What to Watch Verdict
A tense and emotional episode that digs into dynamics and delivers some surprises.
*Strong performances from Emmett J.Scanlan, Clare Dunn, and Charlie Cox.
*A beautiful church location.
*Director Diarmuid Goggins'use of close-ups and low-angle shots.
*It is hard not to think about Cox as Daredevil in a tense scene, which is a touch distracting.
This post contains spoilers for Kin Episode 3.
Read our latest review here.
It didn’t take long for the Kin gloves to come off and for Frank’s (Aidan Gillen) clearly defined instructions to get ignored by the one family member he thought he could count on. It is the day of Jamie’s (Cian Fitzsimons) funeral and nothing says vengeance more than shooting the guy who did it mere hours after the burial. The third episode is a tense affair that digs into the complicated dynamic between Michael (Charlie Cox), Jimmy (Emmett J. Scanlan), and Amanda (Clare Dunne) amid this tragedy and the heightened emotions that take hold of the Kinsella family as they mourn the loss of one of their youngest.
The episode opens with a close-up of Jamie in an open casket on the morning of his funeral, and a more resigned Amanda. She is no longer convinced this person isn’t her son, but she is also distracted by a revenge drive and she needs to make further arrangements. Before she heads out, she wakes up Jimmy and asks him to stay with Jamie until she gets back because she doesn’t want him left alone. The question of who will read a eulogy comes up and Amanda thinks “it is only fair” if Michael has a chance to speak. This does not go down well with her husband and he makes it clear that this would humiliate him. While the last episode suggested Michael is Jamie’s father, Jimmy makes it explicit here and points out he has never made her feel bad for what happened 17 years ago. Scanlan does an incredible job of showing his pain, and his voice breaks as he pleads, “Why are you making me fight for this?” Grief coupled with years of pent-up emotions regarding this affair is a potent mix, and Jimmy’s cold attitude toward Michael before the funeral is informed by this conversation.
Despite the transgression, Jimmy managed to forgive both his wife and his brother and while it doesn’t mean those feelings have gone away completely it didn’t impact his love for Jamie. He raised him like a son and there is no indication from his interactions while he was alive that resentment tinged their relationship. The eulogy reinforces as he speaks with great fondness for how happy Jamie was as a baby and he cannot contain his despair at this loss. Scanlan’s performance here is magnetic and while Michael is distracted in the church, Jimmy’s pain is palpable. What would Michael say anyway? He didn’t know Jamie except for that brief car conversation and he is preoccupied with the presence of his daughter Anna (Hannah Adeogun) who he clocks as soon as he walks into the church.
The stunning choice of the funeral location adds to the haunting imagery and the combination of low-angle shots with beautiful stained glass windows makes it feel like the characters are in a beautiful tomb. Director Diarmuid Goggins favors a combination of close-ups and low-angles throughout the episode, which are intimate and uncomfortable depending on the participants. When Eamon (Ciarán Hinds) offers Michael a fun time abroad — he uses a homophobic slur to describe Frank which confirms his sexuality isn’t a secret — while not so subtly threatening. It is all done with a smile and the way it is framed makes Eamon look even more imposing than he is to assert his power. Similarly, the close-up when he gives his condolences to Amanda is another case of him wielding his kingpin status.
It doesn’t matter that Eamon attended a service he wasn’t invited to in order to intimidate the family as Amanda is calling the shots when it comes to Caolan Moore (Lloyd Cooney). Rather than painting her as a Lady Macbeth figure whispering words of encouragement into the ears of the two brothers, it is much more democratic than that. The love triangle has dysfunctional elements, however, all three participants assert their agency in this episode with regard to this plan. A woman torn between two brothers is a tale as old as time and yet this one takes some unexpected turns this week. I have commented on elements that have felt predictable (including Jamie’s parentage) so it is only right that I mention the surprising story shifts — including how this dynamic is functioning. Jimmy gets his own way regarding the eulogy (and I have to agree with him on this one), while Amanda fulfills her part of the hit by organizing a vehicle as their getaway. Emotions steer her choice but at no point does she try to insert herself into the actual execution of this hit.
Earlier, he insists on being the man to pull the trigger because he has taken a life whereas Jimmy has merely beat the crap out of people — he states there is a big difference. We find out when he is taken in for questioning that his nickname in the press is the Magician because of how he “makes people disappear” but we also know from last week that he has never been charged with murder. He is highly skilled but this quiet version of Michael doesn’t line up with his reputation, however, his cool approach in the pub when he shoots gives insight into the type of criminal he was. Because this is TV, there is a hitch to the plan, and the fire exit is chained shut blocking his quick exit. His face is covered by a ski mask — it is impossible not to see him as a bizarro Daredevil in this scene and this is distracting— and the world starts to blur as he makes his way back out of the pub. When the person who actually shot Jamie almost walks up to him, he is unable to focus and the assassin flees in the pouring rain. At first, I thought he was having a panic attack, but when his solicitor is talking to him at the police station, a seizure reveals it is more serious.
The doctor who examines him is careful to reiterate that he isn’t a neurologist but his best diagnosis is epilepsy brought on by his head wound — when did this happen? — and that high-stress situations are one trigger. A high-stress situation like killing someone ticks that box and this development is unexpected while making Michael’s situation more precarious — even if he has been here many times before. When the police come to pick him up for questioning it emphasizes how many times this has happened and he knows what to expect like clockwork.
Being prepared is a benefit that Franks is not privy too and he is caught off guard when Eamon phones to threaten his entire family — Eamon has just found his ex-wife has breast cancer so his fury is clouded by this news. Frank is fuming at the impulsive actions of Jimmy and Amanda, while feeling let down by the supposedly level-headed Michael. Consequences are a theme that repeats this week with the Kinsella patriarch going into a security overdrive and ensuring his own son is protected in the hospital. Eric (Sam Keeley) has refused to name who shot him despite the police trying their best tactics to get him to snitch and he is thrilled when he thinks his dad ordered the hit on Moore. The disappointment when he realized this is not the case is palpable and part of me wonders if he perceives his father’s inaction as relating to his sexuality.
Amanda was certain she wanted to go through with the shooting but in the aftermath, guilt gnaws away. First, when she finds out that Moore had two children (including a newborn) and Michael is more pragmatic saying “what’s done is done.” This is not his first rodeo and his cool detachment speaks to compartmentalizing from previous hits. A phone call only cranks up Amanda’s regrets as the guy who arranged the getaway car has been killed outside his home and his wife directs her blame and raw anger at Amanda. The other person who is being impacted in all of this is her youngest son Anthony (Mark Mckenna Jr.) who is super chill about the whole putting a hit out on Jamie’s killer and his cool reaction to this news is a worrying development in this Kinsella home. But before she can worry about the long-term effects it is necessary to prepare for the oncoming storm headed their way.
Emma Fraser spends most of her time writing about TV, fashion, and costume design; Dana Scully is the reason she loves a pantsuit. Words can also be found at Vulture, Elle, Primetimer, Collider, Little White Lies, Observer, and Girls on Tops. Emma has a Master’s in Film and Television, started a (defunct) blog that mainly focused on Mad Men in 2010, and has been getting paid to write about TV since 2015. It goes back way further as she got her big start making observations in her diary about My So-Called Life’s Angela Chase (and her style) at 14.
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