Ripper Street: The Prodigal Returns

ripper-street-our-betrayal-03Previously on Ripper Street: Susan’s landlord started putting the squeeze on her, in the hope of forcing her to sleep with him; Drake’s wife Bella randomly turned out to be a former member of a suicide cult, and she duly did what the cult was meant to do, sending Drake into a hellish spiral of depression.

We begin far from London’s East End, at a diamond mine in Cape Colony, South Africa. Black workers toil while white overseers stand around. One of the overseers, played by David Costabile (fun fact! He recently got married at the place where my mom works! I’m pretty sure she made his wedding cake.) sees something on the ground—presumably an uncut diamond. There’s a brief distraction while one of the overseers breaks a man’s hand for allegedly stealing, and while everyone’s looking the other way, David shoves the rock into his mouth and, with difficulty, swallows it. Later, he locks himself in the privy and, with even more difficulty, recovers it.

Cut immediately to the London wharfs seven weeks later, where a ship’s blasting its horn loudly. Heh. David—actually, his name’s Daniel Judge in this—has arrived and immediately makes his way to Susan’s. He asks for Jackson and she tells him he’s not living there anymore.

She directs him to Leman Street, where he asks Arthurton for Jackson, who’s just passing by and doesn’t look pleased to see Dan. Probably because Dan refers to Jackson as ‘Twinkle.’ Hee! I half do and half don’t want to know the origins of that nickname. With a grin, he approaches Jackson, saying he’s a sight for sore eyes, but apparently the feeling’s not mutual, because Jackson responds by laying him out with a punch and snarling, ‘I thought you were dead you sonofabitch.’ They must be related. Brothers, in fact.

Reid stops by Drake’s place, which is about as trashed as a place can get. He rights a table and chair and finds a little book called Manners for Men, which strikes me as being really sad. He also finds a picture of Drake and Bella together.

Out on the street, he finds Rose searching for Drake, just like he is. He gives her the picture to help with her inquiries.

Back home he goes, where he finds Abberline waiting for him. Wow, lucky he happened to make one of his rare trips home that day. Abberline reminds Reid that it’s been a month since Drake handed in his badge and fell off the face of the earth, and he’ll either return or not, but in the meantime, he needs Reid back at work.

Jackson’s taken his brother for some food and observes that Dan’s manners haven’t improved any during his time abroad. He asks what Dan’s been up to since he was last heard from in Cairo, and we quickly learn that Dan, unsurprisingly, is one hell of a con artist. He had the Egyptians believing that, just because he was American, he was Thomas Edison and he screwed them over on a gas lighting deal. After that, he headed to Africa.

Reid arrives back at H Division and hears there’s not a whole lot going on. No deaths, just a lot of assaults. But Cobden reported attacks on three of her surveyors, and he recognizes the name of one man, Hinchcliffe, who’s made a complaint of fraud. Reid heads out to visit Hinchcliffe, and then Cobden.

Hinchcliffe’s a jeweler—he made Mrs Reid’s wedding band, in fact—and he had a guy who quickly became a regular customer and started ordering up more and more expensive items. The final order was substantial, and he had to take out a loan to buy the materials for the items. Unsurprisingly, the customer, a Mr Werner, got the items in hand and skipped out without payment, and now Hichcliffe’s loan is due. Reid and Flight promise to bring the man to justice.

Out on the street, Reid muses that these types of crimes often go unreported and ignored by the local police, who are up to their necks in all sorts of other blood-soaked craziness. Flight agrees that it’s totally wrong that an honest man should be treated this way and says the locals need to know they have the officers’ support. Reid seems pleased and sends Flight to track down Werner while he goes to Cobden.

At her office, she briskly tells him that he didn’t have to come himself. This quickly devolves into her, essentially, complaining that he never called since he declared his love for her, and he quietly explains that he’s had a pretty busy month. She’s sorry to hear about Drake, but not willing to be shoved aside so rudely. He admits he’s afraid of hurting her and she tells him that’s already happened, so they need to work on their communication. They get started on the assaults.

Back at the station, Flight finds a pattern of sales that take place very soon after businesses are defrauded, and the next one’s scheduled for that morning. Flight heads out and finds Werner operating down some back alley. When Flight flashes his badge, Werner flees, and when Flight finally catches up with him, Werner informs him that they’ve crossed over into Limehouse, and Werner’s protected there, by Shine. I knew we’d be seeing him again soon.

Flight takes his disappointment to confession, where he tells the priest he wants to be a good man.

Next, he goes to a boxing club, where Shine’s just finishing up beating the tar out of an opponent in the ring. Flight asks for a word and Shine smilingly greets him and asks how he’s been. Ohhh. I guess we really should have been more suspicious of Flight the moment he showed up basically offering to work for Reid for free. Our guys are cool, but they’re not that cool. Flight tells him about Werner and how he can’t go after him and Shine tells him to just let it go. Flight feels badly about that and Shine reminds him that, when they first met, Flight was some ‘Paddy’ destined for jail, and now he’s all respectable-like. So, he seriously owes Shine. And he definitely knows it. Shine put him in Leman Street to warn him if Reid ever started looking in his direction again.

Duggan goes to see Susan and informs her that she’s late with her latest shakedown payment. She’s aware and explains that her husband lost the money. To appease him, she calls in some of her girls, to see if one of them can tempt him. They do not. He wants one, and only one. And he’s going to move into the house until she gives it up.

Susan pays a visit to Rose at the theatre, and we get a glimpse of Rose’s performance. She’s atrociously bad, poor thing, but Susan’s really sweet to her. Rose tells her not to worry about her, because she’s heard Susan has bigger things on her mind. Her crap marriage, for starters. Susan asks Rose if she remembers the first time she was paid for, and whether it changed her. Rose is confused, so Susan clarifies, asking if it made it totally different to be with a man she loved after that. Rose heartbreakingly says she’s never known what it is to sleep with a man she loves.

Flight returns to Leman Street and tells Reid he failed to get his man. Reid tells him to do better, and then goes to his office where he sadly checks out Drake’s badge, which is sitting on his desk.

Rose is making the rounds, asking some of the girls on the street if they’ve seen Drake. She shows them the picture and one of them, Gracie, tells Rose she’s seen him, but not in a nice place. Rose begs for information, handing over a coin as she does so, and Gracie’s face softens.

She sends Rose to what looks like a fighting pit, which is crowded with rowdy men placing bets. Drake appears, stripped to the waist, and is tied to a pole in the middle of the pit. The men are then called upon to place bets on how many blows it’ll take to bring Drake down. Yeeesh. Another guy begins whaling on him as the crowd cheers and Rose flinches with every blow. After 13 hits, the man running the whole thing calls a halt, because nobody bet higher than that, so no bets will be paid out. Rose struggles not to cry.

Later, Drake gets his own payout and walks away, already starting to dig into a bottle, not that I can blame him. Rose rushes to catch up with him, but he won’t let her touch him and just walks away.

Jackson and Dan put their feet up at Reid’s place, and though it’s a really nice house, Dan can’t believe Jackson left a whorehouse and Susan to come live there. Jackson’s not about to give the full details of what happened and Dan figures Jackson would have left her anyway, and this way, he doesn’t have to feel bad about it. Jackson tells him to just shut the hell up already and drop the whole kinship routine. Things turn a bit nasty quickly and Dan tells Jackson that Jackson’s (both of their?) father, a doctor, got a bit melancholy and, one day, slit his own throat over the Sunday meatloaf. That’s a shameful waste of a good dinner. They begin to fight, and then Reid comes in and tries to break it up, only to get a faceful of Dan, so it’s up to Jackson to cool things down by pulling a pistol on his brother and telling him he’s wrestling their host. Everyone chills out.

Later, after probably a few drinks, Reid asks about this Twinkle nickname and Dan tells him it was because of Jackson’s cheerful disposition. Bullshit. Reid bids them both goodnight and all but tells Dan to get the hell out of his house, soon.

The following morning, while Dan snoozes, Jackson rifles through his knapsack and checks his boots, finding a false heel in one. He pries it open, finds the diamond, and gets his brother’s knife to his throat. Dan tells him to put it down and Jackson hands it over. Dan tells him it’s a 35-carat diamond in the rough. Jackson’s pretty sure the mine owners will miss that but Dan doubts it. Jackson knows better and says he’ll have trouble fencing this. Fortunately, he knows someone. And he’ll help out, for half the profit.

Reid’s not delighted by the idea of having Dan hang around his house, but he doesn’t put up much of a fight as he and Jackson arrive at Leman Street. Jackson finds Flight working on the Werner case and asks for more info on the guy. Flight hands over his files and Jackson notes that, in the past, Werner’s fenced through a place called Finkel’s.

Later, Jackson grabs his brother and pulls him aside at the pub and tells him Finkel might be a good place to start, since they know he deals with crooks. Dan asks if Jackson really thinks this’ll buy him back into Susan’s life. Jackson can only hope so. Dan warns him that the money isn’t the only thing that got him kicked out, but Jackson doesn’t really want to hear it.

At the station, Reid and Arthurton watch a copper, Wainwright, train for an upcoming divisional boxing championship, using a dead pig as a punching bag. Reid seems pleased by what he sees, though he and Arthurton agree the man is no Drake when it comes to fighting. Flight shows up long enough to tell Reid he’s still looking for Werner.

Cobden shows a crew of newsmen around a slum she hopes to replace with modern, sanitary dwellings. Unfortunately, she can’t do that alone, and her surveyors keep getting attacked by thugs hired by the owners of the slum buildings. She wants the newsmen to write and shame these men into good faith negotiation. The men applaud her politely, and Reid, who was hovering at the back, steps forward to tell her that the company she needs to be going after is known as Obsidian Estates. Best sidles up and clearly gets a read on the situation between Reid and Cobden.

Dan strolls into Finkel’s and says he’s looking for Werner, hinting that he’s got something of great interest for the man. Finkel asks what size they’re talking about and Daniel holds up his hand to demonstrate. Thankfully, he’s not a moron, so he doesn’t have the rock on him. He leaves his address with the man.

As he’s leaving, he passes Hinchfield, who’s doing some detective work of his own, going shop to shop to ask if anyone’s seen the missing jewels. He makes it to Finkel’s and sees his earrings in the window, and when he looks up, he sees Werner inside. He rushes off to H Division.

Inside the shop, Finkel tells Werner Dan has a massive stone he wants to sell. Werner isn’t interested in the risk, under the current climate, and tells Finkel to inform the syndicate that owns the mine of the theft.

At Leman Street, Hinchcliffe grabs Flight and tells him he’s found the thief. Flight doesn’t look inclined to do anything about it, but with Arthurton staring him down, he has no choice. Flight asks for a couple of minutes, goes to the telegraph room, and hastily taps out a message.

Flight and Hinchcliffe arrive at Finkel’s, and they’re barely even through the door before Shine comes out of nowhere and grossly strangles poor Hinchcliffe with a garrotte. Even Flight looks horrified and Shine observes that Flight’s been well guarded from the ugly realities of the world, but the fact is, this is his life. Flight tries not to burst into tears. Shine calls Werner in and tells him to fetch a mop. Later, Werner cleans up the bloodstain and tells Shine he’s lost his mind and Werner will end up in prison. Shine tells him it’ll be fine, but Werner’s going to have to go to Leman Street with Flight. Werner worries about being tortured, but Shine reassures him that the usual torturer, Drake, is out of commission, and it’s not really Reid’s thing.

Rose waits outside some shelter or something, from which Drake emerges. She follows him to the cemetery, where he joins other men in digging a mass grave for some of the city’s poor. Wow, this is some serious self-punishment on his part.

Werner and Flight arrive back at the station and Reid has the man booked and locked down. Flight lies that Hinchcliffe went home. Reid sends him off to bring the man back so he can give a formal ID. Flight’s just acting strangely enough that Reid looks a little uncertain of him.

During morning break time, Rose approaches Drake and tells him he won’t be rid of her easily, because she’s his friend. She knows she’s hurt him in the past, but she really wants to be here for him, and she’ll be waiting for him, no matter where he hides. She goes on to say that he’s not cursed and he brought love into her life, not pain. He’s a good man, and she’ll keep saying that until the day she dies. Awwww!

Flight sits over a pint at the pub, looking lost.

Susan comes downstairs and finds Duggan’s put out an impressive spread for the two of them to enjoy. It’s all shellfish. Subtle, Duggan.

Dan, walking the back streets, realizes he’s being followed, but before he can make good an escape, he’s hemmed in by two men from the syndicate. He tries to wriggle out by copping a bad accent, but they know who he is, thanks to Hinkel. They even know where he lives!

Susan watches Duggan grossly inhale a crab claw, not touching anything herself. He sulkily asks if she isn’t pleased and she tells him she definitely isn’t. Why should she be? He tells her that all she has to do is sleep with him and he’ll go away. Yeah, right. He accuses her of being a hypocrite, running prostitutes but refusing to perform the same act herself. He threatens to start running the girls really roughly if she doesn’t play ball, and we all know how protective Susan is of her girls.

Reid catches Flight at the station and asks him about Hinchcliffe. Flight claims the man hasn’t turned up. Reid says they’ll have to deal with Werner themselves, then.

They go to the cell where Werner’s being held and Reid prepares to administer a beatdown. He asks about Hinchcliffe but Werner claims to know no such man. Reid demands the truth, but Werner remains brave and says he knows the power behind Reid’s questions isn’t around anymore. Reid proves that’s not entirely true by delivering mighty punch. Werner accuses him of being an animal as Reid leaves the cell, trailed by Flight. Outside, Reid tells Flight they’ve gone three days without a death in Whitechapel, which doesn’t make him particularly happy, it makes him nervous. He knows there’s evil afoot, probably because there’s always evil afoot around here, and says he needs Drake.

Drake’s back at that awful betting place, getting pummeled again while Rose watches.

Susan receives a note from Jackson that reads thus:

I have been a fool. I know this. But I am now a fool with a plan. Meet me at 8 o’clock at the King and Pauper. I love you I need you. Meet me. Jackson.

The syndicate thugs tear through Dan’s things and the house in general while he watches, tied to a chair and weeping.

Susan obligingly meets Jackson at the pub and asks why he sent for her. ‘Because I love you,’ he says simply. She tells him love is of no use to her just now. He says he has a plan that could change everything.

Dan’s getting seriously beaten up, but he gives up nothing. He does, however, happen to glance at his boots, and one of the thugs finds the false heel. It’s empty, though. Thankfully.

Jackson has the stone, and he shows it to Susan and tells her they can get 15,000 for it. Enough to pay off Duggan and live in comfort. She tells him this will bring nothing but pain and death, and it’s not worth it. And neither is he—she says she’s done with him and his dreams. The world is what it is, and she has to live with that. She gets up and leaves.

Dan, now with nothing to lose, laughs at the two thugs and tells them they have nothing on him. If they must kill him, know that they do it in the home of an inspector of the Metropolitan Police.

Reid goes to Cobden, still at work late at night in her office, and admits he’s been feeling melancholy and being around her makes him feel better. She notes his hand, which is bandaged, and he tells her it found itself embedded in a man’s jaw. He’s telling her because he wants to her to see his life as it is, in all its awful brutality. She reassures him she’s not frightened, and he leans in and kisses her. Before long, they’re going at it (I guess she ditched that ‘I won’t be your mistress’ thing), and Best hovers outside, listening at the door to the sounds of their passion.

Susan, dressed in a robe, hair artfully tousled, goes to Duggan’s room. I try hard not to vomit.

In the dead room, Dan watches Jackson hide the diamond in a jar of arsenic. Clever.

At the graveyard, Drake helps lower some coffins into the grave. One falls, bursting open and revealing the body of Hinchcliffe. Apparently Drake recognizes him.

At Leman Street, Reid’s urgently summoned. He, Flight, and Arthurton hurry outside and find Drake standing in the street, Hinchcliffe’s body slung over his shoulders, Rose hovering just behind him. That’s this show’s idea of a happy ending: a man standing in the street with a dead body slung over his shoulders. I’m really going to miss Ripper Street. At least it doesn’t pull its punches, you know?

Next week: our last episode. Ever. Sigh.

3 thoughts on “Ripper Street: The Prodigal Returns

  1. I don’t know if you know, because I just read it myself, but Ripper Street has been green lighted for Series 3 premiering in May 2014! I am sure I am the last to know but Im pretty excited! LOL!!

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