‘sex, freedom, whisky sours, which one shall I give up first?’
Hit period drama Peaky Blinders burst back onto our screens on Wednesday, starting strong with a perfectly put together plot, seamlessly executed scenes and all the blood, violence and anger that we associate with the famous Birmingham gang, let’s have a look to see how it all went down.
Sentenced to hang at the end of last series, the episode of course starts with the chilling realisation that Michael, Polly, Arthur and John are off to the gallows, some kicking and screaming, others silently praying- this scene offered up an intense start to the series, throwing us right into the action.
The humorous side of Peaky Blinders of course came into play as well, as the Shelby family are miraculously pardoned by Tommy Shelby, who manages to black mail the king and gain them all a pardon, also grabbing himself an OBE in the process; ‘How the f— did a Birmingham racketeer get his hands on a personal letter from King George?’
So, throw it all forward one year and it’s Christmas Eve for the Shelbys, now scattered around the country, John is living the life with his ferocious gypsy wife Esme, Arthur is stifled on his farm by his conservative wife, Michael is nursing a cocaine addiction and desperately trying to keep the family together, Polly is popping pills and drinking night and day, hearing the voice of her dead daughter and harbouring anger towards her nephew Tommy. The head of the family is of course, living the high life in Birmingham, stating to his secretary, ‘sex, freedom, whisky sours, which one shall I give up first?’
However, all this apparent bliss ends abruptly when the family receive Christmas cards through the post stamped with the black hand of the Sicilian Mafia, a warning sign that they are going to die, a brilliantly chilling proposition to kill, or be killed.
All of a sudden the family are brought back together under these dire circumstances, offering up the imminent risk of violence and danger around the corner, a trademark for the show.
Writer Stephen Knight creates a new style of period drama, taking iconic images of the real Birmingham gang, throwing in all the violence, grime and billowing factories of the city, adding in the angry, hard hitting relationships between the family and topping it all off with a cinematic shooting and a grunge, chilling soundtrack, welcoming the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Wolverhampton based grunge band, Yak.
The chilling rendition of ‘In the Bleak Mid-Winter’, which played whilst the family were receiving their cards, offered up a chilling foreshadow of the episodes to come, Tommy’s paranoia was displayed in his extensive gun cabinet and his constant closeness to his son, whilst Polly’s insomnia and depression were evidenced by her reaction to her son Michael throwing her pills down the toilet.
The episode began with a near hanging, brought everything up to pace half way through with a gruesome murder and topped everything off with a drive by shooting.
Peaky Blinders has burst back onto our screens in the same no nonsense way it always does, yet as always, with a sharp, slick storyline, an aesthetically pleasingly shot episode and a perfectly put in place opportunity for more drama, with the Changretti, Italian-American family stepping off the boat at Liverpool docks, let the fight commence.