By the order of the Peaky Blinders, how is the film still not out yet? And, yes, I know there’s a lot of reasons why but considering we’ve been without fresh Peaky Blinders content for more than a year, it’s a fair question. Across its nine year run on TV, Peaky Blinders was one of the most consistent shows going, and it arguably helped turn Cillian Murphy into the global megastar he is now. Before I get into it properly, here is some history about the show. Then, we’ll get into our list of the best Peaky Blinders episodes.
Peaky Blinders first debuted on BBC Two in 2013, and ran for 6 seasons until 2022. Its last two seasons moved from BBC Two to BBC One. The show follows the titular Peaky Blinders, a street gang in Birmingham, as they rise to power as some of the most powerful gangsters in the country. On this rise, they encounter plenty of obstacles from the law, government, fascists and the IRA. The show was universally well received, with praise for a lot of performances. These include Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby, the late and very great Helen McCrory as Polly Shelby, Sam Neill and Sam Clafin, to mention but a few. Despite often being overlooked at the BAFTAs, amongst other award shows, Peaky Blinders certainly left a legacy on TV.
Best Peaky Blinders Episodes – Top Ten
10. Episode 1 (S2, E1)
Kicking off the list of the best Peaky Blinders episodes is the Series 2 opener. Now, what makes this episode so good? Well, mostly because it kicks off the series with a bang as the Peaky Blinders find themselves caught in the crossfire of a gang war. Oh and we also get clarity on the Series 1 cliffhanger about who shoots first between Inspector Campbell and Grace. And if that’s not enough, the episode’s ending places Tommy right back into the hands of the devil. All of this sets the stage for a thrilling and action-packed storyline.
9. Episode 6 (S3, E6)
Did anyone think they’d see the day where King Viserys and Oppenheimer shared the same screen? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, what makes this episode so good is the duality of the narratives. Not only does Tommy’s son get kidnapped by Father Hughes, but if he doesn’t blow up a train his son will be killed. It’s all rather James Bond with Hughes’s plan involving the train blowing up to force the UK to cut ties with the USSR. Not only does it force the Peaky Blinders to confront the consequences of their actions, but it also leads to a shocking twist that sets up the next season.
8. Blackbird (S4, E3)
Speaking of A-list actors crossing over into Peaky Blinders, Series 4 sees Tommy and the Peaky Blinders facing off with the American Mafia led by the vengeful Luca Changretta. And yes that’s Adrian Brody playing Luca. Anyway, Blackbird is a great episode because it sows the long term seeds of a traitor in Tommy’s inner circle. Also, it fleshes out Tommy and Polly’s backstories thanks to Communist activist Jessie Eden and Luca, respectively. And that’s not even mentioning the deal Polly cuts with Luca which leads to a tense and unpredictable turn of events.
7. Episode 3 (S3, E3)
One thing that Peaky Blinders did so well was long term storytelling within another story. In this case, Tommy orders the execution of Vicente Changretta, which sets up Series 4. Also, with the introduction of Father Hughes, a priest with a dark past, the Shelby family faces a new adversary. All of this leads to a tense game of cat and mouse that pushes Tommy to his limits. And that doesn’t even account for the Russian Aristocracy, and Tommy rebuilding bridges with his sister, Ada. Overall, a very solid episode.
6. Episode 5 (S2, E5)
Well, you can’t have a gangster show without a fall and Tommy definitely has one here. In what becomes a running trend of Alfie betraying the Peaky Blinders, Tommy’s London empire begins to crumble. And that doesn’t even factor in Inspector Campbell’s deplorable actions towards Polly to give Michael an early release. In such an emotionally charged episode, Tommy makes a dangerous decision to protect his family. All of this leads to a heartbreaking twist that reverberates throughout the series.
Best Peaky Blinders Episodes – Top Five
5. The Loop (S5, E4)
Honestly, I could keep mentioning how good Cillian Murphy is as Tommy Shelby, but I’d just be stating the obvious. This episode is the perfect example of his stellar performance for many reasons. Firstly, he brilliantly portrays how Tommy seems to have a deteriorating mental state, yet he’s still somehow in control of his life. Just take his scene with Sam Clafin’s sinister Oswald Mosley as an example. All of this is while the Shelby family faces their biggest threat yet as they deal with the aftermath of Michael’s betrayal, which culminates in a shocking cliffhanger ending.
4. Episode 1 (S1, E1)
Well, it seems only right that I mention the first episode of the show. And what an episode it is, as it introduces the world of the Peaky Blinders and sets the tone for the gritty and atmospheric drama that follows. When Tommy receives a mysterious offer that could change the fate of his gang, he jumps at the opportunity, much to the chagrin of his family. This entry wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Sam Neill’s fantastic and terrifying performance as Inspector Campbell, who probably still holds up as the show’s best villain.
Best Peaky Blinders Episodes – Top Three
3. The Company (S4, E6)
Man, it really feels like Series 4 of Peaky Blinders could be the best one. And a large part of that is episodes like The Company. Not only does the season finale feature a gripping showdown between Tommy and Luca Changretta, but it also features a wonderful death fake out for one of the Peaky Blinders. Not to mention the chaotic end which sets the stage for the next season. Oh, and there’s the obligatory appearance from Alfie Solomons as Tommy confronts him for his betrayal.
2. Episode 4 (S1, E4)
This episode see Tommy and the Peaky Blinders clash with Inspector Campbell and the police, but it also sets up more emotional drama within the Shelby clan. In what is comparable to Game of Thrones in terms of backstabbing, Tommy allies with the Lees after previously protecting current ally Billy Kimber from them. All of this is on top of Tommy’s suspicions about John’s partner, and escalating tensions which lead to a high-stakes race against time.
Best Peaky Blinders Episode
1. Lock and Key (S6, E6)
And the best episode of Peaky Blinders is… Lock and Key. Now I do get the criticism that this episode is probably a bit too long, however, when it’s this good, I can give the show a pass. Once again, Cillian Murphy is the MVP with Series 6 showing Tommy the closest to breaking. Whether it’s Mosley, the ever looming threat of Michael coming to kill him, or his own mortality, Tommy isn’t short of threats in the last episode of the show. Add to that the ambiguity of the ending, with Tommy riding away seemingly at peace, it leaves him in an interesting place for the film. Oh and that doesn’t even touch on the heartbreaking scene of Tommy hallucinating his own daughter. Honestly, a fantastic episode.