I review the second episode in the Post War-era Birmingham-set Gangster epic on BBC 2, starring Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and created by Steven Wright. Spoilers for the episode follow.
For all of you who were thinking that Peaky Blinders was just a one-trick pony, you might want to think again after last night’s episode. The second part of this mini-series has given me hope that despite a few flaws, Peaky Blinders can manage to be consistent all the way through. Too far often have we had shows that started off good and withered away over a few episodes to the point where you don’t look forward to tuning in anymore. And I’m feeling confident that Peaky Blinders, in an episode filled with excellent scenes – is going to impress week after week. It certainly gives me something to look forward to Thursday nights – especially with British Comedy Mock the Week that follows shortly after on the same channel. But enough about that – let’s get back to the actual episode review.
This episode switches from a big, bombastic series opener to a more character driven episode that still manages to contain plenty of punches, both in the literal sense that there’s actually going to be punches and in the sense that there are several action sequences. Whilst I wasn’t a fan of the slow motion fight sequence used at the beginning of the episode, we saw just how deadly Tommy Shelby and his cohorts can be in combat, and that they aren’t afraid to fight when they’re pushed to it. The confrontation that lead them to draw blows didn’t feel forced or jammed in a typical BBC style opening sequence that has plagued the likes of more genre shows such as Doctor Who – as the episode manages to be pretty smoothly paced all the way through. However, that didn’t stop it from suffering from a couple of flaws. The accents are still not that accurate, and the whole pregnancy subplot with Ada didn’t hold my interest a lot, merely serving as something to do to give the character and Polly’s character more screen time in this episode, which is welcome as they, like the vast majority of the cast, are pretty solid in their roles, delivering powerful performances.
Easily the highlight of the episode for me was the confrontation between Sam Neill and Cillian Murphy, reminding me oddly of the confrontation between Sherlock and Moriarty in Season 2 of Sherlock where Moriarty broke into 221B just to meet with Sherlock. At some point it’s almost inevitable that the two will come into conflict one way or another no matter their dealings – but it was interesting watching these two characters converse together in what I’m sure will be a high point of the show. It was easily the most memorable scene of the two episodes.
The episode itself also ends on an interesting note, with the horse-racing angle seemingly coming to a forefront in the next outing for the Peaky Blinders. The confrontation with Kimber and his henchmen in the climatic scene of the episode was another highlight, and Charlie Creed Miles delivers a pretty solid performance of a character who will no doubt be another massive obstacle for the Peaky Blinders to overcome.
Overall then, the second episode of Peaky Blinders was another good instalment, boasting several memorable scenes but like the first outing is not perfect. However, if it can maintain a consistent level of quality through the remaining four episodes, this show may very well end up being one of my highlights of the year.
Certainly worth catching up on if you haven’t already. Also, TV-Wise, look forward to a review of Orphan Black episodes 1 (and maybe 2 if I like Episode 1) over the weekend, followed by a possible review of the pilot of By Any Means, another BBC drama on Monday if I get a chance to watch it on the Sunday.
PEAKY BLINDERS EPISODE GUIDE: Episode 1, Episode 2, COMING SOON: Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6