In Peaky Blinders season 6, episode 5, “Road To Hell”, Tommy Shelby sees a vision of a pile of dead bodies and some of them are people he has killed himself. While a film will conclude Peaky Blinders after season 6, Tommy Shelby’s story suggests he may not live to see the events of the movie. Tommy believes that the tragedies and illnesses that have befallen his family are his punishment for previous transgressions. However, the pile of dead bodies was a reminder of his more recent sins.
Visions have afflicted Tommy Shelby throughout every season of Peaky Blinders. In earlier seasons, he regularly had opium-induced dreams of his time tunneling during World War 1. After the death of Grace, his ex-wife plagued his visions and encouraged him to join her in the afterlife. As a Gypsy, Tommy believes in the supernatural and the power of visions – the visions are warnings of what is to come and recollections of what has passed. In season 6, the pressures mount on Tommy’s shoulders. A combination of dealings with fascists, deaths in his family, and a diagnosis of incurable tuberculoma have caused Tommy’s visions to become more frequent and visceral.
The vision Tommy Shelby has in Peaky Blinders season 6, episode 5 was a pile of dead bodies that included Evadne Barwell and the men at her camp. According to Esme, Evadne Barwell was the person responsible for the curse (and tuberculosis) that killed Tommy’s daughter Ruby. After Ruby’s funeral in season 6, episode 4, Tommy took revenge against the “devils” responsible and killed Evadne and several men at her camp with a submachine gun. Whilst the camera only closed in on Evadne’s face in the pile, there are also several German soldiers from World War 1.
The German soldiers can be spotted because of their uniform and visor cap that has a distinctive red color running around the cap. The inclusion of German bodies in the pile makes sense since Tommy has had numerous visions in the tunnels in season 6. In one vision, Tommy even fought the first soldier he ever killed. In the vision, before he saw the pile of dead bodies, Tommy was in the tunnels again moments earlier. Tommy’s PTSD from the war has never truly left him and is now exacerbated by his paranoia. The vision visualizes Tommy’s fear that his past will be his downfall, that his reckoning will come from underneath him, like how someone drags him by his feet away from the tunnel and into the bathtub.
Although Tommy has tried to become a “better man” during Peaky Blinders season 6, he regressed into his violent ways when he killed Evadne Barwell and the men at their camp. By seeing them in his vision, his sin haunted him. It was a reminder of how he could not change and he acknowledged this when speaking to Peaky Blinders’ Oswald Mosley, Jack Nelson, and Diana Mitford, claiming that “for all I try to hide it, I’m just one of you.” Whilst he believed Ruby’s death was his punishment, it was something so devastating that it stopped him from becoming the man he wished to be. It appeared that Tommy has given up on his desire to be better and had accepted who he is. That can only mean that the pile of bodies will grow in Peaky Blinders’ finale.