It’s been almost two years since the last season of Peaky Blinders blessed these shores, but a new season debuted recently on the BBC and is now streaming on Netflix. This is awesome news for fans of period English gangster dramas featuring snappily dressed Brits and a hip Brit rock soundtrack, such as ME. My qualifications for recapping said series are thus:
- From a young age I have been a fan of grimy UK movies, a genre my father affectionately referred to as “English Smarm.”
- I can wax rhapsodically about any number of hip British bands.
- I was once thrown out of a pub in Birmingham.
Also, I recapped the last few seasons, though, full disclosure, it did take me awhile to realize Polly was the Shelby boys’ aunt and not their sister.
When last we checked, the Peaky Blinders gang had vanquished American Mafioso Luca Changretta, cut a deal to supply Al Capone with gin, set up shop stateside with cousin Michael who was banished there for not telling Tommy about a hit on him, and Tommy killed frenemy Alfie Solomons then had a nervous breakdown but pulled himself together in time to bang that hot commie chick, cut a deal with the government to rat out communist agitators and got elected Parliament. Oh yeah, and younger brother John got whacked. Man, that was quite a season, perhaps the series’ best.
Peaky Blinders Season 5 starts with a trot and a bang. It’s now two years later, and Tommy is riding a horse to a one of those red telephone boxes they have in Britain, which apparently are not just in town but also barren windswept fields. After talking business with older occasionally unhinged brother Arthur (Paul Anderson) – you know, threats, randsome and murder – three members of the gang are dispatched to London’s Chinatown to kill a pimp. Now firmly ensconced in the gang is Aberama Gold, played by Game of Thrones Aidan Gillen (aka Littlefinger!), who has shorn his awkward shag hairdo for a proper ’20s barnet (that’s cockney slang for a haircut, see how qualified I am to write these?). He’s also got the first and coolest kill of the season so far, bursting through a wall, like BLAM!!!!!!
Things quickly take to shite, though, since, as the episode title “Black Tuesday” says, it’s October 29, 1929, the day of the infamous Wall Street Stock Market Crash, and guess who forgot to sell, sell, sell? Cousin Michael Gray (Finn Cole) who’s been, in Tommy’s words, “dancing and playing and fucking in the snow,” at the Shelby Company’s U.S. in Detroit. Indeed, it appears he’s been, AHEM, fucking, if perhaps not actually in the snow, as we see him get the bad news about the crash via tickertape machine while a hot blonde in a negligee is crashed out on the floor. When he gets called back to England, she says she loves him and wants to “meet your family.” “No you don’t,” he replies. My first Season 5 prediction: Michael doesn’t make it to Season 6.
Back in England, Tommy, played as ever with cool malice by Cillian Murphy, tries to pick up the pieces and make a plan as the family learns their substantial stock market holdings went up in smoke like one of Aunt Polly’s funny cigarettes. “No one fucking listens to me,” Tommy keeps saying. Not his son Charlie, who’s mad he shot a lame horse, not younger brother Finn, who caught a bullet in the arm in Chinatown, and not Michael, who’s, you know, fucking in the snow.
After consulting with the ghost of his dead wife Grace, because, you know, Gypsies, Tommy calls a family meeting to discuss his plan…which…appears to be…walking to the pub while Black Sabbath’s “The Wizard” plays and buying everyone a round. Not sure, it’s what I’d do if I’d just lost all my money, but hey, I do love Black Sabbath and a stiff drink. Besides, Tommy’s real business is still the gangster business. The pimp they killed was blackmailing one of Tommy’s colleagues in Parliament. Back in London, Tommy makes the acquaintance of snidely surely-soon-to-be-villain Oswald Mosley, an actual historical figure who founded the British Union of Fascists, so you know he’s a dick. But not as big a dick as the stuffy House of Lords dude who they whacked the pimp for, who can’t remember Tommy’s name and doesn’t have the money he promised. But Tommy gets back at him by knocking over his bottle of wine. THAT’LL TEACH YOU, STUFFY HOUSE OF LORDS GUY!!!!!!!
The episode ends with Tommy home in Birmingham where Alfie’s dog meets Cyril greets him affectionately at the door. It’s a better welcome than he gets from his son, who tells him, “You’re not God,” to which he replies – and you totally knew he was going to say this – “Not yet.” Cut to Arthur gunning down a pesky reporter who was asking too many questions and Peaky Blinders Season 5 is off and running.
Benjamin H. Smith is a New York based writer, producer and musician. Follow him on Twitter:@BHSmithNYC.
Original Post http://decider.com/2019/10/04/peaky-blinders-recap-season-5-episode-1/