When the episode opens, we’re introduced to American journalist, Ralph Ackerman (Elliot Levey), who meets with Fred Best (David Dawson). The pair discuss Susan’s (MyAnna Buring) father, Theodore P. Swift (Ian McElhinney). Ralph explains that Theodore has left America and has likely traveled to London, where he intends to expand his business, by dissolving Obsidian Estates. Ackerman provides Best with a lot of evidence on Theodore including a micro-picture machine, which cannot be used, at the time. After the meeting, Ackerman is abducted on the streets by Swift and his men. Ackerman is tortured and killed, after giving up Fred’s name.
Meanwhile, Captain Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) successfully compares the fingerprints to those of Susan and discovers she is the one, who shot Reid (Matthew Macfadyen). Ackerman’s body is brought in and an autopsy is performed, by Jackson. Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) and Reid head to the printing press, where Reid discovers an obituary, which Fred had written for him, after he was shot. Meanwhile, Fred Best is on the run, while he attempts to finish his piece for the newspaper, which will expose Swift.
Afterwards, Theodore and Susan head to Obsidian Estates, where Theo explains his plans, which upsets Susan. Of course, she agrees to his plan. Jane Cobden (Leanne Best) confronts the pair, but is blown off, by Susan. Next, Jackson and Bobby Grace (Josh O’Connor) are at the examination room, when they discover the police have found Fred’s hiding place. Jackson rushes off and gets there first, before taking Fred to his home. Fred gives Jackson the micro-pictures, in hopes he’ll be able to figure out the key to making them visible. When Mimi Morton (Lydia Wilson) enters, she agrees to sit with Best for an hour, until Jackson returns.
Next, Jackson returns to Ackerman’s body and searches for the key, which will allow her to view the pictures. At the same time, Reid, Drake and Grace discover newspaper accounts of Swift and his attempt to evade taxes in America. The group ransack Susan’s mansion, but are unable to find any evidence. Jackson discovers the micro-pictures, which were hidden inside of Ackerman’s stomach. He looks at the pictures, which show a weapons cache. Reid nearly collapses on the streets.
Next, Jackson confronts Susan, with the evidence and questions her about shooting Reid. She reveals to him that she is pregnant with his baby. When Jackson returns home, he finds Mimi, but no Fred, who has gone to his office. Fred is abducted by Swift’s men, while Drake meets with Rose Erskine (Charlene McKenna), before heading to Jackson’s, where he discovers the evidence against Susan. He heads to the theater, where he fights with Jackson, before the pair wind up handcuffed together, with Reid standing above them.
At the same time, Fred is tortured, by Swift, his men and Susan. Despite his weak demeanor, Fred is tough and doesn’t give up any information, before he is shot to death by Swift and a Maximum Gun. The inspectors return to the examination room, where Jackson investigates Fred’s body, before telling them the truth about Susan. Reid is determined to arrest Swift and decides to use Susan, as an informant against her father. Meanwhile, Susan seems to be making amends, as she passes the Bearer Bonds to Dr. Frayn (Louise Brealey). She also gives Jane Cobden the rights to the land for Obsidian. Afterwards, Reid confronts Susan, at home, and tells her he knows everything, but agrees to give her some time, if she helps to bring down Swift.
Next, Swift meets with Susan, at Obsidian, when Reid steps out and confronts Swift, who orders his men to kill Reid. However, Drake and Jackson emerge and kill his men, which leaves Swift defenseless. Reid tells him that an evil man deserves an evil death, as he is led into Horace Buckley’s home, which has been destroyed, and thrown into the cellar, where Mathilda Reid (Anna Burnett) was kept. Since nobody will ever pass by, Swift is urged to kill himself, as Susan hands him a knife and instructs him to aim for the heart.
Back at H Division, Reid finally decides to retire, as he is shown leaving the station. Drake takes over the force, before marrying Rose. Jackson visits Susan and comforted her, as she waits to be hung for her crimes. Finally, Reid is shown on the beach with Mathilda, as Best’s obituary for Reid is read, in Fred’s voice.
The finale for Ripper Street season 3 was definitely fitting and brought everything to an ultimate conclusion. The finale brought mixed emotions, as Reid retires and leaves everything behind, before enjoying life with Mathilda. Susan is forced to face judgement for her actions, while Drake and Rose finally marry. In the end, Fred West was happy to sacrifice his life, in order to avenge his friend and his ear.
All in all, the episode was an effective finale, with some powerful performances from each of the actors especially David Dawson, MyAnna Buring and Matthew Macfadyen. The makeup and special effects were perfect throughout the season, which was obvious each time Jackson was forced to perform an autopsy, which was quite often. I’ll be sad, if this is the end of Ripper Street, but I am glad it received a fitting ending, which didn’t disappoint. The episode deserves a 9.5 out of 10.