Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Without the appearance of the established villain Shine, the episode was seemingly a ‘crime of the week’ format. Damien Molony is given a chance to show-off his acting credentials in the forth episodes of Ripper Street’s second series as young DC Flight is sent undercover to infiltrate proposed Irish terrorists and yet, the first scene of the episode see’s Flight in a confessional, seeking repentance for lying, what could he have done?
With an Irish prisoner carted through the Irish sector of London, we knew that the poor lawman driving the cart would have an unfortunate end, but it was one so mysterious which caught the eye as he seemingly, died of natural causes and plunged off of the cart, allowing Aiden Galvin (Stanley Townsend) to go free and start causing havoc on Detective Inspector Reid’s streets.
Flight finally got his chance to Shine, he has been portrayed as naive over the last two episodes, now his loyalties are tested, torn between his Irish roots and his career in Whitechapel – an internal conflict which never quite reached a pinnacle, I’m sure most viewing at home weren’t too moved by his story for we are yet to know his character truly.
Galvin proceeds in his actions as a xenophobic politician is blown up in his bed. Galvin is a character to behold in Ripper Street, the 2004 Irish times Best Actor Award winner (for Shining City) Stanley Townsend moulds this fantastic character through gestures and gleeful grins, an eerie yet intriguing villain who rules the episode.
Some police brutality conveys the idea of the xenophobic hierarchy in Britain at the time, a period of tense culture mixing and racism towards the Irish, colonisation at its height. But this episode is not solely focused upon the Irish Home Front, for it is revealed that electricity has played its part with both men’s deaths. Curiously juxtaposing the Irish revolution and electricity contracts, a far fetched plot yet one which worked in Ripper Street’s world. The construction of power stations was simply the goal for two sides, the cause for the violence.
Flight constructs a character to seduce Evelyn, the violin soundtrack haunts these scenes giving them a quintessential charm, the two have great chemistry which is evident throughout. The episode is beautifully coloured, bright and charming, casting Flight and Evelyn half in light and half darkness as they both lie, her claiming she has no father, and he playing the part of Bertrand. The most interesting scene came from Jackson giving Flight lessons in seduction, before Drake gives him a black eye for show, a whole-heartedly scene that displays the friendship and humour between the leads. Reid and Cobden’s relationship seems like it would reach a romance and yet Reid rejects her advances, the only sparks (I apologise for awful puns) are those of a gruesomely fried goats at an electricity demonstration.
A paternity struggle is thrown into the mix at the climax as a plot to blow up politicians is placed in front of Galvin by the man who freed him, one who looks to profit from such an ordeal. As always, Reid and co. arrive at the right moment to foil the villainy, before an ending that resonates that of the first episode of the show.
As the show continues to try to develop to something more than just a police procedural, the audience, for the second week running, have their sympathies lie with the ‘antagonists’. The episode was not the pinnacle of the shows run, i’m sure that is soon to come, as the pace of the episode remained pedestrian, most of the time to the stories benefit but at some points it kept it in the realms of just a good show.
As a side note, if you were watching Ripper Street on BBC you may have noticed the craftily placed advert for Panorama’s Britain’s Secret Terror Force which will focus on the troubles and Britain’s secret army against the IRA, this was definitely not just a coincident.
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