By Aidan Szabo-Hall, First Year, English Literature
And so it ends. The Peaky Blinders bid farewell (for now) in a season finale which, after the flatness of previous episodes this season, fittingly regains its explosive swagger in the nick of time.
Packed with twists, aesthetic beauty and uncharacteristic Shelby sentimentality, the episode emphatically and emotionally concludes the decade-long journey from the “backstreets to the corridors of power”.
Following his diagnosis of Tuberculoma, Tommy (Cillian Murphy) - who has grown increasingly estranged from Lizzie (Natasha O'Keefe), Charles (Jensen Clarke) and the rest of his family –seeks to make the most of his borrowed time. Social housing for the poor in place of his country estate, and five million pounds – made from his opium deal with Jack Nelson - to be shared amongst the Shelby family will be his legacy.
A claustrophobic, eerie sense of finality runs throughout the episode - aided by gloomy, sombre aesthetics - alongside multiple tear-jerking moments, the most poignant of which being the scene where Arthur (Paul Anderson) uncovers the truth about Tommy’s condition. The two dead men walking, who both left themselves behind in the trenches of France, shout, fight and hug in Tommy’s dimly - lit office. “I’ll get the drinks in and wait for you, wherever it is” was the perfect euphemistic phrase for Tommy to describe his fate.
Any concerns about the lack of action and the stop-start feel to the narrative during this series are decisively laid to rest throughout the 120 minutes in a blistering return to form, with three simultaneous battles unfolding.
The anticipated climax between Tommy and Michael occurs on Miquelon Island, where the killing of Michael by Tommy manifests Aunt Polly’s (Helen Mcrory) prophecy that “there will be a war, and one of you will die”. Charlie Strong (Ned Dennehy), Jeremiah (Benjamin Zephaniah) and Arthur win their shootout, which aptly unfolds in front of the Garrison, against the IRA, claiming revenge for Polly’s murder. Billy Grade (Emmett Scanlan) - the ‘Black Cat’ traitor – is shot by ‘Duke’ (Conrad Khan), Tommy’s newly-found son, now sporting a harsh peaky haircut.
Final cameos produced some fantastic parting quotables. “I refuse to f*** on Tory benches” says Tommy, in defiance of Diane Mitford’s - played to loathsome perfection by Amber Anderson - invitation to cross the floor. Drawled with characteristic gruffness, Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) invites Tommy to reconsider his emotional outpouring: “Tommy, if you are about to express profound emotion you might be better served expressing it to somebody who gives a f***”.
With gypsy wagons and Tommy’s smoldering estate backdropping the final Shelby family supper, the close of the episode represents a cyclical return to the essence of their characters, stripped away of cars, mansions and money. “Now I’m back where we began” declares Tommy, “with horses and caravans, vagabonds and thieves”.
But it was with a final twist that we bid farewell to Tommy. Spotting his doctor in a newspaper clipping showing Mosley and Mitford’s marriage in Berlin, it materialised that his diagnosis of tuberculoma was an orchestrated Fascist plot. The dead man evades death once again.
After watching the gypsy wagon he was meant to die within go up in smoke, Tommy symbolically exits the series on a white horse, rather than the black one he entered it on ten years ago. Now the Peaky Blinders can rest, until they’re awoken when it’s time to hit the big screen. This was an enthralling, charming send-off, a worthy final act to conclude a decade’s worth of glorious story-telling.
Featured Image: Amiryz, IMDB
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