Ripper Street Season 3 Review (Spoilers)

  • Title:  Ripper Street
  • Season: 3
  • Episodes: 8
  • Discs: 3
  • Cast: Matthew MacFadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg, MyAnna Buring, Charlene McKenna
  • Network:  BBC (Co-Produced by BBC, BBC Worldwide, Amazon Prime, BBC America)
  • DVD Format:  Widescreen, Color, DVD, R1, NTSC

The first season of Ripper Street is set a year after the Jack-the-Ripper murders. The residents of the Whitechapel district of London have even less faith in the police. Detective Inspector Fred Abberline has been “kicked upstairs” to metropolitan police headquarters and a new DI appointed, Inspector Edmund Reid. Reid is a dedicated cop, who is suffering himself – having lost his daughter in a steam ferry accident, he is now estranged from his mourning wife. Reid throws himself into his work.

Season 3 of Ripper Street takes place four years after the end of season 2, and the Leman Street station has broken apart. Capt. H. Jackson is now a low-rent doctor, no longer interested in police forensics or medical examiner work. Detective Bennet Drake has moved on to a position with the Manchester police. And Reid organizes the records room and archives of the police station.

But then a train robbery goes wrong, when a Necropolis train is diverted on to a passenger train track. The two trains collide, leaving 55 dead – and bringing our characters back together. Drake was a passenger on the train, returning to London at the bequest of Abberline to be trained as a detective inspector then take Reid’s job when he’s kicked upstairs after six months. Jackson, still a doctor, runs out into the street to care for the wounded. Reid of course is in the middle of the chaos – and determined to know who was at fault. Susan now patron of the Obsidian clinic for women and the poor arrives with nurses and medical supplies. And Fred Best, reporter at large arrives initially to cover the disaster – only to find his lover was one of the victims. This disaster will prove to be the underlying plot for the entire season.

Ripper Street is extremely well written, and the theme of how the train disaster affects everyone and Whitechapel itself makes this particular season of the show move quickly and makes it more intense. The initial five robbers who caused the disaster are caught and hanged in the first episode, however, Reid suspects there was a “Sixth Man” who organized the robbery. He even has a clue as to who that may be, a lawyer named Capshaw, but no way to prove it.

Reid is correct about the lawyer – and he works for “Long Susan” once a madam and Capt. Jackson’s wife – now a respectable businesswoman and patron of the Obsidian clinic and the Obsidian Tenements building project.  Susan knew of the bearer bonds on the train – but she is appalled at the high human cost of the robbery – especially, since it was dishonest money she stole to fund her own good works.

Each episode of the season has it’s own crime which is solved, but the greater mystery of the train robbery gets deeper and deeper. A shopkeeper is unable to pay his debts to his loan shark, because the money went to funeral costs for a relative. When enforcers come calling, the shopkeeper’s wife is killed in the fray. This leads to the enforcer and his boss, Susan’s lawyer, finding a girl kept in the basement. The girl is traumatized. She is taken to Susan, who calls the female doctor from the clinic. They slowly come to realize the girl is actually Reid’s missing (and presumed dead) daughter – Mathilda. Thinking that Reid is partially to blame for her trauma, and not wanting to be connected to the crime at the clinic, when Reid finds proof that his daughter was in fact there, Susan lies and claims the girl was brutalised, beaten, raped, and tortured, and finally died from her injuries. Reid has a temper tantrum and kills the shopkeeper he thinks is responsible for Mathilda’s death.

Mathilda becomes another theme to the season, as Reid does discover she is alive – and she and he are reunited. Yet, he is unable to quickly drop everything and run off with Mathilda. When he confronts Capshaw (the lawyer) at Long Susan’s establishment, Susan shoots him – then makes it look like Cashaw shot the detective and he in turn shot Capshaw (Susan, full of regret for shooting Reid – shoots her lawyer).

Reid recovers, slowly. Jackson, having returned to working for the police as a surgeon also investigates the train robbery in his own way. And the reporter, Best, also investigates – bringing evidence to both Reid and Jackson.

Once all these forces collide the nature of the crime becomes known – and world-wide.

As the crime is finally wrapped up in the last episode, even though one of the investigators of the train robbery and the underlying reasons for it will be dead, happiness actually reigns for our main characters. The episode and the season has a satisfactory ending.

I really enjoy Ripper Street and I highly recommend it. The costumes are rich and detailed. The acting is fantastic. The series never shies away from showing the wretched conditions of London’s poor in the late 1890s/early 1900s. It’s great that in this season, we see older plotlines resolved happily. And I really liked the language used in Ripper Street. Everyone speaks in, not so much a very formal manner, but in this poetry-like manner of talking that’s enjoyable to listen to. One quickly becomes used to it – and it adds to the historical feel of the piece.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s