I watched a new series yesterday. Oh, yeah, all of it…
To be fair, there is only one season so far, and that season consists of only six episodes, but still… How often do you get to say that you watched a whole series in an evening?
Right, okay, far too often… Anyway…
Peaky Blinders is set in 1919 in Birmingham. I will be the first to say, I don’t like gangster movies or series, and I only watched it because my boyfriend was kind of taken by it. The gang mentality never appealed to me and I am not impressed by people who make a living of tricking the system and the police. Especially not, like in this series, by betting on horses on the race track. That instantly makes me root for the police…
I spoke to my boyfriend about it yesterday, after we watched it and I said that I was missing a character I cared for, while watching it. He did not understand how I did not find Thomas cool. And I get it, I do. This emotionally numb war hero, haunted by the past, to the extend where he won’t or can’t care anymore. He could have been awesome, but somehow he never was for me.
It took me a while to realize why he felt too hollow for me to relate to him. I think it is the part about the horses that alienated me.
Thomas has a rather beautiful scene where he has just had to shoot his horse, and he tells the barmaid that during the war, he got used to seeing people die, but he never got used to watching horses die. They die badly, he says. That was a kind of cool scene, making him feel like a person that may not be completely numb inside after all, even if it took a sick animal to get to him.
And then he proceeds to make a living from betting on horse racing.
Okay, granted, horse racing may not have been as horrible back then, as it is now, I would not know. I dare not find out. But I instantly feel that any man who says that he loves horses, and bet on racing, is a hypocrite of the worst kind. Gangster or no gangster. That feels wrong to me. And I know, I may be overly sensitive when it comes to horse racing… No, you know what, I am not. It is a horrible game, killing horse after horse, every single day. One cannot be too sensitive about that.
Aside from that, I am still missing a character I can relate to through this series. The barmaid who is an undercover police woman, is really very unlikable most of the time, no matter her reasons. The way she readily and easily betrays the people she is around every single day, makes one hope that she is killed off fast, even though you see the romance between her and Thomas coming from a mile away.
The police officer, Campbell, could have been very cool as well, and a worthy adversary to Thomas and his gang, only he is not. Campbell is the kind who tortures first, breaks deals, and is in every possible way as dirty as the men he is trying to fight, which is a shame. I could have gotten behind the “two sides of the story” kind of story, wanting both of them to win, but as it is, I kind of don’t want any of them to win.
So why did I watch it? I am not sure. Curiosity, I guess. I always like a good story, and no matter if you like the characters or not, the story is ensnaring. I sure wanted to see where the story was going.
It is a very good series, in fact. The setting is fantastic, and it has a lot of super cool shots. I love the way it is edited. It is very artistic and beautiful. The actors are great, all of them, all the way through. Those six hours it takes to watch the first season is time well spent, don’t get me wrong.
I just really, really wanted to LIKE Thomas, or Campbell, and I am disappointed that I did not. Mostly I am disappointed that Thomas did not ring true for me, because on the whole, he is a fantastic character, well written, well played, you name it… I just… Can’t… Like him. And that ruins the series for me.
I am watching season two though, when it comes along. Maybe then, I’ll get over myself, and learn to like him. I am just terrified that he is picking up where he left off with that barmaid, Grace. I know, we think she is dead now, but really, that was the kind of cliff hanger that does not work on me at all.
Want to guess what happened on that train station, in that last scene? What we did not get to see?
My guess would be that Campbell did not shoot her, (sigh), but she shot him with that gun she carries in her handbag. And of course, her aim was off, so he did not die, and both of them returns to be annoying in season two…
Fingers crossed, I am wrong. I wouldn’t mind if they both left the series, but especially Grace. She has run her cause. Kill her off, please, and I don’t know, let Thomas be angry about it, let him start a war over it, anything, just…
Grace makes him smaller somehow. Makes him human again, where he is in no position to be. His humanity is not why we follow him.
Should you watch it?
Yeah. If you like gangster movies, this is the series for you. If you want to see a well produced, well filmed production, then yes as well. It won’t let you down. And even if you don’t think that is something you would care for, give it a chance anyway. You are never bored, while watching it and I guess that is kind of the main purpose of a TV series, isn’t it? To capture and entertain the viewer? It sure does that, even the critical bastards, like me.