Kin Season 1 Episode 2 Review: A Study In Grief


There’s only so much a mother can take. 

Amanda is put through the emotional wringer on Kin Season 1 Episode 2, a study in parental grief.

The Kinsellas are now setting themselves on a dangerous path that can only lead to more tragedy.

Episode 2 shows us the strengths and weaknesses in Jimmy and Amanda’s relationship.

Jimmy’s bravado has been scraped away. He’s crumbling but still trying to respond to Jamie’s death the only way he knows how — with violence.

Emmett J. Scanlan is beautifully raw as Jimmy. You’ve never seen a thug so tender. He’s clearly distraught. Everyone keeps saying he needs to look after Amanda, but he can barely hold back the emotions that come spilling out of him.

He adored his son, and he loves Amanda desperately enough that he’d follow her behest above all others.

It’s apparent that Jimmy is insecure in his relationship with Amanda. 

It seems beyond a doubt now that Michael and Amanda have a history that is not simply familial — something happened there, which we’ll likely get more details on at some point.

Jimmy knows, or at least suspects this, and worries that Amanda went to Michael for some other reason. Michael is patient and clear with Jimmy that this is not the case.

No offense, Michael, but stay the fuck out of my marriage, okay?


Jimmy’s love for his family, and his desperation to prove it, will likely be his downfall.

Clare Dunne is a powerhouse in this episode. Her self-destruction, though difficult to watch, is completely understandable.

Amanda runs the gamut of rage and grief, trying to make sense of it all. She wants answers, but it’s clear, particularly in the scene with the liaison officer, that no answers will bring her son back. 

She finds an outlet for her emotions by rear-ending a motorist who mouths off at her. Post-accident, she looks numb, as though she’s finally purged some of the madness that’s been plaguing her.

Her short scene with Anthony is especially moving. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen much of the other Kinsella boy as yet.

Amanda: It’s alright to be sad. We’re all sad.
Anthony: I’m not sad. I’m angry.
Amanda: It’s alright to be angry, too.

It feels like Jimmy and Amanda have gotten so caught up in their grief that they almost forgot Anthony’s existence. Of course, he is grieving the loss of Jamie, too. 

Their interaction reminds them that they need to be parents to the son they still have.

The scene at the morgue is devastating. Amanda’s initial denial eventually gives way to horrible acceptance. It’s the only way she can get clarity on what she wants.


Charlie Cox’s Michael continues to be calm and collected, despite the torrent of emotions coming at him from all sides.

Is his ability to keep cool the thing that makes him such an asset to the family? We know he has perpetrated extreme violence, even murder, in the past. How long until we see firsthand what he’s truly capable of?

Episode 2 gives Birdy (Maria Doyle Kennedy) more depth as well. She doesn’t say much, but she’s always there. Her place in the family is clear — support. She can be physically intimidating, as she is with the liaison officer, or use her presence to back up Frank and be another voice of reason. 

We also now know that she lost a child in the past, but so far, that’s all the information we’re getting. 

When a mother loses a child it’s like a fuckin’ madness takes over you. I know.


It’s intriguing to see more of Anna, though we barely hear her speak. 

Now we know, definitively, that Michael had something to do with her mother’s death, but the fact that she’s so curious about him suggests that she might be the one to make contact, despite the danger he poses to her.

Poor Michael. All he wants is to see Anna, but he has all but given up after he met with the lawyer. This seems to cement his decision to get back into the family business and help Jimmy avenge Jamie’s death.

Hopefully, Anna doesn’t get caught in the crossfire.

Eric seems to be coming around, finally internalizing the gravity of his actions.

Outwardly he blames Caolan, but it is clear Jamie’s death weighs on him. He shows maturity for the first time when he tells the lads that they much leave Caolan alone. 

Eric appears to finally understand that the family doesn’t stand a chance against Eamon Cunningham.

Frank (Aidan Gillen) is sensible about the whole mess, keeping a level-head for the most part — except when laying into his son. As usual, it’s justified, but Eric almost seems like his dad’s whipping boy.

Michael: What if it had been Eric killed, instead of Jamie?
Frank: I’d be saying the exact same thing. But it wasn’t Eric. And Jamie’s not your kid, either.

Frank has a safe outlet with Eric, which might be how he keeps calm the rest of the time. 

I’m curious about Eric’s mother, whoever she was, especially after witnessing Frank’s backseat dalliance. What was her part in the Kinsella family business? Is she dead or just gone? 

As usual, there’s excellent work from director Diarmuid Goggins and DOP James Mather. Kin’s cinematography gets points for originality and inventiveness.

Their use of camera angles, lighting, and composition as a way of conveying moods, presenting characters, and showcasing the settings, is endlessly impressive.

Take, for instance, the slow pull out of Michael sitting in his apartment, all in brown. With this shot, we feel that he is slowly losing his sense of identity and feeling increasingly isolated. 

David Holmes’s score shines here as well. With music, Holmes can infuse a still shot with driving tension, hinting at the danger to come.

The music gives a layer of gravity to Jimmy and Amanda’s love scene. Though the actors are mostly invisible in the dark, the desperation is apparent and genuinely moving. 

Peter McKenna (Kin’s writer and creator) mostly uses actions rather than words to tell his story. As a result, everything unsaid has weight to it.

Jimmy’s most powerful assertion of dominance is completely silent — when he urinates in the bag of money. Frank has no way to respond, but at last, he understands Jimmy’s intentions.

Kin is beginning to feel Shakespearean in scope, which doesn’t bode well for its characters. The family dynamics hint at further tragedy.

It seems inevitable that others will die before the end of the season. How many Kinsellas will remain by the end? Are we watching the story of a family that is slowly picked off, which is Frank’s concern?

Where do you think this is heading? Are the Kinsellas setting themselves up for an all-out war with Eamon Cunningham? Who will be the casualties? 

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Mary Littlejohn is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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