BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders
Season 4, Episode 1: “The Noose”
Directed by David Caffrey
Written by Steven Knight
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 finale, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Heathens” – click here
Last we left the Shelby clan it was rough. Tommy (Cillian Murphy) tells his family they’re about to be arrested. And sure enough, Arthur (Paul Anderson), Michael (Finn Cole), John (Joe Cole), even Polly (Helen McCrory) are all hauled off to the clink.
The lads are not exactly easy to keep under control. Pol’s a bit more tame because she’s near gone mad. But each of them are now brought to be hung, a noose for each. Elsewhere, in the higher offices of the United Kingdom, is evidence that Tommy knows about Churchill’s involvement in all the earlier mess, reaching to the King himself. The assurance is that Tommy will burn everything he has relating to the Crown should the charges be dropped.
Right before the Shelbys and the Grays are hanged by the neck, the proceedings are stopped. On top of all that? Tommy Shelby wants an OBE. He’s always gotta get paid, one way or another, right?
Cut to a year later in 1925, right before Christmas.
Lizzie (Natasha O’Keeffe) keeps Tommy up on the family goings on, though he already knows, anyway. He’s always busy, trying to raise young Charlie in the rare moments between doing business. He hasn’t seen his family in ages, not his brothers children. He’s isolated, just him and his boy, and he’s not even being a real father. In the meantime, he’s always drinking, always having sex with working women; probably not taking such great care of himself, either.
Although Tommy does see Michael, who continues working with the business, of course. They’ve got union troubles, a woman named Jessie Eden (Charlie Murphy) stirring things up as of late. Otherwise, Tom’s concerned with Michael and his drug use, lots of cocaine. He also wonders about Pol, she’s not great; she “saw spirits” before almost dying, her mental health is deteriorating. But Tommy says “the spirits she sees are real.” At least they have to be, to help her in the long run. She really is going off the deep end, though. Talking to herself, alone in that house and having conversations with dead people, drinking, downing pills.
The rift amongst the Shelbys is quite wide. Ada (Sophie Rundle) reaches out to John and Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), the latter of whom is not entirely willing to reach back. Then there’s Arthur, he’s doing his best to pull himself together, wife Linda (Kate Phillips) remaining at his side after everything that’s gone on with the family.
Finally, Tommy meets with Ms. Eden about the “disparity in pay based on sex.” She’s no slouch. She knows all about the real Mr. Shelby, not the one with the OBE. Calling him out on his business practises. His idea is to raise the women’s pay, but he’ll cut the male pay, and tell everyone who decided that. Lots of family first nonsense from a man who doesn’t even talk to most of his own. Hypocrite much, Tom?
An early Christmas gift arrives for Tommy, looking similar to letters with cards we’ve seen delivered to the other Shelby homes. It’s from a man named Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody), son of the man killed by the Shelby family. The card comes with a Black Hand. La Cosa Nostra? Old school Sicilian “mafia shit“? Oh, man. This is scary. Now John and Arthur are checking the post, as well. Finding their little holiday letters.
In Liverpool, Mr. Chagretta arrives from America. Getting closer all the time.
At the house, Tommy’s paranoid. He hears a vehicle on their way up the drive, preparing himself with a weapon. Only to see it’s Ada being dropped off to see him. Not much of a holiday reunion as it is preparation for a possible coming war, or at the very least a series of assassination attempts. Tom believes it’s necessary to go back to Birmingham, where they’re surrounded by soldiers for the Peaky Blinders. Christ, what a way to come back together. First, they’ve all got to have a family meeting. Sad to see a bunch of people who only ever had each other so divided, far apart yet near all the same. A real tragedy, even if they’re technically a ‘criminal’ family, as if they had much other choice.
“Anyone who wants to live to see another Christmas needs to come where it‘s safe. These bastards will kill kids, as well.”
At home, Tommy’s curious about the new chef, a very specific man; an Italian, actually. He’s starting to wonder if this man, and his assistant, are actually there under false pretences. Such as, I don’t know, maybe, kill Tommy Shelby? Poison him? Who knows. At least Tom is aware, even if it turns out as just his paranoia running wild. He lets his suspicion grow, going down to the kitchen himself to introduce himself to the staff. He’s keeping a close eye on them, just in case. He goes to see the chef himself who’s busy butchering a bit of meat. AND BOY, THINGS ARE TENSE! He presses the chef, getting no real answers. Until bringing up Sabini. All the chef knows is that he was told to bring the sous-chef Antonio (Andreas Muñoz) with him.
Mr. Shelby puts a meathook into Antonio’s neck, and interrogates him about the Black Hand. He gets nothing else, so he shoots the sous-chef in the head. He instructs the chef to head back and tell those in America who sent them that things have changed. What a way to kick off Christmas.
Yet over at John’s place things are much worse, when he and Michael are gunned down by a bunch of Italians hiding in a cart full of hay on the road. Will they survive? Or will they die and add a huge fuel to the fire? Wow.
Perfect premiere for Season 4. Lord! Can never get enough of Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, or any of the rest of them. Gimme more.
“Heathens” is next week. They’ve started naming the episodes this season, at least that’s what it looks like on various other sites. Either way, I’m too excited for this season.