Peaky Blinders: 2.06

So, Peaky Blinders is over and at just over 2 million viewers per episode towards the end, it’s quite the success. Even Snoop Dog watches it.

My own love for Peaky Blinders is well-recorded and I’ve enjoyed the second season on the whole, but I must admit to some reservations about it. It sometimes felt like elements that worked in the first season were applied more thickly and less artfully. The music that felt so subtly threaded throughout the first season, often overpowered the scenes in the second. As shell-shocked Danny was no longer alive to show the horrible psychological aftermath of the war, it was Arthur who stood in his stead, now a rabid dog, barely leashed.
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The strong female characters from the first season had much more screen time, but had much less agency than before, ever the pawns or victims of the men around them. Three out of the six main female characters were either threatened with sexual violence, were blackmailed into sex or directly forced into it. The two love interests seemed rushed and nowhere near equals to Tommy, both were mere pawns to him. And, in the end, unlike the emotional clinch of the coin toss, we had Tommy boldly declaring he’d marry someone. And personally, I didn’t feel invested enough in either the relationship with Grace or May to really care either way, it just seemed to be yet another ploy, coldly chosen.
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There was a time I thought the theme would go a different way. Between Arthur’s predations, Tommy blowing up his own pub for the insurance, and generally distancing himself from the community that feared and adored the Shelby’s, I thought that the Peaky Blinders re-finding their roots was going to be a major factor. Maybe there were just too many ideas this season, too many things to crowbar in to a mere six episodes. After all, they had to make as much use of Tom Hardy as possible; I know people who only started watching Peaky Blinders just for his presence.

But the main draws of Peaky Blinders remain: Cillian Murphy, his cheekbones and studied gravitas; the delicious visuals coupled with bold music choices by the likes of Nick Cave, P.J. Harvey and The White Stripes; violence and conflict and family. There was more this season that concerned me about the show than the previous one, but on the whole I still enjoyed it. And we finally got the conflict at the racetrack at the end that had to be abbreviated at the end of season one due to budgetary concerns.

And if you enjoyed Peaky Blinders? Good news, it’s been confirmed for a third season! With Tommy’s marriage plans, will this complete the arc of dragging the Shelby family into respectability and society? Will Tommy’s deathwish finally resolve itself? There’ll be Sam Neill next time around, so it’ll be interesting to see who the new primary antagonist is. So, until then, this concludes this series of Peaky Blinders and these reviews. I hope you’ve enjoyed them all!

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