Ripper Street Season 1 Review “What Use Our Work”

On last week’s Ripper Street, Captain Jackson’s former Pinkerton colleague set him up as the murderer of a prostitute. It seemed from the preview that the season finale was going to focus on clearing Jacksons name and quelling public panic over the return of Jack the Ripper. In an interesting twist, neither of these turned out to be the case.

The police station is still grieving at the loss of Hobbs. In an incredibly touching scene, the policemen come together in a bar to mourn their fallen colleague. Drake, a man typically quick to show anger or toughness, is overwhelmed with emotion and stands before them with tears in his eyes. He is angry, though, at Inspector Reid, who he thinks is out of touch with the lives and concerns of his men. For his part, Reid is equally affected by Hobbs’ death, but realizes that he never took the time to get to know Hobbs when he was alive. For example, he didn’t know Hobbs was married.

These shortcomings in Reid’s professional life are eclipsed by the ruins of his personal life. He previously shared a passionate kiss with Mrs. Goren, but goes even further when he shows up at her bedroom. While this is not the best course of action, it is not surprising considering how cold his wife has been towards him. Everything about Emily is stiff and unwelcoming – her manner of speech, hair, clothes, and avoidance of much physical contact. Unfortunately, Reid doesn’t get the solace he’s searching for from Mrs. Goren. In a rather abrupt manner, she shuts down his efforts to tell her about the search for a man who may have information about his daughter. Reid is so broken and alone. It’s tragic.

The main action centers on Rose, who leaves Long Susan’s house and moves to Emily’s shelter for wayward women. Here, she begins corresponding with a man through the lonely hearts section of the newspaper. She finally meets the man she think can bring her into a better social circle, but it’s too good to be true. She falls into the clutches of a family trafficking women to South America. Rose certainly does not deserve to be enslaved, but there’s very little sympathy left for her character. It’s understandable that she would have wanted to social climb and leave behind her life of prostitution. It’s even understandable that she wouldn’t have wanted to be Drake’ s wife because she hoped for something better. The way she treated Drake, however, is what is not forgivable. It is an age old question of which is worse – the whore who convinces the customer how much she cares for him so he’ll pay her more, or the customer who ignores the fact that the woman he cares for demands that he pays for her affection.

Jackson can’t be left to languish in prison. Reid needs Jackson to help him track down the family of the man who is luring in the women, Victor Silva. After a sting operation, one of Long Susan’s girls puts a bullet in Silva and with his last breath goes Reid’s best chance at finding the other girls. Jackson is able to deduce certain facts that will lead the police to Silva’s sister. But, he can only assist after Abberline is convinced that Jackson is not Jack the Ripper. Reluctantly, Abberline abandons his case against Jackson.

There is a young girl who lives the Silva family. Reid believes she may be his missing daughter. He tracks down the house where they are able to free Rose and others. Unfortunately, the little girl is not his. Having raised the possibility of their daughter being alive to Emily, she will be absolutely crushed to learn that this lead has broken down. She will likely turn even further away from Reid. It was a wise decision that the little girl was not Reid’s daughter. It may better be better for the story and characters to let her remain presumed dead.

Ripper Street’s first season was well-paced, interesting, and had many twists and turns to keep people guessing. It has been renewed for a second season, but may be shorter than its 8 episode first season. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait an entire year to reconnect with Reid, Jackson, and Drake.

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