Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Review: Ripper Street 2x03 "Become Man"

Original air date: Nov. 11, 2013

I didn't write a review last week, but it was because I really enjoyed the episode.  Last week’s episode has probably been one of my favorites of the series thus far (this week’s episode maybe having surpassed it), but every time I sat down to write all that came out was Damien Molony.  So I figured it was just best not to write anything if I wasn't going to do the episode justice. 

Long Susan has been a favorite character of mine for awhile now and this was a big episode for her.  Things that happened in this episode are going to set off a chain reaction for the rest of the season, that’s for sure.   

We begin with the kidnapping of a politician by the name of De Souza while he enjoys a musical adaptation of Jack the Ripper.  He hates all things woman, and especially the first woman city council woman, Jane Cobden.  Reid suspects that a group of her followers must have kidnapped him in order to force him into retracting his outright opposition to her.  Oh, and they sneak him out in a stolen night soil cart just in case he was confused on what they really thought of him.

Reid brings in Jane Cobden as a means of help.  If it is her followers, behind the kidnapping than surely she should have an idea who is behind it.  He wants to know what sort of women her supporters are, some clue to the women who would kidnap and hold hostage a man such as this.  Her supporters are the disenfranchised women.  The women who have been pushed to the side, forgotten, and treated as unworthy.  

It is after the second kidnapping, of a lawyer from Susan’s house, that the police are able to put the pieces together.  The same MO was used, first place a woman on the inside and then use of a distraction to make their move.  With that, Flight uncovers a similar kidnapping that had occurred previously.  A former foreman of a match factory.  A match factory where the women went on strike due to unsafe working conditions.  Conditions which led to women losing their jaws, inflammation of their brains, and death; a disease known as Phossy jaw.  Each man they kidnapped they saw responsible for silencing their voices and the voice of their champion, Cobden.

Raine, their leader, seeks revenge and justice for the death of her sister whom died from the disease she contracted while working at the factory. 

Susan unknowingly walks in on the kidnapping of Thomas Eli in progress and is take with them.  Once she is with them and gets to know Raine and her motivations she begins to understand these women and realizes she has likewise desires.  To live a life free from men.  To not live by their demands. 

At the beginning of the episode she had gone to the man whom owns the land which her house sits on.  She wants to sell her business to not live under his thumb and be subjected to his whims.  He refuses, he would rather extort her and run her out of business, if she continues to refuse him her favors.  Susan feels trapped.  It dawns on her that she answers to a man in every aspect of her life.

So while Susan disapproves of Raine's methods, she wants to leave with them.  To join Raine as her equal and protector of these women who have no other place to go.  Yet, she worries that Raine's actions will lead to their deaths.  She knows the police are close to finding them and does not want to see them imprisoned, or worse sentenced to death.  She pleads with Raine to stop, but Raine is too thirsty for her revenge to listen at the time.

In the end, the police save the three men and Raine is killed in the process.  As they take the women to jail you wonder, what was the point of it all?  These men’s lives have been spared and now they can continue to spew their hatred.  A woman whose goal was to protect women and give them a life they deserved was pushed to revenge and ended up paying the ultimate price.  What was learned? What was made better?

On that note here are the less heavy bits of the episode I enjoyed.
  • “I apologize. He’s American.” It never fails to amuse me that this is the blanket statement for anything Jackson does.  Also, can we talk about Jackson’s scientific method of determining substances?  I don’t know what this drug is.  *injects self with it* What is this tobacco found at the crime scene? *rolls it up and smokes it* Add a side of Reid’s face as Drake tries to pass him the cigarette.
  • When Jackson shouted that Susan would not help Reid.  Reid looked at her instead and asked her “Does he speak for you?” He knew enough about her to know that she makes up her own mind.
  • Jane Cobden. The addition of her character.  If you watch closely at the end you can almost see the hearts forming in Reid’s eyes.  From the looks of next week’s promo we’ll be see a little more of her in the future.  I look forward to it.
In conclusion: Atherton brews better coffee than Starbucks.  And Night soil carts are the perfect cover for kidnapping because no one will ever want to get close enough to have a look inside.

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