Ripper Street “Your Father My Friend” Review (Season 3 Episode 4)

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It’s fair to say at this point that Ripper Street has gone in a different direction than its prior two seasons. The stories used to be heavy with historical events and facts that were often quite complex. I enjoyed research the events depicted and figuring out what had really happened and why it was significant to history. The historical storytelling has fallen by the wayside and been replaced by a more character-driven plot that has largely centered around Edmund Reid reuniting with his formerly presumed dead daughter. It’s a different approach and I miss the historical aspect, but it’s still an enjoyable show that I feel a lot of people are missing out on.

This week, after learning from Rose that Matilda is alive, Drake tracks Reid down at the seaside and tells him the good news. Needless to say, Reid is livid when he finds out Long Susan lied to him. Reid and Drake storm her home and there’s an epic confrontation. Jackson’s gun is the only thing that prevents Reid from strangling Susan. Reid acts like a gangster when he tells her in parting, “You are watched, bitch.” I enjoyed this outburst from Reid. His demeanor was more stoic in the past and it’s fun to see him out of control. He’s doing what any father would do…kicking ass and taking names.

Susan’s solicitor, Capshaw, takes the remaining bearer bonds to cash them out. He doesn’t realize he’s being followed and that his actions will be the key to discovering his and Susan’s role in the train accident. Capshaw is deliciously slimy. He has a Dickensian quality that reminds me of David Copperfield’s Uriah Heep. Jackson learns of the conspiracy and it shakes his belief in Susan, but not his love for her. Susan has done so many bad things that it feels like she’s beyond redemption. I would prefer Jackson find a woman who is not as terrible.

While Drake and Reid search for Matilda, she is wandering around town with a shady character who plans to sell her into prostitution. He doesn’t realize that Matilda has some fight in her. Just as she is about to be raped, she pulls a shard of glass from her bag and cuts the creep’s face. The wound special effect was really well done. It looked completely realistic and disgusting.

Reid and Drake figure out where Matilda is and break into the station’s gun locker. This is one of the more fantastic shots of the season – Reid and Drake stroll out of the station in slow motion with guns in hand like bosses. There’s almost a western quality being infused into the show here. Even though they are in the heart of London, Whitechapel is like the Wild West and these guys are going to do what it takes to restore order. I love that even though they had a rocky separation and reunion, Drake is right there by Reid’s side.

They find Matilda, but she manages to escape. Reid uncovers that she has been retracing the crime scenes of Jack the Ripper. This was an interesting turn of events. Even though the show is named after the notorious serial killer, there has been scant attention ever paid to his crimes. Reid previously worked his case and it appears that Matilda looked at his files and the details embedded themselves in her memory. This explains her initial aversion to her father—she imagine him in some way connected to the deaths.

Father and daughter are reunited and there is a touching scene where Reid reminds Matilda that he is there to protect her. Reid plans for them to leave Whitechapel, but is stopped by Jackson. He gives Reid proof that Capshaw was behind the train heist. Reid has a choice—he can leave town and let it be someone else’s problem or he can go to Susan’s and confront her. He chooses the latter, which is a mistake. Susan lies in wait for him and while Reid threatens Capshaw, she shoots Reid twice. For some reason, I keep worrying that Reid is going to be written out of the show. This would be a terrible idea because he’s the glue in this dysfunctional group of men. Fortunately, he’s not dead, but grievously injured.

Susan further demonstrates her ruthlessness by turning the gun on Capshaw and blowing his head off. I think there is only one place for Susan to end up—the end of the hangman’s noose. She’s no longer just a woman trying to survive in a man’s world. She’s killing people to protect her schemes. She’s nothing more than a common criminal.

Ripper Street is one of the prettiest period shows on television right now. I feel like the quality has greatly improved even since last season. The colors are bright and vivid, the costumes and sets are incredibly detailed, and the appearance is crisp. We need to get more people watching so we can have a season 4.