TV Review: Peaky Blinders Series 6, Episode 1

And so the final series of Peaky Blinders begins, paying achingly sad tribute to Helen McCrory’s iconic Aunt Polly

“There will be a war and one of you will die”

Perhaps more than anything, Peaky Blinders was the thing that pushed Helen McCrory furthest into mainstream consciousness and for that, we can all be eternally grateful. Her Aunt Polly served as the matriarch of the show and grounded it with real ferocity as she dealt with the various vicissitudes of the Shelby clan. 

And in the grand scheme of things, it is a minor tragedy but had we not been blighted by the pandemic, she might have been able to be a part of this sixth and final series before cancer took her. Instead, the first part of this opening deals with the shattering revelation that she’s been killed as a result of Tommy’s plans to shoot Oswald Mosley at the end of the last series and so we get to bid a poignant farewell, along with the cast.

It’s beautifully done, as you would of course respect. And as the episode proper kicks into gear, a four year time jump takes us across the Atlantic to the island of Miquelon where Cillian Murphy’s stonkingly good Tommy has found his latest angle. With Prohibition about to end, he’s gonna flood the US with Chinese opium using the bootleg booze trade routes. What could possibly go wrong?!

Naturally, quite a lot. And this opener sketches out the multiple frontiers on which he must do battle. Revenge on the IRA for Polly, tussles with the gangs of Boston to establish his drug trades, and in defence of his beloved daughter Ruby back home with her troubled dreams. Anya Taylor-Joy returns in great style too as Michael’s wife Gina, clearly set up to make considerable waves between the already estranged brothers.

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