Review: Ripper Street (S4 E6/7), Monday 25th September, BBC1

Programme Name: Ripper Street  S4 - TX: 26/09/2016 - Episode: n/a (No. 6) - Picture Shows:  Bennet Drake (JEROME FLYNN) - (C) Tiger Aspect 2016 - Photographer: Bernard Walsh
(C) Tiger Aspect 2016 – Photographer: Bernard Walsh

There’s a ghost in the house, and it’s Long Susan – officially she’s dead, but when Rose sees her hanging around her child Connor, even Drake thinks she’s imagining it. Mathilda’s on hand to watch Connor, but who’s watching her? There’s some sort of wolf-creature on the loose in Whitechapel, and it’s already killed once, slaying Drake’s protege Thomas Gower – and maybe the rabbi Ratowski as well?

NB: Spoilers abound

Jackson establishes that Thomas was dragging himself towards Deborah Goran’s orphanage, and Goran shows Reid childish drawings of the wolf-monster;  she also reveals that Mathilda is getting too close to journalist Rachel Castello.

Gower’s autopsy reveals wolf fur, and bite marks similar to those on the body of Ratowski; so is the Whitechapel Golem indeed still around? Drake doesn’t want to hear it, but Reid talks him into continuing the investigation.

For the first time, Drake explains that he suppressed details of the Ratowski murder in order to deflect possible hostility towards the immigrant community; this week’s little bit of contemporary politics, then. Reid, though, smells a cover-up, and as they investigate, another chewed body is found.

As he realises the extent of his failure over the Bloom case, will the abyss that once swallowed Reid now consume Drake as well?

AC Dove has been  honoured for his work reorganising H Division, but Croker has him in his pocket. He might need this advantage to help Susan, who he refers to tellingly as ‘Lady Macbeth’, in her plan to rob the Customs House.

Rose, implausibly, drags Connor all the way across London to confront the Newgate guard who was supposed to have buried Susan, then she makes a scene at the section house; Reid, though, is more concerned with the Bloom cover-up, and traces it to Dove, who he suspects has planted the evidence that convicted Bloom.

Reid gives evidence from the killings to Castello, in return for her information about Ratowski. What fresh revelations will this prompt?

Dove meanwhile conspires with Croker, with whom he shares a secret regarding the real golem killer; and now Dove also shares the secret of Susan’s escape, and has to cover himself for that too.

Jackson finds wolf furs at Croker’s, and checks out simple Nate’s dentition – is he in fact the phantom biter?

Rose foolishly confides in Dove about the circumstances of the death of Susan’s father, so he now has a hold over Reid, Jackson and Drake; but in the final scene, Croker, Susan and Jackson assault the Customs House, slaughter the guards, and get away with the Oriental treasures.

Jackson looks less than happy about the whole business, but his devotion to Susan has drawn him helplessly into her private hell.

In effect, nothing happens in this episode that was not foreshadowed previously; we knew that Susan’s survival must come to light, that her plan to rob the Customs House must force a confrontation, and that Reid must find evidence that Bloom was not the killer of Ratowski.

So about all that’s new is the erosion of trust between Drake and Rose – might she be caught in the crossfire when Susan comes for Connor? – and the revelation that Dove is a villain, and let’s face it, that it no surprise at all; we had him down as a wrong ‘un the minute he appeared. It’s a cliche of criminal fiction from LA Confidential to A Touch of Cloth that the boss always turns out to be the baddie – after all, Dove is too young and fresh-faced to have got where he is without bending the rules, and unlike Reid, he doesn’t have any obvious sense of morality or duty to the residents of Whitechapel.

Dove may survive next weeks’ denouement, but now that he is fairly in Reid’s sights, feathers are certainly going to fly.

Chris Jenkins

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