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Sunday, 8 September 2019

REVIEW: Peaky Blinders hits 'the calm before the storm'.

After the declaration of all-out war last week, it's a tad disappointing to see the Billy Boys greeted immediately with a peace pact. However, it's handled exquisitely. "You left me a landmine" Tommy laments. "For which I apologise" McCavern sarcastically responds. This being Peaky Blinders, any peace is fractious. "Nothing here is stolen Mr McCavern, Charlie simply finds things before they're lost". This agreement comes as a result of their mutual "friend" Oswald Mosley. The big showdown will not be televised, this week anyway, and that's reflected in an episode that feels like the calm before the storm.


Calm in Small Heath is a dubious notion because there's still lots happening, most worryingly of all is the fate of Mrs Connors' songbirds but it's ok because Arthur will replace them with birds that have the "same colours and.. feathers". Tommy's constituency is of course at the Garrison and his next visitor ups the ante. Brilliant Chang offers a brilliant plan involving opium for Tommy to transport and it gives the Shelbys an opportunity to recover money lost in the crash.

In truth, Tommy has more on his mind than money. Grace keeps revisiting at inconvenient times and she's no longer a friendly ghost. "It wasn't the bluestone Tommy, it was you". The visions may be getting a bit overcooked now. It clearly serves the purpose of showing Tommy's descent into madness but if people haven't got that by now they haven't been paying attention. One thing that is notable about the scene was the use of (Graces?) heavy breaths. That combined with his own coughing fits and breathiness serve as a reminder that Tommy feels more mortal than ever. His weakness shows on the outside now and he was clearly rattled by Mosley.


The set-piece of 'The Loop' is saved for the very end. A grand ballet is the setting for much intrigue, or as Oswald puts it "an evening with a tribe of gypsies" (incidentally, that's a show which never got past the ITV Commissioners). Tommy is late due to performing his own bed based ballet much to the chagrin of Mosley. Worse still, the moody guest had previous entanglements with Lizzie back in the day but turns out his own performance was cancelled early due to champagne. AWKS. It's Come Dine With Me but with drugs, sexual intrigue and murder. Yes, murder but we'll get to that bit.

While the dancers swan about to Arthur's snoring, Aberama whisks Polly away and proposes. It's kind of sweet. "Let's fuck before the swan dies" she insists. You definitely don't get that on Come Dine With Me. Meanwhile Linda turns up on the doorstep with a vengeance. We think she's shot her ex. We think Arthur is dead.. again, but of nowhere Polly appears (the lovin' clearly didn't last long) to put a bullet into Linda . It's a device that has been used too often for Arthur now but the whole thing was beautifully shot. So was Linda, as it goes.

A LITTLE PEAK:
- The best line was with Ada insisting Tommy throw away the opium. "How much of it have you got left?" she asks. The reply? "Seven tonnes"
- "FUCKING BALLET?!" We're with you on this one, Michael.
- He may be back in the gang but is Tommy setting Michael up for a fall? Will the Chinese really hang for things if they go wrong?
- No talk of the black cat this week which adds to the feeling that it's someone in the background. Esme or Frances maybe?
-  Finn didn't piss himself at gunpoint. We're so proud.
- Did Arthur actually replace those birds in the end? We need to know. Poor old Mrs Connors.

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