Monday 23 April 2018

Herald’s Chris Wasser: Latest season of gritty gangland drama bows out with a whimper

SHOW: No ending in sight as series falls at final hurdle

Nidge: previous seasons have finished with more of a bang
Nidge: previous seasons have finished with more of a bang

That was a bit of a cop-out, wasn't it? For six weeks, Love/Hate had played a relatively important part in our lives.

It was everywhere we looked. The number of characters had swelled, and the intricate sub-plots had confused matters. But we stuck it out. Partly because the acting and the direction continued to sparkle.

And partly because it's Love/Hate – it almost always goes somewhere. And then, on Sunday at approximately 10.25pm, Stuart Carolan's troubled masterpiece finally lost the plot.

Nidge had avoided jail. The big drugs shipment and subsequent garda bust hadn't exactly gone according to plan, what with poor Tommy's health taking a turn at the best/worst possible time.

So, how did King Nidge celebrate getting off the hook? By peeing on a crate of milk outside a garda station and performing some sort of ritualistic boogie inside a cell.

Presumably, to let off some steam. Or just to remind the boys in blue (along with people watching at home) that this king is indestructible.

That wasn't an ending – it was a wasted opportunity. In fact, it had all the look and feel of a trippy dream sequence (with a soundtrack by the Sex Pistols).

I enjoyed season four. There may have been a little more padding than usual, but again, I had presumed the pay-off would be worth it. Season three had ended with a bang (quite literally for young Dazzler).

This time round, creator and writer Stuart Carolan decided to forego a shock ending in favour of some self-indulgent blowout that served only to remind viewers that a fifth season had got the green light. What about the here and now, Stuart?

Very little was resolved. The dentist ended up in a suitcase. Little Wayne was shot in the back. But did we care? Not particularly. Probably because we hadn't had time to invest in these new characters.

Would I have liked to have seen more bloodshed? Not necessarily. Just a bit of closure is all. To stumble so spectacularly at the last hurdle is disappointing.

After weeks of chasing, Det Insp Mick Moynihan finally came face-to-face with the enemy – and he just stared at Nidge.


In short, we're more or less right back where we were a year ago.

Sure, Love/Hate is supposed to be realistic, and real life doesn't always wrap itself up quite as neatly as we'd like.

But as we told those crazy cats at the start of Love/Hate's season-four run last month – it's just fiction, man. And the best fiction always has a beginning, middle and an end. Somebody forgot to tell Carolan.

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