Ripper Street: Men of Iron, Men of Smoke

Reid and Drake investigate a murder in season 4 episode 5 of Ripper StreetPreviously on Ripper Street: Rose and Drake took in little Connor, whom Jackson secretly visits, which does not make Drake happy, when he finds out. Susan’s gotten quite fond of Croker, and vice versa, and Reid might still look into the Isaac Bloom case. Oh, and you may have forgotten (I know I sure did), but waaaay back in season 1, Drake saved a boy, Thomas Gower, from being hanged for murder by enlisting him in the army.

This week, it’s all about surrogate parents/mentors and their relationship with those pesky kids.

First up: Croker. Susan realises he’s been ripping off the Customs House by helping himself to a few things here and there. She goes to work on Croker’s right-hand man/kind of adopted son and gets him to show her how he gets into the Customs House. He does, and she immediately decides to bring Jackson back and rob the place’s strongroom, even though that’s incredibly dangerous. Croker is not on board with this, but she pressures him, using his newfound affection for her as a sort of stand-in daughter.

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Victoria: An Ordinary Woman

Victoria and Albert at their wedding in episode 5 of VictoriaPreviously on Victoria: Victoria and Albert met and didn’t really like each other. But then they loved each other! And got engaged! History!

So, these two crazy kids are getting married, and that means it’s time for… pettiness and political wrangling. Leopold follows his congratulations up with an immediate demand that Albert get the same deal he did: £50,000 a year (woah, Leopold got £50,000 a year in 1816? That was a hell of a lot of money back then!). Plus, Albert wants a seat in the House of Lords and some sort of official title in England, because Her Majesty’s Stallion just isn’t going to cut it.

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Poldark: Interest

Francis and his son at the harvest in episode 3 of PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: Ross went on trial and somehow managed to be found not guilty, despite trying his damnest to get a noose around his neck. Francis, too, decided it was time to shuffle off the mortal coil, but his gun misfired, so now he’s reconsidering. Demelza’s pregnant again, but hasn’t told Ross because he doesn’t want another child. George is now determined to take over Wheal Leisure purely so he can control Ross, the local heiress has set her sights on Dr Enys, and Jud and Prudie get their old jobs back.

Ross is back home, and back to being a total dick to his wife, ignoring her and very rudely abandoning her when they have a guest (McNeil, his old army buddy, who clearly has an interest in Demelza). Demelza gets tired of it and lets him have it, because it’s not like she doesn’t have enough to deal with just now. Ross gets mad for a while, but then they both apologise and he admits that the insane interest on the £1,000 loan he took out last year is due: all £400 of it. They only manage to rustle up the cash by basically selling everything, including the rugs they stand on and nearly all the livestock. In order to do the latter, Demelza has to go deal with the local lech, who gets very handsy with her and basically tells her he’ll only buy her cow if she sleeps with him. McNeal appears just when he’s needed, and promises to look out for Demelza in the future.

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Ripper Street: A White World Made Red

Jackson and Reid examine a body in episode 4 of Ripper Street

Previously on Ripper Street: Jackson stashed Susan with Croker, whom she impressed by getting him an unexpectedly good business deal; Reid returned to Lehman Street and proved he hasn’t lost his edge a bit; and Miss Costello pushed Reid to keep looking into Isaac Bloom’s case.

They’re getting us ready for Halloween early with this one!

Dracula is in the bookstores, in Matilda’s hand, and seemingly stalking Whitechapel. The body of a man is found trussed up and bled out in a cold meat storage. He has ligature marks on his neck and an infected puncture wound on his arm. There’s a lot of dried blood nearby (not his, though. His has been neatly collected in a bucket), and an overturned chair, which suggests a second victim. A quick search turns up a young woman, dead, not far away, with a puncture wound to her neck similar to that on our male victim.

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Victoria: The Clockwork Prince

Prince Albert in episode 3 of Victoria: The Clockwork PrincePreviously on Victoria: All the grownups got bored trying to boot Victoria off the throne, so they decided to get her married instead. Uncle Leopold came over from Belgium to disapprove and glower and to invite his nephews, Albert and Ernst, over without actually checking with his hostess. Being King comes with privileges, I guess, but totally ignoring basic manners shouldn’t be one of them. Victoria’s resisting all this marriage talk, however, because she’s decided she’s in love with Melbourne, and apparently he’s in love with her too, or something of that sort, but he turns down her proposal anyway because: history.

So, Daisy Goodwin, who’s writing this, apparently writes slightly highbrow romance-y novels that I might be tempted to pick up if a) the names of her characters weren’t so laughably absurd (the main character of one novel, a Consuelo Vanderbilt knockoff, is called Cora Cash, for God’s sake) and b) this episode didn’t indicate she’s a terrible writer of romance. At no point during this hour did I believe that Victoria and Albert would become one of history’s great love stories. In fact, the whole thing unfolded in such a by-the-book, trope-heavy manner, I almost felt like Goodwin was ticking off boxes as she went. ‘Let’s see: hate-hate relationship at the outset? Check. Sudden, random breathless moment in a crowded room? Check. Dishevelled romping in the countryside? Check. Fight for no real reason? Check. Realisation that they were fighting because they were really in luuuurve? Check.

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Poldark: Ross in the Dock

Aiden Turner as Ross Poldark in series 2 episode 2 of PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: Ross was arrested for inciting a riot and leading a pillaging party down to the beach (but, really, he was arrested because George Warleggan is the most vindictive, petty little cuss that ever drew breath). He was sent to Bodmin for his trial, and everyone else headed that way as well, because along with this super exciting trial, there’s an election going on. Francis went to support his cousin, and wound up giving George a piece of his mind before, possibly, shooting himself in the head.

First things first: Francis is not dead. He would be, but the gun misfired. Poor guy can’t even manage his own suicide. Dwight returns to his room at the inn to find Francis all maudlin, trying to decide if he should give this another go. Dwight reaaaaaally uneasily goes to bed, because now on top of being his best friend’s only defense witness, he’s got a suicidal roommate. Worst out-of-town weekend ever.

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Ripper Street: Some Conscience Lost

Edmund Reid comforts the mother of a murder victimPreviously on Ripper Street: Reid got his job back (well, he got a job on the police force, at least) on the understanding he’d be working under Drake and would leave the Bloom case behind. Isaac Bloom was hanged, and Susan was fake hanged before being secretly rescued by Jackson, who also handed their kid over to Rose and Drake to raise until such a time as he and Susan see fit to kidnap him back.

Reid’s getting ready for his first day back at work, but he’s stalling by accompanying Mathilda on some census-type research she’s doing. She goes into one building and unexpectedly finds a young boy dying in there. She summons her father, who rushes in just in time to hear the boy’s name (Tommy) and to really sweetly comfort the child as he expires. It’s a grim glimpse of the types of skills he’s had to acquire in this job.

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Victoria: Brocket Hall

What_did_you_think_of_Victoria_episode_3_Previously on Victoria: Victoria came to the throne and stumbled around quite a lot, trying to shake off the influence of her weak-willed mother and the horrible Sir John Conroy. She began leaning heavily on her prime minister, Lord Melbourne, even to the point of forcing the government to retain him as PM when his ministry was crumbling.

So, if last week was ‘everyone run around saying again and again how unstable and crazy Victoria is so you can force a regency’, this week is ‘everyone run around saying again and again how important it is that Victoria get married RIGHT NOW.’ Because that’s seriously the entire episode. Scene after scene after scene of people saying exactly that.

Apparently the question of Victoria’s marriage is so important her uncle, Leopold, takes time off from being King of the Belgians to come over and discuss it with her, and push her cousin, Albert, as a suitable mate. (Fun facts! Leopold was married to Princess Charlotte, the only legitimate child of George IV. Had she not died horribly in childbirth, Leopold’s life would have been quite different, and so would Victoria’s. In fact, Victoria may very well have never existed. Also, Leopold was her mother’s brother.)

Cumberland, meanwhile, has just abandoned the whole idea of being regent, seemingly overnight and with no explanation whatsoever, so he can push his own suitor: Prince George of Cambridge (no, not that one). (Fun facts! Prince George was two months older than Victoria, outlived her by three years, married an actress, was a respected soldier and supported the career of one Douglas Haig.)

Even the servants are getting in on the action, placing bets on who the lucky guy’ll be. Spoiler alert: Francatelli’s going to win.

Victoria now has all these people harping at her to choose a husband already, because someone needs to control her. And those are precisely the wrong words to use to a young woman only just escaping a man’s control. She’s not interested in Albert or George (and George sure doesn’t seem interested in her). She decides she wants Melbourne, of course, and helps herself to her lady-in-waiting’s carriage so she can go rushing off to his country place, interrupt his afternoon of rook whispering, and propose to him. Melbourne, for his part, manages to conceal just how weirded out he is by this child’s obsession with him, and lets her down easily. Well, as easily as one can.

Victoria takes this one rejection and runs with it, as so many teens do, deciding she’ll be just like Elizabeth I and never marry. She even dresses as Elizabeth for a costume ball, because subtlety is definitely not her strong suit. When Melbourne hears of this plan, he basically says, ‘Yeah, poor idea. You’ll get over this.’ And she does, as we know. Though Melbourne doesn’t really help when he sends a mixed message in the form of orchids, which her lady-in-waiting throws herself all over. ‘Oh, he reopened the greenhouses just for you! Orchids are soooo hard to grow! He totally luuuurves you!’ Thanks, lady.

Victoria does find one way to distract herself from heartbreak: finally kicking Conroy the hell out. She grants him an Irish title and an annual pension of £1000 on the condition he gets lost. And finally, the Duchess of Kent gets to be a little interesting, as the full force of that betrayal and of her fear play out on her face when she hears the news. But, at least it means she and Victoria can start patching things up, though in reality, Victoria and her mother were fairly estranged for years, and it was Albert who brought them back together.

The poor and even the emerging middle classes might have a voice! You can see why the upper classes kind of freaked out over that.

In the midst of all this we get to see some of the Chartist Movement gathering strength. Of course, it’s dealt with in such a a shallow, dismissive manner you kind of wonder why they bothered including it at all. Melbourne gives Victoria such a brief rundown of what they want even Cliff’s Notes is begging for a little depth, there. But heaven forbid we should get any sort of historical context for anything that’s happening, because that might detract from the vital work of FINDING VICTORIA A HUSBAND!!! OMG, WHO WILL SHE MARRY? Which is stupid, because we already know how that bit of the story goes, so there’s no tension in any of that. The Chartists actually had very reasonable requests, including gaining the vote for all men over 21, not just landowners (baby steps, you know), a secret ballot, equal size electoral districts, eliminating property qualifications to become an MP, and paying MPs a salary. Those last two are notable, because they would actually make it possible for people who were not wealthy landowners a chance to sit in Parliament. The poor and even the emerging middle classes might have a voice! My heavens! You can see why the upper classes kind of freaked out over that.

The show built in an opportunity to delve into this a little bit: Mrs Jenkins, the dresser, has a nephew who’s part of the movement. He’s arrested and sentenced to a traitor’s death, and although she’s sad about that, she completely dismisses him and his beliefs, saying he’s basically a bad boy and deserves some sort of punishment. I totally buy that she’d be a firm monarchist and conservative, but it seems odd to introduce this particular connection and then not do anything at all with it. Except give Victoria a chance to be all benevolent and commute the sentences of the men under arrest, so they won’t be hanged, drawn and quartered after all. Strangely, she is utterly unaware that, as queen, she has the power to do this, until Lord M points it out to her. Somebody please give this girl a Ruling 101 book, or something.

Oh, and in matters I simply can’t bring myself to care about, even a little, Miss Jenkins’s assistant maybe wasn’t a prostitute, just worked in the laundry for some fancy brothel. Does anyone care about this storyline yet?

But back to the important things: VICTORIA NEEDS A HUSBAND!!! And Leopold is giving this one his all (hey, I just realised that Baron Stockmar has been completely written out of this drama. Why? He was immensely important! He was at least as close an advisor as Melbourne, and he predated Melbourne too. And he had a pretty big hand in making the Albert match happen, and helped Victoria out a lot over the years, even after Melbourne faded away.). Leopold’s gone ahead and invited Albert and his brother, Ernst, over, which is really poor manners, but presumably Victoria will let it slide. Because when Albert shows up, she takes one look at him and her face says, ‘Oh, hello, you’ve gotten hot since I last saw you!’

What do you think, guys, will this one go the distance? Because I still like the looks of George Cambridge, honestly.

Poldark: Oh, Ross

PoldarkPreviously on Poldark: Ross Poldark returned to Cornwall after fighting for the British in America and received the worst homecoming ever: his girlfriend, Elizabeth, was set to marry his cousin, Francis; his father was dead; his home mortgaged and in a serious state of disrepair; and his mine was just sitting there. But Ross is kind of great and, instead of just sulking about all of that, he got the mine going again, gave everyone around him jobs, and fell in love with and married Demelza, who’s really great. But Ross has his weaknesses too, and one of them is being impolitic. He upset the new-money Warleggans one time too many, and so when he led a group of starving people to the beach to pick clean a shipwreck, the Warleggans basically framed him for inciting a riot, scavenging, and murder.

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Victoria: Ladies in Waiting

Jenna Coleman in Victoria Episode 2Previously on Victoria: The very young Queen Victoria came to the throne and started, basically, acting like the teenager she is. Unfortunately, she’s a teenager with quite a lot of power and influence, which is not really a good thing. Unable to trust her own mother (and especially her mother’s right-hand man, John Conroy) Victoria leaned heavily on her prime minister, Lord Melbourne.

Now we get to experience one of the more ridiculous and maddening incidents of Victoria’s reign: the Bedchamber Crisis!

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