Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Things You Forgot Happened In Peaky Blinders Season 1

With the sad but not terribly surprising news that the sixth season of the BBC's period crime drama Peaky Blinders will be the show's last, you might find yourself interested in revisiting the popular series. It was created by Steven Knight and chronicles the rise of Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and the Shelby family via the legal and illegal exploits of the Birmingham-based gang known as the Peaky Blinders.

A lot has happened since the show's first season, which debuted in the fall of 2013. Set in 1919 in the aftermath of the Great War, the first six episodes introduce fans to the entire Shelby family, which includes Tommy, Arthur (Paul Anderson), John (Joe Cole), Ada (Sophie Rundle), Finn (Alfie Evans-Meese in season 1), and Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory). It was a compelling start to the show and proved to be so engrossing that it made viewers empathize with people they'd probably otherwise dislike.

As we await the arrival of the show's final season and the end of the Shelby saga, here are four important things you probably forgot happened in season 1.

Arthur struggles with not being the leader of the Peaky Blinders

It's fairly obvious from the beginning of season 1 that Tommy is not only the brains behind the Peaky Blinders' operation — he's in charge of drumming up new business, is always one step ahead of everyone else, and makes all the important decisions — but he's also the de facto leader of the Shelby family despite Arthur being the eldest. However, in inspector Campbell's (Sam Neill) dossier on the Shelbys, Arthur is listed as being the "leader of the Peaky Blinders." Now, this could be nothing more than a simple mistake in a prop early on, but later on Campbell has Arthur roughed up and brought in to interrogate him about the stolen guns that brought him to town in the first place, and he refers to Arthur as the "lead pack dog of the Peaky Blinders." Therefore, it seems that to outside eyes, Arthur, because of his age, is in charge of the Peaky Blinders. 

The fact that Arthur is not the leader of the Peaky Blinders or the Shelby family seems to weigh on him throughout the season. In the second episode, when Billy Kimber (Charlie Creed-Miles) arrives at the Garrison and asks the boys who's in charge, Arthur says, "Well, I'm the oldest." It's immediately clear to Billy and everyone else that this doesn't answer the question, though, and that Tommy is the person calling all the shots. Moments like these continue to pop up throughout the season, which further distress Arthur.

Tommy suffers from the effects of PTSD

Tommy's deteriorating mental health is a recurring theme throughout Peaky Blinders' entire run, and things are precarious literally from the start. In the first episode of the series we see that Tommy suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his time in the war. Plagued by nightmares of his time digging tunnels in France in service to his country, he attempts to self-medicate with the use of opium and heavy drinking.

Tommy's illness has ultimately gone unidentified and thus untreated for years, largely because people at the time don't yet understand what PTSD is or how to help those who suffer from it. As the series has progressed, the writers have also dug into Tommy's depression and the presence of suicidal thoughts in the wake of the death of his wife, Grace (Annabelle Wallis). So if there's one thread that we can trace throughout the entire series and look to for explanation for Tommy's actions, it's his mental health. Hopefully the show will continue to address this in the final season.

John almost marries Lizzie Stark

At the beginning of Peaky Blinders, John is a single father of four who struggles to take care of his kids in the wake of his wife's death, which is never really fully explained. He eventually informs Tommy and Arthur midway through the season that he plans to marry Lizzie Stark (Natasha O'Keeffe), who is working as a prostitute at the time (she eventually becomes Tommy's secretary and his second wife). John believes Lizzie will be able to help him care for his children, but after Tommy tells John that he offered Lizzie money for her services and she took it, John decides not to marry her after all. Soon after, Tommy then reveals that John is to be married to Esme, a member of the Lee family, in order to settle an ongoing dispute between the two families. John initially refuses but eventually comes around on the idea, and he and Esme eventually have three children of their own.

Arthur tries to hang himself

Much like Tommy, Arthur has been affected by his time in the war, but the status of his mental health is actually more closely tied to his family. In addition to struggling with being second to Tommy, he struggled in the wake of the siblings' father, Arthur Shelby Sr. (Tommy Flanagan), abandoning the family. When his father returns near the end of season 1, Arthur is already in a bad place and wants to prove to himself and to the rest of the Shelby family that he has a lot to contribute, just like Tommy. He gives their father money without Tommy or Polly's permission only to realize it was a huge mistake and that his father is a liar who has no intention of sticking around or going into business with his sons. After a failed confrontation with Arthur Sr. at the train station, the younger man's mental health is pushed to the limit and he tries to hang himself, but the rope breaks and he survives.