BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 1, Episode 5
Directed by Tom Harper
Written by Toby Finlay & Steven Knight
* For a recap & review of Episode 4, click here.
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, click here.
Bless Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory), she’s doing her best to look after Ada (Sophie Rundle) even though the girl doesn’t want to take any handouts from them, not Tommy (Cillian Murphy). Not when she believes he’s had Freddie (Iddo Goldberg) “shopped” into a dark, dingy cell.
But we know different, don’t we? Was Grace (Annabelle Wallis) did that. And all the while Tom falls in love with her more each day, not knowing who and what she is outside of their business together. Then there’s Arthur (Paul Anderson), who sticks by his brother’s lead mostly, and John (Joe Cole) who ain’t quite sure about Tom; thinks he grassed on Freddie.
Best of all is when Arthur and John run into Arthur Sr (Tommy Flanagan). Dear ole dad goes home for a visit. Nobody’s too happy to see him. He claims he’s changed. Nobody actually seems to believe it, though. Even though Arthur Jr looks more willing than the rest.
Tommy: “Grace, everyone in my family hates me. Why would I tell them?”
There’s a lot of trouble in the Shelby clan. The brothers are all divided, neither of them. Slipping up and telling Grace a few things he shouldn’t, such as the fact Danny “Whizz-Bang” Owen (Samuel Edward-Cook) isn’t really dead.
We see Arthur Jr hanging out with ole Sr, who he apparently reveres. The younger one is like a child again, watching his father and listening to him. But it really seems like the old lad is only looking to grift a bit of cash out of his boys, whichever is willing. He doesn’t feel like an honest man, and the animosity Tommy feels towards him is enough to sell me. Right now, he’s reeling in Jr and dividing the brothers further. It’s actually fucking tragic to watch.
Arthur Jr: “And Shelby money is Shelby money”
At the Garrison Pub, Tommy receives a visit from a man named Byrne (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor). He’s there about the lad who got shot recently in an alleyway, the one Grace did in. Furthermore, Byrne pokes around about Tom’s thoughts about IRA, the man shot was his cousin, deeply connected. Seems Danny’s been running his mouth drunk, telling tales out of school. “Every finger in this city points in one direction,” Byrne says before necking a glass of booze. The IRA aren’t fucking around, nor is Byrne himself. He makes a few pointed, quietly terrifying threats. CHRIST! Is Grace ever making life difficult for the leader of the Shelbys.
Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) has another clandestine meeting with Tommy, as they discuss the best way forward with all the IRA heat. The copper could spread the word around Ireland and make sure they know Tom wasn’t involved. He won’t, though. Just as he’s fine to let everyone believe lies about how Freddie was grassed up. He’ll do what he can, however, to keep anything too bad from happening.
Tom rushes into the pub that night, saying he believes the IRA are coming to kill him. So he makes a fast plan with Grace, a signal. Then Byrne and his man come, they sit at a table for a drink. Before she comes out firing. The men wrestle, Byrne chokes Tommy nearly to death before he’s beaten into a bloody pulp on the floor and his head’s smashed in. The ferocity scares Grace. Afterwards, he asks why she shot, but we know she has her own deeply personal issues with the IRA.
Thing is, now the relationship between these two is deepening. Grace is starting to cross over, torn by the duty she feels as part of the arm of the law, incapable of fighting off all the emotions she’s beginning to feel for Tommy. Simultaneously, she’s bent to the will of Campbell, who’s a tad jealous. For her part she wants out, to get away from it all before losing herself. She knows the location of the guns – buried in place of Danny Whizz-Bang – and wants to finish the mission, as well as pull Tom out of the fire.
Campbell: “You‘ve been livin‘ with beasts”
Grace: “It was the beast that tried to stop me”
After the guns are dug up, Campbell proposes marriage to Grace, as she resigns her post. She rejects his advance. And this does not sit well with his fragile masculinity, lashing out. I can only imagine what he’ll do now. He’s dangerous as it is, let alone when hurt, coiling like a nasty snake.
Out at the trains, Arthur Jr finds Sr taking off on him. The money’s gone, pissed away on booze and prostitutes. He, of course, did it all as a grift. Finally we see the son realise his father is a thieving piece of shit. It’s devastating, no matter how far away you see it coming. Just the way Sr speaks to him, so condescending and hateful, it’s hideous. Shattered for poor Arthur Jr. Gave his sanity to his country, now he’s beyond broken.
Tommy’s just finding out about the guns being found. Over at the office, Inspector Campbell’s letting his jealousy break his word. He’s not doing justice for the sake of justice, for the law. He’s being a vindictive, wounded man. His pride’s getting the better of him. Can’t be sure what he’ll do from this point on.
So Tom plans on taking off, to avoid police.
And who helps him escape before they snatch him? Grace. When Campbell finds this after threatening a bartender, he calls off the search. Jesus, he’s losing his goddamn mind. It’s scary, really.
She takes Tom back to her flat and they hide out. And make love, naturally.
Down at the fight ring, Arthur isn’t doing so well. He drinks, he laments his position in life. After that he does all he can see as the answer – he tosses a makeshift noose around a beam above, hanging himself by the neck. Doesn’t last long and the rope breaks, saving his life. And regardless of their problems, Tom is always there for his oldest brother. They’re all in business together, as one clan.
But their troubles are far, far from over.
Another solid episode, just before the Season 1 finale. Fascinating season, a fine mix of history and fiction in one magnificently written series. Great acting, too. They’re all amazing, but lord, is Cillian Murphy ever a fantastic and underrate piece of work of an actor. Love it. This episode sets up a large deal of tension, tightening down on all that’s come before to make for a volatile situation.