Ripper Street Season 2 Review “Our Betrayal – Part I”

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This week’s episode of Ripper Street contained a major turning point for nearly every character. Drake had to decide if he could put aside his emotional damage to return to his police work. Long Susan faced the decision on whether to trust Jackson or compromise herself. Reid and Miss Cobden fought their desires for one another. Most significantly, one of Reid’s men had to choose where his loyalties lie.

One of the most significant developments is the discovery that Flight is not who he seems. We learn that he is aligned with Inspector Shine, Reid’s nemesis from the K Division. Shine placed Flight in H Division to alert him if Inspector Reid ever poses a threat. His duplicity comes into sharp focus when he’s called upon to investigate the claims of a jeweler who has been swindled out of some valuable jewels. Flight quickly learns that the thief is under Shine’s protection. This was a shocking revelation that is truly disappointing. He seemed so eager to become a valuable member of Reid’s team, but it was all subterfuge.

Later in the episode, Flight brings the jeweler to the shop where the stolen goods are being fenced. Flight warns Shine that they are coming. When they arrive, the poor jeweler is violently murdered. Flight sheds a few tears, but that hardly makes up for what he’s done. Reid suspects that something is off with Flight and he’s going to be severely unhappy when he learns the truth.

The other major drama of the episode also centers around valuable jewels – or rather one large, uncut diamond. Jackson’s brother, Daniel, arrives in London. He’s fled South Africa because he’s stolen a large diamond from the mine where he worked. It’s an awkward family reunion since Jackson hasn’t heard from his brother in 8 years. Jackson knows that unloading the diamond will be difficult because of the De Graal syndicate’s control of the diamond market. I didn’t find anything about De Graal in 1890s London, but there is plenty about De Beers. In the 1880s and 90s, De Beers had a stranglehold, not unlike it does today, on the diamond market and aligned with the London Diamond Syndicate to control the supply of diamonds to ensure high prices.

Jackson shows Long Susan the diamond and proposes that they sell it to pay off Duggan. But, she is tired and broken. She rejects him and says that she’s had enough of his dreams. It’s true that it’s hard to see how Jackson will be able to convert the diamond to cash. The syndicate has eyes everywhere. Still, you’d think she’d grasp at straws rather than give in to the alternative.

Long Susan is feeling Duggan’s grip tightening around her throat. He moves himself into her house and continues his pursuit. Faced with the possibility that she will have to give him what he wants, Long Susan goes to visit Rose to find out what it’s like to prostitute oneself. While I do not want to see Long Susan sell herself to Duggan, it does feel like a natural evolution for her character. She has sold her girls to so many others without any compunction. For her to have a crisis of conscience when she has to sell her own body is unfortunate, but not pitiable. In the end, we see her entering Duggan’s room. It’s her darkest moment and if she thinks doing it once will get rid of him – she is delusional.

Reid and Cobden also face the complications that arise from sex and love. Even though Cobden said that she couldn’t be Reid’s mistress, her resolve, predictably, melts away. She is upset when she doesn’t hear from him for five weeks. Her anger reveals that she cares far more for him than she’s revealed before. They end up having sex in her office and Fred Best appears just in time to hear them. There isn’t going to be a happy ending for Cobden and Reid, so at this point we just sit back and wait for the train wreck. Considering that Best lives in his own sexual glass house, hopefully, he will refrain from bringing scandal to the couple. Then again, after Reid took him to task last week, Best probably is looking for revenge.

While all this is going on, Drake is nowhere to be found. He turned in his badge and disappeared. Rose and Reid are relentless in their search for him, and Rose eventually learns his whereabouts. It is sad to see the depths to which Drake has sunk. She finds him in a seedy part of town at an underground fighting ring. Drake’s tied to a pole and beaten for sport. Rose tries to appeal to him, but Drake is in a downward spiral and unable to pull himself out. Rose’s dedication to saving him washes away her previous moments of cruelty. She genuinely cares for him.

Fortunately, Drake’s new part-time job digging graves leads him to the dead body of the jeweler. When he sees the garroted body, he has to decide whether to close the coffin or to find out what happened to the man. The final scene is a fantastic and heroic moment of Drake standing in the rain with the body draped over his shoulders outside of the police station.

Things definitely look to be taking a darker turn for our Whitechapel inhabitants. It remains to be seen how low they will have to go before things get better.

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