Darragh McManus: Opening episode of Love/Hate's Series Five comparable to Tarantino movie
If previous series of Love/Hate have been compared to The Wire or The Sopranos, this Season 5 opening episode seemed more like a Tarantino movie.
There was so much jumping between past and future, it was hard enough to follow what was actually going on.
But this “bleedin’ tick” managed to work out that: Nidge has taken a loan with Terence, a smooth-faced, vaguely terrifying Spanish-based gangster; his life is forfeit if he can’t repay the debt; and lots of people want him dead besides that.
Tom Vaughn-Lawlor was great, as usual, in the lead role. He claims to have gotten over the paranoia that saw him peeing on the Garda milk supply last year, but as played by Vaughn-Lawlor, the Nidge-weasel is as edgy, shifty, suspicious and, well, weaselly as ever.
Not that he doesn’t have good reason; various enemies are massing at the gates of his crumbling criminal empire. There’s the aforementioned Terence, who added insult to injury by sending that moron off the McDonald’s ad – “It wrecks de cheee-az!” – to babysit his money.
Patrick the Traveller bomb-maker has already made one attempt on Nidge’s life, in the episode’s most exciting scene (his sprint to safety was clear proof that chain-smoking doesn’t necessarily reduce lung capacity). Nidge then offered ten grand to make the peace, and was told: “I don’t want your money – take it back and use it to buy a headstone”.
Siobhan is recklessly spilling the beans to Det Insp Moynihan, bent as she is on revenge after working out that Nidge had brained poor Tommy. And Franno surely wants payback after Nidge had him smacked a bit with a baseball bat, for killing the posh dentist. Although their bromance seemed back on track somewhat at the end, as they smiled and toasted the killing of Lizzie.
For me, this was a misstep: she was one of the best characters the show has yet featured, and her lust for vengeance could have driven another great storyline. Anyway, ‘twas not to be: some little monkey on a bicycle did the dirty and Nidge paid over the blood-money.
He’s an awful creep, and yet…this episode managed to do something I thought wasn’t possible – it made you root for Nidge. Especially when Terence smugly declared “If you were a horse, I’d be sending you to the knackers’ yard.”
Hopefully not for a while yet. He is Love/Hate now, to all intents and purposes. No Nidge, no point.