Monday, 14 January 2013

Review - Episode 3 Ripper Street - Long live the King!

Hoorah! I feel like the series has finally come to life...

Episode 3 saw the fear of the return of the King (Cholera) which had affected England so badly, previously, and spread through infected water from the conduits...and which had, ironically, been the catalyst for its discovery in Bow, In 1854, during the 'Broad Street' epidemic.

For some bizarre reason, Leicester had escaped the woes of the epidemic that had killed 50,000 nationally in 1848/9, even though its own water supplies were suspect! It left the population in fear of its return, as this episode clearly portrayed.

The interaction between the three main characters came across as much more 'joined up' and interaction with the other constables ditto.

A great side line regarding the conflict between the Met Police and City of London, and the introduction of the pompous Insp. Ressler (played by Patrick Baladi), who I warmed to as the programme developed, and whose eyes opened wide and in admiration at the assertive, if not at times aggressive policing the Met pursued. I wouldn't be surprised if he put his transfer papers in there and then!

Marvellous scene where PC Hobbs (Jonathan Barnwell) was thrust (literally) into Captain Jackson's post-mortem examination - brilliantly acted - great expressions!.

The arrest and 'interview' of the psychotic mass-poisoner, to gain the missing consignments destination, was a nice touch, not that police officers would stoop to such techniques! (Chapter Eleven of my book 'The Borough Boys' has a similar event..honestly! I remember the use of crepitus as a painful encouragement from initial course at Ryton in 1976!) DS Drake (played by Jerome Flynn) was so matter of fact that he had got the result! Just like the best days of 'The Sweeney".

What I liked most was a move away from the dramatic 'Shakespearean' dialogue, to something more befitting 1889, with 'Mollies' and 'backgammon players', and the excellent young 'Toffers' - the street language I had expected from episode one onwards!

The series has really captured the pace at which crime investigation and effective policing must have evolved, and this episode to me has been long overdue to get the series really moving along. 

It also reflected that for a long time Public Health was one of the roles the Police were held responsible for, which may seem odd, compared to today with our modern? Health Service and environmental health capabilities.

We are still getting little bits of history and personal background fed in in good measure, and it is interesting to see some other themes being allowed to filter in, such as Emily Reid (played by Amanda Hale) who is clearly an archetypal potential Sufragette, strong and resolute, and not going to be out done by her determined husband, DI Reid (played by Matthew Macfayden).

Hope this episode is truly a turning point, and if so, it should be re-titled "Long live 'The King'..."



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