Peaky Blinders: Season 5 – Episode 6 ‘Mr Jones’ REVIEW

Ends with a whimper instead of a bang.

Going into the last episode of the season, there was of course tingles of anticipation as Peaky Blinders never disappoints when it comes to season finales. The show has also consistently delivered quality TV, with only season 3 a bit too madcap and crazy for my taste.

So I was expecting some surprises, especially since we have never been so completely privy to Tommy’s plan. The moment he spilled it all to us in episode 5, and continued to tell all those concerned in the family meeting, I immediately knew the wheels were going to come off. Things always work best when the knowledge is confined to Tommy, Polly and Arthur. Now so many others are in the know, the question is, who will betray Tommy?

Tommy has truly hit a low spot this season, because not only is there this mess with Mosley, he also has to contend with Michael and his desire to take over Tommy’s role. You have to admit that Michael is speaking some sense (as much as it pains me to do so), but the way he goes about it is just tactless. Confronting Tommy during a family meeting, speaking to him like he is a dog that should just be taken out to pasture, is a show of power and is removed of any good intentions.

Michael speaks about the new generation taking over, but so far, he and Finn have done nothing but screw up while the rest clean up after them. Gina Gray remains ever the mystery, and ever the annoyance as well. I am not adverse to a woman being a force to be reckoned with, however, she plans to usurp something she has barely been a part of.

The show is building up wider theme of old power (UK) and new power (America). America is where the business can grow, that’s where the money is. This plot point isn’t settled in this episode though, so we will have to wait till next season to see what happens to Michael and Gina’s plans.

Polly is unfortunately caught in the middle of all of this. She is, as always, on Tommy’s side, but Michael is her son, so it’s hard to know where she will ultimately stand. Polly is tired of Tommy’s refusal to budge from his own position, or his own desires. He runs the family and the company the way he wants, without stopping to think of what the rest want.

This is a consistent characterisation of Tommy we keep returning to. In previous seasons, John and Arthur wanted to leave the company, but he couldn’t handle it. He is scared of being abandoned, of being alone, so he makes sure that everything requires him to run and function, even his own family.

The saddest moment in the episode is when Tommy finds himself wrestling with his inner demons, and there is no one to help bring him out of it. We get a chat with Charlie, but Charlie’s account of the events leading up to Tommy’s mother’s death is so tragic that we can’t help but wonder if the same fate awaits Tommy, since he seems to be the one most plagued by his mind. Grace still keeps appearing to him, calling him to join her, leaving us with him on the precipice of a cliff, contemplating when the jump might come.

Tommy has plans to fulfill though, so the run off the cliff will just have to wait. As the episode edges nearer to the rally, we keep waiting for someone to mess up, and sure enough, it happens. As it all falls apart, it feels a little too tidy though. Is it really that easy to best Tommy Shelby?

The thing is, the besting isn’t from Mosley, who for some reason cluelessly trusts Tommy. Tommy’s downfall comes because of the company he keeps, and like I mentioned earlier, when you lay your plan so openly, you need to make sure the people in question can hold their tongues. Younger’s death in the previous episode is also because of the eyes and ears that watch and listen all around, waiting for nuggets of information they can sell.

Tommy and Arthur took care of Micky the bartender just a few scenes before, establishing how easy it is for people to get wind of their business and sell the information to the right people. That scene is staged marvellously, with Arthur and Tommy exuding so much tension just from sitting down, circling closer towards him as they interrogate him, boxing him in for when Tommy delivers the kill shot. It is ironic then that this scene has more tension than the ending moments of the episode.

While Mosley delivers his fascist rhetoric, now adding a hand raise and uttering the anti-semitic “Perish Judah” to the mix, we wait for the fallout. As Tommy counts down, the visuals of that moment are absolutely stunning. A bright light shines on Tommy, there is rioting in the crowd, Aberama inches closer to McCavern – there is no sound but the ticking of the clock. Then, it all amounts to nothing.

Tommy cannot understand his failure, and neither can we. This is the first time we have a season finale where the ends are not tied, leaving us dancing about in disappointment, not from the uncertainty, but from the anti-climax of it all. This is what the season has been building towards?

Yes, Season 1 ended on a cliffhanger, but honestly, there was no way the show was going to kill off either one of them. Their narratives were not done, and just as predicted, both Grace and Campbell returned for Season 2. At the end of Season 2, we were left with the question of who Tommy would choose. Was this even a dilemma?

Of course it would be Grace, it was always Grace – there is no one else he has committed his heart to in quite the same way. Season 3 had the gang getting arrested, though it is obvious that this wouldn’t be a permanent situation. Can’t have a show called Peaky Blinders with most of them behind bars.

Season 4’s finale was rather tidy, though apparently not considering the appearance of a certain someone this episode, which felt a bit out of left field. So you see, Season 5’s finale is the first time the show has let me down. Hopefully, season 6 will bring a swift end to Mosley, so we can focus on the emerging conflict between Michael and Tommy. The old generation vs the new generation – now that is a showdown worth seeing.

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All the anticipation for the finale fizzles out with a disappointing conclusion. Not even an appearance from Sir Winston Churchill can make up for it.