Peaky Blinders: 'Gloomy' finale wins over critics (just)


Spoiler alert – we’ve tried to avoid major plot information but some details may be revealed.

Peaky Blinders

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Peaky Blinders is being shown on BBC One for the first time

The finale of the fifth series of BBC crime drama Peaky Blinders has drawn mostly praise from critics despite its gloom and lack of closure.

The series began with Tommy Shelby facing a mental health crisis and ended with him teetering on the edge.

The Guardian’s Sarah Hughes praised the depiction of Tommy’s “existential crisis” in her review.

“I did genuinely enjoy this gloomier-than-usual finale and how the storyline ultimately played out,” she said.

“This hasn’t been a perfect series (although I have personally enjoyed it) but one thing that has been beautifully handled has been Tommy’s impending breakdown.”

An average of 3.8 million viewers tuned in to see the curtain come down on the latest chapter in the Shelby story. The figure is slightly up on the series five opener which hit 3.7 million.

Series four, which was shown on BBC Two along with the previous three series, had an average of 3.3 million viewers.

In her four-star review for Metro, Tilly Pearce was already looking forward to season six.

“We’ve somehow blinked and an entire season of Peaky Blinders is over and done with for another season, but dear God what a way to go,” wrote Pearce.

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Sam Claflin as Tommy’s political rival Oswald Mosley was a central figure in the series

“The mental health of the Shelby boys has been at play throughout the past six episodes.

“There is a lot to tie up next season… it would be good to have someone around to take the sting out of the bleakness.

“This episode is Peaky at its best – surprising even with the expected, keeps you on your toes and leaves you wanting more. Bring on season six gang, we’ll be waiting.”

Meanwhile Louisa Mellor, writing for Den of Geek, enjoyed the series but was left exhausted by the twists and turns in the plot.

“It was a heady, chaotic series, with multiplying plotlines and more enemies than we could count, in total contrast to the neat, simplified threat of Luca Changretta and his men in series four,” she said.

Loose ends

Mellor also noted that this series had mainly focused on the unravelling of Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy.

The unanswered questions from this series also proved a stumbling block for Michael Hogan in The Telegraph.

Hogan said the “disappointing” finale left viewers “dangling” in his two-star review.

“[Previous] Peaky Blinders finales had become a little formulaic, certainly,” he added.

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Helen McCrory, who plays Polly, is the Shelby family matriarch

“The fifth was jarringly different, as writer Steven Knight shook up his own formula.

“But lots of loose ends were left dangling… roll credits and doom-laden Nick Cave theme song. Now bring on series six and soon. We need answers.”

Hogan’s thoughts were echoed by some fans on Twitter (spoiler alert).

The Times’ Carol Midgley, giving the episode four stars out of five, declared “it was a stonker of a finale” and had “mostly played a blinder”.


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