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‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 6 Ending Explained: The Start of a New Life

The period crime drama we have all come to love, Peaky Blinders, has concluded. Its sixth and final season has been released on Netflix and wrapped up the story of the Shelby crime family of Small Heath, Birmingham — at least for now. The ending of the show leaves an avenue to exploit what one might expect in the spin-off feature film that has been planned by creator Steven Knight. The final season was filled with a lot of loss and trauma, and there was even a bit of redemption thrown in for good measure. It wouldn’t be Peaky Blinders if there were not a few twists along the show’s journey to its end.


With five seasons of thrilling drama under its belt, Peaky Blinders Season 6 had a few full stops to add to several storylines on the show. Now, we must admit that not all of those were covered, however, there is not much to worry about given that we would still be seeing more of the Shelbys in the future. A few conclusions were drawn, though. Case in point: who would emerge victorious when Michael Gray (Finn Cole) and Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) go to war?

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At the center of this finale was Tommy, as he had been for a lot of the show. He was able to rise in society by living on the edge and never actually fearing death. The experiences he had while away in France during World War I, made taking risks a lot easier. He was already dead. Parts of him at least and as he famously said to Jessie Eden (Charlie Murphy) “Nobody came back.” As with all of Tommy’s scheming, there is a lot to unravel, so let’s get to it.

RELATED: ‘Peaky Blinders’ Honors Helen McCrory’s Death By Letting the Shelbys Grieve


Tommy and His Vendetta against Nelson and Mosley

Image via BBC

The end of Season 5 had seen the plot by Tommy to assassinate the fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin) thwarted by forces he did not know at the time. Those forces he would later realize were the IRA. This season finale would however wrap without Tommy getting rid of Mosley and stopping the rise of fascism. This is because Mosley is a character based on a real person. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and founder of the British Union of Fascists in his heyday, Mosley would survive until 1980 when he died of Parkinson’s. Jack Nelson (James Frecheville) though a fictional character, is based on Joseph Kennedy Sr., the father of JFK. In that case, Kenedy was alive until 1969 and so eliminating him so early on would not match. It would seem that the planned feature film, which could have a World War II timeline, might help Tommy in his quest for vengeance against both men.

Does Tommy Finally Succumb to Death?

Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders Season 3

Throughout the show, Tommy has never been afraid of dying. Legacy was a lot more important. By the last episode of the season, it has been set up that Tommy will die, given that he had been given a fatal diagnosis of tuberculoma and had 18 months to live. Given that Tommy has already had suicidal inclinations, the show sees him decide to end his own life rather than be sickly and die off. If there is anyone that can kill Tommy Shelby, it’s Tommy Shelby.

However, during the act, Tommy sees what can be termed a “vision” of his daughter Ruby (Heaven-Leigh Clee) which prompts him into discovering that the diagnosis had been a hoax. His doctor, Dr. Holford (Aneurin Barnard), is a member of the British Union of Fascists and friends with Mosley, who had induced the good doctor to lie to Tommy about his health to see him kill himself. This discovery prompts Tommy to go after the doctor but yet again we have another twist as Tommy decides not to kill him. A tower clock strikes eleven and Tommy says, “Eleventh hour. Armistice. Peace at last.” This is a reference to World War I and the signing of the agreement that brought an end to the war. The Armistice had been signed on 11/11/1918 at the eleventh hour. “I am back. Back from underground,” Tommy goes on to tell Holford. For a character who had been built so much around his experiences during the First World War, this was a way to mark a rebirth for him.

The Shelby Family

Newspaper in Peaky Blinders Season 6

There is a lot to unpack with regard to the Shelby family. At the end of Season 5, Polly Gray (Helen McCrory) had warned that should a war break out between Michael and Tommy, one of the two would die — and as always with Aunt Polly, she was right. The death of Michael does leave Tommy with an aggrieved family member from across the Atlantic in Gina Gray (Anya Taylor-Joy) with powerful allies who might yet come for him. His political standing as an MP ends as he lines up his sister, Ada Thorne (Sophie Rundle) to take over his seat in Parliament.

Arthur Shelby (Paul Anderson) had been in charge of delivering vengeance on the IRA on behalf of the Peaky Blinders for what they had done to Aunt Polly. Suffice it to say, he did a good job. He, however, does not get to say his goodbyes to Tommy when his brother tells him of his diagnosis. Arthur is the only Shelby with that information, and he is distraught. With the Peaky Blinders feature film on the way, maybe they can meet again. From one brother to the other, Finn Shelby (Harry Kirton) is banished from the family for his role in bringing a traitor in Billy Grade (Emmett J. Scanlan) into the fold.

Finn promises vengeance on Duke Shelby (Conrad Khan), Tommy’s firstborn son and heir, ordering him banished by order of the Peaky Blinders. Tommy’s wife, Lizzie Shelby (Natasha O’Keeffe) ends up leaving him after he has an affair and as the pair split, Charlie, Tommy’s son with Grace, decides to go with her. Given Tommy feels he is dying, he lets go, feeling that the boy would be taken care of. There is, however, an avenue for conflict between both sons of Tommy, as Charlie resents his father for the treatment he has received when compared to Duke. Could there be a civil way in the upcoming film between Tommy’s sons? We’ll have to wait and see.

The Final Scenes and Symbolism

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders Season 4

In some of his final acts on the show, Tommy blows up his home to make way for more affordable housing for the working class in Birmingham. This means for the last few scenes, he is effectively living in a caravan that will eventually be burnt by Holford’s man. Upon the realization that the diagnosis is false and with all his affairs in order, Tommy decides to start a new life, riding off on a white horse, renewed.

The white horse is symbolic as the first time we ever saw Tommy in the show, he rode in on a black horse. The black horse, named Dangerous, was shot dead by Tommy when he lost his wife, Grace. The white horse recounts a story from his childhood about how his mother enjoyed watching him ride one. It is the representation of his journey from the darkest parts of himself and his reemergence as a new person. Like he told Arthur, he is dedicated to being good going forward. Given that when next we see Tommy Shelby in Europe, and the world will be at war, could this renewed Tommy help put an end to the reign of terror being unleashed? When Peaky Blinders returns to truly wrap up in its feature film finale, we will have our answer. But for now, we wait and anticipate, by order of the Peaky Blinders.

When Can We Expect the Film?

A Peaky Blinders film has been in the works for some time now. According to NME.com, Cillian Murphy gave an interview with Today FM, in which he said that, while he hadn’t read the script, he heard it was “close” to being finished, and expected the film to be released in 2024.


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