Synopsis: Reid must return to Whitechapel to covertly re-investigate a case made by Drake and Jackson.
Review: The fourth season of ‘Ripper Street’ got off to a pretty strong start on Friday with a premier that has a running time of 2 hours and 10 minutes.
The story picks up three years after events that we witnessed in season three and much has changed.
H Devision has gotten a new building and is very much under added pressure with the pending Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Drake is now in a position of trust as head of H division, but his recent conviction of Isaac Bloom for murder leaves a few unanswered questions, which draw Reid back to Whitechapel to investigate.
The Whitechapel, which Reid returns to is a far diverse place than he left behind. The Jewish community is in a state of unrest and new arrivals from India are making themselves known, which is something that sparks a new investigation for Drake. An investigation, which opens a new can of worms that could prove somewhat volatile given the Crowns uncertainty with regards to the new growing Muslim communities that are beginning to take shape.
Meanwhile Long Susan is still languishing in Newgate Prison and is due to hang, but she is as you’d expect plotting her escape.
Unlike last season, which kicked off with a massive train wreck. This series starts with our heroes somewhat separated and leading their own lives. The event that kicks things off is the discovery of a dead Indian man in chains washed ashore on the docks with his throat slit. Jackson is called to help, faking his usual drink problem to cover up his plans to help Susan gain the inheritance from her father for their son, leaving Drake and Rose in the dark and assuming his worst habits have cemented themselves.
There’s a hell of a lot going on in this opening episode of the fourth season and various plot threads are teased throughout, but what is interesting is seeing the racial tensions brew as the Jubilee is about to be celebrated. Tensions, which are fuelled ever more by the murder of Al-Qadir and the arrival of colonial soldiers.
All the regulars characters slip back into their respective roles with relative ease. Jerome Flynn, whose dogged performance as Bennet Drake has always been the unsung hero of the series gets the most screen time in his position as Inspector and continues to exhibit a world-weary charm. Matthew Macfadyen is as steady as ever in his role of Edmund Reid, who doesn’t really enter the fray until midway through the first hour. But seeing all three of the main characters back together by the close of the episode is a thrill.
As with most series openers. The status quo pretty much returns to normal by the close of the story, but with a few changes. Edmund Reid is now serving under Drake, which will make for an interesting change in the character dynamics as the show continues on. And Long Susan has gone into hiding having engineered her escape from Newgate.
This is a bold opening episode, which succeeds more than it fails. And it is one that will most likely get a few repeat viewings.
- The inclusion of racial tensions and the new developing technologies put into use at H Division
- Could have used a little more Reid
- Incidental Music9.5