Ripper Street Season 1, Episode 7 Review: “A Man of My Company”
This week’s episode of Ripper Street makes me sorry that the GeekBinge rating system only goes up to ten. Tonight, secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes amid acts of sacrifice, redemption, greed, and revenge. We also got to see an antique stock ticker. Neat! This episode goes to eleven. I actually had to pause at one point in order to sob like an infant.
A man named Swift comes to town from New York for some kind of big business meeting. If Swift looks familiar to you, it’s because he’s played by Ian McElhinney–also Ser Barristan Selmy on Game of Thrones. Swift is accompanied by several Pinkerton men–led by a sniveling rat-faced bastard called Frank Goodnight (played by a guy you’ve seen on Law & Order, NYPD Blue, Boardwalk Empire, 24, and The Sopranos).
There’s a big business merger happening between shipping lines, motivated by some fly new technology. When an engineer is killed in a manner both brutal and needlessly painful, Reid wastes no time investigating. Questioning the widow leaves him feeling uneasy and curious, so Reid sends young Hobbs out to follow her. Hobbs has developed tremendously this season, learning Jackson’s job as well as proving himself as a detective. Hobbs is thrilled when Reid assigns him this task, and he takes it very seriously.
Mr. Goodnight has a keen interest in finding Long Susan, presumably as a means of tracking down Homer Jackson. Goodnight questions tabloid journalist Fred Best, who ends up getting the Reservoir Dogs treatment when he refuses to reveal the whereabouts of the town Madame. Best then goes to Long Susan’s to tell her what’s up—and so Jackson can sew his ear back on. We’re still not sure exactly what’s up with Jackson and Susan, except that they both appear to blame the other for whatever trouble they’re in.
Reid questions Swift and Goodnight, who are staying with another prominent businessman. Getting nothing, he goes back to the station and attempts to piece the evidence together. Shockingly, he is interrupted by Emily’s arrival at the station. She asks him to come to the shelter to help a prostitute who’s been beaten by four Pinkerton’s who were looking for Long Susan. Reid goes, and is a bit put off to see Deborah there. These same men go on to make a mess of Susan’s establishment, going so far as to punch Rose in the face. I imagine Drake will have something to say about that.
Hobbs has followed the engineer’s widow to her husband’s former place of work. Curiously, she’s shuffling through paperwork as if a woman could actually understand engineering blueprints. * snerk * When Hobbs sees that she’s about to be harmed or kidnapped, he busts in to foil the crime. Horribly, Hobbs is killed by Goodnight in the same manner as the engineer: stabbed in the spine, paralyzed, then dumped into the Thames to drown. If you need to take a moment of silence for poor Hobbs, I understand. I know I did. * sniff *
Jackson and Susan talk. He tells her that he’s got a few things to do first—but that he’s leaving town and she’s welcome to go with him. Jackson gives Susan a gun. By the end of their conversation, it’s clear that Jackson and Susan are in love with each other. It’s actually kind of sweet if you take out some of the punching and gun violence.
Back at the station, the boys are not taking Hobbs death well. A little less circumspect than modern cops, Arthurton gives us our best line of the night:
Mr. Reid, when you’ve found the persons who’ve
done this…we may kill them. May we not, Sir?
Reid doesn’t answer him, but I think we all know that things are not likely to end well for Hobb’s murderer. Before he has time to mourn, Jackson shows up to get his ring from Reid—at gunpoint. Reid is certain that Jackson won’t fire on him, but less sure of the same in re: Drake. Jackson takes his ring, revealing himself to be a man named Matthew Judge. On Jackson/Judge’s way out, Reid informs him of Hobbs murder. Jackson is sorry to hear it, thought he leaves anyway. Drake readies to kick Jackson’s ass, until Reid reminds him that there are more deserving recipients of his rage. True that, Inspector Reid!
Reid and Drake seek out the widow, while Jackson returns to Long Susan’s to find that she has gone. Inexplicably, she is next seen threatening Swift at gunpoint, then offering to return to America with him. That’s when we learn that she is his daughter. This also explains why she’s so whiny. Swift hired Judge to watch over Susan (who’s actual name is Catelyn), but they fell in love and ran away together instead. During their escape, Judge had to murder another Pinkerton, which is what earned him Goodnight’s ire. Having gotten to know Jackson this season, we believe that he’s a good-hearted person with no particular respect for tradition, law, and social custom. Finding out that he risked comfort, safety, and his good name for love of a woman is actually quite shocking. That they got married may be even more shocking. I love it though. Love everything about it.
Swift, taking his daughter at her word, agrees not to kill Jackson. Instead, he plots with Goodnight to screw him over in some other horrible way. Next thing we know, Goodnight is murdering a prostitute in an alley. Ew.
Drake and Reid save the widow, stop the big business deal, catch the perps and foil the crime. It turns out that the widow was the actual engineering genius—to the outright scoffery of a group of so-called smart businessmen. The widow ends up going off with Swift. It seems that all she really wanted was pay and fair credit for her accomplishments. Swift is rich, white, and male—which as we all know, means he’ll be getting away with his crimes.
Upon taking Goodnight et al to the station, Goodnight breaks away and threatens to murder Reid as Drake and a crowd of people look on. Enter Jackson, firing into the air and offering Goodnight a fair fight with him if he agrees to let Reid go. He does. Susan offers Goodnight her pistol, which contains a single bullet. Jackson cleverly gets Goodnight to waste his one shot (the ol’ reflection in the flask bit). After some consideration, Jackson kills an unarmed Goodnight as retribution for Hobbs.
You shouldn’t have killed the boy, Frank.
Fred Best is on the scene, and immediately begins taking Reid to task for hiring the murderer, Matthew Judge, to the police force. Reid basically tells Best to go diddle himself, which Best more or less does. Inspector Reid makes it clear that Jackson is a fine police surgeon who took down a cold-blooded killer.
Just when everything seems well and good, Jackson and Susan head back to her place. Who should appear but Abberline, who arrests a shocked Jackson in connection with the Ripper murders. We all watch, helpless and horrified as a bloody blade and random body part are found under a loose floorboard in Jackson’s room. Goodnight had one last trick up his sleeve, apparently.
This was a smashing episode. Next week is the season finale, and I can’t even imagine what will happen then. I’m aware that the series is shooting a second season, but I don’t know whether or not they knew that when they wrote this season. I’m trying to work out whether or not to expect a cliffhanger. I could read ahead, but I really, really don’t want to get spoiled.
See you’s next week!