We thought we had a handle on what was going on in Next of Kin until the last two minutes. But at the end of the finale we jumped to "six months later" in Lahore, and – wait, was the grandmother Mrs Shirani the terrorist mastermind all along?? Plenty of viewers certainly thought so.
In this flash forward, it LOOKS like Mrs Shirani (Shabana Azmi) is chilling out at her late son's clinic in Lahore with the Muslim cleric who radicalised her nephew Danny and sent him off to Lahore. It would make a sort of sense: after all, she was the one who gave Danny the money he needed for the flights, and she was the only person to know his new secret mobile number.
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But hold on, because an ITV spokesperson has told RadioTimes.com: "Mrs Shirani isn't involved with the terrorists at all. She decides to go back to Kareem's clinic in Lahore to be spiritually close to him."
Still, the final scene certainly left a lot of viewers scratching their heads. Was the implication accidental?
That wasn't the only thing viewers still have QUESTIONS about.
- Why did Danny crack, right at the end, and start yelling at Hamoud to stop the attack? He was trying to grab the steering wheel and send the van out of control. BUT at this point the car was surrounded by army vehicles and the whole game was clearly up. Surely he could have saved his own life by jumping out of the passenger seat?
- What happened to Danny's epilepsy after the preacher confiscated his medication? It never appeared again.
- Why did Hamoud allow Danny to continue as part of the terror cell when he had extreme suspicions about his brother Omar and aunt Mona? He knew the boy was not committed to the cause.
- Why didn't Hamoud kill Mona? He had no qualms about the mass murder he was about to commit, the women who would die in it, or even killing her brother Kareem for apparently not being a good enough Muslim.
- Why is Barnes being punished with an investigation when she and her team managed to avert two terror attacks (with the help of Guy Davenport)? She was evidently proven right about Mr Khalid who provided the tip-off.
- What was Danny's story really about? The reasons he gives – and everyone gives – for how he ended up in this situation are conflicting and unclear. Was he truly radicalised? Searching for his mother? Did he change his mind? Did he want his dad to die or was he just powerless to stop it? That may be part of the mystery, but with Danny dead we never got our answers.
One viewer wrote: "I wanted to like this drama but found myself picking holes in each episode. Was quite disappointing."
Another added: "Too many loose ends and unanswered questions," and one viewer reported: "Got to the final part only to realise it was a waste of time. Could have been brilliant if not for the unanswered questions left behind at the end."
Still. Viewers agreed on one thing: Next of Kin was full of brilliant acting. Archie Panjabi carried the series as Mona, with Jack Davenport stepping up as Guy Harcourt. And can you believe this was Danny actor Viveik Kalra's first on-screen role?