If the tumultuous ending of season three that left audiences on a particularly sharp cliff-hanger was totally shocking, it didn’t come close to the alarming conclusion of the first episode of season four of Peaky Blinders. Episode two began with the aftermath; the blood, the smoke and the tension echoed around both the family and the audience. If you didn’t watch the episode, there are spoilers ahead. I’m sure that, for a while, we all became Esme, as John’s murder ricocheted like a bullet (or six).
Cillian Murphy was, and always is, a stunning actor in both expression and mannerism in his portrayal of notorious Tommy Shelby. Broken but not overwhelmed, he attempts to save his family from the vendetta of begrudged Italian Luca Changretta. Especially in his scene with Aiden Gillen’s Aberama Gold, where Tommy’s bet paid off and left the audience laughing at his sheer audacity: ‘I’ll fuck your daughter, Mr Gold’. However, despite Helen McCrory’s great acting, her character Polly is ridiculously irritating. Tommy is, as ever, logical and sly in the effort to keep his family from being shot, but Polly’s character overreacts to the degree that it would almost be better if she had been murdered instead. She does redeem herself, however, and once more embodies the strong female matriarch that we so loved in previous seasons.
Another irritating character that must be noted is Linda. Only Ada seems to be the voice of reason to her delusions of peace and the country life. The line: ‘Take the fucking key, Linda.’ Must be recognised as one of the best lines in the episode, if only that it wipes away her ignorance for the way their world works. It should be recognised that, if anything, Linda was the reason for Arthur’s hideous hairstyle, and the entire audience breathed a sigh of relief when it returned to its original panache.
Particularly, one of the penultimate scenes in which Tommy finds himself face to face with his new enemy is fraught with incredible tension. Both actors truly brought their characters to the fore, wholly embodying them and exploring the new territory of family vendetta. It was an incredible end to the episode, successfully ensuring that the audience is eager for episode three.
Image Credit: Digital Spy