Donal Mcdonnell In ‘The Tourist’ Season 2, Explained: Why Does Donal Want To Kill Elliot?

The second season of The Tourist, much like the previous one, is marked by its twists and turns and the web of deceptions that Elliot finds himself in. Elliot’s past has clearly been a violent one, and it’s hard to say that he is a very heroic character either. The repercussions of the actions of his past self are often delivered by vengeful characters like Kosta Panigiris in the first and Donal McDonnell in this season. Donal McDonnell is one of those characters who is purely fueled by vengeance without seeing the other side of the coin. 


Spoilers Ahead

Who Is Donal Mcdonnell?

Donal McDonnell is the eldest son of Frank McDonnell, the patriarch of the McDonnell family. The McDonnell family runs the Kilgal distilleries as a front for their drug trafficking ring in Ireland, and being the eldest son, he’s next in line for the succession of the operations. Like his family, he is a blind follower of their hatred for the rival gangster family, the Cassidys, led by Niamh Cassidy. Donal’s role is key in luring Elliot/Eugene to Ireland when he finds out about his whereabouts in Australia. 


Introduced as one of the abductors of Elliot, Donal, along with his sister and his son, relentlessly chases down the amnesiac man and holds him captive on their island. He has a temper problem and seems to have had a rather tumultuous past with Elliot. Donal had also made a deal with Lena Pascal, the same woman from season 1 who accused Elliot of the heinous crimes he had committed while working for Kosta. As for his own family, Donal’s son is not his own offspring, and for that, he has a drinking problem. Under the influence of alcohol, he is abusive to his wife, Claire, perhaps because he still blames her for making him raise another man’s son. However, it is hinted later that Donal had always been abusive, which is why Claire never really loved him. 

Why Does Donal Abduct Elliot? What Is His Deal With Lena?

The Cassidy and McDonnell feud had been a long-standing one in Frank’s and Niamh’s generation; it was worsened when Niamh stole the documents sent to Frank by his father from Massachusetts. In the present day, the missing documents have been the source of McDonnell’s grievance, and that is the reason Donal hatches the plan to abduct Elliot, whom he has known as Eugene. Donal and his sister believed that luring Elliot to Ireland and abducting him would be a bargaining chip against Niamh Cassidy to give up the documents sent by Frank’s father. 


Donal was approached by Lena Pascal because she recalled Elliot mockingly mentioning his name multiple times. After learning about Elliot’s whereabouts, a vengeful Lena saw an opportunity when she recalled Donal McDonnell’s name, looking him up through the directory until she finally stumbled upon the one she intended to contact. Donal and Lena then collaborated to lure Elliot. Donal sent her a picture of Elliot and his school friend Tommy, after which Lena wrote the letter and sent it to Helen’s police station. Their agreement was for Lena to witness Elliot’s suffering when Donal exacted his revenge. In episode 4, it is revealed that Lena intended to record Elliot’s anguish after shooting Helen.

Why Does Donal Hate Elliot?

The second season of The Tourist shows the trauma and hate that pass down through the generations, even though they need not have logical reasoning to begin with. In a similar manner, Donal McDonnell and Elliot/Eugene Cassidy, even in the past, were two characters caught in this loop of hate. However, Donal ended up having enough reasons to hate Eugene. 


Eugene, in his younger years, had a passionate affair with Claire, Donal’s wife. This affair eventually led to Claire getting pregnant with Fergal. Though people might think that Eugene did this to mock the McDonnells, he actually had feelings for Claire, who was already in an abusive marriage with Donal. However, it was Donal’s violent nature that made Eugene decide to walk away from Claire and their son. Donal eventually did find out about the relationship, and it wasn’t particularly easy on him either. Yet, he chose to raise Fergal as his own to prevent the secret from coming out, protecting the family’s reputation. Donal believes that Eugene has mocked his pride. Moreover, he feels emasculated that his rival has stolen his chance to have a family of his own. To exact revenge on Eugene, Donal planned an ambush for him at the Lough Tamar hotel, but Eugene’s brother had gotten a whiff of something wrong and decided to check it out. Donal mistook him for Eugene and accidentally killed him, even though it was not his intention to do so.

Does Donal Get His Revenge?

After Elliot learns about his son, he tries his best to reconnect with him, but belonging from rival families complicates matters for him. Donal, aware of this, sets a trap for Elliot. Fortunately, Elliot and Helen manage to figure it out and escape before getting ambushed. Upon discovering Fergal’s whereabouts, they head to his Gaelic language school, but Donal figures out what’s going on. They are finally caught by Donal and his men, who take them to a forest with the intention of executing them. In the forest, Lena Pascal lies in wait. She confronts Elliot about her past and then shoots Helen after arranging for someone to record the whole ordeal. Lena plans to show the video to the son of her friend who died during the drug trafficking incident Elliot organized. However, before Donal can shoot him, Elliot attacks Donal, incapacitating him and then rushing Helen to the hospital.


How Does Donal Die?

Following the events in the forest, Elliot is furious at Donal. While he is waiting for Helen to recover, he is visited by Claire, who tells him how he must protect Fergal. Claire has lost all hopes of reconciliation with Donal following the frequent instances of abuse, and now that Donal and Frank are endangering her son Fergal through this hateful cycle of violence, she feels the need to ask for Elliot’s help for his protection. 

Following another unsuccessful attempt on his life, Elliot decides to end Donal’s terror for good. He was infuriated by what he had done to Helen and Claire and how he was forcing Fergal to get into a life he didn’t want. He decides to take action against Donal, nabbing him and taking him to Lough Tamar. Donal reveals the place’s significance to Elliot, who is shocked and infuriated. However, even after aiming his gun at Donal, Elliot doesn’t kill him. At this moment, even Donal realizes that it is an endless cycle of violence; the Cassidys and the McDonnells will keep on killing each other endlessly. Elliot walks away from the venue, but it is revealed later that Niamh had her men kill Donal, putting all the blame on Elliot instead.


Donal’s character, for the most part, had been straightforward. He was an imperfect man who grew up in gang violence, and that became his whole life. The violence was also a part of his personal life, as he would abuse his wife, which led her to seek love outside her marriage. Though one might notice that Donal had a different temperament altogether when he finally had a gun on his face, about to face imminent death, I would like to think that for a small amount of time, he realized the repercussions of violence, at least in terms of his own life. 

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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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