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‘Kin’ 1.04 Review: A Smarter Plan

Danger lurks on every corner as the walls begin to close in on the Kinsella family.

Clare Dunne in Kin
(Image: © AMC+)

Our Verdict

As the options for the Kinsella family run out, the pressure continues to rise, which makes for another strong episode.

For

  • - Strong tension building
  • - Another powerful and emotional performance from Charlie Cox
  • - Amanda taking charge
  • - More secrets are revealed

Against

  • - Would like to see more from Maria Doyle Kennedy

This post contains spoilers for Kin episode 4. Read our latest review here.

Jamie Kinsella (Cian Fitzsimons) might be dead and buried, but the blast radius from his murder is still staining the Dublin streets with blood. Amanda (Clare Dunne) ensured her son was not left unavenged, however, as the Kin body count keeps on rising thanks to this act of gangland war. 

Going against all advice and warnings, Amanda along with her husband Jimmy (Emmett J. Scanlan) and his brother Michael (Charlie Cox) made a choice they knew would have consequences, but the maternal drive trumped reason. Matters are made more complicated by Michael’s past romantic tryst with his sister-in-law and the potential parentage of the dead teen. Now, danger lurks on every corner and the Kinsella family are the number one target.

The police are tasked with keeping a 24-hour watch on Jimmy and Michael’s houses — luckily they live next door to each other — in a bid to stop the violence from escalating, but so far they have not been able to stop acquaintances and employees of this family from getting killed. The so-called low-hanging fruit is going to do nothing to appease Eamon (Ciarán Hinds) in the long run as it is Michael’s head he wants to serve on a platter. 

This isn’t the only issue the recently-released-from-prison Kinsella is facing as an ongoing health crisis continues, his daughter drunk calls him and his ex is unhappy with his behavior. The one thing that doesn’t phase Michael is the living conditions under watchful guard, as this is more freedom than he experienced until recently. Instead, he is caught in the prison of his mind and a neurological irregularity that leaves him susceptible during this heightened situation. High-pressure scenarios are a trigger and the one he is about to step into at the end of the episode certainly qualifies. 

When Michael goes for a CT scan, director Diarmuid Goggins takes the viewer into the claustrophobic experience alongside him. Furthermore, the coffin-like dimensions are unnerving when factoring in the target on Michael’s back. If you hadn’t caught Eamon commenting that he wants Michael dead then the bulletproof vest and twitchy nature of Jimmy picking him up on a motorbike will no doubt reinforce the mood. Considering Jamie’s killer also rode a motorbike it makes their journey even more precarious. There is no definitive news regarding these tests, but whatever it is is still plaguing him. 

Michael downplays the reason for this appointment to others and pledges his loyalty to his family after Frank (Aidan Gillen) reminds him that any hope of getting to see Anna (Hannah Adeogun) is off the tables now that he has been associated with another shooting. Birdy (Marie Doyle Kennedy) works the charm on Michael and so far she has been lingering in the shadows of this operation, which is fine but when you have an actress of this caliber the desire for more from Birdy is high.

Hannah Adeogun in Kin

Hannah Adeogun in 'Kin.' (Image credit: AMC+)

Rather than drag it out further, we also find out what happened to Anna’s mother — or at least a version of what happened to her. Anna’s father and his family name mean she is a minor celebrity of sorts, but this is not a badge she wears with pride. When her so-called friend tells her that a group of older guys only want to meet her because she is a Kinsella, she chooses to go home rather than succumb to peer pressure. It is a smart choice even if she still gets wasted on cheap cider and drunk dials Michael. 

“Did your da kill your mam? Did he really shoot all those people?” are two of the things people always ask her (or they want to score drugs off her) and she has no time for this. However, she also has pressing questions regarding the incident that took her mother’s life. Michael explains he was “off his head on gear” and he didn’t mean to do it — this also explains why he doesn’t drink or do drugs anymore. Anna doesn’t think he can be certain he didn’t do it on purpose and there is no cute childhood story he can recount to reassure her of this fear. Cox once again displays his prowess for silent crying going from glassy eyes to the single tear streaking down his cheek after she abruptly hangs up. 

Theory time! So, Michael was so high he can’t really remember what happened, so perhaps he either didn’t kill Anna’s mother, or someone orchestrated it so his drug-addled brain committed the crime. 

Later in the episode, we see how frustrated Amanda is that Michael didn’t say anything at Jamie’s funeral and he doubles down on the notion that Jamie wasn’t his son. Amanda doesn’t buy this excuse and she thinks he should’ve stepped up, or at least treated Jamie with as much love as Anna. This isn’t particularly strong evidence to suggest she pulled the woman-scorned act nearly a decade before, but she is tougher and smarter than a character in her position often is. She proves the latter when she comes up with the plan to rob Eamon’s stash. The only mistake Amanda has made so far is how she approached Noel’s (Stephen Jones) widow and asked for the paperwork her murdered husband was fixing. 

All roads lead back to Eric’s (Sam Keeley) impulsive actions in the first episode, as the car he leased has been identified as the one involved in the original shooting. Amanda deletes his name while the detectives are sat in front of her. However, there isn’t much she will be able to do if they seize the work computers. 

Clare Dunne and Emmett J. Scanlan in Kin

Clare Dunne and Emmett J. Scanlan in 'Kin.' (Image credit: AMC+)

Eric is out of the hospital, although he is feeling stir crazy with his movements being restricted. Matters are made worse when one of his closest associates Fudge (Thommas Kane-Byrne) is shot dead while on a pickup — despite how many changes they made to their routine. Trust is something they cannot be cavalier with and this circle is tightened to only include family members. The one person they don’t even consider could be a mole is Eric’s girlfriend Nikita (Yasmin Seky) who smiles her way through their discussions about what they plan on doing next. Everyone has a price and Eamon has enough money to buy loyalty from the woman slowly sipping her tea in the corner of the room. 

As they head off in their vans to rob Eamon's stash, this heist has doomed written all over it, and it doesn’t sit well that Michael has taken off his bulletproof vest in a bid to appear like he doesn’t care about the threats. While I don’t think Michael will die during this job, I also don’t think it was a good idea to ditch this protection in order to show his lack of fear.

Surprise is their greatest asset, because Eamon has squeezed them so hard they are about to run out of stock, which means they are at their most vulnerable. The plan for Frank to go to Antwerp to meet a new supplier feels like a trap, but so does this alternative. 

One aspect this episode excels at is building tension whether it's the literal walls of their homes or Eamon’s people edging closer to killing the Kinsellas. Amanda is dealing with additional work stress, the guilt of the growing body count and her grief — it is no wonder she starts drinking as soon as she gets home. She has sent her youngest son Anthony (Mark McKenna Jr.) to boarding school to get him out of the firing line, but considering Anna is a known Kinsella still in Dublin the family should consider protecting her too. If Eamon really wants to get to Michael, then threatening his daughter would be the easiest way to do it and the children on Kin will continue to pay for the sins of their parents. 

Kin is available to watch on AMC Plus.