By Aidan-Szabo Hall, First Year, English Literature
After a two-and-a-half-year absence, everyone’s favourite highly stylised cigarette commercial has swaggered back onto our screens. The sixth - and final - season of Peaky Blinders (with the prospect of a movie on the horizon) promises all the bombast, glitz, violence and smouldering stares of which we’ve become well acquainted with for the last decade.
The episode begins directly following the climax of the previous season. We witness a mentally unhinged Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) who, after failing to assassinate Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), then fails to assassinate himself, unknowingly firing a blank into the side of his temple. The sweet release of death, and reunion with Grace, alludes to him once more.
But four years on, the mildly turbulent year of 1929 has been forgotten, and we are greeted by a re-invigorated, entirely abstinent Tommy, who has amazingly become even more monosyllabic. “I’ll have a glass of water, please” and “want to hear a poem?” are just some of the phrases said by the new Buddha of Birmingham.
The globetrotting kingpin of the Shelby family arrives in a gloomily lit bar in Miquelon Island, situated off the coast of Newfoundland and lying beyond the legal jurisdictions of Canada and America. Prohibition has just ended, booze is legal, and the trade of bootlegging is no longer viable for the citizens of Miquelon. As ever, this episode is another example of a brilliant blend of historical fact and fiction.
The inhabitants of the bar make their anger at this felt to teetotal Tommy (“I’ve become a calmer and more peaceful person”, he says, whilst shooting up the bar), who has arrived in Miquelon to seal a business deal with Michael, proposing to flood the US with opium to make use of the newly opened supply lines between Miquelon and Boston. It isn’t an overly joyous family reunion, what with the murder of Polly Shelby (The late Helen McCrory) by the IRA, supposedly because of Tommy’s ever-escalating ambition.
Unlike previous seasons - in which there was one easily definable enemy – Tommy is simultaneously fighting a multitude of battles: against the IRA, Michael – who has pledged revenge against him for the death of his mother – the spectre of fascism and, seemingly, the voices in his own head.
It seems the downfall, and potential death, of Tommy will likely be spurred as a result of his ever-growing hubris (“I have no limitations”) and megalomania, rather than a plot devised by one of his numerous enemies. Or lung cancer might finally get him, but I suppose that might be a slightly anticlimactic way to end the final series.
Featured Image: IMDB
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