BBC’s Peaky Blinders
6×05: “The Road to Hell”
Directed by Anthony Byrne
Written by Steven Knight
* For a recap & review of 6×04, click here.
* For a recap & review of the series finale, click here.
Great song—”Lawman” by Girl Band—opens the episode as Tommy heads into Chinatown. He’s stopping in to see a man with opium in the cellar, along with a bomb ticking away in his bag. He goes on a bit of a rant about opium, telling the folks at that shop they’ll no longer be selling it there. Later at the distillery, Tommy gathers everybody for a meeting. He introduces Finn’s new wife Mary. Then he introduces his unknown son, Erasmus a.k.a Duke (Conrad Khan). Bit uncomfortable for Lizzie, who’s still sore from losing a child. But Tom’s trying to live life differently after his shocking diagnosis, for as long as he has life to live.
Arthur takes young Duke along to teach him a few things. Meanwhile, Tommy’s off to meet with Linda, seeing if the ex can find forgiveness for his brother. He’s also looking to see if a big £10,000 donation to her foundation will get her to help Arthur on his “road to redemption.” This shows how much Tommy cares for his brother and wants to help Arthur. Speaking of which, he also goes to meet with Haydn Stagg, bringing the man a roll of cash as a thank you for Stagg helping Arthur to see the light. More than that, Tommy’s looking to import a bunch of Tommy guns and ammunition, hoping Stagg can help.
There’s trouble with paying off a referee, jamming up the gambling operation, so Finn goes to Arthur about it considering Tommy’s busy with other business. Arthur’s trying to better himself, but he also has family money to take care of and that, at times, requires a less-than-better version of himself. Though at least he’s doing things sober; at the moment, anyway. Arthur finds the referee’s staunchly opposed to taking money, and that takes him to a very dark place. He forces Billy Grade to kill the referee. A traumatic moment for Billy, as well as Duke, it seems.
At the same time, Tommy and Lizzie are preparing for Jack Nelson’s visit, as well as facing some hard truths about their relationship. Tom feels terrible about dragging Lizzie into his life by marring her: “When you married me, you married a man and you married a curse.”
Later on in the showers, Billy’s sitting with his brutal deeds when he’s attacked by Jack Nelson, who loops a garrotte around his cock and balls. Nelson has found out Billy is the informant within the Shelby family organisation. Ole Jack wants to use Billy for his own purposes. He says Tommy will be taken care of by some of his associates. He also wants Billy to serve Arthur up for them, too. Goddamn. And so much for sober Arthur. He’s already into the bottle. And then Linda appears out of nowhere like a vision. They’re going to start him on his recovery road with a little prayer.
Charlie finds Duke attempting to steal cash and a car, taking the young lad back to his father. Tommy says: “Steal from who you want, don’t steal from me.” He gives the kid money to take a train anywhere he wants. But the kid doesn’t like trains; he wants a car and a horse to travel “all the hills of England.” Duke didn’t like what he saw at the betting shop, he doesn’t want to be part of that business. He and his father talk a bit. Tom eventually says there’s work for “a man who knows horses.” Duke agrees to stay, if he can remain unknown and in the background. And now Tommy thinks he may have a place for Duke in the organisation, because his business involves “both light and dark.”
Tommy’s doing some business with Ms. Mitford. But Diana’s more concerned with “balance and proportion,” hoping to take Mr. Shelby to a hotel and fuck his brains out since Lizzie’s already had sex with Oswald. Most of all, Diana wants to get as close to Tommy as she possibly can, to see if she can truly trust him right down to the bare skin. And so, a while later, Tommy and Diana are rolling around in bed together, figuring each other out.
A stunning sequence shows Tommy going down into the trenches and further into the tunnels below, sucked beneath the ground by his PTSD. He emerges from a bathtub, clawing to get out, where he sees a pile of bodies, his loved ones’ corpses stacked on the floor. Simultaneously, Michael’s having a dream of his mother, her prophecy about the family and either Michael or Tommy dying.
Jack is at the dinner table with Tommy and Lizzie, talking about how much he’s sick of England and its currency of blood. They chat a while until a car approaches the house. Tom finds Oswald and Diana on his doorstep, looking to join the dinner party. Plenty of talk about “triangles,” whether it’s Lizzie, Oswald, and Tommy, or Tommy, Oswald, and Diana, or Rome, Washington, and Berlin. Nasty stuff when Diana reveals she’s slept with Tommy, running Lizzie out of the room. Oswald claims a woman like Lizzie “isn‘t suitable” for a man like Tommy, who’s in the public eye. Tommy agrees, only insofar as he believes he’s a monster like the fascists at his table and Lizzie’s actually a good person.
Michael receives a visit in prison from someone sent by Jack and Gina. The man has a question; if the answer’s yes, Michael goes free. Michael says yes, if he’s released he’s going to kill Tommy.