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Peaky Blinders: The spectacular crime-extravaganza ends in style


Peaky Blinders: The spectacular crime-extravaganza ends in style

When the first season of Peaky Blinders was aired on BBC Two in September 2013, the peaked flat-caps-trotting gangsters were just some ordinary criminals in Birmingham doing petty crimes like bookmaking, extortion, and thievery. 

But as the story continued, Tommy Shelby, the kingpin of the crime family, turned this petty gang into an empire that can even influence history. 

But Tommy is no extraordinary being; he is still the war veteran from the First World War running from his demons. Amidst gang rivalries and betrayals from his allies and even from his own family, does he finally get his peace? The final sixth season of this show brings a poetic ending for the spearhead of the Shelby family.

The production of this series suffered a major blow after the death of Helen McRory, who played Aunt Polly, one of the leading characters. She died at the age of 52 due to cancer on April 16, 2021, when the shooting for the series was ongoing. 

Her absence can be felt throughout the series as she was irreplaceable as Polly Shelby, who always kept the family members together.

Since the first season, Tommy gradually rose to power for himself and his family by dealing with or defeating rivals throughout time. He is the most level-headed member of the family who can be calm but explosive when provoked all the time- making him an intimidating opponent for the enemies. 

He rose from a local gang leader in Birmingham to a member of the British Parliament, the status which helped his crime empire grow to a great extent.

This influence did not come easily but at a steep price. Tommy lost many loved ones - his brothers, wife Grace, Aunt Polly, and many others. He manages to come out on top every time even after these heavy losses, probably asking himself - is it worth it?

Though Tommy’s dealings were with the local crime rings and families at first, eventually his dealings involved bigger fish like the Irish Republican Army, the Sicilian mafia from America and even historical characters like Winston Churchill, the Romanov family of Russia and so on.

The sixth season is set up in 1933, where Tommy’s primary opponent is Oswald Mosley, the historic leader of the British Union of Fascists that the Shelby family resists. 

With the fascist party rising in power and failure to assassinate its leader back in the fifth season, it remains a challenge for Tommy to face him while also dealing with assassination plots by the Irish mob and IRA.

The ending of this series is quite symbolic. Tommy actually wants to do something good and bring good fortune to his family but always gets mucked up in darkness because of the consequences. 

At the beginning of the series, the audience sees Thomas Shelby riding on a black horse. That is the beginning of his truly criminal life as black signifies the darkness to come. 

During the altercation in the last scene, the 11th hour has asked for armistice and peace. The struggle is over, the darkness is gone, and Tommy is riding off on a white horse; he will do the good work he always deep down wanted to do. 

This marks the fitting ending of this British crime drama with a spin-off film also in progress, hinting that Tommy’s last probable action of a good deed is yet to be seen.

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