'Peaky Blinders': Four times when the Shelbys almost compelled us to hate them
They have murdered innocent people who didn't deserve to die and they have acted in the most selfish ways to get their business straight.
The Shelby family, who are central to the plot of BBC One's 'Peaky Blinders', have time and again proved that no one can be as heartless as them. Coming from creator Steven Knight, the members of the family have not only betrayed their friends, but have mostly betrayed each other. Yet they continue to be together. Starring Cillian Murphy as Thomas (a.k.a Tommy) Shelby, Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby, Helen McCrory as Polly Gray (a.k.a Aunt Polly), and Joe Cole as the late John Shelby, there have been times when their actions were nearly inhumane.
As Season 5 is just around the corner, let's look at the top four times, the Shelbys almost compelled us to hate them:
1. Arthur Shelby, more brawn than brain
Although the eldest son of the Shelby family, Arthur never really behaves like the responsible one. There have been times when he almost drowned the Shelby business due to his sheer lack of patience and sensibility. However, nothing compares to the two events when Arthur had acted like an absolute heartless and a brainless kid. When in Season 1, his father, Arthur Shelby Sr. arrives, Arthur tries everything to convince him that he understands business just as well as Tommy does. However, in his attempt to do so he betrays the trust of the family and hands over a huge amount of the family's treasure to Arthur Sr. who once again steals away the money.
The second time Arthur acted selfishly, he ended up killing someone. In his drunken state, which would often lead him to make some seriously bad decisions, Arthur beat a young innocent boy to his death in the boxing ring and thought that he could get away with the murder by solely paying the mother some money as compensation. Arthur literally acted in the infamously classic Shelby temper.
2. Thomas tears apart John's love story
The youngest Shelby brother might be just as dangerous and capable of violence as his two elder siblings but, at the core, John was a good-humored man. While on one hand, he idolized the peaky blinders and everything they stood for, on the other hand, he was smitten by his usual hooker, Lizzie. However, once he decided to marry Lizzie and run off, he made the blunder of letting his brother, Tommy, know about the plan. Tommy, who would any day do anything to keep his family together, took it all to a whole new level of cruelty. He first takes off Lizzie, tips her to sleep with him, and then gives her a ransom amount to leave John.
While John barely has any idea about this, but obviously he guessed that Thomas was behind it, he is compelled to marry a gypsy woman according to the family's tradition. This is one of those rare moments when it almost felt that no one in the Shelby family would ever be free from the shackles of their patriarch, Thomas.
3. Thomas convinces Polly of Ruben's betrayal
Considering Polly's terrifying past, and the amount of hardship the matriarch had to endure, it was only fair that she receive some love from the charming artist, Ruben Oliver (Alexander Siddig). Polly met Ruben in Season 3, right when the family is about to welcome their newest member, Thomas' bride, Grace. Although Ruben approaches Polly claiming that he would love to draw her portrait, he later discloses to her that his main intention was to seduce the matriarch. After all who could ever deny a man who says things like, "I am planning to seduce you eventually and please, God, sleep with you."
However, their romance is immediately cut short when Thomas declares to Polly that it was Ruben who had leaked the information about the Faberge Egg to the Russians. Although later on, it is revealed that Ruben actually helped the Shelbys, it was too late and Polly being a woman of the family, chose to let go of the man she loved in order to keep Thomas calm.
4. Thomas betrays Jesse Eden and the Communists
The fact that Thomas never really considers anyone close to him was revealed in his relationship with Jesse Eden. The hardcore communist heroine walked into his office demanding an equal wage for all female employees in the Shelby Automobile Factory, but Thomas had other things in mind. He realizes Jesse's strong connection with the government and her power over the people whom she could move with her sensitive words. Jesse was a woman of ethics, and Thomas knows it well that people with ethics are quite easily betrayed. He utilizes his private time with her, to first make her feel familiar, and then seduce, and finally utilize her army of Communists to help him become the President of the party.
As Thomas goes on to get elected as a Member of the Parliament, he immediately enters into an agreement with the government to leak out the names of all the communists, including Jesse's. As for Jesse, it was too late by the time she realized how she had been played by Thomas.
So, looks like Thomas is the ultimate bad guy of the Shelby family but even then, he is also someone who cares for the family selflessly. 'Peaky Blinders' Season 5 returns in spring on BBC One this year, and there will several more hearts and trusts that Thomas will surely betray.