Previously on Ripper Street: A crazy poisoner was taken off the streets, Drake developed a crush on Rose, there was some weirdness between Susan and Jackson, who obviously have a shady past, and Reid’s wife got her funding for a home for former prostitutes.
Susan’s giving a new girl the rundown (I get 60% of your earnings in return for protecting you here) when she spots one of her former ladies returned. Well, I say lady, but this one, Lucy, looks super young, especially dressed in a rather childish white dress and prim white gloves. She’s like a china doll, with a fragile, wounded-bird like beauty. Susan’s delighted to see her and runs right over for a hug. Lucy’s not there for a reunion—she needs a job. Susan regretfully says she can’t provide one and Lucy says she doesn’t know what’ll become of her. Susan sadly tells Lucy that she’s pretty much purpose-built to fulfill all the worst desires of men and Lucy adds that this is her curse, and the whole world profits from it, but not her. The brutality of the Victorian era is once again writ large.
Hobbs is standing around outside the station when along comes Lucy, clearly in complete shock and covered in blood. He goes over to her, uncertain what to do and she starts to shake and sob. He leads her into the station.
Inside, Jackson’s trying to sell something—some drug, it seems—to the other policemen, but he breaks off immediately when Lucy’s brought in. He knows her and quickly discerns that the blood’s not hers. Reid joins them and they manage to find out where this murdering incident took place: the dog’s neck, in St. George’s Cross, which is a slum area that’s to be hit by a wrecking crew that very day. Someone runs to get a blanket and Reid takes one of her hands, noting that she has the marks of restraints on her wrist, and handcuffs her to the wall, just in case. He also gently introduces her to Arthurton—who smiles sadly and kindly at her—and tells her to ask him if she needs anything. He also tells Arthurton to get the word out and see if any of the other policemen in the city have recently locked up a Lucy Eames (last name helpfully supplied by Jackson, who’s examining her once again).
He collects both Jackson and Drake so he can get some of Lucy’s background on the way to the crime scene. Jackson tells them that Susan found the girl turning tricks and took her in. She was all of 16 then, and quickly became very popular (I’ll bet), but then, just like that, she up and left without a word.
The murder scene is, indeed, in a spot that’s being torn down to make way for a new line of the underground railway. The boys arrive at the murder scene, where they find a dead woman with a bullet in her head and a bloody, broken bottle clenched in one hand; a man with his throat ripped up, also dead; and some wailing children out in the hall. There’s another man standing in the corner of the room, just observing, and Reid quickly discerns that he just stood by and watched the male victim bleed out. He says the man was a total dick (and what was he supposed to do about a slashed throat anyway?) He says the man’s name is Roache and he collected rents in the area. Reid wonders what he was doing there the day the building’s due to come down, and the man says that, whatever it was, it caused quite the argument. I’ll say. The dead woman is Maggie Eames, Lucy’s mother, and the tots outside are her younger kids. Reid has them sent to Leman Street. The man asks if they have ‘the tart’, who was seen wandering about covered in blood. Reid asks if he saw anything else, but the guy says the day’s been pretty chaotic, so anyone could have been around and nobody would have noticed.
He leaves and the guys get to work. Reid first postulates that the woman slashed the guy with the bottle and he shot in self-defense before dying, but Jackson says his wound’s too clean for that, it was knife work. Reid looks at the blood spatter pattern on the wall and realises Lucy blocked it at one point, so she couldn’t be the stabber. Jackson expands on that, guessing Maggie hit him with the gin bottle, and he shot, killing her. Someone else stabbed him in the neck from behind, so he turned to face his attacker, shooting crazily as he went. They follow the line of bullet holes in the walls and ceiling before finding the final one in the room’s only window, along with some blood spots on the floor that indicate it hit someone before it flew outside. They find the bullet embedded in a building across the street (man, that thing had some range) and see it has blood on it, so it definitely hit someone. Reid orders the bodies sent back to the dead room for examination and the room sealed off for further detecting.
When Reid heads out, he’s met at the door by a well-dressed gentleman who introduces himself as Stanley Bone, a board member of the London County Council and advocate for the railway company. He asks what’s up and is shocked to hear there’s been a murder. Best, standing nearby and carelessly smoking a cigarette, seems lest shocked, but then, nothing shocks him. Bone says he’s really sorry about this, but they need to take the building down. Reid tells him that’s a no go, even if the workmen have to stand around idly for a day. He shames Bone into backing down and Best approaches, sniffing for a story, but Reid gives him nothing but attitude.
Rose is with Lucy now, cleaning the blood off the girl, who’s practically catatonic. Reid, a little harshly, asks Rose what she’s doing there and Rose says Susan sent her. Reid rather stupidly asks how she finds Lucy and Rose is like, uh, not too well, as you can see. Reid sends her on her way and Arthurton explains that her presence seemed to soothe Lucy, so he let her stay. Reid dismisses that and asks if they’ve traced Lucy to anywhere. Why yes, they have, thanks to Hobbs’s quick thinking. He noticed the girl seemed rather sad, so he checked with the asylums as well as the police, and sure enough he got a hit—a place in Bethnal Green. A Dr Crabb is on his way, which pleases Reid, because he’s familiar with the man and his work.
He uncuffs Lucy and takes her into his office, where he starts closing the blinds so they can have some privacy. Rather heartbreakingly, Lucy notes this and immediately starts to unbutton her chemise. Reid hastens to tell her that’s not what he’s after, but he does need to examine her. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have Jackson there for this? Not only is he an actual doctor, he’s also familiar to her and we already know that familiar people soothe her. Apparently Reid doesn’t think so. He checks her out, pausing briefly with a hand on her belly, and then sits her down and tells her he wants to talk. ‘Whatever pleases you, sir,’ she says brokenly. He asks her what happened at her mother’s and she says her mother got killed, and the man too. He asks what she saw and she just stares at him hard, then asks if she can go. He sits near her and urges her to think back to what happened. She says there was ‘her darkness’, and when she woke up they were dead. Reid asks her if she knows she’s pregnant, and she remains silent.
The little siblings are being cared for by a policeman out in the entryway, and a distinguished older gentleman is there too. This is Dr Crabb, whose name gives me the creeps because it reminds me of Memoirs of a Geisha, and if you’ve ever read it, you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, this one seems nice enough, and when Lucy’s brought out he greets her warmly. Reid quietly tells him that Lucy’s mother was murdered. He confirms that Lucy was there and that she doesn’t remember anything, and when Reid asks says he knows nothing of a Mr Roache.
At the worst possible moment, Jackson comes blustering in with the two bodies, and at the sight of them, Lucy loses her shit completely, screaming herself right into an epileptic fit. Jackson apologises profusely. Crabb asks if he can take her into his care until she’s well enough to be questioned again. Reid readily agrees. Before Crabb goes, Reid asks how long she’s been a patient of his. Crabb says she’s been seeing him for two years, but she’s not a permanent resident at his hospital.
Reid remembers the two toddlers and, when asked by Arthurton, says he has an idea where he can take them. Oh, dear, you’re not going to take them to Emily, are you? I mean, I’m sure she’d take great care of them, but how awful would that be for her?
Thankfully he does not—he takes them back to that Jewish orphanage to put them in the care of Nancy, whose real name seems to be Miss Goren. Well done working her back into the story, show. She happily welcomes the babies and asks what their story is. Reid says their mother is dead and their sister no use to them. She asks if there’s an uncle or a father and Reid bitterly says that men have been the ruin of this family. ‘Them and many others, inspector,’ she responds sagely. He notes that’s something his wife would say and she says Mrs Reid sounds cool and she’d like to meet her. For some reason that produces a seriously awkward moment, broken only when Reid briskly thanks her and departs.
At Crabb’s hospital, Lucy is led into her usual room by Crabb. She looks around, clearly out of it, and is seated on the bed and given an injection of something while very sad music plays on the soundtrack.
Rose is reporting back to Susan how out of it Lucy seemed. She can’t imagine why Susan’s getting so worked up over this girl, and that upsets Susan so much she whirls around and slaps Rose hard right across the face. Like most moms, she immediately regrets it and embraces Rose, apologizing and saying she blames herself for what happened to Lucy.
Yet another well-dressed gent turns up at the police station. He’s Commissioner Monroe, and he tells Arthurton to fetch Reid.
Reid’s in the dead room with Jackson, who has some interesting findings. 1: Roache was stabbed by someone who was shorter and using a switchblade. 2: Maggie had fibroids in her womb, which means she couldn’t have mothered the two tots. Reid figures the babies were Lucy’s. Arthurton arrives and tells him Monroe wants Reid to accompany him to the Dog’s Neck railway excavation.
Reid duly goes, and they’re met by Bone, who wants to show Reid all about this Progress that’s in progress. Reid’s not all that impressed until Bone shows him that this is going to be an electric railway that’ll make it super cheap to travel quickly from one end of London to another. The poor will be able to travel all over, expanding their horizons infinitely. He begs Reid not to hold up the construction anymore. Bone, if you want this thing to move along faster, maybe you shouldn’t be dragging him away from his murder investigation! The more time you waste bringing him in for a demo he doesn’t need, the longer your workmen stand around uselessly.
Bone, Monroe and Reid run into Best at the opening of the railway tunnel and Best starts asking questions about the project and insinuating that this is all for commercial gain. Bone excuses himself and Best calls after him with taunts about how his wife’s all alone in Hove all the time and he has no children to comfort him. The look on Bone’s face makes it clear that all this distresses him, but he says nothing. Reid barks at Best to shut up and begone. Best obliges, for now. Monroe tells Reid that he doesn’t have the same type of Utopian vision as Bone, but he likes seeing slums razed to the ground because that tends to bring the crime rate down. By making people homeless? How so? He tells Reid he has until the end of the day to inspect the crime scene.
Reid brings Drake and Hobbs in to go over the place inch by inch. They all pull out switchblades and go over every nook and cranny. The only one to find anything useful is Reid, who discovers a bit of an herb stuffed into a corner.
The men emerge from the house and Hobbs is sent to investigate Roache’s office while Reid and Drake go to Susan’s. There, Drake is distressed to find Rose entertaining a man (fairly chastely). He hesitates a moment before tossing the man out roughly. Rose quickly covers herself up with a robe and asks Drake if he plans on arresting her. He does not, though he does hurriedly remove his hat and says he hopes the man he kicked out hasn’t left her out of pocket. Rose giggles.
Susan appears and Reid asks her for a word. She brings him up to Jackson’s office (hilariously, on the way, a long Johns wearing John eases out of a room, unseen by Reid, and flees), and we learn that her last name is Hart. Hart, Roche, Bones, Best—they really do have a bit of fun with the last names on this show, don’t they? Reid tells her that Lucy showed up covered in her mother’s blood and Susan says she heard all about it and she feels terrible. He asks if she feels as bad for the man who died.
He next turns his attention to a plant Jackson keeps in the room—pennyroyal, which Reid knows can be used as an abortifacient. Isn’t he the font of knowledge? Susan foolishly tries to play dumb for a little while and says she feels extra bad for Lucy, when Reid tells her Lucy’s about three months pregnant. He sits down, waves her over, and assesses her height for a moment before patting her down. He finds something in one pocket and she produces a switchblade. Well, well. He continues the pat down, getting a tiny bit rough with her, and when he reaches her leg, she flinches. He tells her she’d better get that bullet wound seen to.
Susan’s dragged back to the station, where Reid has her locked up before taking Jackson to the dead room to tear him an all new asshole. Jackson claims to know nothing of what she’s been up to, but we know that Reid does not take well to being played for a fool or lied to. He accuses Jackson of knowing of her guilt and of being a secretive man. Jackson responds by saying, essentially, that it takes one to know one. After all, Reid has that mess of a shoulder that nobody ever talks about. Jackson’s stupid enough to bring up Reid’s missing daughter, and Reid grabs him by the lapels, throws him against a wall, and warns him that if he ever mentions her again, he’ll lock Jackson up in a cell and beat him until he spills every last secret he ever had. They have an understanding. Reid points him in the direction of Susan, who has a bullet wound that needs seeing to.
While she’s being treated, Reid questions her. Susan readily admits to having stabbed Roache, saying he’d shot Maggie already and was going to kill Lucy as well. He asks what she was doing at Lucy’s and she said she followed Lucy there because she was concerned about her. She thought it was odd that the girl disappeared and then just showed up, dressed up all pretty and asking for her old room back. Reid figures that Susan discerned the pregnancy and told Lucy she couldn’t go back to work, but then felt bad and went to go deliver her the pennyroyal. Are these people human sonograms or something? Because most women are barely showing at just under twelve weeks. Susan doesn’t deny it, saying she heard the ruckus from the street, heard Maggie screaming that she would keep silent no more. There was a gunshot, and Lucy screaming, and in Susan went, killing Roache. Lucy fell into a fit and Susan left her there. To her credit, she does sound very remorseful about that.
Jackson sees Drake erasing the details of the case from the chalkboard and gives him the hairy eyeball. Drake tells him the case has been solved, but Jackson’s not satisfied. Jackson can’t believe Reid plans to charge Susan for this, though, as Reid reminds him, she did kill a guy, and even if the man was a douchebag, he’s still a person. Jackson wants them to find out why she took a pistol to this guy, even though they haven’t seemed all that keen to find out the motivations of any of the other murderers beyond the obvious, so I’m not sure why this case should be special. Aside from the fact that Jackson knows the accused personally. Reid dismisses Jackson shortly and sends him on his way. Once he’s gone, Drake pokes his head into Reid’s office and asks if he thinks it’s worth asking what Roache’s deal was. Of course Reid does.
At the orphanage, Miss G tucks all the kids in, including the two toddlers, who are in a crib together, and goes to fold some laundry. She hears a noise and goes out to the hall, where she finds the door partway open. She closes it with barely a shrug, though you’d think she’d be a little more conscientious about locking up after what happened here so recently. It’s only after she’s done that that she realises Lucy’s two toddlers are missing. She goes looking for them and someone clubs her right in the face.
The next morning, Reid shows up and gets an eyeful of her impressive shiner. He breathes that all he seems to bring to her is violence and distress. She only tells him to find the children.
Reid returns to the station and tells Susan that the eldest of the toddlers was probably about two years old, which means the kid’s birth closely coincides with the date Lucy left Susan’s place. He guesses Susan kicked her out for getting knocked up. Susan tells him that was most definitely not the case, because she loved Lucy like a sister. Lucy never told her why she left, but Susan remembers that the first of Lucy’s attacks came just a couple of months before she left (and apparently it literally scared her John to death). Susan thinks she went to find a cure for it.
Reid and Drake go to the hospital, where they find Crabb watching some seriously drugged up patients dance around to the music of an organ played by one of the orderlies. Reid asks Crabb if Lucy’s spoken of any of the children she’s had, or the one she’s carrying now, and Crabb says she hasn’t, and they don’t pry, because the patients are like his family and he trusts them. While he speaks, Reid notes some medications on a rack in the hallway, including one with Lucy’s name on it. Reid asks to speak with Lucy and he’s shown into her room. He speaks with her very gently, telling her he brings greetings from Susan. Lucy says that Susan’s a lady. Reid says she is too, but Lucy says she isn’t, because the world judges her and she’s broken God’s law. Reid asks her what brought her back to Susan’s the previous day, figuring she must have been desperate. She begins to tear up and Reid presses a bit more, asking her to name the father of her children. She refuses to say anything and starts to completely freak out. Crabb comes running, as does Drake, who seems concerned at what he sees. Crabb gives Lucy something to drink and Reid and Drake make themselves scarce, Reid grabbing the bottle of Lucy’s medicine from the rack on his way out.
Drake finds Jackson drowning his sorrows and roughly rouses him. He dangles the medication in front of Jackson and tells him they need to know what’s in it.
Reid, meanwhile, is getting some info on Roache from Hobbs, who excitedly tells him that Roache’s business received regular payments from the Stickleton Trust, which apparently only had one Trustee: Bone.
Reid and Drake immediately go to Best’s office and demand all the information he has on Bone.
Jackson, meanwhile, flips through books and runs tests on the medication, and when he finds nothing, he just downs it all in one gulp. Smart.
Best, naturally, asks what he’ll get in return for his info, and Reid promises him a seriously good story—how Bone’s life as a secret slumlord was exposed by a madam. It’s got corruption and sex, which makes for some good copy.
Jackson’s seriously wired, running around the police station with a pistol, jokingly (maybe) threatening to shoot first Hobbs and then Arthurton (I do love Arthurton’s ‘oh, here we go again,’ face when Jackson first appears). He demands to know where Reid is.
Best fills Reid and Drake in on some unsavoury details: Best secretly owns slums that he’s directing the railway to buy up and build in, turning a tidy profit on the deal. Reid asks about Bone’s personal life and Best tells him Bone was an epileptic, until he found a cure. While they’re digesting that, they hear Jackson out in the hallway making a ruckus. Drake goes out and gets the pistol pointed at him. Crazed Jackson waves the pistol about and tells him—and Reid, who soon comes out—that the medicine in Lucy’s vial is amphetamine. Hmmm. I don’t think that’s the prescribed treatment for epilepsy. That’s also rather curious, considering there was no pharmacological use for amphetamine until 1927, and, in fact, it had only been first synthesized about a year before all this takes place, but maybe both Jackson and Crabb are on the super cutting edge of medicine.
Reid asks Best if Crabb was Bone’s doctor and hears he was. He asks if there’s anything else he should know and Best says there are rumours that Bone had a woman stashed away somewhere, and some kids as well, but he was never able to find them.
Crabb is entertaining Bone in his office at the hospital and marvels how far the man has come under his treatment. But it’s rather in jeopardy now. Bone says he had the woman silenced and the children separated and sent far, far away as Crabb suggested. Crabb doesn’t care about the kids, he’s worried about Lucy, the wonderful gift that Crabb gave to Bone as a sort of thank-you present for helping Crabb establish the hospital. Yikes! She’s now a liability, so Crabb needs to wipe her memory of everything related to Bone. Aaaah! Bone is clearly torn up about this, but not so torn up that he doesn’t go along with it. All he asks is that he be able to say goodbye.
Lucy is strapped into a chair in Crabb’s office, and once she’s pinned down, Bone comes in. She’s delighted to see him, which is so heartbreaking, just like everything else to do with this poor girl. He shortly tells her goodbye, and her face falls and she looks bewildered as he walks away. She helplessly calls after him that she’s pregnant again, but he doesn’t turn back. She begins to shake and weep as she’s buckled into her seat a bit tighter.
Reid and Drake rush into the hospital as Lucy is drugged up and the doctor prepares to lobotomise her. The old fashioned way. NIGHTMARE FUEL! At the last second, Drake and Reid burst in, and Drake dispatches the doc with a billyclub to the head. Drake is my hero on this show right now.
The toddlers have been magically retrieved and brought by Miss G to the new home for wayward women that Emily’s established. Emily greets them on the stairs, and then Lucy comes flying out and joyfully greets her cute-as-button tots while Emily looks on, a little sadly, a little happily.
It’s time to open the new railway. Bone flips a switch and climbs up on a podium with his wife as a small crowd applauds. He talks big about the future and hope while Best looks around at all the sycophants like, are you kidding me, people? Reid’s standing at the back with Lucy, who’s like a whole different person now. She’s got attitude and a new hairstyle and everything. So, what were the amphetamines for? Because she clearly wasn’t on them during this episode. Reid tells her she doesn’t have to do ‘this’, but she says she does. ‘This’ is publicly shaming Bone while Best fakely pretends to be shocked. Bone is actually shocked to see her still coherent and can’t muster a response to her accusations. When she finishes up, he gives one look to his wife, then turns and dashes into the railway tunnel, pursued by Drake and some policemen. I think we can all see where this is going. Sure enough, he steps onto the track and electrocutes himself. They turn the electricity off, but it’s too late. With one last, ghoulish flicker of one eye, he dies.
At Susan’s, Jackson shows her a newspaper with her picture on the front, alongside Best’s article. Smart, Susan. Aren’t you and Jackson on the run from someone? Susan dismisses such fame as impermanent and Jackson says she’d better hope so.
May I just say, writers, thank you for just focusing on one story this week, instead of splitting it up into A plot and B plot and having them come together in some crazy way? I felt like this episode was so much stronger because of that. Well done, everybody.
Next week: Hey, is that Jorah Mormont? Oh please, please, please let it be so!