Peaky Blinders: 2.04

Fans of the first season of Peaky Blinders will fondly recall the slow build of the relationship between broken, ambitious Tommy and broken, vengeful Grace. This season sees newcomer May Carleton seek to find a place in Tommy’s heart, as he seeks to find a place in her bed. Sadly the narrative pace of this pursuit seems accelerated, unsubtle, especially considering Tommy is still heartbroken, eternally thinking of Grace.
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After meeting May once, he invites her to the illegal side of his operation to ‘come and have a look around’, a move that feels false and out of character. By the end of the episode they are intertwined in her palatial estate. In terms of filmmaking it’s a great segment, as it’s beautifully montaged with the conclusion of another crammed in storyline:
Peaky Blinders has always done an element of social commentary, though usually more subtly than one showing the trajectory of Michael’s night out with his friend, the black preacher’s son. When they are accosted in a bar for the colour of his skin, it is only their status as ‘Peaky Boys’ that saves them from further trouble. But when they return to tell the unstable Arthur, the bar that caused them the trouble is brutally attacked. Without dialogue, the destruction and violence of a venue that dared to cause trouble to a member of the extended family is brutally destroyed, the shots interspersed with that of another inevitable disaster; the tryst of Tommy and May.

One subtly that’s been nicely played, and I hope pays off well, is the ever-diminishing support that the Peaky Blinders are enjoying in their community. Whether torched pubs, or boys killed by unbound animal Arthur, bit by bit their love and support in the community peters away. I’d love to see this concluded in the end that, defeating their criminal enemies, they are left out to dry by a community who no longer wants them among them.

And enemies they have aplenty; finally the issue of threat has been resolved. Peace between Sabini and Tom Hardy’s Alfie Solomons means war will come to Birmingham, to the Shelby’s.

This episode, unsubtleties aside, once again enjoys the wonderful cinematography that Peaky Blinders is loved for, none more so than the hedonistic dancing at the beginning of the episode. But at the end, when we see someone returning to London, we know what it all comes to. In the end, it always ends with Grace.
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