Ripper Street continues with another grim but solid episode.
After last weeks strong opener this weeks episode failed to keep me as interested. That said its still a good episode, with some intriguing character developments. There’s a murder of course, a Whitechapel toy maker is found savagely beaten and the supposed culprit is thrown in front of Detective Inspector Edmund Reid by Whitechapel’s men – headed by George Lusk (Michael Smiley) . These men were called upon by the police when Jack The Ripper stalked the streets to find him. Although there isn’t much mention of Jack this week, the affect he had on the people of Whitechapel is still felt.
A young boy, Thomas Gower was found at the scene of the crime and he’s swiftly taken to court. He’s not willing to speak so is found guilty and is set to hang. But it isn’t as simple as Edmund (Matthew Macfadyen) discovers when he investigates further with the help of Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) and Detective Sergeant Bennett Drake (Jerome Flynn) when they are led to a child street gang led by Carmichael (Joe Gilgun). He’s a bit like a Liverpudlian Fagin only he’s less about picking pockets and more about bludgeoning people to death with his belt buckle; He gets his boys to kill people for money, showing terrifying faithfulness to this man who is probably the only person who’s ever looked after them.
Gower escapes while being taken from prison after Carmichael’s gang attacks during transit and hides out at a Jewish orphanage. The tense and thrilling finale takes place here after Carmichael’s gang attack with Edmund, Drake and Gower trapped inside with the children and the orphanage governess Deborah (Lucy Cohu). The gang attack and Carmichael is killed by a bullet from Homer who arrives on the scene just in time and the boys scatter. The toy makers wife is arrested for ordering the killing as his expensive toy patents were ruining them.
The episode started a bit slow and I struggled to get into it but the climax more than made up for it. Gilgun was wonderfully horrible and pretty terrifying as Carmichael. Michael Smiley‘ s Lusk is a character I hope to see resurface as his street gang who believe themselves more effective than the police showed that when the Ripper slipped through the net the people held it against the police.
Macfadyen, Flynn and Rothenberg got to flesh out there characters with secrets in their past; Reid’s suppressed mourning of his daughter and the hope she’s still alive; Drake getting to show his softer side with Gower and hints to his bad experiences during the war and most interestingly Homer and the owner of that ring he was so keen to get back from Carmichael he almost killed his friends for it. I’m glad the main characters have been given more of a back story and I look forward to finding out more each week.