to turn black. Dimitri believed that it was a result of a particular change in the past that endangered the existence of Ahmet. Ahmet explained to Esra and Dimitri that his father was Halit. Esra decided to travel back to the time penicillin was discovered to help Halit recover. But as luck would have it, she was taken to the year 1917. She met Halit. He was then a poor boy who wanted to make it big. Esra had fallen in love with Halit, especially after learning that he worked for the resistance. When she traveled to the past, Halit and Esra shared a romantic moment, but she had to leave to travel to the future.
Esra traveled to the year 1942, and even though she found penicillin this time, she was disappointed to see the alternative history. Instead of the Turkish victory, she saw that George had emerged as the new dictator. Turks were either murdered or thrown into prison. This would be the result if Esra failed to fix the past that was plundered.
When Esra traveled back to 1919, she gave the penicillin to Mrs. Sonya (a waitress who used to be a Russian princess). Mrs. Sonya was Ahmet’s mother, and for Ahmet to be born, she had to fall in love with Halit. After three months, Sonya was in love with Halit, but he was always in search of Esra (he knew her as Peride’s twin sister). When they met, Esra confronted him about the death of Peride since Demitri had seen him escape from Peride’s room on the night of the murder. Halit explained that when he reached the room, he found Peride’s dead body, someone else was behind the murder, and the only evidence was a ring. The ring belonged to Sonya, a family heirloom that she treasured.
But why would Sonya murder Peride? It was because of the tampering of the past that Halit had fallen in love with Esra, whom he called Peride, the identity she had taken. He knew she was not Peride as he had seen her dead body. He assumed she was Peride’s twin sister. This romance, which was not supposed to occur, led to a different future. In the year 1920, when Sonya was pregnant with Ahmet, Halit decided to abandon them and find Peride/Esra. This angered Sonya, and she decided to travel to the past and murder Peride once and for all. This murder, out of jealousy, led to the complete disruption of the past.
How did Sonya find the gateway key? In the current 1919 (where Esra and Ahmet had traveled), Sonya was employed by George to steal Peride’s diary, and she stole a key as well. She had learned about the gateway from the diary. This was the information that she used in 1920 to travel in time and murder Peride in 1919.
In the meantime, Halit was captured by the Turkish army for stealing British weapons. Esra showed video evidence to prove how cold-blooded George was. When Esra and Halit were released from prison, they rushed to save Gen. Mustafa Kemal. A bomb was planted on the ship he was traveling on. Esra and Halit threw the time bomb into the sea and saved the world from another dictator. Esra bid farewell to Halit since she did not believe in altering history any longer.
Esra and Ahmet traveled time once again, but they reached 1995. A baby was found on the bed. Ahmet recalled the incident when he believed that a couple had left their baby in the room, and she was sent to an orphanage. Ahmet then remembered that the police had named the baby Esra. Time travel allowed her to meet her toddler self. A picture and a key were left with the baby. It was a picture of Madam Eleni with the baby in her hand. A note was attached which advised the one who was reading it to save her mother, and to do so she must use the key to the Gateway of Truth (a gateway that can be used to travel to the exact time one wants to). The picture had another clue: the Nazi symbol.
The alteration of the past and, therefore, the truth seems to be a constant. We can conclude that Esra was not born in the year 1995 but was rather sent here in this year. She was perhaps born during the Nazi regime when Jews were escaping Germany and often took shelter in Istanbul. Her parents must have known about the hotel’s secrets. So, who were Esra’s parents? Was it another attempt to fix the past with the gateway? Such questions can only be answered with another season. With a twisted narrative, “Midnight at the Pera Palace” will leave you searching for answers. Entertaining to watch, funny at times, with a remarkable execution, this series is worth a watch!
“Midnight at the Pera Palace” is a 2022 Mystery Drama Turkish Television Series created by Sam Anzel, Kelly McPherson and Emre Sahin. Season 1 is streaming on Netflix.