On the opening of the Grace Shelby Children’s charity Tommy is surrounded by the many joyous people who are enthralled with the kind work he’s done. Lurking in the shadow’s is Father John Hughes who warns Tommy that everything must go to plan regarding the train explosion. In order to ensure Tommy listens Father Hughes kidnaps Tommy’s son, Charlie. With the Peaky Blinders on a mad hunt to find Charlie, Tommy is on the prowl to find out who leaked information about the secret tunnel to the strong room. With some unexpected twists and turns you are not sure who to trust within or outside the Peaky Blinders.
The murky waters we tread to get to the end of this season. I wasn’t enamoured with the Blinders this season. Something was missing and there were a lot of revelations during the finale that left me feeling a bit empty and unsatisfied. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great bits, I admit, but the season overall was bit weak. It played like a season made purely to bide the time before the real finale plot begins.
We know season 4 and 5 are booked and we know there is an ending in sight. I have no doubt that there is setup in season 3 that will string through to the finale, but I pray it’s a good one and we get some of that exciting Peaky traction back. But in all honestly far too many important moments were resolved with quick exposition.
Let’s start with Esme’s baby. We knew all season she was pregnant. When we go back and recall the marriage between Esme and John it was no easy happy-go-lucky ordeal. What little we saw of Esme we know she isn’t happy with how the business is run by Tommy. The dirty deals and killings and what not. Who could blame her? So when it came time for her to have the baby it was heart breaking that it’s only mentioned in passing, John isn’t even there for the birth, nor does Esme appear upset by that. A huge plot just swept under the rug.
Michael’s girlfriend is another. We know she’s pregnant, though we barely know her name. We know her family wouldn’t approve of the relationship and Michael doesn’t know what to do about the baby. But this is all done through brief moments of exposition, all of which she is not present for. Finally Michael comes to her and tells her he must leave to help Tommy with ‘business’. The scene in which this happens looks as if she’s about to have an abortion, perhaps. Again this entire plot is not even worthy to be called a subplot…it’s more of an after thought. Michael, as a character, was barely touched upon, and after how big he was in season 2 it was strange seeing him side-lined so much.
Lizzie, oh pour Lizzie. She was another great female in season 2 who is benched as well. Tommy tells her that it was her comfort that go him through Grace’s death…by comfort does he mean the passing sentence when she says they are hooking up? Grace’s death took a tole on Tommy, but we only saw him with the Princess. At no point did we know he was getting over her death with the help of Lizzie! That feels too important to just be a moment of quick exposition.
These three points really frustrate me. It’s not like Peaky Blinders to be so blasé with their characters. And seeing them do it to some that have been staple from the very beginning is shocking. I really, desperately, hope that this is fixed for the next two seasons. But sadly, these weren’t my only problems.
The Economic League was an underwhelming presence this season. I didn’t much care for, or feel they were a formidable foe for the Blinders. Father John is nothing more than a pedo with some bodyguards. He wasn’t any near as exciting or threatening as Campbell. What the League’s purpose be moving forward? It’s unclear, but we know they are going after the Peaky Blinders full throttle. Another boring presence was Rueben Oliver was another strange addition. I understand he was there to help bring Pol out of the darkness and make her feel loved and valued, stereotypically a role played by the woman. So I liked that aspect. However, there was this underlying threat with him and it didn’t pay off in nay way. Is he just a good guy? If so, give us real proof or will he be back with a more sinister role? He and Pol appear to have something special, but there was not enough development for me to sway yes or no to him.
As for Princess’s plan, that fell flat for me in a big way. All along all she wanted was the Duchess’s jewels. She helped Tommy, in the shadows, prepare for the strong room break in then paid him for the jewels so she could have them herself. I mean, sure…that makes sense. Only it doesn’t. It was a twist that I felt was lacklustre. Why did she need to steel the jewels if she already has enough money to pay for them? One could argue there are markets where the jewels will bring in a nice return, and I also understand her family’s strong obsession. I just felt like that was tagged on and not thought through very well. By the way, what happened to the Duke and Duchess? Guess we’ll find out some other day.
The person everything (me) is talking about is Alfie Solomon. That madman was the only redeeming factor about Peaky Blinders season 3. His charisma and insanity is hypnotic. The presence he brings to the scene is spectacular. I could watch an entire show just about him and his madness. The show has created something special with that character. An unhinged villain that stills your blood one moment then boils it the next. He is honest in his dishonesty and looks out for himself. The moment between him and Tommy discussing honour and stepping over the line was by far the pinnacle moment of the season.
Now look, that finale…that final moment in Tommy’s office was incredible. I can’t say I loved all of season 3, but that scene was strong. Finally the Peaky’s are gathered and waiting to scoop up their shares from the deeds done. Arthur and Linda are off to a new life in NYC, John and Esme have the new baby, Pol is in love with Rueben. All looks bright. Business could carry-on in a more honest route. That is until Tommy admits that he handed them all over to the police in order to save his own skin. Admitting he made a deal with people more powerful than the Economic League, who are out to get him for killing Father John and not fully cooperating with the agreed plan. Arrest warrants are made for Arthur, John, Michael and Polly and they are taken away. One thing that’s been at the forefront of this season is the disunity of the family. The Peaky Blinders are so far from what they were. Their band is not as strong, and not everyone can be trusted. Just as hope was starting to shine, Tommy crushes it all. This will have some severe effects on the gang moving forward.
I am keen to know who these powerful people are that Tommy’s gone into new business with and I wonder how the family will (or will not) get out of these mess. I don’t foresee a happy ending for the Peaky Blinders…and I don’t see everyone getting out alive. The next two season will, I hope, be a vast improvement and amp up the intensity like never before. So while season 3 had great visuals, stunning sets and costumes, and of course an outstanding sound track, the plot was weak and many characters suffered for it. Let’s see this improved and give the Blinders a good send off!
What do you think? Any thoughts on what will happen next?