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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Peaky Blinders Season 4: Best So Far

The six episodes of Peaky Blinders season 4, which my wife and I just finished watching on Netflix, pack as much or more punch than any of the previous seasons.  I'd say Peaky Blinders now ranks right up there with the Godfather trilogy as creme-de-la-creme gangster family stories.  My wife agrees, and points out that Peaky Blinders is better than Boardwalk Empire.  Although I liked a lot of Boardwalk Empire, I've got to agree, especially with this powerful, unforgettable fourth season, full of twists and turns and surprises, well motivated in retrospect.

[Spoilers ahead ....]

I got at least two of them.  I knew Polly (perfectly played as always by Helen McCrory) could never betray Tommy, regardless of how legitimate her grievance against him for almost (nick of time almost) getting her and the rest of the Shelby's hung.  I also thought at first that Arthur wasn't dead - why else would the narrative make such a big deal when Tommy prevented the bad guy from putting a bullet in Arthur's head, and strangling Arthur - and therefore I wasn't totally shocked when Arthur later showed up alive and well.  But it was still great television seeing these two stories play out.

I very much liked the Tommy as MP ending.  The government played a subtle but important role throughout this season, starting with Tommy getting the Shelbys out of the noose and through to the police showing up and stopping the duel between Tommy and Luca (suitably vivid villain by Adrien Brody).  So it made sense that Tommy would see his next move as inside rather than outside the government.

Arthur had his best season, I thought.  He did his job and saved Tommy's life at that boxing match.  I was sorry to see Solomons go, but he got what he deserved, almost getting Tommy - i.e., killing him - after he distracted Tommy almost a second too long with his endless talking.  This was the way Solomons lived and succeeded (until now) in his life, talking his opponents if not literally to death, at least into some kind of submission.  Tommy's quick reflexes saved him from Solomons' surprise gun.  Peerless acting by Tom Hardy as Solomons, and, as always, top of the line from Cillian Murphy as Tommy and Paul Anderson as Arthur.

I liked Gold (another memorable performance by Game of Throne's Aidan Gillen) and his son, and hope they have a role in the next season.  And it was good to see another baby - Tommy and Lizzie's - in the family.

The cinematography was outstanding - crystal clear, colorful, and wide - as it was from the very first episode of the very first season.  Peaky Blinders now, in my view, is the undisputed best original series yet to appear on Netflix, where the competition is merciless.

See also Peaky Blinders: Peak Television ... Peaky Blinders Season 3: Still Peak

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