Monday, 4 February 2013

Review - Episode six - Ripper Street - Tournament of Shadows

Late today! Diverted from my routine...

Episode six saw political unrest in the East End and the murder of an alleged Jewish anarchist, Joshua Bloom (Ferdinand Kingsley) in an explosion, that Special Branch try and manipulate to an 'own goal' by a Jewish bomb-maker.

D.I. Edmund Reid (Matthew MacFayden) is drawn into not only a criminal investigation, but an internal struggle with Police Commissioner Monro (Michael McElhatton) and the devious and incompetent Special Branch, led by 'shadowy' Superintendent Constantine (Derek Riddell) and his bully boys. These were so much like the old style Bow Street Runners, who could do what they wanted with almost complete impunity!

The fine line between legal or lawful and what constitutes the same when it comes to 'security of the state' becomes ill defined, and to many, crosses the line.

When Reid begins his personal investigation, contrary to the dictate of the Commissioner, he is confronted with his past, and we learn more about how he 'lost' hid daughter Matilda, and far from being dead and buried, she is 'missing presumed dead' to Reid, lost during a boating tragedy of the river (Thames I presume).

Clearly he has not lost hope, albeit his wife (Amanda Hale) wants rid of the memories, and her 'shrine' cleared. 

  • Why did she get lost? 
  • Why was there a boating accident? 
  • Who has been keeping her captive? 
  • When will REID be able to fight to get her back?

 WATCH THIS SPACE - REMEMBER WHO SAID SO FIRST!

I suspect we have not hear the last of Matilda, and I suspect that she will not make an appearance until after Reid has separated, and his new relationship with Deborah Goren (Lucy Cohu) has bloomed. One step nearer in this episode with the long anticipated kiss!

More about Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) also emerges after he goes undercover with the dissidents, and he is tortured by Superintendant Constantine and his right hand thug. No trace of a Homer Jackson coming out of the USA or into Britain....surprise, surprise!

Nasty tricks and 'shadowy subplots' are exposed - as indicated by the title of the episode, and the leader of the dissident workers, Morris (Peter Ferdinando) is identified as a former Russian secret agent / spy / bomber, Zotkin, himself, connected through a well-heeled and well-fed Russian spymaster, Rosky (David Verrey).

Good prevails over evil - as it is meant to - and the good guys come through, discrediting the Russians, who a few years earlier had been taking potshots at Britain in the Crimea (See my second novel, 'The Thin Red line'), and who were planning to blow up London and gas its inhabitants.

Chief officers at the Met were made to look like puppets and spies themselves, which probably wasn't far off the mark, coming from Military backgrounds in the main, and very politically manipulated.

I liked the connections that the BBC had made with this episode, with the Jack the Ripper real life speculation, and the elements of the film 'From Hell' (Johny Depp played the Opium hedonist DI Abberline - played in Ripper Street by Clive Russell). 

In the film 'From Hell', and in speculative investigative works, there were connections made that the Ripper murders were the work of a group of conspirators, including Randolph Churchill, Sir William Gull (Physician to Victoria and Prince Albert Victor), Lord Salisbury, Sir Robert Anderson (Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Police) and that Special Branch Officers and spooks were much involved in covering up state secrets and threats by deceit and skullduggery, destroying Abberline and his career. 

A nice little episode, with lots more revealed of characters, some good plotting (in more than one sense of the word), and some nice, subtle links to the "Shadowy world" of politics and subversion.

Two weeks now until the next episode? Don't know why?

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