Ripper Street “Live Free, Live True” Review (Season 3 Episode 7)

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I can’t believe we’re already at the penultimate episode for Ripper Street. After exploring the new technique of fingerprinting last week, Jackson turns his eye to the bloody thumbprint on the gun used to shoot Reid. In his heart, Jackson must know that Susan had a hand in the events, but it looks like he needs scientific proof to accept it. Meanwhile, Drake and Reid must solve the murder of a chemist whose been doling out abortion elixir’s to Whitechapel’s reluctant mothers.

Last week’s episode was so good that this one felt like a bit of a let down. The back alley abortion story feels tired. It’s something that comes up in every ye olden times TV show. The one thing that saved it from being totally ho-hum was the coincidentally timely angle that the young woman’s adopted father was actually a woman. Drake unravels the secret and learns that the father murdered the apothecary who supplied the abortion drugs. I found the scene at the end with the father being led off in front of the daughter very touching, especially when she was hysterical that they were forcing her father to go to the gallows in a dress and, thereby, denying his dignity.

While the crime was neatly solved, the focus shifted to the personal lives of Reid, Drake and Jackson. Drake finally musters up the courage to propose to Rose. I wasn’t sure that he’d actually do it and I hope it works out. He’s had a hard road and could use some happiness. Reid struggles with his recovery while also facing the reality of what it means to raise a child alone. He wants to put Matilda aside while he does his work. Matilda wants him to quit the force and move them to the beach. I kept wondering what they were supposed to do for money at the beach. It’s not like Reid is retirement age. He hints that he’s wrapping things up, which feels like a bad sign for the future of Ripper Street.

Jackson is going to get an unpleasant surprise next episode. We learn that Long Susan is pregnant. That is such a bummer on many levels. Susan would be a horrible mother. Her pregnancy would also ruin any chance for Jackson to move on with Mimi. It looks like she’s going to terminate the pregnancy, but that falls through. Normally, Jackson is irrationally loyal to Susan, but that will be put to the test when he figures out she shot Reid. What that will mean for a baby is an interesting question.

Because we’re coming up on the end of the season, I would’ve preferred a more interesting storyline. It’s a disappointingly short season, for sure. But at least we’re getting a fourth season. Let’s hope that means Reid won’t be building sandcastles anytime soon.