‘Ripper Street’ Episode 4: ‘The Good Of This City’ Review

Ripper Street offers up another rather dull episode…

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It started so well but ‘Ripper Street’ has become increasingly dull week on week. This week’s depressing episode featured Lucy, a former prostitute turned away by Susan and when we next see her she’s covered in blood and unable to say more than two words. The crime committed is the murder of a rent collector and Susan is found responsible. She admits to the crime but did it to protect Lucy who was being threatened.

The house in which the murder took place is to be demolished to make way for the London Underground. Reid demands the house stays standing until the police have examined the crime scene, however, slumlord Stanley Bone (Paul McGann) isnt happy – we learn that Bone and Lucy are connected by both having spent time in the care of Dr Karl Crabbe (Anton Lesser) both suffering from epilepsy. Bone fathered Lucy’s children but wanted nothing to do with her. Crabbe wants to get rid of Lucy before she destroys everything he and Bone have worked for – by lobotomising her. Of course Reid and Drake arrive on the scene in time to save her.

It was nice to see other characters and plot lines from previous episodes feature in this episode. Jewish orphanage governess Deborah Goren (Lucy Cohu) from episode two took in Lucy’s children and there was a hint that she had fallen for Reid. With Reid’s relationship with his wife Emily in turmoil could there be romance here?

Speaking of Emily (Amanda Hale) she is still carrying on her good work rehabilitating women who have been abused, taking in Lucy at the end of the episode. Emma Rigby plays Lucy very well, fragile, and traumatised. However her character is silent for much of the time and her scenes were unbearably tedious at times.

The pacing of Ripper Street is a real problem for me. It can’t hold my attention because the writing isnt that good. when some interesting plot developments happen only then do I enjoy it a bit more. We learn little more about our main characters but Reid’s inner torment over the loss of his daughter does reveal itself in a confrontation between him and Jackson. There are hints at something nobody talks about, possibly a dark secret in Reid’s past possibly connected to the Ripper.

The high production values really show from the construction of the underground, the demolished houses to views of the Thames and Victorian London as it would have been like at the time. The plot this week did feel more substantial as it mixed in the construction of the London Underground and an asylum – two things identified with Victorian London. And it had a fairly decent mystery with a plot twist half way through.

I didnt enjoy this week’s episode although it was marginally better than last week’s. The murder case was well plotted but we didn’t really learn anything new about the main characters murky pasts and it was very slow in places. I can’t say I was bothered whether I saw the resolution or not. I hope the show improves or I’ll be begging for the BBC to kill it off.