The Old Arthur Returns
With the Billy Boys conflict postponed for the time being and Linda meeting the wrong end of a bullet, we return to Peaky Blinders this week right where we left off from before, with Arthur carrying Linda inside and lying her on the dinner table. It turns out Linda has been shot in the shoulder and as Tommy gets her to bite down on a cloth, he pulls the bullet out while Arthur tells Mosley to leave. Linda is left to rest while Arthur weeps for her.
Meanwhile Mosley addresses all of Tommy’s guests and discusses opportunity. A new political party will be set up and with it, a new chapter in politics. With a fire in his belly and a determination in his voice, he continues through applause and tells them England will continue to march on with two words that will define his party – Britain First. As he continues, he tells them the name of the party will be The British Union Fascists.
Meanwhile Arthur pleads with Linda as she regains consciousness, suggesting they run away together. Instead she rejects him, telling him she’s glad she didn’t shoot him as it would have been a kindness. Struggling to hold back tears, Arthur watches as Linda drives out of the estate and, presumably, out of the Shelby’s life forever.
The next day, Tommy draws up evidence of Mosley’s criminal connections but is met with resistance. Ben is frazzled, telling him that he may well be moved to a less favourable position after his six month review, given what he’s been doing for Tommy. However, outside in the car he opens the letter given to him and begins reading before stuffing it back in the envelope. Unfortunately, as he closes the door to the car it explodes, killing him instantly and knocking out three kids in the process.
Tommy heads outside with his gun and as dust and ash circles around him, he scrambles to save the children. Unfortunately he’s then stuck with the worst possible news – to tell Ada that her partner is now dead. To make matters worse, a 10 year old child died in the blast and as he heads back into his car, with a fear of drowning in sorrow hanging heavy over him, he sees Grace in the backseat.
He’s not the only one drowning either, as Arthur buries his pain in alcohol and joins the others as they await the shipment from the Chinese by the dock. As they head into Chinatown, there’s no sign of the Chinese until they’re ambushed en-route to the shipment. It turns out it’s the Irish, the Titanic Boys to be precise. With an LMG (light machine gun) in tow, Arthur struts outside and fires a barrage of bullets into the air before telling them, in no uncertain terms, not to mess with the Peaky Blinders.
Finding the shipment, Arthur reminds the others what it means to be a Peaky Blinder while Aberama watches him suspiciously. The mad dog is well and truly off his chain now and with it, the old Arthur has been unleashed.
Walking through the smoke, Tommy follows the horse and cart carrying Peter, the 10 year old boy he holds himself responsible for killing in the blast. Heading underground, and away from the funeral procession, he empties his pockets by request and follows the man into the heart of the insane asylum. There, he meets Barney and relays all the fatalities of the family to him. With the promise of breaking him out, Tommy tells him he could use a sniper like him for the upcoming battle, to which he agrees.
The episode then ends with Tommy by the deck waiting for the shipment while McCavern discusses the possibility of Italians being brought in for stability in the South. Given Tommy’s bloody history with this group, they watch as Arthur arrives with his gun in tow. Just about keeping his temper in check while face to face with the Billy Boys leader, an uneasy end to the conversation, and McCavern’s place at the dock, leads Arthur and Tommy’s conversation to turn to Barney, whom Tommy has tasked with killing Mosley. Once that happens, Arthur and Aberama are free to do as they please with the Billy Boys.
With a gorgeous one-shot scene to begin the episode, Peaky Blinders delivers a tense and gripping episode here, one that offers some impressive characterisation for Tommy as he’s pushed to breaking point. Expertly acted by Cillian Murphy, his character this year has been far more endearing and unhinged than we’ve seen before in the show’s history and Peaky Blinders is all the stronger for it.
The cinematography is once again impressive and coupled with the absorbing story, this star-studded crime drama continues to impress. While I personally preferred last season with the Italian Mafia, there’s still enough here to make for a very good season, and antagonist threat, indeed. Quite how this one is going to end remains to be seen but the five weeks have flown by while this has aired. If there’s one thing Peaky Blinders knows how to do though it’s put on a climactic finish to a season, leaving next week’s finale a very tantalizing prospect indeed. Bring on next Sunday!