'Peaky Blinders' Season 5 Review: Dawn of the dead
With fire and fervor, 'Peaky Blinders' will keep you glued to the tension, action, and entertainment this season too even after chronicling the lives of the same character for four previous seasons.
The review contains spoilers for 'Peaky Blinders' Season 5 Episodes 1-6.
Ever since 'Peaky Blinders' saw the dawn of day in 2013, it has risen like a phoenix from the ashes one too many times. As the fifth chapter opens to a world of doom and gloom, Cillian Murphy walks in through the fog once again, embodying Thomas Shelby, the quintessential tall, handsome man in a dusty black coat. The ruthless mafioso is now an elected Labour MP for Birmingham South.
On Black Tuesday, the Brummie gangster boys wake up to the Wall Street Crash of 1929. But there's never just one trouble under the hood of the Shelby family. Tommy may be the "politician who gets things done," but his nemesis Sir Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) is ready to pounce on his throne. Blowing the trumpet of fascism and hyper-nationalism, the sharp and shrewd politician forces the Shelby leader into an alliance. The middling tempo and pace sketch out how showrunner Steven Knight masterfully moves the wheel of history from post World War I to the rise of Nazi Germany and the rack and ruin of World War II.
The first episode begins with a perfect mishmash of masculine dominion and feminine energy. Like a dagger piercing through your chest - the scene where Tommy blasts off the horse and then points the gun at his own head will stay with you.
A man, who has shot hundreds of men, now grieves at a horse's death. Isn't it ironical? Brilliant cinematography and metaphor play out until the finale leaves a hole in your heart. Not just him, Polly Gray (Helen McCrory) is a spectacular vision: cue to her swashbuckling entry in the third episode. Aunt Pol has totally transformed herself into the boss lady she essentially is!
Foe for a friend
From Major Chester Campbell to Luca Changretta, the villains have often battled between the black and white. This season, however, takes the bad boys to a new pedestal by turning them into friends from foes. The Billy Boys send a note signed, "By Order of the Billy Boys," after the brutal murder of Aberama Gold's son Bonnie Gold. But, in episode four, the head of Glasgow’s gang Jimmy McCavern (Brian Gleeson) makes peace with Tommy Shelby. So does Mosley, who seems to be in a cold war with Shelby. The blurred lines of pretentious bonds are dipped in a swab of political colors.
Titled 'Black Cat', the second episode churns out Tommy's dream of a traitor close by. Michael Gray (Finn Cole) is already waiting in the wings with wife Gina (Anya Taylor-Joy) to inherit the business empire from Tommy. So, will he take over the show as Tommy's successor from season six? Well, if that threat wasn't enough, Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson) and Linda Shelby's (Kate Phillips) war at the door of death was a major shocker. Moreover, with the deadly blow to Aberama Gold (Aidan Gillen), Polly Gray is also out of the family biz.
A spell of feminism
The women take control of the men this season. From Ada Shelby's (Sophie Rundle) bold pregnancy stint to Linda and Lizzie's stubborn stance to not stand by their husbands' authoritative dominion, the fifth season paints a new picture of feminism in the olden era. The ladies cross-question, probe and even snap back when needed. It is more striking as the writers manage to wave a wand of change in strong undercurrents without using big words.
Ghosts of past
Annabelle Wallis is back as Grace Shelby, if only as a ghost! "What am I, a genie?" she asks Tommy. The scenes count for some of the most beautiful moments of the season. The touching jiffies fill hearts with a tremble, a deep ache. Thomas Shelby may have lost his love, but his love is not lost. From an enchanting dream who calms his tormented mind, she turns into his biggest fear when she tells him: "It wasn't the bluestone, Tommy. It was you."
Dice with death
From killing major characters to bringing the dead back, Knight has been cheating death since the series first aired. But this is a trick the makers have played too many times. Remember Danny 'Whizz-Bang' Owen or even Arthur Shelby's close shave with death? This time, Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) comes back with a discolored eye and scarred face. Aberama Gold (Aidan Gillen), Barney Thompson (Cosmo Jarvis) and Colonel Ben Younger (Kingsley Ben-Adir) end up losing their lives.
Six episodes are too short for a series that spills thrill in every frame. Ozzy Osbourne's 'War Pigs' in the aftermath of a car bomb, a prison break, a cyanide capsule, a drug deal, and a political execution is the defining moment in the series. With fire and fervor, 'Peaky Blinders' will keep you glued to the tension, action, and entertainment this season too even after chronicling the lives of the same character for four previous seasons.
In the end, one question remains: How much misery can a man handle? If you look at Thomas Shelby's life, you could say all the world's misery and his own. CS Lewis once said, “I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.” Tommy's silence seems to have had a deep impact on his psyche and it all comes across in the fifth season. With a gun to his own head, will the Shelby leader blow his brains out? The man has been through a lot, and it is fathomable why his fears come out in the open. He is the one man he can't defeat.