Kin episode 5 review: Family bonds crack as an explosive finale beckons

Ciarán Hinds’s thuggish godfather targets the Kinsella children Anthony and Anna

A supremely menacing Ciarán Hinds has been by far the best reason to watch Kin (RTÉ One, 9.30pm). The return in episode five of his thuggish godfather character, Eamon Cunningham, is a reminder that nothing lights up the screen like a richly-drawn villain (how he was missed last week).

His best scene is right at the end as Cunningham very politely ambushes Amanda (Clare Dunne) and reveals he has tracked down her son, Anthony, to the private school where she had hidden him away.

Kin isn’t quite what viewers might have expected. Rather than a sensationalist portrayal of Dublin gangland – a Batman-on-Liffey riot of cartoon villains with Penguin and Joker-like aliases – it’s been meditative and melancholic. That line between baroque family drama and high-gloss thriller is walked once again in part five. And it ties together satisfyingly in the face-off between Cunningham and Amanda.

Amanda has already lost one child, Jamie, to the feud between heroin wholesaler Cunningham and the Kinsella crime family into which she has married. The death of a second child would be unthinkable. And because he has an inside man Kem (Ryan Lincoln) embedded with the Kinsellas, Cunningham knows Amanda is increasingly influential inside the cartel.


But she can make life easy for herself – and Anthony. All she has to do is reveal where the Kinsellas have stashed the €50 million in cocaine and heroin that Frank (Aidan Gillen), Jimmy (Emmett Scanlan) and the rest stole from Cunningham’s lock-up – an idea that, after all, originated with Amanda.

That smash and grab raid requires the Kinsellas to take hostage the child of Cunningham's bag-man, Con Doyle. The theme here is obviously the sins of one generation being inflicted upon another. Jamie has already paid the ultimate price. Who will be next?

The episode also shows the Kinsellas aren’t quite the master criminals we’ve taken them to be. After making off with Cunningham’s drugs, they mark the happy event with an orgy of cocaine and booze. Celebrating seems premature – especially for Michael (Charlie Cox), who suffers an epileptic fit.

Later, he commits another error when he has his brother Jimmy (Amanda’s husband) accompany him on a trip to see Michael’s estranged daughter, Anna (the excellent Hannah Adeogun). He watches her hip-hop dance class but must leave in a hurry when Jimmy texts with news that Cunningham’s hired goons is on their tail (seeking the €50,000 bounty Eamon has put on the heads of the Kinsella’s leaders).

They make their getaway. However, Anna is clocked by the hitmen – another child set to pay the price for her parent’s crimes.

The idea that family is the morass from which you can’t escape comes up again in the case of Frank’s badboy son Eric (Sam Keeley). Amanda reveals to Jimmy and Michael that the attack that led to Jamie’s death wasn’t an act of mindless aggression. It was in retaliation for Eric’s earlier drive-by assault on Caolán Moore and his gang. So Eric’s secret is out.

The other complication is that, at the time of the attack, Eric was in a car registered to Amanda’s money-laundering dealership. The Garda are on to them – and CCTV footage will inevitably confirm Eric as driver.

Frank’s plan is to scapegoat Eric sidekick Kem (Cunningham’s secret inside man). But with Cunningham’s cross-hairs fixed on Anthony, it feels inevitable Amanda will betray Frank and give up Eric.

Wheels within wheels, family against family – with three instalments left Kin is ticking down to an explosive finale.