RECAP & REVIEW: Peaky Blinders – Series 2, Episode 2

Tom Hardy enters the fray this week as Alfie Solomons.
Tom Hardy enters the fray this week as Alfie Solomons.

So what happened? 

As Tommy is carried bloody and broken to hospital after his beating, his fellow Peaky Blinders reach his sister just in the nick of time and save her from the clutches of Sabini’s henchmen. Eternally pissed off, Ada thanks one of her rescuers with a knee to the balls and once again declares she’s not a Shelby. Point made! Meanwhile arch-villain Campbell isn’t shy a about letting Tommy know that he owns him now, and tells the recovering gangster that when the time comes he’ll be undertaking another assassination on behalf of the Crown. In the same barbed conversation it also transpires that they both know Grace is living in New York and that she’s married now. In fact we know later that she’s been writing to her former lover, but he’s been ignoring her correspondence, and he even goes so far as to burn one of her letters in the back room at the newly opened Garrison. A brave move in a pub that’s only just been refurbished after being burnt down.

In London expansion news, Tommy checks himself out of hospital in Birmingham and takes a barge trip down to Camden Town to meet with Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) at his ‘bakery’, (which is in actual fact a brewery), to discuss joining forces against Sabini’s gang. It’s safe to say that the meeting doesn’t go too well initially, and the head of the Shelby family nearly ends up with a bullet in his head until an impromptu nosebleed inexplicably seems to save the day. Leaving the Jewish ‘baker’ to mull over his offer, Tommy heads back home and ruffles Sabini’s feathers by slipping away undetected by the policemen on his payroll. Naturally the Italian gangster is none too happy and takes to throwing things at the fleeing coppers like a grumpy, teething toddler. Neither is Campbell when his nemesis side-steps him and writes to Winston Churchill as a fellow soldier requesting permission to transport liquor around the globe, and it’s granted. At least temporarily.

Noah Taylor as Italian gangster, Sabini.
Noah Taylor as Italian gangster, Sabini.

Back in the bosom of the family, Tommy manages to bring Ada round by buying a house for her and her son with his ill-gotten wealth, and does the same for Aunt Pol, promising he’ll bring the children that were taken away from her back to live with her. With her consent he finds records that prove her dream about her daughter dying was true, but discovers that her son is still very much alive and living with his understandably cautious, adoptive Mother. Fearful of rocking the boat and allowing his aunt to scare the 17 year old away, he refuses to give her the boy’s address until he’s 18, even when she threatens him with a gun. When he still isn’t forthcoming with it, the family’s matriarch resorts to drink and young men. Arthur isn’t in a good way either. Continuing to be unable to control himself when he gets in the boxing ring, he once again beats someone to death and admits to his brother that he hasn’t gotten over what happened to him during the War. Unmoved by his brother’s confession, Tommy resorts to coaxing his older brother to the reopening of their pub by sending their youngest brother, Finn, with cocaine (Tokyo) that he’s only supposed to use on ‘Grand openings and race days’. Yes, because that’s how highly addictive drugs work, Mr Shelby.

Aunt Pol (Helen McCrory) drowning her sorrows with drink and a young man.
Aunt Pol (Helen McCrory) drowning her sorrows with drink and a young man.

The episode ends with Aunt Pol heading back home after a night of debauchery, only to find a young man waiting on the pavement outside her door. Of course it’s her son and he’s turned up at the worst possible time, seemingly staring at the wreck of a woman his adoptive parents had described to him. Still, he doesn’t turn away, instead picking up the keys she’d dropped on the ground and opening the door to the Shelby Empire.

The Verdict?

I’m still laughing at Noah Taylor’s totally over the top performance as Sabini. In fact I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he and Campbell will have a scene together soon, so that they can chew scenery in tandem before eventually swallowing each other whole.  I pay my license fee in the hope of it happening. Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons really was a welcome addition to the show, however. Working the whole low key, slightly psychotic Fagin vibe, his character serves to further underline Tommy’s relative sanity and calm in a sea of Post-War exuberance and eccentricity, and I can’t wait to see where their impending partnership takes them, especially after their rather odd conversation in his office. Unlike Sabini who quite clearly wears his heart on his well-tailored sleeve, his enemy is more of an unknown quantity and all the more interesting for it.

Arthur (Paul Anderson) resorting to cocaine to deal with his PTSD.
Arthur (Paul Anderson) resorting to cocaine to deal with his PTSD.

The impending doom in relation to the Shelby family this series may as well be written in the sky in indelible ink, so obvious are the dramatic signposts so far. Arthur remains a loose cannon, more so now he’s bound to become a coke addict, and no doubt Pol’s newfound, previously sheltered son is destined to be in grave danger as he’s welcomed into Birmingham’s premium gangster family. Grace’s reappearance also appears imminent too.  Let’s just hope she takes Campbell out properly this time.

Reviewed by Danielle. 

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