It is very easy to catch up with Peaky Blinders before you watch the third season, which premieres on Netflix on May 31. The seasons are short — only six episodes each — so you can watch both Season 1 and Season 2 together in the time it would take to watch most limited-series dramas. But, people can be busy. I get it. So, if you want to jump in on Season 3 without doing your homework — or if you watched last season and you just want a refresher of what happened — here's your Peaky Blinders Season 2 recap.
For the real newbies, Peaky Blinders is about the Shelby family: siblings Tommy (Cillian Murphy), Arthur (Paul Anderson), Ada (Sophie Rundle), John (Joe Cole), Finn (Harry Kirton), and their Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory). Season 1 starts off shortly after World War I, when the older Shelby brothers have returned from war and settled back in their hometown of Birmingham, England to run the family's crime operations. Tommy, the family's leader, gets sidetracked when he falls in love with Grace (Annabelle Wallis), who's secretly working for the police, most notably Major Chester Campbell (Sam Neill, doing some kind of crazy accent). Season 2 picks up a few years later, in 1921.
The Shelby Family Looks to Expand
Having conquered Birmingham, Tommy Shelby looks to increase his sphere of criminal influence, with a little bit of everything: He wants to take over horse-racing in England, as well as ship liquor to America, which is under prohibition. A Peaky Blinders/Boardwalk Empire crossover sadly fails to materialize.
Tommy Looks to Some Unlikely Allies
But first, London. Tommy tries to get a foothold in the London crime scene by teaming up with Alfie Solomons (Tom Hardy, in a bonkers-in-a-good-way performance). Solomons runs the hooch business out of Camden Town, and Tommy tries to get Solomons to work with him and against gangster Darby Sabini, who controls the betting operations at the track. Sabini does not take this well, and his henchmen murder one of the Shelby associates.
They Meet a (Wo)man About A Horse
In order to get further into the horse-race scene, the Shelbys buy a horse — one an attractive, young widow who knows a thing or two about horses had her eye on. The widow, May Carleton (Charlotte Riley, or Tom Hardy's wife IRL), offers to train the horse for the Shelbys, but it's really because she has her eyes on Tommy. When he goes to visit the horse at her expansive, remote estate, some sexy times ensue.
Polly's Got a Son
Meanwhile, Aunt Polly tries to track down children she gave up for adoption decades prior. She finds one son, Michael (Finn Cole), and he starts to become interested in the family business.
Things Go Sour
Sabini and Solomons decide the Shelbys aren't a welcome presence in London. Solomons kills some of the Shelby men and gets Tommy's brother Arthur arrested. Major Campbell, who'd been skulking behind the scenes, gets Michael arrested, too, and makes Aunt Polly debase herself to get him out. Sabini takes over a club that the Shelbys were using as their London base. Tommy's alliances start falling apart. It would be a terrible time for Tommy to get distracted, but...
Grace was married to another man, living in Poughkeepsie, New York. (I don't know why that detail is hysterical to me, but, it is.) She returns to London and has a brief reunion with Tommy. She admits to him she's there seeking fertility treatments from London doctors. Sexy times ensue again (poor May) and — bam! — Grace no longer has fertility issues.
It All Goes Down at the Races
All of the turf wars; psychological manipulations between Tommy, Grace, and Major Campbell; and gang alliances come to a head at the track at Derby Day. Michael, despite having been arrested, decides he definitely wants in on the family business. Grace admits her pregnancy to Tommy, who tells her they'll talk about it after the race. He later gets kidnapped, and it looks for a minute like Grace Jr. might not get to know her dad. (Obviously, he gets the upper hand.) Aunt Polly exacts revenge on Major Campbell. And the Shelbys make peace with Solomons and take and burn the betting licenses of Sabini's men, seizing the track. Does victory last? We'll find out in Peaky Blinders, Season 3. Just remember: No fighting.
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