Their violence is shocking, but the ' Love/Hate' men have lost the element of surprise, says Sarah Caden, which is why Siobhan's the one to watch tonight.
As the fifth series of Love/Hate thrashes its way to an inevitably bloody conclusion, the body count may be high and shocking, but will there be surprises?
At this stage, we accept that these men will do what these men do, which is to murder and maim without compassion or conscience and, we can be sure, that's what they'll do tonight, too. If there have been any surprises in this series, however, they have lain with the women, specifically Siobhan (Charlie Murphy), whose cultivation of the heart of a killer has been the most interesting thing this season.
And she might prove more dangerous to King Nidge than any of the murderous men in his life.
There is a school of thought that Mad Men is not about Don Draper, despite his leading role in the drama, but about his daughter, Sally. Matthew Weiner, the show's creator has said that what he's interested in is consequences and that ties in to the idea of Mad Men as Sally's story.
Sally is a child of the 1950s, the child of divorce, the victim, to some extent, of her father and mother's secrets and lies. She is coming of age in the 1960s, playing out the consequences of her childhood with her contemporaries, part of the sexual revolution, part of a generation who break the mould by wanting lives that are utterly different to their parents'. Don is the dinosaur, and whether Sally Draper soars or crashes and burns as a result of his actions is, some say, what Mad Men is really about.
In a similar way, this series of Love/Hate has been about consequences. The fact that you must pay the price for your actions has run like a thread through the entire series.
Fran was paying the price for killing the dentist from the get-go, his resentment about which led him to Patrick - which led to his discovery that Nidge had pipe-bombed his house, then that Nidge had been sleeping with his wife and then, ultimately, to Nidge discovering that Fran had "a bone to pick with" him. Actions, consequences and murderous, bloody intentions.
With Siobhan, there has been more subtlety, however. Further, her development has also been a chance for writer Stuart Carolan to develop a female character beyond two dimensions or a simple reflection of the man in her life, as is the case with Nidge's Trish. And Siobhan's arc has been all about consequences. She knows that it was her uncle Nidge who beat in Tommy' s head and she's not going to forget it, even if Nidge has developed amnesia around it. Maybe because he has no conscience, maybe because consideration of consequences isn't really his style.
Nidge battered Tommy because Tommy was sleeping with Dano's wife, who had earlier turned down Nidge. Short-term, he lashed out and, long-term, he put Tommy in a coma. He acted on the spur of the moment, but that has not been Siobhan's style, as she has played a long game, working with the police to bring down Nidge.
But as her anger grew, slowly but steadily through this series, that hasn't been enough for Siobhan. She has grown hard and, without anyone noticing until it was too late, she has become dangerous. And, as only Pauley knows, she has become a killer, albeit a different kind of killer to the men around her.
So, while the violence is shocking, it no longer comes as a surprise. You tense, naturally, at the sight of a man having his throat cut, or his eye poked out, or his head beaten in with a lead pipe, but that's not where the real tension of the drama resides.
It's in the now cold heart of Siobhan and the slow but steady unfolding of consequences.
The final episode of the current series of 'Love/Hate is on RTE1 tonight at 9.30.