Previously on Peaky Blinders: Tommy accidentally got his hands on a whole lot of very important guns, and instead of getting rid of them, he stashed them, even though a hard-nosed Irish inspector and his undercover agent are hot on his trail.
Tommy drives his two brothers out to a gypsy camp in the countryside, where he’s warmly greeted by one of the men—Johnny, I think—while Arthur whines in the background about not getting to go to the fair. Presumably he means the horse fair, unless he’s five years old. Tommy ribs Johnny a bit for running with the Lee family (the gypsies), whom Tommy mostly holds in contempt for not serving in the war. Johnny sends Tommy to look at a really beautiful horse while Johnny goes to check out the family car. Arthur, aghast, asks if Tommy really plans to swap their car for a horse. No, no, of course not! Tommy and Johnny are going to flip for it! Makes sense, right? They both pull out coins and toss ‘em. Both are heads, so the men spit shake and Tommy hands over the keys. Arthur starts to throw a wobbler, but Tommy tells him to chill, because he won, but he promised Johnny a spin in the car if he lost. Three of the Lee men start chuckling, and Tommy decides to pick a fight. Johnny intervenes, warning him not to go starting a war, and really, Tommy has enough on his mind without bringing down some gypsy wrath. But then one of the Lees calls Tommy’s mother a whore, which is a ballsy thing to say to a man who has razor blades embedded in his hat. Sure enough, all the brothers’ hats come off and they go right for the eyes, just in case we weren’t clear on where the nickname came from. The Lees go down in a bloody mess and the Shelby boys get ready to head home.
Back in still-sleeping Birmingham, Campbell rides a slightly less impressive horse towards a pretty good crowd of waiting policemen, both mounted and on foot. He tells them they’re going to trash this neighbourhood and find every last weapon around. They line up along the street and, on cue, start busting down doors and busting heads and furniture both. Terrified kids run, terrified wives protest.
Meanwhile, Ada and Freddie are taking advantage of her brothers’ absence to have a little morning delight. One of Freddie’s friends yells up the stairs about the police raids, and he and Ada flee by the roof. In Freddie’s room, one of the policemen finds Ada’s prescription for iron tablets. Freddie takes Ada to some woman’s house to hide out for a bit and tells her he’s going to have to get out of town for a little while.
Campbell finds Polly in church, lighting candles. She scolds him for wearing his hat and smoking a pipe in the church and also accuses him of cowardice for coming through the neighbourhood when he knows the Shelby boys are away. He asks if she’s lighting candles for them and she says it’s for the boys who fought and died in France. She also gets in a jab at him for not fighting in the war. She asks if he’s looking for the Holy Grail and he grabs her, shoves her against the altar rail, and tells her she knows what he’s looking for. She pops forward and kisses him on the lips, throwing him off his game just enough to let her go, and she merrily tells him she misunderstood his intention when he shoved her against the wall. Ha! She’s awesome. He goes and lets some of his men in and tells them to turn the place upside down. He also tells Polly he wants to meet Tommy in a few days at a tearoom. How civilised.
The Shelby boys return home, taking in the wreckage around them, and wonder what the hell happened. At the house, Polly fills them in. Campbell also hit all the pubs that pay the Blinders for protection. She tells all the boys to get out on the streets and show their faces so everyone knows they’re still cocks of the walk. Only Tommy remains behind, and when they’re alone, Polly tells him Campbell’s not going to rest until the guns are returned. He knows, and tries to change the subject to Ada, whom he knows is sleeping with someone. Polly dismisses his questions and asks if Tommy will meet Campbell. No, not right away. They want to strike a blow themselves first.
They go through the neighbourhood, collecting all the pictures of King George from the pubs and homes so they can feed them to a bonfire. This may seem pretty mild to us, but remember that this was a time when people actually stood up in their own homes when the national anthem was played on the radio, so they took things like patriotism and the royal family pretty seriously. A rather nervous and nebbishy looking reporter arrives and tells the men guarding the street that he’s been summoned. They let him through and he finds Tommy, who tells the man that they’re not against the king, they’re against the people who represent him. He continues that he and the other men went through hell for their king, and they’re being repaid with thuggery. He tells the man to go write about what’s going on here, and the reporter gets lost.
Campbell receives a late-night phone call from Churchill, who’s received notice of the bonfire and is not happy about it at all. Campbell thought the fire was just a minor nuisance, because he didn’t know about the king’s pictures being burned. Churchill knows because the newspaper’s editor got in touch. Campbell offers to make some arrests but Churchill tells him no way, because if there are arrests there’ll be trials, and more publicity, and they can’t have that. He yells at Campbell to find the damn guns already. Campbell asks if Churchill’s report mentions anyone in particular and hears that Thomas Shelby was quoted.
The next morning, Polly’s reading the paper at the kitchen table when Ada comes down and starts babbling about the minutiae of her day, which is hugely boring because she spent almost all day in bed, asleep. Polly talks about how depressing some of the news is, and then suddenly gives Ada a beady eye and orders her to stand up. Ada does, and Polly grabs one of her boobs and then asks her how late she is. I immediately flinch in sympathy over that boob grab. Ada lies and says one week, then revises that to five. Or maybe seven. But she’s pretty sure it’s just an iron deficiency, so she got some tablets. But they didn’t work, of course.
Polly takes her to a woman I guess is a local midwife, who tells her that she is, in fact, pregnant. Polly hustles her away, before anyone sees them there and puts two and two together. She asks Ada who the man is and Ada refuses to answer for a bit, because she’s afraid Polly will tell her brothers and they’ll kill him. Polly says he’ll be safe if he marries her, but Ada isn’t sure about that because she doesn’t know where he is just now. She’s sure he’ll come back, though. Polly is less sure, but Ada bursts into tears and she hugs the girl, comforting her.
Tommy’s down at the stable, checking out the horse and getting ready to take it for a ride. The older guy who helped him move the guns, who’s apparently Tommy’s uncle, tells him the Lees have declared war, and as proof have sent along a bullet with Tommy’s name etched on it. Well, at least you know they have one less bullet now. He shakes his head, saying now they have the guns and this to worry about. Tommy doesn’t seem too worried, mounts up, and rides off. As he walks the horse along the waterfront, there’s a sudden blast of flame from one of the factories and the horse begins to freak out, rearing and panicking. Tommy dismounts and talks to it softly, telling him it’s just noise. The horse calms down. Grace watches from the pub’s entrance, and as Tommy comes by, she fake-accidentally tosses a bucket of something gross looking in his path. She apologises and asks what the horse’s name is. He doesn’t have one yet. Tommy cuts the small talk short and asks what she wants. She asks to be allowed to sing in the pub once a week. He says she sounds like some rich girl who’s come over for the races and asks if she likes horses and wants to make a little extra cash. She asks what he wants her to do and he tells her to get a nice dress, because he’s going to take her to the races.
At the betting parlour, business is booming, as always. Tommy arrives, greeting everyone, and hears from his brother John that everyone’s betting on Monaghan Boy. Tommy’s glad to hear it, and then goes to the side to speak with Polly. We don’t hear their conversation, but he hastens out of the betting parlour and tracks his sister down at the pictures. He plonks down next to her and orders her to give him a name. She snarkily gives him Rudolph Valentino, so Tommy gets up, leaves, and a second later the movie shuts off and the lights come up. He returns and orders everyone else out. Once they’re alone, Ada finally bursts out that Freddie is the father of her child. Tommy stomps back out, and Ada, who’s got a proper head of steam on her now, shouts to the projectionist that she’s a Shelby too, so they can go right ahead and put her damn movie back on. They do. Hee! The women in this family are pretty great, aren’t they?
Tommy has a drink with the day’s take at the betting parlour, which is now empty. Polly comes in and we hear that Monaghan Boy finally lost, but Tommy will probably be paying most of the take back to people, to buy back his popularity. She taught him well, after all. Unfortunately, he fixed the race without the say-so of Billy Kimber, who I guess is not a man you want to mess with, so apparently she didn’t teach him quite well enough. He tells her has it all in hand and asks if she’s handling ‘family business.’ She is. She hands him a letter Ada wrote to Freddie, letting him know about the baby so he has a chance to do the right thing. Tommy tells Polly that Freddie’s just using Ada to get the Shelby’s family’s help to get guns and such for his glorious revolution, and he tosses the letter into the stove. Polly yells at him for being heartless and he tells her to just say Freddie went to America or Russia or something. Polly stomps out, which seems to be quite a trait with this family.
She goes to see Ada and warns her that, the longer she leaves things, the worse it’ll be, and Polly speaks from experience. Except in her case she was 16 and had to perform the procedure herself. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKK! Excuse me while I curl up in a corner for a few minutes to try and forget that. She tells Ada gently that, someday, when she gets married, she’ll be grateful that she did the best thing here. She gives her the name of a woman in Cardiff and tells her to take the train the next day and check out the castle while she’s there, as a treat. I don’t know how anyone could go touring a castle for part of a day after having had a ca. 1919 abortion, but these Shelbys are tough folk.
Tommy meets with Campbell in a very posh looking tearoom that we learn is basically on neutral ground for both of them. Tommy tells Campbell that keeping the city peaceful is in both their interests, and Campbell seems to agree, but first there are a couple of things he wants to know. He produces Ada’s prescription and says he knows she’s consorting with a known communist, so he wants to know if Tommy’s friends with them as well. Tommy says he’s definitely not, and he’s dealt with his sister. Tommy wants to make a deal: Campbell is to leave Tommy’s neighbourhood and business alone, and that includes a proposed expansion to the racetrack in Gloucestershire. In return, Tommy will give Campbell back the guns he’s looking for. This seems rather foolish, telling Campbell straight out who has the guns. All he has to do is put the screws to the whole Shelby family until someone gives the info up. Apparently Tommy’s thought about that and has left word with his men that, if he’s arrested, the guns are to be shipped to Liverpool, then to Belfast and sold to the IRA, thus undoing a fair bit of Campbell’s work in Ireland. Once Tommy’s done what he wants to do, he’ll tell Campbell where the guns are and Campbell will be a hero. Campbell agrees, reluctantly, but refuses to shake Tommy’s hand. Tommy gets up and says he wouldn’t shake the hand of a man who wouldn’t even fight for his country.
Campbell heads to the opera (Tosca, maybe?) and has a clandestine meeting with Grace. He informs her that Tommy is priority one for her (Tommy, by the way, is home getting high throughout this meeting). Grace asks what he wants her to do and Campbell asks her to do whatever she can to get close to Tommy and find out where the guns are hidden. He hands her a gun of her own, wrapped in a newspaper and says she’s now active in a military operation on behalf of the crown. She tells him she’s late for her shift and goes to leave. He catches her hand and, in a rather fatherly way, tells her that his heart is with her.
Tommy’s having his usual opium flashback of being in the war. Man, why does he smoke that stuff if that’s what he sees? That seems so horrific. He sobers up quickly when someone from the stable comes running to fetch him. Apparently there’s something wrong with the horse. The man insists the gypsies cursed it and there’s a problem with the hooves or something that’ll spread to the horse’s heart by the next day. Instead of, I don’t know, sending for a vet or someone who actually knows what they’re doing and doesn’t attribute an illness to supernatural workings, Tommy takes the guy’s word for it and shoots the horse in the head.
He heads to Harry’s immediately after, pushing in even though Grace tells him they’re closed. He asks her for a drink and she sets some whisky out for him and asks if he wants to be alone. He tells her he came for company, so she joins him at the table and asks him how his beautiful horse is. Ooof. He informs her he just put a bullet in its head. She observes that that’s a waste and he agrees and says that, when he was in France, he got used to seeing men die, but he never got used to seeing the horses die. She changes the subject to the races he’s intending to take her to. She guesses they’re going to Cheltenham and he tells her King Billy Kimber and all his men will be there. She quickly ups her payment from £2 to £3, because if she’s going to meet a King, she’ll need a smart dress. She also demands her karaoke night and unwisely mentions her time working in Dublin. Tommy catches her out in the lie because he asked about her and nobody in Dublin’s ever heard of her. He guesses she was a girl from a good family who got herself pregnant and kicked out. Guess he’s got illegitimate babies on the brain these days. She asks him not to tell anyone her secret. ‘Do I look like I tell people things?’ he asks her before requesting a sad song. She gets up on a chair, at his order, and warns him that she’ll break his heart. He tells her it’s already broken. She sings. It doesn’t break my heart, but Tommy seems rather affected, and for a while after she’s done he just sits there, his head hanging.
Polly goes to put Ada on the train the next day, only to find Freddie waiting for them on the platform. He tells Ada that Tommy got in touch and told him everything, adding that Freddie should get out of town and take Ada with him. Freddie drops to one knee, proffers a ring and asks Ada to marry him, and she happily accepts, then goes to squeal and hug Polly, who smiles happily and then urges the couple to get on the train quickly. But Freddie’s not going anywhere—he and Ada are going to stay right there and get married, because he’s not afraid of Tommy. Polly’s face says: you idiot, you should be.
Karaoke night at Harry’s! The Shelby boys are having a private card game in the back. Everyone’s pleasant evening is abruptly ended by the rude and noisy arrival of the oft-mentioned Billy Kimber and some thugs. The place falls silent and Kimber asks if there’s anyone there named Shelby. The back room door opens and Tommy and his brothers come out. Tommy orders everyone to go home and they happily scatter. Shelbys and Kimber sit down and Grace brings a round. Tommy tells her to go home immediately. Kimber’s pissed off because Monaghan Boy won two races easily, and then suddenly came in dead last. And apparently if there’s any race fixing to be done, it’ll be done by Kimber himself, thank you very much. He’s ready to have Tommy shot, but Tommy calmly shows him the gypsy bullet and tells him the Lee family’s out to get him. Turns out, the Lees have been a bit of a problem for Kimber as well, so Tommy suggests they join forces and take the Lees down. Kimber’s pencil-necked advisor advises they listen to what Tommy has to say. Tommy says that the Shelbys’ connections and Kimber’s muscle could be formidable together. Advisor says they should consider a second meeting over this. Tommy lays it on thick, telling Kimber it would be an honour to work with him. Kimber informs him that people work for him, not with him. He flicks a coin onto the floor and tells Tommy to pick it up. After a moment’s hesitation, he does, and Kimber leaves. His advisor tells Tommy that they’ll be at Cheltenham. Tommy says he will be too.
Once it’s just the Shelbys, Arthur figures out that Tommy picked a fight with the Lees on purpose (but did the horse really have to get in the middle of it?). He warns Tommy that they can’t mess with Billy, but Tommy is unconcerned, telling his brothers to get some nice haircuts, because they’re going to the races.