Previously on Ripper Street: Reid miraculously found his missing daughter, but before he could head off to his happily ever after, he decided he just had to go and confront Capshaw. He wound up being shot by Susan, who then turned the gun on Capshaw to make it look like a double shooting.
At a pub in Whitechapel, some musician is wandering around, strumming a guitar and singing what sounds like The Ballad of Edmund Reid. The subject of the song is, incredibly, still alive (just), lying unconscious in a bed at Susan’s hospital. Jackson’s at the bar, losing himself in a bottle. Some of the other drunks at the pub mess around with a pig carcass dressed in an overcoat and hat, which winds up at Jackson’s side. Jackson drunkenly gives it a drink as the singer finishes, passes the hat, and departs.
He’s not two seconds out the door before he gets the tar beaten out of him. A crew of guys who can only be described as ‘toughs’ wanders in, and the barman immediately panics and apologises to the tough in charge, Teddy. Another of the guys, Walter, starts punching the barman in the face and Teddy warns the guy to ease up for just a second, then sets the boys loose on the patrons. Punches are thrown and Teddy tells everyone that they have their disobedient publican to thank for this. Oddly, Jackson, sitting up unconscious in the corner, avoids being part of the violence, but at some point the noise wakes him and, after he saves his bottle of whisky from being spilled, he just starts laughing. Whitechapel, amirite?
The following morning, Whitechapel’s a mess. Constable Grace, walking towards the office, notices blood seeping from the underside of a barrel in the street.
Drake is woken by a gentle kiss to the forehead from Rose, who gets ready to head home. They talk about how hard it is for him to have to fill Reid’s shoes, and then he hesitantly starts to talk about their future. He wants her to break things off with her fiancé, which is only right, really, but she insists that they wait, because ‘it must be done right.’ Uh, Rose, doing it right is doing it now, because every minute you’re not breaking things off with the poor guy is a minute you’re cheating on him. Nothing right about that, honey.
Abberline pounds on the door and, when Drake opens it, he immediately clocks Rose’s hat and coat on the pegs by the door, hands Drake the morning paper, and suggests this might not be the best time to be thinking of his dick. Abberline summons him to the station.
His next stop is at Jackson’s surgery, where he finds Mimi hammering at the door. Abberline’s more direct and kicks the door in. He and Mimi find Jackson cuddled up in bed with that pig carcass, which she and I both declare completely revolting. He’s clearly still wasted, so Abberline grabs him by the hair, drags him out of bed, and dunks his face in a bowl of water for a bit. Effective.
Best is interviewing Susan for a story. As he takes some pictures to accompany it, we learn that Susan’s playing the innocent victim, claiming that Capshaw acted on his own and she knew nothing of his involvement in the crash and theft. Obviously Best doesn’t believe a word of this. He wonders where the missing bearer bonds have gone and she says she has no idea. He muses that it’s very odd that no owner has stepped forward to claim them. Susan shrugs that this is just a mystery.
Abberline has taken his two wayward boys to visit Reid. He’s in a very bad way, and unconscious, but still alive. Abberline reminds the other two that Reid is only here because he was acting above and beyond the call of duty, so maybe they should both get their shit together. They look a little ashamed of themselves, like kids having been scolded by daddy.
They’re conducted to Leman Street, where Grace and Abberline reveal a body in that barrel from earlier. Drake heads out to try and find out who their victim is.
He winds up at the pub, which is well and truly trashed, and finds a photograph that suggests their dead body was the pub’s owner. While he’s poking around, the head hoodlum, Teddy, swings by with his girlfriend. He tells Drake that he’s bringing a delivery from the brewery. Drake tells him the landlord’s dead and Teddy plays innocent. His pretty girlfriend looks slightly disturbed. Drake recognizes her as a girl who works for the draper’s nearby and notes that, despite the violence the night before, the shop was untouched. She basically shrugs and goes: ‘Hey, pretty things, right? People hate ruining dresses.’
As Drake’s making his way back towards Leman Street, Matilda catches up with him, accompanied by Miss Cobden. Matilda asks him to accompany her on a visit to her father, but he gently refuses. Cobden sends Matilda away so she can have a word with Drake, and once the girl’s out of earshot, Cobden asks, not unkindly, what will become of Matilda in the very likely event Reid dies? She doubts the girl will want to remain with Cobden. Drake doesn’t want to think about it. Matilda returns to them and urges Drake to cheer up, because her father surely won’t die, not when they’ve only just been reunited. Cobden takes her away and Drake watches them go.
Teddy corners Walter, his fellow hoodlum and brother, in an alleyway and kicks his ass for killing Bartleby, the pub owner, which apparently was not part of the plan. Mid-beatdown, Teddy half collapses, coughing. Walter reminds Teddy that he’s really too sick to lead, and he needs to start proving himself. Also, the publicans need to fear them, so they don’t cross them. Teddy is still not ok with murder and sets about his brother again, but Grace comes along and chases them off.
He brings Walter back to the station so they can give a statement to Artherton. Grace says that Walter was set upon by a cooper’s froe. Artherton asks Walter if he knew his assailants and Walter lies that he didn’t. Grace seriously doubts that,and he notes some wounds on Walter’s hands that suggest he’s been fighting a lot lately. He can’t prove anything, though, so Walter is released. After he’s gone, Grace goes to look him up in Reid’s archive and seems to find something.
Jackson’s getting ready to carry out an autopsy, but he does know so far that the man was dead before he was put in the barrel.
Walter and some of the other hoods sit at a pub and sullenly watch the landlord pulling pints. As the man goes to lock up, they approach him and remind him that the men of the Black Eagle are not to be crossed.
Drake delivers coffee to Abberline, who’s hanging around outside the dead room, then brings the same to Jackson, who’s freeing the dead man’s lungs. Jackson says it looks like this man was drowned. They call Abberline in and Jackson shows him the evidence of drowning. Drake points out that the man shows no signs of having been in water, which means that whatever he was drowned in was poured into him. Jackson slices into the lungs and determines the man was drowned on his own beer.
Off with the latest victim, Walter’s men hold the poor guy down as a funnel is fitted into his mouth and beer poured in. The man struggles and spits but is overcome.
Wherever he is, Teddy coughs violently and tries to pour himself a glass of water but, like the publican, he’s pretty much past the fighting stage.
Drake and Jackson grab a drink somewhere and Jackson gets ready for some guy talk. He knows that Drake’s a bit low because of Rose and warns him that she’s jerked him around in the past. Also, the woman’s engaged. Drake says nothing.
Once they’re good and drunk, the two men head over to the music hall Rose’s fiancé owns. Jackson warns Drake not to make any waves and Drake reassures him he needn’t worry. Inside, Mimi spots Jackson and asks why he’s there. He goes to bring Jackson into the conversation but discovers the man’s disappeared. Rose appears from the dressing room and Drake catches her and pretty much orders her to speak to her fiancé right then and there. She insists that she’ll speak to the guy in her own time. Ok, Rose, you’re just stringing these two men along, which makes you a total asshole. Mimi notes the argument and asks Jackson what’s up. He admits that there’s something going on between them, and she lights into him for getting Drake drunk and bringing him to her brother’s music hall. I somehow missed the fact that Rose’s fiancé is Mimi’s brother. The poor guy, by the way, also sees Rose and Drake arguing and is clearly suspicious. While some admirer distracts Rose, Drake approaches Morton and everyone gets super tense for a minute. Jackson slides in and tells Drake they’re heading out right now. Drake agrees, they leave, and everyone relaxes. Rose, stop being shitty and dump this poor man!
Frayn brings a cup of tea to Drake, who’s spent the night at Reid’s bedside. Drake asks if it’s inevitable that Reid will die.
Before we get an answer, we join an undoubtedly hungover Drake weaving through the streets. He stops to buy a newspaper, then sees Artherton and Grace gathered around another barrel out in front of Leman Street.
Drake knows this man and identifies him for the others. He’s taken to the dead room, where Jackson determines he died by the same methods as the previous man. Abberline is practically spitting over this, he’s so angry. Grace excuses himself, runs up to the archive, finds a file, and returns to the dead room to tell the other men about Walter. He found no record of him, but there is a record of his brother, Edward, who’s got a minor record. Amongst other things, he was suspected of the murder of a publican some years before. The dead man suffered broken bones, as if set upon by a blunt instrument. Grace tells them that Walter as attacked with a cooper’s froe and he wonders if Edward was the one who led the attack on Walter. Jackson glances at the file and describes just how a cooper’s froe works. He points out that the men’s bodies, other than being broken in several places, don’t show signs of violence, which suggests the barrels were built around them. That sounds incredibly time consuming and strange. Apparently Edward, or Teddy as we know him, was apprenticed to the coopers at the Black Eagle Brewery many years ago and has worked there ever since. That guy doesn’t look nearly muscular enough to be a cooper. They turn back to the file and see that he beat the murder rap because a draper’s apprentice named Lily came forward and offered an alibi. I’ll bet she did. Abberline sends Grace to summon Lily to the station and also to send someone else to inquire about these publicans. Abberline and Drake are going to go to the brewery and talk to Teddy while Jackson gets to find out the precise make of the beer that drowned these two men.
The Black Eagle is massive. They’re showed around by some guy who tells them they’ve got hundreds and hundreds of lads working there. Fortunately, he just so happens to know Teddy. He mentions that Teddy hasn’t been well lately and shows them into an office, where Teddy’s doing the books or something. Abberline places him under arrest for suspicion of murder. Before he’s taken, he catches his brother’s eye.
At the station, they ask about the first dead man, Daniel Parker, the murder rap he beat. He reminds them he was let off that one and Abberline accuses him of having lied ot get out of that. Jackson asks about bodies number two and three but Teddy claims he had nothing to do with any murders. Drake asks if Teddy if he could build a barrel around a man and Teddy says he absolutely could not. Abberline calls bullshit, hauls off, and slugs the kid. Drake pushes him off as Teddy starts coughing violently enough to bring up blood. Abberline sends for Jackson, who conducts a swift assessment and asks Teddy how long he’s been suffering from consumption. Long enough for it to be hopeless, apparently. He doesn’t have much longer to live. Jackson realizes the boy’s not strong enough to have killed and barreled the two dead men, but his brother very well could have. Teddy still refuses to hand his brother over. Jackson asks for a minute alone with the kid and gives him something to breathe in that seems to help the coughing and struggling. Once Teddy’s calmer, Jackson tries to make a connection using the ‘you know, I’ve got a brother too’ technique. He tells Teddy that his brother’s probably doing what he’s doing because he’s seen Teddy do it in the past. Monkey see, monkey do.
Grace catches up with Lily in the street outside the draper’s and asks her to come to Leman Street and answer some questions. Before they can go, however, Walter and a couple of his boys knock him out and take him prisoner.
At Leman Street, the men are looking into past attacks on publicans. Drake notes that the men who’ve been attacked all changed beer suppliers recently, switching from the Black Eagle to some northern brewery. Drake figures that the Black Eagle boys are going after the publicans for this very reason.
Arthurton comes running in to summon everyone downstairs. Lily’s come to tell them that Grace was taken. She’s clearly terrified and tells Drake that Walter’s out of control and only Teddy can seem to control him. Drake asks her to speak to Teddy and get him to tell them where they can find Grace.
She goes to him and between her and Jackson and imminent mortality, Teddy is swayed.
Grace has, unsurprisingly, been taken to the brewery, where Walter holds him up before the other, cheering men. He tells them that when Teddy dies they’ll have a tough time, but what they’re about to do will secure them for a hundred more years. What, killing a policeman? I really doubt that’s going to secure anything besides your destruction, Walter, but I’d love to hear your logic on this. Grace tries to make some connection with the men, telling them that he’s not so different from them, but when that doesn’t work, he warns Walter that he’s just going to secure his own destruction here. Walter shoves the funnel into Grace’s mouth and beer is poured in from above as Grace sputters and struggles.
Abberline and the others, accompanied by Teddy, arrive at the brewery and find the guy who led the tour earlier, Snelling, wandering about. Abberline accuses him of having a hand in this and punches the man in the face. Teddy shows them to where Grace is being held. When they burst in, Walter threatens to just break Grace’s neck, but Teddy tells him this is over and beer really isn’t worth murdering someone over. Walter whinily says that Teddy set the mark on this with that first murder. Teddy says that was actually an accident. He tells Walter that this needs to end now and Walter finally releases Grace. Jackson leaps forward to tend the boy as Drake puts the handcuffs on Walter. Teddy coughs and cries as his brother is taken away.
Teddy is taken to the hospital, where he spends his last moments with Lily at his side. It’s pretty awful. He coughs and spews blood and eyes Jackson, who’s there as well, and then dies. Lily sobs, and Jackson heads up to Reid’s room to have a quick look.
He goes home and calls up Mimi, who shows up all fun and mouthy as usual, but then catches sight of a clearly shattered Jackson and immediately sobers up. He tearfully tells her that he’s been thinking a lot about his past and it’s made him sick and now he really just needs to have the support of someone who’s good and really seems to care. She immediately sits beside him and basically reassures him she’s there for him. Aww!
At Susan’s hospital, Reid flashes back through a series of memories, of the Ripper murders, of finding Matilda in her room, of that awful boxing match with Drake, and then opens his eyes and finds Susan hovering over him.