Ripper Street: Speak for the Dead

Previously on Ripper Street: The gang got back together, very uneasily, and investigated the death of a woman and disappearance of a girl who turned out to be Reid’s supposedly dead daughter. She’s with Susan, but Reid was told she was dead, and he killed the man who had her before going on the run.

Lights up on a stage, where an extravagantly dressed clairvoyant named Alexander Le Cheyne starts his show.

Meanwhile, Drake goes into Reid’s now-empty office and looks sad.

Le Cheyne talks about how the lost aren’t really lost, they’re all around us, all the time. He brings a heavily veiled widow up on stage and claims he can feel her husband’s presence. A crystal ball on the table between them glows. The widow is buying this hook, line, and sinker. Le Cheyne starts having trouble breathing but keeps going, pulling a few magic tricks before suddenly beginning to choke and collapsing onto the stage in front of his shocked audience, the widow, and his assistant.

Arthurton finds Drake in the office and asks if Drake’s got Reid’s old job now. He does (or, at least, it’s been offered), but he’s not happy about how it all went down. Arthurton tells him that that’s a shame, but they need someone in charge, so he’s gotta get over it. He then passes along a message from Abberline, who’s going to stop by with some questions about the recently deceased. Arthurton tells Drake not to tell Abberline what Reid did. Bros before bosses, you know.

Drake goes to see what’s up with Le Cheyne and finds Jackson already there. The widow, Mrs Wakefield, is weeping in the background, attended by Mimi. Mrs W is still buying the whole performance, talking about how the glowing ball was the light of her husband’s love. Mimi tells the men that Mr W died in the train crash. Jackson finds some tools of the trickery trade around and calls the whole performance a grift, which the assistant, Marvell, takes offense to. Allegedly Le Cheyne was quite healthy, so this is a bit odd. Marvell explains helpfully that Mrs W was a regular client and wonders if channelling the dead just got to be too much for Le Cheyne. Jackson puts his money on poison, but they need to get him to the dead room to be sure. Drake asks Marvell if Le Cheyne had any enemies. No, of course not! That would be too easy, wouldn’t it? Drake finds a photo on Le Cheyne of the late clairvoyant and some girl and asks who she is. Marvell claims not to know, but Morton, Rose’s fiancé and the owner of the theatre (small world!) takes a look and says her name is Juniper, and she’s one of their ballet dancers. Mimi chimes in that some of the girls pull pints at a nearby pub in their off hours. Guess dancing doesn’t pay too well.

Jackson pulls Drake aside and asks if there’s any word of Reid. Drake says no and tells him about Abberline’s impending visit. Jackson essentially tells him to stay cool and then tells him he’s kinda glad Drake has the job. It’s nice to see the change in this relationship, though Jackson’s ribbing could, at times, be fun. Drake leaves and Rose, who was listening in to all this, comes out and asks Jackson how Drake is doing. ‘Uneasy lies the head,’ Jackson tells her.

Drake goes to the pub and finds Juniper. She’s not exactly broken up to hear about his death, probably because she was also fooling around with Marvell. Well, she was before she hooked up with Le Cheyne, and Marvell didn’t take it too well. He threatened Le Cheyne over it, but they kept working together anyway.

Jackson gives the results of the autopsy: poison all right, but which one? Grace, the curious new young copper, seems interested in all this and leans over the body, noting that there’s a whiff of almonds about the body. Jackson checks it out and sends Grace to grab some testing supplies. He runs a swab.

Drake and Grace visit Marvell, who apparently has now moved easily into Le Cheyne’s recently vacated position and is seeing clients himself. Grace and Drake are both disgusted by the man and his profession. Drake notes that the train crash was basically the best thing that could have happened to this guy. Marvell orders them out. And they go, but not before placing him under arrest for murder.

Jackson finishes up an experiment and goes to tell Drake that the poison was prussic acid—hydrogen cyanide. Drake has Marvell brought to his office, Marvell protesting that he never could have killed Alex. Drake brings up Juniper and Marvell says she’s a serious maneater and manipulator. He admits to being a sucker, but not a murderer. He tells Drake that she and Le Cheyne fought constantly, because Juniper wanted to go to Paris and he couldn’t bear to lose her. He swore she’d never go. Marvell suggests they question Juniper about this murder, not him. Drake refuses to believe anything this guy has to say, since he considers him a liar anyway, and Marvell pretty much says, ‘we’re just giving the people what they want, ok?’

Susan brushes Matilda’s hair and tells her that a hand mirror the girl admires was a gift from someone she loved long ago. She tells Susan she’s very pretty, and when Matilda’s wings grow and she flies away, she’ll always come back and visit. Susan says she hopes she won’t fly away just yet.

Abberline arrives at Leman Street and orders a meeting with Drake. Drake claims Reid acted in self-defence. Abberline pulls out Buckley’s autopsy, which shows a broken neck.

Drake: Yep, that sounds about right

Abberline: So the fact that dozens of people saw Reid walk calmly away covered in blood is completely irrelevant?

Drake: Totally. Who’re you going to believe, them or me?

Abberline: Off the record, what really happened there?

Drake: I stand by my story.

Capshaw is trying to convince Susan to send Matilda away to a school/sanatorium on the Continent. She’s reluctant to let the girl go, but Capshaw reminds her that they can’t keep her there, not after having told Reid she was dead. If he were to ever find out about this lie, well, we all saw what he’s capable of.

Mrs W goes to Leman Street to meet with Drake  and tells him that some of her late husband’s tools are mysteriously missing. She attributes this to the ghost of her husband instead of perhaps employing some common sense and realising she’s been robbed. Jackson notes that these tools are awfully sharp and asks what Wakefield did. He was a taxidermist. She goes on to say that her angry dead husband killed Le Cheyne but Drake, with a hint of ‘I have no time for this shit’ in his voice, tells her Le Cheyne was poisoned and they think Marvell’s good for it. Jackson takes Drake outside and tells him that prussic acid is commonly used by taxidermists. He wonders if Mrs W realised Le Cheyne was cheating her and got mad and now is trying to cover her tracks with a ghost story. They go back into the interview room and Drake asks her to show them where she allegedly saw her husband’s ghost.

She takes them to Mr W’s creepy workshop, where Jackson finds prussic acid missing. Drake asks if anything else had been disturbed and she points to a chest that had ledgers and some money in it. Guess what’s missing? She can’t believe that the money’s gone but Drake reminds her that ghosts have no use for money, so she’s not being haunted, she’s been burgled. She looks a little sad, like she was really hoping for that one last connection with her husband, even if it was an unpleasant one. She sits down and cries and tells them how much she misses him. For future reference, the train accident left him nigh unrecognisable. While she speaks, Drake locates a set of photographs hidden under some things and swiftly pockets them. He asks her if Mr W liked going to the music halls and she says he did, occasionally, and he used to promise to take her to the music halls in Paris.

Outside, Jackson asks about the photos and Drake hands them over. They’re slightly risqué pictures of a young woman. A couple of young women, one of whom is Juniper.

They go back to the theatre, where Juniper and some of the other girls are rehearsing a number. She visibly panics when she sees Drake and quickly leaves the stage. Backstage, she says she posed for some guy a while back, but it wasn’t Wakefield. She claims not to know any William Wakefield. Drake says that Wakefield was a fan of Paris too. She’s like, ‘wow, what a coincidence. You know lots of people like Paris, right?’ Drake tells her that Le Cheyne claimed he knew how to stop her from going to Paris and asks what he knew. She changes the subject to Marvell, asking if he hasn’t been arrested for the murder. Drake sets her straight and explains that Marvell’s been arrested for fraud. She warns him not to believe anything Marvell says, clearly trying to get a bit flirty, but Drake won’t have it. She drops the act and admits that Wakefield took the photographs and she was having an affair with him. She asks if his wife knows about these and says she’s really sorry about the whole thing, but what’s life without passion? She claims she just wanted to get out of there. She then asks for the pictures, so she can destroy them, but Drake takes them back. Evidence, honey.

Out front, Morton catches him and invites him back later, because Rose will be performing. Drake excuses himself.

Matilda plays with the mirror while Susan talks up this school. Matilda’s not interested in attending. Dr Fayne gives her some sedatives and Susan smilingly urges her to sleep. Matilda asks why Susan, whom she calls the queen of the place, doesn’t have a king. Susan gently takes back the mirror and leaves the girl to sleep in a really uncomfortable looking position.

Outside the room, Fayne says the girl’s making progress and, in time, her mind might heal itself. But if she’s taken away from the only stability she has at the moment, it could be seriously detrimental to her recovery. Susan tells her to go tend to her clinic patients.

Best is shown the front page of the latest edition, which has a huge headline that reads ‘Where is Inspector Reid?’ Do enough people in the area care or even know who Reid is to justify that prominent a story? Or is it really just a slow news day? A telegram arrives for Best, and though we only see glimpses of it, it’s clearly about the shipment that was stolen from the train.

Drake and Arthurton share a pint and Arthurton reassures him he did the right thing, covering for Reid. He asks Drake if he’ll accept the new position on a permanent basis. Drake says these streets are dark places that infect the soul. Arthurton kind of agrees, but also says that Drake knows this place better than anyone and is the person most likely to actually survive this hell. He goes to get more drinks.

Morton talks to Jackson, asking if he’s going to continue working with the police or focus on his doctor’s practice. Jackson turns to Mimi briefly and doesn’t seem sure. Morton continues that his rich father could be interested in investing in Jackson’s practice, if he were interested in expanding.

They go inside the theatre, Morton talking about the elaborate plans he has for the wedding, none of which Rose is particularly keen on. They take their seats just as the lady in question takes the stage. Her singing’s improved since last season (I’m guessing she’s been dubbed), but her stage presence still sucks. While she sings, we catch glimpses of Susan, sitting at her dressing table, looking sad as she takes off her makeup, and Drake checking out some posters advertising Rose’s performance outside the theatre. Susan tries on her wedding ring and Drake steals into the very back of the theatre, then takes a seat, observed by both Rose and Jackson. Jackson sends him a sympathetic look. Drake glances at Morton, then gets up and leaves.

Drake returns to his room to drink and smoke and get a visitor later that night: Rose. She’s brought dinner. How very girlfriend-y of her. He lets her in, asking if this is cool with Morton, but she snaps that Morton’s not her keeper and just eat already! They sit down and calm down and she asks if she should congratulate him on the promotion. Drake tells her he hasn’t accepted yet. She sympathetically says she knows Reid’s his friend, but Whitechapel really needs a man in charge. He tells her he reinvented himself in Manchester and he had all this hope, which he wanted to bring back to Whitechapel, but instead he returned and everything fell apart. He thinks he’s cursed. Oh, heavens, Drake, you can’t blame yourself for Reid going off the rails. All of you knew his daughter was a delicate subject. He says there’s nothing for him in Whitechapel, which is a seriously depressing place. She earnestly tells him he’s wrong, because there are good things in Whitechapel. He realises she’s talking about her and reminds her that she’s about to get married, and anyway, he doesn’t want to drag her down into the ugly muck of his life and work. She insists he doesn’t bring ruin with him, he brings hope and life. She reminds him that he saved her, and that was the first time she ever saw him. Aww, that’s right. She needed a lot of saving that first season. They kiss, and then quickly move on to other things. And it’s actually pretty sexy, though I can’t help but feel a little badly for Morton, who does seem like a nice guy. Not particularly exciting, but nice. And kudos to the show for not taking the easy route and making Morton a douchebag so we would automatically root for Drake and Rose. Real life is generally more complicated than that.

Drake goes to the office the next day and almost immediately gets a mortuary report on Wakefield that states he was only identifiable by his pocketwatch. Drake tells Grace, who brought the report, that up in Manchester there was a case where a man faked his death so he and his wife could cash in on his life insurance. They wonder if the same thing is going on here, if Wakefield is planning to take the money and escape to Paris with Juniper, and he killed Le Cheyne because he found out about it. Grace takes off to find out if Wakefield had a policy on his life.

Juniper arrives at a cheap hotel, where Wakefield is waiting for her and freaking out, while she’s cool as a cucumber and scolds him for stupidly leaving her photos just lying around. Seriously, although I’m guessing he didn’t have a whole lot of time for planning, if he faked his death in a freak accident like a train crash in his front yard. Actually, how did he have time to organise this with Juniper? It’s not like they could have seen that crash coming. He panics about the police being on their trail but she reassures him they know nothing. He asks if his wife knows about the pictures. She tells him no. He admits he’s going stir crazy and she talks him down, reminding him that the insurance pays out that very day, and then they can be off to Paris. Where I think we can be assured she’ll dump his ass, because she’s clearly annoyed by and impatient with this guy.

Jackson and Mimi are enjoying some afternoon delight. Afterwards, they have a smoke, like you do, and are then interrupted by a knock on the door. Jackson answers it, irritated and naked, and finds Susan on the doorstep. He gets dressed and they go for a walk so she can ask if he’s heard from Reid. He says no. Talk turns to Mimi. Jackson thinks she’ll get bored with him soon, but Susan comments that Mimi seems quite taken with him. And Jackson seems quite taken with her. In love, in fact, an emotion of his that Susan’s quite acquainted with. She urges him to go back to her and stop running scared. She then gives him a kiss on the cheek and leaves.

Grace returns to Leman Street with the policy Wakefield took out with someone named Gribbon, which I guess names Juniper as the beneficiary. He sends Grace to tail Juniper and a constable to fetch Mrs Wakefield.

He shows her the policy, and she can’t believe what she’s seeing. But then she pulls herself together and says her husband claimed those days were over, but clearly not. She asks where this Juniper Cole was when Mrs W was burying her husband. She shows Drake the watch she identified her husband’s body with and bitterly says she thought she’d keep it close to her heart. ‘You must think me a stupid woman,’ she adds. Drake reassures her that’s not the case. She asks a favour: she wants to speak with Marvell.

Drake allows it, and she’s taken to the cell where Marvell is chilling. He springs to his feet and hastily buttons up his waistcoat, like a gentleman, as soon as he sees her. She asks if it’s true that he and Le Cheyne deceived her and he earnestly says they did not, that their gifts are real. She approaches him and says she wants to talk to her husband and find out who this Juniper Cole is. She asks for Marvell’s help and he takes  a beat and for some reason comes clean: he’s nothing more than a fairground conjurer, and all he can do is ask Juniper herself for answers. Mrs W is startled to find out that he knows her. He does. And he knows where she liked to take her men. Why didn’t the police ask him for any of this information? Why is he suddenly spilling his guts to this woman?

Capshaw tells Susan that all the arrangements have been made to take Matilda out of the country to this school or whatever it is. He claims this will clean their hands, but Susan clearly doesn’t think their hands will ever be clean. This has all been overheard by Matilda, who firmly tells them both that she doesn’t want to leave. Capshaw snaps at some woman to keep Matilda in her room. The woman apologises and tells Susan that ‘her visitor’ has arrived.

Mrs W goes to the hotel where Wakefield is staying and knocks on the door. Wakefield, thinking it’s Juniper, opens it and is, naturally, shocked to find his wife there. Not as shocked as she is to see her supposedly dead husband, of course. She can’t even really articulate words for a while, which is understandable. She’s white as a sheet. He tells her this isn’t what it seems like, even though it clearly is. She pulls a knife and he smarmily starts trying to talk himself out of a stabbing.

And then Juniper shows up, brandishing a valise stuffed with cash. Her smile disappears swiftly when she gets into the room.

Grace and Drake hurry into the hotel, alerted, presumably, by the constable who was tailing Juniper. But they’re too late. By the time they get to the room, they find Juniper and Wakefield stabbed to death and Mrs W sitting by, in shock, her hands covered in blood. The life insurance payout flutters over the bodies.

Rose goes to Susan for advice. She says that Morton’s a decent guy, but there’s something undeniably pulling her to Drake. Susan says she once had her own good match/bad match dilemma. Rose says that Drake isn’t Jackson and Susan agrees. Rose asks if Susan regrets any of it and Susan firmly says she absolutely does not. Awww.

Jackson finishes up with a patient with the following words: ‘that’s gonna itch like hell for a few days, but that’s just Mother Nature’s way of telling you not to put it there.’ Hee! Once the man leaves, Best comes swirling in with his telegram, which he shows to Jackson. Jackson pretends not to know what any of this means, so Best spells it out: the person who shipped those bonds and was subsequently robbed is Theodore Swift, Susan’s father. Jackson refuses to believe that Susan had any involvement, even though that would be one hell of a coincidence, and warns Best to get the hell out of his surgery. Best takes his telegram back and calmly leaves.

Rose is also on her way out, but as she leaves Susan’s she spots Matilda. She swiftly puts it all together and immediately goes to Drake and tells him she’s seen the girl.

Matilda is swiftly bundled into a carriage with Capshaw and Susan. When the carriage stops for traffic, Susan looks away and Matilda leaps out and makes a run for it. Capshaw pursues while Susan sits by calmly. Matilda disappears into the smoke and grime of Whitechapel.

And in a shack by the beach somewhere sits Reid. And here comes Drake to summon him back to give them the help they need.