By Kyle Mcleod
“Could there be a sadder ending, eh?”
Foreshadowing? Red herring? The last words uttered by Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders’ penultimate episode really sets things up for an interesting finale.
The dialogue throughout the show’s 35 episodes have been incredible, but this on-the-nose line is almost certainly placed to have viewers on edge.
The episode kicks off with Tommy shutting down Arthur’s opium supply in typical Tommy fashion. Theatrical, over the top, unnecessary threats, delivered in the most calming way possible convinces the shop owners to stick to tea and cake and shut down their opium trade.
It’s no secret Tommy is the end game and he knows it as well as the audience. After finding out he has another son, Tommy looks to find what his role in the Shelby family could be.
After witnessing a gruesome murder, it turns out that role is not with Arthur and the betting company, it’s with Charlie and Curley, working with horses and wagons.
Tommy’s son, Duke, looks set on leaving, but only after Tommy reveals the truth about his mother and birth does he change his mind.
The gruesome scene Duke witnesses sees long term Shelby employee, Billy, kill a referee who refused to take a bribe on Arthur’s demand. After reflecting on the kill, he is confronted by Jack Nelson who knows he’s the Shelby mole and threatens his ‘manhood’ if he fails to provide intel on Arthur.
It seems the ‘black cat’ within the Shelby company has been revealed. When Tommy’s plans go astray in the series 5 finale, it could very well have been Billy who we saw making a call to reveal these plans to the IRA after Finn informed him on the plan.
The back-to-back scenes really highlight the show’s violent nature, the complex characters and the constant background scheming that has been going on all season.
Both Tommy and Jack share drinks despite plotting against one another. They’re joined by Oswald and his wife Diana, uninvited guests who arrive unannounced.
Their arrival isn’t business related, instead Diana unsubtly suggests to Tommy’s wife Lizzie that she and Tommy slept together, something we see earlier in the episode.
It acts as a statement that Tommy needs to find a new spouse, something Tommy agrees with as alongside the audience, he realises the torment he’s put her through whilst being married.
The episode closes with Michael confirming he intends to kill Tommy, granting him release from prison.
For as entertaining as the season has been, the big war between Michael and Tommy has been put in the background, with Jack, Oswald and Diana acting as the main antagonists.
There are many threats lined up for the protagonist as he heads to America. Jack Nelson seems to have a steady plan in place to kill Tommy, Michael being the one destined to land the final blow. Arthur’s fate also remains in question after the scene with Billy.
The Shelby brothers have overcome many enemies but with one episode remaining, there’s never been more jeopardy. The last episode is bound to see Tommy and Michael come face-to-face, unfortunately the audience have to wait one more week to see if Tommy’s ‘sad ending’ will become reality.