It's been a long wait but at last, we were able to check back in with Thomas Shelby and the gang to see what trouble they will be getting themselves into in this, the fifth season of 'Peaky Blinders'. The year is now 1929 and the Shelby gang are scattered in various corners of the globe doing their Shelby thing.
Thomas has married Lizzie and their daughter Ruby is walking and talking and seems like a right dote. Charlie, on the other hand, is onto his dad, and is having none of his "death is sometimes a kindness" routine. As we saw at the end of season 4, Tommy made his bid into politics as Labour MP for Birmingham South and is now walking around the corridors of Westminister delivering speeches to parliament and embracing handshakes from the locals thanking him for his work. You love to see it.
Arthur is now chairman of the Shelby Company Limited, more so to separate Tommy from any underhand dealings it has, with Linda naturally not a fan of this set up. Michael is heading up the American division and making a proper hames of it as it turns out. Thomas Shelby is a smart enough cookie it seems to even predict the Wall Street crash, but Michael failed to do what he was advised to and didn't sell their shares days before the crash. "Nobody listens to me!", seems to be Tommy's mantra this season. Now Michael is heading back to Birmingham to face the music with his new lady (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) in tow.
Polly then is busy living her best life out in Monte Carlo with some young buck, while back in London Ada is pregnant and that handsome army colonel we saw her go head to head with last season is the father, although he doesn't know it yet. Finn, the youngest of the Shelby siblings is still busy trying to convince himself that he is cut out to be a Shelby and finds himself with a bullet in his arm because of it. Oh and Aidan Gillen's Aberama Gold has had a much-needed haircut. So now, we're all caught up.
The Shelbys are all brought back together for a crisis meeting following the Wall Street Crash. After Tommy has had his thinking time over the fire in the woods with Grace of course. Sigh. We miss her too. Probably not a good sign for Tommy's mental health if he is seeing her, mind.
We didn't actually get to hear the plan of action however as they all suddenly had to get up from the meeting and do their slow-mo walking through Small Heath. Obviously. Give the fans what they want.
Besides their money problems, they also have these 'Angels of Retribution' to worry about. The Peaky Blinders sent a firm message by shooting a mystery gang behind a paedophile ring in China Town. An operation that was actually government-led we find out later. Definitely more to come with that lot.
We also have a new villain to the game in the form of Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) who is based on a real-life person that went on to become the leader of the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s. Tommy and Oswald's interactions were very brief in this episode but again, 'Peaky Blinders' is doing what it always does so well in its opening installment by setting up the chess pieces for the season ahead.
The episode culminated with a tense meeting between journalist Michael Levitt and Tommy Shelby in his office. Levitt recalls crossing Tommy's path before back in Birmingham in 1919, which actually did happen in the first season of 'Peaky Blinders'. The scene and Levitt's ultimate demise is likely to show how Tommy's power can scare the media out of writing the truth about his past. But... there surely has to be more to it than that? The pair were given quite a long scene together after all.
Of course we all know the real highlight of the episode. It was Cyril! Yep, Tommy may have offed Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy) at the end of season 4 but at least he did him the solid of looking after his dog as he asked.
— BBC One (@BBCOne) August 25, 2019
So there you have it. A standard enough opening episode of 'Peaky Blinders' with the table now set for what will hopefully be a crackin' fifth season. And by standard, we mean visually stunning and crammed full of compelling performances. Cillian Murphy is simply phenomenal as Thomas Shelby, there's no arguing with that.
We don't have long to wait for a second installment either with another episode airing tonight on BBC One at 9.30pm entitled 'Black Cats'. It will see Tommy discover there is a traitor in his midst. At least we know it's not Cyril.