‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 6 Episode 4 Summary: Tommy’s fascist flirtation

WWe begin with a funeral when the Shelbys and various Peaky associates – hello Jeremiah Jesus! – Follow the coffin with little Ruby’s body to the docks. They do so with the haunting sounds of Sinéad O’Connor’s “In This Heart”, Brother Charles and a single red rose pointing the way to Charlie Strong’s Yard. Arthur, colder than a turkey in Siberia, is unable to read the words Tommy wrote for him. Instead, Tommy steps forward.

“This was her favorite place on earth,” says the grieving father, rather suggesting Ruby hasn’t been shown the best that Birmingham has to offer in her seven years on this mortal plane. “But now we’re sending them on,” says Tommy, clearly struggling, “wherever you go, hoping that if there’s a destination, it’s a yard like this…” Let’s hope not, huh? Charlie brings Tommy a can of gas. He asks Jeremiah to light the flame. Lizzie sprints into view. “No, you won’t burn them!” Not that we’re criticizing a culture’s traditions, but we’re not getting halfway through many Gypsy caravans this season. It feels a bit wasteful.

Peaky Blinders
Arthur (Paul Anderson) and Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) during a tense conversation. CREDIT: BBC

There is no wake. Instead, Tommy heads to Evadne Barwell’s wooded campsite and proclaims that he is “here in the name of the blue sapphire” – the jewel he believes is cursed and responsible for Ruby’s untimely death. He pulls out his machine gun and mows down a family of (probably) innocent people. Not satisfied with that, he brings the barrel of his gun to an (even more innocent) tree. Later he drives to Esme and brings her gold. She has news for her estranged brother-in-law. “A daughter lost, a son found,” she says, telling Tommy about a son he never knew he had, a product of rolling “under a hazel tree in 1914.” His name is duke. He’s probably ‘The Gray Man’ but that’s all we get this week.

At home, Lizzie is furious with her husband for taking a life on behalf of their late daughter. “I’m going to set up a fund to research causes and cures for use…” Tommy says wearily, always looking for a practical solution to a problem. “Stop it and close your damn eyes…” says Lizzie. “I will not stop!” shouts Tommy. Which is somehow the problem, or not. Listen, Tommy, mate, if you’d spent less time taking your daughter on day trips to Charlie Strong’s Yard and more time with your family resting and recuperating, you wouldn’t be in this mess.

Peaky Blinders
Fascist leader Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) and Diana Mitford (Amber Anderson). CREDIT: BBC

And make no mistake, it’s a mess, perhaps the biggest of a lifetime where you’ve wreaked havoc. In fact, Tommy finds himself at the linchpin of such a raging chaos that he even has a drink down in the basement during a touching scene with Arthur, breaking the sobriety he entered into after Polly’s death. Well it was such a day. Tommy’s situation is best described by the cursed dinner party he throws with Captain Swing, Diana Mitford, Oswald Mosley and Jack Nelson. Diana compares the assembled Axis of Evil to a similar meeting she attended in Berlin in the presence of Goering and Himmler. “When breakfast was served on the terrace overlooking the mountains,” she recalls, “we raised some Jews and when we ate our eggs, we forced them to eat grass…”

Captain Swing looks horrified despite being coaxed into singing an Irish rebel song, in Mosley’s words “to lift our spirits”. Her song leads into Lisa O’Neill’s great “Blackbird” which then sets the tone for a remarkable montage that brings the reality of creeping British fascism to Ada and the family door. Back at the table, Tommy is asked to Sieg Heil (or “Perish Judah”) to prove his commitment to the cause Swing, Mitford, Mosley and Nelson believe they are cooking together. Tommy stiffly raises his arm. We shouldn’t read too much into it. Tommy will do whatever it takes to pull off the “world-changing” master plan, the outcome of which only he knows. He may be a very bad man, “the devil,” as Gina Gray – later found on a tryst with Mosley – puts it, but he’s no racist, our Tom.

The episode ends with a visit to the doctor who reveals that Tommy is dying of tuberculosis. He has one year to 18 months, says the doctor. He prays to Polly to give him time to “finish what I have to do.” “Kill. Kill. Kill,” Polly gasps from behind the grave (hopefully in a nicer place than Charlie Strong’s Yard).

Pointed zingers

  • This week is all about Tommy as this is an episode where he takes the lead. “You’re going to change your behavior,” he tells Arthur during his final intervention with his brother, “and I’m going to change the damn world.”
  • “I killed a woman and three men and their bodies are being thrown on board the boat like any other body. But I’m getting off this boat and onto another boat…” Maybe leave that verse off the “In Sympathy” card, Tom.
  • “The paint on the wood left a smell in the air, I didn’t open the window, I really liked the smell…” Tommy, reaching for poetry in the dark, burns Ruby’s stool in the fire.

Peaky Blinders airs every Sunday at 9pm on BBC One

https://www.nme.com/reviews/tv-recaps/peaky-blinders-season-6-episode-4-recap-3186050?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=peaky-blinders-season-6-episode-4-recap ‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 6 Episode 4 Summary: Tommy’s fascist flirtation

Caroline Bleakley

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