Ripper Street “The Peace of Edmund Reid” Season 3 Finale Review

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The Ripper Street season finale felt a lot like a series finale. Reports are that the show is getting a fourth season, which raises interesting questions on the futures of Reid, Drake, Jackson, and even Long Susan. The season’s major storylines were wrapped up with lovely red bows and an exceptionally moving (though premature) obituary.

We begin with Best continuing to run unearth the proverbial bodies in Susan’s backyard. He makes an acquaintance of a journalist from America who has been doggedly pursuing Susan’s father, Swift. The men are suspicious of each other, but agree to cooperate to expose the criminals. Before that can happen, the journalist is murdered by Swift. Of course, this happens after he points the finger at Best.

Jackson continues his fingerprint analysis and learns that Susan is Reid’s shooter. He’s about to learn that’s the tip of the iceberg. He takes Best’s research (and that of the other journalist) and learns that Susan’s father is gunrunning. You can see why Susan has had no problems crossing into Whitechapel’s shadowy underbelly…she’s had a good instructor in her father. The two are distinguishable, however, by what passes for Susan’s conscience. Even though she has committed heinous deeds, she still believes she has done them for the greater good.

Things unravel for Swift, but not until he’s murdered Best. It was a wonderful death scene for a character that has been with the show since the beginning. Even in the face of his torturer, Best does not waver. He protects Jackson and is brutally murdered. It was a lovely moment when Reid, Drake, and Jackson looked at Best’s dead body and seemed genuinely sad. Best started the series as a bit of a thorn in Reid’s side, and became something else in the end.

From here, the dominoes fall. Drake uncovers the truth about Long Susan. Jackson learns he’s to be a father. They uncover the gun plot. They dispatch Swift. Drake marries Rose. Reid retires to the sea. Jackson and Susan share a future that may or may not involve her going to the gallows. It’s all very satisfying.

Within the episode, there were several scenes that were remarkably well done. It was absolutely heartbreaking when Mimi discovers that Jackson is running around trying to protect Susan. Her subtle tears show that she truly cares for him. I loved her comment that he has sacrificed a future to live in the past. It feels like Jackson could not have done anything except go back to Susan, especially once he found out she was pregnant. But in doing so, he’s guaranteeing himself a life of misery.

The scene at the end with Reid running along the beach, very much alive despite the beautiful words of the obituary, is also touching. But the best scene is the exchange between Reid and Susan. We see why he is able to accept what she did to him. I wouldn’t say he forgives her, because that’s not the nature of the conversation really. Reid explains that things seem to be guided by other forces. In seeking to rob her father, Susan sets off a chain of catastrophic events, which have the unintended consequence of reuniting Reid with his daughter. This conversation could fit neatly within any piece of literature of that time period. I found this an incredibly effective way to explain how Reid could work with Susan to bring down Swift.

I do hope that Matthew Macfadyen returns for the fourth season. I can’t imagine the show without him. It is, though, hard to envision where they will go next. Theories?