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Peaky Blinders - Lock and Key - Review

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So that's that then. Or, with the movie on the way - is it really the end? As it stands we get a nice finale that wraps things up superbly, and there's a lot to get into so let's get that out of the way.

Firstly - the Michael/Tommy thing was brilliant - a subversion as ever, and Johnny Doggs stepping in at the last minute was perfect. The whole adage about Tommy not being able to be killed by something as simple as a bullet fits in with his grand scheme of having no limitations - which he yells out after killing Michael - but it's a cold end to a character who even in the end, had stopped drinking much like Tommy - who at one point he idolised. It's a tragic fall from grace for Michael, manipulated into a world that he knew nothing about and outplayed at every turn. Tommy is now looking at Charlie and Duke and realising he doesn't want to make the same mistake that happened with Michael - it's a tragic character arc to watch unfold over these seasons.

Next - we have Duke. Duke; who took up the mantle from Finn as the prodigy of the Shelby clan: Finn acting all the more confident only to fall victim to Duke was a tragic story at the end of it all too - the original Peaky clan being decimated one by one. From where they started off to where they ended up now is deeply heartbreaking - but Conrad Khan establishes himself once again as one of the best additions that the show has had - he was born to play a Shelby and owns every second of the screen. If the episode had ended with Tommy dying and Duke had been left to carry the burden - that would be immensely watchable. Khan's chewing scenery with the best of them and establishes himself as a compelling character from the word go - his vengeance on his mother's killer was illustrated - punctuated with a reminder that Tommy's always, always right.

There was a bit of a confusion admittedly in how they worked out the traitor and their identity - I do think even in the length of the expanded episode it was missing a couple of scenes that could have been clearer. But hats off to Anthony Byrne for directing a magnetic tour-de-force of a season that vanqished any and all doubters by the end of the day - this was worth the slug in the middle; and it's a reminder that the early episode was something that I loved. All these, collectively - feel like a character study for Tommy and a reminder that yes - Peaky Blinders had it. Right until the very end. Would I have sacrificed the middle episodes for a more consistent final season but a weaker finale? Probably not. This was excellent.

Even at the end the same problems that dogged this season remained - little Aida, little Alfie - although Alfie showing up at the end to praise Tommy for giving him control of Boston was perfectly done - with the confident swagger of Tom Hardy to showcase that he really didn't care about Tommy's self-pitying was a joy to witness one last time. Aida knew, instantly - that there was more to Tommy than what he was letting on in the final scenes, but Tommy - not brave enough to tell her - walked away. And wasn't that a perfect send-off - speaking of it?

The destruction of the manor; the eat the rich of it all - the return to the caravans and the lure of the wild - saw Tommy actually fufill his promise and disappear from parliament for now (I have to imagine what his local constituents would think of this, or how history would remember Tommy Shelby, MP - in the future - were he real) - returning the land to it all. The final scenes with Mitford and Mosley was chilling - Mosely offering Tommy an invitation to his wedding surely lays down the groundwork for the movie beyond that; which is hard to imagine will be anything but Tommy vs. Mosely - and the one-liners were on fire as they ever were this season. Tommy telling Mitford that he won't fuck on Tory benches was gold.

I was worried - really worried - when Arthur was brought into it all with Michael relenting to Gina's every demand that every Shelby leader would die (is that the first hint then, that Finn was a traitor when she didn't mention him? I wasn't too keen on how they revealed that so quickly but it was a welcome surprise) - and the stakes were laid down for a really good final conflict between Arthur and Laura McKee. Charlene McKenna was excellent from the get go - and that brilliant bait and switch moment in a finale full of them of the machine gunner being killed at the Garrison was a nice callback to the first season finale; which ended with a machine gun threatening to be used but never was. I loved Arthur's comment about not killing Laura in the Garrison because he didn't want to dirty his pub - and revenge being something that was carried out in Small Heath was a punctuating, beautiful elegy for Polly - whose absence has dogged this
from the start - but it was another send-off that was handled really well.

One more thing before we get to the end: Stephen Graham? What's the point in getting him for only two scenes? Would have loved to have had more of him than just show up twice and state to Arthur and Tommy what their character arcs were. Such a dissapointment unless he's in the movie - which feels a little too crowded for him to be there already. Oh well.

And now we're at the end of it all. Those beautiful final shots of Tommy on the rolling hills in the wilderness. About to kill himself - and then - and then - one more time; Ruby. Ruby shows up to remind him that his vision isn't done, his task isn't over yet - he's still got work to do. After we get the threatening reveal that Tommy was about to do what he wanted to do at the end of the previous season - he's left with a chilling revelation - the Doctor that he saw was actually a friend of Mosely - and had planted the idea of a bad end for him in his head. Mosely was smart enough to know that only Tommy could kill Tommy - and put the pieces in motion for a glorifying end. Now Tommy's return to life is the next thing on the agenda - heading back to soceity, his mission renewed, with the show leaving one final promise: he's not done yet.

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