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What Fans Notice About Peaky Blinders Only During A Rewatch

Some spoilers for Peaky Blinders ahead.

One of the best dramas coming out of the U.K. at the moment is absolutely Steven Knight's Peaky Blinders, focusing on Cillian Murphy's Tommy Shelby and his criminal empire as a parable of greed, corruption, and ambition in the aftermath of World War I. The series blurs the line between fact and fiction, frequently using historically accurate events and figures in its story. Through all the violence and savagery that comes with the gang's operations comes a bizarre sense of charm. Their roguish nature and slick dress sense helps give them a unique identity rather than just simple thugs, making it easy to forget just how brutal they can be when given the opportunity.

But what becomes very clear when rewatching the series (now that Peaky Blinders season 6 is in the works) is how much they actually pay for all the murder, backstabbing, and cheating that goes on in Small Heath, Birmingham, and beyond. A post on Reddit (from a now-deleted user) pointed out that in the earlier seasons, Tommy was "just way more zen" before season 3. And to be fair, that's likely because he was self-medicating to cope with his PTSD after returning from the war. 

But the Peaky Blinders leader does seem to revel in his schemes against the likes of Billy Kimber and his arch nemesis, Inspector Chester Campbell, who's played by the incomparable Sam Neill. Tommy even jokes with Campbell about carving his initials onto the Inspector's backside at one point. Yet, just because this no-nonsense bunch of delinquents is able to have fun while rebelling against the establishment doesn't mean they can get away with their countless crimes. And pay they do.

The gang pay the price from season 3 onward

Tommy slowly starts to lose his charm from the very beginning as audiences begin to see the true fiery rage he keeps at bay — something that's unleashed during season 3 when his wife Grace Shelby takes a bullet from an Italian assassin meant for Tommy. It's her death that truly pushes him into a spiral of depression and borderline insanity.

Arthur Shelby is pulled in a number of directions throughout the series, but season 3 finds him seemingly happy with his new wife, Linda. He's supposedly found religion and doesn't want to lead his life of crime anymore. That is until Tommy yanks him back into the fold, of course. It's Tommy's influence that leads him to cheat on his wife during a night of drugs and debauchery at a Russian party after all. Even Linda can't escape the gang's influences, dabbling in casual drug use herself alongside Polly and Ada later on in season 4.

As the Peaky Blinders timeline moves closer and closer to World War II, it's clear that the gang is becoming more fractured than ever. Michael Gray (Tommy's cousin) is trying to take over Shelby Company Ltd. thanks to his wife Gina whispering in his ear. If a mutiny wasn't enough, Tommy is still struggling to come to terms with his guilt surrounding Grace's death. He's no longer the cool and collected gangster he once was — in fact none of them are. The whole Shelby family is frenzied, desperate, and willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive. Although it seems like Tommy's demons could push him over the edge by the time the story finishes with the Peaky Blinders movie being planned by Steven Knight.