BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 5, Episode 5: “The Shock”
Directed by Anthony Byrne
Written by Steven Knight
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “The Loop” – click here
* For a recap & review of the Season 5 finale, “Mr. Jones” – click here
After the events post-ballet, Linda’s carried by Arthur into the house. Tommy pushes Linda to survive by threatening that, should she die, her son will be raised by the Shelbys. They pull the bullet out of Linda’s arm and quell her pain with opium. This is also when Aunt Polly tells Tom about her engagement to Aberama. Arthur insists his aunt should’ve let him take the bullet, yet his brother tells him he has things left to do on this Earth before he goes.
Oswald takes this chance to speak to the crowd. He riffs on things we’re still hearing today about “English people in the very heart of England” alongside an announcement about his burgeoning political party, playing to the xenophobia of the middle class. He uses words like “the Orient” and blames “Jewish finance” in lamenting British factories ravaged by their economic stranglehold on the world. Yes, his fascism is fully shining. And worse, many clap for him. He gives what could nearly be a Nazi heil, before continuing his rant using rhetoric like “Britain first” and “false news” in the press. Sound familiar? That’s right. This evil rises up every so often. We never, ever learn. Afterwards, Mosley speaks privately with Mr. Shelby. He found out there’s a Jewish man in the Shelby Company, forcing his new partner to fire him. Things are really heating up now. Can Tommy keep a lid on things? Or will it grow out of his control?
Soundtrack note: “Climbing Up the Walls” by Radiohead plays here
“An eye for an eye
and a tooth for a tooth.”
Sure, Tom’s just going along to help the government take Mosley down. It’s already taking a toll. Lizzie knows it he’s doing this out of a genuine concern about the fascism Mosley’s trying to bring to their country. She worries about him, as always. She should, too. His shell shock already makes things unstable. He could crack at any moment. In another room, Arthur’s taking care of Linda, trying to tell her they could run away with their boy, far from there. He wants to take her away and “never come back.” She won’t go. She truly does hate him. And it breaks his fragile heart.
Tommy takes a bunch of his undercover evidence to Col. Younger. He hears about all the press talking about Mosley’s speech. Ben is having trouble with resistance from his superiors. He’s starting to get messed around at work, and there are even threats coming from Section D, who Tom and the Shelbys have faced, and beat, already. He takes what Tom gives him, despite the issues. He seems to trust his lover’s brother.
When Col. Younger gets in his car a boy kicks a ball against it a couple times. The second time the vehicle explodes in a fiery blast, killing Ben and blowing the boys in the street off their feet. Tommy rushes out to help the children, one of whom is dead. That night, he has to go tell Ada the horrible news. She feels like “anyone any of us touch” is poisoned. And Tom takes all the guilt upon himself— he can’t catch a break, even when he’s trying his best to do the right thing.
On the river, Aberama and Arthur are headed to meet Chang. Suddenly gunfire breaks out in a dark alley lit by nothing other than Chinese lanterns and bullets flying. Chang’s bloodied. He explains men came to take the opium “on behalf of the King.” He also tells them it was Irishmen. Arthur knows from WWI that they’re hard men from Poplar. But he’s just as fucking hard. He goes mad with the machine gun, sending them fleeing. He’s not lost his edge. However, it’s clear he’s willing to die, perhaps more than ever. At least they’re able to secure the product.
Soundtrack note: “Atmosphere” by Joy Division plays here
Tommy’s going over to the asylum. His belongings are taken and he’s checked for anything that could be used as a weapon. Screams are heard everywhere throughout the halls. Today, mental health is only barely beginning to be understood by the general populace. Imagine what it was like in 1929! Jesus.
In a cell, Tom’s locked behind a steel door with a man named Barney (Cosmo Jarvis). They knew one another during the war. Barney’s haunted by what he saw in battle. Not unlike his friend outside the cell. This is scariest part— there’s barely a thin veil keeping Tom from being where his friend Barney is now. Perhaps why he’s brought an opium and cyanide capsule to offer him. He wants to offer him mercy, a way out. Barney won’t take it. He won’t give up hope, whereas Tom— standing outside the cell— has resigned himself to no hope. Well, there is some.
Tommy’s going to break Barney out of there and put him to work for the Shelbys sniping. He wants to kill Mosley, while he’s standing onstage next to him. He won’t stand for the disrespect shown to his wife. Not even for business or the government.
Soundtrack note: Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” plays over the montage
Another great chapter of Season 5. Only one episode left, too. It’ll get wild.
“Mr. Jones” is next time.