The Spaghetti-Western tones of Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ are kicking in on a Thursday night, and that can mean only one thing – it’s ‘Paykey Bloinders’ episode two, y’all! Here’s a handy link to last week’s review.
The haircuts are still so terrible that it’s impossible to fancy any of the male characters, the accents are still all over the place (brother Arthur’s is straight up Brummie, Aunt Polly’s is apparently ‘historically accurate’ Brummie and Tom Shelby’s just sounds Scouse), Tom’s sister Ada is still managing not to let the Horny Bolshevik’s (HB) mop-crop get in the way of lust in the back-to-backs, Aunt Polly is still wandering around churches like Patricia Morrison possessed by Mama Fratelli, C.I. Campbell is still making his presence felt in between afternoon teas, and undercover spy Grace is still insisting on singing her maudlin songs, weakly, at every opportunity. This is what happened before X-Factor, people; we just let them carry on with their ‘dreams’. In public.
Now, it appears that the gang has run up a spot of enmity with a family of gypsies, who proceed to curse Tom’s beloved white horse, making it lame, and forcing him to shoot it. Where did these gypsies come from all of a sudden? I have no idea. Anyway it did give the director an excuse to shoot the most self-consciously cinematic fight I’ve seen on TV this year. In ultra-pretentious slow-mo, Tom and co proceed to show the world the meaning behind their not so scary name. Hair mops were a’flyin, coat tails a’billowin’ and peaky blinders were a blindin’. That’s right, we saw gypsies getting slashed in slow-motion. I hope someone from Big Fat Gypsy Weddings writes in to Points of View.
Back in Brum, little Ada finds out she’s preggers while HB is on the run. Tom and Aunt Polly are appalled. Tom orders everyone out of the cinema where Ada has sought refuge (it’s all getting a bit Catherine Cookson by now, will Ada bring up her child in the projection booth?). Later he orders everyone out of the pub too – if I were living in the Brum of Peaky Blinders, I’d just throw house parties, any other night out would just be a big gangster-thwarted anti-climax. Ada and Aunt Polly have a heart to heart during which AP extols the virtues of the backstreet abortion.
“I did it to myself” she boasts to the increasingly scared Ada. That really puts all my Dad’s rugby stories about swallowing a bottle of Vaseline before each match to shame. Yep, to Aunt Polly, feminism is a bleached knitting needle. And soon she is marching the reluctant Ada to the train station to meet a lady-who-does, only to find that Freddie the Bolshevik is waiting at the platform with an underwhelming ring and orders to get-the-hell-out-of-town-with-my-sis from Tom. What chivalry.
The smile that lights up Ada’s face as she dreams of running away to a land where barbers offer haircuts that appeal to women’s loins and never having to imagine another haircut whilst doin’ the do with Freddie is genuinely endearing. Then he promptly smashes her fantasy by declaring they will be going nowhere, and Ada will have to live in
Bad Barnet Brum for evermore.
Suddenly, another gangster (this time of the East End persuasion) has turned up and declared war on the Shelbys, but silver-tongued Tom twists this into a collaborative plot against the gypsies. And then he lands the biggest surprise of the series so far on his brother:
“Get yerself a good ‘aircut – we’re goin’ to the races.” YES! AT LAST!! That prospect alone has ensured I’ll tune in next week.