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When Michael arrived at the Shelby Company Ltd, he was fresh from his wholesome upbringing on a Kentish farm, and focused entirely on making the business legitimate. A trainee accountant, Michael was diligent and serious, and had yet to experience the Peaky Blinder lifestyle. Enter, Isaiah.

We’re Peaky Boys

In season two, episode four, Michael and Isaiah are working on the company accounts when Isaiah (played at that point by Jordan Bolger, who was forced to leave the show after season four due to scheduling issues with other acting commitments) suggests they go for a drink. It’s payday and Isaiah wants to go to The Marquis of Lorne, where the secretaries from the BSA factory drink. “They won’t serve a black man without a Shelby by his side,” he explains.

At The Marquis, Michael orders a pint but Isaiah overrules him saying “Fuck that, we’re Peaky boys. Two whiskies.” When non-smoker Michael visibly flinches at smoking a cigarette, Isaiah tells him “You get used to it, then you can’t stop.” Instantly, there’s trouble. A racist drinker named Paddy starts to harass Isaiah and tells him “I don’t drink with blacks.” The barman – knowing exactly who Michael and Isaiah are – tries to calm it down, but Paddy won’t stop. Isaiah tells him to leave it because his dad the preacher “has connections”. Michael suggests they go to drink at the Garrison, but Isaiah refuses to leave and stands his ground. Paddy and calls Isaiah offensive racist names until Isaiah punches him. A fight breaks out, in which Michael proves surprisingly handy, until the racist is beating him and the barman intervenes. “Paddy, the white kid’s a Peaky Blinder, he’s Polly Shelby’s son, he’s Polly Shelby’s son, are you fucking suicidal?”

The Good Name of the Company

The words “Polly Shelby” and “Peaky Blinder” stop Paddy in his tracks. He apologises and leaves, while Michael and Isaiah finish their drinks, buzzing from the fight. Later, when they go to the Garrison and boast about winning the scrap, Arthur and John ask which pub, and get up to leave. Michael’s baffled and asks Isaiah where they’re going. “The Marquis of Lorne,” he says, with a much better grip on how all this works than Michael. “Shame, it was a nice pub.”    

In the next scene, we see Paddy dragged into the Marquis, his face sliced, and Arthur and John pouring petrol over him and the pub. John lights a match, and the whole place goes up in flames. “You didn’t have to do that for me,” says Michael, to which Arthur replies. “We didn’t do it for you, Michael, we did it for the good name of the company.”

In one evening, Michael Gray has learned the power of being Polly Shelby’s son, drunk whisky, smoked cigarettes, experienced the adrenaline of violence, and realised the importance of maintaining a fearsome reputation, standing your ground and showing no mercy. In short, he’s gone from apple-cheeked farm boy to Peaky Blinder, and Isaiah was among those who taught him.

Source: Den of Geek

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