Black Tuesday – | Review Score – 4/5
Black Cats – | Review Score – 5/5
Strategy – | Review Score – 4.5/5
The Loop – | Review Score – 4/5
The Shock – | Review Score – 4/5
Mr. Jones – | Review Score – 4/5
Season 5 of Peaky Blinders is going to be the one that divides audiences the most. With a more introverted perspective and a deliberate dose of style and aesthetic choices over tense action, Peaky Blinders’ latest season is both the strongest and weakest of the five individual stories. Juggling several sub plots and two antagonists, BBC’s prolific crime drama feels like a show that’s trying hard to cater to everyone but failing to really ignite as much excitement as it should. Individually, the episodes offer some good drama and an impressive style but as a collective whole, this is the season that will split audiences the most, especially given the unresolved ending.
With Tommy now an MP and the Peaky Blinders on top of the world, we begin the season with the stock market crash of 1929. Overnight Michael’s gamble backfires and throws Shelby Limited into dire straits. Desperate to clamber back the lost riches, Tommy finds himself doing business with the prolifically dangerous Oswald Mosley. At the same time, he also makes a deal with the Chinese to bring in a lucrative stash of drugs for money, all whilst seeking a peace deal with the Billy Boys whom Aberama wants dead for his own personal reasons.
All of these stories collide with Arthur’s inner-demons resurfacing, Tommy struggling with his own sanity and a couple of convenient plot devices used late on, with a big mystery surfacing during the climax of the season finale. Across the six episodes there’s an awful lot going on and despite the hour-long slices of drama progressing everything in a timely manner, when you compare this season to what’s come before, Season 5 feels like it’s got a bit too much going on.
In essence, there’s three main narratives at play here; Tommy’s inner-demons resurfacing in the wake of the Wall Street crash; the Billy Boys waging war on the Peaky Blinders and Mosley’s influential political status. That’s to say nothing of the various different characters across the episodes and their subplots. It’s all pretty heavy drama too and a distinct lack of comedy relief that made the previous seasons so balanced is sorely lacking here. Out of all the seasons in Peaky Blinders’ history, this is the one that’s going to divide people the most.
Stylistically Peaky Blinders has always boasted some strong scene composition and camera work but Season 5 takes that one step further with an abundance of montage segments, slow-motion shots and symbology. At times this can feel like it’s getting in the way of the main narrative, especially if you watch the episodes back to back, but to be honest the show has always walked that fine line between the two so it’s not too much of an issue here.
Despite all that, Peaky Blinders continues to deliver an impressive array of action, drama and visually pleasing episodes. Solomon’s maniacal quips and unpredictability does feel like the missing ingredient here for large stretches of the season but Mosley’s deliciously dark presence should be enough to see you through to the end. With a sixth season already confirmed and all six episodes here exciting and well-paced, Peaky Blinders bows out with another strong season, even if its likely to be the most divisive in the show’s history.