If the first couple of episodes of ITV’s Next of Kin had us scratching our heads, comparing notes and looking up the flight time from Lahore to London, episode three finally delivered some answers. Well, sort of.
Now, we should issue two disclaimers before we go any further. One, this article contains A TON OF SPOILERS for this week’s episode and two, this is a thriller, so naturally we should expect a big twist sometime soon which will turn everything on its head. This is only what appears to be going on. You have been warned.
The last time we saw Mona she was lying on a rooftop spouting blood, having been hit in the stomach by a stray bullet. The bullet in question was intended for her teenage nephew Danny, who had just managed to tell her he was being kept captive in Lahore and his passport had been confiscated by mysterious Bad Guys. He also revealed some mysterious beef with his dead dad, then – having avoided being shot by the British embassy’s trigger-happy bodyguards – he legged it and disappeared.
Oh, and Mona had found out the British police had sent her to Pakistan under false pretences: there was no problem with repatriating Kareem’s remains, after all. They were using her to get to Kareem’s runaway son Danny.
So, what’s going on?
Despite Mona and her mum’s insistence that Danny is an innocent boy caught up in a bigger conspiracy, it looks like the vulnerable teen has been radicalised by a Muslim cleric who visited his student campus. This firebrand preacher turned him against the West and against his own father, Kareem Shirani. On the day before he secretly left for Lahore, Danny was filmed in an altercation with police at his university. He was also recorded saying some pretty nasty stuff.
The British anti-terrorism police believe he is caught up in a terrorist cell which – on the very same day as Kareem was murdered – detonated a bomb in London. In fact, they even believe he may be responsible for his own dad’s death, directing the terrorists to Kareem’s location so they could intercept him and carry out a gruesome execution.
But why did the terrorists kill Dr Kareem Shirani? Nobody has a clue. An investigation into the finances of Kareem’s medical charity provides no clues. The police don’t know. Mona doesn’t know. Danny probably knows, but he’s not telling. A note found on Kareem’s body instructs: “Look after my boy. Tell Rahani I’m sorry. Tell Mona I…”
In this episode Mona returns from hospital in Pakistan with her brother’s body and they bury him in the proper way, but even after the funeral the story is far from over.
Mona is keeping big secrets from her husband Guy: she didn’t tell him that she knew Danny was in Lahore, and she didn’t tell him that she was planning to meet him. Now she doesn’t tell him that she’s planning to transfer £12,000 from Guy’s business bank account so Danny can sort out his documents and come home. Instead, she sneaks onto her husband’s laptop in the middle of the night and sends the money.
It’s so FRUSTRATING because OBVIOUSLY she’s rumbled (come on Mona, you knew the police were watching your every move). Now she has damaged her relationship with Guy, and she has also broken the law by giving money to a suspected terrorist – giving the police an excuse to arrest her, interrogate her, put her in a cell and demand she cooperate with their efforts to bring Danny on board as an informant. Because that’s what they want: information.
Meanwhile, Detective Townsend has taken matters into his own hands. Tracking Danny to a cash machine in Lahore, he has his agents grab Danny and bundle him into a van. For some reason he’s surprised that the “Bad Guys” (Danny’s captors) chase him through the city, shoot him to death and re-capture the blood-spattered Danny. What else were they going to do?
And that’s pretty much where we leave it. Mona is in jail, Guy is falling apart, and Detective Townsend is dead. Kareem is still dead. Danny is back where he started, even with £12,000 in cash. And the Shirani family now knows Danny was in Lahore, a secret Mona and her mum had previously kept under wraps.
The British police are either playing a long game or are handling this very, very badly. But with three episodes to go, don’t expect things to wrap up neatly… is Danny as guilty as they think? There has to be a twist coming our way.