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Peaky Blinders – Series 4 Review


BBC Two’s hit show Peaky Blinders, which first aired in 2013, has raised the stakes with each new series, introducing new characters, and new challenges that the Shelby family cleverly manage to skirt.

In Season 4, which was released in November of last year, the Shelbys face their greatest foe yet, the Sicilian Mafia. Under the leadership of Luca Changretta (Adrian Brody), the eldest son of a previous antagonist Vicente Changretta, the Mafia attempt to enact a ‘vendetta’ for Vicente’s death.

Peaky Blinders is known for its dramatic twists and turns, which create intensity and constant instability . Its bleak tone is similar to other heart-wrenching programmes like Game of Thrones, and it’s likely no coincidence that a previous Thrones actor, Aiden Gillen, plays Aberama Gold in the new series.

From the first episode, a tone of loss and constant danger is set. Despite finally growing beyond a small Birmingham gang, the Shelbys are once again challenged by powerful enemies. Betrayal, murder, and revenge, colour the season as the relationships within the family are tested again and again.

Although the plot’s intensity does keep the audience on its toes, the elaborate behind-the-scene plans that remain unseen also distance it from the experience of the Peaky universe. No longer are any characters relatable, instead they act as plot devices for the repeated shock factor. As Mark Butler wrote in iNews, the twists seem “a little too convenient” at times, as is evident by a major plot twist, which, although it offers a penultimate sense of catharsis, comes across feeling cheap and detracted from the programmes depth.

Nevertheless, the series is redeemed by its brilliant soundtrack, and stunning visuals. The industrial scenery, periodic set, and costume design, deeply immerses the audience, and is complimented by variations of the programme’s theme song ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave. Other songs by rock and punk artist like FIDLAR and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes fit the programme’s tone well, and help the modern audience connect with the historical setting.

The series fulfils its goal to impress and lead the Shelbys to bigger horizons. The ending’s cliff-hanger undoubtedly leaves the audience wanting more. This new series builds upon the last, exceeding expectations while adding new layers to an already in-depth story.

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