Ripper Street: A Brittle Thread

Ooooh, it’s getting exciting!

Happily, after last week’s rather slow-burn episode (which is fine: we all needed to catch up and get back into the swing of things, I think), the pace has been well and truly picked up.

Reid and Jackson need a better way to lure Nathaniel out into the open and goad Dove, so they get their hands on a dead body and some false teeth and fake up a new cannibal victim. Since Dove had put the blame for those crimes squarely on the now-dead Croker, this makes things a bit awkward. The neighbourhood, of course, is in an uproar.

But Dove and Shine aren’t idiots and know that this is a total fake. Shine also realises that there’s something seriously up with Dove, but Dove isn’t giving up any answers. Both men set their sights on Miss Castello, who’s been writing articles that have swung the force of public opinion back behind Jackson and Reid.

Dove threatens to take away her access to the police force, which’ll make it very difficult for her to get her stories written up. He also hands her a dossier on Reid, outlining all his ‘justifiable homicides’. It’s incendiary enough for her to stop the presses and run a massive front-page story about what a monster Reid is. Matilda reads it and is especially upset by the very detailed account of how her father killed the man who kept her prisoner for years. Apparently she still has fond feelings for that man even though he kept her in a damn cage.

Shine is… less subtle than Dove. By about ten million miles. He brings Castello into his office at the station, where he proceeds to brutalise and straight up threaten to rape her if she doesn’t tell him all she knows. Before he even gets to the rape bit Thatcher realises this is waaay too much for him. He tries to intervene, only to get kicked out by Shine. A terrified Castello tells Shine about Nathaniel being Dove’s brother.

Speaking of Dove: he’s got a spy in his house. A man married to one of Susan’s former girls has gotten a job there as a handyman, and he’s reporting back to Susan, much to his pregnant wife’s distress. And she’s right to be nervous, because the house is guarded at all times by policemen and the governess is a downright psycho. When the guy’s inevitably found out, she savagely beats him to death, presumably on Dove’s orders. Jesus, where’d he find this woman? What did that advertisement even look like? Governess wanted. Must have experience, be willing to work weekends and carry out the odd bit of brutal homicide.

So it looks like Susan’s not getting her son back anytime soon. This really wasn’t a great hour for any of the ladies: even Mimi’s now finding herself in Shine’s crosshairs. Thatcher hears from a contact that she’s back in town, and knowing her previous association with Jackson, he and Shine head to her theatre to question her. Mimi, being her usual amazing self, manages to fob them off, even keeping her cool when Shine sets the place on fire in an attempt to sweat her out. She convinces them (for now) that she knows nothing, so Thatcher quickly puts out the fire and the two men leave, but not before Thatcher notices the fake teeth not so well stashed away.

Reid and Jackson discover that Dove is bringing a pair of timber wolves to London, which they think is an odd purchase for someone to make, until they realise this is Dove’s way of luring his brother out. Kind of strange bait, using the same animals that killed your mother, Dove. But it works! Nathaniel does, in fact, go to the exotic animal and puppy shop (yes, really) where the wolves are being held and curls up next to their cage, ready to be found by his brother.

Reid had tried to get word to Drummond, via Matilda, to come help them out here, but Matilda has really turned her back on her father over that whole news story. And, apparently she’s more willing to allow a psychotic murderer to continue stalking the streets of Whitechapel than to help her father. She and Drum hand Reid’s note over to Dove, so the help Reid and Jackson are hoping for when they corner Nathaniel at the pet shop doesn’t materialise. That’s awesome, Matilda. Way to think of the greater good, there.

Dove tells his brother he really needs to stop eating people, and then tells Reid and Jackson that they’re going to let him and Nathaniel go, because otherwise this’ll get messy, for them and for Jackson’s boy. They have no choice but to accept that and to head back to the theatre. Just outside, however, they find Thatcher lurking in the shadows. The false teeth gave them away, but–surprise!–he’s not there to arrest them. He’s too horrified by Shine, so now the LemTeam has a new member. Awww, yeah!

And out in the suburbs, little Connor watches as Dove takes his brother to the fields beyond and stashes him in some little cottage back there. I’m sure this foray into Thoreau-style living will do him a world of good.

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