Previously on Ripper Street: In an attempt to rob her asshole father, Susan caused a massive train crash that killed more than 50 people. Whoopsies! In the ensuing cover-up she also shot Reid, but not fatally. Still, he’s suffering some after-effects but nonetheless refusing to quit his job and go live happily ever after at the seashore with his severely mentally and emotionally damaged daughter. Jackson’s just about to discover that Susan’s fingerprints are all over the gun that shot Reid, which’ll be quite the shocker for him, and he doesn’t even know that she’s pregnant yet. And, of course, just as Susan’s about to drop that little bit of news, her douchebag dad, Swift, shows up to complicate everything.
Abberline pours himself a drink in Reid’s office and suggests Reid, who’s got a bag of ice on his head to help him manage a headache, is no longer fit for duty and demands he hand over his warrant card. Reid produces it but reminds Abberline that there’s unfinished business in thesehere parts and he means to see it done. Abberline gives him and lets him get on with his duty.
Best is having dinner with a rather gross American reporter named Ackerman. Ackerman congratulates Best on uncovering information on the stolen bonds. Seems Ackerman’s been looking into Swift and now the two men are arranging an information exchange. Ackerman’s not forthcoming with his proof, so Best removes his fake ear and says that Swift removed the real one, and his bonds were the cause of death of many people, including one person whom Best loved. Ackerman hands over a sample of his information: photos of dead English soldiers. Ackerman also hands over what looks like a golden snitch and tells him to keep it safe. He warns Best to get what he needs from his office and then get away from there and find someplace to hide.
Ackerman leaves, and not far from the restaurant he’s assaulted and taken prisoner. He’s removed to a warehouse, where Swift’s men beat the hell out of him before the man himself comes strolling in. Swift makes small talk about how London gives him heartburn and he’s pissed off at Ackerman for hounding Swift out of America and forcing him to come here. He figures Swift came to meet with someone, and with some more heavy-handed encouragement, Ackerman gives up Best. Despite having just promised to let Ackerman live, Swift has one of his men blow the man’s brains out at very close range indeed, because Swift is unredeemable.
Jackson has assembled his fingerprint evidence and realizes that Susan did, in fact, pull the trigger on the gun that shot Reid. While he’s still absorbing that, Ackerman’s body is brought in. Jackson notes that the man was clearly tortured, and Grace says that the man was seen having dinner with Best the night he was killed. Reid sends Grace to dig up Ackerman’s articles while he and Drake go to see Best.
Best’s offices have been trashed, and the man is nowhere to be found. Reid does find his own obituary, which must be sort of creepy to read.
Best hurries through the streets and takes a room at a boardinghouse with a view down the street.
Swift takes Susan to the building site from last week, which is also the site of the train crash and is where Susan’s building affordable housing. How nice of her. Swift has had the workmen sent away, which is remarkable, considering he has no authority on this site whatsoever. Swift tells her that the land is going to be the site of a much grander scheme. He turns Susan around so she can see that Cobden is coming their way. Swift whispers to Susan that she has to do things his way, or face the rope. She would? Why? On what evidence? I guess Susan doesn’t take much convincing, because she tells Cobden that the development has been shut down. Cobden is aghast and demands to know why, but all Susan will say is that it’s too expensive and won’t change anything. There’s not much Cobden can do, so she just turns and leaves.
Grace has gathered Ackerman’s articles, most of which are about Swift. Ackerman uncovered enough to prompt Congress to open in inquiry into the man’s business dealings. Grace wonders if Best has joined Ackerman in going after Swift.
Artherton pokes his head into the dead room and tells Grace that Best has been spotted at a boardinghouse. Grace goes to get him, accompanied by a couple of other coppers. Best sees them coming and goes to leave, but then Jackson bursts through the door, tells him Ackerman is dead, and gets him out of there.
Once they’re at Jackson’s surgery, Jackson demands all the information Best has on Ackerman and Swift. He looks through Swift’s satchel and finds the pictures of the murdered soldiers. He also hands over the snitch and tells Jackson that nobody can quite figure out how Swift was moving his fortune around. Jackson says the snitch is actually something called a Stanhope, which allows one to see things they might not otherwise be able to.
Before they can really get into that, Mimi comes bursting in with a picnic lunch and a hideously unflattering outfit. Jackson draws her aside and asks her to wait with Best and make sure he doesn’t leave. He reassures her Best is a good guy and leaves. She offers Best some lunch.
Jackson returns to the dead room and goes through Ackerman’s things, looking for an insert for the Stanhope. It’s not in his things or clothes or, presumably, up his ass, so Jackson starts to literally take the man apart, looking for it.
Reid looks over Ackerman’s articles, one of which is about Swift hiring Pinkertons to open fire on his own workers, which would have gotten him in quite a lot of trouble, were it to be proved. In order to protect his assets from seizure, he doubtless shipped it secretly elsewhere. Drake and Reid realize the man was putting all his money into unmarked bonds, which were then shipped overseas to London and loaded onto goods trains. Drake knows that Susan must have been involved deeply in the theft of the bonds from the train, and therefore her involvement in the crash. Reid agrees that Drake should go check her out.
Drake and several policemen burst into Susan’s home and Drake orders the place torn apart in the search for the bonds and cash.
Reid has come along, and Swift, who comes sauntering downstairs with Susan as the policemen come flooding in, asks Reid if he doesn’t have a kind hello for him. Reid’s tinnitus kicks in and Susan realizes he’s about to pass out and rushes towards him, calling for a chair and water. Reid recovers and he thanks her. She tells him to think nothing of it.
Reid informs her that she’s suspected of being behind the theft of the bonds and asks Swift if he plans to make a report of the robbery. Swift claims nothing was stolen and he’s just in London to visit his family.
Grace reports that nothing’s been found, though they haven’t searched the safe in the wall. Drake demands it be opened, and Susan obeys, but it’s empty. Drake warns her that her lies will be revealed soon enough. Reid tells Grace to fetch some workmen and have them really rip the house apart. He does so, and man, these guys do a fairly thorough job. Could policemen really do that at this time? Especially to someone as wealthy and (now) respectable as Susan? I guess so, since she makes no protest, just watches them destroy her home.
Jackson finally finds what he’s looking for in Ackerman’s guts. It’s a tiny gear-like thing, which he fits in the Stanhope. He looks through a teensy lens and sees micro images of ships and a manifest and some sort of machine-gun-like weapon.
Jackson goes to the Obsidian Clinic and summons Susan so they can have a talk. He asks how much Swift has told her about his new line of business. He has not. Jackson asks why she’s playing along with this man—what does Swift have over her? He tells her that he knows she shot Reid and she doesn’t bother to deny it, just gets teary and asks how Jackson managed to discover her. He tells her not to worry about that and asks her if she plans to let her father just fold her back into his life. She says that all depends on Jackson. He refuses to lie and protect her, so she asks if he’ll do it for the sake of their child. She says that a child is a new thing, and might make them both new alongside it. Yes, self-redemption, that’s an excellent reason to have a kid. Jackson gently wraps his hand around her waist. He doesn’t know what to do, and finally grabs Best’s satchel and leaves.
He goes back to his surgery, where he finds Mimi but no Best. She says Best wouldn’t be made to stay, just kept talking about going to print. Before he went, he told Mimi all sorts of stories about Jackson’s history and his connection to Susan. Mimi knows that she’s no longer Jackson’s priority, and she also correctly guesses that he’s dashing around for Susan’s sake. He admits that it’s true, and that Susan’s pregnant. Mimi’s like, ‘yeah, not at all what I signed up for. I can’t compete with that.’ She tells him that there was a possible future with her, but instead he’s choosing the past. She strokes his cheek, then leaves. Aww, too bad. I liked her.
Best stupidly returns to his trashed offices, where he’s immediately grabbed by Swift’s men.
Drake goes to the theatre to tell Rose everything before she goes on stage. Hey, it’s nice of her ex not to hold a grudge and to keep her on as a performer here. Drake tells her that Abberline’s pressuring Reid to retire and Drake to take Reid’s place, or get kicked out of the force. Naturally, Drake’s not comfortable with that, but he says if he had Rose at his side, the big chair wouldn’t scare him quite so much. She kisses him. He says he has to leave, but he’ll be back for her later. Before he leaves she tells him that Mimi and Jackson broke up, thanks to Susan. She also mentions that Mimi was made to babysit Best for a while.
Drake goes to Jackson’s rooms and finds Best’s satchel, which now also has the fingerprint evidence in it, along with the gun used to shoot Reid.
Best has been given the Ackerman treatment and is well and truly bloodied up, but still giving Swift attitude when Swift demands to know what Ackerman gave Best. Swift has his leg broken and Best agrees to start talking. Swift calls Susan out and she joins them, looking at Best coolly. Man, has she wandered over the moral event horizon this episode or what?
Best tells Swift he knows that he’s been storing his fortune in bearer bonds and that Susan stole some of them. He shared said information with Ackerman, but Ackerman didn’t really give him anything in return. Swift unveils a British machine gun that he’s now acquiring and then selling along. Swift’s basically just an arms dealer now, selling British guns to Britain’s enemies. Best realizes this reveal means his doom, so he decides to go out on a high note and gives a great speech that’s basically a giant verbal middle finger to Swift. Big round of applause to this actor for really bringing his A-game here. He pisses off Swift enough for Swift to grab the gun and empty many, many rounds into Best’s chest, even as Susan screams for him to stop.
At the theatre, Rose the charisma black hole is giving an incredibly boring performance that the crowd inexplicably loves. Jackson comes bursting in and asks Mimi if she has any idea where Drake is. She doesn’t know. Fortunately, Drake comes in just at that moment to confront Jackson with that satchel full of evidence that Jackson just left lying around like an idiot. He accuses Jackson of conspiring against the others at H division. The two of them begin brawling and trashing the threatre, as Jackson tries to tell Drake that this is all because of Swift, and Jackson knows what the man’s up to. The fight spills out into the street, where Reid finds them. Drake tattles to daddy about Jackson obstructing justice in Reid’s attempted murder. Reid doesn’t seem all that surprised by this and tells the guys they have other work.
Back to the dead room, where now Best’s on the table. The man was never their favourite, but they’re all sad to see this end. Jackson retrieves some of the bullets and identifies the gun they came from: a Maxim machine gun, which he knows Swift is now dealing. He shows the others the Stanhope, which has amongst its images a shipping manifest of weapons going to anti-imperialist forces. The weapons are stockpiled in East London and sold to the highest bidder. Reid is horrified, but since they have no hard evidence, they need an informant. Reid asks about this side investigation into the thumbprint on the gun that Jackson has going and Jackson admits that it’s Susan’s. Reid gets all nerdily excited that Jackson managed to match her print to the one on the gun and then goes off to see if he can use this information to get her to turn on her father.
Susan is clearly tying up loose ends. She gives Frayn a huge amount of cash to keep the clinic going, along with the deed to said clinic. She then goes to see Cobden, who is not pleased to see Susan at all. Susan just asks for a minute, then says she’s really sorry about earlier and hands over some paperwork that puts the land in Cobden’s hands. Awesome, now Swift’s thugs can go after her. Well done, Susan. Cobden is confused, but Susan just tells her to make sure that the right thing is done here. Matilda is apparently now spending her days with Cobden, so Susan bids her farewell too, then leaves.
Reid goes to Susan’s torn-apart house and finds her, luggage in hand. He asks where Swift is and hears he’s at a hotel. He tells her that Jackson was made to tell him about the thumbprint. She’s not exactly surprised. He suspects, however, that she failed to kill him on purpose, because she was taught to shoot by Jackson, who’s a really great shot. Yes, but Reid, she shot you in the head. It’s the 1890s; a head shot was an almost certain death sentence back then. If she really hadn’t meant to kill you, she’d have shot you somewhere less lethal. Buy, whatever, I guess we’re going with that. He gives her credit for trying to do right by Whitechapel, but she says that, even when attempting to do that, she just brought misery and slaughter because that’s pretty much her entire life. He tells her they can help change that now.
Of course she agrees. Swift is summoned to the building site, where Susan waits, seemingly alone. Reid quickly reveals himself and tells Swift that he wants to speak with him. Swift carelessly tells his men to kill Reid, but Jackson and Drake are waiting and both quickly pick off the men. Reid knows that the law can’t constrain Swift, because he always manages to wriggle out, so they’re going to go with Plan B. He’s forced to march to the former spot of the Buckleys’ shop and taken down to the basement cell where Matilda was kept for years. They lock him in and Susan gives him a vial of something for his heartburn, reminding him that work here is shut down, on his orders, so nobody will be through for weeks. In Whitechapel, no one can hear you scream! Swift tries to use family ties to sway Susan, but she’s so, so done with him. Everyone leaves. Woah, that was really dark. Leaving someone to starve to death? Damn, guys. Damn.
The men repair to Reid’s office for a contemplative drink. Artherton summons them below for a case, but Reid’s decided his work here is done. He hands it over to Drake, claps him on the shoulder, and goes to take care of his daughter. Jackson wishes Drake well, and Drake slowly seats himself in Reid’s chair.
Jackson goes and joins Susan in her cell, sitting beside her and saying, ‘for better or worse, right?’ She smiles at him and they hold hands. Aww, that was rather sweet.
Drake and Rose get married, with Artherton as a witness, which is sweet. They’re both really happy.
Reid and Matilda go play on a beach while Best VO’s the obituary, which talks a bit about Reid’s involvement in the Ripper case and how that always haunted Reid. Best goes on to say that he really hopes the man finally found his peace.
That was…ok. To be honest, I would have been pretty satisfied if the series had ended at the end of last season, because I thought that was a really good episode and left most of the characters in a fairly satisfying position. This series started out intriguingly with the train crash and its many ripples throughout the community, but I felt like it lost steam about halfway through, around the point when Reid got shot. So much of what Susan was doing just seemed bewildering to me. Why conceal Matilda from Reid, for instance? Why shoot Reid? Once we lost Capshaw, we kind of lost our villain, and to be honest, Swift is such a cartoon character that his reappearance wasn’t interesting at all. He was such an occasional character I didn’t feel much tension at all when he showed up. I wish they’d done more to make him a real overarching menace, if he was going to loom so large at the end.
Cobden and Mimi were both totally wasted. I don’t really know why either of those women, who were interesting characters, mind, were even introduced when all they were basically going to be was conveniences for the male characters. Cobden just wound up being a babysitter most of the time, and Mimi was just Jackson’s fling. Disappointing.
The storyline with Matilda was pretty poorly handled too. This girl has been damaged pretty much beyond repair: she was terrified of her father, made even more terrified of him, and locked up for more than half her life, but then she just snaps out of her fear of Reid? I don’t buy it. And, I don’t know, it just seems like this was all too neat an ending, for Reid and everyone else. Yeah, it’s nice to see him reunited with his daughter and all, but to have her basically just totally fine is unrealistic and kind of violates a lot of the ideas of the show, which was basically about how Whitechapel sucks you in and tends to chew people up and spit them out. I find it really hard to believe that someone like Reid—an obsessive man and obsessive police officer who’s given everything in his life to his job, would ultimately just walk away and have a happy, golden ending. Same with Drake and Rose, it was all too sunshine-y. Maybe I’m just a bleak person or something, but these neatly tied up endings just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the show. Whitechapel is troubled, and the people who live and work there are troubled. They are damaged. That darkness doesn’t just go away because you move to the seaside or marry the girl you’ve always liked or reconcile with your ex-wife for the tenth time. I don’t know, it just felt like a fizzle there at the end.
But hey, good job from everyone in the cast, they were definitely bringing it. Can’t wait to see what everyone will do next (sadly, Banished was cancelled, so we won’t be seeing Best and Susan together again anytime soon). What did everyone else think, was this a worthy end to the series?