TEMPLE: How to Correctly Terrorise Americans Abroad

Temple. 2017. Directed by Michael Barrett. Screenplay by Simon Barrett.
Starring Naoto Takenaka, Asahi Uchida, Logan Huffman, Brandon Sklenar, & Natalia Warner.
Absurda/Hemisphere Motion Picture Partners/Hooked Digital Media/Toneplus Animation Studios
Not Rated. 78 minutes.
History/Horror

★★★1/2
TEMPLEEver since Dead Birds I’ve been ready and willing to give Simon Barrett’s writing a chance, at all times. No writer is perfect, what I dig about his screenplays is that he’s always looking for a way to change up genre conventions. It doesn’t always have to be something that changes the game, but his writing seeks to do things differently, even if it comes in a familiar package.
Temple takes the Americans abroad sub-genre of horror and energises it, opting to spend a good deal of time honouring the Japanese culture in which the story is steeped. More than that director Michael Barrett chooses building a creepy atmosphere over trying to go for constant jump scares or half-assed effects. Instead of stealing from J-horror, the Barretts do a fine job showing its influence on them, as well as presenting a horror metaphor for the dangers of white people not listening to other races and cultures, choosing to appropriate and disrespect.
Sure, it’s still a good old fashioned haunted house-style horror that takes place in a Japanese temple, where white Americans are tortured by spirits about which they were warned by the locals. Yet behind it all there’s still a more poignantly terrifying purpose to the horror, standing here in 2017 looking back at some of the cultural movie flubs we’ve seen as of late, plus over the past few yearsdecades. And along the way you’ll find a few creepy creeps to satisfy the urge.
Temple 1A dark, ominous opener hints at a terror lurking in the titular temple. A book of folk tales covered in blood. Then the credits off further bad omens, mentions of missing children and a monk and other creepy bits.
Then automatically we’re not with a bunch of white characters traipsing through the Japanese landscape and culture. Rather, we’re right in there with Japanese characters, speaking Japanese, and already the film feels aimed in the appropriate direction; at least aligned on the basics. We do soon get into the white American characters, but straight out the gate the story feels like one more concerned with the consequences of white people messing around in other cultures, without proper respect. Judging by the state of the first white guy we see, they’ve paid a price.
The biggest theme is respect for other cultures and races, their customs, beliefs, and traditions. Above all else the message comes: listen to the Japanese when they tell you about their homeland, THEIR folk tales so on (a larger idea is to listen to any people when they speak of their culture). It’s only respect, it isn’t hard. And perhaps, like in Temple, following the local advice might save your life.
Temple 2Temple 3Barrett subverts genre conventions here in the way of the archetypal warning about the cursed land. Usually – say, in something like Friday the 13th – the person warning is deemed insane, such as aptly named Crazy Ralph warning that Camp Crystal Lake has “got a death curse.” Then there’s The Hills Have Eyes, particularly in the remake, where a complicit gas station owner ushers victims to a valley of mutants, only later to regret his decisions. Temple gives us a couple Japanese men in a bar, one a patron and the other the bartender, urging politely over drinks that the temple the Americans seek is an “unlucky place” and suggestions local lore says the place will “make you sick” as in sick of mind. Thus, horror trope’s of a warning messenger becomes a cultural warning: respect the Japanese folklore, or beware what you find and what becomes of you.
It isn’t all an exercise in culturally conscious horror. We do get our fair share of genre imagery, some evoking J-horror, other bits are all-American. For instance, there’s a dose of creepy kid stuff we’ve all seen before in The Grudge, et cetera. Kind of boring, honestly. Better than this are moments using shadow, a technique that Asian horror in general isn’t adverse to. It’s just much more effective than the kid stuff.
The best, most horrific scenes involve things that aren’t necessarily influenced by Asian horror movies. Like a weird moment when one character stumbles, drunk, across a woman with strange, horn-like protrusions coming from her head. Or when another character feels a hand creeping up to his face, the long, ugly fingers reminiscent of Pumpkinhead. Maybe the best of all is the recurring image of Chris (Logan Huffman) behind a plastic tent, disfigured yet to what extent we’re unable to see exactly, making it all the more eerie.
Temple 4Near the end there’s an unexpected escape: violent, chaotic, the energy feeling dangerous in the film’s dying moments. The following scene gives us a mysterious, chilling finish that left Father Son Holy Gore wanting, in a hugely positive sense. Doesn’t need a sequel necessarily, though leaves me curious. Just throwing it out there.
Not every horror must reinvent the wheel, because when spun correctly – and with horrific vigour – the horror wheel works just damn fine! And Temple‘s a fun, freaky movie that doesn’t have to jump scare its viewer to perpetually fake, manufactured fright (don’t get me wrong: jump scares CAN be good when used properly). Instead, characters and story work their magic to leave the viewer uneasy at many turns.
There are much worse ways to spend just over an hour and a half. Plus, Etsuko Egawa – one of the artists who created the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Ghostbusters – provides special effects artistry to enjoy throughout. The Barretts offer a horror movie, in a day and age of cultural insensitivity, that isn’t perfect, yet is a great example of how to do an Americans travelling abroad sub-genre flick that doesn’t fumble around in Asian culture (ahemThe Forestahem) simply for fumbling’s sake.
Love it or not, this is more than just a decent slice of horror, it’s a step in the right direction for an industry sick with problems of systemic, bullshit racism in terms of how it chooses to tell the stories it tells.

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Peaky Blinders – Season 2 Finale

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 6
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of the penultimate Season 2 episode, click here.
* For a recap & review of the Season 3 premiere, click here.
Pic 1AMy name is Tommy Shelby, and today Im going to kill a man.”
Before Derby Day, Tom (Cillian Murphy) prepares beforehand writing a letter to the New York Times explaining things, in case of his death. He tells of the government pushing him into an assassination, as well as the IRA involvement. Warning of “civil war in Ireland” upcoming following his firing of the fatal shot. Furthermore, he names Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill). Then he leaves his note with Ada (Sophie Rundle), scaring her a bit.
Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) and John (Joe Cole) do their own preparations. But I’ve a feeling nobody is prepared for everything that’s coming next.
Pic 2Arthur (Paul Anderson) is still holed up in his cell. He’s getting out, though. All the witnesses pulled their statements about what supposedly happened. No longer grassed up for a murder he had no part in committing.
At the same time over at the bakery, Tom pops round to have a chat with Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy), that hard bloke. They’ve made deals on exporting. First the baker would like to sign a few things. Such as having all the business handed to him. But the leader of the Blinders says his man outside is an “anarchist” and will trigger an explosion if he doesn’t see Tom come out the door. They get down to a 35% hand-over of business. I suspect that won’t sit long, though.
Things aren’t so well with Michael (Finn Cole) and his mother. Still, Pol brings him several rolls of money. She orders him to leave for London, start anew. “Everythings an if in this Birmingham life,” she tells him. She has her own business today.
Campbell has a few good Irish blokes ready to kill Mr. Shelby, part of the Red (Right) Hand” of Ulster. They plan to take him out on his signal. Surely, after the assassination is complete. Meanwhile, Tom is briefing all the Blinders on exactly what’s going on. Everyone’s got their role to play, their ass kicking to do.
And so it’s off to the races! At the track, May Carleton (Charlotte Riley) looks after the horse – Grace’s Secret. She knows there’s something not right with Tom, suspecting there are other things going on about which she has no clue.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.00.10 AMFrom out of nowhere Grace (Annabelle Wallis) arrives. She tells Tom of her pregnancy, that she loves him and not her husband. He has to rush off but they’ve definitely got things to talk about later. Simultaneously, we watch him manipulating Lizzie (Natasha O’Keeffe) into helping with the plan concerning Field Marshal Russell (James Richard Marshall), target of the assassination.
Campbell and Tom meet just before the race. The copper speaks of a “measure of respect” that’s almost grown between them. I quite doubt that, as does he in the end. But a lot has grown, plenty of animosity and jealousy and brutality. Tom throws the fact that Grace loves him in the Major’s face. This definitely gets to him, whether he shows it doesn’t matter. Tom also reveals he knows what Campbell did to Polly, what was done to Michael in jail. And he’s ready to bring this nasty business to a close.
Lizzie lures Russell away to the designated spot. She waits for Tommy, who said he’d stop anything before it started. The tension of waiting for him to get there is unbearable, as the Field Marshal gets terribly rough with her, raping her. When Tom does show up his pistol doesn’t fire. The men wrestle, before Tom manages to knock Russell backward and fire a shot through his head. This act, along with a a few extra shots, sends the coppers running, many to protect the King. Setting other plans in motion.
Tom meets with Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) and it’s a fool proof plan. Because anyone who hauls a gun will draw full attention as possibly being ready to kill the King. A few coppers show up to haul Tom off. For the Red Right Hand. He’s being taken away for a last ride to his death.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.00.57 AMAt the track, Pol sticks a gun to Campbell. He tries to justify what he did to her. He acts as if he cares for her, which is absolutely crazy. Although he tries his best to ingratiate himself to her. Not enough, of course. Nor should it be. She fires one in him: “Dont fuck with the Peaky Blinders.” Case closed on the rotten Major, left to bleed out while Grace unknowingly sits not far off in the same bar. An amazing, welcomed coincidence.
All the while John and Arthur and Lizzie sit at a table together near the track, Tommy’s being carted to some spot far out in the fields, where no one can hear a thing. Certainly not a gunshot. There, a grave is already dug. Prepared in advance for the occasion. Then one of the men kills the other two, saving Mr. Shelby. He says that someday Winston Churchill will require to speak with him in person. Saved, in the end, by government. Such a strange life the leader of the Blinders leads.
On he goes, still in shock believing he was about to die. At least he’s alive. Always by the skin of his fucking teeth. Next step for the lads and Polly? Only way to go is up, I suppose. Plus it seems Michael’s in it for the long haul, a part of the family proper. Go on, boys! Get to it. Tom says he’s got plans to get married on top of everything else.
Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.23.45 AMGreat fucking finale. Unexpected, exciting, intense. Nice revenge, as well. Season 3 is spectacular, too. Make sure to head on over and check out those recaps/reviews.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 5

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 5
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of Episode 4, click here.
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, click here.
Pic 1Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) receives Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson) and a few lads down at the bakery. They sit around a table, the baker talks of the persecution of the Jewish people and the “evil fucking Egyptians.” They’ve got a Passover goat for sacrifice. They’ve named him after Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). All hell breaks loose. Billy Kitchen is shot in the head. Arthur nearly choked to death as a few men hold him back. He’s knocked out and given to the coppers.
At the same time, Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) watches as Polly (Helen McCrory) and Michael Gray (Finn Cole) have the house raided during dinner; the lawman presses himself against Aunt Pol up against the car, telling her that “as of tonight Tommy Shelby is done.” Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) and his boys are out terrorising all of their own sort. All around everything is getting darker, scarier. Not sure who scares me most.
One thing I know, when Tom finds out he will not be happy. He’s busy over with May Carleton (Charlotte Riley) talking about the horse and such, the morning after their passionate night together. Little does he know of what’s gone on concerning the family. So much betrayal.
Pic 1ALater, Tommy meets with Campbell. The copper’s been fucking him over constantly, so it isn’t really a surprise to see him uncaring about it all. The Blinders’ leader finds himself in a tough spot. Lots of charges looming overhead, for everyone from Arthur on trumped up charges to Michael on crimes he’s admitted. Campbell’s a jealous man who’s at the edge of his own sanity and morality. He has power over “life and death” of the Shelby family. An ugly place this relationship has arrived.
Then, to make it all the more difficult, Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis) calls to speak with Tommy, right in the midst of his many problems. She’d like to meet with him. Well, after he’s taken care of all the shit raining down on their house.
John (Joe Cole) fills Tom in on the impound of the vans, the lifted whiskey, all their export issues, so on. Aunt Pol is gone mental over her son in lockup. There’s no certain plan going forward, though the leader decides they’ll take Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee) up on his offer to provide men for protection and fighting and the lot. At the same time, their aunt won’t have it. She wants to get away from the family. I imagine that’s just rage talking. If she never left before, she won’t now. The family’s falling apart worse than ever.
Polly: “Its men that have done the damage
She goes up to see her son, but she only finds Major Campbell being a brute. He says he’ll release Michael within the next day. If she does something for him. Then he advances physically on her, and she refuses. Momentarily. When she tries appeasing him, he forces himself further onto her viciously, raping her. She doesn’t tell anybody. Although Ada (Sophie Rundle) finds her at home, bathing, looking as if she’s been trampled. Michael is released the next day… at what price? People are talking about his mother as if she willingly gave herself to the Major, which he himself believes. Fucking tragic, awful stuff.
Pic 2Tommy is down in the barn shovelling shit. To remind himself “where hed be” if it weren’t for who he was, his name, the gang, everything. Trying to keep himself honest. Then later on he meets with Grace, after so much time. He seems bitter, and she does, too. She tells of her husband, that she’s happy. And he tries acting like it doesn’t burn him up inside she’s married. They go out to a party together, where Charlie Chaplin is kicking around; apparently he’s a gypsy from Birmingham like the Blinders.
The jealousy games keep going, as Mr. Shelby calls Campbell to gloat about being with Grace. Sending the copper into a fit of rage. What’s he going to do? Christ. Worries me.
Tommy: “We all have our secrets, Grace.”
Over at the clink, John goes to see his oldest brother. Arthur’s dealing with literal rats, Cockneys, and Sabini’s men crawling around the place. The brothers joke a bit. However, the oldest Shelby is starting to lament about his wasted life: “I used to draw horses.” A bit too late at this point. Nevertheless, Tom won’t let him rot in there.
Pic 3Major Campbell is over at the Shelby offices poking around. He’s plotting something sinister, you can just feel it. He almost wants to BE Tommy Shelby, in a strange way. There’s a streak of jealousy running through him on a lot of fronts. He and Tommy meet once more for a chat. The Major asks about Polly, sly and nasty. He further stresses the importance of the assassination with which he and IRA have tasked the leader of the Blinders. Tom’s making sure he gets to do the kill when and where he can assure he’ll make it out of the damned thing alive.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 10.39.22 PMWhat a lead up to the Season 2 finale! There’s so much trouble about to pop, and I can only hope there are certain resolutions we’ll see. Either way, the last episode of this season is bound to be cracking.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 4

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 4
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of Episode 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 5, click here.
Pic 1Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) visits the freshly dug grave of the young man whose throat was cut for the Blinders in prison. Naturally, he’s met with an angry mother. He pays what cash he has, then leaves; bloody temple and all. Then another clandestine meeting with Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill), who’s invited a couple people: Irene O’Donnell (Simone Kirby) and Donal (Rory Keenan). All in the same bed of Irish greens. Tommy taunts about their mixing the “personal with the political” and the IRA frowns upon such things. This is one hell of a shaky alliance. Christ almighty! This is what happens when… common interests arise. Or I guess here it’s common dislikes, common problems.
So, Tom needs to kill someone. For the Crown, and for the cause. People not wanting to get their hands dirty. He refuses to do the job. Alone together, the leader of the Blinders tells Campbell that there are darker things at play here, specifically with those two. And what happens next could get extremely volatile.
Irene: “Did you ask why in France?”
Tommy: “Yeah
Pic 1AArthur (Paul Anderson) and some of the lads are in Camden Town. Gearing up for a row. They storm into a club, beating the shit out of any man who steps near. Bashing the place to pieces. The oldest Shelby’s making a statement and sending a message. He stabs the manager in the face with a broken bottle, announcing he’s taking over.
A man finds a body under a pile of coal at the mine. Is that Mr. Duggan?
At the office, Tommy gets a visit from Michael about a bookkeeping job. He wants to be part of the family, the business, he hopes to help in making them legitimate. Best of all, he offers loyalty and pride. Yet the boss is reluctant as always to take him in.
May Carleton (Charlotte Riley) turns up to see Tommy, at the bookies. Only Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) is around, she’s not exactly welcoming. Although they do chat a bit before John (Joe Cole) and Tom arrive. The horse trainer gets to know the place, a feel for the bookie business and the operation in general. Then they go see the new horse, where Curly (Ian Peck) sweetly looks after it.
This woman is very curious about the Shelby man. They go down to the Garrison, where May has a bit of a culture shock over booze and talk of sex. She denies any attraction, which he says it perfect; less complicated. But I feel they’re both lying.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 12.29.18 AMMichael is officially of age! They have a party to celebrate, also letting him in on the business finally after Pol and Tommy chat. So there’s plenty to be celebrating, indeed. They toast and have fun together like a big, happy family. Next day’s back to the grind like usual. They’ve got an export business ready to thrive, starting by setting off for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Taking advantage of Prohibition in Canada. Whiskey for the Canadians; these lads are right on.
In other news, Tommy isn’t pleased with Arthur and how he’s running the business. The books aren’t adding well at the end of the month. His issues with drink and cocaine are making him fuck up. “Its under control,” though. That’s what he tells his brother.
Tom goes to see Ada (Sophie Rundle). She’s got a man around named James (Josh O’Connor), renting out a room; a gay writer. The brother explains to his sister that he’s setup a trust fund for her boy, his nephew Karl. Not particularly surprising, as he likes taking care of his family. This is sort of an acknowledgement of mortality.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 12.55.46 AM
Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) meets with Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor), they discuss their mutual acquaintance. If one thing is clear, the baker does not stand for any antisemitic bullshit. Seems the Italian likes to make jokes about the Jews. They’re definitely not buddies, these two. Nor does Sabini like the Shelby clan, whom he refers to as savages. The Jew and the Italian have been friends and enemies for a long, long time. So there’s a lot to navigate between these two and the Blinders.
Alfie: “The great big fuck off elephant in the room…”
Tommy goes to May’s home, where they have a drink and talk some more. It gets late and he’ll be staying there for the night. Furthermore, he makes clear his intentions to bed her later.
It’s payday. Isaiah (Jordan Bolger) wants to get served properly, so he takes Michael with him for a drink. While they’re out someone gets in a racist twist, calling Isaiah “darkie” and worse. This starts a rowdy fist fight with the Blinder boys doing a good deal of damage. The name Shelby alone causes a ruckus. Worse happens once John and Arthur get a whiff of it all, too.
Tom meets Campbell once again. Three weeks and the mission must be complete. He also tells the Major if he dies suspiciously, then someone will kill him. But that’s why he’s preparing, acknowledging that mortality instead of riding a wave of lucky breaks in the face of death. He knows it could, and will eventually, come for him. That’s why he tries calling Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis), hanging up when a man answers the phone. OH, MY.
Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 1.11.49 AMFucking love this episode. There’s a lot to pack in sometimes, but it’s great because the writing fleshes out the characters every episode, and explores so much in each one. Can’t wait to see more of what happens between the IRA, Campbell, and Tommy; a bad standoff that can only end in nastiness for possibly all sides.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 3

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 3
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of Episode 2, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 4, click here.
Pic 1PJ Harvey’s version of “Red Right Hand” plays at the beginning of this episode, and it’s even more haunting than Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) is catching his men up to speed about the specialities of the IRA, such as using the garrote; a murder we witness in the opening scene outside a children’s shadow puppet show. This illustrates how close innocence and violence are at all times here, a very on-the-nose representation as death is juxtaposed with a playful show for kids.
Tommy (Cillian Murphy), Arthur (Paul Anderson), John (Joe Cole), they’re looking for lads for the organisation. They need fellas of all kinds, including those whom they can “stand up” – the Shelbys help their friends in the high places to reach quotas, sending people to jail, and someone with no record is perfect because they’ll only do a very short amount of time.
Finally we see Michael Gray (Finn Cole) with his long lost mother Polly (Helen McCrory). They bond over a drop of tea, each with “a million questions” for the other. So much time gone. You can see the light returning to her, though. It’s clear she loves him. And that he wants to be able to love her, too. Not long and he’s introduced to the Shelby brothers, his cousins. To the surprise of Arthur and John, who only remember the lad as a little baby. An awkward reunion to start, but a reunion all the same!
Pic 1AA man named Billy Kitchen (Paul Bullion) that Tom knows from serving in the army comes to see him. He’s got to pass a physical, however, he took a bullet recently. So he gets a week before taking it. Already has the job, as he and Tommy are obviously close enough to go on good faith. Plus, he’s a fine boy to send out recruiting.
Tommy takes Michael down to the Garrison. He’s trying to get a read on the young man. Michael turns 18 soon, then he will decide whether to leave his adopted home. The leader of the Blinders wants his newfound cousin to go back. He tells of the Shelby family business, its dangers. Regardless, Michael is sick of the tiny village where he lives. He wants more out of life.
Over in Camden Town, Billy’s rounded up all sorts to go see Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) for work. They’re bakers now, officially. So if the coppers come round, they’ve got proper identification. One man gets cheeky. Alfie pops the fella next to him, then makes clear: don’t fucking joke around. Muffin Man Solomons lays down the law, putting rules out so there’s no further confusion.
Pic 2Arthur’s dipping deeper into the cocaine, a regular, heavy user. Not the type of guy you relish running into on a regular day, let alone one where he’s snorting hard. Makes a man feel like Superman. Doesn’t mix well with his temper and fists. The mother of the young man he beat to death shows up, pointing a gun at him in the Garrison. She calls him “an animal” and he doesn’t disagree.
She can’t bring herself to kill, so they sit and drink, and talk. He offers money knowing it’s a far cry from raising the dead. Mostly we see how people start resenting the Blinders rather than glorifying their criminality, as it’s really starting to have deadly effects.
Arthur: “If youre gonna use it, point that thing at my head. Thats where the trouble is.”
Tommy is still toying with Campbell. The Major is finding himself becoming more like the man he so badly wants to defeat. It’s brewing to something worse, every episode. Tom says that where he’s staying, the landlord used to be the madam of a whorehouse. Is someone playing a nasty trick on the copper?
Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) has his own copper on the take, Georgie Sewell (Sam Hazeldine), gathering information on Mr. Shelby and waiting for the proper time to strike him down. The Italian is an impatient man, I gather. He’s a nasty fucking bloke.
Later that evening Campbell tells the landlord at his place to strip, offering money. She does gladly, even if his tact is less than gentlemanly. He only wanted to know that it was true. To know if his men have been playing jokes on him. Moreover, his righteous indignation is never more apparent than it is now; it’ll only get worse.
Pic 3One of the Blinders’ recruits spending the night in jail gets attacked in his cell. His throat is cut, as a display of authority from Sabini. An innocent casualty in their war. This will happen to any more of the Blinders who are sent inside.
In addition, Tommy himself is threatened. So they’ve got to take action, not the time to appear weak. At the same time, Michael sneaks himself into the family business meeting. He wants to be a part of the gang, to help with the latest plan to fuck Sabini over at the races.
While Polly is reluctant, the lads want to take Michael along with them. Except Tommy, who doesn’t want to bring another young man into a life of crime, death, violence, repeat. Still, mom and her son come together more, and she lets him go on with the brothers. More like a picnic than usual with Pol sending sandwiches and tea.
Polly: “This is a respectable fucking neighbourhood
The Blinders head to see some horses. One in particular, which Charlie Strong (Ned Dennehy) points out. Tom starts bidding on the animal, across the way a woman watches him. On goes the auction, as Tommy insists on getting the horse, no matter how high the price. Afterwards, he meets the woman bidding against him: May Carleton (Charlotte Riley). She trains horses, and it seems she’s interested in the one he bought. Or him.
Sabini’s man nearly kills Tom, before Arthur knocks the pistol from his hands. Nearly beating him to death in the process. Michael gets a front row seat to the business of his cousins, the risks, so on. Even offers to drive for them once it’s finished. He’s thirsty to be one of the bad boys, as well.
Pic 4A solid chapter in Season 2, building on some of the show’s central themes such as the loss of innocence, the way war changes people, how others in turn react to the change in them, so on. Lots of great stuff, including more of the battle brewing between Alfie Solomons, along with Tommy, and Mr. Sabini. Excited to see what happens next.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 2

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 2
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 premiere, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 3, click here.
Pic 1After Tom Shelby (Cillian Murphy) was beaten and nearly killed by Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor) and his men, he was saved by Major Chester Campbell’s (Sam Neill) lads. But what about Ada (Sophie Rundle)? She was taken by a group of men, god knows what about to happen to her. Whatever does happen, those fellas are in for a rude awakening when the Shelby clan finds them.
Lucky enough she saved by a few of the Peaky Blinders. Not that she’s overly grateful: “My name is NOT Shelby!” She gives one of her saviours a kick in the bollocks before heading off. Bless her heart.
Campbell visits Tommy in the hospital, to talk about the death of Mr. Duggan. Then the leader of the Blinders taunts him a little, simultaneously lamenting about Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis) moving off to New York, apparently married to a banker. He throws in a few taunts regarding the Major’s lack of active military service during the war; a perpetual boulder in the craw of the lawman. These two are in a blood feud at this point. And Campbell holds everything he can over Tommy’s head, bending him to whatever purpose he and his special unit see fit.
Campbell: “You belong to me
Pic 1ASo Tom checks himself out of the hospital, needing to get to London. Immediately. He is a right state, not nearly healed. What I love about him is not only that he’s tough, and stubborn, he still has that Irish spirit of belief; not in God, particularly, but in the myths and lore of the Irish people, in magic and other things. Not that he’s an outright believer, he’s more willing to fall back on his heritage than trying to be a perfectly modern man.
Note: This season we’re given a few tunes by the ever wonderful PJ Harvey. Here, as Tommy travels to London in his brutal shape, “When Under Ether” plays. Love the anachronistic choices in Peaky Blinders. All the Jack White, the Nick Cave, now Ms. Harvey; so fitting. That’s why it all works. If it didn’t fit, it wouldn’t work. Boy, does it ever make for good listening.
“Man-Size” by PJ Harvey plays when we’re first introduced to Jewish baker Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy), a curious character. He and Mr. Shelby literally break bread together, drink a bit of liquor. Although the baker’s a bit rough around the edges they get down to business. They talk about war with the Italians, Sabini’s crew. Alfie tells of the “Biblical” nature of his violence against the Italians. So, can the Blinder sell his idea of a coalition? Sort of a rough start to their relationship yet a start either way.
Meanwhile, Tom still worries for Ada. He doesn’t want her relationship to him, in name or not, to do anything worse than what’s already gone on. He gives her a house to keep her safe, trying to keep in the fold with the family if anything just for peace of mind.
Pic 2Everyone already knows about Tommy coming to London again, specifically Mr. Sabini, whose own relationship with the police is one of a wretched boss and his subordinates. A hateful man. He’s got the cops on the take, looking out for Shelby should he pop up on the streets.
Aunt Polly Gray (Helen McCrory) wakes up in a rush, heading off quick to the bookie shop. It’s her birthday, actually. Her nephews have remembered and they’ve got her a present. They’ve given her a house of her own, a beautiful place. She’s not overly thrilled. Afterwards she and Tommy talk alone, he’s spoken to Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards). He also has contacts that can find out where her children were adopted, so that she might bring them home to that new house. For all their issues, he wants to make her happy again. Out in the country he visits a woman about one of her adopted children. His real name is Michael Gray (Finn Cole), son of Polly.
At the office, Tom has Lizzie Stark (Natasha O’Keeffe) take down dictation of a letter written for Winston Churchill (Richard McCabe). So the great leader receives this letter, which not only alerts him to the medals awarded to Mr. Shelby, it pushes him to give Shelby Brothers Ltd. certain liberties. For the time being until the nasty business is complete.
Down at the boxing rings Arthur (Paul Anderson) has caved a young man’s head in. People are worried about him. The Flanders blues are doing him dirty. He knows it’s happening. Just can’t stop it. Right now Tom isn’t being too understanding, and he makes it more about the pressure on him than what’s ruining his brother, or how to help.
Tommy: “The war is over. Shut the door on it.”
Pic 3Campbell’s found out his coppers, some of them, are on the “Peaky Blinders payroll.” He sees the corruption in everyone else, remaining blind to his own. Sure, the Shelbys have put many people on the take, turned them against the law. All the same he’s done exactly that to the Major, whose wind is warped by jealousy of all kinds. He’s become as crooked as any of them, only of a different sort than those taking cash.
Polly gets the files about Anna and Michael Gray – only one is alive; her daughter passed. She was sent to Australia as a convict where she died. At least she has her son still out there, and could possibly come back to her someday. Rather than wait Pol pulls a gun on Tom trying to force him to tell her where he is, but he won’t agree. He wants her to wait until Michael is of age, then he can decide on his own.
Note: Take a count of how many times Tommy gets a gun pointed at his head. Incredible! Lad is calm under pressure, no doubt.
The Garrison Pub is reopening, without Arthur. He doesn’t feel he wants to be a part of it. No matter if Tom wants him to go. He stays at home with one of the boys and snorts a bit of cocaine. Puts him in a proper mood to go out then. Back behind the bar and on wheels.
Next morning, Michael goes to see Polly, a.k.a his mother Elisabeth Gray. A welcome, wonderful surprise. An emotional reunion, if not a touch awkward.
Pic 4Beautiful episode, as well as one that explores the hero side as opposed to the anti(-hero) in Tommy with the way he cares for his family, despite the darkness in him. Season 2 promises to be even better than the first, which is a tough feat. I know they’ll achieve it, because already the first two episodes leading in are fantastic.

Peaky Blinders – Season 2, Episode 1

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 2, Episode 1
Directed by Colm McCarthy
Written by Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 2, click here.
Pic 1Last we saw Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis), she was on the end of Chester Campbell’s (Sam Neill) gun. Only she fired first from inside her purse, putting him on his back. Then she boarded the train and didn’t look back.
Cut to two years later in  Birmingham. A couple prams are wheeled up in front of the Garrison Pub, left by two women dressed in widow’s attire. Bombs go off and blow the front out of the place. Elsewhere, the funeral of Freddie Thorne, who succumbed to illness. Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) says a few words over the casket as it’s put in the ground, with Ada (Sophie Rundle), John (Joe Cole), the rest of the family looking on. Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) and Tom want Ada to stick around rather than leaving, because business is picking up and it’ll be “dangerous to be a Shelby” for a while. Although now she’s Mrs. Thorne, technically.
There’s never a dull moment in the lives of the Shelby clan. Off they go to find the pub burned to a crisp. Pol leans down in the ashes to find confetti. Hmm, a clue. But what could that mean? You bet the family is going to find out, one way or a-bloody-nother.
Pic 1ATom goes for a drink at the Black Lion. After that he’s led off someplace by a boy looking for that “Peaky Blinder devil.” He meets Irene O’Donnell (Simone Kirby) and Donal (Rory Keenan). They blew up the pub. They’re dangerous folk and clearly in for the cause. Threats are thrown at Tom, but he fires back knowing much personal information about Irene. Seems they need him. However, they’ve got a leg up, and he’s not the slightest bit happy about being their bitch. ‘Cause really, that’s the deal. You know he won’t let that last long. We’ve seen Tommy down, he’s never really out.
Later, Tom’s copper on the take mentions an old friend is coming back to town, now head of a special department of some kind: Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill), that nasty old piece of work. He’s gone from justice to criminal himself, taking no prisoners along the way. A bad man, if ever there were.
Arthur (Paul Anderson) is busy boxing the shit out of people. He’s still not right. Channelling his anger into a BARELY more manageable place by boxing. John is still critical of his brother the boss, and Pol tries keeping a lid on it. But there’s absolutely a divide, as always. All over a bit of business.
Pic 2In regards to London and the expansion plan Tommy speaks of, he mentions that the Jews and the Italians have been at war. The Jews need allies, specifically Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy). I wonder if this will play into his meeting with O’Donnell somehow.
Lizzie Stark (Natasha O’Keeffe) is back, too. She and Tommy meet now and then for a shag, he leaves a few quid on the dresser for her. “I wish just once you wouldnt pay me,” she tells him. Problem being I think he’s only doing it to forget, not even to get off. He wants not to remember Grace.
We see Pol go to a seance with a medium leading the group. So who’s she there to try and reach? The parish took her children, lately she feels as if her daughter’s possibly dead. There’s a lot of pain in her past. She’s always seemed haunted, though now it becomes clearer. Also clear is the dark weight of the Shelby family name.
That night Tommy sneaks up on a blacksmith named Eamonn Duggan (Rory Gallagher), shooting him in the head. This is most certainly one of those O’Connell, IRA-related events. Like Tom’s back in the war again. He and the lads are off to bury Duggan’s body, then to London for a lark!
Next day, Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) tells Polly about how the medium was a bunch of bullshit, a scam. This prompts the aunt to put a knife at her throat, threatening her not to tell a soul why she was there. Can the new wife actually keep a secret?
Pic 3When the Blinders holiday in London, they’re supposedly overstepping boundaries. And when people take offence to their being there, the lads start cutting motherfuckers, headbutting, punching, generally kicking the shite out of anyone who’ll step up. Proper show. Tom gives a little speech to the “downtrodden” and the like, sending out a call, a message.
Major Campbell goes to see Winston Churchill (Richard McCabe), the fabled leader painting naked women, a bit jowlier than last we saw him. He hears of Chester’s latest plans, of course involving Mr. Shelby. He wants to use the Blinder to their purposes, then be done with him.
Tommy offers Lizzie a job as a typist for the Shelby Brothers Ltd. He also needs someone willing to turn a blind eye to certain things. So strange to see him caring about her after what he did in Season 1. I guess that points clearly to the fact he wasn’t just visiting her as a customer then, either. He had feelings, of some kind.
When he gets back home Pol is pissed with him for being “at war with Sabini.” She’s speaking of a man named Darby Sabini (Noah Taylor). Tom is attacked in the street, and meanwhile Ada is attacked by a gang of men, taken away somewhere. The leader of the Blinders has a gold filling pulled from his face, but before they can kill him, gunfire erupts. Campbell’s saved him. Oh, my.
Screen Shot 2017-06-13 at 12.56.22 AMWhat a spectacular opening to this second season. Things are about to get nasty, nasty, nasty. And wild as hell.

Peaky Blinders – Season 1 Finale

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 1, Episode 6
Directed by Tom Harper
Written by Steve Knight

* For a recap & review of Episode 5, click here.
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 premiere, click here.
Pic 1Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) goes to the Chinese market, to the tailors and Mr. Zhang (Lobo Chan). He’s there to see about some working girls, he knows his officers often frequent the place. Y’know, for a “certain purpose.”
In other news, Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) is readying Arthur (Paul Anderson), John (Joe Cole), and the rest of the lads for a big, big day. At home, Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) prays for her nephews, each for different reasons.
Tommy: “After today therell be no need for prayers
So over at the Chinese market, Campbell is looking for a bit of sexual healing, to mend his frustrations, maybe even get his mind off Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis), if even for the moment. A young Chinese woman tends to him, removing his boots and his tie and treating him well.
And what about Grace? She’s facing nastiness from other officers. Plus, Campbell is holding what she did for Tommy, and with him, over her head. He’s angry, wounded. Now he’s hurting girls down at Zhang’s place, which gets brought to the attention of Mr. Shelby. Uh oh, a compromising position for the copper. The venom between these two is pulpy.
Campbell: “Before the day is over, your heart will be broken. Just the same as mine.”
Pic 1AWe find out more about Pol, when Ada (Sophie Rundle) talks with her. Turns out her children were taken from her, which is one of the reasons she’s so close to the nephews and niece. She speaks well of Tommy, that he does what he does to protect them. Moreover, she tells Ada about the plans for Freddie Thorne (Iddo Goldberg); and they’re not bad. He’s going free. BY ORDER OF THE PEAKY FOOKIN’ BLINDERS!
Campbell later meets with Winston Churchill (Andy Nyman) about the operation to locate the guns. Everyone’s happy. The Inspector also chooses not to say anything about Grace’s transgressions, talking her up. Then the conversations turns to the Peaky Blinders. This is more of the nasty Mr. Campbell planning something rough for the Shelby clan and their gang.
The big day’s come – Billy Kimber (Charlie Creed-Miles) is getting the oust. They’ve got dirty work to do before the legitimate racetrack stuff gets underway. One of the best parts is that John and Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards) are married, so the Lee clan is alongside for the ride. That’s a grand help. Afterwards, Ada comes back to her family with baby in tow – they named him Karl after “Karl Marx” himself. So perfect for a Communist’s child. Having Ada back in the fold is good for the family, especially Tommy; a boost of confidence and trust in him.
While the lads hit the bar, Danny Whizz-Bang (Samuel Edward-Cook) picks Freddie up on the road. He’s also the one holding on to that last missing gun from the BSA stockpile.
Pic 2The love story between Grace and Tommy’s getting deeper, more troubling, more intense. He wants to change for her, he wants to be a legitimate man and not be bound to the criminal life. The racetrack, the betting, it could change everything. Right before Grace can reveal her true self, Tommy is made aware of Kimber chaps heading over to see them. Might be a war, someone’s betrayed their clan.
And who’s done it? Grace. Again. Pol goes down to talk with the barmaid. Then younger woman reveals her status as a woman of the law. However, there’s no fight as it seemed was poised to happen. The aunt knows Grace saved Tommy’s life recently, that she’s a tough woman, and that she’s fallen for her nephew.
One of the underlying themes of Peaky Blinders is that war changes people, drastically, and for the worse every time. This is the crux of the character of Thomas Shelby, he is a good man at heart but he’s been warped like an old branch on a tree, weathering a brutal storm in France only to return home where nobody wants him now that he’s broken.
Now the Blinders and their allies wait for the attack to come, knowing they’re outnumbered. On the other side, Campbell’s willing to let “the beasts devour each other.” All in the name of jealousy, in the end.
Youre bad men, but youre our bad men.”
Thus, the battle commences. Tom and the lads are locked and loaded and ready to fight. They’ve even got ole Freddie with a nice machine gun to blow them to bits. Except for the fact Ada wheels her child out in front of them all. She calls up the memories of France, wearing black as if already a widow. A woman’s power there in front of each of those men. BAD ASS ADA SHELBY! Yet Kimber takes his shots anyways, putting one right in Tommy’s chest. Followed by a return shot right through Billy’s forehead. The fucking end of that. Sad to see Danny die, too.
Pic 3After making it out of France, poor Danny’s gone. Killed back home by goddamn gangsters. The lads toast to his memory: “May we all die twice.” Everyone has a drink, remembering his honour and his strength, those who fought with him in the war then fought with him once again in the streets of England.
Life goes on, relatively the same. Just a bit more sad, a little more drunk. Although Campbell isn’t thrilled to hear about Freddie being sprung from his prison transport, knowing it was the Blinders who did it.
Tommy goes to see Grace later. Theirs is a difficult relationship, one mired in criminality versus law. She wants him to be done with business, then find her in New York. She’s got plans for them. I just don’t see that sitting too well with the family, certainly not Polly. Nor do I think Tom can leave this life behind. Or resign himself to the idea of being with a copper. We’ll have to see where the road takes him.
When Grace goes for the train, she winds up on the end of Inspector Campbell’s gun. Will she make it away?
Pic 4Season 1 has been INCREDIBLE! Impeccable writing, the acting is out of this world. Production design is some of the best you’ll see in any period television series. Can’t wait to review Season 2.

Peaky Blinders – Season 1, Episode 5

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 1, Episode 5
Directed by Tom Harper
Written by Toby Finlay & Steven Knight

* For a recap & review of Episode 4, click here.
* For a recap & review of the Season 1 finale, click here.
Pic 1Bless Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory), she’s doing her best to look after Ada (Sophie Rundle) even though the girl doesn’t want to take any handouts from them, not Tommy (Cillian Murphy). Not when she believes he’s had Freddie (Iddo Goldberg) “shopped” into a dark, dingy cell.
But we know different, don’t we? Was Grace (Annabelle Wallis) did that. And all the while Tom falls in love with her more each day, not knowing who and what she is outside of their business together. Then there’s Arthur (Paul Anderson), who sticks by his brother’s lead mostly, and John (Joe Cole) who ain’t quite sure about Tom; thinks he grassed on Freddie.
Best of all is when Arthur and John run into Arthur Sr (Tommy Flanagan). Dear ole dad goes home for a visit. Nobody’s too happy to see him. He claims he’s changed. Nobody actually seems to believe it, though. Even though Arthur Jr looks more willing than the rest.
Tommy: “Grace, everyone in my family hates me. Why would I tell them?”
There’s a lot of trouble in the Shelby clan. The brothers are all divided, neither of them. Slipping up and telling Grace a few things he shouldn’t, such as the fact Danny “Whizz-Bang” Owen (Samuel Edward-Cook) isn’t really dead.
Pic 1AWe see Arthur Jr hanging out with ole Sr, who he apparently reveres. The younger one is like a child again, watching his father and listening to him. But it really seems like the old lad is only looking to grift a bit of cash out of his boys, whichever is willing. He doesn’t feel like an honest man, and the animosity Tommy feels towards him is enough to sell me. Right now, he’s reeling in Jr and dividing the brothers further. It’s actually fucking tragic to watch.
Arthur Jr: “And Shelby money is Shelby money
At the Garrison Pub, Tommy receives a visit from a man named Byrne (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor). He’s there about the lad who got shot recently in an alleyway, the one Grace did in. Furthermore, Byrne pokes around about Tom’s thoughts about IRA, the man shot was his cousin, deeply connected. Seems Danny’s been running his mouth drunk, telling tales out of school. “Every finger in this city points in one direction,” Byrne says before necking a glass of booze. The IRA aren’t fucking around, nor is Byrne himself. He makes a few pointed, quietly terrifying threats. CHRIST! Is Grace ever making life difficult for the leader of the Shelbys.
Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill) has another clandestine meeting with Tommy, as they discuss the best way forward with all the IRA heat. The copper could spread the word around Ireland and make sure they know Tom wasn’t involved. He won’t, though. Just as he’s fine to let everyone believe lies about how Freddie was grassed up. He’ll do what he can, however, to keep anything too bad from happening.
Pic 2Tom rushes into the pub that night, saying he believes the IRA are coming to kill him. So he makes a fast plan with Grace, a signal. Then Byrne and his man come, they sit at a table for a drink. Before she comes out firing. The men wrestle, Byrne chokes Tommy nearly to death before he’s beaten into a bloody pulp on the floor and his head’s smashed in. The ferocity scares Grace. Afterwards, he asks why she shot, but we know she has her own deeply personal issues with the IRA.
Thing is, now the relationship between these two is deepening. Grace is starting to cross over, torn by the duty she feels as part of the arm of the law, incapable of fighting off all the emotions she’s beginning to feel for Tommy. Simultaneously, she’s bent to the will of Campbell, who’s a tad jealous. For her part she wants out, to get away from it all before losing herself. She knows the location of the guns – buried in place of Danny Whizz-Bang – and wants to finish the mission, as well as pull Tom out of the fire.
Campbell: “Youve been livinwith beasts
Grace: “It was the beast that tried to stop me
After the guns are dug up, Campbell proposes marriage to Grace, as she resigns her post. She rejects his advance. And this does not sit well with his fragile masculinity, lashing out. I can only imagine what he’ll do now. He’s dangerous as it is, let alone when hurt, coiling like a nasty snake.
Pic 3Out at the trains, Arthur Jr finds Sr taking off on him. The money’s gone, pissed away on booze and prostitutes. He, of course, did it all as a grift. Finally we see the son realise his father is a thieving piece of shit. It’s devastating, no matter how far away you see it coming. Just the way Sr speaks to him, so condescending and hateful, it’s hideous. Shattered for poor Arthur Jr. Gave his sanity to his country, now he’s beyond broken.
Tommy’s just finding out about the guns being found. Over at the office, Inspector Campbell’s letting his jealousy break his word. He’s not doing justice for the sake of justice, for the law. He’s being a vindictive, wounded man. His pride’s getting the better of him. Can’t be sure what he’ll do from this point on.
So Tom plans on taking off, to avoid police.
And who helps him escape before they snatch him? Grace. When Campbell finds this after threatening a bartender, he calls off the search. Jesus, he’s losing his goddamn mind. It’s scary, really.
She takes Tom back to her flat and they hide out. And make love, naturally.
Down at the fight ring, Arthur isn’t doing so well. He drinks, he laments his position in life. After that he does all he can see as the answer – he tosses a makeshift noose around a beam above, hanging himself by the neck. Doesn’t last long and the rope breaks, saving his life. And regardless of their problems, Tom is always there for his oldest brother. They’re all in business together, as one clan.
But their troubles are far, far from over.
Pic 4Another solid episode, just before the Season 1 finale. Fascinating season, a fine mix of history and fiction in one magnificently written series. Great acting, too. They’re all amazing, but lord, is Cillian Murphy ever a fantastic and underrate piece of work of an actor. Love it. This episode sets up a large deal of tension, tightening down on all that’s come before to make for a volatile situation.

Peaky Blinders – Season 1, Episode 4

BBC’s Peaky Blinders
Season 1, Episode 4
Directed by Tom Harper
Written by Steven Knight & Steven Russell

* For a recap & review of Episode 3, click here.
* For a recap & review of Episode 5, click here.
Pic 1Freddie (Iddo Goldberg) and Ada (Sophie Rundle) are quite in love. Her belly getting bigger by the day. He’s still running news of the revolution around, and Jeremiah Jesus (Benjamin Zephaniah) watches him for ole brother-in-law Tom Shelby (Cillian Murphy).
There’s lots else afoot, as well. Bookies are taking bets as usual, Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) shows up with news for her nephew. And when they head out for a meeting, doors locked behind them, a crowd of men from the Lee clan pop out from under cover of a wagon, let into the place by a boy they’ve sent in.
Oh, lord. About to get right nasty, this will. They storm the bookies with guns drawn. This won’t sit well when the Shelbys find out.
Tom goes to meet with his brothers Arthur (Paul Anderson), specifically John (Joe Cole), who says he needs to find a mother for his children. Now he’s getting married! Only they all find it laughable he’s planning on marrying Lizzie Starke (Natasha O’Keeffe). She’s a prostitute, so they all look down on her, except John. He loves her proper.
Pic 1AThey’re all called away because of what the Lee clan’s done. Luckily, no one died. Problem is they think there’s been “booby traps” set, a hand grenade left rigged to blow. It’s a nasty little taunt from when they were in France, what they’d do to the enemy as a joke, leaving wire cutters as part of the cruel gag. Tom believes it was only set for him. Now little Finn Shelby almost dies because he’s pretending to be his uncle outside, the car’s been wired. Uncle Tom tosses the explosive before it can kill him.
Tommy: “Thats why you should never pretend to be me
Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee) walks Mr. Shelby into Lee territory, holding a white flag on a stick to keep him safe. When he speaks with Zilpha Lee (Therese Bradley), he offers a switch – take the debt off Billy Kimber’s (Charlie Creed-Miles) head instead. Quite the shaky alliance, though they’re related down the line on Tommy’s mother’s side somewhere. So that’s good faith enough for them to entertain a deal.
Ada’s not into the whole “cause” of Freddie and his boys. She thinks he’s being ripped off when he’s taking all the risk involved. She believes his lost in dreams of a revolution. Meanwhile, they’ve got a family to start thinking about, a baby they’ll need to feed. Then she asks to whom he’s loyal: her, or his revolution.
Later on Tom meets with Inspector Chester Campbell (Sam Neill), to give him an address for an anonymous tip. It belongs to Stanly Chapman (John-Paul Hurley). Man’s got “snow in his boots” for the copper to shovel, in bed with the Russians. Mainly it comes down to whether Campbell will leave Freddie and Ada out of it. He gives his word, and I guess that’s good enough. Free reign to do business for a few Bolsheviks. The lawman warns he’ll be dismissed if the guns don’t turn up soon. Then what happens to their deal? Well if he gets caught, it’s a grim finish for all the Shelbys. Fucking GRIM. Lots of threats in this exchange. Tom’s up against a force he might not quite understand, or at the very least he’s underestimated.
Campbell: “If I were to be fired and it were your fault, I would do things that would shame the devil. My fury is a thing to behold.”
Pic 2That Inspector’s already going back on his word. He’s a snake in the grass, willing to do ANYTHING to get what he wants. He’s going after Freddie and Ada with no indication of stopping until he’s scooped them up.
Pol goes to tell Freddie what’s been going on, and he’s not exactly happy. Although Ada’s already been in on the whole thing, anyways. He won’t accept it. Because he knows that the cops won’t keep their word, which we already see to be true. The Communists don’t know one another’s addresses, meaning Chapman won’t be able to tell Campbell a thing. And it was all for nought. Except for the fact Freddie isn’t in a good state of mind anymore.
Over in a dungeon, Campbell’s man has whipped Chapman to death. We’re seeing more of how the Inspector is a truly terrifying man. His will is horrific, he doesn’t stop no matter what’s in front of him. This makes me worry about Grace (Annabelle Wallis).
Tommy announces to everybody they’ve officially got their own “racetrack pitch” for the first time. A legitimate betting license. It’s all uphill from here. Or that’s what they’d hope. In other news, Tommy wants Grace to be part of the business, because she has class. Yet he knows she lies, that she isn’t Catholic, nor is she a barmaid from Ireland.
So who IS she in his mind? And how far will it go before it becomes trouble for him?
Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 11.46.12 PMOn the street, Tom finds Lizzie for a chat. It’s clear that they’ve been together before. She didn’t tell John, which isn’t too great. However, Tom hopes she’s changed and that they can leave the past behind them. He gives her some cash, to aid in forgetting. And for one last shag. Oh, for fuck sakes. C’mon now, lad! Bad form. Or is it a test? Yes, indeed. He wanted to see if she loved his brother truly. Yikes.
Afterwards he goes to tell John about Lizzie, that he propositioned and she agreed. The younger brother’s not chuffed to hear. Also, Tom finds Grace and gives her a contract for the bookkeeping job. She’s becoming a bigger part of the operation. Little does he know she’s feeding all the info back to Campbell.
The next day Tommy throws an impromptu wedding for John. But not to Lizzie, to one of the Lee girls who needs marrying. Solves a ton of problems. If John doesn’t agree a “mighty war” could erupt. They lay responsibility at his doorstep, after Tommy’s betrothed him to the girl without knowing. The girl is Esme (Aimee-Ffion Edwards), a beautiful young lady. The couple is married in front of a crowd, their hands are cut open and their blood is bonded.
Later, a celebration! During the dance and the drinks Ada’s water winds up breaking. They head back home for the birth. Pol helps with the delivery, though it’s a rough one no doubt. The lads go to the pub to get hammered, and Tom gives word that Freddie’s safe to come round for the baby. All goes well, Ada is now a mum. And dad gets to have a look at his newborn son.
But coppers arrive to haul Freddie away. Has Tommy done the deed? I’d lay bets on the fact it was Grace. Uh oh.
Pic 4An intense and unexpected episode. I love the cultures and traditions of the Irish people we see, the Gypsy clans, all those types of things. Very fun bit of history mixed into Peaky Blinders. Dig it!