Previously on Ripper Street: The body of an Indian man washed up on the riverbanks, inconveniently near the docks worked by some union guys. Their rep, Teague, was NOT happy and accused a rival, Croker, of planting the body so Croker could steal the business of unloading ships while the dock was shut down. The dead man’s name is Sayid, and he’s not some lowly ‘lascar’ as many assumed, but an Oxford-educated barrister whose father is a Major in the Indian army and happens to be in town for the Queen’s jubilee. Together with his law partner, Hafeez, Sayid was pretty active in an organization devoted to promoting Muslims. While Drake’s looking into all that, Jackson is scrambling to save Susan from her appointment with the hangman, which is a mere two days hence. They had hoped to bribe her way out of prison, but they can’t get their hands on her father’s money, so that’s not happening. And time is ticking. Time’s also ticking for Isaac Bloom, onetime pal of Reid, who is now under a death sentence of his own for having quite brutally killed a rabbi. Reid is convinced to come out of retirement to look into the case.
So things are complicated! And now they’re just going to start getting kind of confusing and scattered and ridiculous.
Al-Qadir brings Hafeez to the station so Drake can question him. Unfortunately, Constantine has suddenly (like, in the last ten minutes or so, apparently) gotten some photographs (quite clear for 1897) that show Hafeez arguing with Sayid and having a chat with Queen Victoria’s Indian servant. So, now he wants a word with this guy. And by ‘a word’ we mean he wants to beat the crap out of him until he spills information or just makes something up to make the pain stop. In the ensuing verbal tussle over this man, Dove takes Drake’s side (good man!) and refuses to hand over Hafeez, but they all know that it’s only a matter of time before Constantine goes over their heads. Which of course he does, getting an order from the Colonial Secretary himself and being unnecessarily horrible and insulting to Al-Qadir when he swings by to collect Hafeez. What is Constantine’s problem? Why is he such a horrible person? Why does he seem to hate everyone on earth and want them to hate him back?
Before Constantine gets his special permission to be terrible, Hafeez is questioned by Al-Qadir, because Drake’s convinced that Hafeez won’t talk to any of the policemen, but he will talk to his friend’s father who always looked down on him. And he does! After bragging about having taught Sayid to eat with his hands (yay?) he tells Al-Qadir that he argued with Sayid over Sayid’s theft of some £200 from a fund meant to help out Indian seamen stuck in London for any length of time with no work. Nice, Sayid.
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]What is Constantine’s problem? Why is he such a horrible person? Why does he seem to hate everyone on earth and want them to hate him back?[/cryout-pullquote]
Drake’s new partner basically shrugs and says this is an open and shut case now, but Drummond (who’s clearly waaaay smarter than this guy and should probably have his job) points out that Sayid fought pretty hard for the rights of these lascars. It was basically what his entire law practice was built on, so it’s kind of odd that he should then turn around and steal from them. Time to go to the coal-face and find out what’s happening here.
Drake grabs Al-Quadir, because at least he speaks Urdu, and starts interviewing men down at the docks. Sayid’s like some kind of saint down there, and one of them insists that, if he stole, it was to give to another in greater need. Apparently Sayid had a lover–a white woman–who lived in the area. And it juuuuust so happens that she was Teague’s daughter, Kay, who committed suicide at the top of the hour by jumping off a dock.
Wait, so Sayid stole the not-inconsiderable sum of £200 to give to his girlfriend? Does he not have money of his own? It certainly doesn’t seem like his family’s hurting for funds, and he was a practicing barrister. I’m not quite on board with this ‘he stole to take care of someone who needed it more’ thing. Sayid, take care of your own business. Legally.
Also, I see we’re operating on the Only 20 People Live in Britain principle, where a character has an extremely unlikely connection to another character whom we only got to know in a fairly separate context.
Drake and Al-Qadir go to Teague’s house, where his daughter’s wake is underway. And Al-Qadir gets to meet his infant grandson. Aww! Also, Sayid, TAKE CARE OF YOUR BUSINESS WITHOUT STEALING!
Jackson’s running around trying to come up with a way to save Susan, who’s going to be hanged in just a couple of days. Since bribery isn’t going to work now, he gets to work building a contraption that’ll keep her from actually dying when she’s getting hanged. For some reason, he thinks his dead room is the best place to get to work on it and even draws up some fairly detailed diagrams. Hey, Jackson, if you’re going to orchestrate your wife’s prison break and escape from justice, perhaps you might find a better spot than inside a police station to build the accessories? He even convinces the prison doctor, a creepy dude named Probyn, to play along by basically threatening to blow the guy’s head off. Effective!
[cryout-pullquote align=”right” textalign=”left” width=”33%”]Jackson, if you’re going to orchestrate your wife’s prison break and escape from justice, perhaps you might find a better spot than inside a police station to build the accessories?[/cryout-pullquote]
But he does take a momentary break from all that to swing by Croker’s place and confirm that he, Susan, and their kid are still good to stow away on some ship that Croker’s made arrangements with (again with the 20 People in Britain rule!). While he’s there, he gets a random lesson on turmeric, which sends him back to Sayid’s body. Upon closer examination, he realises that there’s turmeric in Sayid’s neck wound and determines that the person who drew the blade had it on his sleeves or something. Drake uses this information to call up the names of dockworkers who unloaded spices around the time of Sayid’s murder. Amongst the names of the men leading unloading teams is Teague, so now Drake’s convinced he’s the guilty party. But, Teague was the guy in charge of the men unloading the spices, right? So he wouldn’t necessarily be doing the unloading himself. It could have been anyone in the team who killed Sayid. And unless some of the turmeric spilled, how would he get it all over his hands anyway? I’d like to also point out that Croker’s on that list as well, and even though he benefitted financially from Sayid’s body being found where it was, Drake totally overlooks him as a suspect. He doesn’t even seem to notice he’s on the list. Nice detecting, Drake.
But apparently Drake’s right and Teague was guilty all along. He killed Sayid for carrying on with his daughter, though he clearly waited a gooood long time to take that particular revenge, considering they’ve had time to have a kid and all. And then he botched ditching the body, so it washed up and here we all are. Croker figures it all out, and stabs Teague to death. Maybe I missed something, but I have absolutely no idea why the hell he did that.
Have you been wondering what Susan’s been up to? Not really? Well, you’re going to hear about it anyway, because this episode is nothing if not all over the place, jumping from one thing to another without coming to a particularly satisfying conclusion on any of them. She’s finally realised she’s got a kid who might need looking after once she’s dead, and even though said child has a father who’s very much gotten his act together, her solution is to ask Rose, in a bizarrely roundabout way, to take the boy in. Does she discuss this with Jackson at any point? Of course not! She just goes ahead and does it, and Jackson only finds out when Rose arrives at the station to tell Drake this is happening. Drake’s all, ‘Uh, no, we’re not just removing a child from his rightful father for no reason other than our own selfish desires to be parents. That’s not how this is supposed to work.’ But Drake just shrugs and tell them to take the kid. Yeah, well, potty training’s a hassle.
Seriously, though, WTF? Is Susan assuming Jackson will drink himself into oblivion and be unable to take care of the kid? This is pretty terrible.
Even more terrible: Jackson goes to Susan and basically says, ‘Great plan! Now someone else will be watching our child while we re-orient ourselves and get our lives back in order, and then we’ll just kidnap him back!’
What. The. Hell.
Yeah, that shouldn’t be at all traumatic and confusing for this poor child. Who is a toddler, let’s not forget. It’s not like you can really explain to him what’s going on and have him understand. And Jesus, you two, how horrible will that be for Drake and Rose?! Rose especially, who wants a child so badly and has already been put through the wringer and messed up more times than I can count (remember when she got abducted about ten times in season 1?). These two are losing me fast. They’re terrible. And they’re perfect examples of people who really shouldn’t have ever had a child.
Meanwhile, Reid’s basically just wandering around, showing absolutely no urgency, despite the fact that Bloom is due to hang the same day Susan is, which is the next day at this point. After failing to squeeze any information out of Jackson, he just goes and hangs out in Bloom’s room/crime scene, like he expects the killer to just drop on by again. Instead, some kids find him there, and call him ‘Golem’. He later learns from Miss Goren and some rabbi that the neighbourhood kids have been reporting being woken up by a creepy shadowy figure which then goes leaping over rooftops and such. And, like reasonable people, the children and their parents have concluded that Bloom–a late-middle-aged intellectual–is this person. Riiiight. Basically, no one in Whitechapel is rational.
Reid finally moseys on over to the station, where he tells Drake he thinks Bloom’s innocent. Drake’s like, ‘Thanks for your input, former boss and friend, but you know we didn’t just pull a name out of a hat, right? We used this thing called ‘evidence’ to convict. And the evidence, which included the victim’s bloody fingerprints all over Bloom’s clothing, and actual human flesh being found underneath Bloom’s bed, is pretty damning, wouldn’t you say?’
Even Reid can’t argue with that. Bloom hangs. But afterwards, Drake offers Reid a job with H division, on the understanding that he will be Drake’s underling, and they will never mention the Bloom case again. Yeah, we’ll see how long that sticks.
And Susan hangs as well, but of course she doesn’t die and is later rescued by Jackson. Now these two can go skipping off into the sunset and, eventually, get around to kidnapping their own child from his adoptive parents.
Oh, and for anyone who’s curious, the Queen’s Jubilee goes off without a hitch. So I guess that whole thing with Hafeez meeting with her servant was a red herring?