Peaky Blinders spoilers follow.
Tommy Shelby’s fate has been decided and the end of Peaky Blinders as we know it has come to pass – and as expected, it came with more than a few twists.
With the threat of tuberculoma giving Tommy a death sentence, Michael (Finn Cole) vowing to kill him for vengeance over Polly’s death, and both his business and family crumbling around him, there were more than a few loose strings to tie up by the show’s end.
Here’s what happened to the central characters, and what that means for the upcoming movie.
Tommy spends the vast majority of the final episode preparing for death – but the cat with nine lives has managed to live to fight yet another day. The movie now surely promises the return of Cillian Murphy and his flat cap for another outing.
Believing he had tuberculoma, Tommy set his final preparations in place, tying up his loose ends, and even blowing up his house to make way for new homes for the working class of Birmingham.
He then retired, saying goodbye to his family and handing over everything to Ada, with the intent to die alone in solitude with his horses. But then a message from his dead daughter Ruby provided some clarity that gave him literally a new lease of life.
Despite living with the burden of tuberculoma over the past three episodes, it turned out to be a ruse, executed by Mosley and his band of fascists with the help of Dr Holford, who was so tightly connected to the group that he was even present at Mosley’s wedding to Diana Mitfordwhere Adolf Hitler was best man.
After Ruby’s message urged Tommy to head towards the campfire (“Light the fire again and get warm, and you will see that you must live”), a fragment of a newspaper article about the marriage on that fire showed Tommy the truth – that Dr Holford, who gave him the deadly diagnosis, was all part of an elaborate scam.
Holford later rationalizes his actions, saying that Tommy is a “sick man”. Although he holds a gun to his head, Tommy ultimately decides to spare his life, revived by the knowledge that he isn’t going to die.
Returning back to the caravan he now lives in, he sees it on fire. Rather than fight it, he heads off on his horse ready to make a new life for himself.
Duke has been fully brought into the fold within a matter of weeks, admitting that he had killed a man before he became a member of the Blinders – an orderly for refusing to help his mum at a hospital because she was a gypsy. It turns out he was only upset about witnessing the horrific garrotte moment last episode because he found it “unfair”, not because blood made him ill.
And as it happens, he’s a damn good shot too. With betrayer Billy Grade meeting his maker at his hand with the help of Isiah, and Finn being pushed out of the family for good as a result of bringing a traitor into the ranks, it turns out there was a reason Finn was barely seen at all this season – he wasn’t trusted.
Under command from Tommy, Isiah and Duke got to work clearing out Tommy’s house, with Finn and Billy turning up later to party in celebration. Only they were then ambushed, with Billy getting shot in the head and Finn leaving while vowing revenge after Duke announces, by order of the Peaky Blinders, that he is no longer a Shelby.
A newly-clean Arthur came back from the brink we’ve seen him at all season, and was in charge of the IRA leg of the operation, waiting patiently at the Garrison pub for Captain Swing and her cohorts to come and get him.
But a Shelby always has a plan, and it didn’t take long for things to get complicated with a massive ensuing shootout. Arthur was alongside Jeremiah and his crew, with Swing and her associates quickly outnumbered – even with a sniper helping them in the rafters.
After eventually throwing mustard gas into the mix, the Peaky Blinders emerge victorious, with Arthur giving Swing enough recovery to breathe before shooting her in the heart in vengeance for what she did to Aunt Polly.
Arthur is the only person in the family Tommy tells about his diagnosis and is too distraught to be at the final goodbye dinner to his brother. But now that he’s alive, a reunion could be on the cards – just in time for the movie.
For someone who has been monologuing to the camera about how much he wanted to kill Tommy Shelby all season, Michael didn’t actually get around to it.
Almost as soon as he arrived, he was thrown off track by a reunion with Gina, who tells him of plans to kill not just Tommy, but also Arthur, young Charlie and newcomer Duke. The idea throws Michael, who has at least stood by the ‘no kids, no women’ murder policy.
Arranging to meet Tommy in Canada, he formulates a plan to plant a bomb in his car – only he doesn’t count on Johnny Dogs being there to switch it into his own while Michael distracts Tommy.
When the bomb goes off, Michael is irked to discover that his job wasn’t done after all, and Tommy shoots him in the eye, ending Polly’s prophecy that there’ll be a war, and one of them will die.
Alfie Solomons has done pretty well for himself in the final episode, setting up a new life in Boston as the premier bootlegger of the area thanks to Tommy killing off his competition. In response, he signs over his work in Camden Town to the Blinders.
Lizzie officially reached the end of her tether after discovering Tommy had slept with Diana Mitford, and decided to leave him. Still distraught over the death of her daughter Ruby, she’s surprised when Tommy’s son Charlie asks to join her instead of staying with him.
“You may not be my mum, but you’re more my mum than he’s my dad,” the 12-year-old says, and Tommy relents, believing he’s dying anyway and his child will be taken care of.
It’s not known what happened to her, or how she’ll discover the truth about Tommy.
Peaky Blinders series 6 is available now on BBC iPlayer, and will be available on Netflix from June 10.
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