Ripper Street “The Beating Of Her Wings” Review (Season 3 Episode 2)


This week’s Ripper Street starts with the shady solicitor, Capshaw, trying to collect a debt from an antique shop owner. Clearly back in these times, they had no qualms resorting to “self-help” to collect. The shakedown goes tragically awry when the Capshaw strikes the wife, who hits her head and dies. This brings in the Whitechapel force to figure out what happened.

Capshaw thinks he’s going to find treasure in the debtor’s basement, and instead comes across a small child. She doesn’t look like an ill treated child, so I doubt she was some kind of prisoner. I immediately wondered if she could be Reid’s child returned from the dead. And…it is.

Reid and Drake learn that Capshaw and Obsidian Estates hired Kendrick. Drake wants to seek help from Jackson, though this is the last thing Reid wants to do. We finally get the backstory on their fallout. Jackson hit the bottle after Long Susan him and Reid couldn’t tolerate it. He’s willing to come back but only if Reid apologizes for all the insults: “I am a decorated United States Army Captain, and a doctor and I want to hear the stuffed shirt son of a bitch say it.” At the core of their dispute are truly hurt feelings. Jackson wanted a friend and Reid abandoned him.

Susan has gotten herself into a serious predicament now that she’s taken in the child, Alice. She’s got the new doctor Frayn helping her, but something about that woman feels off. Maybe it’s as simple as guilt by association. Reid is also has the itching of suspicion against Susan. It will be interesting, thus, to see what Susan will do now that she knows she has Reid’s daughter. Under hypnosis, Alice tells of how she almost drowned on the river after the “evil king” took her. Susan shows her a picture of Reid and that’s all the confirmation she needs. I couldn’t figure out what that whole evil king story was about. I don’t think Reid was some evil child abuser, so we’re going to need some more info on this.

Drake touched upon Reid’s prior transgression at the boxing ring. He wants to prevent Reid from going down the wrong path. Reid’s bending of the law has to stop. I was hoping this would be the moment that they repaired their friendship and Reid let go of some of the anger that’s been festering. That didn’t happen.

What did happen was shocking. Susan came clean about the girl, but told Reid that his beloved Matilda had died. This put him into a violent rage and he acted extremely rashly. He killed the man who’d been caring for Matilda. That means that Reid is now one of the monsters he’s spent his life hunting.

I’m concerned that in turning Reid into a murderer, the spirit of Ripper Street is changing and possibly not for the better. I love that this show is about historical events, accurately depicting Victorian England, and developing complex relationships between the three leading male characters. I don’t want this to turn into some kind of Downton Abbey melodrama. I want to see Reid, Drake and Jackson solve crimes together, but it now seems like that’s not going to happen at least for a while.