From a tense derby day strike through to a confrontation with the Italian Mafia, if there’s one thing Peaky Blinders has always got right, it’s its season finales. In a way Season 5 has really been the best and worst Peaky Blinders has to offer, with numerous subplots, narratives and ideas playing out, intertwining into a messy, yet artistically sound season that’s sure to polarize fans of the show. The finale is no exception, leaving things wide open for the inevitable sixth season.
We begin with Churchill and Tommy talking about conviction and their enemies. Tommy asks the future Prime Minister why he’s come to visit, prompting him to mention Mosley and their so-called alliance. From Churchill’s own intelligence, he learns Tommy is actually spying on him. As they continue talking, they both share common ground around the First World War and their time in France as Churchill tells him they’re both in the same situation in Government and that he can do as he wishes. As he collects his hat and coat, he tells Tommy that he should come up to Birmingham and spend an evening with the Shelbys before leaving.
Back in Birmingham, the family are gathered together for a meeting. Tommy announces that Aberama and Polly are going to be married before they toast to Ada following Ben Younger’s assassination. Before they go on, Michael takes the reins of the meeting and tells them that the opium shipment will bring in £2 million, prompting a shift in family dynamics. He proposes expansion of the Shelby family into America to progress their narcotics business which could bring in 20 million dollars per annum for them.
Instead, Tommy takes the file and throws it in the fire before moving on. Before he does though, Michael goes on to tell him the Americans don’t want to deal with Tommy and will only deal with him. As Michael continues on, Tommy confronts him, telling him he needs to leave by the time he returns as Polly stands up and slaps her son square across the jaw for his betrayal.
After calming Barney down outside in the streets, the Blinders return to the pub with Michael nowhere to be seen. As Tommy goes over the meticulous details of the plan, Aberama learns that McCavern will be there as head of security, perking his interest up immediately. After giving everyone their missions, he offers them all £30,000 for completing the task. As they begin to discuss a fourth item on the agenda, the various players leave ready for the big day ahead as Mickey arrives, whom they learn has been feeding information to the Titanic Boys and various players all along. Tommy sighs before shooting him in the neck, killing him instantly.
As Arthur pleads with his brother for another item on the agenda, Tommy screams at him before tasking him to carry on as he was. It’s here he goes and visits Solomon, who is well and truly alive. Despite a scar across his face from the gunshot wound and a glossy look in one eye, they discuss fascism and Mosley. He tells him he’s going to kill Mosley and wants him by his side. He offers Alfie £10,000 but after mentioning Birmingham, he renegotiates to £25,000. Promising he’ll keep going until he finds an enemy he can’t defeat, Tommy heads back home.
There, he speaks to Polly who hands in her resignation after promising that either him or Arthur will die, given the vision she’s just seen. As the big day arrives, Mosley arrives at his political rally while Finn spills the details around the assassination to Billy, who picks up the phone instead of the wad of cash before him. The anti-fascist group arrives on cue while Barney takes his position ready to take the shot. After being given a line of coke to calm his nerves, Arthur wishes him luck and leaves him to his devices while Tommy heads inside.
Mosley takes to the stage as the crowd salutes him and he begins his speech. Next to the podium, Tommy awaits his mark as men rush inside the building and begin protesting. With Mosley waiting impatiently for the scuffle to end, he counts down from 10 but on the count of 3, a figure high above kills Barney with a silenced pistol while Aberama is grabbed and stabbed multiple times. Arthur is also grabbed, however he gets the upper-hand and thwarts his attackers while Tommy finds himself struggling to regain control in the midst of the bloodshed and carnage.
With nothing resolved, Tommy rushes back to his dressing room as Arthur storms in moments later and tells him Aberama is dead, while Jessie stands wide-eyed in the corner. Realizing that someone knew about the plan all along, Tommy paces back and forth as he tries to work out who may have betrayed them. To make matters worse, Mosley knew nothing.
We then cut forward to Arthur and Tommy contemplating the future at his estate. Facing an enemy he can’t defeat, Tommy shakes his head and tries to figure things out as he walks into the foggy acres of land surrounding his house, where he finds the ghostly image of Grace trying to convince him to leave. Tommy puts a gun up to his head and screams to the heavens where we leave the episode, and series, hanging in the balance.
Unlike the seasons gone by where things have been pretty much resolved despite some underlying issues spilling over to the next season, Peaky Blinders leaves the conflict with Mosley wide open going forward. Aberama’s death is an expected but shocking ending to his arc, especially given McCavern didn’t share that same fate. With both him and Mosley still alive, all eyes point to another showdown and it certainly sets things up nicely for an Arthur VS McCavern showdown.
I said it earlier but Peaky Blinders has really showcased the best and worst it has to offer this season. On the one hand, the style and production design has been one of the strongest in the show’s history, with some nicely implemented bouts of symbology and interesting character work, especially with Tommy. However the trio of narratives playing out here, along with the various sub plots and supporting character developments haven’t always had the room to breathe that they needed. What’s left then is a season that bows out on an almighty cliffhanger, ready for round two with Mosley.
Seeing Solomon again is also a nice touch and his exclusion from the season has been sorely missed, with his dark comedy perfectly balancing out some of the more tense drama that’s taken centre stage this season. While it would have been nice to see him included a little earlier into proceedings, the cameo appearance in the finale is a welcome surprise.
The finale is likely to have a lot of people talking and between Aberama’s brutal murder and Mosley still being alive, the agonizing wait for season 6 now begins. If I’d wager a guess on who tipped off the assassins I’d say Michael is behind this. Given the open-ending we receive here, Billy phoning someone feels like a red herring to throw off the true culprits, and it would certainly back up the “plan B” mentioned by his wife during the meeting. Still, we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.
Who do you think betrayed Tommy? Feel free to drop a comment below as we’d love to hear your theories on just who was behind this!