Ripper Street ‘Dynamite And A Woman’ – Series 2, episode 4

Neela Debnath

4890245 low res ripper street 300x199 Ripper Street ‘Dynamite And A Woman’ – Series 2, episode 4Spoiler alert: Do not read this if you have not seen series 2, episode 4 of ‘Ripper Street’

The newest member of the Whitechapel team stepped up to the mark this week and attempted to earn his stripes with some undercover work.

So far we’ve seen precious little of Albert Flight apart from the fact that he is rather green and naïve, but by the end of the episode he was a little less so, just a smidgen. Damien Molony plays the rookie copper well. While he is not Hobbs, he portrays a similar vulnerability through his inexperience. It’s obvious that Flight’s young and not as cynical as his colleagues, and if anything this ordeal has left Flight just a little broken by the end.

Added to this our new recruit was torn between his duties to his job and his Irish roots. It did make me smile watching the Whitechapel trio give Flight a sexy make-over that puts Pygmalion’s Eliza Doolittle to shame, including a shiner on one eye to win over the daughter of the Irish man wreaking havoc on the streets of the East End.

While Molony plays Flight well, it is Stanley Townsend as the villain of the week Aiden Galvin, who really stands out. Whether it’s his evil craggy grin as he places a bomb underneath a xenophobic politician’s bed or confronts his estranged daughter, it is all brilliant. He is so watchable as this multi-faceted character and manages to convey so much.

Again the writers have brought a new layer to the show by focusing on Irish-English relations in this period. The sheer racism and xenophobia towards the Irish by the British, all wrapped up in the jingoistic sense of superiority created by colonialism and the British Empire, is shocking. And the audience is left on the side of the Irish.

Woven into the story was a subplot involving electricity contracts which explained the real reason why Galvin had returned to his old ways. Despite the originality of the story and joining different elements together, it was hard to stomach the electrocuted goat scene. It was hideous to watch and all a bit much. The RSPCA would have a field day if any energy firms carried out a similar demonstration.

Yes, the whole story of undercover police officers and frying goats to win electricity contracts is a tad on the ridiculous side. But let’s not forget Inspector Abberline blustering onto the scene every now and then, like a big, grizzled bear awoken from hibernation. His interruptions felt completely unnecessary and more of a hindrance than anything else.

Then there was Reid’s moment of self-flagellation when he rejected the advances of Councillor Cobden. It’s safe to say that he is the most masochistic man in the East End – remember, our coppers can only solve crimes if they are utterly depressed. On top of all this is the inverted syntax which just grates as a viewer. Yet for all its foibles I’m ashamed to admit that I still quite like Ripper Street.

Next week on ‘Ripper Street’… Breaking new boundaries and adding to the ever-growing list of anachronisms/modern-day references, a gay love story or prostitution ring (I couldn’t tell which) has been discovered in Whitechapel. To add to the mix a dodgy banker is keeping his investors in the dark – sound familiar? It’s all probably linked. Somehow.

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  • blackflag1961

    What was the name of the woman playing the Irish girl? If a male writer had omitted this…

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