Darragh McManus: Little to Love in Love/Hate finale
It ended, not with the desired bang, but with a hugely underwhelming whimper.
Season 4 of Love/Hate hasn’t scaled the superb heights of 2 and 3, but it’s been pretty decent.
More importantly, we felt that this slow-burn was leading to an explosive denouement.
We were wrong.
If reaction to last night’s closer could be expressed physically, it’d come in the form of a tired shrug, possibly with a muttered, “Meh…’twas only alright.”
The much-hyped finale was, in the end, kind of boring. Not much happened. There was little resolution to anything.
The main storyline – and narrative core of the whole year – was the twin-track of Nidge’s big drugs shipment and Detective Moynihan relentlessly closing in, like a taciturn spider about to devour a shaven-headed fly in a tracksuit.
And what happened? Well, nothing, really. Tommy’s haemorrhage saw the soft-hearted Moynihan calling an ambulance, which meant Nidge couldn’t be directly linked to the heroin.
(But what about all the taped conversations? And the driver they arrested? And the fact Nidge was waiting around in a warehouse as the truck arrived? And possible testimony from the dentist, who they don’t yet know is dead? Ech – not only dull but illogical, then.)
Franno’s murder of dentist Andrew felt gratuitous, as if he somehow knew a killing was due in that section of the hour-long show and didn’t want to disappoint his fans. The Traveller bomb-maker just upped and emigrated. Siobhan is still sobbing, being indecisive and looking implausibly beautiful to be the partner of a Dubbalin scobie.
Even Janet, the scariest-looking madam this side of an S&M dungeon in Soho, seems fed up of it all. Though not as fed up as Trish, after Nidge’s successful world record attempt on “Shortest time between initiation and consummation of coitus in human beings.” He was quicker than a virgin flea.
The whole episode felt like a holding-station between this year and next: not a good feeling for a supposed end-of-season spectacular, and not a good idea for producers.
Worry too much about teeing viewers up for the coming season, and you risk boring them – and losing them.
Season 4, as mentioned, was unsatisfactory anyway, by the high standards the show set for itself. The handy conclusion of Lizzy and Danno’s thread was a really grievous mistake: it eliminated the most exciting storyline in the show’s history and (in her) a potentially great lead character.
So this finale, while a disappointment, didn’t exactly come as a great shock. But there was still little enough to love