Peaky Blinders Season 5 Review

Courtesy of Variety.com

By Jared Prenda

Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and the rest of his family face their most daunting challenge yet in season five of Peaky Blinders on Netflix on October 4 this year, following its run on BBC.

The hit BBC and Netflix drama Peaky Blinders has released its darkest season, as Tommy Shelby, OBE, and the Shelby Clan must face their most daunting place yet. Steven Knight delivers another great series of drama, gritty storytelling, and compelling cast helmed by Cillian Murphy as the main character Tommy Shelby. 

The opening episode is set on Black Tuesday, making this the first time a major world event was used to not only actively date, but influence the actions of the Shelby’s. Tommy once again seems to be the only one with a clear vision of a coming storm and warns Michael to sell their stocks before the greatest economic collapse in history. Michael, played by Finn Cole, is stationed in Detroit and fails to heed his older cousin’s warning ruining the fortune Tommy spent so long to build for the family. 

The series tells the rise of the Shelby Clan as they climb the ranks of a small bookmaking gang in Small Heath, Birmingham all the way to the ranks of Parliament. Throughout the wars against rival members of the underworld and members of the government. Tommy balances his family feuds and drama while coping with the hidden scars of his time in World War I, and the growing success of a major player in the national sphere. 

The season gives viewers the most vulnerable view of Tommy, who is often an isolated and broken character throughout the show’s six-year run. Tommy has a growing and growing opiate addiction, which allows the ghosts of his past to catch up to him as his current rivals gain an advantage as well. Added to his loneliness and PTSD flashbacks to WWI, Thomas must deal with growing tensions within his own family. In past seasons, it was either his brother Arthur or his Aunt Polly Grey, played by Helen McGrorry, who challenged Thomas for the head of the family. In this season it has been his cousin Michael, played by Finn Cole, who is coming for the king.

It is Michael’s arrogance and ambition which leads him to ignore his cousin’s warning of the imminent stock market crash that leads the Shelby’s to lose their fortune, and his ambition and own plans which lead to tensions. Michael’s new young wife Gine, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, seems to have plans for her future and is willing to play Lady Macbeth to achieve her goals through Michael. Furthermore, Arthur has to deal with irreparable damages to his own wedding and Tommy’s latest wife Lizzy can’t get across the point his two young children need him more than the Family. 

This season also gave fans, and the Shelby’s, their most daunting foe since inspector Chester Cambell of the first two seasons: Oswald Mosley. Mosley is played by Sam Claflin, is a far-right member of Parliament who joins the growing trend of Europe and brings fascism and nationalism to England with his ‘perish Judah’ movement. Mosley also allies himself with ruthless Scottish fascist gangs to attack Tommy in both legitimate and illegitimate business. 

It is a common trend for the show to have Thomas appear outmanned and outgunned by his opponents until the season’s finale where it is revealed that Thomas was really one step ahead the whole time. It is refreshing to see him once again face off against an adversary who can play his chess game and not only anticipate Tommy’s moves, but use them against him.

The show has almost spanned from one World War to the other, recounting the tensions that were brewing in Europe at the time. The show tackles international struggles as Tommy’s never-ending war carries on to the world at large, which seems fitting as it has an expansive and dedicated international fan-base. Season Five gives fans all that they want: a shrewd villain for Tommy to match with, plenty of gritty violence, extreme tension, and Tommy being fearless throughout it all.

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