One of the defining traits of parenthood is a kind of paranoia, often an illogical one, that can drive parents to take actions that any sane observer would call cruel and unusual, adopting extremely controlling parenting styles. It’s a messed-up situation, but not perhaps as uncommon as it ought to be. “Who Were We Running From?” is a tale of a parent who would scale any mountain, sail any sea, and face any adversity if it meant she could keep her daughter safe. There’s more to her story than just her desire to protect her daughter, though. Will she continue the cat-and-mouse game she started years ago?
Bambi And Her Mother
“Who Were We Running From?” begins with a 5-star hotel staff member informing the mother of Bambi that the police are on their way to arrest her. This was just a heads-up call made to the mother to let her know that she and her daughter Bambi should vacate the premises at once. The police are out to get them, and the audience is given no clue as to why the cops are behind the mother-daughter duo. The scene cuts to Bambi, a young teenage girl, someone who stays by her mother’s side all day, every day, bizarrely dressed as a 10-year-old. There is a constant voiceover from Bambi, who talks about how she has lived the life of a nomad for as long as she can remember. Her mother, who has not been named at this point, always dresses in black. The mother always keeps her daughter around her and constantly keeps her from talking to anyone in the vicinity, for she claims that the people around them, be they acquaintances or strangers, are not safe people, and might harm her. Her only point of contact with human society is her mother. Bambi is so used to being around her mother all the time that she neither finds it tedious nor wants to really interact with the outside world. Another quality of theirs is that the mother and daughter only live in 5-star hotels and occupy the fanciest of rooms. They’ve no shortage of cash to pay and stay in the same place for months on end.
The mother and Bambi cling close to each other, which creates a lot of suspicion among the other guests because they’d have expected Bambi, the beautiful teenager, and her mother to be sweet and accommodating, but the mother turns out to be someone not keen on conversing with anybody. The duo also draws the suspicion of the hotel staff, who wonder why they have boxes instead of suitcases and why the girl is dressed like a child while the mother never bothers to wear anything but black outfits. One would only imagine there is a strong reason why the duo always sticks to each other and doesn’t want to socialize with anybody else. Is the mother rich? Is she a divorcee or a widow who inherited plenty of money, or is the money she spends lavishly a family inheritance she got? The mother always walks around like a security camera on legs, noticing people and their movements and making sure she always stays alert. The problem here is, the mother being the way she is, is eternally suspicious of the people that surround her and her daughter. This manifests in her tendency to kill people who harm her daughter or close to harming her. The duo lives an itinerant life, and the mother always keeps Bambi aware that they might have to move to another hotel at a moment’s notice and not look back. The mother comes across as a killer who has little regard for the latest technology that really ought to be able to track her down using her DNA, which she leaves all over the room during her stay at the hotel. This is nothing but common sense. The mother and daughter move to another hotel, where she carries out another murder, this time a doctor who’d tried to molest Bambi.
Bambi, on the other hand, somehow understands how her mother functions, and doesn’t question her or anything from her past. She is aware that her mother might get triggered, and that Bambi is the only person that keeps her grounded and sane. Bambi strongly believes every crime her mother committed was to protect them from ever being separated by external forces. The irony remains: the kind of crimes she’s committed would have led to anyone being separated from their families – in many ways she deserves to go to jail. If that eventuality ever came to pass, Bambi would be rendered an orphan, for there is no way her mother would go scot-free having committed a spree of heinous crimes. The police figure out their identities over the course of the show, tracking down relatives of theirs and finally beginning to close in on them. But the bigger question here remains: why is Bambi’s mother so overprotective of her daughter, and as the title suggests, who are they running away from? Bambi has no idea about her mother’s family’s background, nor does she know anything about her father. Will she get the answers to the questions she finally starts asking?
What is the end goal of Bambi and her mother? Fortunately for the mother, Bambi is not that rebellious, but she does eventually want answers to these questions. These are plenty of questions, keeping in mind the number of years the duo has spent just in hotels without a home to call their own or any family members to mingle with. The mother always scowls and replies only in metaphors but eventually deals Bambi a reality check. But leaving that aside, the fancy hotels that they stay in and pay for would have had no shortage of CCTV footage of them from during their stay there, so how could the mother be so comfortable roaming about such places with no fear of getting caught? The questions are many, but the answers are too simplistic, the viewer needs to exercise some heavy-duty suspension of disbelief. The plot goes ahead from here to get the audience to comprehend that things are coming to a head now, and our protagonists are going to have to tackle some serious issues. Will the mother and Bambi face any financial troubles, keeping in mind the amount of cash they splurge to maintain their lifestyle? There is more to the series from here on, but should you watch it? I don’t think so.
What Is To Like And Not To Like Here?
The screenplay written by Ertan Kurtulan is haphazardly composed, and after a point, the story’s stuck in a tar pit and absolutely refuses to move forward. It stagnates like resting water, which festers and ruins it for everybody watching “Who Were We Running From?”. The point of the mother being possessive, controlling, dominating, and a psycho on a murderous rampage does not come across as engaging at all. The character trait of her being overbearing is a constant all the way till the last episode, which gets tiresome; even with the backstory justifying why the mother is a big protective blanket, it all still falls flat because the writers did not spend enough time exploring the relationship the mother had with Bambi’s grandparents. There should have been an episode dedicated to the dynamics the mother shared with her parents to understand her paranoia and her need to make sure Bambi remains secure emotionally, financially, and physically. The abuse part was rushed through, and there was never time given for the audience to empathize with the mother.
The mother’s character became tiresome, repetitive, and frustrating by the end of “Who Were We Running From?,” for there is no solid reason for us as an audience to relate to her overbearing nature. She goes on a killing spree and, hoping not to get caught, seems to rationalize her actions as if she was killing tiny mosquitoes. The writing is unguided and overindulgent, like a poorly popped bottle of cheap champagne that ruins the upholstery. There is no end to the obstacles the mother is willing to cross to make sure Bambi remains safe, and sure, the point was established as to why she was being so very protective, but to explore the narrative from there on, it felt like the writers didn’t have a clue on how to take the story forward. They chose to stick to the age-old storytelling technique of depending on the audience’s suspension of disbelief. The mother moved away to another country even when they had barely any money left. There are ways she tries to get enough cash for them to sustain themselves, but it’s rudimentary enough to come across as something the writers came up with to salvage the derailing storyline. If you decide to make a show about a chase drama, the narrative has to be fast and engaging at the same time. It cannot be slowed down at any point. The writers and the director put on a show that would seem to be going fast, but on paper, the narrative is too slow. Many subplots were not explored properly, turning them into cliched tropes that have been used and overused in the past.
The only understandable part of “Who Were We Running From?” that remained constant was the writers’ decision to not reveal the name of the mother. That would imply all mothers, not just Bambi’s, would be this protective of their children. The emphasis is on the mother being the only person who would do anything and everything to keep her child safe and sound. This is again a problematic narrative because here, the point they are trying to make is that it is the mother’s only job to make sure the child is safe. The writers mention the father of Bambi at the beginning of the show, but there is no mention of him in the later part. Was he active in her upbringing, or did the mother decide to shun him too? This is a classic case of men writing about women and presenting what a woman should be from the perspective of a male gaze.
There is a scene where the mother emphasizes why Bambi should not stand out in public because her beauty will guarantee she will be taken advantage of, which implies that Bambi is to take care of herself and ultimately bears responsibility for any untoward incidents that happen to her. This sets a terrible precedent for women in general, especially the younger girls who watch empty, bloated shows and movies such as this one. There is no way a mother should advise that her daughter is likely to be taken advantage of for her beauty, and Bambi should be wary of the bad example-setting her mother’s practicing. But the connection to the story of Bambi and mirroring that to the narrative in the show between the mother and Bambi is done well. This was the only portion of the show that made sure, as an audience, we felt empathetic toward the duo. The show could have been a lot better if the writer and the director had not stuck to the tried-and-tested formulaic storytelling patterns. The stunning cinematography of scenic Mediterranean regions to snow-filled areas of Turkey is beautifully shot, but sadly, that does not save the show at all. Melisa Sözen, as the mother, is a letdown on paper because the way her character is written doesn’t really let her present herself as someone desperate for her daughter to remain safe; this aspect does not come out quite right. Her performance was believable, but nothing that stunned the viewers. The same can be said for Eylül Tumbar as Bambi. Their chemistry as mother and daughter was good, but nothing beyond that worked for the show.
All in all, “Who Were We Running From?” does not stay true to its genre because there is no proper, heart-filling climax to this show. The end of the show was very predictable, and it did not leave an aftertaste for us as an audience to anticipate another season. A highly mediocre, one-time watchable show that could have been so much better.