It’s Not Easy Being a Shelby Wife in ‘Peaky Blinders’ Episode 3 (RECAP)

Peaky Blinders Linda
Spoiler Alert

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Peaky Blinders Season 5 Episode 3, “Strategy.”]

Are you good, evil, or somewhere in between? That’s the question the characters of Peaky Blinders are asking themselves throughout the third episode of season five. After all, there’s a thin line between donating to the church and threatening to slice open a nun’s throat with a hairpin.

It’s Linda (Kate Phillips) and Lizzie (Natasha O’Keefe) who broach the subject of good and evil in the latest edition of The Real Housewives of Small Heath. It’s not easy being married to a Shelby, and it’s even harder to cut ties, as Linda is beginning to find out. She left Arthur (Paul Anderson) for the safe haven of the Quakers, where she met a kind man with a young daughter. But there is still part of her attached to her ex-husband and the exhilaration that comes with the Peaky lifestyle. Linda is trapped in a limbo between God and the Devil.

Lizzie, on the other hand, has made up her mind to stick by Tommy (Cillian Murphy). “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you take,” she tells Linda. Lizzie is a realist, and given her troubled past, she knows well enough not to pass up her current lot in life, regardless of Tommy’s misgivings. “I used to sleep with seven men a night, and now I’m learning to ride side-saddle,” she says. Lizzie is not under any illusions; she knows exactly what Tommy is, and she’s made her peace with that. So while she sets some new ground rules, she’s not going to try to make her husband change. “I chose this life. It didn’t choose me.”

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Gina (Anya Taylor-Joy) is also learning what it’s like to be a Peaky wife. She’s determined for her baby to be born in America and plans to return to Long Island with Michael (Finn Cole) in tow. She even tells Polly (Helen McCrory) that her son wants her to come with them and bestows her with a miniature Statue of Liberty as a “gift of freedom.” But Pol knows all too well that freedom doesn’t come easy in this world. “We all try to get away, but we never do,” Pol tells her new daughter-in-law.

It’s the men of Peaky Blinders that refuse to let go. Arthur boils over with rage as he demands to know where Linda has been staying. Then, in a brilliantly shot sequence, he tracks down the Quaker meeting house and bludgeons a poor guy to within an inch of his life with a chair leg. “There is good in my heart,” Arthur yells as the man’s body goes limp beneath him. “But my hands belong to the devil.”

Peaky Blinders Arthur


Aberama Gold (Aiden Gillen) is also on a revenge mission. He tricks Pol into busting him out of hospital and then gathers a gang of Gypsies to come with him to Glasgow to seek vengeance of Jimmy McGavern (Brian Gleeson) and the Billy Boys. He gets a measure of retribution with a bucket of hot tar and a grenade, but Arthur (at the behest of Tommy) persuades Aberama to abandon the plan—for now at least. But the Billy Boys are certainly not going to take this attack lying down, and it’s only going to cause more trouble for the Shelbys.

As for Tommy, he’s continuing to lose his grip on both business and reality. When it comes to good or evil, Lizzie says that Tommy is still trying to decide. He’s a man that wants everything but his desire to have everything seems destined to leave him with nothing. His paranoia is growing worse, he’s still having suicidal thoughts and talking to Grace Ghost (Annabelle Wallis), he’s drinking way too much, and continues to make new enemies with each passing week.

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Worst of all, Tommy has now got himself caught up in a dangerous game of politics. He agrees to become Deputy Leader of Oswald Mosley’s (Sam Claflin) new fascist party—to act as an informant and pass information to intelligence officer Ben Younger (Kingsley Ben-Adir). But Mosley isn’t the kind of foe Tommy is used to dealing with in Small Heath. Mosley isn’t a street thug or hot-tempered crime boss; he’s a slick-talking politician with friends in high places. He seems to be one step ahead at every turn and is forcing Tommy to play by his rules, something we’ve never seen before.

It seems that even those with good intentions have to deal with evil along the way.

Additional Notes

-Ada’s son Karl (Callum Booth-Ford) popped up in this episode only to reveal that he’s a racist—views he’s picked up from school friends and not his progressive mother. I don’t think this means we’re going to see a Karl-arc across this season; it’s probably there to highlight a growing sentiment that was capitalized on by the likes of Oswald Mosley.

-So it wasn’t Tommy that put the hit out on The Times journalist, which suggests Mosley’s ruthlessness goes beyond words.

-Points to Polly for the most badass line of the episode: “I’ll wear my high heels so you can hear my approach on the cobbled stones and have time to repent.”

Peaky Blinders, Streaming, Netflix