Although it’s been over for several years, Peaky Blinders was one of the defining hits for Netflix while it was on the air. The show, set in the aftermath of World War I, follows the Peaky Blinders, one of the most powerful gangs in London. The show is a gangster drama in the best sense, filled with meaty conversations, plenty of propulsive plot, and a great lead performance by Oppenheimer‘s Cillian Murphy.
Over the course of six seasons, Peaky Blinders had a number of standout episodes, but these were the ones that stood out most. These are the seven best episodes from Peaky Blinders’ 36-episode run.
One of the best things about Peaky Blinders is the way it inserts its characters into actual history, and that’s perfectly executed in the season 5 finale. As Tommy works to execute his plan to kill Father Mosley as he’s delivering a sermon, anyone who has done some light Googling knows that Mosley is going to survive and live for decades to come.
Things inevitably go sideways, and Tommy loses some friends in the process. Tommy hates everything that Mosley stands for, but this time, the season’s grand villain gets away with it.
The episode that sets the scene for the season 4 finale, The Duel is also plenty thrilling in its own right. Tommy and Luca Changretta nearly come to blows, and although that brawl is ultimately broken up, Luca has other sinister designs in mind, and heads to London to discuss assassinating Arthur.
The Duel also gives us plenty of Alfie, and The Dark Knight Rises star Tom Hardy knows how to make a meal out of every moment he gets on screen. Season 4 was Peaky Blinders operating at the peak of its powers, and The Duel provides an appropriately grand penultimate chapter.
Anyone who has ever seen a TV show knows that sticking the landing is incredibly difficult. Tying up loose ends while reminding us that Tommy’s adventures won’t end just because we stop watching them, Lock and Key forgoes a kind of epic climax in favor of quieter, more isolated action beats.
Lock and Key is not the most shocking episode of Peaky Blinders, but it delivers the exact right level of closure, allowing fans to feel satisfied that the show they’ve invested so much in has reached its natural endpoint.
Asteroid City‘s Adrien Brody was one of the best guest stars in the entirety of Peaky Blinders, and he gets a wonderfully operatic ending here. The Company gives the Shelby family its rare happy ending, but this episode is pretty tense in and of itself.
Arthur, who has been with the show since the beginning, seems to die, but his death is faked, and Brody’s Luca is ultimately dispatched. Season 4 ends with multiple triumphs, though, as Tommy also finds himself elected to parliament after getting some crucial information from Alfie.
Perhaps the most shocking moment in the history of Peaky Blinders comes in this episode when Tommy and Grace’s love story comes to a tragic end. In the season premiere, Tommy and Grace got married, but Peaky Blinders doesn’t offer its characters happy endings.
That’s why, in the very next episode, Grace is shot and killed by a mysterious assassin. This moment gives us one of the show’s highlights for Cillian Murphy, who just wants his wife to stay alive. The assassin is tracked down and killed, but what’s remarkable about this episode is how well it manages to live in Tommy’s grief.
The season 2 finale features Tommy settling his affairs, and it’s immensely satisfying in large part because of the accumulation of individual scenes it contains. The season 2 finale also features Polly getting some revenge on Inspector Campbell.
Really, though, the focus here is on Tommy, and Cillian Murphy delivers a great performance throughout. Tommy thinks he is slated for death, and while he’s ultimately given a reprieve, this episode is appropriately mournful throughout.
A season finale that provides a perfect climax to the season, and also crucial setup to what may be the show’s best season, the season 3 finale is the perfect Peaky Blinders episode. After dealing with the loss of Grace earlier in the season, Tommy spends much of the finale trying to rescue his son Charles from the clutches of Father Hughes.
While that conflict gets resolved in grim, satisfying fashion, and the episode’s final moments are dedicated to the arrest of the Shelby family, which is what ultimately turns them against Tommy, setting up the conflict that will define season 4.
All six seasons of Peaky Blinders can be streamed on Netflix.
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