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(Contains SPOILERS, left and right)
"Riding through this world
Every Sons of Anarchy fan knows those lines, and as a fan myself, I couldn't find anything that was worth watching, once I heard that song for the last time and I knew the show was over.
That was when I decided to give Peaky Blinders a chance and, boy, I'm so glad I did! Peaky Blinders is a pretty British version of Sons of Anarchy. Everything about it is amazing. Visually, it's most beautiful show I've seen. The acting is out of this word, and I can't even find the words to compliment the writing. And it didn't take long for the similarities with Sons of Anarchy to start popping up: we're talking about a family gang with a strong woman figure, the matriarch, trying to hold everything together, while the leader of the gang, the main character, goes behind the family's back to try to go legit and, at the same time, satisfy his greed. Sounds familiar?
Jax Teller, the prince of the Sons of Anarchy kingdom, is a smart outlaw whose brains have more to offer than the simple gangster equation: sell guns, kill enemies, retaliate to maintain respect, repeat. He makes deals with his enemies, uses them and waits for the right moment to retaliate. While finding Clay Morrow's means to lack moral, Jax himself decides to send club votes to hell and make his own decisions to meet his ends.
On the other side of the pond, in England, in the year of 1919, Thomas Shelby's ambitions led him to keep to himself a dirty little secret: he found guns that were both valuable and dangerous to be in the possession of, enough for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom himself, Winston Churchill, to send a small army to the city of Birmingham to find them. The leader of the Peaky Blinders sees that as an opportunity and doesn't call a family meeting or a vote. The pattern continues throughout the series.
Both Jax's and Thomas' headquarters, the clubhouse and the Garrison Pub, respectively, get blown up at random, challenging their leadership.
"I think, Arthur. That's what I do. I think. So that you don't have to."
— Thomas Shelby
Gemma Teller is a woman you don't want to mess with. She would do every and anything for her family, and so would Peaky Blinders' Aunt Polly. Even though they are not the ones to make the calls, they are in charge of the families' front businesses: the Teller-Morrow Garage in Sons of Anarchy, and the bookmaking operation the Peaky Blinders run. They are both respected and feared in their cities, Charming, California, and Birmingham, England.
At some point, both Gemma and Aunt Polly get raped. They are strong and focused enough to wait for when it's the right moment (the best moment for their families' affairs) to finally get their revenge.
"This whole bloody enterprise was women's business while you boys were away at war."
— Aunt Polly
Tara Knowles, Jax's ex-girlfriend, who moved back to Charming after being away for years in Chicago, finds herself reconnecting with her first love, after an intense happening. Tara ends up getting Jax's help to kill her creepy stalker from Chicago and that brought them close again. She is not fond of her now boyfriend's criminal lifestyle, and has a constant dispute with Jax's mother, Gemma, who is afraid she is going to lose her son and everything she worked for.
Even though Irish secret agent Grace Burgess captivated Thomas Shelby while being the enemy, she fell for him as well, and a similar "Tara/stalker/Jax" situation brought them close: killing someone together. More specifically, killing an IRA operative. Ah, the romance! Grace left her principles behind to become Mrs. Shelby, for Thomas forgave her for betraying him, although Aunt Polly didn't. So Grace accepted the challenge of having to put up with the matriarch's attempts to keep that relationship from happening.
As well as Tara did with Jax, Grace's love motivated Thomas to go legit and end the bloodshed his gang is responsible for, but don't let what seems to be a case of bad boys being changed and softened by good girls fool you: both Tara and Grace meet fatal consequences while waiting for their husbands to deal with "one more" trouble before getting out of the gang game. That, as expected, adds fuel to the bad boys' thirst for revenge, and here we go again...
"Maybe what really upsets you is the thought that one day you might lose him."
— Grace Burgess, to Aunt Polly, talking about Thomas
Tig Trager started out as being merciless Clay Morrow's "rowdog." No matter how senseless, immoral, evil or corrupt the job was, Trager, or "Tig," was there to make it happen. After taking some hallucinogenic mushrooms, Tig seems to slowly change into a more compassionate person, or more rational to the very least, understanding his wrongdoings, even feeling guilty.
It took more than mushrooms to knock some sense into the oldest Peaky Blinder brother, Arthur Shelby Jr., though. After finding Jesus and the love of a very religious woman, Arthur, who used to be a troubled, possibly bipolar, extremely violent man, with a cocaine abuse issue, became as soft as one can be. Add guilt to the mix, too.
On a different note, I can't fail to mention that, during one of Arthur's manic depressive episodes, he tries to hang himself, but the ceiling wooden beam he tied the rope on breaks, and he lives. Sons of Anarchy's most vulnerable member, Juice, also tried to hang himself at some point, but the branch of the tree he used for that attempt broke as well, and he also lived.
Arthur is usually the one to proudly announce the show's most famous quote.
Jax Teller's son, Abel, gets kidnapped and taken to Ireland and, amongst other traps (the Irish don't play!), Jax depends on a priest to get his son back. The priest needs Abel to blackmail Jax into doing what he wants.
Charles Shelby, Thomas' son, also gets kidnapped, and by a priest himself, who uses the baby as leverage against Thomas, until he does what the priest needs him to do.
I've mentioned some of the obvious similarities between Sons of Anarchy and Peaky Blinders, now allow me to go a little overboard and ride my imagination. As a fan of both shows, I like to make up my own stories.
What if the IRA operatives who were trying to steal the guns from the Peaky Blinders in the first season are the forefathers of the Irish kings selling the guns that the Sons of Anarchy deal in California?
"Take a little walk to the edge of town
And go across the tracks..."