The Turkish Netflix show ‘Kübra’ carefully constructs a narrative that explores the intricacies of faith and how it can manifest under intense circumstances. The show follows Gokhan Sahinoglu, a regular worker in a town in Istanbul. However, once he receives a cryptic text from a user named Kubra, who seems to be an all-knowing entity encouraging Gokhan to spread its cause, the man’s life flips on its axis. Compelled to believe he’s in communication with God, given Kubra’s numerous miracles, Gokhan sets off on a mission to bring light in a time of darkness and earns a group of followers. Inversely, several people stand in opposition to Gokhan, doubting his connection to God and labeling him a threat.
The show delves into Gokhan’s relationship with his religion once an unlikely connection pushes him to adopt an entirely new worldview. Nonetheless, his faith alone eventually becomes an insufficient explanation, compelling characters and viewers alike to wonder about the truth behind Gokhan’s correspondent, Kubra. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Kubra Plot Recap
Ever since Gokhan’s time in the army, the man has been desperately searching for his existence’s meaning through God and his Islamic faith. For the same reason, he puts his own life at risk to save a child from a burning car. Although it earns him his neighbors’ respect around town, it also compels his loved ones, particularly his girlfriend, Merve, to worry about his self-sacrificial habit. Still, her fiance argues that perhaps God saved him from his army days to ensure he could rescue this kid.
Around the same time, Gokhan receives a cryptic message from a user named Kubra on a spiritualism discussion social media platform, SoulTouch. Although Gokhan attempts to ignore it at first, the messages soon become reflective of the reality unfolding around him. Eventually, when Kubra warns him about the false medical diagnosis of a sick kid that ends up saving the latter’s life, Gokhan becomes entirely enamored by the user. Still, his local Imaam advises him against trusting Kubra, deeming the act sinful.
Nevertheless, Gokhan has no choice but to believe he’s talking to God after Kubra sends Gokhan’s entire neighborhood, save for the mosque, in a blackout in a show of its divinity. Furthermore, the anonymous texter cites religious texts to compel Gokhan to prove his devotion to God by undergoing a test where his loved ones would be used against him. As a result, the man has to watch as his sister, Gülcan, plagued by their father’s death on his second death anniversary, considers committing suicide.
Although Gokhan silently watches his little sister walk to a roof’s edge, he forces himself against stopping her or making his presence known to prove his faith in God. Consequently, Kubra prevents Gülcan’s suicide at the last minute by playing an inexplicable voice message on the girl’s phone. As such, Gokhan becomes entirely convinced that Kubra is God who has chosen him to carry out his will. The next day, Gokhan breaks the news to his mother and Merve, who have been worrying about his behavior for the past few days.
Likewise, Gokhan also shares the news of his divine connection on SoulTouch, announcing his intention to help spread God’s message. Later, he employs his workshop coworkers’ help to save a local abducted woman after receiving an alert from Kubra. As such, he ends up being even more well-loved in his community. However, some people still refuse to believe his words and consider him a sinner and a charlatan,
As a result, Kubra warns Gokhan of an upcoming disaster, advising him to keep his followers indoors to maintain their safety. Therefore, to reach as many people as possible, the man uploads a video on social media. Moreover, on Merve’s advice, he gathers the neighborhood in a cafe to better relay the details of his connection to God. That night, a thundering ringing echoes through Istanbul’s streets, proving Gokhan’s words to the citizens.
However, the same puts Gokhan on Kara’s radar. Kara is a dedicated cop investigating the recent city-wide power outage. As such, he suspects Gokhan’s involvement, deeming it a possible act of terrorism. Nonetheless, Gokhan, whose story has broken into national news, refuses to budge from his truth when interrogated by Kara at the police station. In the end, Kara has to release Gokhan after a horde of people arrive outside the station in silent protest.
Upon his release, Gokhan, nicknamed Semavi, encourages people to give up materialistic possessions and engage in charity practices. As a result, his growing following starts donating their possessions to Gokhan, who passes them along to people in need with his followers’ help. Eventually, the police show up on his doorstep with intentions to seize their donations since his community doesn’t have the proper permits to run a charity. In the ensuing altercation, a cop accidentally shoots a young man, Burak, leading to his death.
Consequently, hostile sentiments arise within Gokhan’s followers, who clamor for justice after the cop is excused without any punishment. In turn, Gokhan loses his footing, unable to understand why God would allow such an event, and ends up blaming himself. His momentary lapse and inaction rob him of his people’s belief, who resort to serving justice themselves by barricading their city in protest.
Although Gokhan has a difficult time grasping control over the situation, Merve helps him regain his confidence. As a result, on the day that his neighborhood prepares for war with the police, Gokhan attempts to stop them. Nonetheless, as he pushes his way to the front of the mob, a young man pulls the trigger on him. Still, even as the bullet hits his torso, Gokhan somehow emerges from the shooting unscathed.
How Does Gokhan Survive The Gunshot?
Although Gokhan’s faith in God and his plan remains unscathed from the start, Burak’s death pulls the steady ground from under the man’s feet. After Burak’s death, Gokhan becomes inconsolable and demands answers from God about how he could let such a young soul perish without reason. Therefore, he asks God to send him a sign to help him remain on his path. In response, Kubra asks him to set his sights on a building that collapses in a blast in minutes.
Furthermore, a ringing voice blares in Gokhan’s hearing aid, establishing that the speaker cannot be seen. The following radio silence from Kubra compels Gokhan to believe that he has angered God with his doubts and demands, leading him to forsake the former soldier. As a result, the man loses an instrumental part of himself. While anger brews in Burak’s community, resulting in riots, Gokhan resorts to inaction, shutting down in his grief.
Even when Gokhan attempts to stop his community from taking up arms against the police in preparation for a confrontation, the people are unwilling to listen to him any longer, having lost their trust in him. Still, Merve helps her fiancé emerge from his desolation by convincing him that perhaps God’s silence is a way for him to convey that he trusts Gokhan to do the right thing without guidance.
As such, Gokhan marches to the rioters the next morning. The incident ends up being much more significant since Gokhan’s foiled assassination, wherein the bullet draws blood but fails to pierce the skin, compels everyone to believe God has protected Gokhan. Thus, Gokhan regains his own confidence as well as others’ trust. For his part, Kara insists the assassination was faked and arrests the shooter to interrogate him for answers.
Meanwhile, Gokhan takes over as his community’s unequivocal leader and begins spreading his cause through mail newsletters, events, and speeches. While many still believe his claims of communicating with God are false, several others find comfort and peace in his unofficial sermons. Gokhan continues to have faith in Kubra’s identity as God, with the assassination erasing any doubts he has.
However, a different truth comes out in the open shortly after his wedding to Merve. After Gokhane manages to make an enemy out of the State Secretary’s right-hand man, Turgut, the Prosecutors enact an official raid at his foundation. During the same, Kara manages to get his hands on the shirt Gokhan wore on the day of his assassination, which he kept displayed in his office.
After running DNA matches on the shirt, Kara discovers that the blood drawn from the gunshot wasn’t Gokhan’s blood but a chicken’s. Consequently, he reveals the same to Gokhan in a heated confrontation, leading the man to realize he’s been lied to this entire time. Upon his return to the foundation, Gokhan discovers the truth. After Burka’s death and Gokhan’s ensuing misery, Merve realized the man and his followers needed a miracle to believe in Gokhan again. For the same reason, Merve convinced a young man to shoot Gokhan with a gun loaded with fake, chicken-blood-laced bullets.
Who Is Kubra? Who Is Texting Gokhan?
With the startling revelation of his miracle’s fraudulence, Gokhan finds it difficult to stay by his family’s side anymore. However, an even bigger revelation awaits him. Shortly after, a stranger approaches Gokhan, claiming to have information about Kubra. As it would turn out, Kubra was never a medium through which God was contacting Gokhan. Instead, it was an artificial intelligence created by Berk of DataKraft, an innovative tech company.
Kubra stands for “Knowledge Unit Based Reasoning Automation” and carries out a number of executive tasks with access to databases. Shortly after Berk sold the technology to one of his first clients as a tool to replace wage-consuming CEOs, the man, possibly in his boredom, orders Kubra to “seize power.” Even though the AI shouldn’t have the power to do so yet, given its lack of management interfaces and several other authorizations, Kubra surprises Berk and somehow manages a way to do so.
Thus begins the AI’s experiment of sending cryptic messages to several individuals. From her picks, Gokhan is the only one who passes the test— by refraining from interfering in Gülcan’s attempted suicide, which leads Kubra to continue communication with him. Since Kubra has gained illegal access to every private technology on the planet, she essentially becomes omnipresent. Furthermore, she uses religious imagery to manipulate Gokhan, aware of his religious beliefs.
As a result, Gokhan begins believing God is speaking to him, a detail that plays into Kubra’s plan to seize power over the population by playing God. Nevertheless, after Burak’s death, Berk’s assistant, Adem, becomes consumed with guilt as he discovers what his boss has done. For the same reason, he seeks out Gokhan to unravel the entire truth to him. Kubra wants Gokhan to prove his leadership on his own. Hence, she stops communicating with him. Yet, the question remains: what will become of Gokhan’s followers and faith now that he has realized Kubra was a lie?
Does Gokhan Lose His Faith?
Gokhan was devoted to his religion even before the introduction of Kubra in his life. While in the army, a raid at his military squad’s post left his comrades dead, with Gokhan as the only survivor. For the same reason, the man carries immense guilt with him and often questions the reason behind his existence. Thus, his faith in God and his best-made plans strengthens, driving his devotion.
However, after Kubra, Gokhan’s faith truly takes off. He stops questioning the will of the god and dedicates himself to charity and goodwill. Yet, he carries his position as God’s chosen one with great pride and certainty. Therefore, once Adem confirms that God never chose Gokhan but an AI did, the same should have immense ramifications for him.
Yet, Gokhan refuses to bow out of his faith. Instead, he doubles down on his beliefs and insists that the AI, Kubra, is actually a way for God to communicate with him, even if it isn’t in the way he previously assumed. Gokhan believes that God has planned and enacted everything that happens in the world. Therefore, he argues that from the dawn of technology, everything has been leading up to Gokhan establishing his Semavi Foundation and helping those in need.
Essentially, in Gokhan’s mind, God wanted him to become his messenger. Therefore, he allowed Berk to gain the knowledge to create Kubra, who picked Gokhan for her experiment. As such, the man remains dedicated to his beliefs and cause, walking a delicate line between faith and delusion. Nevertheless, his foundation truly has done immense good for his community. For the same reason, he has to free its assets from the prosecutors.
The State Secretary wants to make an ally out of Gokhan. However, Gokhan refuses to bow down to anyone other than his God. Consequently, if the man wishes to free his charity’s bank accounts and assets, he must strike a deal with the Secretary. On the day of an official economic conference, Gokhan agrees to meet with the Secretary to discuss their future partnership. However, he really uses this opportunity to sneak up in front of a televised crowd and share God’s message of charity. Meanwhile, numerous ATMs across the nation spit out cash for passersby to take.
Since Gokhan believes that even Berk and Kubra’s lies were a part of God’s plan to communicate with him, he compels Berk to carry out one grand scheme with him. Berk is already a man more interested in revolution than ethics. Therefore, he agrees to Gokhan’s pitch, allowing him to use Kubra to hack into ATMs as one significant gesture of his charity through divinity.