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After the arrests in Season Three’s finale, Tommy found himself ostracised by most of the family/gang (including elder brother Arthur and their aunt Polly), facing the prospect of spending Christmas Day rattling round his country mansion alone with his young son and his staff (who we’ll come back to).At work he found himself plagued by threats from striking factory workers (one very striking union leader Jessie Eden in particular).He looked the part of the respectable businessman (immaculately dressed as always in his suit, his round reading glasses, and his OBE – the other part of the deal he had made to destroy the King’s letters)He looked the part of the respectable businessman (immaculately dressed as always in his suit, his round reading glasses, and his OBE – the other part of the deal he had made to destroy the King’s letters). Spending Christmas Day alone/together with his son would be miserable for both of them.‘Charlie should know his cousins,’ she chastised. He hadn’t even bought his own boy’s presents.‘What did I get him?He had the country estate too but his life was more like something from a Quentin Tarantino film than Downton Abbey: monitoring Michael’s use of cocaine, paying for high-price hotel escorts, and eventually participating in a brutal blood bath that made Reservoir Dogs look like one of Lady Mary’s tea parties.‘You can’t live like this another year,’ warned Lizzie Stark, herself a former prostitute, his brother John’s ex-fiancee, and now Tommy’s PA.‘Sex, freedom, whisky sours? ’ he asked idly.‘Toy horses, toy cars, guns…’No change there then…She told Tommy he should go to John and Esme’s party ‘and take Charlie and a lump of coal. Safe to say the Shelbys were not the happy family we used to know. Less positively this was only because Luca Changretta had sent them all a ‘black hand’ for Christmas.(Arthur Shelby had killed hs father and family honour, and the Sicilian mafia’s honour, demanded revenge in kind.)‘They’re coming for us all !When the post included a Christmas card sent by Luca Changretta (a ‘black hand’, the symbol of death) it capped off Tommy’s build up to the big day nicely. When everyone else in the family received one too, even Tommy and the other Shelbys were scared – enough to put their differences behind them and re-group to defend themselves.
We saw John shooting grouse (albeit with a revolver out of frustration) and Arthur with his son in his arms, collecting eggs from his chickens. Cillian Murphy’s ultra-cool/tormented character shared many of the same problems (personal and professional) as well as the same initials as Tony Soprano.
Even Tommy was scared.‘If we stay out in the open they’ll pick us off one by one.
We need to be together in a place even they won’t come.’This, of course, meant they were going home – to Small Heath and to ‘The Garrison.’‘Anyone who wants to live to see next Christmas needs to realise: these bastards kill kids as well.
But the bohemian approach is more than a style choice.
How many tributaries of the social media delta can one follow at a time?