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Amanda: Doesn’t want more blood on the family’s hands
As it eases into its final stretch, Kin (RTÉ One, Sunday, 9.30pm) is getting its crazy on. Episode six of eight concludes with Dublin cocaine godfather Eamon Cunningham (Ciarán Hinds) taking too much of a peyote-like substance at a trendy health spa and having a visceral out-of-body experience (having gone in solidarity with his ex-wife, who has terminal cancer).
He huffs and puffs (and vomits) and it’s as if Kin has slipped down a rabbit hole leading back to the days when popular TV shows used to traumatise their audiences with wackadoodle crossover episodes. Magnum PI would get together with Murder She Wrote, the A-Team might team up with Arthur Murphy’s Mailbag (some of these I may have imagined after accidentally inhaling too much Tipp-Ex in school).
With Kin, it’s as if RTÉ has had a mind-meld with Amazon’s recent wellness satire Nine Perfect Strangers. And as Cunningham crawls around plagued by drowning visions – a buried trauma from his childhood seemingly – viewers might half expect Nicole Kidman to waft in accompanied by an iffy Russian accent.
One accent that remains sturdily convincing is that of Charlie Cox as reluctant Dublin mobster Michael Kinsella. Michael is almost killed when Cunningham’s bounty hunters track him and his daughter Anna (Hannah Adeogun) to a restaurant in Newland’s Cross (a long way to travel only to have your chit-chat interrupted by a hail of bullets).
How did the goons know they’d popped out for a coffee? Because Kinsella footsoldier Kem (Ryan Lincoln) has been feeding information to the Cunninghams. The truth is stumbled upon by Amanda (Clare Dunne), after Kem pointedly quizzes her about the location of the drugs stash the Kinsellas stole from Cunningham (leading to Eamon’s business partners putting the squeeze on).
But instead of turning over Kem to her husband Jimmy (Emmett Scanlan) and his brother, her former lover Michael (it’s complicated), she find out what Kem knows – and then lets him abscond. She doesn’t want more blood on the family’s hands.
Amanda is becoming the Michael Corleone of Kin: the black sheep who rejected the criminal life before becoming the brains of the operation. This has brought her into conflict with Kinsella matriarch Birdy (Maria Doyle-Kennedy), who has persuaded family boss Frank (Aidan Gillen) not to hand his son Eric over to the Garda.
However, as Amanda points out,the authorities already know Eric (Sam Keeley) was driving the car involved in the drive-by attack that sparked the Cunningham-Kinsella feud in the first place. Whether or not Frank likes it, Eric is going down.
There’s nearly a sticky end for Frank, too. He just about survives a drive-by assassination attempt by the same hoodlums who attempted to take out Michael (one of the killers posing as a casual hook-up Frank meets online).
His bodyguard Dottser isn’t so lucky and takes a bullet to the brain. And with Frank still reeling from the attack, gardaí swoop on Eric. As these thunderclaps ripple across screen, Cunningham is at the hippy retreat communing with the spirits after ingesting a piping hot mug of Ayahuasca.
His dream visions might be too wacky for some. Yet they demonstrate that Kin is attempting to be something other than just another crime drama. Whether it succeeds may not become clear until the finale in two weeks time.
But it’s obviously determined to break the mould and should be applauded for trying to be its own thing rather than serving up cookie-cutter gangland porn.
This festive season, discover 10 great Riojas to cover all occasions, from party-friendly tipples to feast-worthy sippers
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