‘Kubra’ Netflix Review: High On Rage, Low On Story, Season 2 Is A Hit And Miss

Kubra Season One was about a normal man turning himself into the Messiah of the people and claiming to be working on the messages sent by God. Gokhan is a war veteran who quickly turned himself into a man who could save people and claimed Allah was guiding him. It was interesting to watch a man go from zero to a religious leader in a short period of time. Based on the novel by Afsin Kum, the second season of Kubra will be released on June 6, 2024, on Netflix. The second season is a continuation of the first one. Gokhan goes against the government in his bid to work for the people, which is the final goal. As Semavi, he is chased out of the city, and along with his followers, ends up hiding in the sewers and planning to make a huge plan. Apart from that, since he is aware of Kubra being an AI created by a software company, he plans to use it in his favor, which excites Berk because it gives him unconditional power to rule over the people, and the power to manipulate them. 


As Gokhan begins to gain power and influence over people working for the government, it becomes all the more difficult for the actual policeman, Turgut, to arrest Semavi/Gokhan, as he still believes the man is a hack who is influencing a large part of the population to resort to physical violence as a way to protest. Will Gokhan become too powerful for his own good? Did Berk want to become powerful by using Gokhan or Semavi as the front? 

The best thing about season two is that it is over. This season is nothing but a snooze fest and keeps adding scenarios just for the writers to be able to pad the narrative out till the eighth episode. Each episode has a run time of thirty-nine to fifty minutes, which is way too much for an uninteresting political drama. Kubra cannot be dubbed a political drama when the ideology the makers are trying to project is just vague. Semavi, at one point, is painting the government as the tyrants, but halfway through the show, the politics are just forgotten, and suddenly it becomes about Gokhan’s vendetta and questioning his powers. The screenplay of the show becomes too preachy. The narrative tries to emulate the cult-like behaviors of the followers of Semavi, but beyond that, there is nothing much explored. The second season is hasty and slow at the same time; the screenplay goes from point A to point B, and there is no story in between. 


The makers present the show as a dystopian political drama by using terms like software, AI, social media, and mind control, but there is nothing discussed beyond these terms. At some point, it seems the show is trying to mimic the world leaders around us who are using social media to manipulate people’s opinions of them and not let them form an opinion on their own. Despite this jarring problem, there are layers given to Gokhan/Semavi, who, just like any other cult leader, begins to showcase his true colors by not letting any other opinion flourish. This is followed by him not letting people out if they disagree. What the narrative describes is the classic case of a fascist, dictatorial attitude packed as socialism. The maker, however, instead of making him seem like a man who took the wrong step and has shades of gray to him, made him a martyr. There are mistakes he makes in the process of achieving his goal of being the ultimate leader, yet there are no further consequences discussed for his actions other than making the audience feel bad for him.

The over-the-top theatrics throughout the second season add to the agony of the show. The loud acting follows make the show unbearable to watch. The story at no point feels realistic, even though the writers and the directors try hard to make it look like something that could happen to any of us. There needed to be clarity in the writing on what route the makers were planning to take. The ending was cliched and devoid of any emotion or depth. 


Kubra is in no way propaganda-driven content; instead, it questions how the narrative around a leader is made and how people follow them, just like rats that follow the Pied Piper into the ditch. Yet the writers and the directors could not bring this concept to life convincingly. The whole point of any dystopian political drama is to stick to one ideology. Kubra could not conclude what they wanted to communicate through this show. The makers are confused, and that is evident in the screenplay. The direction is good in the beginning, but halfway into the show, it is simply all over the place, with no one having any idea what is going on. The show after the fourth episode is only shot at night with no daylight in sight, which is jarring and surprising. The story must move to daylight at some point because nightfall only lasts for eleven to twelve hours. The story lacked the intensity required for the show to be interesting, and as a result, the direction was severely affected too. 

The performances, however, could be taken into consideration, as they managed to keep the narrative engaging. Even though the writing of these characters is not well constructed, the actors managed to keep the show running on their shoulders. Çagatay Ulusoy, as Gokhan Sahinoglu, is excellent right from season one till the end. He exudes power, and he brings a lot of vulnerability to the screen with his performance. As Gokhan ends up making tough decisions for himself and his followers, there is a certain amount of pain he is able to showcase as he trudges through the people he loses on the journey to the messiah. Aslihan Malbora, as Merve, is amazing as the conflicted wife who wants to save her husband. She would go to any extent to make sure she and Gokhan survive the ordeal. She breaks down several times, and those are some of the best scenes in the show. Even though some crucial scenes seem tacky in writing, it is Aslihan’s performance that elevated them and made them emotional. Onur Ünsal, as Berk, is another great performer who puts across the character of a paranoid man who is seeking power. There is a lot to take away from Berk, who seems like Lex Luthor, fixated on creating a superpower, which is making Semavi too powerful for the government to handle. There are some scenes in which there were chances of him going over the board with his performance, but Onur kept it under control. 


Kubra season two could have been a lot more structured. It is high on rage and low on story, making it hit-and-miss. 

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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