Finding ourselves thrown back into the action of the night of the boxing match, Tommy is joined in the changing rooms backstage by Alfie, and together they have a cryptic conversation where the Jewish gangster tells his counterpart that he plans to sell up and move to Margate to for some ‘rest’. In spite of being mindful of the threat the Americans pose, Alfie does agree to meet up with Tommy once again, and then parts company with him. Now free to join his brother at the side of the ring, the head of the gang dismisses Arthur’s concerns that Goliath’s seconds aren’t the trained boxing men they purport to be, and reassures his elder sibling with the fact that they’re surrounded by soldiers. Meanwhile, over in the ladies’ toilets, Lizzie is coaxed by Polly into telling Ada that she’s carrying Tommy’s baby. After the congratulations, the older woman then determines that the child will be a girl, suggesting that she be called Ruby before surmising that she’ll one day become a film star. Linda also joins the family gathering in the bathroom, perturbed that some members of the audience might have spat on her back, and snorting cocaine as she finds out Lizzie’s ‘happy news’.
Back in the thick of the fight, Bonnie appears to be taking a beating from Goliath, but when the bell rings for the end of the round he informs his father that he’s still in control. All the while, Arthur is still suspicious of the men supporting the other fighter outside the ring, and ends up following one of them when he heads back to the changing rooms. When Tommy notices another of them leaving the ringside he too heads backstage, as does Polly when she notices that her two nephews are missing. Blindsided by one of the Luca’s men who seeming manages to garotte him, Arthur narrowly misses being shot too when Tommy arrives just in time to kill his enemy’s henchman. As he cradles his apparently dead brother, we see Bonnie knock out his much larger opponent and win the fight. In the meantime, the Head of the Peaky Blinders seems to tell Polly about Arthur’s brutal murder, before passing on the information to both Finn and Lizzie. In turn, the matriarch of the Shelby family tells an outwardly distraught Linda about her husband’s fate. Backstage once again, Tommy has detained the other of Luca’s men, and after he and Isiah beat him, he encourages his youngest brother to do the same, shortly before egging him on to take the man’s eyes, which he duly does. Whilst most of the audience are celebrating Bonnie’s unexpected victory over Goliath, Tommy then gets into the ring and fires his gun, warning everybody there that they won’t be allowed to leave as his brother is dead. Visibly shaken by the situation, it falls to Charlie Strong to calm him down.
Some time later, there’s a funeral procession through Small Heath as some members of the Shelby family look on. Amidst all of this, Polly takes a call from Michael at the betting office, and informs him that Mr Gold will bring him home as Arthur has died. When he arrives back his Mother tells him he’ll be going to New York, not Australia because the family now have business there that needs attending to. In effect, it’s punishment for betraying Tommy and choosing his Mum over the head of the gang, and he’s made to leave straight away. Afterwards, Cillian Murphy’s character goes back to the Shelby Ltd offices, and makes a call to someone unspecified in the US. On the face of it, it becomes clear who he’s spoken to when Mrs Changretta arrives bearing a white flag just as the family are about to burn Arthur’s funeral caravan. Tommy asks that they be allowed to proceed with the ceremony and then they’ll talk, which the old woman agrees to. When they do treat, her stipulations for saying that the vendetta is over are that the Shelbys have to admit that the Changrettas won, and sign over their entire empire to Luca, or be put in their graves by him. Not wanting anymore bloodshed, Tommy agrees to the terms. Over in Camden town, Luca breaks into Alfie’s stronghold and realises he’s already vacated the premises, but not before booby-trapping one of the doors with a grenade, something which the mobster realises just in time. With no-one to stop him, he takes ownership of the place.
Back in Birmingham, Lizzie bursts into Tommy’s office and demands to know why he hasn’t been to see her since she moved into her new home. He tells her he’s been busy signing over all of his possessions to his American, mobster counterpart. To that end, he meets with Luca in the gin distillery. The Italian arrives with his men, and not content to simply take everything Tommy has, he goes about trying to humiliate him by telling him to get on his knees before signing everything over. To his surprise, Tommy refuses and proceeds to tell him why he won’t be giving up his life’s work. He’s spoken to two New York families who want in on the illegal liquor trade. Instead of starting an all-out war on their home turf, they’re both quite happy to sit back and let a ‘bookmaker in Birmingham’ deal with Luca. He’s also spoken to a certain Alphonse Capone in Chicago who wants in on the liquor trade too, and goes on to point out that as all of the family members he brought across with him are now dead, the other men surrounding him were open to being bribed to switch sides. Aware that he’s been outplayed, Luca starts a fight with Tommy, which is broken up when none other than Arthur arrives. It’s then we discover that he was only injured by his assailant, but Tommy plotted his demise to gain the upper hand. Furthermore, because of his ‘resurrection’, Arthur is afforded the opportunity of pulling the trigger and killing Luca just like he originally wanted to. After the deed is done, Tommy tells the hired men to tell their bosses that Michael will sign the import licenses for the alcohol he intends to send over, whilst Arthur also reminds them not to ‘fuck with the Peaky Blinders.’
After the hostility is over with, everybody gathers at Tommy’s estate for a celebration. He proposes a toast to being in a happier place than the last time they were all there, and his older brother stands up to say a few words of his own. Because of his ‘untimely demise’, he’s been given the opportunity to start a new life with a new identity, but he won’t accept it and plans to stay on in the gang. Additionally, as all of their enemies are dead and they therefore have peace, Arthur insists that Tommy take a holiday. Before he comes good on that suggestion, the now seemingly unstoppable chief of the Blinders meets with Alfie on a beach, well aware that he betrayed him by allowing Changretta’s men to pose as his boxer’s seconds. Hardy’s character asks him to look after the dog he has with him once he’s dead, but Tommy refuses, instead more interested if the other man has a gun. Alfie lies and tells his ‘friend’ that he hasn’t, going on to mention that he’s riddled with cancer and stating that therefore his execution will be for honourable reasons on his adversary’s part. Using his admission as a distraction, he pulls his gun on Tommy shooting him in the arm and drawing a counter shot from him that hits him in the face. Both men fall to the ground, but our protagonist is alive and merely injured, eventually getting up and walking away from the scene.
Three months later, we find Tommy has finally taken some downtime on the golf course, but is soon throwing away his golf club in frustration. As he sits alone by a lake, all of a sudden his shell shock from the war appears to re-manifest itself, leaving him ducking for cover from imagined enemy fire. Back at the estate, he’s also drinking to excess and refusing help until Charlie finds him in a stupor. Polly ends up visiting and tells him she’s seen a doctor on his behalf, reeling off all of the thing that could be making him behave in this way, before suggesting that his symptoms might simply be a side effect of being a Shelby. Eventually they all have to shake hands with the devils and walk past them, resolved to their fate of being stuck somewhere between life and death. Soon after he readies himself for work, telling his housekeeper that, “There’s no rest for him in this World.” Making his way to the factory, he gives Devlin a note and demands that he personally hand it to Jessie Eden. After he does that he’s free to leave his employment and go to his family in Glasgow. In the note he states that, with the general strike holding, he believes things must change, and asks for her to meet him. The trade unionist does his bidding, and after they share a kiss, he asks her to get in contact with those involved in the communist movement who he can organise the revolution with. She names Casey Douglas, a man who has his own contacts in both London and Moscow, and Tommy gets in touch with him straight away. They later sleep together.
Having cemented his ties with the movement, Tommy goes to meet with his man in the Houses of Parliament, informing him he’s reached out to someone in the Birmingham Communist Party and now has their name, address and telephone number. He goes on to boast that he can be even more useful and get the details of anybody who’s prepared to become an armed revolutionary, saying he’s also capable of shaping and undermining the political movement from the inside. One of his pre-conditions for helping them makes the other man incredulous, but we soon realise that he’s received the nomination to become the next MP for the Birmingham South constituency, and watch as the Shelby gang proudly vote for him at the polling station. Soon enough he’s jubilantly announced as the newest Labour member of parliament for the area, and celebrates with his family, including Lizzie and his daughter, as a perturbed Jessie looks on.
Mirroring the twists and turns in the boxing match between Goliath and the ‘gypsy David’ was a masterstroke by Steven Knight. Big may generally beat small, but guile often beats brute strength, a fact Tommy Shelby seemed to be all too aware of in relation to threat he was facing from Luca Changretta and the mafia. My main problem with all of this, however, was that the resolution was all a little too convenient. As much as I do want to see Tommy and the rest of the Shelby family prosper, I also would have been very interested to see what would have happened next series had they had everything taken away from them. Don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed this run of the show, enough to propose that it’s the most solid outing so far, nevertheless, the central conceit in Series 4 has always relied on Luca Changretta being a bit of a moron, who was constantly one step behind in this vendetta after John’s murder. I can’t help but feel that this was a disservice to Brody’s character, especially in light of the way the actor effortlessly embodied him. Really he could have become the most villain of Peaky Blinders, but instead he became rather a disappointment. I guess that mantel is going to have to fall to Alfie Solomons, who met a rather perfect end on that beach in Margate. I’m going to miss his mind games, and his mode of verbally tying his enemies in knots. Still, perhaps it was the right time for Hardy’s alter ego to go. It’s hard to imagine what else they could have done with him after that major betrayal.
I have to admit, I do feel the whole ‘fake death’ plot in relation to Arthur was rather weak as well. Of course I didn’t want him dead, but again it felt all too easy for him to have survived that brutal attack, even if him being afforded the opportunity to kill Luca to avenge John did resolve his ‘Law of the Bullet’ subplot rather well. All in all, with the Shelbys having vanquished their enemies and Tommy ascending to the role of MP for Birmingham South, on the surface things do appear to have been tied in a rather neat knot. Dig a little deeper however, and it’s easy to see where the tensions might be in Series 5. Has Tommy really plumped for the Establishment over the revolutionaries, or is he still hedging his bets like the bookmaker he still is at heart? Has he really decided on Lizzie, as the mother of his daughter, over Jessie? Will Michael simply accept the fact that he’s banished to New York, and that Polly agreed with his cousin’s decision to send him there? Can Arthur’s drink and drug habit continue at the rate it is without there being some disastrous consequences in the future? I can’t wait to find out!
Danielle’s Fezzy Score:
So what did you think of the Series 4 finale? Let us know in the comments…