Tommy likes to light up late at night when it’s quiet and take a deep drag. Almost immediately, he collapses on his bed, confused.
The wartime memories of being in a tunnel with Danny and Freddie flood back into his consciousness.
The increasing volume of Danny’s screams causes him to startle awake.
After serving in the First World War, Thomas Shelby went back to his hometown of Birmingham.
His ancestors had always worked in the gambling industry. He is quiet and reserved, preferring to keep his thoughts to himself as he goes about his day.
Now, these are the sort of things that could make Thomas seem like he’s hiding something.
But when you find out he smokes cigarettes before bed and has nightmares about fighting, you know it’s more than that.
Tommy smokes cigarettes and drinks whiskey frequently throughout the show, especially when he goes out to the bar to meet Grace in the first season and again in subsequent seasons.
All other indicators point to someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
It didn’t look like cigarettes, so I was confused as to why he smoked before bed.
In the first two seasons, Thomas Shelby (Tommy) smokes brown opium at night to deal with the stress and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder he developed during World War I.
Both his symptoms and his opium addiction improve after he marries Grace in Season 3, but return after Grace’s death.
When I realized this, I was able to examine his behavior more closely and gain insight into the severity of his condition. Some of the symptoms he displays are as follows:
Reliving the War Memory
Several times throughout the first season, Thomas is shown experiencing flashbacks to the war.
Every time he awakens, his face is drenched in sweat, and he seems to struggle for breath.
This demonstrates that he also suffers from anxiety, a common symptom of PTSD.
I. Trust Issues
All of us are very familiar with Tommy at this point. Thomas has low trust in human nature.
He is reluctant to share his plans and ideas with others, and as a result, he often keeps them to himself.
II. The Numbness
Very little, if any, emotion appears on his face, even when terrible things are happening right in front of him.
And his expressionless grey eyes don’t add much. He seems unaffected by the world around him or at least resigned to whatever fate has in store for him.
III. Already Broken
This one really speaks for itself. Season 1 episode “The Pub,” features Grace and Tommy on their own.
Tommy proposes that she sing to him. She gives him the option of listening to a happy or sad song, and Tommy picks the latter.
He responds, “Already broken!” when she tells him the song will hurt him emotionally.
You might think this is all for the show, but in reality, it’s how it feels. Because a piece of his soul was lost in the war and the devil was all that came back.
All of these things resurface for him at night as a result of his PTSD. This is because, during the day, he is surrounded by people and his focus is on the tasks at hand.
But when there is nothing to keep him company at night, his demons emerge again.
This is why he regularly puffs on a clay pipe filled with brown opium. For the sake of reducing his PTSD symptoms.
Does Arthur Shelby Have PTSD as Well?
Absolutely, he does! People with PTSD can show signs of the disorder in a variety of ways. When compared to Tommy, Arthur prefers the opposite.
He has a hard time controlling his temper and is easily agitated. It’s also clear that there are times when he completely loses it.
In one scene, he loses control of his emotions during an underground boxing match and fatally beats a young boy.
All of these things happen because he suffers from PTSD.
Can Thomas Shelby Ever Be Okay Again?
Spoilers for later seasons are in store for those who haven’t caught up.
For those who have watched all five seasons, you know that Grace plays a significant role in helping Thomas Shelby find some stability.
She gives him reasons to believe, helps him relax, and moves him closer to contentment.
The death of his mother, however, triggers Tommy’s downward spiral once more. He has more trouble sleeping and hallucinations of her in the final season. It’s almost as if the end of his life is near.
Why Is Everyone Smoking in Peaky Blinders All the Time?! What Are They Smoking?
People in the 20th century were more likely to engage in risky behaviors like smoking, drinking, and drug use without much social stigma.
Cocaine and opium were readily available at any pharmacy. Thus, people back then didn’t see smoking as a big deal.
For most of the 20th century, it was not unusual for people to openly consume alcoholic beverages or smoke cigarettes in public.
This is why you always see the Peaky Blinders gang members with cigarettes or drinks in hand.
Like the rest of Europe, England has a reputation for having a chilly climate.
Drinking is often done not just for fun, but also to keep warm.
To be a member of a gang like the Peaky Blinders meant to regularly partake in alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
That’s why the Shelbys are always puffing on cigarettes or drinking Irish whiskey.
Aunt Polly (the late Helen McCrory) let slip to The Mirror in an interview that she and the other characters in the show only smoke herbal replicas of cigarettes.
What Whiskey is Everyone Drinking in Peaky Blinders?
We’ve established what the Shelbys are smoking, so now we can move on to alcoholic beverages.
Whiskey, to the Shelbys, is like water, and cigarettes are like air. Both are essential for the Peaky Blinders’ survival.
Tommy Shelby (and everyone else) is always smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol in any given episode of Peaky Blinders.
The Shelbys seem to be addicted to whatever it is.
The Shelbys favor a particular brand of Irish whiskey known as Gallglenies.
Irish whiskey is very well-liked in England, despite the fact that the band itself does not exist.
Many different types of alcohol with references to the show’s setting have been released.
Is the Peaky Blinders’ Whiskey Available in Real Life?
The whiskey featured on the show is fictional, but the Shelby family’s love of the spirit has inspired a wide variety of commercially available whiskeys.
It’s not just you and I trying to track down Tommy Shelby’s preferred beverage.
The BBC dramas have inspired a line of distilled spirits that includes whiskey, gin, and rum.
Inspired by the smash-hit British crime show on BCC, Sadler’s, a Black Country Brewery founded in 1900, has released a new line of spirits.
The spirits in this series are distilled with an eye toward recreating the tastes that were prevalent in England around 1920 when the original Peaky Blinders operated.
There are three different alcoholic beverages in the Peaky Blinder line: Whiskey, Spiced Dry Gin, and Black Spiced Rum.
The flavors and aromas of each variety were carefully crafted to transport you to the Roaring Twenties.
Each spirit is crafted with an eye toward authenticity and a nod to the era’s most beloved flavors and scents.
Members of the original Peaky Blinders gang, who frequented English pubs in the early 20th century, may have frequented one of the rumored twelve tied establishments that Sadler’s supplied at the time. I find the concept to be quite exciting.
About Peaky Blinders
The British period crime drama TV shows Peaky Blinders was created by Steven Knight.
The Series follows the criminal activities of the Shelby family, headed by Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy), in post-World War I Birmingham, England.
The fictional family was inspired by an actual urban youth gang that operated in the city from the 1890s to the early 1900s under the same name.
It features Tom Hardy, Finn Cole, Cillian Murphy, Sam Claflin, Aidan Gillen, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, and Paul Anderson.
The sixth and final season of Peaky Blinders will premiere on BBC One on February 27.