Review by Kyle Mcleod
BBC’s hit drama returned with a bang after two-and-a-half long years. Peaky Blinders has continued to grow in popularity after making its debut on our screens nearly a decade ago. We finally began the show’s six-episode climax on Sunday evening.
Season six picked up right were season five left off, our protagonist Thomas Shelby at a crossroads after a failed assassination attempt on the previous season’s antagonist, Oswald Mosley. With criticisms of season five having a slower pace, season six wasted no time in gripping viewers right from the off.
After watching two characters meet their demise in last seasons finale, viewers had to learn of yet another death in the Shelby family, growing the tensions between family-to-foes Tommy and Michael even further and setting up for a standoff later in the season.
Such an impactful start sets the tone for the rest of the episode and the season. Even a four-year time-jump doesn’t indicate any signs of Tommy Shelby stepping back into the quiet life, nor does it suggest a peaceful ending for Tommy and Michael who only continue to play this several season long game of chess.
Although Tommy’s over-ambitious plans seem the same as previous seasons, we do see signs of change within his character. He has given up alcohol, clearly trying to find that self-worth to prevent what is left of his family meeting a similar fate to those he has lost.
With old threats remaining, we also see new obstacles emerge in the form of the IRA and Tommy’s newest potential business partner, Gina Gray’s uncle, Jack Nelson. It seems the season really wants to end with all their cards on the table, but we know that Tommy always has an ace up his sleeve.
The highlight of this episode is when Tommy and Michael come face-to-face after four years, Michael having an entourage putting the odds against our protagonist. Steven Knight’s writing really thrives in this scene- after Tommy has a tense encounter with a French local that turns violent, the show shifts away from repeating the route of violence. Instead, we see the show’s expert dialogue carry the tension for the following scene.
Peaky Blinders sets a high bar of plot, dialogue and action, which ‘Black Day’ manages to somehow eclipse to set up yet another captivating season. Once again, the show’s cinematography stands out- the scene of a helpless Tommy laying in a muddy field is shot to perfection and a constant shadowy theme is easy to spot throughout.
One criticism is the lack of the iconic ‘Red Right Hand’ theme song, but the episode’s soundtrack creates a different, perhaps more appropriate atmosphere for such an important episode to the series that makes up for the fan favourite’s absence.
It was also an emotional episode for any big fan of the series, after the death of Helen McCrory, who plays the iconic aunt Polly. The episode was dedicated to her.
Peaky Blinders may go down as one of the greatest British dramas of all time if it can close strongly. If ‘Black Day’ is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat.