'Peaky Blinders' Season 5: Thomas Shelby used these women to get ahead, but hopefully now things will be different
They all loved Thomas but he only used them when he needed an upgrading of his business or when he had to protect his family.
When it comes to playing a character as complex and convoluted as Thomas Shelby, even actor Cillian Murphy states that it leaves him exhausted. Especially, after the death of his wife, Grace (Annabelle Willis), Thomas seems to have changed drastically when it comes to his attitude towards women, and in his attempt to achieve success he has committed some damnable acts. Thomas maintains a strong connection with Lizzie (Natasha O'Keeffe), a romantic inclination towards May (Charlotte Riley), and a sort of agreement over the partnership with Jessie Eden (Charlie Murphy). However, these are the women that Thomas uses to step on and get ahead and he doesn't mind doing away with them when he no longer needs them.
Fans, however, seem to have a problem with the way Thomas has been treating the women, who have all loved him relentlessly. As Season 5 is just around the corner let us hope that Thomas changes his outlook towards women so that he doesn't exploit them the way he has some of the most dynamic female characters on the show.
1. Grace Helen Burgess
Grace and Thomas were instantly intrigued by each other from the time they first met at the Garrison Pub, where Grace took up a pretentious job as a barmaid while actually working as a spy with Inspector Campbell. She soon realizes that Thomas is much more than the heartless gangster he poses to be, and falls in love with him as soon as he does. Their love faces some major obstacles but ultimately they do end up together with a child. However, Grace is shot at their wedding leaving Thomas alone to look after their son. Grace is not the character Thomas exploits but in turn, initially, gets exploited. With her death, Thomas began to lose his ground and this is the point from which he begins to perceive women as mere objects of vanity.
2. Lizzie Stark
As a call girl, Lizzie was an object of love first for the youngest Shelby brother, John (Joe Cole), and later an object of sexual interest for Thomas. Lizzie is clearly in love with Thomas as she constantly asks him to not pay her for being intimate. She gets pregnant with Thomas' child and demands a place in the family. However, Thomas continues to keep her on the margins only attending to her at his own time of convenience. Fans have declared that Lizzie's constant desire to be noticed by Thomas let him walk all over her without any hesitance. A fan on Reddit has mentioned, "Tommy is able to use her because she clearly craves for him to have real feelings for her."
3. May Carleton
She was a rich, bored widow when she met the daunting, ambitious head of the Shelby family, and ever since May has been passionately in love with Thomas but of course, not he. Thomas met May at a time when he was already planning on asking for Grace's hand but he doesn't mind letting May train the horse which he had named after the woman he loved- Grace's Secret. Over the course of the show, Thomas sleeps with May several times and continues to do so until the day of the race arrives after which he knew he wouldn't need to train his horse anymore. However, Thomas also knew that he couldn't play around with May the way he did with Lizzie or Jesse, and so he politely cuts her off, almost breaking her heart. As for May, she won't return in Season 5, which saves her the humiliation of being just another woman in Thomas' life.
4. Jessie Eden
She was probably the most pitiful character, contrary to what her real-life character is. Eden's character is drawn from the real Jessie Eden, who was one of those women under whose supervision the Representation of the People's Act of 1918 gave women above 30 the power to vote. A dauntless activist, whose activism served an extremely secondary purpose on the show, Eden played a major role during the working class protest of 1926. She was a woman who "was never frightened of the police or the troops", and while that was underplayed on the show, Eden's character was reduced to a mere stepping stone for Thomas. In fact, Eden was probably the easiest for Thomas to pursue and he used her love for him to be elected as the President of the Communist party, and then becoming a Member of Parliament.
Hopefully, we will see a change in Thomas' attitude towards women when the show returns to BBC One with Season 5 in Spring, this year.