'Gangs of London' Episode 5 Review: Cinematic hit squads aside, who killed Finn Wallace still haunts our mind
Bombs, stones, and bullets make an excellent camaraderie in this episode, with tense fighting sequences that tiptoe along the fine line between buildup and unnecessary melodrama
Spoilers for Episode 5
Episode 4 was a blur for a lot of reasons — too much happened too suddenly. On one hand, UC Elliot Finch's (Sope Dirisu) loyalties to the Wallaces were tested, on the other, Finn Wallace's (Colm Meaney) pregnant mistress was also revealed to have been kidnapped by someone. The end was a confusing, but terrifying bloodbath of bullets raining down from everywhere as Sean Wallace's (Joe Cole) meeting with Luan Dushanj (Orli Shuka) and also the family dinner back home was ambushed by two members of what looked like a hit squad.
To stir up some more drama and clear up parts of the confusion, episode 5 arrives as yet another reminder of why dialogues aren't the most crucial element of a script. True, it can make or break a character, but it is also about the setting, the progression and eerie spans of silence and quiet that works as the perfect build-up to what can easily be called a pure cinematic genius. Yet, even the hit-squad sneakily prowling into their target's territory can't keep us from looking for the answers to the one question that has plagued everyone's mind since the show premiered: Who killed Finn?
Episode 5 begins right where Episode 3 had left off — the lapse in narrative works for a confusing but vivid element of surprise until the very end of the episode, which strikes the "Oh!" moment, allowing us to realize this is where Episode 4's action picks up actually. In this episode, the living shooter Darren is being guarded at a safe house made of stone and to withstand warfare.
Darren's father Kenny is on the way, somehow perfectly thriving in the twisted and undulated countryside with a bullet wound in his left side of the stomach which soon leeches start squirming out of. Never disappointing on the gory, the script relies on minimal dosages of words and music - actions speaking louder than anything else on the series right now.
Right after Kenny escapes the settlement (which Sean set on fire in Episode 3) the two members of the hit squad we found attacking Sean both outside and back home visiting the site. Unfortunately, their luck favors and they discover the phone Kenny used to communicate with the people arranging an escape for him and Darren. Kenny's path from the settlement to Darren's safehouse sees him pass death, several times, by inches.
The script gets a little predictable in terms of Kenny being indestructible, while his son acts like a total rebel in the presence of seasoned killers who are watching out for him. So as Kenny navigates hillocks and springs and manages to trespass pubs with members of the hit-squad breathing down his neck, the tension gets impossible at times — a worthy stalling for the treat that the end presents us with.
At its core, 'Gangs of London' has always been about family, loyalty, and protection, and not just when it comes to the Wallaces. Kenny's earnest conviction in fleeing the borders with his son breathes the same loyalty the bleeds in Sean vowing to avenge his father's sudden murder. Kenny's son and Sean's father are also tied in their lack of gratitude towards their loved ones ready to unravel miles and storms to protect them.
So even after Kenny does all he can with a bleeding gut, and reaches the safe house when he can finally meet Darren, his arrival is welcomed by panicked screaming, as he comes bearing more than just gifts. Followed by a hit squad of trained professional German mercenaries, Kenny can barely make it inside the safehouse when the barrage of bullets begin pouring.
Blowing up the front barrier to smithereens, along with the safehouse owner Evey's son and his friends barely making it inside, there's no doubt that these people aren't messing around. They are the best in the game and have to have been hired by someone who wants to omit every last living cell of the Wallaces and the people involved in ruining their lives.
But enough about the agenda, it is this sequence of kills and shots and explosions that deserve all the time and attention to be gushed about. The female server at the Wallaces' and her husband both being on the job, along with the sniper who tried to take Sean out at the hallway meeting making for the slightly emotional tropes to keep us hooked.
Bombs and stones and bullets make for an excellent camaraderie in this scene, with tense fighting sequences that tiptoe along the fine line between buildup and unnecessary melodrama. The scene worth remembering the most is one of Darren's protectors making a vertical deep dive with a detonated bomb, dropping right in front of the hit squad's main men as they are about to enter the house's main door. Everything blows up and the blonde killer's deafening screams upon watching her husband die leaves us rattled and a little shaken: it becomes difficult to pick a side, the script is that gripping.
In the end, the sniper ambushing Sean's meeting takes out both Kenny and Darren as they stand inches away from the boat that was supposed to be their escape. The two fall to the ground, and right then the hitman gets a call revealing the root of this massacre: it's Jeevan Kapadia - one of the Wallace investors. We find out who had ordered the hit on Finn even though the reason is still blurry.
The only closure this episode offers, apart from the ballistic hit squad's attack, is why Darren was being targeted. Sean being on the prowl for the shooter was no secret and the investors couldn't risk anybody finding out names of those that tried taking down the Wallaces. But their war isn't over yet; the ending sees Jeevan ask the hitman they have 'another son' and their next target — meaning the dinner that went wrong at the Wallaces. The story might seem conclusive right here, but Sean's revenge is yet to be exacted. The only question is how he will crumble everything his father built up.
'Gangs of London' premiered with all 9 episodes on April 23, and now airs weekly on Fridays at 9 pm on Sky Atlantic.