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Peaky Blinders - Gold - Review

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Peaky Blinders headed the direction that I think we all knew it was going to head in following on from the moment that Ruby developed an illness. It was a tragic moment that bookended an episode, predictable perhaps, but no less devastating. Much of Tommy’s arc saw him head to the Lees, forsaking modern science in favour of gypsy magic – one of the weirder touches of Peaky Blinders that has always played into the supernatural a bit without going full, well - Supernatural. His encounter again with Esme was fun as we’re watching him slowly spiral out of control – how long before he gets to a point that’s even lower than season five’s cliffhanger? He’s not far off – not being around for the death of his own child is a new low. Lizzie is rightfully angry that Tommy has trusted “horse thieves and sorcerers” over medical science, but whatever the consequences, I’ll never say no to more Aimee-Ffion Edwards.

I did love how atmospheric the shots in a remote Gypsy graveyard were, there was a hint of gothic about them. We get a callback to a past series when Tommy visits the grave of Bethany Boswell’s sister, Evadne, who inherited a cursed sapphire necklace that Grace wore the night she was shot. Evadne gave it to Connie, who died that night – the same way that Ruby did. Therefore – Tommy believes that Evadne left a curse on him and his own daughter when she turned seven – and the Boswells are his next target, despite the fact that they’re impossible to find. Fighting against the odds with his back to the wall – Esme notes that so much has changed for him on the surface, yet so little has – beneath it all, he’s still the same Tommy Shelby.

This episode admittedly did feel like a bit of a lull aside from that seismic event and I do feel like this show is taking its time to put the pieces together – even if it was pretty good on its own. Hopefully it’ll ramp up a notch next week – because otherwise this season will have been slightly underwhelming given that we’re halfway through. It’s a personal character based drama that don’t get me wrong, is still one of the best things on television – but is it Peaky Blinders-level good that we’ve come to expect in the past? Part of me has a lagging feeling that it isn’t, or at least – it isn’t unless there’s a rewarding payoff still to come. It feels weird judging a season before it’s fully completed especially when you know that so much can happen in am average Peaky Blinders episode – but how much longer can we still be in set-up mode especially when the show has everybody from Captain Swing to potentially Churchill and Hitler left to deal with? I'd wager the latter is more someone I'd expect the show to save for any planned movies, though.

I did appreciate Ada getting to take care of Tommy’s side of the Shelby business and she walks in confident for all her talk about this isn’t usually her thing – “although I’m reluctant, I’m quite good at this”, she says. She’s at home firing potshots at Mosley and his wife, and this episode felt like it was as much a tribute to the Shelby family as prior the show has largely been Tommy-centric. Here, Ada is fully aware of Mosley’s ambitious nature of the “next Prime Minister”, and she issues an invitation to discuss the future of Europe to Jack Nelson at Tommy’s household. She instantly gets on the same page with him about how he lost two siblings to TB – and Sophie Rundle leans into the chemistry with every actor she’s on stage with, having an in-built natural ability to get on well with everyone in the room. Ada Shelby is the underrated MVP of Peaky Blinders and this series of events was a wonderful reminder of just how good she is.

Hands up as well then, who was a bit surprised when Arthur resisted the urge to go full, well, Arthur – at the Liverpool docklands? Stephen Graham is someone who should have been in this series earlier but he makes up for lost time with his entrance – Hayden Stagg, making his entrance without the need for show – just calm, collective and able to pierce Arthur’s soul. He’s a different kind of character to Alfie Solomons or really any Peaky character that we’ve seen before, and hopefully he'll have a bigger role to play in the last two episodes because his presence really helps. Whilst Ada turned Stagg’s execution as a consequence for his theft of stolen opium into a beating, a still-recovering Arthur was talked out of that. His words of encouragement for the Peaky Blinders around him gets my quote of the week: “Any fookin’ man can look like this before. A Peaky Blinder still looks like this after.” Ah, Arthur – how we’ve missed you.

If this is the final piece of the set-up before the thing really kicks off next week; then it’s good to have some time spent with the various Shelby clan in the run-up to the end. Ada, Tommy, Arthur. After all – it wouldn’t be Peaky Blinders without them.

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