tom hardy
Tom Hardy makes his return to Peaky Blinders in episode five of the third seriesBBC

Thursday night's Peaky Blinders (2 June) – the fifth episode of the third series – took it up a notch with chilling threats, debauchery, infidelity and the return of Tom Hardy, who completely slayed his performance as the delirious gang leader Alfie Solomons. The Godfather of the small screen, this show has seemingly proven itself to have it all.

Swanning into the limelight and almost stealing Cillian Murphy's shine altogether, Hardy truly showed us how it's done when it comes to playing a Jewish mobster with a loveable edge. Mastering the balance between terrifying and compassionate, Hardy throws himself to the supporting acting role as if he's already played the character in a prior blockbuster movie.

His spirit counteracts Murphy's haunting reticence with his upbeat, cheeky chappy manner, making them the dream team of onscreen gangsters that we've had the pleasure of viewing in a long while.

Episode five saw a vulnerable Tommy quiver in despair as the penny has dropped that the Russians are a few steps ahead of him, realising that him and his gang have been outmanoeuvred. He pulls former arch nemesis Alfie (Hardy) into the picture, but his gregarious, erratic nature proves difficult to control. Discussing Shelby's latest pickle, Alfie isn't worried about pressing Tommy's buttons, quipping: "You're f***ing about with the Russians again, aren't you? You silly boy."

Tommy falls into a deeper mess as he continues to eschew the criminal life and clear his family's name, but he's caught up in a sticky international intrigue that's thrown him into the deep end. The episode largely focuses on sex, with the three Shelby brothers getting some action at a Russian orgy where Arthur delves in extra marital affairs, taking his wedding ring off as he gets down to business with Linda in his guilt-ridden thoughts, no doubt.

Polly also succumbs to the charms of her painting admirer, and Tommy is seduced by the gorgeous Russian princess, Tatiana, who tricks him into believing she is the ghost of his dead wife, Grace. Seriously, it all went down in episode five, so we can only have high hopes for the big finale next week. Check out the Twitter reaction below.