Ripper Street Episode 5 Review: “The Weight of One Man’s Heart”
Wow! This week’s episode, The Weight of One Man’s Heart was both Bennet-licious, and Drake-tastic. Drake has remained the most emotionally elusive character on Ripper Street thusfar. This week we saw his past horrors, present struggles, and what’s inside his heart. We meet a friend from Drake’s past in the form of the fetching Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont from HBO’s Game of Thrones). Meanwhile, a team of trained and well-organized thieves are committing bizarre robberies that confound both Reid and Jackson.
We begin with shots of Drake getting all spruced up juxtaposed with an assassin with this time-period’s equivalent of a high-powered rifle. Sgt “call me Bennett” Drake is out with Rose, enjoying his day off with an evening of flowers and event tickets. Rose speaks of wanting to be an actress with a wealthy patron. A vendor tries to sell them lovebirds, but sadly, Bennet cannot afford them. Hobbs report of a terrible act of horse murder interrupts what should have been a lovely date.
Reid is utterly aghast that Jackson doesn’t leap out of bed to investigate whatever chemical was powerful enough to blow apart a gunpowder-proof safe. That, combined with some meticulous planning, inside information, and intense marksmanship adds up to hardcore robbing mojo. Jackson eventually looks things over, and is stymied as to what on earth the new explosive substance should be. Reid’s aghast exclaimation of WHAT?!? at Jackson’s unwillingness to get out of bed totally made me smile.
Feeling low about his financial prospects, Sgt Drake approaches Inspector Reid for a raise. Reid agrees that Drake deserves more money, but insists that the department cannot afford it. Reid goes on to caution Drake against, to put in nicely, gold-digging prostitutes. Enter Madoc Faulkner. Faulkner is a fellow soldier in the dervish war. He’s an imposing man who is seriously pissed about the plight of soldiers once they’re done fighting in wars. He’s also not too pleased about a police inspector who has never served. Faulkner rightly says that soldiers are discarded and treated as vagrants—by people like Reid in particular. In contemporary commentary terms—Ripper Street takes a moment to demonstrate that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Later, Drake and Faulkner are sharing a drink when Faulkner reveals himself to be one of the robbers. The team of thieves is actually made up of disgruntled, impoverished soldiers. They go on about how Queen and Country don’t give a crap about Drake or any soldier. Faulkner et al are not wrong. Drake makes a choice not to tell Reid what he knows. We are left to wonder if Drake’s desire for a life with Rose will cause him to forsake the moral code that we know he lives by. At the same time, Reid and his team continue following leads and attempt to zero in on the marksman.
Poor Hobbs is stuck with the task of sifting through giant piles of tedious information and complains that he’s gonna be there all night. Reid then delivers a chuckle-worthy speech.
One day, Constable, there will be gleaming machines that will perhaps make light of such a process. But for now…Arthurton is in possession of some exceptional Turkish coffee, with which I might suggest you make a keen acquaintance.
Meanwhile, Sgt Drake gives Faulkner and his people plenty of chances to stop their game and walk away. Faulkner keeps at Drake, telling him that he deserves happiness more than the law deserves him. Bennett Drake is feeling like he deserves better than he has—especially given all he’s been through. After another visit to Long Susan’s brothel and almost attacking one of Rose’s gentlemen, Drake relents. So long as no one is hurt, he agrees to take part in the next robbery. Drake even uses his badge to gain entrance to the target—the mint.
In the course of this episode, we see just how much Drake struggles with his violent side. He has to be a cop, because it’s the only way he can lawfully use all that pent up aggression. Well that, and messing up Jackson’s face when he has the nerve to opine on his previous dalliances with Rose. Not meaning to be an a-hole, Jackson implores Rose to be kind when she finally does reject Drake. Jackson is bitter and cynical, but he’s not wrong. Still, I didn’t feel too badly about Drake using his face as a stress toy.
The gang’s sharpshooter, Doggett, has been captured, and Reid supervises Drake’s beating of him during the interrogation. Doggett gives up his buddies in exchange for his own freedom, and later blasts his way out of jail and takes off.
The robbery at the mint goes totally awry. The result is a couple of deaths followed by an intense standoff. Faulkner reveals that Drake fought his way out from a cadre of dervishes in the war, leaving nothing but severed limbs and bloody corpses. Feeling far from heroic about his killings, Drake is mortified and emphatically sure that he is no longer that violent, savage man. He kind of is though, as Drake has to fight his way out of another conflict with the violent gang of soldiers just before Reid and Jackson show up with the metaphorical cavalry.
Eventually, Jackson’s marksmanship saves Drake and Reid saves the day. Faulkner assures Reid that Drake was forced to take part in the robberies. There’s some imagery-laden goddess talk, then Faulkner eats his gun. Sad times.
When all is said and done, Drake and morality are best buddies once more. Bennett grabs a satchel and heads over to see Rose, much to Long Susan’s dismay. Susan is horrible to Bennett, and I have to wonder what her problem is. I wouldn’t be antagonizing cops if I were her. Bennett speaks to Rose from a place of pure emotion, telling Rose that he knows he’s not a wealthy man. He offers her his whole heart, and the promise that he’ll live each day doing his best to secure her happiness. She’s an utter bitch, and rejects him outright saying that she could never be a bobby’s housewife–as if working for Long Susan is any better. Crappy Julia Roberts movies aside, I can’t believe it’s the norm for hookers to find husbands on the job.
Drake walks away, miserable and dejected. We wonder whether or not his satchel is full of gold stolen from the mint. It isn’t. Bennet reveals that he bought the expensive lovebirds, intending to gift them to Rose upon their engagement. He sits down sadly and gives the pair of birds their freedom. If you didn’t get a little misty-eyed when Bennett blew the single remaining yellow feather from his palm—you might want to check with your local clergyperson. You might be missing your soul. I’m not giving up on Drake and my hope for his happiness. Keep your chin up, Sgt Drake. Your fans across the pond think you’re tops!
See you’s next week!