Tommy has been standing on landmines since the war, mostly metaphorically, but in quite possibly the most stunning opening seven minutes of a TV show ever he does it for real. For as long as we’ve known him he’s always thought of himself as a dead man walking and this provides the perfect visual metaphor. He stands before his scarecrow self which is hung on a cross, millimeters from being scattered across the field like compost. Stylistically the direction and atmosphere has a poetry to it Amid all this drama the only sound is the foreboding bluster of the wind in the distance. Until Tommy goes full suicide bomber that is and we hear those bangs. Boy, do we hear them. As he says shortly after, “It’s pretty dark Frances”. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Meanwhile, Michael is apprehended on his way back and held in Belfast by the Occupied Six Counties who report that he has betrayed his family. His eventual return is met with a magnificent standoff in the street and is followed by a bruising non physical showdown with Tommy and Arthur in the bar. Cillian Murphy saying so much in his performance when saying so little. His words undercut by mixed messages. “Ok Michael, I believe you” he deadpans before demanding his money back. He giveth then taketh away. Michael and Tommy squaring up are heart skipping moments and give the show a new kind of edge. Let’s face it, this show has always had edge.
An intriguing turn this year is the younger generation starting to stand up for themselves. “General Finn” to is getting his say even if that say is ignored. “I’ve met this girl and want to get married” he declares proudly, “F**k off!” responds Arthur. Classic bants. The dialogue is even zippier this series and that is quite an achievement given all that’s gone before.
Lizzie and Linda are also taking on the Peaky patriarchy but their letters of intent fall on flat ears , or burning coals to be precise. They are dismissed but no moment was crueller than Tommy telling his wife “In my head, I still pay for it”. He definitely deserved the gun pointed at him.
We meet the Billy Boys. We know they’re the Billy Boys because they politely introduce themselves (“Did you not hear my song?!”) They’re a Protestant razor gang and they surprise Aberama Gold’s picnic, not to steal the sausages, but to kill his son Bonnie and tie him to a cross. It’s gruesome and as Gold lies in a pool of his own tears his life is spared purely to pass a message on to you know who..
Narcism and paranoia are the driving force behind Tommy now. He states “I am the revolution” and that “Someone wants my crown” This is no longer about family. This is about status and ego. Michael, Lizzie, Linda, Aberama, the Billy Boys and probably the whole of Ireland are in his sights. Apologies if anyone was left out, it’s difficult to keep up. Everything is falling apart from the inside while the hunters outside prowl. Let’s enjoy the fireworks because the bangs are set to get even louder.
A LITTLE PEAK
– In a rare moment of vulnerability Tommy told Arthur “I don’t like the f**king life” with tiredness writ large over his face. The human inside is trying to come out.
– We got another glimpse of Oswald Mosley who was met with Ada’s typical offishness. He is being held back for now.
– Here’s betting The Garrison doesn’t serve Guinness.
– “How can a one armed man avenge the death of his son?” Hand grenade? Knife? Angry glove puppet? The possibilities are vast.
Contributed by Michael Lee.
Peaky Blinders Continues Sunday at 9.00pm on BBC One.