RECAP & REVIEW: Peaky Blinders – Series 3, Episode 3

So what happened?

Still reeling from Grace taking a bullet for him, after the funeral, Tommy settles into a routine of sleeping outside, ignoring most of his family and only returning to the house to deal with his son’s needs. Eventually he calls meetings with Aunt Pol and Michael and gives them a list of things that need to be done for their ‘legitimate’ business, before bringing in Arthur and John and demanding that they have the communist party members who work at the factory where they’re storing the tanks, fired; something they easily achieve by turning the thumbscrews on their boss and getting him to make up reasons to have their cards handed to them. Tensions rise between the brothers, however, when Tommy tells them to retrieve Vicente Changretta from the port where he plans to escape to America and shoot his wife who’s accompanying him. Mrs Changretta taught the boys at school and, naturally, they’re reticent to murder the woman who they’ve known since childhood, especially  as she had nothing to do with the hit that ultimately led to Grace’s death.

Tommy Charles ep 3
Tommy (Cillian Murphy) talks to his son, Charles, during their trip to Wales.

As Arthur calms down an irate John and seemingly agrees to their grieving brother’s request, there’s yet more animosity in the family as everybody except Tommy congregates in the kitchen and the duo rail against the fact Michael and Polly were called in to see the Head of Shelby Ltd first. When their cousin refuses to back down, informing them it was never his choice to be kept out of the less than above board side of the business, a physical fight looks set to break out, but his Mother manages to diffuse the situation with a call for family unity. It’s then, when their youngest brother, Finn, is sent to go and find Tommy that they realise he’s left a note saying he’ll be back in a few days and he’s taken his little boy with him. Hopping in his caravan with both Charles and Johnny Dogs, he heads to Wales with the ‘cursed’ sapphire necklace. There he meets with Bethany Boswell, a gypsy who he asks to confirm that the piece of jewellery has bestowed with some sinister force, not necessarily because he believes that is the case, but because he wants to be absolved of the feelings of guilt that stem from his sense that his actions played a hand in his wife’s death. Leaving the necklace with the woman, a weight lifts off him and he’s able to return back to some sense of normality, finding his way back to the offices in Small Heath and symbolically placing the picture of Grace he had on his desk in a drawer.

In the meantime, Arthur and John have procured Changretta, disobeying Tommy’s orders and leaving his heartbroken wife sobbing in a heap under a pier as they drag her husband away from her. Tying him to a chair in an abandoned building, they await their brother, who, once he arrives, threatens to torture the Italian gangster by cutting various parts of his body off until the following morning, but ultimately bottles it. Seeing Tommy’s nerve wavering, and not a fan of the situation anyway (he felt slitting the man’s son’s throat was enough revenge for Grace’s murder), Arthur shoots their prisoner in the head and informs him they allowed their teacher to live, leaving Murphy’s somewhat shell-shocked character to bid John to get rid of the body. Back at the mansion, he encounters Ada still working and sets about the dual task of getting her to give up her job in the library and head to America to oversee Shelby operations in Boston, as well as pumping her for information from her Communist friends about the Soviet mole in the Economic League, who’s deliberately hampering his dealings with the Georgians who, in turn, intend to take the tanks off his hands to fight the Russians. She comes through for him and gives him the name of an individual who, after some not so gentle verbal coaxing, offers up the identity of the mole. Armed with this information, Tommy interrupts a meal hosted by the Grand Duchess and her husband, with their niece, Jarvis and Father Hughes as guests, to inform them about the changes to their deal, including the fact he’ll be using his own trucks to transport the tanks and doles out the threat that if any of his men come to any harm, their cargo will be dumped in the sea. Under the guise of handing the Georgian matriarch a napkin with the amount of extra costs these changes will incur, he actually alerts her to the fact he has ‘secrets’, and as he’s leaving Izabella asks Princess Tatiana to accompany him to his car. On the way to the vehicle, he informs her that Hughes is the one who’s been passing information on to the Russians, and that he’ll happily kill him ‘free of charge’ if they so wish. When she suggests that his early return to work after his wife’s death implies that he never really loved her, Tommy grabs the Georgian royal and informs her that Grace is always with him and that she’s telling him not to trust them.

Tommy dinner party ep 3
Tommy interrupting Grand Duchess Izabella’s (Dina Korzun) dinner party, as Grand Duke Leon (Jan Bijvoet), Father John Hughes (Paddy Considine), Patrick Jarvis (Alex Macqueen) and Princess Tatiana (Gaite Jansen) look on.

Elsewhere, the hostility continues to bubble to the surface between Arthur, John and Michael, as they took their cousin outside and taught him how to fire a gun, an alcohol fuelled incident that culminates in him pointing the pistol in both their faces, and the eldest Shelby brother giving a telling speech about how he ‘brings the bodies with him’ each time he walks into a new room, once again demonstrating the psychological damage his criminal lifestyle has imbued him with. Again Polly steps up to dampen down the situation, but her son pointedly informs her he’s not a kid any more when she urges him to go back inside. Whilst Michael rails against her, she returns to have her portrait painted by Reuben Oliver, and bluntly asks him if the only reason he’s painting her is so he can brag to his friends that he has a gangster sitting for him. Affronted by the accusation, Reuben divulges the fact he lost most of his friends when his wife died, and that his main objective for spending time with her is so that he can seduce her. Meanwhile, Linda tells Arthur that she’s carrying their first child, and when he announces the ‘happy news’, Tommy’s reaction is guarded to say the least.

The Verdict?
Danielle’s Fezzy Score: rsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fezrsz_fuzzy_fez

What an episode! It has to be up there in my top three across the whole series. Cillian Murphy was simply incredible here as he portrayed a grieving Tommy duelling with the loss of his beloved wife, and his need to get back to work so the empire he’s built doesn’t crumble in the wake of his private life falling apart. There were so many scenes to commend him for, but particularly the way he subtly played Tommy’s complicated need to free himself of the necklace that could have been, but almost certainly wasn’t, the cause of his wife’s downfall, and the innocent and pure relationship he’s forged with his son in the midst of everything else that is rotten and decaying in his world. Worryingly, one of the things that seem to be decaying are the bonds that tie the Shelby family together. Arthur and Tommy’s relationship is suffering especially. When the head of the gang said “Goodbye, Arthur” to his older brother after he’d announced his wife was pregnant, it was obvious there was a subtext to those two words. Whether it was on a more mystical, prophetic level, in terms of where we’re heading storyline wise this series, or if Tommy has plans for his future, is up for debate. I thought Arthur was going to meet a sticky end at some point last series, so it remains to be seen if I’m just reading too much into it all. Either way, I can imagine Tommy wanting to freeze him out of the business to ensure his safety now that he’s about to become a father, or even him seeing the older man as a liability for the family’s interests and a threat to his authority. That Arthur and John disobeyed his orders on two occasions in relation Changretta in this episode only adds strength to my theory that the family is going to blow itself apart this series, with dire consequences. Polly’s declaration that, “It’s the family united that will never be defeated” did little to quell that sense of impending doom. Still, shifty Michael seems all too keen to step into Arthur’s shoes should he fall by the wayside. He’s definitely one to watch after his little jaunt with the gun.

Aunt Polly ep 4
Polly (Helen McCrory) posing for her portrait. Does Reuben Oliver have bigger plans than a mere fling in store for her?

I’m not entirely sure if I’m upset about Grace’s demise. It seemed like there was nowhere else for her character to go after she was relegated to wife, letter writer and dinner party organiser. That said, I’m not overly impressed with Tommy’s newest love interest, Princess Tatiana, whose wide-eyed smugness I find ridiculously irritating. For me, Ada and Polly have always been much more well-rounded and interesting characters anyway, particularly McCrory’s matriarch whose vulnerabilities under her hard exterior continually make her the most sympathetic woman in the show. This is why I find myself holding my breath with regards to her relationship with Reuben Oliver, who seems too good to be true and almost certainly is. I do wonder if he’s the ‘dark-haired man’ Tatiana referred to when her and Tommy first met on the night of his wedding, who was impersonated by the Soviet spy Arthur killed. To be quite frank, he could be working for the Georgians, the Russians, or nobody at all. I just hope Aunt Pol isn’t being set up to have her heart broken. Or worse. She already has enough to deal with her wayward son and troublesome nephews, and is the glue that holds the family together. Regardless of what the future holds for her, McCrory and Siddig bounced off each other beautifully in the short scene they were in together, and I can’t help but hope we’re allowed to see more of their chemistry shining through in the coming weeks.

So where will we be going from here? I’m definitely expecting a twist as far as creepy Father Hughes’ fate goes. It’d be all too easy for Tommy to just be allowed to kill him, and I’d be a little upset if Paddy Considine was so underused after establishing himself as one of the most grotesque, yet convincing villains in the show’s history. It was also interesting that both Sabini and Solomons were mentioned in passing conversation. I know Tom Hardy is due to pop up as the Jewish gangster at some point in the series, but I’m not sure if Noah Taylor is on the cards for a return. We shall see! I’m expecting even more complications for the Shelby gang and a whole lot of fireworks!

So how did you rate the episode? Let us know in the comments…

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