Ripper Street Season 2, Episode 5 Review: “Threads of Silk and Gold”
Tonight’s Ripper Street, “Threads of Silk and Gold,” hearkens back to a time when a person could get arrested for confessing to love someone of the same gender. As you’d expect, there is blackmail, desperation, victimization, violence, and Sergeant Arthurton reminding us that there’s no prejudice he doesn’t want in on. Captain Jackson makes multiple fatal errors in “Threads of Silk and Gold.” Bella Drake is revealed to be a terrible liar, and Inspector Reid is more revealing still. It was another strong episode full of surprises, anguish, and revenge.
“Threads of Silk and Gold” opens with two young men indulging in some afternoon giggity, and discussing all the things they’ll see and do when they’re free and wealthy. The boys are clearly in love, and are nervous about blackmailing “Quint” with a stolen folio. Also, they’re skipping work, which means another telegram delivery boy has to fill in for a hilariously porn-star-named fellow called David Goodbody. The hapless filler-inner, Otto, goes to the Harlequin hotel and meets with a mysterious man who proceeds to murder him, believing Otto to be David.
Back at H-Division, Arthurton informs a gay man that his crimes (being gay, doing gay stuff) are so terrible that he’s not eligible for bail. Fred Best arrives to mock the police for raiding a private residence for the express purpose of corralling homosexuals. At the local tavern, we see Captain Jackson gambling, and losing. He’s low on cash, which sucks, because we know that his wife is not exactly flush with funds either. Jackson runs into “Charlie” an old acquaintance who owed him money and now looks rich and sharp. Charlie tells Jackson of a can’t-miss money-making scheme in Argentina.
David and Vincent report to work the following day and are horrified to learn of Otto’s death. Reid and Drake begin with the presumption that the deaths are related to telegrams. But Jackson’s autopsy reveals that the boy was an active and enthusiastic homosexual. I’m pretty sure Jackson also revealed his own bi-sexuality. Yowza! Now all we need is a Ripper Street / Torchwood crossover, amirite? Back at their room, Vincent and David are terrified that their blackmail attempt got Otto killed, but reason that the killer doesn’t actually know what they look like. Reid has both boys followed.
Vincent takes a clandestine meeting with Fred Best as Flight watches nearby. Best has a gay lover of his own, Harry. Vincent reveals that he has news that could take down the biggest bank in London. Before he can say more, Vincent realizes that the killer is in the bar. He sends Freddie away and then loudly approaches Flight and insists that he be taken in as a “homo sapien homosexual.” LOL Drake follows David, and sees that he is still turning tricks at the Harlequin. Once in custody, Vincent recants his confession of gaiety and lets loose with a few hilarious euphemisms for lady-parts.
Reid’s investigation leads to Solomon Quint—the man being blackmailed by David and Vincent. While looking for Quint, Reid meets Franklin Stone. Stone seems to be an upright banker type, and explains to Reid that Quint was awesome at his job, but an erratic, vice-ridden freak in real-life. Cut over to Quint, who is beside himself with torment over the folio, his impending outing, the death of Otto, and the bank’s secrets—who he now believes have been shared with muckraker Fred Best. Quint discusses this with the killer, a Mr. Self, who explains how important it is that he keep quiet. Very important.
Long Susan is still stressed about money, since Silas Duggan is squeezing her for even more. Susan refuses to take more money from the girls, and she knows her situation is dire. Jackson suggests that they invest in the land deal that made Charlie so wealthy as of late. Susan believes it’s a huge gamble that sounds too good to be true. When she scoffs at the idea, Jackson storms out with a promise of settling things with Duggan. How long have we been waiting to see Captain Jackson kick this guy’s ass? Jackson calls Duggan out for the chiseler he is, and draws down on him. With shocking agility and ferocity, Duggan kicks the shit out of Homer. I don’t think any of us saw that coming. Thoroughly whipped and deprived of his bullets, we have to wonder what Jackson’s next move will be. Damn, that was painful to watch.
Reid arrives at Quint’s home to see that he has died of an apparent suicide. He left a note denouncing and apologizing for his homosexuality. This sends Reid into a bit of a brood over how treating homosexuals like criminals does them and society a disservice. Drake basically says the law is the law and that he doesn’t want to overthink it–going on to use terms like “poof” and “Maryann.” When Bennet discusses this with his wife, she agrees that declaring love illegal is a foolish and futile endeavor. While the Drakes are out walking, Bella is approached by a blonde woman we’ve never seen before. Bella denies knowing the woman, and immediately insists on going home. Isn’t that mysterious?
Fred Best and is young lover are led to a room at the Harlequin. It seems that the shady manager has set Best up for a little blackmail of his own, and photographs are taken of Best and Harry in a shirtless amorous embrace. Back in the lab, Jackson discovers that Quint was murdered.
Now that Quint is dead, David and Vincent have no one to blackmail…or do they? They’re ready to fight back against those who would kill them. Drake seeks out the boys, not knowing that David Goodbody has turned himself in to Inspector Reid. David explains that Quint was afraid of men who would kill him for telling the truth about…something. The thug in question is Franklin Stone, and the secret has something to do with Argentina. Wait, isn’t that where Jackson wanted to invest? Good thing Susan put the kibosh on that, eh? Reid demands that Stone give him full access to Quint’s files. He won’t. It’s then that we see that Mr. Self is actually working for Stone.
Drake seeks out Vincent, who was “huggermugger” with Fred Best. * snerk * Vincent tells Best where the folio is, and that he needs to find it and publish it if anything happens to him or David. Enter Self to take them both out. They run, and Best is stopped by Bennet Drake. Best pleads with Drake to help Vincent, but before drake can find the boy, Self gets in a few stabs. Vincent manages to run away, but there’s an awful lot of blood. Bennet has to decide whether to subdue and arrest Self, or to continue his pursuit of Vincent. Vincent makes it all the way back to David, but is dead by the time Drake catches up with him. David’s heartbroken weeping was…damn. Tragic.
In an H-Division holding cell, Self confesses to all the murders and claims to have done them of his own accord, for “reasons spiteful and indecent.” In essence, he’s not giving up Franklin Stone even though Reid has already figured that part out. Self has to take the blame so his life insurance can be left to his son. That’s literally all he cares about. Though emotionally devastated, David manages to tell Reid everything he knows—including the fact that the Argentine government is broke. Jackson is horrified, and we realize that he invested (and lost) all of Susan’s money without her knowledge or input. Stone was running a banking scam that was excused because he made money for his own investors. Thank goodness nothing like that goes on today… :-/
Stone doesn’t get arrested. David Goodbody gets a ticket out of town even though his will to live is clearly gone. Reid gives the folio to Fred Best, who longs to give those who killed Vincent and Otto the humiliation they deserve. We have no doubt that Best will follow through. Susan is heartbroken and despondent that Jackson stole from her, deceived her, betrayed her. She throws him out of her home. I’m not actually sure he believes it. Cut back to Fred Best and the headline that is sure to take down the big banks. But what’s this? Best receives the pictures of he and Harry at the Harlequin, and kills the story in exchange for silence. What a terrible shame.
We think the episode is over when Edmund Reid walks into Miss Cobden’s office despite the lateness of the hour. He’s poetic, charming, forthright, and blunderingly enough—brings up how he failed his wife. Oh, and that he and Emily aren’t actually divorced. He’s tired of the darkness, and hopes she will help him know the sun. I guess that’s turn of the century lingo for giggity. Happily, she’s into it, so long as their relationship is above board and public and all that. We’re super happy for Edmund. Cut across town to Stone preparing to receive a young male guest. It’s David, and he cuts Stone’s throat with a ferocity that can only come from revenge. Wow. Go David. “Threads of Silk and Gold” was a tragic, surprising, and emotionally charged episode!
See you’s next week.