I review the brilliant finale of BBC Two’s brilliant Peaky Blinders, with spoilers included.
Well, after 6 weeks, we’ve reached an end to Peaky Blinders, and I can say right now that the ending was as brilliant as the last five (with the possible exception of Episode 4) episodes that were aired, proving that Peaky Blinders is a mostly very consistent show that goes out with a very literal bang, having audiences who have stuck with the show thus so far eagerly awaiting the possibility of any future instalments as the ending leaves it open-ended enough for a possible return of more adventures of Tommy Shelby and company, which will be great to see especially for someone like myself who has enjoyed the last five episodes.
Everything comes to a conclusion in this episode. Inspector Campbell promises to break Tommy’s heart before the day is out, just before Tommy plans to take down Kimber, the big boss, now with added manpower due to the extra allies that he’s found from the Lee family. It’s the moment that we’ve been building up to for a while now, and it doesn’t quite happen in the manner that we would expect, as it turns out the great climatic sequence of Peaky Blinders is a standoff in a street between the two gangs, pitting the bad guys against the badder guys with a bloodbath seemingly the only intent. Also, the whole Grace/Tommy/Campbell thread is wrapped up fairly well, with the open ending allowing viewers to make their own presumptions about what happens next (either Grace gets shot, she doesn’t, or Campbell shoots himself. I personally believe that Campbell shot himself, but we’ll have to wait until a hopeful Season 2 to find out. Regardless though, BBC would be mad not to commission a second season of this wonderful period drama – because it’s easily one of the best new things that we’ve seen in the whole of 2013 so far on TV and I’m so glad that it ended on a strong note.
There were many fantastic scenes in this episode. The standoff between the Peaky Blinders, who were heavily outnumbered by Kimber’s forces, was executed very well indeed as this show makes use of its high production values to great effect. The inclusion of the machine guns to level the score was pulled off well although it was almost impossible not to see them coming as there must have been a reason why they were not buried with the rest of the guns. The build-up with Tommy’s speech was also handled very well – and I loved the increase in atmosphere and tension as the show went on, really building to what manage to deliver a strong standoff.
Also, Freddie Thorne’s prison break and the moment that Ada discovered it was handled very well indeed. Whilst I was never a fan of the Freddie/Ada subplot I thought the way that it connected with the main storyline was pulled off very well indeed, and Ada’s role in stopping the gunfight was likewise handled well when it had the potential to be weak and undermining. It didn’t, and not everything was as straightforward as it seemed, with Danny taking a fatal blow.
The cast of course is fantastic throughout the episode. Cillian Murphy excels as Tommy Shelby, bringing an A-List talent to the screen with his strong performances as a complex and nuanced character – Annabelle Wallis manages to hold her own as Grace and Sam Neill plays Inspector Campbell and handles his fall from a righteous Officer of the Law to a murderer – runs in contrast with Tommy’s growth from a stereotypical gangster-type character to a powerful anti-hero. All major characters have undergone some form of development over the course of the series, and I loved how the threads of Peaky Blinders unravelled to a strong and powerful conclusion.
Whilst I will admit that I was worried about whether or not this episode was going to be good or not, I couldn’t help but watch anyway – it’s sort of bittersweet in the way that I was really looking forward to it but couldn’t help knowing that it would be the last part of the series and there possibly won’t be a second – and I loved it. Whilst yes, it’s not perfect – the accents are still flawed and there are various other minor niggles with the show as a whole – it still remains pretty much essential viewing for anyone who’s a fan of period dramas and gangster-style shows. But did it end on a high note for you? Let me know your thoughts.