‘Our Betrayal Part 1’
This week saw the first part of what will be the last ever episode of Ripper Street and it’s very much a set up episode. Susan, in her situation with Duggan, is getting to the point that she may have to give him what he really wants. A grieving Drake has gone missing, with Rose trying to track him down, and we meet Jackson’s brother for the first time.
It’s not surprising that this is a two-part episode as there are so many plot threads to pull together before the end of the series. The secondary plot is about diamonds that are making their way from South Africa but this takes a back seat and our core set of characters are the main focus.
Last week’s episode felt quite rushed, as there was so much storyline to pack into one episode, but this is much more of a slow burner. Jedediah Shine comes back into the picture with his Dickensian swagger and this episode acts as a showcase for the ensemble cast’s skills. Joseph Mawle, who plays Shine, shows just how great a villain he is in some really brutal scenes, whilst Jerome Flynn plays an intense almost silent Drake, his face displaying so much expression that one look is completely heartbreaking. Drake is not coping well after his wife’s death; he’s back to fighting, covered in cuts and bruises and is being beaten to a bloody pulp night after night.
The big reveal this episode is that the frankly boring character of Flight isn’t so boring – he’s actually a spy for Shine. I didn’t see this twist coming, we haven’t seen much of Flight this season and when we have he’s been pretty dull. He has gone as undetected to the viewer as he has to Reid and co.
Elsewhere, Susan is faced with the decision of selling herself to Duggan who’s a vile, bloated, cruel man and, in a scene where we see him shovel food in to his mouth in a carnivorous way, it’s all too clear what a horrible situation she’s in. Jackson is still trying to save her and, with his brother in tow, they’re scheming about some way to sell off the diamond he’s been talking about so much.
This episode is setting the second part up to be a brutal end to this uneven but impressive series.