In The Club, we are introduced to Rasel who had spent most of her life without any parental figure; therefore, when she met Matilda, she was not readily accepting of her. She could not forgive Matilda for abandoning her and making her life miserable. Even though her mother tried to smooth their relationship, Rasel was of the belief that she did not need Matilda’s help to figure out her life. Rasel became all the more hateful toward her mother once she learned that Matilda had committed murder. She tried to shame Matilda, but the truth was not as simple. Matilda and Rasel’s relationship had both good and bad moments. There were days when Rasel experienced her growing attachment towards her mother, but then again, once she found out that Mumtaz was her father and Matilda had murdered him, she refused to accept her. Rasel was young and, at times, immature, and she had to learn about life the hard way.
In the first season of The Club, we learned that Rasel was head over heels in love with taxi driver Ismet. Instead of advocating for her friend, Rasel found herself attracted to Ismet. Rasel was aware that he was a Muslim man, and he assumed that Rasel belonged to his religion. After sharing a moment of passion, Rasel confessed the truth, leaving Ismet in complete disbelief. By keeping him in the dark, Rasel had betrayed him, and he refused to accept her. Matilda was well aware of how her daughter’s relationship with Ismet would end, but Rasel had faith in her love for Ismet. After facing humiliation and insults, Rasel made up her mind to be with her best friend, Mordo. He was affectionate and truly cared about Rasel.
When Rasel found out that she was pregnant with Ismet’s child in season one of The Club, they briefly reunited but ultimately decided to go their separate ways, knowing that their interfaith relationship would not be accepted by society. Moreover, Rasel realized that she could not entirely trust Ismet, considering how conflicted he was about their situation. Even though Rasel could never forgive Matilda entirely, in the end, she chose her mother. Matilda was the only family she had, and as a young girl who was clueless about her life, Rasel needed the support of her mother. Rasel gave birth to Rana on the stage of Club Istanbul. It was after giving birth that she started to doubt her decision. Matilda was the reason why Rasel never got to know her father, and she wondered if she repeated the same mistake by pushing Ismet away from her and Rana.
In season two of The Club, we are introduced to Rana (Rasel and Ismet’s daughter) – a curious little girl who was hopeful about finding her father once she grew up. A lie that her grandmother had to comfort her with when she questioned where her father was. Rasel refused to believe that Ismet abandoned them, and she continued to write letters to him, but he never wrote back. Rasel was eighteen when she became pregnant, and a significant part of her youth was spent raising a child. She often caught herself wondering how her life would be without the responsibility of being a mother. She wanted to spread her wings and catch the raindrops on her tongue once again, but she could not do all that her heart desired once she became a mother. The loss of her youth and the sudden disappearance of the man she loved left Rasel in a painful state. She wanted to show the world that she could be a good mother, but every time she stole from a store, she knew she was fooling herself.
In the last five years, Rasel felt as if the world around her changed, but she remained the same. She was envious of her mother, in a way, who, out of nowhere, managed to build a family. Rasel wanted to become a part of that family, but she mostly felt ignored at the club. She often shared her secrets with Keriman because she, too, was not well accepted at Club Istanbul. Keriman grew up in an abusive household and always assumed that everyone around her had a motive behind their actions. Instead of making an effort to belong, she decided to break the family apart.
Rasel sided with Keriman; she believed that her mother cared more about the people at Club Istanbul than her own daughter, and she wanted to watch the place burn down. Rasel was always envious of the people around her. She believed she deserved a better life, but all she received was suffering. She could not tolerate the happiness of others and wanted them to experience the ache in their hearts just like she always did. Even when Selim was arrested by the police in season 2 of The Club, Rasel chose to remain silent. Selim loved and supported her, yet she did not mind watching him suffer.
Rasel could not believe her eyes when she saw Ismet, the love of her life. She had waited for this day for years, and it was finally happening. But Rasel soon realized that Ismet had only returned to Istanbul for their daughter, Rana. She had a tough time watching her daughter spend time with her father while he continued to ignore her. She wanted to be loved and cared for as well, and at times, she was hostile to Rana for her growing closeness with Ismet. She never realized the damage she was causing her daughter; she was always wrapped up in her own thoughts and disappointments. Without Ismet’s love and affection, she started to feel worthless, and she convinced herself that once she converted to Islam and permanently changed her name to Aysel, he would accept her. Rasel did not realize that the problem was not her faith but her immaturity. While Ismet had matured over the years, she had not. She continued to rely on the people around her to make her life better.
Rasel eventually got caught while stealing from a store, and Ismet vouched for her release. It was then that Ismet realized how deeply scarred Rasel was. Everyone around her was so caught up in their problems that no one truly understood her. Most of the decisions that she took were to grab others’ attention. While Ismet suffered from attachment issues, Rasel was fearful of being abandoned. Ismet decided to support her and be better for her well-being. Rasel drastically changed as a person after Matilda apologized to her for making her childhood difficult. Even though Rasel knew that her father had betrayed her mother, a part of her refused to accept it as the whole truth. Mumtaz could have been a politically motivated man, but at the end of the day, he was Rasel’s father, and she could not make herself hate him. When Matilda admitted that she was only thinking about her vengeance without caring about the future of her daughter, Rasel finally felt that a burden had been lifted off her shoulders. All she wanted was for Matilda to understand how traumatic her life had been without the love of her parents. Rasel was able to finally move on. She had a grip on her life, and she tried to become better for the people she loved.
Watching her mother die in her arms, at the end of The Club season two, was one of the most tragic moments in Rasel’s life. After years of pushing her mother away, when she was finally able to accept her, an unfortunate event took Matilda away from her. Rasel perhaps blamed herself; after all, she was responsible for nurturing Keriman’s hatred towards Club Istanbul. Rasel spent days without food and water; she refused to speak a word and spent hours seated in the same position. Even though she had Ismet and Rana by her side, she felt hopeless. From the moment she met Matilda, she had always had her back. All of a sudden, she felt completely alone with the burden of being a mother. She could not entirely trust Ismet, and Rana was too little to be looking after her.
One morning, when Ismet left the apartment, and Rana was all alone, Rasel charged at her. She blamed Rana for her misfortune. Even though Rana was only five, she chose to lie to her father about the incident. She was afraid that her father would punish her mother if she admitted the truth. Ismet later figured out what had happened, but he could not blame Rasel entirely. Rasel suffered from immense guilt after charging at Rana, and she decided maybe it was in the best interest of everyone for her to die. She attempted to commit suicide, but she could not make herself do it.
In season 2 of The Club, Rasel realized that instead of giving up on everyone, she must hold on to them and be by their side. As difficult as it was for Rasel to accept her mother’s death, she gathered up her courage and arrived at her mother’s memorial service at Club Istanbul. She fought for the rights of the people at the club and became an integral part of the family that her mother had built. Rasel not only accepted life as it was, but she also realized how important it was for her to become better for Rana. As complex as Rasel was, in the end, she accepted her flaws and chose to become a better version of herself.