With season 3 of Peaky Blinders leaving us with most of the Shelby gang being arrested after risking their lives to have Tommy’s kidnapped son safely returned, we had to expect that season 4 would begin with something wild. This season, however, was non-stop crazy with the hidden plans, an unexpected pregnancy, and deaths (even faked ones). Season 4 starts with what looks like the absolute end of the gang. Arthur, John, Michael, and Polly are on their way to hang for their crimes. Mere minutes before they are hanged, they are rightfully set free as their actions were forced upon them, and they seem to continue onto free lives without connection to the Shelby Limited Company. Then they go crazy, get bored, or lose themselves without their old jobs even though we expect them to be happy because they do not have to live in crime anymore. But what would the Shelby family be without their criminal ways or each other?
I have to say that Tommy, Arthur, and Polly’s performances really ran the dramatic spectrum this season and it was entrancing to watch. Them facing the New York mob was the largest and most dangerous enemy they’ve seen. This challenge was accompanied by a large loss for the Shelby family. Both of these factors forced the clan to extremes of grief, rage, depression, and other depths. All three of these characters portrayed that beautifully. I felt their pain, their deep sadness, and even their pride when they felt accomplished. I loved the extremes of this season and how it was more dramatic than the others.
I cannot say there was much bad about this season besides Luca Changretta’s accent getting on my nerves. Played by Adrien Brody, he is the mobster set out to take down the Peaky Blinders in vengeance. His accent is a very “Godfather” style one that bugs me throughout the show, but to be fair he IS supposed to be an Italian fresh from New York in the 20’s. Overall, though, his acting is great and sincerely creepy. Another cumbersome factor is the uncontrollable love stories via Tommy. At times I wish they would allow him to grieve his wife’s death solemnly, but that wouldn’t allow him to use these women. It also wouldn’t have allowed Lizzie to have his baby! That, I know, is going to be an important storyline in season 5. That poor woman can’t have a normal love life for anything.
“Blackbird”, which is episode 3, was a telling episode. We see Linda manipulating Arthur with the assistance of his family to try to keep him out of the official side of the business because he would not agree with their plans. His grip on reality is going, too, with his drug abuse. We also learn of a different Tommy from before the war. He had a softer and better-intentioned side. A part of him misses that time and that feeling alone illustrates he still contains some humanity.
Episode 6, “The Company”, had to be the best episode of the season. Being the season finale, it had to be a stunner and it was. Arthur dies. During the fight he can tell something is amiss and follows his instinct, even though Tommy dismisses him. In a crazy turn of events, he is injured but pretends to be dead in order to trick Luca. I did not expect that! Alfie Solomons, played by the great Tom Hardy, also dies due to him agreeing to help the mafia. He shoots Tommy before dying, which causes the Shelby leader another shell shock episode and it’s possibly worse than he endured after the war. He still has his goals and has no shame in how to achieve them. He is elected Labour MP by backstabbing Jessie Eden, the communist revolutionary. This is done by Tommy turning in the list of lead communists she knows to the government in exchange for this position.
Due to killing one of my favorite characters in the first episode (though I know moves like this must be done), allowing Adrien Brody to continue on in a ridiculous mobster accent, and for it being quite easy for the Shelby’s to trump the mafia, I knock down my grade a couple of notches. This show would also not be Peaky Blinders without Tommy’s incessant using of women, especially strong women, which annoys me like no other plot does. However, I loved all of the fighting scenes so much, especially the one where Luca thinks he’s handed Tommy’s life. Tommy pulls out his machine gun and handles this battle like a boss. Also, the important characters of Arthur and Polly return to their glorious selves in more powerful ways than before. For these reasons, I give this season an 8!