Thomas Shelby and co are back
You’re one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan – designed and directed by his red right hand. As Tommy Shelby and co faced their biggest threat at the end of Peaky Blinders season four, here’s everything we learned across the six episodes.
Watch Peaky Blinders season 4
Peaky Blinders‘ fourth series is now over, and is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. It will then be available on Netflix in the US on December 21, 2017.
What’s the plot of season 4 of Peaky Blinders?
Season four opened with Tommy managing to save Arthur, John, Michael and Polly from the gallows for the crimes they were arrested for at the end of season 3 – but with the damage between the family and Tommy having already been done.
The episode then sped forward to Christmas Eve 1925, when the Shelby family – including the returning Ada – each received a threatening card with featured the much-feared “black hand”. Rather than serving as a friendly Christmas card, the greeting was actually a message from the nasty New York mafia, led by Adrien Brody’s Luca Changretta, who have arrived in the UK to exact revenge on the Peaky Blinders for the murders of Angel and Vincente.
The letter is enough for Tommy to decide to bring his family back together – but after discovering that a Mafia hitman had been working in his country mansion, Tommy realised that Changretta had been planning to take out the entire family on Christmas Day. However, his warnings to the rest of the family failed to reach John in time, who, along with Michael, was gunned down by mafia hitmen outside John’s family home.
The second episode opened with the grim confirmation that John, who took a shit-ton of bullets to the chest in the last episode, had indeed been killed by the mafia. Michael survived, but is gravely injured.
John’s death is enough for the Shelby family to agree to put aside their differences and reunite, with Tommy insisting that the family all move back to Birmingham until they can eliminate the mafia threat. Safety in numbers and all that, right?
Tommy calls in help from Aberama Gold (played by Aidan Gillen) to take on Changretta, with Gold asking the Shelbys to take on his boxing son, Bonnie, in return. Polly is outraged by Tommy’s actions, and tries to convince Michael to move to Australia with her once he’s fully recovered from his injuries – an invitation Michael declines due to his loyalty to the Peaky Blinders.
Meanwhile, trade activist and Communist Jessie Eden rallies the workers in Tommy’s factory to go on strike, leading to conflict between the two. The second episode then concluded with Tommy’s first face-to-face meeting with Changretta, who placed seven bullets on Tommy’s office table to represent his intention to kill each member of the Shelby family. He also grimly revealed his plan to kill Tommy last.
Episode three took a slight break from the relenting violence and threat of season 4 to reveal the identity of Tommy’s first love, Greta Di Rossi, who he lost before going off to fight in the First World War.
Elsewhere, the Shelbys agreed – without Arthur’s consent – that Aberama Gold should kill Luca Changretta, much to Arthur’s annoyance. Though the tough Shelby man had enough to deal with after two of Changretta’s men broke into the family’s factory – but you already know that Arthur dealt with that threat pretty quickly.
A fairly stable episode was ratcheted up to a tense climax as Polly met Changretta for the first time, with Polly shockingly offering to sacrifice Tommy in exchange for the lives of Arthur, Michael and Finn. Outrageous.
Changretta then seemingly made a play for Arthur’s life by setting up for a trap meeting with the mother of the boy he previously killed in a boxing match. However, it was all a distraction as the Italians actually made their way to Michael’s hospital bedside, where they informed him that they would accept Polly’s offer. The Blinders retaliate by trapping them on a bridge and shooting many of their men. Meanwhile, Tommy sets up a boxing match for Bonnie Gold with one of Alfie Solomons’ fighters. May Carleton also re-enters the scene to train one of Tommy’s racehorses, but their romance is not rekindled. Elsewhere, Polly tells Lizzie that she’s pregnant with Tommy’s baby.
Episode five kicks off with a massive and bloody shoot-out between Tommy and the Italians, but bigger news follows when Lizzie tells Tommy about her pregnancy – and that Polly was double-crossing Changretta all along. Michael then teams up with Aberama Gold’s gypsies to go into hiding away from Changretta. Ahead of the season finale, Tom Hardy’s appearance as Solomons marks a highlight of the series so far – before he appears to form a potentially deadly alliance with the Shelby’s enemies ahead of the season finale…
How did season 4 of Peaky Blinders end?
The season finale aired on BBC Two at 9pm on Wednesday December 20. The whole series has been gearing up to the final showdown between the Changretta clan and the Blinders – but things go far, far beyond that.
The episode begins at the boxing match Tommy set up between gypsy boxer Bonnie Gold (read our interview with actor Jack Rowan) and Alfie Solomons’ nephew, known as ‘Goliath’. It looks like Alfie may have double-crossed Tommy once again and done a deal with the Italians to put him in danger, but there’s still everything to play for and everyone is at risk.
As the boxing match rages on and Lizzy tells the other women of her pregnancy, Arthur notices that Goliath’s team at ringside don’t appear to be all that they seem. He heads off after one of them only to have his throat cut. Tommy then discovers him, asks Finn to take the eyes of his assassin, and then spreads the word throughout that Arthur has been murdered.
At his funeral, Mrs Changretta returns to tell the Shelbys that the vendetta has been won, and they will take everything that they have or risk everyone being killed. After Michael is shipped off to New York, Luca Changretta heads out for the rest of the spoils, and seizes all of Alfie Solomons’ businesses before asking Tommy to sign over all of the Shelby empire.
Just when you think they’re defeated, Tommy then informs Luca that all of his enemies in the States have seized his empire – including the men he brought to Birmingham for protection. It then emerges that Arthur was alive all along, who finally fulfils the vendetta and kills Luca himself.
Tommy then heads off to Margate, where he begrudgingly takes his revenge on an expecting Alfie Solomons for double-crossing him.
While the Shelby family enjoy some long-awaited peace, Tommy attempts retirement – but fails. Crippling mental anguish haunts him while he has nothing to focus on, so he returns to work. He quickly picks up his plot with the Communists and Jessie Eden and claims that he’ll help to bring on the revolution. He then makes other plans with the government however, and makes a deal that sees up give up the socialists to become MP of Birmingham.
Will there be a Peaky Blinders season five?
Yes, there will – here’s everything we know about Peaky Blinders season five so far
How did season 3 end?
Having defied the Russians in a jewel heist and blown up a train – all in an episode’s work – season 3’s shocking finale saw Polly, Michael, Arthur and John of the Shelby clan all handcuffed and taken away by police at the conclusion of a dramatic scene, with Tommy left looking on having betrayed those closest to him.
Has the writing team changed?
Nope – Steven Knight has returned to write every episode of series 4, and he’ll also pen the entirety of season 5 too.
“I’m loving it,” he said. “And it’s not like work, it’s not like a labour, I love doing it, and the boys are coming back and they’re loving the scripts.”
Who in the cast is back?
Cillian Murphy confirmed that he’ll be in both series 4 and 5. Paul Anderson and Joe Cole returned as Tommy’s brothers Arthur and John Shelby for series 4, while Helen McCrory is also back as the Shelby matriarch Aunt Polly.
Tom Hardy will also reprise his role as the violent London gang leader Alfie Solomons in season 4.
The below picture from the set also suggests that Finn Shelby (played by Alfie Evans-Meese) and Isiah Jesus (Jordan Bolger) could take a more central role in season 4.
Charlotte Riley is also back as May Carleton, who was last seen in series two. She was photographed on set at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley with Cillian Murphy back in May.
Along with the Gold family who are offering the Shelby’s protection is young boxer Bonnie.
“Tommy Shelby says, ‘Let’s take the kid on,’ so he becomes a business element for the family,” actor Jack Rowan told NME. “The journey essentially sees me becoming a part of their team. I don’t become a Peaky Blinder, I stay loyal and I do what I’m told. Not because I’m dumb, but that’s his principle. He ends up becoming part of their crew, but he stays an outsider. He only really wants to become a boxer, and he can’t do that without the Shelby’s. As the story grows, I get into the professional boxing world.”
“The way I saw it, his objective is to become a boxing champion. Bonnie is the son of an assassin, a powerful man. But what I love about Aiden [Gillen] and his character [Aberama Gold] is the love he has for his son. The way I looked at it, from Bonnie’s perspective, he’s using the Shelby’s in a way. They have contacts, they’re a well known crew amongst people. I’m part of their team, but the life I want is as a boxer. He doesn’t get emotionally invested in them as people, but he gets emotionally invested in the world of boxing. If he loses, he loses everything. He doesn’t want the criminal life.”
Who’s joined the cast?
Adrien Brody: The Oscar-winner is playing Thomas Shelby’s “biggest threat” and all-round bastard, Luca Changretta.
Aidan Gillen: Game of Thrones‘ Littlefinger is taking part in season 4 too. Speaking to Metro.co.uk, creator Steven Knight said of Gillen’s role: “Aidan is a sort of – in the face of danger it’s like pressing the nuclear button – you get him to help. Let me put it that way.”
Charlie Murphy: Happy Valley‘s Charlie Murphy plays Jessie Eden, who is based on a real-life trade union activist.
Was there a trailer for Peaky Blinders season 4?
Yep – here it is.
What happened on set?
Filming began in March in Toxteth, Liverpool in March 2017, with the yellow road lines obscured and vintage cars lining the roads – plus some classic advertising billboards to recreate 1920s Birmingham.
Various sources shared photos of Cillian Murphy and co filming, with Murphy in character as Tommy Shelby filming scenes running around the streets of Toxteth with a gun in hand.
The BBC have now released a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of season four – check it out below.
Additional words: Sam Moore and Nick Harris