Peaky Blinders Season SixBBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd./Robert Viglasky, with permission

Since it first aired back in 2013, Peaky Blinders has given us some truly fantastic finales with unforgettable twists. The last episode always sees Tommy overcome impossible odds to defeat his various foes and execute his increasingly extravagant plans (special mention to that scene in the Season Four finale which I re-watch about once a week). However, in this season it’s not Tommy who pulls off the impossible but the show’s creator, Steven Knight.

“Its execution is suitably stylish, with some of the most memorable sequences in television”

This season, more than any other, tackles a remarkable number of disparate plot lines, which it promises to miraculously bring together in its feature length finale, and despite its eighty-one minute run time, I found myself sitting down to watch it on April 3rd thinking: ‘how is he going to do this?’ But, like his sharply-dressed protagonist, Knight defies the odds emphatically, as though there was never any doubt at all. The finale is devastatingly good: it not only gives us some of the most memorable set pieces from the entire show — which is saying something — but in its final ten minutes it gives us perhaps the best executed twist in the history of television. After six seasons of Knight’s antics, I didn’t think I could be duped again, but this one really does come out of nowhere, and it turns the entire plot of the show on its head — truly a feat of masterful television writing.

However, the resounding success of its finale doesn’t entirely redeem the season’s flaws. Knight is taking on a lot with this season, and while the finale does succeed for the most part in wrapping everything up, there are several moments across the season where you can’t help thinking it would have fared better with a little extra run-time. It’s no Game of Thrones Season Eight, but certain elements of the story do tend to feel a tad rushed and there are a few character arcs which are regrettably underdeveloped.

Tommy Shelby on Miquelon IslandBBC/Caryn Mandabach Productions Ltd./Matt Squire

Arthur is, perhaps, the biggest victim here. From the first episode he’s been one of the show’s central characters and a fan-favourite, and his close bond with Tommy has always been one of the most compelling relationships in the Shelby family. In this season, though, Arthur fades into the background as the focus is placed more emphatically on Tommy’s battle with his various demons — real and imagined. This is a real shame, especially since the moments when Arthur’s story does come to the forefront — particularly his encounter with Stephen Graham’s Hayden Stagg — are some of the season’s strongest narrative moments. Other characters also seem a little neglected: notable examples are Tommy’s new foe Uncle Jack, who never really gets a chance to compete with the other villains in the show’s catalogue, and a newly-introduced character with links to Tommy, whose arc feels like a bit of a rushed job.

“I found myself sitting down to watch it on April 3rd thinking: ‘how is he going to do this?’”

It would be remiss not to also mention the absence of Helen McCrory’s Aunt Polly after her tragic passing last year. Her character was a long-time fan-favourite for good reason, and the show cannot help but suffer from her loss. However, Knight handles the absence of her character in admirably tasteful fashion, and the season does commendable job of honouring the memory of one of the most talented actresses to grace the small screen.

In terms of storytelling, this season picks up exactly where Season Five left off, both literally and stylistically. It takes the more indulgent, stylised direction of the show’s fifth season and runs with it. This is truly ambitious television. In its final season, Peaky Blinders has reached heights of almost mythological proportions. As Tommy strides through the otherworldly fog of Miquelon in its exhilarating opening sequence, we couldn’t be further from the grimy streets of Small Heath where we started. The plot of this season is more ambitious than ever and its execution is suitably stylish, with some of the most memorable sequences in television. This is all elevated by the show’s signature cinematographic flair, accompanied, as ever, by an expertly-selected soundtrack that really elevates some of the season’s most thrilling moments.


Mountain View

No women, but why?

In this instalment, Knight shows us that, like Tommy, he is truly a man with no limitations. With the rumours of a feature film finally confirmed, it isn’t quite time to say goodbye to Peaky Blinders yet, and if this season is anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat.