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.
Verdict - 6/10