So it turns out the ominous shadow of Alfie Solomons was not being followed by further shady characters. Not directly anyway. He just wants a chat and chats with Alfie are always a one sided affair, he regales Tommy of his plans to move to Margate and intentionally(?) offers some cryptic advice.
Meanwhile, back out in the boxing ring “gypsy boy” is taking a bit of a battering but it’s all for show. The ladies are getting merry and Arthur’s drug induced paranoia proves correct. In a dark corner of the venue he is jumped on, strangled and left for dead. Tommy arrives too late but fires shots in the ring out of fury. For what is essentially the second billing character to be killed off is a shocker and for the first time in a few episodes makes real the threat of the Mafia. Finn even comes of age in true Peaky fashion by taking the eyes out of a “wop”, glee covering his face as he does so. Welcome to the dark side, Finn. It’s exactly the sort of exhilarating set piece the show thrives off. Violence and intrigue matched perfectly.
“You can sign them on your knees”
Tommy has a new plan and it looks a lot like the white flag of surrender Changretta’s mother was just waving at him. In a move that gives an impression the series is going to end on a whimper, he agrees to sell over his businesses to Luca. The moment Tommy gets to his knees and starts reeling off a speech after minutes of silence is when you realise we’ve been deceived. Deception has played such a big role in series five, it really should have its own credit on IMDB. Heeding Alfie’s “advice”, they find someone bigger and turn the just thrown tables round onto Luca. The gunmen that have been trained on the Blinders now turn to their enemy.
That’s not all, though is it? From being redundant and then dead of all things, Arthur suddenly turns up to be the one who shoots Luca with his own bullet. We’ve been conned again but it’s all worth it for the shock value. Welcome back Arthur, though we didn’t get the chance to miss you.
“Alfie, stop talking!”
In a more gory and unromantic version of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Tommy meets Alfie on Margate beach. No ice creams, no seaside reminiscing, just penance for treachery. Even with death encroaching, Solomons still babbles on and only a bullet to the face stops him. Is he even dead? Even if the dog gave him mouth to mouth his chances aren’t looking good, frankly. Women might not fancy Tom Hardy so much with half a face.
“Distilled for the eradication of seemingly incurable sadness”
Arthur’s words that the “war is over” don’t ring true though. The Mafia may be gone but the much bigger war still is playing on Tommy’s mind. On a self-imposed break he retreats back into the PTSD and no amount of gin is going to put a smile on his face. No matter how bad he felt, his strop at golf was perfectly justified. So, who do you call when you’ve got a really depressing montage to soundtrack? Radiohead, of course.
“Your cause is now my cause”
Tommy and Jessie reunite, get naked and fight for socialism together. Which sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? In a political twist more surprising than Jeremy Corbyn’s first Labour leadership victory, our main man runs for office and soon becomes the representative for Birmingham South. How much is for personal gain and how much is actually for social justice is up for debate and will surely be explored in the next series. It’d be great to see more of Jessie (we saw quite a lot of her tonight to be fair, nudge nudge) with a more substantial storyline.
Did the set up six weeks ago live up to its own billing? Probably not. The threat was never quite as bad as was made out. However, Peaky Blinders always serves up unexpected twists and thrills through the lens of incredibly shot, brilliantly acted television. If series five is the last, let’s cherish every minute because we won’t see its like again. What we do know is that we’ll have till 2019 for more time with the Shelby clan.