‘Peaky Blinders’ is a period crime-drama series set between the two World Wars. The Shelby brothers — Arthur (Paul Anderson), Tommy (Cillian Murphy), and John (Joe Cole) — return from the war and assumes control of the eponymous street gang in Birmingham. Although Arthur is the oldest and initially believes he should be the head of the family business, it is soon proven that Tommy is more capable. In the course of the series, Arthur comes to accept his position in the family. He is volatile but fiercely loyal. He is also capable of incredible cruelty and evil. If you are wondering whether Arthur dies in the sixth season of ‘Peaky Blinders,’ we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Does Arthur Survive?
Yes, Arthur Shelby survives in the sixth season of ‘Peaky Blinders.’ Like his brothers, Arthur suffers from a severe case of PTSD. During World War I, he was a Sapper along with Tommy. Their job was to dig tunnels so explosives could be placed under the enemy locations. It became a very effective way to eliminate enemies in a war where soldiers fought in the trenches. After coming back to Birmingham, Arthur becomes addicted to opium to deal with his trauma. He marries Linda, a woman who used to be part of a Christian movement. Initially, Linda tries to help Arthur with his mental health issues, but she later comes to despise both him and the Peaky Blinders. After consulting with Tommy’s wife, Lizzie, Linda realizes that only a lawyer from London can help her get a divorce from a member of the Shelby family.
After Arthur viciously attacks a man she has grown close to, Linda tries to shoot Arthur, but Polly Gray first shoots her in the arm. In season 6, their relationship is strained, and Arthur continues to struggle with his addiction and mental health issues. For many in the organization, he is merely a ghost of his former self, but as it is gradually revealed, the violent warrior is still inside him.
Arthur is arguably in his most vulnerable state when he encounters union convenor Hayden Stagg in episode 3, titled ‘Gold.’ Hayden reveals that he was at the place as Arthur is now and urges the other man to “walk like it’s a flat plane rather than mountains.” it seems to have a deep effect on Arthur, though it doesn’t change his nature. In the series finale, he is the one who takes revenge for Polly’s death against the IRA.
Arthur is also the only one who learns that Tommy has been diagnosed with tuberculoma. While Tommy’s response was of stoic acceptance when he first heard the news, Arthur is very characteristically furious. He rages against the unfairness of it all and kicks and breaks things.
As the diagnosis gives Tommy a sense of urgency, he speaks to Linda, convincing her to be kind to Arthur in exchange for a donation to her church. Arthur is noticeably absent when Tommy says goodbyes to his family, preferring to go fishing instead. In a message through Linda, Arthur lets his younger brother know that he will soon be there where Tommy is going. This can be interpreted in a couple of ways. One of them is that Arthur might be planning to kill himself, or it can mean that he plans to continue living the way he has and ensure that death will come early for him. Either way, Arthur doesn’t seem to have much desire of living in the world without his younger brother. But given that the diagnosis was a lie and Tommy survives, Arthur might live on as well if he comes to know the truth in time.