Ripper Street “Ashes and Diamonds” Review (Season 3 Episode 3)


After the dramatic events at the end of last week’s Ripper Street, Edmund Reid is nowhere to be found. Surprisingly, Inspector Drake and Captain Jackson step up and cover for their friend. They declare that Reid acted in self-defense and it looks like the whole thing may eventually blow over. This would be a good thing because as great as Drake is, he needs the cantankerous Reid to balance him out.

In Reid’s absence, Drake and Jackson take on the case of a murdered clairvoyant. This is a more procedural theme than we usually see, but I’m ok with it. I like the stories with the big historical events, but they do need to have smaller intrigues woven in. The best part of the crime scene is the setting and costumes. The theatre setting and the costumes are beautiful. The wonderful thing about this show is that it feels like we’re watching something from the time period – not something filmed with a green screen.

Drake struggles with stepping into the hole left by his former friend at the Whitechapel police station. He suffers from self-doubt, even though everyone else has confidence in him—including Rose. It looked like his relationship with Rose was over considering that she is engaged to someone else. But they clearly still love each other. It doesn’t take much for them to fall back into bed (or in this case, the floor). The part I liked the most came after their reunion. Rose goes to see Long Susan and asks her advice on what to do. Susan confesses that her father wanted her to marry a rich man and she chose Jackson instead. And even after all they’ve been through, she doesn’t regret the decision. This is a big moment for Susan. It gives some hope that even with the awful things she’s done lately, her humanity is still in there.

Susan seems to be struggling with unfulfilled maternal instincts; having to take care of all the women in her service likely fulfilled them before. Now she is clinging to Reid’s daughter, Matilda, and is reluctant to send her away. She’s finally convinced that they need to get the girl out of the city before Reid finds out what Susan’s done. Just as they’re about to put Matilda on a ship to Europe, she runs away into the crowd. What Susan doesn’t know is that Rose saw Matilda earlier and told Drake. This means that Susan’s lies are going to unravel soon.

I’m perplexed by the direction they’ve gone with Susan this year. Why did she trick Reid and try to keep the girl? Did she really think no one would figure that out. You would think that in the 4 years she’s been separated from Jackson, she would’ve moved on and found another man and gotten a divorce. I’m starting to wonder where her character can go from here. She is too far gone for redemption, so does that just leave death? That would certainly free Jackson up emotionally.

There was a nice balance between solving the crime of the philandering husband and the drama of the main character’s personal lives. I am glad at the end that Drake went and got Reid. I want him back in the mix next week.