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'Gangs of London': Lale's vendetta paints a different story of the Kurdistan Workers' Party and pride gangs

Through the story of Lale, a Kurdish PKK militant, the crime drama highlights a story of resistance and honor in overthrowing a 'fascist' government
Narges Rashidi as Lale (Sky Atlantic)
Narges Rashidi as Lale (Sky Atlantic)

Amidst Sean Wallace's (Joe Cole) deafening orders to stop all businesses in the wake of his father and London crimelord Finn Wallace's (Colm Meaney) rattling murder, the only person who defies their way into rebellion is a piercing snowstorm called Lale (Narges Rashidi).

She has the balls to steal their business partner Asif Afridi's (Asif Raza Mir) drugs and distribute it around London, thereby technically not moving her own drugs.

Their rivalry boils all the way back when Lale was still a Kurdish PKK militant, back when she lost her husband Ara to the brutal war rife in Kurdistan after Asif sold them out to the enemy.

Still, wearing through her pain, Lale remains loyal to her motherland and her people as she plans on sending all that money earned by Asif's drugs back to Kurdistan, so her people can fight back.

What Lale is willing to sacrifice and how she exacts her revenge on Asif paints a whole other side of the Kurdish Pride gangs, who even though seemingly condemned, still bear pride in their cause.

Lale's loss

Lale's pride in her cause as a PKK militant is explored in a trip to her past, where she — along with other members — are on a rescue mission for her husband.

For those unaware, the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê‎) or the Kurdistan Workers' Party, based in Kurdish regions of Turkey and Iraq have reportedly been designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, United States, the European Union, Australia and Japan.

So while it's not clear who was holding Ara captive, the flashback reveals Asif had sold them out to the enemy and Lale is welcomed at the black site with a barrage of bullets, that she grazes her way through only to find Ara broiled on a steel table above blazing fire.

Her hands burn when she unknowingly cradles his body, and her deafening screams of agony are enough to uproot her faith from the work that cost her, her beloved. But even after all she loses, Lale bounces back because the show must go on, her resolve runs deeper enough this time to not even flinch when more and more loved ones are held hostage.

In her being driven by that devastating loss burns a tale of rebellion and outrage where she pledges to move money back home at any cost, to fuel their motive of overthrowing what they label is the "fascist" Turkish AKP government.

In her defense, her people need those weapons to fight back, and that's all the motivation she needs to overcome that loss and dive into action, headfirst. 

Lale's sacrifice

When Sean finds out about Asif's drugs circulating London, he confronts the Pakistani cartel boss and is informed in return that Lale stole Asif's drugs. Both harboring a vendetta, Sean acts first, kidnapping Lale's sister and two very young nieces and holding them hostage.

Right when Lale observes her money-filled cargo being entered the plane, Sean's hitman calls Lale to inform her of the little hostage situation he's got going on. He tells Lale he will shoot the three innocent lives if she doesn't stop the cargo from being transported.

But Lale shuts down the terrified pleas of her sister and her two daughters; she has already braved loss graver than this, her only respite can come from knowing the money reached her people safe.

It is only when Sean ambushes her and holds her at gunpoint hat Lale even offers a flicker of fear. She provokes him to shoot her if he wants to, but Sean hurts her worse: he presents the money she was sending away and sets it on fire. 

While this causes Sean to hire Lale, because he has seen what she's willing to sacrifice, Asif's vengeance still soars wide. As Sean and Lale join hands, Asif decides to ambush her new warehouse, where she is transporting money through a flower and gardening business.

Armed with machine guns and trained mercenaries, Asif plunges chaos and mayhem at the warehouse — shooting everyone in sight, leaving not a single soul alive except Lale. Attacked by Asif twice now, not even Sean can protect Lale but she still won't back down.

It sounds pretty much like the PKK being involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state since 1984, their initial aim being an independent Kurdish state. Lale's alliance with Sean mirrors the PKK's alliance the Peoples' United Revolutionary Movement, in March 2016, and together plot the downfall of Asif. 

Lale's revenge

With her husband dead and sister refusing to associate with her, Lale's only solace is Sean, with whom she even finds a brief moment of passionate affection in what is pretty much the only sex scene in the entire nine-episode debut season.

But that brief moment of ecstasy comes only after she has finally acquired her revenge against Asif. Dressed as a blonde reporter, Lale pretends to take an exclusive one-on-one interview of Asif's son, Nasir — the new Mayor of London.

In a very ironic moment, as Asif is walking over to the venue where Nasir is going to give his first address as a Mayor, Asif is greeted by a blonde woman. She congratulates him on his son's victory, and leaves him with a firm handshake, telling him she is thrilled to hear Nasir speak.

As she walks away, Asif notices blood smeared on the hand that shook hers. He panics and rushes to the venue to be informed by Nasir's secretary that he's giving a private interview.

The relief is brief, as Asif soon finds Nasir dead in a chair, his tongue chopped out of his mouth. Once again Lale proves why apart from the crimelord's widow, she is the only person in the game ballsy enough to defy both Sean and Asif — without directly targeting them.

'Gangs of London' premiered with all 9 episodes on Sky Atlantic.