The Ending Of Peaky Blinders Season 6 Explained

Contains spoilers for "Peaky Blinders" Season 6

And just like that, it's over. From the moment Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) entered the scene in the very first episode, it was clear that "Peaky Blinders" had all the makings of an extraordinary show. Six seasons of solid drama and thrilling plot twists have proven that the hype was very much earned. The key members of the titular gang have moved smoothly from violent gangster drama to political power plays and even supernatural elements, all the while dealing with the debilitating physical and mental scars of World War I. They've dealt with uneasy allies and dangerous antagonists, portrayed by acting heavyweights ranging from Sam Neill and Tom Hardy to Anya Taylor-Joy and Adrien Brody. And with the conclusion of the show's sixth and final series, they meet arguably the biggest challenge of them all: The end.

Well, not really the end. The "Peaky Blinders" movie is already on its way, so the stylish folks in their stylish caps still have at least one more story to tell. However, considering the ending of "Peaky Blinders" Season 6, said story could be quite different from what you've seen so far. Let's take a look at where the ending of the show leaves things. 

A long goodbye and a false diagnosis

A significant portion of "Peaky Blinders" Season 6 is devoted to Tommy Shelby's impeding death, as he makes his peace with his friends, family, and community before succumbing to the deadly tuberculoma he caught from his daughter, Ruby (Heaven-Leigh Clee and Orla McDonagh). As the season draws to a close, however, Tommy has a vision of Ruby, and realizes that the doctor who diagnosed him works with fascist leader Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), and made up the Peaky Blinder's fatal condition to keep him occupied. 

It's a neat way to keep the main character alive and allow him to say goodbyes to everyone else, since the supposedly dying Tommy is naturally very eager to wrap up his earthly matters. What's more, only he and Arthur (Paul Anderson) know of the diagnosis, so it doesn't hijack every single plot point by haunting each and every characters' minds. 

Aunt Polly's legacy looms large over the ending

The devastating death of Helen McCrory in 2021 meant that Polly Gray is largely absent from the final season of "Peaky Blinders." Aunt Polly is killed by the IRA in the first episode of Season 6, but her presence is felt until the very last episode of the show. In the series finale, the Peaky Blinders get their revenge by feeding IRA informant Billy Grade (Emmett Scanlan) fake information, and when Captain Swing (Charlene McKenna) and her team bite, Arthur leads a ruthless, victorious battle against them. Incidentally, the fact that he brought Billy in the fold also costs Finn (Harry Kirton) his place in the Shelby family, and the young ex-Blinder is decidedly not happy about it. 

Polly also looms over the final confrontation between her son Michael (Finn Cole) and Tommy. She's suspected that things wouldn't end well between the two, and even declares in Season 5 that one of them would eventually kill the other. Indeed, by Season 6, the cousins have become mortal enemies, to the point that Michael can be considered the biggest antagonist of the show's final season. After a tense meeting and Michael's failed attempt to assassinate Tommy with a car bomb, Tommy finally shoots Michael.

Begin with a horse, end with a horse

Horses have been an important feature of "Peaky Blinders," both as plot points and as metaphors of Tommy's inner turmoil. In fact, the show's first episode opens with him riding in the streets of Birmingham as people scatter from his way, immediately establishing him as a feared and respected presence while Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' ominous "Red Right Hand" lurches along in the background. Tommy also shoots a supposedly cursed horse in Season 1. As the show starts plotting its endgame in Season 5, the horse symbolism returns with a vengeance, as Tommy tasks himself with the shooting of another horse – only, this time the equine imagery gets incredibly dark, to reflect the equally dark waters Tommy finds himself in. 

There's a whole bunch of other stuff going on in "Peaky Blinders," of course, so it's only natural that the viewer might have forgotten at least some of the borderline supernatural horses-and-visions stuff by the time the Season 6 finale arrives. However, the show's final moments certainly remind you of it. Not only does a vision of Tommy's dead daughter reveal that he's not dying, but the show ends with the healthy Tommy riding away, free of his material possessions and old life's responsibilities ... and, for once, his steed is white. 

Oh, and another fun, horse-themed detail: The guy who saves Tommy's life by returning Michael's car bomb back to the sender is none other than Johnny Dogs (Packy Lee). You might remember him as the man who gifted Tommy the fateful horse in Season 1.