'Peaky Blinders': How Linda Shelby transformed from a God-fearing mother to a cocaine-snorting chick
Linda's transformation from a God-fearing woman to an unruly wife is just another example of the kind of dominance the Shelbys have over the people around them
Nobody can be, or is rather not allowed to be, a pure soul when it comes to the Shelbys of 'Peaky Blinders'. Helmed from creator Steven Knight's memories of his grandfather as a Peaky Blinder, the BBC One show follows the plight of the Shelby family. The Shelbys control almost everything in Birmingham and with their notorious army of Peaky Blinders, their habitual activities include gambling, prostitution, and at least three murders every night. Even the women of the Shelby family are known for the unconventional approach towards life as they walk alongside the men of the family and not behind them. However, in all of this, there was only one exceptional Shelby, Arthur's (Paul Anderson) wife Linda (Kate Philips).
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Linda started off a very subtle yet rebellious member of the Shelby family. Unlike the other women of the family, she was a religious person who would visit the church on Sundays and say her prayers regularly. Her subtle rebellion, that would often go unnoticed, lay in her resistance to Arthur's lifestyle. Ever since the two got married, she has been trying to persuade Arthur to stop working at night, a time when the Shelby brothers would carry out their criminal activities. When she gets pregnant, she manages to convince Arthur to leave the family and stay with her at the shire. For a brief time, it seemed that Linda had more influence on Arthur than Thomas (Cillian Murphy) who never approved of her presence in his life.
However, she helps Arthur out with his best man's speech during Thomas' wedding and Linda is the only one who praises Arthur for his effort. Once they moved to the shire, Arthur began to live a sober life as a farmer who remained devoted to his wife and his new-born boy, Billy. However, things are not supposed to remain simple with the Shelbys. With Luca Changretta (Adrien Brody) coming down to Small Heath to seek revenge, Arthur was compelled to shift back with the family along with Linda and their son. This became the turning point in their relationship, as Arthur resumed his role as Thomas' right hand, which meant he would go back to gambling and snorting cocaine. Even then Linda refused to give up on trying to make him sober again.
However, this time she resorted to those things that were not expected out of her. She barges into Arthur's office in the third episode of Season 4, trying to seduce him to keep his head off work. Although she manages to gain his attention temporarily, John's (Joe Cole) sudden murder once again distracts Arthur. This time he goes back to Thomas and declares to Linda that she should stop trying so hard. Arthur's subsequent departure from Linda's constrained life, and leaving her alone with their son took a drastic effect on her. Desperate to stay with him, and realizing that he would never change for her, Linda began to adapt Arthur's lifestyle.
We finally saw her snorting cocaine in the washroom with the other ladies in the finale episode of Season 4, and this point on she was officially recognized as a Shelby woman. Linda's transformation from a God-fearing woman to an unruly wife is just another example of the kind of dominance the Shelbys have over the people around them. She could have easily been the character who is just the right opponent for Thomas. While Thomas held the family together by invoking fear, Linda would have done things in a completely different way through compassion and patience. However, that is not the Shelby way and since she had married a Shelby man, Linda was unconsciously forced to give up her religion and embrace a cult.
'Peaky Blinders' Season 5 returns to BBC One this year in Spring, but no official dates have been announced yet.