Peaky Blinders season 3 episode 3 review: In a parallel Peaky universe this week Arthur was the voice of reason
Following a cavalcade of drama in the first two episodes of Peaky Blinders season 3, tonight’s instalment was something of a breather.
That’s no bad thing, and really the show needed to spend a little time getting to know the characters again after all the marriages, deaths, rapid business expansions and new found faiths we’ve seen recently.
Maybe I’ve been watching Game of Thrones too long, but I half-expected the episode to open with Grace in hospital, on the mend from the shooting, but obviously the survival rate for a bullet to the chest in the 1920s wasn’t great, and her death wisely wasn’t drawn out. We skipped straight past Tommy’s grieving - perhaps he did too - with the Shelby patriarch taking his anger out on his family.
This pissed off Michael, who is tired of being seen as merely a pencil pusher, and pissed off Arthur and John, who, not unfairly, feel like they’re increasingly being treated like hired soldiers (hounds might be more apt).
Intriguingly, these tensions served to turn the usual character dynamic in on itself, with the brothers showing unusual mercy and the cousins (Michael and Tommy) flying off the handle. This was particularly true of the latter, who wasn’t his usual restrained self tonight, regressing into Blinder mania and bloodlust as he sought revenge for Grace.
“I forget who I am, I forget who I am” he repeated, as he contemplated gauging the Italian mob boss’s eyes out - an identity crisis that’s been bubbling for a while now, between his assassinations and charity initiatives, legitimate businesses and smuggling rings.
These deeper cuts into character allowed the always brilliant cast to shine, whether it was Polly struggling to accept that she can be seen as a beautiful woman and not just a gangster, or Arthur contemplating parenthood, and there was a lot of tense, close quarters dialogue tonight (I imagine the show to have a full-time Director of Steamy Breath).
- Peaky Blinders season 3 episode 1 review: 'Intentional or not the first episode feels like a ‘f*ck you’ to Downton Abbey'
Finally, a potentially unpopular opinion: It’s good that Grace is dead. She was played with a twinkling, insouciant elegance by Annabelle Wallis, but it was hard to see what plot could have stretched out in front of her, bar the obvious ‘spy turned gangster’s wife has crisis of conscience and wants to turn back again’, which I think could have been boring.
- 'My character is going to bring something out of Tommy you don’t normally see' - Irish actor Packy Lee on Peaky Blinders series 3
If there was an underlying feeling as a viewer (and for several Peaky Blinders too) that Tommy should probably just keep the business as it is now that he has a beautiful family and home, the corruption of this will no doubt make him throw himself more into his career than ever, setting up for explosive developments as we head into the second half of the season.
(© Independent News Service)