Season 6 Episode 2 of Peaky Blinders is filled with the politics of power, but an element of deceit. It dives into the true mechanisms behind the operations of the Peaky Blinders’ enterprise whilst highlighting the factors of their downfall.
Tommy (Cillian Murphy) returns home to Lizzie and the children, who are all happy to see him. He takes them all on a family drive but tensions seem to be rising between Lizzie and Tommy. This start to the episode gives me bad vibes, Tommy is keeping a lot from Lizzie about the dangers they’re facing.
After finding out that Ruby is okay and not suffering from anything major, Tommy finally comes clean to Lizzy about the dangers they’re in and the reasons he must deal with things himself. Lizzy isn’t happy, though, and it’s clear why. Tommy is treating her like an object and she is sick of it.
Night falls on the Shelby household but Ada is bolted awake by the sound of Tommy having a seizure-like episode on the bathroom floor. Flashbacks to the war are shown and Tommy is badly cut up.
Tommy is adamant that he is okay and his mind is clear but it quite obviously isn’t. It’s a little scary and weird to watch because Tommy is quite erratic at the moment; who knows the extent he is willing to go?
Tommy gives an address to the Birmingham constituents. He wants to fight back against censorship from Westminster and it seems as though he has quite a following. The crowd is wild and rowdy but Tommy is naturally able to keep them under control.
At the end of the meeting, Tommy talks with Laura McKee, a member of the IRA. Tensions arise between Laura and the Shelby brothers but Tommy is willing to make concessions in the name of business. Laura is admittedly frightened of being alone with the two Shelby brothers but she is eventually convinced. She definitely has a right to be afraid.
There’s a lot of dishonest and insincere behavior in this episode and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. Laura and Tommy talk and Tommy reveals that Nelson refused their deal but is coming to the UK to give the President of the United States a report on the state of fascism and whether it will prevail.
Laura rightly maintains that Tommy is a socialist, which is where the episode gets interesting. Tommy is clearly doing what he needs to do for business and largely tells Laura that socialists, nationalist, left, right — it’s all the same. They’re going to support Nelson in finding support for facism in the UK and in return, they believe this will solve their delivery chain issues.
The meeting is interrupted by Ada who tells Tommy that — as usual — Arthur has overdosed in an alley and needs help. The two eventually come into conflict and Ada tells Tommy that she can no longer walk this path with him and doesn’t recognise him any more.
What’s interesting is throughout the scene with Tommy and Laura, a train can be heard getting progressively louder. This comes to a head when Tommy and Ada talk and the encounter is almost drowned out by the train. It builds tension but also gives a sinister feel to the episode. Coupled with the red filter temporarily applied to the episode it seems things are only going to get darker.
As teased, Tommy reunites with an old friend when he visits Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) in Camden. Alfie has become largely a recluse, however, and Tommy doesn’t quite know who the person standing before him is. It’s weird, because as Tommy has gone on conquering the world, the rest of the people around him have kind of been left behind.
Nonetheless, Tommy brings his plan to Alfie and then the catch is revealed. Tommy will let Alfie into his business (and therefore bring back the Solomon reputation) in return for half of his warehouses. The warehouses will be demolished and turned into homes for the needy.
It’s strange to see the facade that Tommy is projecting, but it is just that. Whilst he seems like he’s trying to do the right thing, he really is propelled by profit and it’s clear now more than ever.
Gina visits Michael Gray in prison and the two have a chat about Tommy and their current state of affairs. She tells Michael she is leaving for America soon, but that there is a plan in place for them to exact their revenge on the Peaky Blinders.
The interaction between the two gets a little weird from there on out, but I couldn’t help but wonder: if Gina’s family are so powerful given their relation with Nelson, then why is Michael still in prison? Surely they have some leverage that would see him released.
Moving on, though. Tommy attends a rally given by facist leader Mosley but is immediately challenged by reporters. He does his best and is able to fend them off and suppress their appetite.
Tensions and complexities arise, once again, for Tommy when Arthur arrives at the rally visibly drunk — or high — wearing a black shirt (a representation of facism). He very much embarrasses Tommy and it seems that Tommy has had enough.
Tommy tells Arthur that he has been in contact with Linda and is willing to reveal her location if he gets clean. This is definitely the true test of Arthur’s love for his family and his wife, but I just don’t think there is any way for him to come back at this point.
The Politics of Power
The meeting between Mosley and his wife, Diana, is pretty odd and reinforces their wealthy, aristocratic nature in comparison with the Shelby’s. Diana completely disregards Lizzie and treats her like common dirt. In a sense, I guess that’s what she is to her.
Tommy later meets with Nelson but the interaction is filled hostility. Tommy explains his plans but Nelson rebukes him citing that he will not allow Tommy to spread drugs that will kill people. Here, Nelson (played by James Frecheville) towers over Tommy and it’s striking to see. In the previous seasons we’ve seen Tommy as a force to be reckoned with but now, Nelson towers over him and he seems diminished and small.
It can’t be denied that Peaky Blinders has always been about the politics of power, and it seems that the Shelby family are grappling to keep hold of the little power that they have left. It’s a cruel world and, I think, the start of the Shelby family’s destruction.
The episode ends with Ruby falling ill and Tommy rushing back to Birmingham. He’s also suffering from visions of his past and it seems that maybe he’s losing it too. It’s clearer now than ever the prophecy mentioned in the previous episode is coming to fruition.
Tune in for an all new episode of Peaky Blinders on March 13, 2022.