Peaky Blinders - Mr. Jones - Review By Milo MJ (September 23, 2019, 5:30 pm)
“Let me guess. Don’t mess with the Peaky Blinders” is one of the few times that Gina Gray gets to speak to Tommy following a failed coup of the organisation - for now - by Michael, who is easily led into ushering in a new age one led by youths, with Michael offering a place for Finn on the table and allowing Tommy and Arthur - the old guard - to step down at the turn of the century during the middle of a family meeting which takes up much of the first half of the episode, with things remaining tense until the second half when the firecracker explodes. Michael’s planned expansion into America is one that will no doubt play into Gina’s hands, and no doubt without Gina - the easily led Michael would not have made such a rash move, which is so easily dismissed by Tommy. But although the sharks are out for blood - Tommy will keep going until he finds someone who can stop him.
The quote at the beginning of this review is something that fans are used to – the Peaky Blinders have been an unstoppable force. Inspector Campbell (who Churchill had to be reminded of the name when he asked Tommy who killed him, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was his Aunt, asking his fellow fascist hating ally what he intends to do to stop Mosley) and The Italian Mob under Luca Changretta are among the many enemies that have all fallen to the Peaky Blinders but one of the problems with using historical figures like Mosley is that you know when they’re going to die and although Peaky Blinders takes more liberties with history than just including IDLES on the soundtrack, it seems that Steven Knight can resist the temptation to go full Inglourious Basterds on Mosley and it means that Sam Claflin is sticking around for another season that could potentially be the last, with a movie on the horizon. Knowing that Mosley is going to survive means that the Peaky Blinders have to fail at least for now, and for the first time in a while, Tommy is brought crushing back down to his lowest point once again, screaming at a comforting Arthur when the plan goes horribly wrong and poor Barney Thomas and Aberama Gold both get on the receiving end of the list of casualties as Mosley’s speech carries on uninterrupted.
It hurts to lose Gold so brutally like that, especially as you’d want him to get revenge for his son, and I wonder – if Michael played a hand with carrying out the coup and Gold lost his life because of that, is Polly going to turn against him when she learns of Gold’s death? It could create problems. It’s understandable if frustrating that Polly sided with her own son over Tommy, offering a resignation note to Tommy who vowed to kill Aberama but stopped short at saying he’d kill Polly outright if they went against him and the company. Turning the final season into a Polly vs. Tommy showdown would be epic, but I’m not sure the series is going to go down that route just yet. The strings are set for multiple Black Cats to be revealed; the most obvious of them at this stage being the blackmailed ex-footballer who has become mates with Finn, and we see him picking up a phone to make a call after Finn tells him of their plan for the evening. It seems unlikely though that with the Garrison landlord being outed as one of the spies due to tapping of his phones that they wouldn’t have some sort of phone tapping in place on the footballer, especially with Arthur keeping such a close eye on him.
The final scene at the opera house was as Inglourious Basterds as it could possibly get without changing history or including Brad Pitt (who is reportedly among the bigger names who has wanted a role in the series) however as it was suitably tense from the word go, with Jessie Eden showing up to make things more complicated and staging an anti-fascist rally. Jimmy McGovern’s brought in as extra protection, and it’s interesting to note that he seems a bit reluctant to join in with the full salute regime that Mosley is going for, only doing so when ordered. But for now, he’s on team Mosley – and that isn’t going to change.
One of the surprise reveals of the episode – and possibly the most welcome one -was the return of Alfie Solomons, one of the series’ best supporting characters. Although it wasn’t really needed with his character not adding much to the storyline this finale it seems like his return sets up his character to play a role in Series 6, which feels like this has been something that the series has been building towards ever since Tommy let slip in Mosley’s presence that Alfie is the man who should take control of the south even though he’s believed to be dead. Faking one’s death isn’t easy, and Alfie is sporting numerous scars on his face. Hoping that Tommy will do a better job on Mosley than he did on him, it’s so fun to see Tom Hardy back doing what he does best and instantly makes up for losing a character played by someone as so charismatic as Aidan Gillen. It was interesting learning more about Tommy’s mother too, and how she died, with the moment feeling befitting of pointing him in a direction for Series 6. We know he’s forced to keep working with the fascists, we know Mosley knows Tommy has betrayed him, and we know Churchill wants the fascists stopped as much as Tommy. History is repeating itself and like the first world war, Churchill has found himself in the boardroom whilst Tommy is on the ground level.
Interestingly both Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty have gone down similar trajectories this season, both have had characters infiltrate enemy organisations and both have had them not follow through on their plans (although Tommy, pending the outcome of his latest suicidal attempt at the end of the season, is still alive) and both have given partial answers to who the traitor in the organisation is but it turns out the characters are only just scratching the surface of a greater conspiracy. Both have also been among the best shows on television this year, and showing the rest of the world how it’s done. (And coincidentally, both have just been added this year to the list of SpoilerTV official shows that are covered by the site after a recent user poll.)
It’s hard not to end the season’s worth of reviews without praising Anna Calvi’s brilliant score, adding an extra depth to the show that really earns its usage. IDLES and Richard Hawley’s cover of Bob Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man fit the atmosphere of the show so perfectly they fit the rebellious nature that the series goes for (although there's no way the Mr. Jones line wasn't chosen with that Dylan song in mind, at least the temptation to include The Times They Are a Changin' was resisted, which would have been a bit too on the nose), and matched the evolving nature of the show as it progresses (few shows can have a season with a soundtrack that boasts Anna Calvi, IDLES, Richard Hawley, Joy Division, Radiohead, Black Sabbath and Max Richter) and although the apparent loss of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds hurts, the replacements have been more than good enough.
So that is it then, for another - what will presumably be - two years. Ending on a cruel cliffhanger that will leave audiences waiting and theorising for an age, it's hard not to say that Sunday nights have just become a little less exciting without Peaky Blinders each week to look forward to, over all too soon thanks to its short series structure. But at least, as the trailer before the episode reminded us, His Dark Materials is just around the corner...