RECAP & REVIEW: Peaky Blinders – Series 2, Episode 5

Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) and Arthur (Paul Anderson) shortly before all Hell broke loose at the brewery.
Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) and Arthur (Paul Anderson) shortly before all Hell broke loose at the brewery.

So what happened?

Whilst Tommy lounges around May’s palatial estate, Sabini and Solomons put their plan to double-cross him into action, luring Arthur and Billy Kitchen to the Jewish gangster’s bakery under the guise of sharing a Passover meal together, attacking them and then calling the Police when Billy is shot and killed, then apportioning the blame to the eldest Shelby brother so the Italian gang can take back control of the club that was taken from them and the Birmingham/Black Country alliance would be broken. At the same time, under Campbell’s direction, Polly’s son Michael is arrested for his involvement in burning down the pub where he and his friend were attacked. With his hard-fought-for Empire apparently in tatters, the head of the Peaky Blinders is forced to leave his idyllic setting for Birmingham where he’s gleefully told by Campbell that he has no more cards left to play and he has no option but to do as he’s told.

Seemingly checkmated, Tommy accepts Esme’s offer of finding more men, but impolitely refuses her suggestion that he should run away to France and ‘lose himself’ amongst the Romany community there. He knows he’s in real trouble, but as we all know of this particular Shelby, he’s not one to go down without a fight. Just as everything seems hopeless from all angles, another high-value chess piece appears to land in his lap: Grace. After a phone call, they meet up at the house Tommy bought for Ada in London and proceed to play mind games with one another for a couple of minutes, before agreeing to go out to a private club where he introduces her to Charlie Chaplin, and the young woman is impressed enough to go back and have sex with him afterwards. Of course it’s an excellent opportunity to wind Campbell up, and knowing that he has men watching the property, he doesn’t hesitate to call the Inspector and tell him exactly what he’s going to do when he closes the curtains.

Polly is shunned by Michael after she sacrifices herself to get him out of prison.
Polly is shunned by Michael after she sacrifices herself to get him out of prison.

Meanwhile Polly’s decided to shun the family business and take matters into her own hands to get her son out of prison, having an altercation of her own with the Major. Desperate enough to degrade herself, she agrees to the humiliating offer of prostituting herself to Campbell if he lets her boy go. To rub salt further into the wounds, when Michael is released, he’s not exactly grateful for what she was prepared to do to secure his freedom, breaking his Mother’s heart and thus proving he’s the spoilt little shit we thought he was all along. Arthur isn’t doing too well either, and by the time John visits him in prison, he’s become resigned to the fact that he’s going to be hung for the one crime that he didn’t actually commit. That is until his younger brother informs him that Tommy has come up with a cunning plan. By getting someone to distract the police officer outside the house of the Field Marshall that the head of the Peaky Blinders has been tasked to assassinate, John is able to blow up the building and therefore scupper Campbell’s meticulous plan to have the man killed in a way that would also bring about Tommy’s demise. Instead he’s able to complete the mission at a time and place of his choosing: Epsom on Derby day.

May tells Tommy to act more like a gangster and less like a gentleman when he tells her about Grace.
May tells Tommy to act more like a gangster and less like a gentleman when he tells her about Grace.

The Verdict?

I’m really disappointed that Steven Knight felt the need to take the rape route with Polly’s storyline this week. Not only was it hideous to watch such a strong female character reduced to that, but it felt like a really lazy plot device designed to further compound the audience’s hatred for Campbell, which really isn’t necessary at this point in the series. It’s a shame, because otherwise this was an extremely entertaining and compelling episode with subtle scenes peppered here and there that made it one of the show’s best. I really enjoyed watching Tommy getting back to his roots to remind himself of who is when he was shovelling horse muck. It was a stark reminder that he has an innate sense of humility, which often gives him the edge on his opponents. His interactions with May and Grace were also fabulously nuanced, and I can’t help but feel there’s still more than meets the eye in relation to both ladies. The newly married woman’s confession that she and her husband are trying for a baby and have been forced to seek help from fertility experts in Harley Street was particularly intriguing. Why exactly is she the one who’s to blame for them not conceiving? I’m still leaning towards the theory that Grace was pregnant when she fled Birmingham, but that doesn’t mean she couldn’t have had a backstreet abortion at some point after that. Either way I’m sure ‘Grace’s Secret’ is going to play a big part at Derby day, and I can’t wait to see how all of this pans out. Bring on the finale!

Reviewed by Danielle.

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