Warning: Spoilers ahead for season 5 of Peaky Blinders. Stop reading now if you haven’t seen the season yet!
Season 5 of Peaky Blinders was chock full of shocking moments, and the season ended with an even more shocking finale. However, the reappearance of one key character ended up being the most surprising event of the season.
Tom Hardy’s character Alfie Solomons was killed by Tommy Shelby at the end of season four after he betrayed Tommy in favor of the New York mafioso Luca Changretta. However, it turns out that Alfie had an ulterior motive with his betrayal. He had just found out that he had cancer, and he knew Tommy would kill him before the cancer did.
During the last episode of season five, Tommy suddenly announces that he’s going to Margate—and ends up at Alfie’s home. Tommy knew that Alfie was alive after he sent him a letter, but Alfie is choosing to live in secret, as no one outside of his closest followers knows that he didn’t actually die. Alfie is now sporting a rather cool facial scar, and he oddly doesn’t seem to be harboring any ill will towards the Peaky Blinders leader for shooting.
As you can expect, fans were very excited about Hardy’s appearance on the show, and they expressed said excitement with a various number of hilarious memes and gifs.
However, Hardy’s reappearance makes more sense when you consider the context of his exit. Director David Caffrey previously explained that Alfie’s killing was a last-minute addition to the script, and Hardy’s co-star, Paul Anderson, had revealed that the actor didn’t want to leave the show. “I didn’t know that was coming. We were unsure… there was a whole thing about whether or not Alfie would live or die, or get shot or not. It was up for debate and discussion. I know that Tom didn’t want to go,” Anderson said.
And while it’s unclear if Hardy will return for season 6, it seems like he probably will—Alfie and his men were a key part of Tommy’s failed assassination plot against Oswald Mosley.