Peaky Blinders: It’s Personal

peaky_blinders_2692098bPreviously on Peaky Blinders: The boys went to the races, where they protected Billy Kimber’s men from the thieving Lees, in a very gruesome manner. Tommy also had an attack of conscience after pimping Grace out to Kimber. Better late than never, I guess.

Ada, who’s now a lot more pregnant than she was the last time we saw her, returns to Birmingham with Freddie after a trip to London. Freddie delivers an envelope with £200 in it to one of his comrades and reports that it comes from an attaché from the Russian embassy.

Tommy’s joined by that street preacher, Jeremiah, who reports that Freddie and Ada are back, but he still hasn’t found out where they’re staying. Tommy urges him to keep looking and shows up at the office, pausing to note a large, canvas-covered cart parked across the street. Inside the cart are a whole lot of Lees; one of them tells the others not to make a move until the boy is in position.

Inside the house, there’s a little kid placing some bets. While the grownups are distracted, he slips into the main area of the house and hides in a closet. A little later, Polly comes in and her spidey senses go off, but she doesn’t notice the tot and goes into the office, where they’re getting ready to close up for the night. She tells Tommy that John wants to have a family meeting at Harry’s (which I guess is now Arthur’s). Tommy’s not happy, but he tells the one guy left in the office that they’ll be back in five minutes. The man starts locking up all the doors.

As soon as Tommy and Polly leave, a man guides the cart to the front of the house and calls to the kid inside, who runs to unlock the door. Lees pour in, carrying pretty much every weapon you can think of except for an oozy. They overtake the lone man left and beat the bejeesus out of him.

The Shelbys gather in the back room at the bar and Tommy asks his brother’s what up. John says that, since his wife died, his kids have been running wild. Hang up, he was married? Judging from his behaviour and appearance, I thought he was in his teens or something. Did he get married when he was 12? Anyway, his news is that he plans to marry Lizzy Stark, the local prostitute. Insert your own jokes here. The Shelbys laugh at the idea but John won’t hear a word against her. He begs Tommy for his blessing, but before he gives it, a boy dashes in to tell them their place has been robbed.

They rush over to find four cash boxes missing and a pair of wire cutters left behind. Everybody who was in the war immediately stands up straighter and tells Polly not to touch a thing, because they used to do this to the Germans: leave trenches booby trapped, with some wire cutters, as a sort of taunt. Everyone looks around suspiciously for a wire and a hand grenade, but Tommy thinks this is personal and the Lees are probably targeting him, considering the bullet with his name on it. So they’d have trapped something only he tends to use. Well, the horse is already dead, so…

He hurries outside to where he parked the car, only to find his youngest brother, Finn, playing around behind the wheel. He asks the boy which door he opened to get in and Finn laughs that he climbed in. Tommy tells him to come out the exact same way, but the boy opens the door, tripping the stick of dynamite hidden inside the car. Tommy manages to throw it clear before it explodes, and then tells his brother never to pretend to be him, before hugging him in relief.

Tommy’s gypsy friend, Johnny, takes him to see the Lees under a flag of truce. Tommy’s been granted an audience with the gypsies’ version of Polly, apparently, and surprisingly they don’t make him leave his hat outside. She starts by telling him to swear on the bible, but he tells her he’s not a believer, and he’s not there to lie. He wants a truce, which is interesting, seeing as how he’s the one who started and wanted this little war in the first place. He tells her he plans to betray and kill Billy Kimber—he’s got a bullet with his name on it and everything—so he can go after a bigger fish. They settle down to talk business.

Freddie and Ada are holed up in a crappy room, and she’s in a terrible mood because Freddie’s still putting his cause ahead of his family. She asks him who he’s really loyal to, while giving him a handjob. I don’t think that’s going to get you a fair and balanced response, Ada.

Polly meets with Tommy at the bar and he shows her a telegraph he received, asking if she had anything to do with it. She replies that she asked an acquaintance for an address, and she got it. Tommy asks her whose address this is and she suggests a strategy.

Tommy’s next meeting is with Campbell. The address is for Stanley Chapman, the man Freddie gave the money to. Campbell wants Freddie’s address, but Tommy says Stanley’s a bigger catch just now, since he has money from the Russians in his possession. He hands over the address on the understanding that Campbell will allow Freddie and Ada to leave the city. Campbell promises, but he warns Tommy that, if he doesn’t give up the info on the guns soon, Campbell could very well get fired. And if that happens, he promises to spend his last day at work bashing in all the Shelbys’ heads (Ada included). He’ll leave little Finn alive, so he can toss him into prison with a bunch of paedophiles. Tommy just manages to restrain himself from shooting Campbell in the head as he walks away.

Under Campbell’s watchful eye, policemen raid Stanley’s house and find both him and the cash. Campbell informs him that he’s screwed.

Back at the station, the only copper with a speaking part tells Campbell Stanley won’t talk. Campbell tells him to lay on the torture until he gives up Freddie’s address, despite the deal he struck with Tommy. Copper’s dismayed that his boss isn’t a man of his word but Campbell thinks giving one’s word to a Peaky Blinder doesn’t really count. Plus, his campaign against the Shelby family has definitely become entirely personal.

Freddie visits his mother’s grave and finds Polly hovering nearby. She knew he’d be by because it’s his mother’s birthday. She’s there to warn him that Stanley’s been arrested and to tell him again to leave the city already. He asks how she knew about Stanley and the money and she says that Ada told her, because the girl’s at her wit’s end here, living in a hellhole with an idiot husband. He doubts Campbell will keep his word, but Polly says either way, he’ll have to leave town. Except Stanley doesn’t really have the info they want, because one of their rules is that they never give each other their addresses. So, he’ll just get tortured to death. And no, Freddie won’t leave, because he’s one of the stupidest, most selfish people on the planet at this point.

Freddie goes home, thinks, and glances over at his sleeping wife…

…while over in the torture room, Campbell shows up and finds out that Stanley’s now dead, having had a mid-torture seizure. Copper’s upset by this, but Campbell tells him to pull himself together, throw the body down some stairs to give them a cover story, and call the coroner.

Kimber and his bookkeeper are in Birmingham for a meeting. Bookkeeper (Roberts) tells Billy the Shelbys are doing them a good turn, because they haven’t lost a penny to the Lees since they joined forces. Kimber’s still reluctant to give the Shelbys any credit. Tommy arrives and ushers them into the office, where he introduces John and two other guys, who’ll be running the Shelbys’ betting area at the racetrack. With everything in order, Kimber gives some instructions about throwing the next race and hands over their betting license. Kimber and Roberts leave and Tommy announces to the others that the Shelbys have their first legal racetrack pitch. Everyone cheers.

At Harry’s, Grace brings in a crate of cigarettes and tells Arthur they can’t sell them, because they’re a mess. She urges him to find another place to store them, but he informs her they’re contraband, so they get hidden on boats so they can be easily moved and rehidden. He has her check the books he’s attempting to balance and she fixes them.

Cambell gets the intel on the contraband and sends his men out to search the storehouses, presumably hoping to find the guns. But all they find are cigarettes and booze.

Tommy meets Grace after work and says that Arthur’s reported she’s asking questions about how they run their business: how they keep the liquor and cigarettes, etc. She claims she’s just trying to help. He tells her to accompany him to a nearby Catholic church and asks if she’s a good Catholic girl. She says she is. He tells her he needs someone to act as a sort of, well, Roberts for him. He’s heard that Grace has ideas and knows basic addition, so he thinks she’d be right for the job. He also thinks she’s a total liar, guessing she’s not Catholic, because no Catholic can walk into church without making the sign of the cross. That’s actually kind of true. I’ve been a lapsed Catholic more than half my life, but I still found myself compelled by some sort of Pavlovian response to reach for the nearest font of holy water the last time I was in a Catholic church. It was strange. So, she’s a Protestant. And she was never a barmaid in Dublin. But, for some inexplicable reason, he’s still willing to give her increasing access to his business dealings. Oh, apparently his reasoning is because he likes her, or something. She accepts the job and he kisses her. Eh, whatever. These two leave me completely cold—they have zero chemistry together. It’s hard to feel in any way invested in a relationship so devoid of any warmth. They should have left this part out of the story and kept these two more as business associates.

The following day, Tommy catches up with Lizzie, his brother’s prospective bride, and asks her for a word. He lays some money on the space between them and reminds Lizzy that he’s frequently used her services since returning from France. So much for him never having looked at a woman since coming back. She says she’s put all that behind her and the past is the past. Tommy tells her that change is good, and then asks her for one more roll in the hay, for old time’s sake. She considers it for a moment, and then agrees, scooping up the money. ‘So, the past is not the past,’ Tommy says coolly. She didn’t see that this was something of a trick? She desperately tells Tommy that she loves John, and Tommy tells her that John will be left to make his own decision, but he’s going to have all the facts first. She spits that John’s ten times the man Tommy is, then gets out of the car in a huff.

Campbell and Grace meet at their usual spot, near the classical statues at the museum, and he tells her the raid was a bit of a bust. He does say that she’s doing well and she reports that she’s working on Arthur, because he’s easier (read: stupider), and that Tommy’s promoted her to the post of secretary. He guesses that Tommy’s fallen for her and warns her to remember that the guy’s a bit of a thug. She says she knows and then snaps at him for scolding her when she’s delivered good news.

John’s polishing up the car ahead of an outing with Lizzy. Tommy shows up and gently tells him about Lizzy not really leaving her profession behind after all. He tells John to go ahead and do whatever he wants, but know what she was willing to do.

Tommy immediately repairs to Harry’s, where he invites Grace to propose a toast. Her offering: ‘may you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows your dead.’ Good choice. He hands her a contract of employment and she tells him she had a phone installed and ordered up a bottle of champagne. He declines the opportunity to open it, instead telling her to save it for a special occasion. He then gives her her first task: to get a message to his sister, by visiting the same bathhouse Ada frequents. Grace asks if she’s being used to arrange a trap but Tommy tells her to not ask questions, and that this is about a family occasion he wants Ada to attend.

He heads home and finds John in his room, cradling the opium pipe. John’s a bit of a mess, having broken up with Lizzy, who tried to claim Tommy was lying. But John had the sense to ask around and found out Lizzy still had some regulars she was seeing. Tommy gets a begrudging laugh out of his brother by imitating their grandfather and the brothers agree that they need to look out for each other. He tells John to go home and rest up, because the next day they’re ending the war with the Lees for good.

The men gather the next day, and John starts to wonder why everyone’s staring at him. Arthur gives him a drink and they make their way to the Lee camp. As they approach, Tommy stops, tucks a white carnation into John’s buttonhole, and informs him that it’s his wedding day. Tommy’s arranged a marriage between John and a Lee girl, and that goes over about as well as you can expect. John tries to run, but the Shelby men surround him and Tommy tells him he needs a wife and this will end the war with the Lees once and for all. John falls in line and hears that he’s at least getting a car out of the deal. The Shelbys present John to Gypsy Polly, who decides he’ll do. The bride is brought forward and John just hopes she’s under 50. The ceremony begins, and Polly appears with Ada, who takes up a spot next to Tommy. The bride removes her veil and is quite cute, so John’s happy. Back with Tommy and Ada, he asks where Freddie is, because they declared a truce for the day so they could have their family event. Freddie’s not speaking to her, except to call her an f’ing Shelby. What a charmer he is. John and the bride, Esme, are declared man and wife.

Big Fat Gypsy Party gets underway. There is dancing and singing and lots of drinking. Polly kicks up her heels, some guy vomits, another guy starts drunkenly shooting into the air, fireworks go off. Ada starts getting a bit overly exuberant out on the dance floor, so Polly goes and asks Tommy to try and reign her in, adding that she’s been drinking a fair bit. I’ll say. Tommy sighs and obeys, going over to ask Ada to have a rest. Instead, she goes off on him, screaming at Tommy for hunting her down and making her life hell and now not even letting her have a dance. And then she immediately goes into labour. Of course.

The Shelbys, plus Esme, arrive back home and Esme joins the women in the house while the men prepare to go off and get drunk. Polly tells Tommy that Freddie should really be allowed to come, so he extends the truce until sunrise. Let’s hope it’s not a prolonged labour.

Inside, Ada’s already pushing, assisted by Polly and Esme. Esme thinks the baby’s wrong way round, so they get Ada into a different position to deliver.

Grace serves up pints for the Shelby men, who are seriously drunk at this point. She asks if they think Freddie will come by and they’re pretty sure he will. She leaves and Arthur guesses that Tommy’s got the hots for her.

Freddie runs down the darkened streets, arriving at the house, where he’s informed that he has a son. Ada’s looking pretty good, for a woman who just delivered her first kid in record time. Freddie’s overcome by the sight of the baby, who like most tv babies is played by a two-month-old. He barely has any time to greet the child before police start hammering on the door. Esme tries to keep them out, shouting that a baby’s just been born, but they shove past her and haul Freddie away. Ada weeps, and Esme looks horrified. Guess Grace’s new phone came in handy after all.

Speaking of, back at the bar, Grace offers to pen the champagne, just as Polly comes in. She tells Tommy the baby’s a boy, before rushing him and telling him the police came and took his father away almost immediately. Tommy’s confused face does not convince her of his innocence, and she spits at his feet and calls him a liar.



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