Peaky Blinders returns with elegance and drama

Harriet Metcalfe discusses the return of Peaky Blinders for series 5.

Harriet Metcalfe
8th October 2019
Image: Terry Kearney on Flickr
This August saw the return of everyone’s favourite dysfunctional gangster family from Birmingham – the Shelbys – for season 5 of Peaky Blinders. It begs the question: do I have freshers’ flu, or am I just coughing from all this second-hand smoke?

In the wake of the 1929 Wall Street Crash, the family ends up with a lot more than economic issues to deal with. Tommy’s ‘allegiance’ with (real-life historical figure and fascist politician) Oswald Mosley puts a lot into question, whilst the return of Michael from Boston seems to have an ulterior motive.

Despite all the drama – there’s still an intense vulnerability to the characters that rears its head every once and a while. Grace has a much more demanding presence in this season (I’m still not over it), and Arthur is still trying to change himself to make Linda happy. Whilst the sub-plot on the women’s rights movement does seem to have disappointingly fizzled out, season five is certainly not lacking powerful female characters.

Peaky, as expected, doesn’t fall short in its soundtrack. Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand will always remain a firm fan favourite, but the standout artist from season five almost has to be IDLES. Never Fight A Man with A Perm deserves a gold star for the name alone. Cillian Murphy told NME that “you just know when a song is peaky.” At that rate, Tommy might as well join the band.

Image: BLackLord7 on Wikimedia

And then there is that ending. Peaky loves to throw a spanner in the works right at the last minute, and the finale is no different. It’s just as unpredictable as Tommy Shelby himself. You’ll be wanting season six as soon as the credits roll.

"If you’ve been following from season one, it’s easy to see just how far this show has progressed"

If you’ve been following from season one (and bless you if you jumped straight in at season five), it’s easy to see just how far this show has progressed. We’ve come a long way from Sam Neill’s (or, if you’re anything like me – Dr. Alan Grant) Major Chester Campbell, and even the quality of footage has stepped up. It’s cinematic television, it’s glamorous – Tommy even wears a tie now! Peaky has even become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, with the first ‘legitimate Peaky Blinders festival’ taking place in Digbeth, Birmingham (of course) back in September. For a show with so much blood, sweat and violence, Peaky has an odd way of bringing people together.

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AUTHOR: Harriet Metcalfe
English Literature BA student. Loves film, TV, books and coffee. Thinks "Thor: The Dark World" gets too much hate. Twitter: @hattiemetcalfe

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