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Peaky Blinders : Why Polly Is So Important In Thomas Shelby’s Story

As the head of the Peaky Blinders, Thomas Shelby always has a big and ambitious plan for how the gang (later an incorporated company: the Shelby Company Limited) can expand. Trusting few people, Thomas often keeps these plans to himself, taking very few other characters, if any, into his confidence, and allowing for late-season reveals. As he works to distract himself from his past traumas and ongoing death wish, his plans are often dangerous, and his big gambles are weighed against the fact that he doesn’t value his own life and doesn’t always consider how his actions will affect others.

Elizabeth “Polly” Gray, Thomas Shelby’s aunt, serves as the matriarch for the Peaky Blinders and acts as a moderating force on Thomas. While he often rebuts her advice at first, she is one of the few characters who is able to reliably call him out when his plans are poorly contrived or overly dangerous. Time and again she has been shown to operate behind the scenes to ensure the success of Thomas’ plans with or without his knowledge. However, in later seasons with the appearance of Polly’s son, Michael Gray (Finn Cole), her allegiance is sometimes split, and the lack of her support has notable negative effects on Thomas Shelby’s machinations.

Polly Gray’s Death Could Drive Peaky Blinders’ Season 6 Story

Depending on how much of the show was filmed before McCrory’s death, one possible choice for the show would be to have the character die as part of the Peaky Blinders season 6 narrative. While Thomas Shelby has aggressive disagreements with Polly Gray at times, her death would hit the whole family extremely hard. Without that voice to challenge Thomas when necessary, other characters will have to step forward to derail his more self-destructive tendencies to save the family and the company.

If the show were to choose to kill off Polly Gray as part of Peaky Blinders season 6, it would need to be a large part of the plot to do justice to the character’s huge presence in the show (something which might not be feasible as they had already begun filming and could require rewrites). If she were to have died of natural causes or in an accident, the remaining Shelbys would likely be driven by melancholy and a desire to fulfill their matriarch’s legacy amid the ensuing power struggle. Alternatively, if she were killed by one of the Peaky Blinders enemies, then the season would likely be driven by revenge. The latter would be a worse choice, given that it would negate Polly’s often indestructible demeanor and would risk repeating beats from John Shelby’s death in season 4.

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