BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Directed by Anthony Byrne
Written by Steven Knight
* For a recap & review of 6×03, click here.
* For a recap & review of 6×05, click here.
The Shelbys and those close to them have gathered to pay their respects to poor little Ruby. Tommy’s written some things but says he “can‘t speak them” so he charges the oldest brother, Arthur, with doing the job. But Arthur’s in no state to do anything for anybody. So, Tommy stands in front of the carriage in which Ruby’s coffin sits, speaking to his friends and family about his deceased daughter. He says that in Ruby’s memory, “things will change.” He wants to make peace and do good for his daughter. Afterwards, he tasks Jeremiah with lighting the flame to send Ruby off. It takes Lizzie a moment before she can allow the fire to be lit, asking to see Ruby one last time. She and Tommy go into the carriage, saying their final goodbyes. She also realises her husband intends to keep believing Ruby’s sickness was caused by a curse. Tommy intends to raise hell.
In the woods, Evadne Barwell, as well as several of her people, are gunned down brutally when Tommy arrives with an automatic rifle. He lays waste to them before collapsing against a tree, crying to himself. He’s let current tragedy transport him back to the man he was forced to be during the war, and it’s tearing him apart. Later, Tommy goes back to see Esme and delivers a bag of gold dust. She says “business is unfinished.” She says Tommy has a son with a woman called Zelda; the boy was conceived before Tommy left for war. Esme’s brought the boy, Duke, and she’ll turn him over if Tommy pays more gold.
When Tommy goes home his wife’s waiting, not happy with him for chasing after Romani curses. He goes on with talk about business and wanting to fund research into tuberculosis. Lizzie has to scream to really get Tommy’s attention. Then he admits to killing Evadne and a couple men in the woods. Obviously Lizzie doesn’t care, thinking her husband has truly gone off the deep end. Then there’s Arthur in the basement in an absolute state. Tommy goes down to talk with his brother, as Arthur drains the last bit of booze from a barrel, all strung out on heroin. They talk about Arthur’s troubled life in general. It’s amazing how Tommy and Arthur both have clarity at times, recognising how deeply fucked up they are, but, like all addicts (I am one myself) they too often fall into old, bad traps. Like right now, when Tommy takes a sip of wine for the first time in four years. Not a good sign.
Though Tommy and Arthur reminisce about their childhoods fondly, in spite of all their hardship. The younger brother needs his older brother to do what requires doing: “Just a few more yards to go, and you will change your ways and I‘ll change the fucking world.”
Tommy’s gathered Jack Nelson and Gina along with Oswald and Diana, as well as Cpt. Swing, at the Shelby residence to begin the process of changing the world, hoping to merge the worlds of organised crime and political power in the West like never before. Before Tommy shows up downstairs, Diana talks of a meeting in Berlin that included the likes of Adolf Hitler himself, saying they were forced to be in the company of Jews—the horror, the horror! Of course it’s all jokes to Mosley. Although Cpt. Swing’s in the room of her own power, her brand of fascism is certainly not the same brand as that of Diana and Oswald. Simultaneously we see fascism, misogyny, and racism at home in a horrific way when Ada gets a brick through her window with a nasty note attached. Nobody messes with a Shelby, though, and Ada runs a bunch of young Nazis off with her gun.
After Cpt. Swing sings a bunch of “The Black Velvet Band,” the meeting at Tommy’s home commences. Jack’s got the President’s ear while Swing has the IRA under her thumb, and Mosley’s spreading fascism as well as he can by himself throughout England while expecting Tommy to eventually run as an Independent who’ll draw his crowd towards their cause. Jack wonders where Tommy’s real allegiances lie, so Oswald asks Tommy to “prove it” by standing to give the Nazi salute, along with uttering Mosley’s “Perish Judah” (which comes from The Right Club). Tommy stands and joins Mosley in giving the salute, too.
At the same time, Ada must deal with her boy Karl, all grown up, who’s got nasty thoughts about race himself. He calls her mixed-race child some racist things, believing the young Nazis will only do worse to their home and maybe them eventually. This is the perfect time for Ada to tell Karl that his father was Jewish.Ruby’s death rightly haunts Tommy. He finds it difficult to sit down with fascists but manages to get through their meeting. He runs outside into the fields where he can fire off a Tommy Gun to ease the tension. Men would rather fire off their submachine gun than go to therapy! The next day, Tommy receives a letter from the sanatorium, after already having received a call he wouldn’t answer, and Lizzie thinks it’s important, but he just passes it off. Might Tommy have contracted TB? At the moment he’s more concerned with writing out all he can remember “word for word” from the fascist meeting. Y’know, for old man Churchill. Also, Tommy tries to assure Lizzie he’s going to change, but “not just yet.”
Tommy discovers some information: Gina’s fucking Mosley. He confronts her and threatens to reveal her secrets, believing that’ll mess things up with Uncle Jack particularly. Gina wonders what Tommy really wants. He wants her to tell him everything about Mosley’s trip to Berlin and a meeting with high-ranking German politicians. Then he asks about Michael’s “real intentions” towards him. Gina plays the part but Tommy knows better. He’s far too keen to let anything slip by him. Or so he hopes.
When Tommy’s writing and drinking at night he decides to open the letter. He later receives a visit from Dr. Holford to explain the results of his examination. The doctor’s diagnosis is tuberculoma. It’s caused by the same bacteria that causes tuberculosis. The small growth is at the base of his skull. Dr. Holford says side effects would be hallucinations, seizures, and more, explaining so much of what Tommy’s experienced as of late. Worse still, the tuberculoma growth is inoperable due to its location. The doc recommends another doctor for a second opinion. Tommy just wants to know how bad things will get later. And it’s rough. The doc gives Tommy one year to eighteen months until the latter will need a lot of help to go on living. Shit. Like always, Tommy says nothing to Lizzie, just that there’s “a bill” he wasn’t expecting that needs to be paid. When he’s alone he hears Polly in his head: “Kill, kill.”