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Tear Jerker / Peaky Blinders

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  • Polly's speech to Ada in 1.02, is just heartbreaking:
    Polly: The longer you leave it, the worse it gets. Believe me, I know. I was sixteen, and I didn't dare tell anyone. In the end, I did it myself… I did it to myself, and I almost died. He didn't come back. They don't, why should they? You know the words. You're a "whore", your baby's a "bastard". But there's no word for the man who doesn't come back. One day, on your wedding day, you'll have a good man on your arm and you'll say, "Polly, thank you. For common sense." …the woman's in Cardiff. We'll take the train tomorrow. Go to the castle afterwards for a treat.
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  • Tommy's reply to Grace's claim that she'd break his heart?
    Tommy: …already broken.
  • Arthur breaking down in the church, angry and depressed and frustrated that he's being frozen out from the family. He doesn't know about Ada marrying Freddie or the stolen guns from the BSA.
  • The scene where Danny reports in to Tommy as if Tommy's still his commanding officer, calling himself "Private Whiz-Bang" and Tommy "Sargeant Major". Danny is already tragic enough, with his PTSD attacks, but even he notices the way Tommy's growing detatched from everything but business, and how he's become an opium addict. When confronted with this, Tommy reveals the real reason he's been using opium—to drown out the war flashbacks of the time they tunneled into a German safehouse, and how if he doesn't, he starts hearing tunneling in his bedroom wall.
    • Also during this scene when Danny says his sons would never have to go through the shit that they went through, when they are probably going to end up serving in WWII and going through exactly the same mess.
  • Freddie being arrested just as he's held his son for the first time, and Polly attacking Tommy, believing he's broken his word to the family.
  • Arthur losing all faith in his father, seeing him for the two-bit con artist he is, and being humiliated by Senior, beaten down and conned out of 500 pounds. He goes to the boxing gym he and his father had previously bonded in, drunk and screaming for someone to fight him, and when he's left alone by the disgusted patrons, attempts to hang himself. Set to Tom Waits' "Time", which is heartbreaking all on its own.
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  • Polly does it again in the finale, telling Ada about the children that were taken from her twenty years ago.
    Polly: They took my children from me. They never told me where they took them. They did it because they could, and because I was weak. They will never take your baby from you, and do you want to know why? Because Tommy won't let them. Tommy won't let them walk all over us.
  • Tommy believing Grace is upset and talking about leaving him because she thinks he's not respectable enough and won't have a good life with him. She's heartbroken because she's fallen in love with him and knows her betrayal is likely to result in his death.
  • "To Danny Whizzbang. May we all die twice."
  • In 2.01, Polly visits a medium to ask if her daughter is dead. She had a dream that a girl was screaming her name and saying she'd "crossed over". We don't hear what the medium says—and indeed, Esme later warns Polly that the woman is a fraud—but Polly breaks down in the middle of the street, screaming and crying for her dead child.
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  • Tommy comparing himself to a wounded horse, and Charlie remarking "if you were a horse, they'd shoot you".
  • Tommy telling Polly that her daughter died in Australia, never being able to settle and having tried multiple times to return to England.
    Polly: So my little Anna crossed half the world to be with me in my dreams? That's one part of her they couldn't take away.
  • Polly pulling a gun on Tommy when he refuses to tell her where Michael is. The fact that she pulled the gun, he says, is proof that she'd lose her temper and scare the kid away.
  • Arthur's breakdown in 2.02 makes his suicide attempt in 1.05 look like child's play. He blacks out during sparring practice and beats a boy to death, in front of his 15 year old brother, no less. Later, when confronted by Tommy, he talks about the way everything's wrong, tilted in his head, how depressed and suicidal he is, how he can't trust himself anymore. Tommy screams at him to wake up and fix himself, because he won't continue to lie for Arthur or treat him like a child. Arthur breaks down, screaming and sobbing.
  • 2.05 is a lengthy series of Kick the Dog moments for Polly: It starts with the police coming in and arresting Michael for arson (which his cousins actually committed, but Campbell's stitching him up for. This is now the second time Polly has been made to endure her child being taken from her, and she breaks, screaming and begging for the police to let him go. When the family meets to discuss Arthur and Michael's arrest, Tommy shouts her down and refuses to even consider doing anything to get Michael out before he deals with the business fallout. Desperate, Polly goes to Campbell, who baits her with a shot at salvation—he has Michael's release form ready for his signature, but he wants something in return. That something turns out to be for Polly to fuck him, and for her to cry and beg for him to please let her son go. Polly tries to put on a brave face at first, but when she's about to give Campbell exactly what he wants, he loses his cool and takes her by force. But she isn't done being kicked around, oh no. When Michael is released the next morning, face all cut up from the interrogation, he tells his mother that the "screws" told him just how she secured his release, and seemed to think it was funny. "Who knows," he says bluntly to her. "Maybe it is."
  • Tommy's inability to keep his promise to Lizzie in 2.06, resulting in what's either a near-rape or an actual rape by Field Marshal Russell, and how frightened Lizzie is. Later, when she's got bruises on her face and is chain-smoking alone, John and Arthur are their insensitive selves, not realizing what's just happened.
  • Arthur's best man speech at Tommy's wedding is heartfelt but stumbling and awkward and eventually Tommy cuts him off. Afterwards, he tells Linda, "I think I messed it up," and she has to reassure him that it was okay.
  • The Italian assassin shooting Grace at the fundraising dinner. Panic breaks out, John, Arthur and Finn go *apeshit* on the assassin, while Polly is terrified and Tommy is absolutely losing it, cradling his dying wife and shouting for an ambulance.
  • "I heard the blackbirds sing." Five words, and Arthur's saved Tommy from descending into torture and madness.
  • Lizzie in 3.04, admitting she's still sleeping with Tommy (years after he promised her all the prostitution and "arrangements" would end), particularly the stunned look on Polly's face when Lizzie sarcastically amends her statement: "well, not sleeping - it's hard to sleep bent over a desk."
  • In 3.06, Tommy suspecting that Ada, John, Arthur, or Polly could have sold him out and gotten Charles kidnapped by the Economic League is bad enough. Utterly heartbreaking is Tommy tearing into Polly in particular, convincing her that Reuben's using her for information to sell out the Shelbys, because he's been giving her red wine and she could have told him everything without realizing. Furthermore, Tommy asks her what she thinks a "normal" aristocratic man like Reuben would ever want in someone like her.
    • From the same episode, Polly's shaken reaction when Michael arrives back at Watery Lane with Charles, realizing he's still got blood on his face and a thousand-yard stare just like his cousins. He's killed a man in cold blood, and she couldn't protect him from it.
    • Tommy's reaction when he realized that he doesn't know where Charles is and his absolute panic in searching the house, complete with his breakdown when Arthur finally tells him that someone took him away in a car is Adult Fear at its finest.
  • The opening of 4.01, where John, Arthur, Michael, and Polly are lead to the gallows and nearly hanged. Polly's reaction in particular of sobbing and praying in sheer terror is particularly heartwrenching.
    • The final scene, where the Mafia surprises John, Esme, and Michael at John's country home. John is shot dozens of times while all Esme can do is watch in sheer horror. Michael takes four bullets as well, and the scene ends without the audience knowing if they've survived.
  • 4.02 just ramps it up, showing the aftermath: John is dead, Esme screaming and clutching his body. Michael took four bullets and is bleeding out on the ground. Polly is frantic at the hospital, screaming at the doctors to save Michael, and Tommy has to drag her away. All set to a stripped-down version of Nick Cave's "The Mercy Seat".
    • John's funeral, where his army photo and uniform is displayed, and he is burned in a Romany caravan as he wanted.
    • Arthur's heartbreaking reaction to Tommy allowing Finn a full-fledged seat at the family table:
      Arthur: (clasps Finn by the neck and touches foreheads with him) Little bastard. They're sending us fucking kids, Sergeant Major, to do men's work.
    • Michael and Polly realizing how the two spent shells ended up hitting Michael - they went through John - and Michael saying that John's dead eyes were the last thing he saw before he passed out.
  • The Reveal in the season 4 finale that Tommy is very much a Shell-Shocked Veteran. His work keeps him distracted enough that it keeps the memories at bay, but when he goes on holiday, he is overcome by flashbacks to the point where he almost can't function. Frances, his maid, is so worried about him that she calls Polly, who sees a doctor on Tommy's behalf when she comes to help him. When she says it might be the war or the alcohol affecting him, Tommy immediately says it's the alcohol, unwilling to say how much the war is haunting him so many years later. Polly just looks at him sadly.
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