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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Peaky Blinders: Blackbird...

“In this sinful place there will be temptations..”


Women using their feminine charm is a through line in tonight’s proceedings. Firstly, it is Arthur who is caught in the sexy trap. Due to an “extraordinary” meeting (matter of opinion, that one) he is delayed by a lingerie clad Linda who insists it’s the job of a good wife to keep her man’s “balls empty and his belly full”. You can probably guess which one occurred in the office. He was literally “fucking busy” but not for that long, truth be told. Typical man. Despite Linda using her assets as a decoy, the real reason for missing the meeting was rogue staff “chucking paint around in the paint shop”. Unfortunate wording giving the scene in question.

Euphemisms aside, newly reborn Polly is on the lookout for some rude man action, preferably with someone “unsuitable” and lectures from Ada go down as badly as she wants someone to go down on her. Well, most euphemisms aside. Things get queasy when she teams up with Luca Changretta himself. More of that later…

“Spotted Dick. What is that?”

Speaking of Mr Mafia, we get more insight into Luca when he belittles his staff by shouting at them and shoving a scone in one of their mouths. No wonder they don’t like British food if they’re not consuming it properly. No jam? No cream? That’s barbaric. It’s a scene that feel slightly out of kilter from everything else. While it may have been reaching for Goodfellas, the reality was much closer to Dick Tracy. Of the non spotted variety.  Let’s hope Changretta is more of a background menace rather than one that’s too uncomfortably super imposed into this world.

“Fuck you and your revolution!”

Angry Arthur is back and the red paint from naughty workers is the least of his worries as two men enter through his open back door. It’s an innuendo laden sort of episode. Those two men are from the mafia and due to their incredibly bad aim (stop it) Arthur manages to defeat them. And burn them in a fire. Bet you couldn’t do that these days with all this heath and safety about, eh? Which is a good thing.

Still alive but still not happy, Arthur feels deceived by both wife and family and feels out of contract as the decision that it doesn’t have to be his gun that kills Changretta was made in his absence. With convincing from his god bothering wife he shoots his last bullet into thin air, which in an episode highlighting men’s weakness at the hands of powerful women, could be seen as an ultimate metaphor. “The modern way” of killing is to contract it out, let Aberama Gold do it. It’s like a primitive form of checkout staff losing jobs to self-service machines – just a lot more gory.  This is Arthur though, and even without the sense of lost manhood he currently feels, his devil will always win out..

“Blackbird, Blackbird, singing the blues all day”

Tommy’s not given too much to work with this week but he’s clearly finding it hard to trust anyone. Suspicion now falls on his own staff and he also has Jessie Eden in his sights. He pops by her house and their research into each other is impressive given there is no Google. The mind games between the pair ratchet up further as they reel of considerable knowledge of past loves and communist pasts. There seems to be more to Jessie at play than simple trade union business. She clearly got under Tommy’s skin and hurt his heart. His good side coming out as he sets out plans to set up institutes for children. Why? Because he promised someone way back when that he’d change the world.

With reference to the song she was listening to, in symbolism, Blackbirds actually represent knowledge. They are known to be carriers of intelligence and quick wit. The powers of a Blackbird are apparently “sacred messenger” and “feminine energy”.  Something to ponder. In an hour filled with subtle gender politics it could be telling.

“You need to be a fucking man”

As a treat, Finn is treated to a prostitute by his caring family (what happened to socks as a gift?) but comes back from the experience almost horrified, as if he’d seen a naked ghost. The fact that he apologised to her causes Tommy much bemusement. Fresh from two scenes where he’s clearly bottling up very raw emotions he tells Finn to man up. Men are men and women are women. It’s that black and white to him and Arthur who, ironically are two men who could do with giving Marley & Me a watch and having a proper good cry. Yes, women in the show are disrespected to an extent but the excellent writing shows male motives up for what they are and the fact it has such brilliantly written, multilayered women means they can get away with showing this old school mentality so blatantly.

“You take Tommy, spare the rest”

So, back to Polly then. Her motives are revealed and its quite a shock to the system. Supping a drink with Luca sat by her side they negotiate in the form of flirting. She offers Tommy as the lamb to his slaughter in offer for the freedom of the rest of the family. Is it a double bluff? Unlikely, as her main motive is to escape to Australia with Michael and that can’t be done with them both dead. Luca doesn’t specifically agree and if if he had, he’s clearly not to be trusted with promises. Or scones. ‘Blackbird’ put the stabilisers on the action but while the pace was more considered, it was an intriguing and strong mid series spectacle. 8/10

Peaky Blinders Continues Wednesday at 9.00pm on BBC Two.

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