Peaky Blinders Series 1 Episode 2 (BBC2) Review

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Starting off so incredibly strong in its first episode could have turned out to be a bad thing for BBC2’s new drama, Peaky Blinders, but thankfully this follow-up doesn’t remotely let the side down. It’s still stylish, fun and engaging, and this second episode focuses more on the characters we met last week.

The first thing to mention is that we actually see the Peaky Blinders do some peaky blinding. It’s brutal yet lovingly shot – a description that could be applied to the show in general. The fight with a gang of gypsy travellers is the first part of a deal Tommy is trying to establish with Billy Kimber, whose attention has been brought to the Shelby family over their business at the race track. You can tell from the final confrontation that Tommy is in over his head, but that doesn’t seem to deter him any.

It’s just one of the fantastic scenes in the episode, and where Peaky Blinders really shines is in its quiet conversational moments. This clearly isn’t a series preoccupied with blowing its audience away with fight sequences or flashy showdowns, and it’s satisfying to see the characters just interact via one-on-one conversations and tension-filled sit-downs. The meeting between Tommy and Campbell, for example, is something you might expect in a season finale, but here it is in the second episode.

The style of Peaky Blinders shows off the brilliant actors it has at its disposal, and that’s what makes it feel special. There are many story threads, such as the pregnancy of the only Shelby sister and the tease of a romance between Tommy and barmaid Grace, and it might all have fallen apart had it not been for the various strong performances from Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill et al.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Peaky Blinders airs on BBC2 in the UK.