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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Peaky Blinders: The Shelby's gather for a funeral


"We're all cursed"
Never has a bare backside been involved in such an intense montage before but what with all the tears , blood and bodies, the opening stages are so bleak that at least some will get cheer from the view of Cillian Murphy's arse. To be fair, it's not all doom and gloom. John is deader than Arthur's social skills but at least Michael survived the shooting.

"An eye for an eye. It's called a vendetta"
Bar a deserting Esme, the gang is back together around the Small Heath table. Finn is now able to take his place there while Polly grimaces fiercely at Tommy again. They take a vote, and we all know how votes go in this country. Five vote for peace and two for opt for a truce and that equals the reformation of an uneasy alliance. John's funeral is immediately its first test. 
The location is so public they're "sitting ducks" and Tommy is in the line of fire before the intervention of a Aberama Gold, a gypsy with little or no moral compass. He may be protecting the Small Heath clan for now but at what cost? Naturally, using a family member's burning body as a trap doesn't go down too well with Aunt Pol. There was no vote either, but we've had enough of referendums so there. Despite the openness of the scene it's expertly claustrophobic. The uneasy feeling that things are about to go tits up at any moment is a hallmark of the show but the threat feels so much greater now.

"When you're dead already - you're free"
In an episode full of compromises, John promises to go to Australia with Polly once all this has blown over (they may even grab a pint at The Winchester en route if time allows). From the hospital bed he offers advice which works like a tin of spinach does to Popeye. It's good to have the mean aunt back on form and frankly the Blinders are going to need her more than ever.
It might all sound horrid but there are also strong elements of comedy, not just in the form of Johnny Dogs trying to cook but in plenty of droll one liners. It's walking the fine line between dark and light perfectly. It's a serious business but maybe the writers have the confidence to not take it so seriously and it's benefitting the show greatly. Peaky Blinders still has its set notable traits that it falls back on but the only time it veers towards self parody is whenever Tommy saunters through the factory as flames blaze around him.

"Do you have a whistle? If so, blow it"
While the family have drawn a friendship circle, Tommy would not be Tommy if he wasn't making fresh adversaries. He takes on Mr Gold's boy as a boxer but it merely looks like a case of keeping his enemies closer. Then there is Jessie Eden, who makes real of her threat to start a walkout and the factory is soon empty, bar two well dressed gentlemen that is..


"None of you will survive"
No opponent will be a match for the mafia who are "an organisation of a different dimension". For the second week in a row, Tommy's security is sidestepped with ease and a showdown with the man himself, Luca Changretta ensues. In a not so subtle metaphor, the big hatted evil one names individual bullets after each of the Shelbys, like a children's game gone rogue. He flicks "John" down and informs Tommy that he will be the very last target, so he has to watch and suffer the loss of his entire family. It's brutal but engrossing. Tommy is now the underdog so what better incentive is there to stay tuned? Will the dog be put down or will his bite be bigger than his bark? 9/10

Peaky Blinders Continues Wednesday at 9.00pm on BBC Two.

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