Some Thoughts About S4
Thanks to the anon who prompted this mini-thesis because. So. Many. Thoughts.
Tommy faces the morning sun and closes his eyes to regret and grief. Another series dawns…
Let’s start with the big question: ‘Is John Shelby Going to be Bumped Off?’ Short answer, I think so. I’ve vacillated a lot tbh, because being so spoiled it feels massively telegraphed, to the extent that it could be deliberate misdirection. Although that the evidence for it in the trailer is far from conclusive for people who casually watch the show is kind of proof in itself I think - there is still meant to be a question mark. But when you combine Esme weeping in (I’d bet on it because of her height and the necklace) Lizzie’s embrace; John and Esme’s absence at the family meeting; the Watery Lane bts shots without him joining the swagger; the wearing of black at that family meeting and elsewhere; that John and Esme haven’t had terribly much to do together since s1 and now are heavily featured; and Joe Cole not spending so much time on set it’s feeling ominous. Sure, it could still be smoke-and-mirrors. The tweeds of the promo pic suggest he goes country (the absence); and the black dress Esme’s in from that promo is the same as the one she’s wearing in a scene with John when he’s clearly very much alive. Her tears could be shock for his near-death (there are the scenes outside the hospital) or the untimely demise of one of their children. I don’t think the black is a ruse though, they all seem too united in anger at Tommy, and it’s not for our golden wrapper Harry Kirton at that point. The trailer heavily suggests that at least one of them will die, and wise money would be on John. At least it looks like there might be relatable grief this time.
About the family meeting, it is nice to see them in the gambling den again. I am terribly pleased Johnny Dogs and Charlie Strong are there too. But my favourite bit of the entire trailer is Finn’s Look™ at Tommy. They’ve come a long way since “that’s why you should never pretend to be me.” As if Finn ever had the choice to depart that shadow. I’ll miss Harry for whatever reason he’s leaving, he looks like a baby F. Scott Fitzgerald with that parting.
The Michael, Arthur and John scene with the policemen is likely a follow-up to s3. They are either being walked to the noose or a sentencing. They clearly all make it, past that point anyway.
Paul Anderson can break me with a twitch of his moustache and the dribble of a tear. Please never kill off Arthur, SK, I beg. Or Linda, I like her and that revolver was so cheering…
Michael and Ada don’t appear much in the trailer, but I think in combination with their ‘ranking’ in the s4 promo pic (and the comparative luxury of both’s outfits in said image), that’s because they’re still going to be the ‘legitimate’ side of the business - Chief Accountant and Head of Property and Acquisitions. Here’s hoping they share a plot, it could be enormous fun.
Polly facing the gallows must be her follow-on scene from the cliffhanger; she has the same hairstyle and blouse as 3.06. She clearly survives to do other things, which is great because SK needs her for balance. She’s the heart of the family, after all. The scene of her dressed in a fabulous floral kimono-type thing, taking a moment, is overlaid briefly by the zoetrope of the Edwardian (Victorian?) woman, perhaps representing something she once aspired to be, spinning round and around and it seems Polly herself will be sent reeling this series. She has a couple of quite different hairstyles - is there an element of disguise? Also the holster.
Speaking of hair, Charlie has a Peaky cut lmao. Tommy’s mini me. Perhaps nits were a problem at Arrow House? Tommy continues to have Dodgy Taste™ in artworks.
Adrien Brody appears to be another threat from Northern Ireland by that accent. Knowing SK, he’ll be ‘establishment’ of some kind as well; Tommy is always working against ‘them above,’ being as bad in order to survive ergo badder by the series, and there’s no other character we know of yet that could fulfil that role. But hell, Brody could be dubiously linked to the US government and have a legacy accent. He seems to be reprising Sabini in a murky tunnel at one point.
Alfie isn’t looking any healthier, or happier. Is the beach where that machine gun enters the country? Bravo the Woody cameo!!! I am desperately keen for Tommy and Alfie to have a fight on wet sand it would be hilarious.
Speaking of the machine gun, I LOVE the styling of that shootout! First time Peaky’s felt like a Western since s1 and I am digging it deeply.
ALSO pumped about the boxing match which I’ve been looking forward to since that ticket surfaced (date: 12 February 1926, Golliath vs Gold). Jack Rowan’s character is a bit of dark horse, though I’m guessing he’s the ‘Gold’ of the ticket bc his opponent is a fair bit bigger - he’s victorious in the ring, as well as there with Aidan Gillen’s character who is still thankfully lovely despite the hair - what ARE they there for? Anyway, that’s a publicly demonstrative thing Tommy’s doing with the gunshot at the end of the fight - it’s a message surely. The massive Union Jack AND Saint George’s Cross on the wall feel significant, especially possibly in conjunction with an Irish villain.
The girl under the bridge… I’ll come down off the fence and say I think that’s Charlie Murphy. I’d bet on it. One of my favourite mutuals (who’s very good at these things) swears blind it’s Lizzie, but there’s something about the profile where the cheeks meet her mouth and that tiny bump in her nose. Her hair looks longer than Lizzie’s s4 bob too. It is better than comparing Gaite and Annabelle’s breasts. Anyway, we’ve found our love interest of the series. Jury’s out on whether she’ll be the only one or one of two or three; my anxiety about Lizzie is unabated and May’s in s4. It would be the first series since one to not give Tommy three ladies. *sigh* *crosses fingers* The scene itself calls a bit to Ada and Freddie in 1.01, who met in the tunnel to hide their relationship. We’ll see; whatever it is it’s more intimate than the ‘hands’ bit of the s2 promo or the drunk snogging of s3. I’m just not that interested any more. At least it doesn’t look like she’s a queen on Tommy’s ever-more-acquisitive series of bedpost notches.
That scene in the cell with Arthur? No idea. And the tunnel-walking with gun raised in the lighting that seems designed against intravenous drug use is also a mystery. Though it looks like Victoria Baths to me and there isn’t even a whiff of May so at least that bit of plot is probably not facing reprise.
Cautious optimism abounds for a series that looks to be bringing all those chickens home to roost. There was no emotion that wasn’t pain or fear and after s3 that is apt and deserved. Here’s to the bleak midwinter!