Peaky Blinders Season 6 has just wrapped up and here’s the review of season 6.
It’s one that in my opinion, started off in not the greatest of ways it could, but then by the end it did redeem itself with some great performances, cinematography and storytelling. It also get’s us questioning what could happen come the Peaky Blinders film, which creator Stephen Knight had previously announced and hopes to begin production on in the coming years. In this spoiler review, we are going to be discussing what I thought about the final season of Peaky Blinders alongside how the ending of the show sets up the movie.
So the Peaky Blinders season 6 finale gave us our last time with the Shelby’s on television. With Cillian Murphy’s Tommy Shelby showing us his big plan, just about every big character from the shows final season made an appearance, whether it be Tom Hardy’s Alife Solomon’s, Oswald Mosley and the other Shelby family members in Arthur, Ada and Lizzie. We also got more of the new characters such as Tommy’s long-lost son Duke Shelby, who after this season, seems to be being pushed for the Peaky Blinders film. But the central narrative beat other then the focus and examination of Tommy and his looming death, was the central duel between Tommy and Michael Gray over the death of Polly. By the final episode we saw multiple deaths, whether it be Arthur avenging Polly’s death or Tommy shooting Michael, showing that he truly has no limitations. We also discovered that are main Blinder isn’t ill with a tuberculoma and that his doctor was secretly working for Oswald Mosley, spotting a photograph of him attending Oswald’s wedding to Dianna, which was also attended by Hitler. So in the end, Tommy has essentially escaped it all, whether it be the fascists he didn’t want to work with, his fake diagnosis of Tuberculoma or his family. He rode out of the show on a white horse, symbolically reflective of the series opening on a black horse. Season 6 was essentially a form of purgatory for Tommy, reckoning with his sins and really finding a way to leave it all behind. But that’s where I become very intrigued. Because while this season had it’s ups and downs, one thing I really did like was the ending, and if this was a perfect send off for Tommy, which I thought it was, how will that play into the future. He’s apparently now free. Free, that is, until the Peaky Blinders feature film comes out. I will be getting into this towards the end, but from a narrative point of view, I hope they can pull it off after this ending. It does seem more like the perfect ending for the Tommy’s time on TV, with the film potentially being more directed at giving us the whole family a proper send off. Moving on, many viewers have shared their frustration with the slower pace of this final series and while I do give it the benefit of the doubt for having to work around both the pandemic and the tragic death of Helen McCrory, I do think the final three episodes were able to give this iconic show a thrilling send off. Sure, it wasn’t perfect and multiple characters were under utilized at times such as Arthur, Alfie or Ada. And there was also no Churchill and Stephen Graham’s role was reduced to just a few scenes. But I don’t think this season did all the wrong things by focusing much more on Tommy Shelby, his state of mind and really capturing what the end of his journey means. We were given what was essentially a mini-movie to end it off, which acted as a sendoff to the show’s time on television, yet one which also set up the upcoming feature that will truly be the final ride. This final season was almost like a western epic, with it’s slower episodes truly building on the tension that the end should bring. And Tommy ended where he began, alone on horseback, having gone from the streets to complete power. That’s until he realizes the doom that this power can bring, and this season truly get’s into that through Tommy’s mind frame. He’s on what appears to be the brink of death, and I really liked that approach towards him, especially in the final 3 episodes. It’s definitely a season that you have to stick with and recalibrate to in certain ways, and we think the ending was quite the perfect one to really resurrect our thoughts on this final season.
The first 3 episodes had moments of greatness like the opening bar scene with Tommy, but it really felt like the writer was struggling to work around the death of Polly. While they did a good job of showing her impact and setting up the events to come, for a final season, I found it way too slow to start off with. But once the narrative had more developments surrounding Tommy and the potential war with Michael, the drama in the family if you will, it became much more effective. In particular, the ending with his daughter Ruby and there being no incurable tuberculoma was the final straw that needed to happen after a season of Tommy’s grief, yet increasing dive back into the bloodshed and control that he claimed at the start he had moved past. He really needed a moment to reckon with his sins and make the audience truly believe he had found freedom. The ending also makes the death of his daughter much more impactful in the long run and it rightly connects everything to the other plotlines that felt weaker earlier on. It was quite satisfying to see that his so called doctors disregard for gypsies, instructing to burn the wagon at the end, had turned out to be the thing that set Tommy Shelby free. It was an episode dedicated to the Shelby family, underlining that they are bad people, but bad people we have followed and become attached to, who have no limitations when it comes to even worse people. Performances really helped to echo these kinds of messages, and quite honestly some of my favourite moments of this season came in the scenes between Anderson’s Arthur and Cillian’s Tommy. And also Natasha O Keefe’s Lizzie deserves a mention, because her dramatic scenes with Tommy also elevated our care towards these flawed individuals. For the final 6 episodes, we followed Tommy Shelby in his final move towards death, but in a brilliant piece of writing, the character is given a new sense of life and is moved in a direction we never thought he’d go in. And that could have come off cheesy, but the performance of Cillian Murphy really makes us believe that this is the final stone for him. And alongside the brilliant acting and moments between characters, this is coupled with some of the most beautifully designed and visually spectacular cinematography on TV. Especially when you add the uses of operatic music to accompany iy, which superbly exagerrates the big personas on screen. The ending was one that had all of this and the shot of Tommy riding away on a white horse from the burning carraige with pictures of his family inside, is quite the iconic image that sticks with you regarding his character.