'Peaky Blinders' Season 5: Finn and Michael need to show Thomas they're capable of carrying the Shelby legacy
Every dynasty needs a rightful heir who will not only defend the throne from the invaders but will carry on its legacy. When it comes to BBC One's 'Peaky Blinders', at the moment, there are only two heirs to the Shelby throne- the youngest Shelby brother, Finn (Harry Kirton), and the matriarch Polly Grey's (Helen McCrory) only surviving son, Michael (Finn Cole). While the boys don't really interact much on the show, and share very little screen time together, each in his own way has contributed to the family business.
While Season 5 will see Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) take up his second throne as the President of the Communist party and a Member of the Parliament, a time might come when Thomas will have to leave his throne in the peaky blinder community to his upcoming generation. We are not yet considering his two sons since both are basically toddlers, but if anything is to happen to Thomas while he fights with the Fascists from Glasgow, Finn and Michael might be next in line to lead the peaky blinders. However, before we jump into any conclusion, let's take a look at how the boys have done so far:
1. Michael Grey
He came to the Shelby family at the ripe age of 15, and was immediately attracted to Thomas' gangster appeal. Although for the longest time, Polly tried to keep him away from getting his hands dirty in the Shelby business, Michael nevertheless broke all chains and jumped in to prove himself a worthy peaky blinder. He showed immense courage when he got into a fight at The Marquis of Lorne when a man refused to be in the same bar as his friend Isaiah (Jordan Bolger) because he is black. Soon after that he is praised by the two Shelby brothers, Arthur (Paul Anderson) and John (Joe Cole), who are notoriously known for going on killing sprees.
Thomas, too, senses Michael's desperation to be a part of the business, and he takes him in as an assistant. He quickly paves his way up the ladder, once he informs Thomas about Father Hughes' infamous history as a child abuser. Michael, then, goes to perform that one act which formally confirms his place as a peaky blinder- he murders the Jewish man who came with Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) during Alfie and Tommy's meeting in Season 3, and is later taken to prison for an unverified charge against Hughes' murder. However, in the end, Michael disappoints Thomas when he conceals an important bit of information from him, and by the end of Season 4 Thomas sends him off to New York to look after their business in America.
2. Finn Shelby
Finn did not go to fight in the First World War like the other three Shelby brothers because he was barely 10-years-old then. He grew up in the shadow of his brothers, and it was never easy for him. Constantly having to live up to their standards, and not really have a life of his own where he could have been free to make and take responsibilities of his own choices, Finn spent a childhood as a messenger to the peaky blinders. In Season 1, we actually see him, in his playful child-like manner, accidentally setting up a bomb which Thomas later defuses. Finn immediately realizes his mistake, and ever since, he has played the role of a silent messenger who was aware of everything but never spoke a word.
Just like Michael, Finn was the child Polly adored, and even with Finn she tried to keep him away from the business. However, Finn anyway gets dragged into it by John and Arthur, although it is John who looks out for him. Hence, after John's death Finn finds himself quite alone in the family and it was then that he realized he had to win Thomas' approval in order to be a prominent member of the family. Finn finally proves himself as a perfect peaky blinder, when in Season 4- forced by Thomas- he manages to slice open the eyes of Luca Changretta's (Aidan Brody) men, who had tried killing Arthur. It was at this moment when we realize that Finn is after all a Shelby, and can be just as violent as the rest of them.
Unlike Michael, who had a natural inclination towards guns and violence, and who also managed to get a proper girl to lose his virginity with, Finn was never interested in the lifestyle. Shielded by his brothers until Season 4, he lost his virginity to a low prostitute. While Michael has time and again proved that his mind is as sharp with money as it is with horses, Finn has declared himself as the boy who will grow up to be a family-man, if not a gangster. At this point, it can be said that both Finn and Michael serve extremely separate purposes for Thomas. Michael is the boy Thomas uses to get his business done, while Finn is the boy he uses to keep the family together. If the two can set aside their differences and work together, both Michael and Finn are quite capable of taking charge of the Shelby family and the peaky blinders.
'Peaky Blinders' Season 5 returns to BBC One this spring.