OWe start with a funeral, as the Shelbys and the assorted Peaky staff – hello Jeremiah Jesus! – follow the coffin containing little Ruby’s body to the docks. They do it to the haunting strains of Sinéad O’Connor’s “In This Heart,” Brother Charles, and a single red rose leading the way to Charlie Strong’s Yard. Arthur, colder than a turkey in Siberia, is in no condition to read the words Tommy wrote to him. Tommy steps in instead.
“It was her favorite place in the whole world,” says the grieving father, suggesting instead that Ruby hasn’t seen the best Birmingham has to offer in her seven years on that deadly plane. “But for now we’re sending it,” Tommy said, visibly struggling, “wherever you go, hoping that if there’s a destination, it’s a job site like this…” Hopefully no, huh? Charlie brings Tommy a can of gas. He asks Jeremy to light the flame. Lizzie sprints into view. “No, you will not burn it! Not that we’re the type to criticize a culture’s traditions, but we’re not halfway through a lot of trailers this season. It seems a bit unnecessary.
There is no alarm clock. Instead, Tommy heads to Evadne Barwell’s wooded campsite, announces that he is “here in the name of the blue sapphire” – the jewel he believes is cursed and responsible for Ruby’s untimely death. He pulls out his machine gun and mows down a family of (probable) innocents. Not content with that, he takes the barrel of his gun to a (even more innocent) tree. Later, he drives to meet Esme and deliver gold to her. She has news for her estranged brother-in-law. “A lost daughter, a found son,” she says, telling Tommy he had a son he didn’t know he had, the product of a walk “under a hazel tree in 1914.” His name is Duke. He’s probably “The Gray Man,” but that’s all we’ll get this week.
Back home, Lizzie is furious with her husband for taking the life in their late daughter’s name. “I’m going to create a fund to research causes and remedies for consumption…”, exclaims Tommy, always looking for a practical solution to a problem. “Stop and close your fucking eyes…” Lizzie said. “I won’t stop!” Tommy breathes. That’s kind of the problem, isn’t it. Listen, Tommy, buddy, if you had spent less time taking your daughter on a day trip to Charlie Strong’s Yard and more resting and recuperating with your family, you wouldn’t be in this mess.
And make no mistake, it’s a mess, possibly the biggest mess of a lifetime. In fact, Tommy finds himself in the midst of such raging chaos that he even has a drink during a touching scene with Arthur in the basement, breaking the abstinence he began in the wake of Polly’s death. . Well, it’s been that kind of day. Tommy’s situation is best summed up by the cursed dinner party he hosts with Captain Swing, Diana Mitford, Oswald Mosley, and Jack Nelson. Diana compares the reunited Axis of Evil to a similar meeting she attended in Berlin, attended by Göring and Himmler. “When breakfast was served on the terrace overlooking the mountains, she recalls, we were raising Jews and by eating our eggs, we were forcing them to eat grass…”
Captain Swing looks horrified, although she is persuaded to sing an Irish rebel song, in Mosley’s words, “to cheer us up”. Her song follows up with Lisa O’Neill’s stunning “Blackbird,” which then forms the soundtrack to a remarkable montage in which the reality of rampant British fascism is presented to Ada and the family doorstep. Back at the table, Tommy is invited to Sieg Heil (or “Perish Judah”) to prove his commitment to the cause that Swing, Mitford, Mosley, and Nelson believe they are up to together. Tommy raises his arm stiffly. We shouldn’t read too much into it. Tommy will do anything to achieve the “world-changing” master plan the outcome of which he knows. He may be a very bad man, “the devil” as Gina Gray puts it – who later ends up on a date with Mosley – but he’s no racist, our Tom.
The episode ends with a doctor’s visit revealing that Tommy is dying of tuberculosis. He is one year to 18 months old, specifies the doctor. He begs Polly to give him time to “finish what I have to do”. “Kill. Kill. Kill,” gasps Polly, from beyond the grave (which hopefully is a nicer place than Charlie Strong’s Yard).
- That’s all Tommy this week, since it is indeed an episode in which he takes the lead. “You’re going to change your ways,” he tells Arthur, during his final talk with his brother, “and I’m going to change the fucking world.”
- “I killed a woman and three men, and their bodies will be thrown on board the boat, like all the other bodies. But I’m getting off this boat and getting on another boat…” Maybe omit that verse from the ‘In Sympathy’ card, Tom.
- “The paint on the wood left a smell in the air, I didn’t open the window, I liked the smell…” Tommy, addicted to poetry in the dark, burns Ruby’s stool in the fire.