The Therapy Diaries Chapter 13: Peaky Blinders Finale Thoughts

Well, fuck me, what a ride. 6 seasons, yet only 36 episodes (BBC innit), and yet it feels like several lifetimes have passed since I checked out this Peaky Blinders programme that everyone is banging on about.

It’s pretty fucking good isn’t it?

That is, until season 6.

Here’s my review of the final episode of season 6, which is also the final episode of the show. It aired 5 days ago, so my thoughts have been stewing. I’m writing this based on what I can remember from watching it, plus some notes I made immediately afterwards.

I should add, every opinion found here was made before I knew there was going to be a film. I thought this was the last of Peaky Blinders we’d ever see. I’m not sold on the idea of a film, I don’t think it’s necessary to be honest, but at least it explains some of the choices that were made in this episode.

So without further ado, let’s do it. My review of Peaky Blinders season 6, episode 6. The final episode of the show.

What the fuck???

Why the fuck is Tommy alive?

There have been plenty of times throughout the 6 seasons when Tommy seemed to finally be meeting his death. The most notable, perhaps, the ending to season 2 (or 3? not sure) where he’s frogmarched out into a field, knelt down in front of his own grave, before being told Mr Churchill has a plan for him. I thought his death was finally assured this season; between his diagnosis of terminal cancer, the death of Ruby, and the fact everyone fucking hates him, I thought his time was finally up. And it should have been.

Tommy is the protagonist of Peaky Blinders, yes, but he’s the dictionary definition of an anti-hero. Yes, he’s a socialist, and he’s fighting fascism. Two incredibly important things we should all be doing. But really,. he’s a murdering, torturing, sadistic piece of shit. Admittedly, everyone in the show he dealt with, at least the main villains, were all worse than him. Tommy was absolutely the lesser of two evils the majority of the time. But he was still an evil.

This is actually summed up really well in the final episode, by the woman who walks past the shoot out with her kids. When one of them wanders away from her, she says “watch out for the fog, the Peaky Blinders will get you” or something to that effect. Whatever the exact words, the message is clear; the Peaky Blinders are bad people who do bad things. For all the work Tommy did supporting Small Heath – and he did a lot, I’m not denying that – he did at least as much damage, if not more. Having him live through the final episode was a choice I definitely wouldn’t have made.

And it turning out his terminal cancer is fake, a way for his enemies to get him to get himself killed – not kill himself, oh no, but go down in battle, in a hail of bullets or whatever. Now whilst this birthed one of the best lines of possibly the entire show, from beginning to end (You realised the only person who can kill Tommy Shelby, is Tommy Shelby), it was also ridiculous. It felt like such a cop out – the writers realising they’d written themselves into a corner, and panicking and bullshitting their way out of it. Not to mention how he found out; his dead daughter told him in a vision.

Ludicrous! The Gypsy angle of the show was great, Johnny Dogs is absolutely the best character (more on this later), but in season 6 it got out of hand. The Shelbys all believed the superstition, naturally. But season 6 pushed it too far; it’s one thing to say certain things, to believe things; but then to go on a rampage trying to lift the curse on your daughter, and then talking to that same daughter after she’d dead? Ridiculous. It went from interesting, insightful, and believable superstition, to magical realism nonsense. Which took away form the show, because it’s gritty realism was one of the things that made it so good.

I’m running out of words here, so I’m going to focus on one more thing, then bullet point the rest of my feelings. Issue number two: I can’t believe they did Ada like that.

One of the great things about the Shelbys is that they transcended gender roles. Polly, before Helen McRory’s tragic passing, was the real leader of the family, maybe not in business terms, but certainly in personality. And Ada, spending the first few seasons as a socialist and communist, fighting the Shelbys at every turn, being married to their enemy. She was a strong, independent character, one who lived for herself and her children, and didn’t just do as she was told.

And this continued even after she was brought into the Shelby fold, and started working for her family. She retained her independent spirit, kept the strength of her character, stayed true to herself. Until season 6. Apart from the conversation with Mosley and his fiancé, whose name I forget, she basically wasn’t even in the series. And in the final episode, to only appear in one brief scene at the end, it felt like a betrayal. It felt like all the character development that had taken place over the last few years was abandoned, and she was reduced to just another woman, sitting on the sidelines whilst the men take care of things. The Ada Thorne I know wouldn’t have fucking stood for that!

Ok so I’m out of words, but let me just mention Johnny Dogs. If he wasn’t already your favourite character, then him going off to enjoy the fog when Tommy and Michael had their showdown was incredible. I’m dying for “The Adventures of Johnny Dogs” spinoff.

My other thoughts are as follows:

  • When Tommy was sitting in the car it was so obvious the bomb had been moved – you don’t even have to know gypsy symbols to know that
  • How did Tommy know Billy was the rat? How did Tommy just know everything all the time? He was the deus ex machina in his own story – complete bullshit
  • Same as Tommy with car, Arthur with pub – Tommy knows, so they all know
  • Finn apparently a liability to the Peaky Blinders – that’s news to me? Why now of all occasions to cast him out? And based on Duke having been there about 45 minutes? Duke a a gypsy trusted over Finn? What?
  • We ended with three villains: Michael, Oswald Mosley, and the American. Only Michael was dealt with. Mosley got away with his shit, and the American wasn’t even in the finale? So of those 3 loose endings, only 1 tied up
  • One thing this series was was an excellent tribute to Helen McCrory, they got that spot on
  • Perhaps this entire season shows the Polly was holding the family together – or perhaps they want us to think that, as a cover for poor writing. Who knows?

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