If the Peaky Blinders grand finale confirmed anything, it’s that Tommy Shelby and his clan aren’t the only ones who got away with murder. So does series creator/writer Steven Knight.
If I wore a flat cap, I would take it off the man. Just as Tommy ( Cillian Murphy) seemed to end everything, Knight pulled him back from the abyss with a sudden burst of magical realism, followed by a twist so stupid, outrageously, and shamelessly contrived you can’t help but stand up and applaud his bare cheek.
Tommy, who had sent the unfortunate second wife Lizzie (Natasha O’Keeffe) on his way, made sure everyone in the family was financially supported and disposed of his old life by blowing up his country estate and land for public housing we have seen him several times: with a gun to his temple and his finger on the trigger.
But then the ghost of his beloved daughter Ruby, recently snatched from him by TB, appeared.
“Am I dead yet?” asked Tommy.
“You’re not dead,” Ruby said, “you’re not even sick. You gotta live, daddy. After all, you have to be there Peaky Blinders movie next year.”
Okay, maybe she didn’t say that last thing, but still.
Next, Tommy noticed a charred copy of a newspaper with a picture of Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) and Diana Mitford’s (Amber Anderson) Berlin wedding, attended by no less than Adolf Hitler.
But wait: who was the other familiar face smiling along with the happy fascist couple? Well, it was nothing but – gasp! – dr Holford (Aneurin Barnard), the doctor who told Tommy he had an inoperable tuberculoma that would last no more than 18 months. Also, the doctor that Holford sent Tommy to for a second opinion was also in the wedding group.
They were fascists, in cahoots with Mosley, and they had fooled Tommy into believing he was going to die in the hope that he would take his own life.
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But wait a minute. If Tommy didn’t have a tumor, what was causing the seizures he was having? I don’t think we should ask such awkward questions.
Just as we shouldn’t be asking why Michael Gray (Finn Cole), fresh out of the Cling and out for revenge, didn’t just shoot Tommy when he met him on Miquelon Island to hand him the opium money, instead of hatching a plan to blow him up with a bomb in a briefcase.
Michael was once part of the gang. He should have known that the Shelbys are always two steps ahead of their enemies. So it was Michael’s crew that got the big kaboom after trusty old Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee) “switched the tickers,” as he put it.
Tommy didn’t take such elaborate measures to get rid of Michael. He just shot him in the eye.
We were told the finale would be all about revenge, and Tommy’s enemies certainly got their reward.
Tommy’s recently discovered illegitimate son Erasmus “Duke” Shelby, now the heir to the Shelby empire, killed wriggling traitor Billy Grade (Emmett J. Scanlan) and banished equally unreliable Shelby’s youngest brother Finn (Harry Kirton) from the Family.
Sent by the Boston mob to wipe out Tommy and Arthur (Paul Anderson) at the Garrison Pub, IRA member Captain Swing (Charlene McKenna) and his gang of killers were caught on the run when Arthur and Jeremiah Jesus (Benjamin Zephaniah ) released mustard gas and then emerged from the fog with gas masks and machine guns.
“Revenge is for the Lord,” stuttered the gagging Swing, proving that even IRA killers have a sense of humor.
‘Not in Small Heath,’ growled Arthur.
The finale delivered to a point. Most of the loose ends were tied up, and there were satisfying flashes of what the series has always done best: moody, explosive violence.
But that doesn’t compensate for what was by a considerable margin a lousy final season that was overstylized, little on the actual plot, and laden with clumps of boring philosophizing and no small amount of pretentiousness.
Far too much time has been devoted to Tommy’s tedious involvement with Mosley and Mitford, ostensibly as a spy for Winston Churchill, whose sense was never more than vague.
Not that this seems to matter to the fans. Peaky Blinders isn’t really a drama series anymore; it’s a brand, a vending machine for pumping out goods.
A ballet is on the way soon. The aforementioned big-screen sequel, reportedly set during World War II, begins filming in 2023. There will be TV spin-offs. You can buy Peaky Blinders Hats, suits, whisky, beer, tumblers, board games, playing cards and soundtrack albums. You can even get one Peaky Blinders haircut.
What you can’t buy, however, is the brilliance of these early seasons. This product has long been sold out.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/television/tv-reviews/peaky-blinders-finale-delivers-but-not-without-a-shamelessly-contrived-twist-41519650.html The Peaky Blinders finale delivers, but not without a shamelessly constructed twist