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Ripper Street‘Dynamite And A Woman’

This week the writers have brought another aspect of history into Ripper Street by exploring the Irish/English relations during this period, mainly the xenophobic way in which the English treated the Irish. This serves to give us a way to get to know the newest member of the White Chapel team who has to prove himself after his sleeping on the job of episode 2.

Albert Flight (Damien Molony) has been a character of little substance so far in the series, all we know is he’s Irish, he’s inexperienced and he’s eager. Less cynical than the rest of the force he’s starting to see why the older members of the team are the way they are. Receiving nothing more than a punch in the eye from Flight for his under cover disguise, he’s thrown into the deep end investigating an Irish man that is known to be a major player in the seedy underbelly of the East end.

To do this, Flight woos the man’s attractive daughter Evelyn Foley (Charlie Murphy) using his vulnerable side to get on her sexy side, which just makes the writing shift back into its habit of women being used purely as a plot device. Their relationship is pretty unbelievable and the connection they’ve made is obviously not one that will be mentioned ever again within the series. It makes the characters seem insignificant.

The villain of the piece this week is Aiden Galvin (Stanley Townsend), who’s been in and out of prison for various crimes since he came to London from Ireland. Unlike Shine in previous episodes he’s very much a grey area character. After seeing him place a bomb underneath a politician’s bed and then seeing the way in which he interacts with his estranged daughter, we’re made to see that this man is not just pure evil.

There’s a subplot in this episode that goes further into the historical context of the series. Drake, Reid and Jackson are investigating both the murder of Galvin’s driver (seen before the opening titles) and the murder of Knightley (the MP), with both paths leading to a battle that has been ignited between the two electricity companies.

After last week’s episode, Dynamite and a Woman was a bit of a disappointment. Susan isn’t in this episode at all, after they put such an effort into developing her character last week, and the story seemed rather lacklustre in comparison. The whole series is a confusing muddle of stand-alone episodes that reset at the end of each week making it horribly hit-and-miss.

Ripper Street is trying very hard to draw comparisons from historical events to modern life and the next episode looks like it’ll be doing it again with a gay love story and a dodgy banker. Lets hope this one makes more of an impact.

★★★

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