BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders
Season 4, Episode 5: “The Duel”
Directed by David Caffrey
Written by Steven Knight
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Dangerous” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Company” – click here
As Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) heads out, he’s tailed by a truck containing Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody) and his men, armed to the teeth. When he pulls into Artillery Square, there’s a machine gun waiting for him up on the stairs. He gets to it and starts laying down fire. Inside the apartment are other assorted goods, already stashed.
Quietly, Changretta and his boys track Mr. Shelby. Except one of their men is shot down soon. Meanwhile, around them people are living in these apartments, terrified by the gunfire. A cat and mouse game ensues between the lone Blinder and the Italians. More of the latter start dying, too. One tense fucking sequence.
Until they find themselves in an alley, alone. But it isn’t long before the coppers turn up. Luca flees, and Inspector Moss (Tony Pitts) turns up declaring: “The rule of law has been restored.” Also letting Mr. OBE himself go free. Tom goes home, then he and Polly (Helen McCrory) reveal their previous plan, to lure Luca in after he wrote a letter to her trying to arrange a double-cross situation. Ah, it’s all clear now!
There’s a bit of news for Mr. Shelby, as well. Lizzie Stark (Natasha O’Keeffe) tells him about the pregnancy. He’s not unhappy, not thrilled. However, he is ready to support her, to bring about some life rather than all the death he knows so well. He’s re-experiencing all the horrors of World War I again, right there at home.
What about Arthur (Paul Anderson)? He’s hard on the booze, the cocaine. Wasting away. “I need you to save me,” he tells Linda (Kate Phillips) when he stumbles back at night drunk off his ass.
Polly takes Michael (Finn Cole) out to the gypsies and Aberama Gold (Aidan Gillen). He’s not exactly into the whole thing, yet he has to do something. Changretta wants to kill them all, he already got within inches of Michael, too. He’s got gypsy blood, so he’s welcomed into their community.
And Pol looks like she’s found herself that inappropriate fuck she talked about before, in none other than Mr. Gold. The two of them hang out by the river in the woods. He catches a rabbit to cook. Before that, they get busy once she lays down a few rules, including keep Michael safe, alive.
“A beautiful ghost you are, and free.”
Luca goes to see Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy), who’s busy devoting a little time to self-imposed blindness. Y’know, because he’s not quirky enough (I love it). It’s all about him always asserting dominance, no matter to whom he’s talking. He makes sure he’s always, somehow, on top of things. It’s interesting to see the Jewish baker and the Italian gangster interact. Luca’s amused, a little. Enough to entertain distributing alcohol over in New York for him. In turn, Alfie helps with the “assassination of a dear friend.” Always the businessman. Things don’t really go so great, and it’s not entirely clear where the Jew stands at the end of their conversation.
We see Ada (Sophie Rundle) picked up, mistreated, then she has to speak with Colonel Ben Younger (Kingsley Ben-Adir) about her family’s “immediate future” and such things. The woman is not about to back down to the British Army; she’s a fucking Shelby! She doesn’t have as much reach as she believes, but still, she is fearless. And not long until she’s free again.
So she goes right to see Tommy about the Brits wanting to recruit her, or some other mad shit. Turns out Younger has been “given Birmingham” by Churchill, the King. Soldiers are going to hit the streets. Will Tom “stop the revolution with his cock” like his sister chastises? He hopes to get names from Jessie Eden (Charlie Murphy), then give them over to the British. If so, he has a $2-million contract to supply vehicles to the British Forces overseas.
At the scrapyard, Tom and Jessie sit for a meal together. He’s even cooking. He gives her a guarantee of withdrawing the cuts, plus parity between the sexes. So long as she tells him about socialism, all that jazz. He speaks of suffrage, “women with serious faces everywhere.” Leading into talking about revolution, so on, he expresses wanting to help with the real fighting, believing she knows people who hope to do the same.
They eat together, they listen to music, drink. Tom talks about himself, his dreams as a boy. Jessie mentions the Italian girl Tom loved all those years ago. Afterwards, they have a dance, they embrace. But I wonder, will he find himself caught in a place where he doesn’t want to give up Jessie an her people? Will he begin to feel too much for her?
That night is the fight between Goliath (Dino Kelly) and young Bonnie Gold (Jack Rowan). The ring is setup, Arthur has the shop running smoothly, and Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee) is taking all the bets. What could go wrong, right?
Season 4 finale is next week. Guaranteed to be absolute madness! Something big’s going to happen. Just can’t tell what, not for sure. Several ideas run through my mind, though I’m sure Knight is going to come out with the unexpected.
“The Company” is next.