BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 1, Episode 4
Directed by Tom Harper
Written by Steven Knight & Steven Russell
* For a recap & review of Episode 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 5, click here.
Freddie (Iddo Goldberg) and Ada (Sophie Rundle) are quite in love. Her belly getting bigger by the day. He’s still running news of the revolution around, and Jeremiah Jesus (Benjamin Zephaniah) watches him for ole brother-in-law Tom Shelby (Cillian Murphy).
There’s lots else afoot, as well. Bookies are taking bets as usual, Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) shows up with news for her nephew. And when they head out for a meeting, doors locked behind them, a crowd of men from the Lee clan pop out from under cover of a wagon, let into the place by a boy they’ve sent in.
Oh, lord. About to get right nasty, this will. They storm the bookies with guns drawn. This won’t sit well when the Shelbys find out.
Tom goes to meet with his brothers Arthur (Paul Anderson), specifically John (Joe Cole), who says he needs to find a mother for his children. Now he’s getting married! Only they all find it laughable he’s planning on marrying Lizzie Starke (Natasha O’Keeffe). She’s a prostitute, so they all look down on her, except John. He loves her proper.
They’re all called away because of what the Lee clan’s done. Luckily, no one died. Problem is they think there’s been “booby traps” set, a hand grenade left rigged to blow. It’s a nasty little taunt from when they were in France, what they’d do to the enemy as a joke, leaving wire cutters as part of the cruel gag. Tom believes it was only set for him. Now little Finn Shelby almost dies because he’s pretending to be his uncle outside, the car’s been wired. Uncle Tom tosses the explosive before it can kill him.
Tommy: “That‘s why you should never pretend to be me”
Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee) walks Mr. Shelby into Lee territory, holding a white flag on a stick to keep him safe. When he speaks with Zilpha Lee (Therese Bradley), he offers a switch – take the debt off Billy Kimber’s (Charlie Creed-Miles) head instead. Quite the shaky alliance, though they’re related down the line on Tommy’s mother’s side somewhere. So that’s good faith enough for them to entertain a deal.
Ada’s not into the whole “cause” of Freddie and his boys. She thinks he’s being ripped off when he’s taking all the risk involved. She believes his lost in dreams of a revolution. Meanwhile, they’ve got a family to start thinking about, a baby they’ll need to feed. Then she asks to whom he’s loyal: her, or his revolution.
Later on Tom meets with Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill), to give him an address for an anonymous tip. It belongs to Stanly Chapman (John-Paul Hurley). Man’s got “snow in his boots” for the copper to shovel, in bed with the Russians. Mainly it comes down to whether Campbell will leave Freddie and Ada out of it. He gives his word, and I guess that’s good enough. Free reign to do business for a few Bolsheviks. The lawman warns he’ll be dismissed if the guns don’t turn up soon. Then what happens to their deal? Well if he gets caught, it’s a grim finish for all the Shelbys. Fucking GRIM. Lots of threats in this exchange. Tom’s up against a force he might not quite understand, or at the very least he’s underestimated.
Campbell: “If I were to be fired and it were your fault, I would do things that would shame the devil. My fury is a thing to behold.”
That Inspector’s already going back on his word. He’s a snake in the grass, willing to do ANYTHING to get what he wants. He’s going after Freddie and Ada with no indication of stopping until he’s scooped them up.
Pol goes to tell Freddie what’s been going on, and he’s not exactly happy. Although Ada’s already been in on the whole thing, anyways. He won’t accept it. Because he knows that the cops won’t keep their word, which we already see to be true. The Communists don’t know one another’s addresses, meaning Chapman won’t be able to tell Campbell a thing. And it was all for nought. Except for the fact Freddie isn’t in a good state of mind anymore.
Over in a dungeon, Campbell’s man has whipped Chapman to death. We’re seeing more of how the Inspector is a truly terrifying man. His will is horrific, he doesn’t stop no matter what’s in front of him. This makes me worry about Grace (Annabelle Wallis).
Tommy announces to everybody they’ve officially got their own “racetrack pitch” for the first time. A legitimate betting license. It’s all uphill from here. Or that’s what they’d hope. In other news, Tommy wants Grace to be part of the business, because she has class. Yet he knows she lies, that she isn’t Catholic, nor is she a barmaid from Ireland.
So who IS she in his mind? And how far will it go before it becomes trouble for him?
On the street, Tom finds Lizzie for a chat. It’s clear that they’ve been together before. She didn’t tell John, which isn’t too great. However, Tom hopes she’s changed and that they can leave the past behind them. He gives her some cash, to aid in forgetting. And for one last shag. Oh, for fuck sakes. C’mon now, lad! Bad form. Or is it a test? Yes, indeed. He wanted to see if she loved his brother truly. Yikes.
Afterwards he goes to tell John about Lizzie, that he propositioned and she agreed. The younger brother’s not chuffed to hear. Also, Tom finds Grace and gives her a contract for the bookkeeping job. She’s becoming a bigger part of the operation. Little does he know she’s feeding all the info back to Campbell.
The next day Tommy throws an impromptu wedding for John. But not to Lizzie, to one of the Lee girls who needs marrying. Solves a ton of problems. If John doesn’t agree a “mighty war” could erupt. They lay responsibility at his doorstep, after Tommy’s betrothed him to the girl without knowing. The girl is Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), a beautiful young lady. The couple is married in front of a crowd, their hands are cut open and their blood is bonded.
Later, a celebration! During the dance and the drinks Ada’s water winds up breaking. They head back home for the birth. Pol helps with the delivery, though it’s a rough one no doubt. The lads go to the pub to get hammered, and Tom gives word that Freddie’s safe to come round for the baby. All goes well, Ada is now a mum. And dad gets to have a look at his newborn son.
But coppers arrive to haul Freddie away. Has Tommy done the deed? I’d lay bets on the fact it was Grace. Uh oh.
An intense and unexpected episode. I love the cultures and traditions of the Irish people we see, the Gypsy clans, all those types of things. Very fun bit of history mixed into Peaky Blinders. Dig it!