UP to a million people were expected to tune in for the greatly anticipated episode and they weren’t disappointed.
Ireland’s most popular drama Love/Hate returned with hearts broken all over the country as confirmation came through that much-loved serial killer Darren is most definitely dead.
Any fears that writer Stuart Carolan might be tempted to take a more relaxed approach this season were dispelled in the first few minutes with the controversial death of a cat at the hands of a child brandishing a machine gun.
The country had barely gotten over the shock when the show cut to a shot of Darren, played by Robert Sheahan, lying on a mortuary table with most of the back of his head missing putting paid to rumours that the Laois actor may make a return at some point.
However, it was the story of Tommy (Killian Scott), now out of his coma but suffering severe impairment as a result of his injuries, that really captured the public imagination with the Love/Hate hashtag on Twitter filled with messages of concern for the formerly happy-go-lucky gangster.
We got our first indication that Tommy may be an Achilles heel for mob boss Nidge (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) following his arrest after returning to the scene of the gang’s audacious tiger raid.
Arrested by Tony award winning actor Brian F O’Byrne’s Detective Inspector Mick Moynihan, Tommy and girlfriend Siobhan (Charlie Murphy) showed all the signs of turning State’s evidence. Watching him crumpled in his cell as Johnny Cash played out over the closing credits packed a punch.
After the shocking brutality of season three’s first episode, this opener seemed slower paced with Carolan going for a more measured approach and putting the foundation stones in place for what promises to be another excellent season of Ireland’s answer to The Wire.