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‘Kin’ Episode 5: Who's the Boss?

Cracks begin to form as more people aim to take control.

Clare Dunne in Kin
(Image: © Bernard Walsh/AMC+)

Our Verdict

All the pieces are moving into place in a more sedate table-setting episode that throws a wrench in the works.

For

  • - How each woman is using her power
  • - The way the various areas of Dublin add to the striking visuals
  • - Raised stakes

Against

  • - Some of the misdirects
  • - Michael's lapse in judgment regarding his daughter's safety feels out of character

This post contains spoilers for Kin episode 5. Read our latest review here.

Moves are still being made on Kin as the family at the heart of this story tries to gain the upper hand in a battle against Dublin drug kingpin Eamon (Ciarán Hinds) and their most daring and audacious idea goes off without a hitch. 

The initial heist scheme is surprisingly stress-free — aside from the young man whose life hangs in the balance — and Michael (Charlie Cox) scores a €50 million haul of heroin and cocaine, which will set them free once they can start shifting this amount of gear. And while Michael already had a target on his back after he killed Caolon Moore (Lloyd Cooney), now there is a bounty on all four adult male Kinsellas with plenty of willing would-be-assassins — including the person who actually shot Jamie — hoping to earn a big payday. In a scene reminiscent of John Wick (but in more casual attire), Eamon lists off his desired targets and also offers a cool €500,000 bonus for anyone who can retrieve his drugs. This puts the potential windfall at €2.5 million and trust is going to be hard to come by for anyone who is not a family member.

Even with the big victory, all is not well among the various factions within the Kinsella clan after Amanda (Clare Dunne) learned the truth about what prompted the initial hit on Eric (Sam Keeley). The police inadvertently spilled that secret when they told Amanda the license plate of the car involved in the initial shooting came from her dealership. From this she easily pieced together the events of that night based on Eric’s GPS details and what followed (technology has made it harder for people to stay undetected when committing crimes). She also makes a note on this map how many speed cameras clocked an image of his face. One or two he could maybe bluff against it being him, but he was spotted by four in total, and she uses this as a reason for Frank (Aidan Gillen) to send his own son to jail. 

Amanda is grieving and is no doubt motivated by revenge, but selling out Eric is a means to saving the car dealership from being scrutinized by the cops — while also making him pay for what he did. If they seize the computers from this business it is game over for this money-laundering scheme and more heads will be on the chopping block. This also speaks to Eric's inability to rationally think things through because if he had stolen a car the paper trail would be non-existent. 

Sam Keeley in Kin

Sam Keeley in 'Kin' (Image credit: Brandon Walsh/AMC+)

Approaching Frank at the post-heist celebration is quite the mood killer, and initially Amanda has a tough pitch convincing Frank this is the smart option. Furthermore, even though this whole mess is the result of his lack of impulse control, the real challenge is getting Eric to agree to this plan. Eric outright rejects this proposal, which is hardly a surprise, but because Fudge is dead the actual shooting can be blamed on him and Eric will only have to admit to driving the car. The likely sentence for this is two years and he’ll be out in half the time on good behavior. Although, in this environment his temper might get the better of him in that environment, and that will only add time to his stay.  

Amanda has been asserting her dominance since Jamie’s death, in part because she wanted revenge, but her bold idea to take Eamon’s entire inventory was born out of necessity. Killing Caolon Moore was driven by emotion, but she uses business acumen to spearhead the unexpected play. Unfortunately, she has bitten off more than she can chew, and while Frank listened to the sound logic, Amanda hasn’t taken Nikita (Yasmin Seky) into account. 

Last week I incorrectly predicted that Eric’s dutiful girlfriend was playing both sides, when in fact it is the person they originally suspected is passing on Kinsella intel to the enemy. Kem (Ryan Lincoln) can’t ascertain why Eric has ordered him to stop the collections, however, he does tell Con Doyle (Keith McErlean) that “Jimmy’s missus” is having more of a say in the running of things.  While Kem is trading secrets, Nikita’s suspicious behavior has switched to proactive loyalty to her man, which makes her sly smile last week read like a huge misdirect. While I had noted some of the plotting was predictable, a red herring like this feels purposefully misleading in a way that is more confusing than anything else.

Nikita raises concerns about Amanda’s motives while suggesting Eric talk to Birdy (Maria Doyle Kennedy) about an alternative to prison. This is a power play disguised as support, and Nikita realizes if Eric goes to prison this will have ramifications for her. He makes the mistake of calling Amanda “a mental fucking bitch” and rightfully earns a slap across the face from his aunt. Family is family, and Birdy won’t have him talking about Amanda in that way. However, she will go to bat for him when it comes to Frank, so there is plenty to iron out before Eric ends up behind bars.

One person who is also suddenly finding out what Eric did is Jimmy (Emmett J. Scanlan), and he is furious his wife talked to Frank before telling him. Jimmy is also concerned with the role Amanda is playing and he no doubt feels his masculinity is being questioned by others thanks to her actions. She cooly points out she acted rationally with regards to Eric, whereas he would no doubt try to solve things with his fists (or worse). Later on, he does what anyone in this position would do and bitches about it, but with the pretense of concern. He complains to Michael that she is “too fucking smart” at times and this assessment is accurate considering what happens next. 

After losing one son, Amanda sent Anthony (Mark McKenna Jr.) to boarding school, but clearly not far enough away as the “dickheads” in his dorm got sent a WhatsApp message featuring a dead Fudge. His mother is concerned about the sinister nature of this supposed coincidence, yet she should’ve really been paying attention while driving home. Cut off by two vehicles, she is terrified when Eamon steps out of one car and he reveals Anthony’s location was easy to come by. He also helpfully points out his presence ensures she isn’t quite a dead woman (though this could change) because she wouldn’t see him if it was the end. To guarantee her only living son’s safety she agrees to find out where his stash is being kept, and when she pleads for a decent amount of time he gives her a not so generous three days. The heist plan she formulated is now a noose around Anthony’s neck and there is no way she won’t do everything in her power to protect her child. 

You would think that Michael feels the same way about Anna (Hannah Adeogun), but he inadvertently leads Eamon’s number one hitman to her school when he gets the opportunity to see her hip-hop dance performance. It is hard to blame Michael for leaping at this chance to see her in a neutral environment and he even risks his own life (and Jimmy’s) to make this trip across the city. After everything his brother did to square things in Jamie’s name, Jimmy cannot turn down this request to zip across town for Anna. It becomes clear why the motorbike is the vehicle of choice as they can take much-needed (albeit dangerous to pedestrians) shortcuts when the silver car gets a little too close to comfort. Rather than tear off in pursuit of Jimmy and Michael, the hired killer sees an opportunity to locate Michael’s daughter at her school building that looks like Swiss cheese. His baby face will put him in good stead if he wants to slide up to the teen and give Eamon the revenge he desires.

Michael is desperate for time with Anna but little does he realize how much danger she is now in. After everything he has been through you would think he would have more foresight when it comes to keeping her safe. It could be argued that his decision is clouded by his need to connect, but it also feels out of character from everything we have witnessed. As always, it is the children who suffer, and this theme continues to dominate Kin.

Michael also has his health to consider, and while the lack of a bulletproof vest during the heist was another misdirect, the choice to indulge in the mountain of coke and copious whiskey shots trigger another seizure. He stumbles home but puts his head through the glass pane before he can get the door open, which gives the impression he has been attacked. When Amanda goes to find him it is hardly surprising she assumes the worst and finds him collapsed on the floor. The superficial head wound has made quite the mess and she does not believe his initial story that he is simply wasted. When he tells her the truth, he immediately becomes agitated because he thinks she is pitying him. Again, masculinity informs a conversation as he doesn’t want to appear weak. The pair have another secret, and the natural intimacy they share threatens to bubble over.

Considering how much goes down in the fifth episode (including a heist and a chase) the pacing feels relatively sedate while the different pieces move into place. Table setting always sounds like a negative connotation, but in this case, it makes sense for the main players to reassess their roles and next moves. Eamon has all the resources at his disposal, and with the huge bounty available more bloodshed could be on the cards — I worry Frank will be targeted by someone on the Cruisr app (aka a fictious Grindr). At a time when the Kinsellas should come together, they seem more divided than ever and that could be deadly.