Peaky Blinders Didn’t Let Tommy Die – And the Show Is Better for It
Peaky Blinders Season 6 brings Tommy Shelby's story to an end, but the careful twists in the Netflix crime drama's plot help it to remain interesting.
Peaky Blinders has come to an end after six seasons — leaving fans with the planned movie and VR game adaptation to look forward to. While it appeared that the final season would end with the death of Tommy Shelby, the Netflix drama subverted all expectations and presented the audience with a great twist. Tommy lived to fight another day, which not only was the perfect ending for the series but also helped to set the stage for what will surely be an exciting film.
Over six seasons, Tommy went from gang leader to a political leader in the House of Lords. His path was fraught with peril and the deaths of loved ones, and it seemed like he was finally getting what was coming to him. In Season 6, Episode 4, “Sapphire,” Tommy seemingly contracted tuberculosis, which was fatal during Peaky Blinders’ era. While he was initially resigned to his miserable death, the series finale “Lock and Key” gave him the realization that it was a false diagnosis — and then he set off to take his vengeance.
Tommy had been playing a dangerous political game over Peaky Blinders’ final two seasons. He was battling the rising tide of fascism and trying to turn it to his own advantage. That story came to its conclusion when Tommy became convinced he was dying. After he had taken care of his family and killed Michael Gray, Tommy abandoned society to go live in the wild like his ancestors. Every day, he contemplated suicide — wanting to end his life on his own terms before tuberculosis killed him slowly and painfully.
His daughter Ruby died in Season 6, Episode 3, “Gold” and her death haunted Tommy throughout the remainder of the season. In “Lock and Key,” Tommy saw a vision of Ruby that led him to a different conclusion. He realized that the fascist that he was working with betrayed him and the doctor he had trusted for years had lied to him. They had falsified medical records, provided him with symptoms and told him that the outcome was inevitable because they knew that no one could kill Tommy Shelby… except for Tommy Shelby.
That final twist made for a spectacular ending to the series. It immortalized Tommy in the Peaky Blinders world by showing that even his most fearsome enemies knew that Tommy was an unstoppable force of nature. By tricking him into believing he was dying, they infected Tommy with something much worse than any disease: fear. Tommy was afraid of not completing his goals and letting his family down. He refused to look weak in front of anyone — but once he discovered the deception, he immediately returned to his old life before literally riding off into parts unknown. This not only re-established Tommy as a powerful character, but it also created an easy segue into the upcoming film (which Murphy told Deadline he knows “genuinely nothing” about).
Peaky Blinders did what so many series fail to do — provide fans with a satisfying ending. The Season 6 finale did each character justice and made sure that Tommy ended the series as a winner. While the movie may obviously change how people feel about him, the finale was a suspense-filled last act (for now) that was able to entertain and excite the audience. Even a fire on the set couldn’t stop Peaky Blinders or Tommy Shelby from accomplishing their goals.