Sunday 4 December 2016

Peaky Blinders episode 5 review - Tom Hardy is back and steals the show

Christopher Hooton

Published 03/06/2016 | 09:27

Tom Hardy was back for Peaky Blinders episode 5
Tom Hardy was back for Peaky Blinders episode 5

Peaky Blinders has thus far explored the sway of money, family, honour, religion, heritage and law, but tonight it focused on perhaps the most powerful, incapacitating thing of all: sex.

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Polly finally relented to the charm of her painter, while Arthur and John, along with Tommy, were pulled into the Russians' orgy-orientated mind games. There are so many double bluffs going on by this point that I'm never sure whether scenes involving the Peakys and the Russians are going to end in orgasm or gunshot, and every interaction has become imbued with engrossing tension.

The highlight of tonight's episode, however, was the return of Tom Hardy. Alfie Solomons has such a comparatively small amount of screen time in the show that a lesser actor probably would have somewhat phoned in the performance, or at least not bothered to flesh it out properly, but Hardy's Jewish gang leader feels as though he's come off the back of a five season spin-off (something I'd personally love to see), fully formed with everything about him being so considered.

The majority of Peaky Blinders' characters are pretty solemn in their dialogue, and by contrast Hardy sounds almost upbeat. This adds to his menace, threats being bookended with a casual "yeah" or "mate" and it is masterful the way Hardy switches between a sing-songy 'what are we having for tea' type register and 'i'm going to fucking kill you' mode. I hope Alfie continues to be woven into the story when appropriate, he's too good to waste.

The score as ever was exemplary, including David Bowie's 'Lazaraus' (apparently on the late singer's request) and an incredibly husky unreleased Leonard Cohen track.

I did have a couple of gripes tonight: I really wanted to see Polly finally loosen Michael's leesh and agree to let him carry out the hit on Hughes - the motive was solid and her hipocrisy is infuriating - while it felt a bit of a cop-out that Tommy was literally on death's door last week but right as rain at the opening of this episode. I get that giving over an episode to him convalescing in hospital would have been a bit dull, but at the same time you couldn't help but feel a little manipulated by the last episode's hyper-emotional climax.

Another incredibly solid episode on the whole though, as ornate as the Faberge eggs Tommy and Alfie were expecting, and setting up for one hell of a finish in next week's finale.

(© Independent News Service)

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