When we entered Peaky Blinders S6, Tommy had more than a few problems looming in front of him. The show had built up a range of adversaries: American politician and gangster Jack Nelson, British fascist Oswald Mosley, the freedom-thirsty Captain Swing and the IRA, and his own kin, Michael Gray.
If that wasn’t enough, he was also diagnosed with tuberculoma with a deadline (quite literally).
With such unfavorable conditions all around, it’s not unkind to wonder how likely it is for Tommy to best his enemies and walk out of the series finale alive.
Tommy Shelby is still alive at the end of the Peaky Blinders series finale. He has learnt that his tuberculosis is fake and killed off Michael Gray and Captain Swing. He is yet to have a face-off with Mosley and Nelson, which may happen in the Peaky Blinders movie.
For a season that was slow and did not have much action, it sure did achieve a lot. I mean, Tommy disposed of three problems out of his total quote of five. For clarity, here’s how it all happened and what we can expect in the future.
Michael’s Death Explained
So Michael spent most of this season in prison in funny-looking jail clothes. When he does break out, he has to swear to Nelson that he will kill Tommy. This is not too big an ask, since Michael has been itching to “take care” of Tommy for a while, even if it’s with the excuse that it’s to avenge his mother, Polly.
Michael thinks he has tricked Tommy with his peace offering, but is shocked to realize that Tommy did not wind up dead in his bomb-fitted car like planned.
Of course, Tommy being aware of Michael’s intentions switched the cars and the rest they say is history. Well, the rest is Tommy putting a bullet through Michael’s skull ending this frivolous rivalry once and for all.
Captain Swing’s Death Explained
As viewers we knew that Billy Grade acted as an information to the IRA and ruined Mosley’s assassination in the S5 finale. It seems like Tommy also figured out the same, albeit behind-the-scenes in S6.
The only point when we realize this is in the series finale, when Duke shoots Billy and disowns Finn from the Shelby family for being friends with him, all by the order of the Peaky Blinders.
Before being killed, Billy had snitched on the Peaky Blinders to the IRA once again. But what the IRA thought would be their second bulls-eye by ambushing Arthur, turned out to be their reckoning.
Arthur, ready for the attack, takes them down along with other Peaky Blinders, killing Captain Swing in the process.
Tommy’s Fake Tuberculoma Diagnosis
Tommy manages to deal with two threats, and seemingly neutralizes the other two (Mosley and Nelson). But given only 18 months to live, he can only do so much. So he decides to bid his family farewell and take his own life, like he has been trying to, several times in the past six seasons.
He fails once again when Ruby’s ghost appears in front of him. She urges him to light a fire, and when he grabs a newspaper to do it, lo and behold — there’s an image of Mosley with the doctor that gave Tommy his diagnosis!
He puts two and two together, then even goes to the doctor to confirm this: Mosley paid the doctor to give Tommy a false tuberculoma diagnosis to scare him off his tracks. So no, Tommy isn’t dying.
What he doesn’t do is kill off the doctor in anger. A reformed Thomas Shelby, indeed.
Tommy may no longer have the ticking time-bomb of a fatal illness, but that doesn’t mean he won’t die on-screen. Since we know that the future of the Peaky Blinders franchise rests on tales of the younger generation, it is possible that this new beginning comes through Tommy’s sad but eventual death.
Will Tommy’s demise come through the doing of Mosley, Nelson or another enemy? Will it be through his own hands? Whatever it may be, I hope it makes for a good ending to the legend that is Thomas Shelby.
For now, we can expect the movie to tie up loose ends of the Mosley-Nelson storylines, and set up Duke and Finn’s rivalry that will carry into a spin-off series.
About Peaky Blinders
Peaky Blinders is a British period crime drama television series created by Steven Knight. Set in Birmingham, England, the series follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family and their leader Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) in the direct aftermath of the First World War.
The fictional family is loosely based on a real urban youth gang of the same name, active in the city from the 1890s to the early 20th century. It stars Cillian Murphy, Sam Claflin, Aidan Gillen, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Finn Cole, and Tom Hardy
Peaky Blinders season 6, which is also its last, will premiere on February 27 on BBC One.