Previously on Ripper Street: Susan’s attempt to rob her own father resulted in a devastating train crash right on Leman Street’s doorstep. Later, her crooked lawyer, Capshaw, uncovered Reid’s supposedly dead daughter, Matilda, very much alive but having been kept a strange kind of prisoner for years and now with a hefty case of Stockholm Syndrome. Susan took her in and told Reid the girl was dead. When he heard the news, he murdered the man who had been keeping her and went on the run.
‘These atrocities are all that she now remembers of our life together.’
‘We are the stone, we are the brick. Needs must you demolish the whole of Whitechapel, sir.’
‘Have you ever known what that is? To be good?’
Drake has sought Reid at his hiding place in a fishing shack down the shore, where he’s spending his days being tormented by the local brats. Reid figures Drake’s there to arrest him, but he’s wrong: Drake is there to tell Reid that Matilda’s still alive and has been spotted by Rose. Reid drops to his knees in the sand, sobbing. Time to get the gang back together!
Capshaw happily counts out some of the cash they’ve raised from the bonds, while Susan looks on, slumped and depressed. She’s pretty down about Matilda’s disappearance, which surprises me a bit, because she had such a non-reaction to Matilda running away I figured she’d set the whole thing up. But I guess not. She tells Capshaw that she figures him for a bit of a monster and he’s like, ‘yeah, pretty much. You cool with that?’
Reid comes bursting into the house and Susan tells Capshaw to hide the bonds and cash while she tries to take care of this. He stashes the cash in a safe and stuffs the bonds into a satchel before slithering out of the house. Susan confronts Reid and Drake and asks what right Reid has to come stampeding through her house when he’s a wanted man himself. Reid demands to know where Matilda is and she plays dumb, telling him the girl’s dead. He begins to throttle her. Drake tells her the girl was seen and Reid, getting seriously close to killing her now, coolly tells Susan just what he did to Matilda’s captor. He’s not in a gentle mood, methinks. Luckily for her, Jackson arrives, points a gun a Reid, and tells him to let her go. Reid ignores him and demands to know where his daughter is. Jackson’s like, ‘not joking here!’ and Reid releases her, warning her that she’s going to be watched. He and Drake leave and Jackson goes to tend to his ex-wife, asking her what the heck is going on here. She repeats the lie that Matilda is dead, adding that Reid is clearly nuts. Jackson seems doubtful.
He catches up with the other two out in the street and hears that Rose saw the girl. Reid shouts that Susan’s home is a horrible place. Jackson tells Reid he’s going crazy, which just earns an accusation that he’s still Susan’s creature. Reid is certain that Capshaw is behind the train crash and everything else, but Jackson’s too enamoured of her still to see it himself.
Ahh, here comes Abberline. Guess it was only a matter of time. Jackson slips away as Reid tells his former boss that he’s heard his daughter has been seen. Drake nods in agreement, but Abberline gently suggests that Reid come into the station for a chat. Reid promises to come later, but now he has things to do. Abberline’s not interested in a raincheque and has two officers accompany Reid back to Leman Street.
Matilda, dressed in her pretty lace dress, walks through the streets of Whitechapel, looking very, very out of place. She takes out the shard of glass she keeps with her and walks around with it, noting a couple of street names and saying ‘the frying pan’ before continuing on her way. A boy—well, young teen, I guess—notes her and follows as she flits off.
Reid tells Abberline about how Matilda was kept prisoner and then wound up in Susan’s hands, and though Abberline clearly wants to give his friend the benefit of the doubt, he just as clearly thinks this is all too crazy for words. He tells Reid that the truth of all this died with Buckley, but he’s still willing to put some men on the streets to look for her. Reid, however, is to stay put at the station.
Matilda is sitting, leaning against a wall, looking at her shard of glass. The boy—Harry—gets a baked potato from a vendor and approaches her, calling her ‘beauty’ and offering her the potato, which she takes and begins to eat eagerly. He asks her name and she responds that she’s ‘not Alice.’ He’s confused, but continues to lay on the charm. He asks her to wait just a second, then tells a boy lingering nearby to put the word about that Harry Ward’s got a live one.
He rejoins Matilda, who dreamily says, ‘see what a jolly bonnet I’ve got on now.’ He plays along and asks where she’s off to now. Osborne Street. He offers to show her the way.
Jackson seeks out Dr Frame in her office and, after some small talk about chemistry and scientific inquiry, asks just how a decent person like her, and a decent person like Susan, can actually tell a grieving man to his face that his daughter is dead when she is, in fact, quite alive. What makes a person do that? Frame has a horrible poker face so Jackson knows he’s on the right track.
Best, meanwhile, does the police’s job for them and trails Capshaw.
Harry takes Matilda through the streets of Whitechapel. She spots a handkerchief at a stall and Harry buys it for her, but when he goes to tie it around her neck she panics a bit and pushes him away. He starts to get creepy and tells her it’s time they found a way for her to repay his generosity. ‘Little Paternoster in Hanbury,’ she says. ‘Hanbury Street? What a coincidence! That’s where we’re going,’ he tells her.
They make their way there and she looks up at the street sign. Harry asks her what she’s looking for. ‘My daddy,’ she responds. He promises to take her to him and leads her away.
Drake brings the potato man back to the station so he can tell Reid that Matilda is now in the clutches of Harry Ward, a young procurer. Reid throws the man aside and heads into his incredible archive, where he swiftly finds a file on Harry Ward that tells them where he typically hangs out. Reid breaks into an ammunition cupboard, grabs a couple of rifles and hands one to Drake. Abberline finds them and starts yelling at Drake but Drake’s a loyal man if ever there was one and calmly apologises to Abberline for not being capable of rewarding the man’s faith in him. Reid tells Abberline that they’re going to fetch his daughter. ‘Now, we are leaving,’ he tells him, loading the gun.
The two men and their immense badassary stride out of Leman Street in slow mo, while Harry takes Matilda to his brothel. The girl’s sensible enough to be nervous and hang back, but Harry reassures her that no harm will come to her there.
Inside, he gets a key from a landlady and takes Matilda upstairs, past a line of waiting men (!!!!) one of whom complains that he’s been waiting for almost an hour. Harry holds out his hat and the men toss in coins as he passes, taking Matilda into a bedroom, where he drops the friendly demeanour pretty damn fast and tells her she can scream and get hit, or she can stay quiet and it’ll pass quickly. He gets ready to rape her…
…as downstairs Reid and Drake burst through the door, take out the landlady, fire their guns, and demand to know where Harry Ward is. One of the men points the way, as inside Matilda slashes a distracted Harry’s cheek with the shard of mirror. While he bleeds and screams, she climbs out the window. Drake sees her and goes to try and get her down. Reid is briefly distracted by a man attacking from behind, but he manages to get rid of him and finds a stunned and bloody Harry on the floor. He grabs the kid’s foot and drags him along.
Drake throws open a window near where Matilda’s clinging to the roof and tries to help her remember who he is, using pleasant memories of buying her ice creams when she was little. She asks about her daddy and Drake says Reid’s his friend. ‘Inspector Reid,’ she whispers, and her face darkens and she shimmies away,
She climbs down a drainpipe and runs away before Drake emerges from the building, finding Reid, still dragging Harry. Drake tells him he’s pretty sure the girl was Matilda. Reid holds Harry’s head under the water in a nearby trough and screams for him to tell them everything he remembers of his time with Matilda. Harry tells them all the places Matilda made him take her. Some recognition dawns on both Reid’s and Drake’s faces, and Drake tells Reid that she also had a white scarf with a red border tied around her neck. They order Harry to tell them what Matilda spoke about and he repeats the jolly bonnet line. The two men realise Matilda was following the last movements of two Ripper victims on the night they died.
They return to Leman Street and enlist Abberline and Artherton so they can go back over the Ripper victims’ movements, in the hope it’ll provide a clue as to where Matilda’s going next. Abberline wonders how Matilda knows the details of these cases, since she’s apparently picked up on some things that weren’t even published.
While they begin to ponder that, Jackson and Frame show up. Apparently her conscience has gotten the better of her, and she tells Reid that his daughter was kept in a fantasy world where she was protected from the traumas that came before the boat crash. Reid, frustrated, asks what she’s talking about and Frame, with quite a bit of attitude, says the girl told stories of dead women, two of them, their bodies terribly mutilated. She shows Reid a pair of pictures Matilda drew, which show the slaughtered women. Reid calls Artherton into the office where he’s meeting with the woman and informs him that Jackson and Frame are leaving. She tells Reid that she grew fond of Matilda and asks if what she described was real. He says it was, in a way. He then harshly orders both of them to get lost.
He then asks Artherton to fetch a case from his archive and lays out Matilda’s pictures. He tells the others how, in the days leading up to the sinking, Matilda didn’t smile and wouldn’t touch her father. Artherton returns with the box and Reid opens it, revealing his map of Whitechapel with photos of the crime scenes and the victims’ last movements from his days investigating the Ripper murders. He used to take it home with him, and now he figures Matilda must have found it. Yes, that would be quite horrifying for a young child.
On the plus side (?) three Ripper victims fell after the accident on the boat, so at least they only have to track the movements of two.
Best returns to his office to find Jackson waiting for him. Jackson figures that the man who died in the train crash was a loved one of Best’s, and it’s for his sake that Best is conducting this investigation into Susan and Capshaw. He continues that it was hard for him to hear Best accuse Susan of causing the atrocity, which Best understands. He offers up some proof of her involvement and shows him a receipt for some of the bonds, signed by Capshaw. He refuses to hand it over, so Jackson pulls a gun on him, and Best gives it up without a fuss.
Reid keeps poring over the maps while Drake tries to reassure him that Matilda will soon be found. Abberline seems surprised that Reid isn’t insisting on joining the men looking for her, although I was under the impression that he was keeping Reid at the station. Reid tells him that Matilda’s scared of him and he won’t risk her fleeing in fear and getting lost again. Reid tells them that he’s finished with police work but asks the other two men to go help look for her, because she remembers them (even Abberline?) and they may be able to comfort her. They both immediately go, which is sweet.
Later, Reid gets ready to head out and tells Artherton he’s going to fetch his girl. Artherton urges Reid to stay put, but Reid says the others won’t know where to look for her, while Reid does. So, he could tell them where to look, then, right? Instead of wasting police time on hopeless pursuits? He gently tells Artherton to just turn around and get a cup of coffee and he’ll be on his way. So, Reid was being kept at the station? I’m a little confused now.
Reid returns home, probably for the first time in a loooong while, and hears Matilda’s music box playing. He doesn’t seem surprised. He heads upstairs and finds her sitting in her old bedroom, holding the music box. He slowly enters the room and says hello. She looks up at him, unafraid now, and says hello back. She then remembers a time when a bird got caught in her room and he trapped it and set it free. He’s practically bursting into tears, just managing to hold it together. He asks if she knows her name. She reaches for an old copy book with her name on the front. ‘I am Matilda,’ she says slowly. He confirms that. He tells her he found her by using his old map, which she had put pins in. She tells him she put pins in her home because she thought the women would be safe there, because her daddy was there and would protect them. Aww, man! Reid asks if she knows who he is and she says he’s her father. He hugs her tightly, and she clings to him. So, she’s cured now? That was…sudden. But it’s fairly touching, so I’m going to let it slide.
Susan arrives at the pub to meet with Jackson, who’s summoned her. He invites her to sit and pours her a drink. She fondly recalls that the last time he called her there he had a diamond on him. He admits that’s not the case this time. He accuses her of using him, suddenly acting all sweet and friendly just because he was involved in the investigation into the train crash. He was distracted by her, and the lead man slipped away. She drinks her whisky and invites him to come right out with his accusation. He shows her the receipt for the bonds, signed by Capshaw. He asks if it was Capshaw or her who came up with the whole idea.
She gets up and stomps out and he follows her, catching her and demanding to know why she tormented Reid by concealing his daughter. He holds up a torch he acquired from…somewhere and gets super dramatic, talking about gazing upon the evil that she’s now become. She looks more freaked out and regretful than evil right now and asks if he can see said evil. He admits he can’t, he can only see the face of the woman he loves. She pulls him in for a kiss. ‘Does it feel like flesh, Matthew?’ she asks tearfully. ‘Because to me it does no longer.’ She tells him that she’s tried to carve out a life for herself in a world run by men, but she’s finding it exceptionally cutthroat and it’s hardened her to the point where she wonders if she’s actually become stone. They get increasingly passionate and end up having sex right there in the alleyway.
At Reid’s, Matilda asks her father if they’ll be together. He promises they will, somewhere far from London and all its horrors. He wants to take her to the seaside, where it’s lovely and sunny and there are birds. She gets a little panicky, asking if it’s like the river, and he promises it’s not. They’ll leave that very day, once they get her cleaned up.
They raid his wife’s closet and he gives her a towel and goes to leave her while she changes. She stops him and asks where her mum is. Reid carefully says that her mother is no longer with them. He then promises that someday they’ll talk a lot and he’ll tell her everything, but for now, she just needs to know that her mother loved her more than anything. Matilda nods and he leaves her to change.
Downstairs, he gets ready to pack a bag, but Jackson interrupts, knocking on the door and demanding to be let in. Jackson hands over the receipt signed by Capshaw, which should be enough evidence to arrest Capshaw. He adds that he doesn’t think Susan was part of all this. Of course not. Matilda comes in and Reid introduces Jackson. He then whispers in her ear and she leaves the room. Jackson notes the bag and realises Reid’s leaving. He tells Reid to just go, but of course Reid has to see this through and looks at the receipt. Jackson urges him to leave, because the permanent change he wants to see isn’t going to come in their lifetimes. Reid knows, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to play his part. Jackson shakes his hand and leaves. Reid pockets the receipt.
He and Matilda walk down the street and she asks if he’s going to go catch the bad people and put them in prison. He nods.
His next stop is at Cobden’s, whom he asks to look after Matilda for a bit. She’s pretty shocked to be meeting his presumed-dead daughter, but nonetheless she agrees, because she’s fantastic.
Reid then goes to Susan’s, where he’s apparently expected. He demands to be shown in to see Capshaw and is taken to the study, where Capshaw’s creepily waiting for him. Reid says he’s come to take Capshaw to Leman Street. Capshaw calmly asks if he’s under arrest and Reid says he can’t say just yet, but he’s going to deliver both Capshaw and the receipt, which he produces, which seems a bit stupid. ‘Whitechapel is to be rid of you, sir, but also of this place. This Obsidian,’ he tells the man. (Fun fact! Historically, Obsidian has been used as both a weapon and as mourning jewellery during the Victorian period.) ‘Not so easy as all that, I’m afraid,’ Capshaw informs him. ‘We are the stone, we are the brick. Needs must you demolish the whole of Whitechapel, sir.’
Reid starts to approach him, only to take a bullet in the shoulder, and then in the head, by the looks of it. He falls, and Susan emerges from behind a curtain, holding a pistol. Capshaw strolls over to Reid and compliments Susan on her steel balls. Damn, Susan. She tears up and tells Capshaw that Reid was a friend to her, even when she didn’t deserve it. He was a good man. ‘Have you ever known what that is? To be good?’ she asks Capshaw. He doesn’t respond. She retrieves the shotgun Reid was packing and turns it on Capshaw, who immediately goes into defensive mode, holding up his hands and begging her not to shoot him. Woah, this has gotten considerably more intense than I expected. She pumps once and blows the man away.
She then looks around at the wreckage for a moment, then stages the scene to look like the men shot each other. Sobbing, she kneels beside Reid, begging him to forgive her. He then comes to, gasping, and she plays along admirably, innocently asking who’s done this. ‘I’m shot, I’m shot,’ he says twice before, apparently, expiring for real.