Ripper Street Episode 2 Review: “In My Protection”
The opening setting for “In My Protection” is a charming toy shoppe, run by a delightful old lady. Capticated children select small toys and look longingly at large ones. How fun! A sweet-looking old man tinkers with a mechanical lock box. He wraps it up and carries it proudly down the street. How could such an idyllic scene on Ripper Street possibly go awry? We find out this week, along with learning some intense secrets about Drake, Jackson, and Reid.
Inspectors Drake and Reid bring the body of Manby the toymaker to Jackson’s new, state-of-the-art dead room. Yes, they actually call it a dead room. Jackson is none too pleased to see that Reid has assembled a room to exacting specifications, including multiple electric light bulbs, and hot and cold running water! I know, right? Captain Jackson, however, has no real interest in working for the coppers. Let us not forget that he has a villainous secret.
Before they can conclude the examination, vigilante George Lusk and his Vigilance Committee arrive as a mob with a recently-beaten 14-year-old boy they claim is Mamby’s killer. Reid is not impressed, and reminds Lusk that his mob has been ordered disbanded. Reid has no intention of taking Lusk’s word for anything. Lusk presents his evidence, and Reid decides to follow up and question the boy, a street urchin named Thomas Gowar. And he’s not talking.
Tommy’s lawyer is Patrick Eagles, (played by Hugh O’Conor, the same dude who played the King of France in Disney’s Three Musketeers). Eagles is also a friend and religious consultant to Emily, Inspector Reid’s wife. He is appalled when the judge sentences Thomas to death by hanging. While Reid insists that there is evidence against the boy, even he has to admit that it’s unlikely that the boy acted alone, or even of his own accord. Eagles is convinced that a “Fagan” (referencing the Oliver character of the same name) is influencing the boy’s actions, and is forcing him to keep his silence.
As the investigation continues, we learn that the late Manby has been filing multiple patents at the insane price of four pounds each. Manby’s business was in fact his wife’s business, inherited from her father. Reid then visit’s Eagles at the church, in a scene that emphasizes the distance between Reid and his wife. Emily has been having long talks with Eagles, and Reid is displeased. We learn that Emily is grieving over a death that Reid cannot accept.
In a barbaric display of attempted coercion, Inspectors Reid and Drake take Thomas on a field trip to the gallows to witness a hanging. Apparently, the presence of Gowar’s lawyer makes this awful scene okay. Eventually, Tommy tells Eagles that he’ll talk so long as they take him away from the jail. They agree, and arrange for his transport. But wait, Tommy’s vehicle is blocked by the “Fagan” Eagles warned us about. Out pops the vicious criminal and his large gang of violent children. Hobbs is there too– shaken, but unharmed by the gaggle of kids and their terrifying makeshift weapons. Eagles is beaten to death, but not before Tommy runs away to places unknown. Patrick Eagles goes out on what must have been a badass fighting line in the day:
I said, I would have your name
Or do you give it only
To the farm animals you lie with?
Boom! Reid and Drake are furious that Tommy is in the wind. Drake investigates how his transportation info got leaked, as Reid and young Hobbs try to figure out where Tommy might go. An anti-Semitic slur and beat-down later, Tommy is found hiding out at the Jewish orphanage. Watch for straight-edged Reid bringing Jackson a pick-me-up concocted of magnesium, sugar, rum, and cocaine. Yikes!
Meanwhile, Jackson has gambled away his fancy ring in a drunken haze. We already know that Jackson and Long Sally share a past filled with dark secrets. She is incensed to learn that the ring is missing, and proceeds to hatch a plan to get it back. A little sleuthing by Jackson tells us that the ring is on the finger of local criminal Carmichael, who also happens to be the leader of the violent kid gang. Long Sally’s devious plan to steal Jackson’s ring is a good one, and she’s a decent scrapper. But no, in the end, she and Jackson are both caught by the criminal gang, with only their smarts to save them.
Next thing you know, Reid, Drake, and Tommy are held up at the Orphanage. Carmichael shows up for Tommy with his kid gang in tow. Reid refuses them, and a brawl ensues. Sorry to say, the bad guys really do get the better of Reid. Jackson saves the day by arriving with Lusk and his Vigilante Committee. Carmichael is shot by Jackson; while Drake is able to heist Tommy off to a new city under the protection of a police recruiter. Drake has a wonderful scene with Tommy, where he talks a bit about his own past. Bennet Drake promises to develop into a fascinating character. This week he hinted at a criminal past, and we already know he’s a sad, lonely guy. It’s gonna get a lot sadder before it gets happier, I bet.
Reid delivers a second verbal beat-down to Lusk, essentially telling him that he needs to stop acting like a crazy jackass—especially if he intends to continue behaving as if he’s above the law. I’m hoping we don’t see too much more of Lusk, because his crap is going to get tiresome pretty quickly.
Later, Jackson and Reid revisit the question of Jackson’s permanent gig in forensics. Now in possession of the ring, Reid hips Jackson to the fact that he knows there’s something up—and that Jackson either knows this “Matthew Judge” (the name carved in the ring) or is him. Captain Jackson takes the job at the standard Sergeant’s wages.
In the end, Reid figures out that is was Manby’s wife who was actually responsible for her husband’s death. She ordered a hit on him via Carmichael, because her husband’s incessant patent applications were bankrupting her. I had to chuckle when she was dragged away literally kicking and screaming. I admit, I also chuckled a bit during Reid and Jackson’s conversation. I just can’t take a phrase like Don’t Dicker with me, very seriously.
Amanda Hale plays Emily Reid. We don’t see much of her, but when we do, she tells us volumes. She gives an evocative and subtle performance as an unhappy woman desperate for the time when her husband will acknowledge their losses, his emotions, or that anything in the world is more important than work. The distant cop who is never home? That’s a popular cop trope, but when I watch Amanda Hale, I feel like I’m seeing something totally new.
See you’s next week!