Mosley VS The World
As we reach the halfway point in Season 5 of Peaky Blinders, the conflict with the Billy Boys is kept on hold for now while the antagonistic Mosley steps forward to the foreground. With the Billy Boys conflict on stand-still for now, the episode doubles down on its drama surrounding the fascist politician whilst seeing ghosts of the past haunt both Arthur and Tommy as they struggle to retain the upper-hand. With a lucrative deal set to catapult them back into the money again, only time will tell how this will play out later on down the line.
The Billy Boys arrive in Birmingham where Tommy stands waiting for them at the dock. Jimmy McCavern laments the white flag of truce and while tensions are high between them, Tommy manages to just about strike a deal with him before offering accommodation and a safe place to hang his hat for now.
Heading back to brave his MP facade, Arthur laments that life before filling Tommy in on the money they’ve made so far in the rigged sport betting. A Chinese Man appears at Tommy’s office at the pub and calls himself Brilliant Chang. As he sits to talk, at the bookies a mysterious woman bursts into the office and manages to seduce Finn, holding him up at gunpoint, where a phone call reveals his predicament. Brilliant Chang admits as much to Tommy, telling him it’s been done as a reassurance of his attention, before lighting a cigarette and discussing business. He offers a bag of opium – the purest in Europe – as Tommy relays to him the intricate details around the shipment, including the amount of money it’s all worth.
Gathering the family, Tommy tells them about the opium deal. Polly votes against the idea straight away but he continues, mentioning the canal boats and keeping Opium for a week in exchange for a decent amount of money. Enough to catapult them back into the annals of royalty. Arthur disagrees too but Tommy persists, telling her that Michael would be reinstated and front the movement, offered a cut of the money in the process of course. In doing so, it would essentially wipe out half the debt that he lost in wall street. To good to turn down, Polly changes her vote and they agree to go ahead with it.
At his office, Aberama comes to see Tommy and tells him of his displeasure of the deal with the Billy Boys. Incredulous, he learns Polly is part of the deal and that the elaborate plan he has concocted involves her agreeing to be married to him. In doing so, it would postpone the death of McCavern for now. They shake hands and agree, while Tommy continues to flick his silver tongue in parliament and gain the support of other politicians.
Afterward, Mosley comes to see him and they discuss Lizzie, Tommy’s wife. As the fascist antagonizes him, Tommy bites back and tells Mosley he’s done some research of his own, now aware of Mosley’s secrets too. Offering him an invite to his party, Mosley leaves while Tommy breathes a deep sigh of relief, struggling to play along with Mosley’s deep web of deception and deceit. On his way out, Tommy feeds back the information he’s gathered about Mosley before telling Ada about the visions he’s seen. Neglecting his doctor appointments, Ada pleads with him to stop taking opium before he asks her to make sure her unborn child doesn’t come near him as he leaves.
Polly convinces Michael to play along with the deal and as Tommy and the Billy Boys walk the fine line between friend and foe, they agree to do business for now while Tommy attempts to try and play the game in his favour. Back at the house, Mosley arrives where Michael relays the deal on to Gina and discusses how important this may be to their future. He tells her about the lucrative prize at the end of this deal, with approximately £1 million waiting for him every year.
Without much in the way of an introduction, Polly discusses the various options laid out for Mosley to enjoy, including the maids, drugs and brandy – all of which available to guests. After discussing matters with Lizzie, Tommy greets Mosley who’s none too happy about the rude arrival and lack of a greeting. Tommy gets down to business though right away and asks for his signature, prompting Mosley to keep his guard up. He figures the party is an elaborate ploy to suss out his weakness which he tells Tommy right away – it happens to be trusting people. As he signs the cheque and heads back out to the main hall, Lizzie offers him a cold greeting, recognizing him instantly from her time as a nightclub hostess.
While the various Blinders watch the ballet at his house, Abrerama catches Polly’s attention and asks for her hand in marriage outside. Smiling, she agrees to the terms while a car slowly pulls up to the house. As Mosley shoots a knowing glance at Gina, Arthur heads out and sees that it’s Linda that’s arrived. She points a gun at Arthur only to see Polly arrive at the last second and shoot her dead. As rapturous applause rings out, the Blinders watch her body on the ground while Mosley and the others inside applaud the end of the ballet.
Gorgeously shot, Peaky Blinders continues to impress with its intricate blend of storytelling and artistry. There’s an awful lot going on here and the final shots involving the ballet and Linda’s death are a really nice touch to add some nice visual work to a pretty busy episode. Although the abrupt ending to the Billy Boys subplot is a bit disappointing, especially for those expecting an all-out war on the streets of Birmingham, Mosley is a compelling foe and arguably the toughest Tommy has faced thus far in his life.
There’s still a niggling feeling with this one that Peaky Blinders will neatly wrap up its story and thwart Mosley, much like everyone else over the seasons that Tommy has faced. Despite that, there’s some good work done narratively to keep things interesting. Polly stepping up and killing Arthur’s wife is one such example and it’s certainly one of the more shocking moments of the episode.
Just what’s up with Gina too? The knowing glance she shoots Mosley toward the end of the episode may well signify a much deeper plan going on here, one that may see Mosley pulling the strings while Gina feeds back valuable information about the family. Still, there’s plenty to chew over in this episode as Peaky Blinders bows out with another very good episode, one that leaves the door wide open for the remaining time in this series.