Peaky Blinders Season 6 Review – A blinding finale can’t save this hedonistic, unfocused story

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

Episode Guide

Black Day -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Black Shirt -| Review Score – 4/5
Gold -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Sapphire -| Review Score – 3/5
The Road To Hell -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Lock and Key -| Review Score – 4/5

 

Peaky Blinders has had quite the bumpy ride over the years. Some would argue that the previous few seasons have moved into more hedonistic, trippy territory, valuing cinematography and visuals over big action set pieces and exciting stand-offs. And they’re certainly not wrong. In fact, if there was ever a series that typifies this imbalance, it’s season 6.

Without getting too much into spoilers, those after a resolution that wraps up absolutely everything here will be disappointed. With a movie already confirmed and plenty of loose threads leading into that, the final 81 minute chapter of this season essentially feels like an appetizer before the main course of that aforementioned movie to follow.

Season 6’s story though picks up with the Shelby family utterly broken. Following the tragic loss of Helen McCrory, the actress who plays Polly Shelby, the series goes into a state of mourning as Tommy is taunted by Captain Swing, pointing out that their family has been dealt a horrid blow. Polly is dead, Arthur has gone off the deep end (again) and Tommy is a broken mess and close to suicide.

In fact the final moments of season 5 saw Tommy step out the mist with a gun to his head – and season 6 begins right here. With fascists entering the fray, and the twisted, nasty Oswald still on the prowl, Tommy eventually gathers what resources he has left to try and hit back. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done as the family wrestle with another tragedy in their midst.

To complicate matters further, Michael blames Tommy for his mother’s death and sets to work gaining his revenge, dead-set on taking out Thomas once and for all.

This conflict  encapsulates most of this season, which is far more trippy and surreal than any of the previous ones. Unfortunately, it also loses a fair amount of focus on the external conflict to double down on Tommy’s inner demons. This is something the show has portrayed since all the way back in season 1 but here it feels a little unfocused – which I guess typifies the overall theme of season 6.

I won’t go into spoilers but certain characters are introduced and never handled effectively. Jack Nelson, for example, is added as a big bad but never really gets much of a resolution. Whether the writers are holding out hope for him in the movie is anyone’s guess, but it doesn’t help the writing here at all. That’s to say nothing of a brand new character introduced with ties to Tommy, which honestly feels like a get out of jail free card for writer’s block.

While the individual episodes are good to watch, examining this as a collective whole is where the cracks can really be seen. Characters like Arthur fall back into old habits with yet another addiction subplot, while Ada is given some cracking lines of dialogue… and not much else. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see where the shortcomings are this year.

Peaky Blinders season 6 isn’t a bad watch, but it’s easily the weakest of the six seasons. I’d imagine a fair few of you are confused over the negative tone here, given the ratings given to the individual episodes, but compared to other TV released this year, Peaky Blinders just doesn’t compare. It’s a shame for sure, but despite a rather blinding finale, the Shelby family fail to rise to the occasion.


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  • Verdict - 6/10
    6/10
6/10

7 thoughts on “Peaky Blinders Season 6 Review – A blinding finale can’t save this hedonistic, unfocused story”

  1. This is one of the few websites that is honest enough to say how bad this season really was. It was absolute trash. I love Peaky Blinders. I was so excited for this season and thought it was set up so well in season five. And then this season was a total disaster.

    What happened to the fascist bad guy? He is such a great villain to go against Tommy Shelby and he is barely in the season at all. Why? Why on earth would you not just put the bad guy in more scenes?

    Where was Arthur? Why is he not in any scenes hardly at all? What on earth are you thinking getting rid of the second main character? It makes absolutely no sense.

    I agree with the previous reviewer who said this was a very Tommy-heavy season. I love that character, but why on earth does he have to be in every scene? This show has such a strong cast and they barely used them at all this season. What an absolute joke. I hope more people become aware of how bad this season is and Steven Knight is forced to address how awful this really was.

  2. Annoyed rant and spoilers ahead:

    I actually found this page, poking around on the internet trying to find out if anyone else was dissatisfied with season six, or if I’d just gone a little funny in the head. Just as I thought an alcohol induced psychosis was starting to take over, I found this gem, so thanks for that. Anyway, as others have said, there were so many loose ends here, my grandmother – God rest her soul – could’ve crocheted a nice blanket with all the wasted potential in season six. In absolutely no order whatsoever:

    Tommy mentions earlier on, when he’s playing all sides, that he wants intelligence on the facists to give to Winston Churchill, and we get none of that. Would’ve been nice seeing Tommy scheme with the best of them, even a blowhard that liked to talk such as Winston.

    The IRA is antagonistic with the Peaky Blinders instead of trying to develop a closer relationship, if only for arms and munitions supply, something the IRA had frequent issues with throughout their existence, even early on. Surely, IRA or Provo intel suggested the Peaky Blinders had a working relationship with the BSA factory and a decent sized war room.
    The IRA leaning towards fascism, arguing that they can push their people from Republicanism to Fascism easily because they aren’t all that different, or whatever the BC says, comes off as cheap dialogue to let a woman say something punchy at a table full of men. And everyone at the table just nods and says “yeah, you’re right”.

    Duck, or Duke, or whatever Tommy’s illegitimate son’s name is, similarly feels like cheap writing and an attempt to distract us from how terribly written this last season was. He’s introduced in the eleventh hour of the series, and while he’s a handsome enough fellow I just don’t give a shit – not about his backstory, not about his tiny arc, not about his hatred of people and love of horses. We could’ve had so much more character development on existing characters that I don’t understand why the writers wasted their time introducing a superfluous new character this late in the series.

    Given Jack’s arc as an unofficial envoy of the US President, I begrudgingly admit the show could likely only do so much, as killing him off would have serious, real world implications had such an event actually happened historically, and in previous seasons, the show has done a fair to decent job of bookending itself between actual, historical events – even this one does by beginning with the end of Prohibition in the United States. But he’s introduced as a wealthy antagonist who’s sympathetic to Fascism – okay, and? Most of the audience would probably agree that Fascism is bad, we already accept this guy is bad, but that’s really the end of his arc? Tell us a guy probably supports Hitler, let the audience get triggered, and we’ll immediately assume his motives are for the sake of evil, and that everything he does is evil, and he has to be stopped at all costs? Hey, writers, you could’ve fleshed this character out a lot more, and just blindly scribbling “fascist evil” on the character’s forehead feels more like some shallow, one dimensional stuff out of the last WWII Call of Duty plot than from a once gritty, gripping, and praised show.

    Michael spends most of his time in a prison, getting set up early on by Tommy, and when he gets out, he just goes and plans to blow Tommy up with a bomb. That’s seriously his plan. No plotting, no layers, no depth, no secondary or tertiary plan, just – “I know Tommy is the smartest guy in the room, and his schemes have schemes, and those schemes have sub-schemes, but yeah, leaving him alone in a car for a suspiciously long amount of time will totally kill this main protagonist.”

    This is just another show that had a setback that could’ve benefited from a bit extra writing time to get it right. For those that don’t know, Helen McCrory passed away after some of her scenes for Poly had been shot, and the writers, understandably, needed to rewrite some major components of the season. There would’ve been no shame in postponing the final season, extending condolences, and reworking a sensible six episodes. “Nah, we don’t have time for all that,” the writers said, coming back up from doing a bump of coke off their socially-distanced desks, “just get more cerebral and show everyone that Tommy’s going mad to pad the time a little, it’ll all be fine.” And an absolutely poor decision it was. This was another plot thread – Tommy’s shell shock, or post-traumatic stress in contemporary times – that was just played with before the writers got bored of it.

    Like Benioff and Weiss before them who quite successfully massacred Game of Thrones in its final days, Steven Knight took a steaming dump on this final season in an attempt to get it over with.

    4/10.

  3. Finished watching the series final season this week in the USA. Held off looking at anything remotely related to PB to avoid spoilers.

    Like others, this season felt like it was smashed together a la Game of Thrones. Disjointed pieces and parts to create a series finale that does not go anywhere at any time. This is a tremendously Tommy-heavy season. Arthur is barely a blip on the radar. Michael seems totally out of place, the introduction of a cartoonish bad guy who is carrying the comic bomb, ready to go off. Ada has more of a prominent role than either of the aforementioned…and subplots from the previous season don’t really add up/have any sort of real resolution.

    I strongly suspect that Pol’s real-life death had the screenwriters scrambling to come up wth six different episodes, and as a result of her untimely passing, the story arc that *was* no longer *is* and we are left with this fantastic void that probably would have tied this entire season together (NOTE: I would love to see the scripts that exist prior to her passing, just to compare)

    It’s hard to imagine that this was not a struggle for the writers after Pol’s death, but the “finale'” season leaves too many questions unanswered….which is perfect for the PB movie we’ve heard about. However, this seems like another Tommy debacle all neatly wrapped up in a little package with a bow by the end of the season, leaving enough drama for the next.

    Maybe I’ll re-write the finale’ in my mind to better explain the things that just made no sense.

    And, yup, I left out spoilers for those who haven’t yet seen it. Good luck enjoying it better than I did.

  4. SO disappointing! I watched all the previous Peaky blinders seasons and this was sadly the absolute worst. And, the music throughout made it even more so. 🤬

  5. Season 6 for me is the non sense one. I love 1-5, watched several times but the closure is a shame. Nothing to do with the rest of the show. What a disappointment! I am a great fan of the series and its really so frustrating and sad to watch 6 episodes with lack of classic actions of the f… Peaky Blinders but mixture of actions that bring to no clear ending, politics too much, and a Tommy Shelby playing not at his highest capacity. Alfie 2 short in 2 scenes and I could continue. One thing is for sure, if this had been first serie, I would have not watch it ever! Pity!

  6. Coming from an avid fan that has watched season 1-5 at least 6 times over, I completely agree. Subplots lead to no satisfying endings and the character development completely dropped off. There was no real “main” story line and some scenes were just straight up corny and eye-rolling. I was pretty disappointed to say the least :/ this was my favorite show of all time and it ended in a bust.

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