Liam Hoofe reviews the series 5 finale of Peaky Blinders…
We’ve seen enough seasons of Peaky Blinders at this point to know the drill. Tommy Shelby spends the majority of the campaign attempting to out manoeuver a villain, often at some sort of great personal cost, only to outsmart them in the final episode of the season and to reveal that he been one step ahead of them the whole time. Except, season five’s finale was different. As the final seasons took place, it became clear that Tommy had not been able to outsmart his opponent this time, and that he, in fact, is a mere mortal with some glaring blind spots. The episode ended with Tommy at his lowest point yet, running into a field with a gun pointed at his own head.
Sam Claflin has been a delight as Oswald Moseley this season and the fact that we will get to see more of him next season should put a smile on everyone’s face. His time on screen was kept to a minimum this episode, with him only turning up for the grand finale. It would appear though, that it is not he who has outsmarted Tommy. He appeared to be just as oblivious to his own assassination attempt as Tommy was about it being foiled.
So if not Moseley, then who? Tommy has spent the entire season racking up a list of enemies, some of them even coming from within. The scene with Michael at the family meeting was one of the episode’s finest moments and it looks as though a huge battle for power among the Blinders could be set to dominate next season. There is also the possibility that the British government have turned on Tommy, or that the Billy Boys have managed to outsmart everybody. We could even see the Americans turn up in Birmingham next season for one of the show’s biggest ever showdowns.
Talking of great moments, having Tom Hardy’s Alfie Solomon back on screen was a treat. Sure, the last time we saw him he had been shot in the face, but frankly, who needs rhyme and reason in a show as crazy as Peaky Blinders? Solomon is one of the best characters on the show and Hardy was on fine form here as he showed Tommy what his own retirement could end up looking like.
Of course, that has been Tommy’s biggest opponent this season – time. His grip on the crown is losing and as Michael pointed out, he is becoming a dinosaur, a relic of a by-gone era who should perhaps cash in his chips and leave it to the new generation. We witnessed him shoot someone this episode and he clearly doesn’t have it in him the same way he used to. He is also wrestling with the demons of his past, and his family’s suicidal history. Of course, Tommy is not going to shoot himself at the start of next season but he may be forced to reconsider the direction he and the Blinders are heading in.
Director Anthony Byrne has done an excellent job throughout the show this season and the closing scenes of this episode were among the show’s finest. The tension was expertly ramped up as we watched Moseley deliver his speech and then it was all expertly uncoiled in just a matter of seconds as everything went very wrong, very quickly, for Tommy and his crew. This felt like the end of Avengers Infinity War – the bad guys have just snapped their fingers and now Tommy must attempt to pick up the pieces and regain his power at the start of next season.
Verdict: Mr Jones did an excellent job of subverting audience expectations here in what was the show’s most intense and shocking finale to date.