After 3 months in recovery, Tommy is in restored health. His Peaky Blinder haircut might be chopped up, but he’s preparing to take the Russians for all they got, and he’s recruiting the big guns. Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) returns when Tommy requests his assistance. Setting aside their previous squabble, Alfie is key to Tommy’s plans. Tommy does not trust the Russians to pay for the work with the armoured cars, and he wants to insure he’s paid. Therefore he wants to examine the strong room holding their jewels and plans to tunnel inside in order rob them. To get the information Tommy, Arthur, and John are thrown into the madness of a Russian orgy. Meanwhile Ade is brought back into the Shelby business, Michael is dealing with news that his girlfriend is pregnant and he’s confessed a dark secret to Tommy.
Tom Hardy’s return to Peaky Blinders has been the best thing to happen to the show this season. Alfie Solomons is barking mad, threatening, and wonderful. We needed more of that this season. Every scene with him is pure chaotic bliss. He sees through the lies and calls situations as they are. He’s not someone to have the wool pulled over their eyes. He knows about Tommy’s dealings with the Russians, and he knows when the Russians are trying to b.s. him.
Two of the of the most intense scenes this episode, if not the entire season, are with Alfie. The apology between Alfie and Arthur was outstanding. Arthur’s rage was heart pounding! And Alfie’s calm behaviour as he apologetically antagonised was outstanding. There are moments in television that just blow your mind, when you have no idea how something will play out and the tension is pushed to the max, and that scene was one of them. Alfie assesses Arthur as a man who will “murder and maim with God on his side.”
The next moment was between Alfie and the Grand Duke Leon Petrovna. Alfie takes no prisoners when the Russian speaks his native tongue to insult the Wandering Jew. When they realise he speaks Russian and tells them that his mother was a Russian woman who was chased down, you half expect Alfie to loose it and lash out. The look on the Princess and Grand Duchess Izabella faces are priceless. Utter terror and panic is splashed upon their faces. Alfie proves he’s got them cornered and they can’t swindle their way into giving Tommy cheap jewels.
With season 3 not having as much gravitas as previous seasons, these scenes are a reminder of the greatness that can still be channelled in the show.
Let’s talk Michael. A shockingly underused character. We see him get off with a girl in the first episode, we see her for a moment in the second episode, literally half a second or so. She’s so unmemorable that I cannot recall her name with. And why is she important? Because Michael has knocked her up. Gosh, how many babies will the Peaky’s be having this season? Anyway, she’s up-the-duff. And Michael is frustrated by it, says he can’t marry her because her family doesn’t know who she’s with, and wouldn’t approve anyway. Great, quick bit of exposition told us something that would have been interesting to see on screen over the last few episode. Honestly, I am happy to cut out some of the dramatic walking scenes to enjoy some character development. Michael is becoming a loose cannon, but I’m not invested in it because I don’t feel the show has invested in it itself.
Outside of scenes with Alfie everything this episode falls flat. Majority of the episode is spent in a mad Russian party with everyone dropping their pants and having sex. After the last episode, where Tommy and the Princess are fooling around and she’s floundering around nude, I didn’t care to see any more sexy-time scenes. I want to proper grit and drama. There is so much more to Peaky Blinders than sexy-time and booze. I’ve been disappointed that much of season 3 has revolved around sex. I understand these characters live in a world of loose morals and act carelessly. I also understand that putting Arthur in a positions where he’s having sex with a whore and taking off his wedding ring can be traumatic and cause drama, but do we need it? There didn’t seem to be any issue for John, who is married and expecting a child, to go dick about with the whores either. I thought it was incredibly cheap of them to re-call Grace through some S&M sexy-time between Tommy and the Princess. I don’t think it was right to have Tommy get off with her either – he should have been more tough to resist her. I am gutted with how sloppily they have handled Grace’s character now, and her relationship with Tommy.
Let’s see, who else had sex…oh yes, Polly too. She finally gets off with the Ruben! Which, at this stage, is like, ‘whatever’. Polly remarks that he is friends with local writers and worries that if Tommy knew she was with him he would shut the man down. Now, what I would have liked to see is some actual development on that side, if that was truly a concern. At the moment Ruben Oliver hasn’t contributed much, other than he’s, well, painted Polly and banged.
The Economic League is some great opposition for Tommy, but the lack of development in those characters means I don’t really care about them. I don’t know them, I don’t understand them, I don’t find them scary or threatening. They are meant to be, but I don’t believe it. Priest Hughes is suppose to be some great terror, but meh. So far the Economic League doesn’t match the ferocity that Campbell had.
I really feel the show has lost its way this season. The Peaky Blinders are crooks, they are scum. But they used to have pride in family and loyalty to their own. I don’t feel that loyalty is there. So much times wasted on this pawn-for-the-government that we don’t actually see what’s going on with the Shelby business.
It’s all down hill from here, with one episode away from the finale nothing feels flushed out well. The Economic League are preparing for the armoured car shipment, the Soviets have been informed of the trick the British government intend to play, and Tommy wants to steal some jewels. I worry too much is going to be crammed into the final episode and will leave a lacklustre end.
We already know Peaky Blinders is back for two more seasons. An announcement that kind of ruins the finale, because we know most will make it out alive then. I mean, they aren’t going to carry on without Tommy, Arthur, Polly, and Ada. And I can’t see them scraping anyone else, unless their visibility has been limited. But I hope that the show gets back on track. Yes, it has all the style and flair. It has a wonderful soundtrack and is still very gritty. But its story focus has been lost. It’s not completely without interest, but I feel there are more interesting things to explore than what we’ve seen this season.
What do you think? Comment and share your thoughts below