We spent over a year searching for the identity of Tommy Shelby’s traitor in Peaky Blinders. After all, he planned down to the smallest detail how to kill Oswald Mosley, and in order to succeed, he was forced to open up his plan to more people. In the end, the villain not only got away with it, but Tommy’s supporters were also virtually wiped out. We ended season 5 with our anti-hero contemplating suicide and despairing.
I have my doubts that Tommy’s apparent defeat isn’t part of a setup, and it won’t be the first time he has justified the means to achieve his goal, especially by sacrificing his relatives or loved ones. Who forgot that he turned over the ENTIRE Shelby family, who actually had (literally) the rope around their necks before Tommy managed to free them? Only Arthur somehow got back to “normal” with his brother. Polly never forgave him, Esme blamed Tommy for John’s death (then, but because he was estranged from the Peaky Blinders), and Michael didn’t get back on track with his cousin either. And that’s the shortest list. Lizzie has her grievances with her husband, Linda with her brother-in-law because of Arthur’s addictions, and Ada has lost her second lover because of Tommy’s troubles. If we get into the enemy’s part then we don’t stop!
However, following the logic they want us to believe, Tommy Shelby was betrayed and by someone close, who knew what he was about to do, we have to revise our list of the official trailer, released this week.
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed filming for the final season by a year, and with it, we lost a vital person to the story’s conclusion: actress Helen McCroy, who played Polly Gray, who died of cancer, in April 2021. Helen’s health had been declining for years and few were aware of her personal battle. Thus, the farewell she recorded in Season 5 may have been conclusive, as filming was resumed a couple of months before her death, so we don’t know if she recorded anything.
Polly Gray was pivotal not only to the series but to define as well the fate of Tommy Shelby, whom she raised as a son but would have to make the choice between him or her biological son, Michael Gray, who ends the season as the great antagonist of Peaky Blinders.
Polly was openly against Tommy’s plan and quit the Shelby’s for this reason. She could have betrayed Tommy as a payback to what he did to her selling her out on Season 4,’s finale, but her fiancé was killed in the crossfire. Either Polly is really gone or, as I suspect, she will be killed, pushing Tommy to the limit in his quest for revenge.
Of all the Shelby women, only Polly and Lizzie looked cool to me. Grace, Esme, Gina, and Linda were, each in their own turn, irritating. Ada too, but she had a more interesting evolutionary arc, slowly embracing her family and revealing herself as the only counselor able to help him, even more than Polly herself.
While Grace is still a darling of the public and Esme has managed to get her fans despite using drugs and drinking while pregnant, Linda is the negative unanimity inside and outside the Peaky Blinders. She “saved” Arthur, but her moral falsehood (her deal with Tommy for money is unforgettable) is undeniable and her return to the office is more than suspicious. She got shot by Polly when trying to kill Arthur but will be back on the show, we saw actress Kate Philips recording with Paul Anderson. Still, I wouldn’t dismiss Linda’s importance in this part of the story.
There’s a theory on the Internet that Johnny Dogs, resentful of Aberama Gold’s connection to the Shelbys, is the ultimate traitor. After all, Aberama had accused him of treason before and ended up being murdered in the attempted coup. It makes sense because it would justify the return of Esme and the images of Tommy shooting and appearing surrounded by dead men in the trailer.
Gina and Michael Gray
It’s almost as if it’s the duo’s greatest desire to “surprise” Tommy, but they’re so obvious they barely create a frown on the leader of the Peaky Blinders. Still, surprisingly, they will bring the Italian mafia back to Birmingham. After the Shelbys’ great war against the Changrettas, one would think that no mob family would let Gina marry Michael, but there’s more to it than we’ve been introduced to and this pair is going to give you a headache.
With Anya Taylor-Joy‘s huge success, it would be impossible not to imagine that Gina Gray will have some prominence in the final season. The showrunner, Steve Knight, assured us that we will know everything and that YES, there is a connection between Gina and Oswald Mosley. Nothing that wasn’t ULTRA obvious from their exchanges.
The final-season villain is inspired by a real personality, so we know that historically he falls, but doesn’t die. Sorry for the spoiler alert, but it’s a historical fact. What we can celebrate is confirmation of the entry on the scene of his wife, Lady Mitford, played by actress Amber Anderson. Lady Mitford went down in history as one of the most dangerous women of her time, with direct links to Adolf Hitler. Amber filmed scenes with Cillian Murphy and appears in the trailer when Tommy admits to having made “powerful enemies”. Was it this couple that he was talking about?
Tommy is not lacking in enemies and the Mafia is powerful, as are gypsies and politicians. Make your choice!
Never underestimate a despised woman, and Lizzie swallowed a few good ones for her love of Tommy. She saw him fall in love, break up and marry Grace. She was taken out and put back into prostitution by Tommy. She worked as a secretary, as a nanny, and almost as a maid before she finally became Mrs. Shelby. Not to forget that Lizzie was going to marry John, but Tommy arranged his brother’s marriage to Esme, so she was alone and poor. What Lizzie doesn’t lack is motivation to betray her husband, even more so since we know she was Oswald Mosley’s regular call girl in the past.
Maybe the image of her screaming and crying over someone while the gypsy camp is on fire is precisely the moment when Tommy discovers her betrayal and leaves her.
(From the other footage from the recordings, we see that Lizzie will be with Tommy in other scenes, but since we don’t know the order of events… who knows?)
You’ll get a separate post with all the tips that are now my favorite theory: it was Alfie Solomons, once again, who betrayed Tommy.
Tommy went to him to ask for help, surprising us with how his #1 enemy survived a shot in the face. Alfie, being Alfie, is evasive about the plan and warns Tommy that he dreams of his death every day. The two walk away without agreeing on the details of the plan, but Alfie knows what Tommy is up to. The teaser in which Tommy teases Alfie about writing his final chapter, plus Alfie’s dog looking faithfully to Tommy, the song by Anna Calvi that was the one Alfie was listening to when we last saw him and the image of Tommy on the horse (as Alfie described it) all suggest to me that we already know who got his tongue between his teeth. Alfie Solomons!
Which is your theory?