Ripper Street ‘Become Man’ – Series 2, episode 3
Spoiler alert: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 3, series 2 of ‘Ripper Street’
Ripper Street is a testosterone-fuelled ride but this week the ladies of the East End took centre stage. I can’t figure out if this was the show’s attempt at addressing feminism in the Victorian period or redressing the lack of a female presence on the show. Either way, the story was ‘interesting’ in the way that only a gang of disfigured women kidnapping the men that have caused them to become like this can be.
It was the goriest episode of Ripper Street to date, even worse than the episode with the druggie cop impaled by his leg from a railing. I felt ready to hurl when one the hostages had one of his fingers cleaved off. Although nothing was seen the implication was enough. We were later shown the removed digits which only served to layer on the disgust.
Then there was the woman with the hole in her face – the consequences of a flesh-eating substance – that caused Long Susan to throw up over the back of a chaise longue. The woman in question looked like she an extra from the set of The Walking Dead. But that wasn’t the only bit of visceral ickiness, oh no, Long Susan had to help stitch up the crazed leader of a gang. This time she managed to hold it in as she used her teeth to cut the thread for each stitch.
In amongst the gore, this episode gave Myanna Buring a chance to really shine as Long Susan. She is the strongest female on the show, Emily Reid was as fragile as a dry autumn leaf ready to crumble, while Rose was the archetypal damsel in distress requiring rescue and batting her lashes at Drake. But it is Long Susan who leads the way among the females, championing herself as an independent woman despite profiting from the prostitution.
Her conflict between her own independence and being a Madam made for a good watch. On top of that Long Susan was brutalised not by men but by her own sex. She is rarely seen so vulnerable but this week she was emotionally torn to pieces by the whole experience. It removed Ripper Street from the usual case of the week story and into hard-hitting drama that we don’t often see.
Ripper Street is known for its violence but this week the brutality was topped with a melange of gore that sent the shock factor soaring. It was all too much and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a fair grossed out not to mention angry viewers out there. Perhaps from now on I should keep a sick bag close at hand every time I watch an episode? But kudos to the makeup department – it’s got Bafta written all over it.
Next week on ‘Ripper Street’… There is more to newbie Albert Flight than we first thought as the rookie gets frisky with a young lady and some Irish have come to town. Meanwhile there will be more of Councillor Cobden to come.Tagged in: Adam Rothenberg, Damien Molony, jerome flynn, Matthew Macfadyen, Myanna Buring, Ripper Street, Victorian
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter