★★★★ (out of five)
PASSIONS escalated and thrills were finally unleashed as RTE’s acclaimed Love/Hate returned last night in the penultimate episode of season one.
Channel 5 viewers already captivated by the Irish gangland drama were further enthralled as it scrambled towards its dénouement in the most exciting episode yet.
As Nidge and Trish prepare for their wedding, Rosie and Darren reflect upon their break-up and Mary and Tommy rekindle their affair, after much anticipation Robbie’s killer is finally revealed.
Tom Vaughan-Lawlor’s Nidge is no longer the provider of comic relief within the gritty Dublin drama, as he exposes a darker side of his character. Increasingly confident, he winks at fiancé Trish (Aoibhinn McGinnity) from behind the window of a Garda car, reassuring her, ‘I’ll be out before tea-time’.
Similarly sinister undertones are revealed within a number of characters in this episode, as they become ever more complex.
Stuart Carolan’s script is bereft of comedy as unexpected revelations and speculations instigate moments of gratuitous violence, much of which occurs off-screen, forcing the audience to envisage numerous brutal horrors.
In a particularly well-directed moment, David Caffery juxtaposes a photograph of Rosie (Ruth Negga) and Stumpy (Peter Campion) smiling with the pummeling sounds of Stumpy’s fists and Rosie’s screams as he beats her.
Moments of horror set against ordinary life appear to be an enduring theme in Love/Hate.
But this episode is not simply comprised of adrenalin-pumped violence and terror. It also offers a number of tender moments between dual protagonists Rosie and Darren, as we learn more about their relationship and yearn for their reconciliation.
Whereas the previous installments merely attempted to increase the drama through phone calls, last night’s offering succeeded in creating tension and dramatic irony in its final montage with characters desperately attempting to communicate with one another right up until the credits began to roll.
Episode three of Love/Hate will leave viewers hungry for next week’s season finale.
The Love/Hate season one finale airs on Channel 5 on Wednesday, August 14 at 10pm