When the episode begins, we see that Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) and his daughter, Mathilda, have moved back to White Chapel. The pair discusses Mathilda’s new job and she insists she should be allowed to head to work on her own, but Edmund refuses to oblige. Instead, they travel together. Once they arrive, Mathilda heads inside alone. She hears a boy crying for help, rushes up the stairs and finds a young boy suffering in pain. Within seconds, Edmund has joined her in comforting the young boy. Edmund discovers that the young boy’s name is Tommy. Unfortunately, Tommy succumbs to his wounds. After the intro scene, we jump to the Drake household. Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn) and Rose (Charlene McKenna) attempt to feed Connor (Kahl Murphy, Kye Murphy). The boy is uninterested in eating and instead makes a mess on the floor.
Drake manages to maintain his cool and showers the boy with love. Next, Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) and Susan (MyAnna Buring) chat about their son. Jackson attempts to comfort Susan and convince her that Connor is in a good place. At the station, Reid and Sgt. Drum Drummond (Matthew Lewis) chat about the boy, while awaiting for Jackson’s arrival. Reid immediately identifies the boy as a workhouse boy and refers to the red iodine around his head, which is common practice for preventing ringworms. Reid tasks Drum with tracking down information about missing children from the workhouse, so they can give the boy a proper burial. Drum formally introduces himself, before Reid is whisked off and sworn into the police force once more.
Reid is given his badge and his first order, which involves investigating a collection of attacks with the victims losing their right hands. Reid consults with Drum, when a riot breaks out in the city between a group of hoodlums and the Salvation Army. Reid heads into the cells and speaks with the suspect in the hands case. Reid identifies the man as a costermonger, or a market trader, due to his dialect. He also believes the man is shelling out punishment to thieves, before noticing scars on the man’s palms. Reid puts two and two together and correctly identifies the man’s professional, oyster-shucker. Reid is interrupted, when the dead boy’s mother arrives at the police station. Reid meets with the woman (Sonya Cassidy), and agrees to show her the boy’s body. She admits the boy belongs to her, before Drum enters and identifies the boy as Tommy Riggs, who went missing from the Whitechapel Union Workhouse.
With that, Reid prepares to head to the workhouse. Before he departs, he orders Drum to investigate the area’s oyster sellers, so they can identify their suspect. Moments later, Reid is at the workhouse speaking with the manager, Cornelius Wilde (Jamie Ballard). Wilde admits he knew Riggs, but the boy ran away some time back. He also confirms that runaways are common, before providing Reid with a tour of the facility. Once they make it outside, Reid takes notice of the casual ward, which is currently being fumigated. Wilde insists the ward is only used for those that stay a day or so. Reid also learns that Tommy Riggs’ mother passed away some time ago. Meanwhile, Susan gives Jackson a gift, which is braided from her hair. He tells Susan to remain vigilant and watchful, while he is away at work. She agree to stay silent, visible and far away from their son.
Reid rushes back to the station only to discover that the woman has already fled. Drum provides Reid with the woman’s purse, which she left behind. Drum also reveals he has found three potential oyster traders. Reid immediately confirms it is the Middlesex Street trader and connects the crime to one from many years ago. He provides the name Orton and orders an autopsy for Tommy. Captain Jackson arrives just in time and admits he is ready for work. Reid comforts Jackson, before Drake enters and does the same. Despite their concerns, Jackson is adamant that he wishes to work and forget about his sorrows. At the moment, a riot victim is rushed in. Reid learns about the Salvation Army shelters attack from Drum. The attack resulted in the death of the group’s captain. Next, we jump into the dead room, where Captain Solomon Shaw’s body is inspected.
Reid attempts to intervene into the investigation, before he is asked about the boy. Drake agrees to give the boy an autopsy, but admits the previous murder must be solved first. Drake rushes Reid away, before returning to the Captain’s body. Reid rushes out, as the new journalist, Rachel Castello (Anna Koval), watches from a distance. Reid pays a visit to Rose and gains insight into the boy’s pretend mother. With Rose’s assistance, the woman is identified as Leda Starling. As Reid prepares to leave, Augustus Dove (Killian Scott) enters with flowers and greets Rose. Reid uses Rose’s advice to track down Leda. This time, she barely remember Reid or the incident at the police station. However, she still confirms she is the mother of a lost boy and agrees to go to the workhouse with Reid.
At the workhouse, Leda is unable to recall her son’s name. However, she spots several boy, whom she insists is him. She causes an uproar, which brings ire from Cornelius. Cornelius admits she comes to the workhouse several times a week to look for her son, but denies he was ever an inmate at the facility. He agrees to contact the asylum, but Reid puts a halt to the decision and insists he’ll take care of her on his own. On the way out, Wilde seems to imply that Reid is sleeping with the distraught woman. At the station, Jackson inspects the woman and reveals she is suffering from syphilis. She is rational one moment, but irrational the next. Reid agrees to take her home for the night and take her to the asylum the following day, so he can learn more about her son. Next, Sgt. Frank Thatcher (Benjamin O’Mahony) brings Redskin Jake (Charley Palmer Rothwell) into the station and accuses him of the Captain’s murder. Reid overheads Jake mention something about being a workhouse boy.
Drake quickly interrogates the man, who admits he hates the Salvation Army, because they force them to beg for food. Jake attempts to deny the crime, before Reid enters and passes a note to Drake encouraging him to ask about the workhouse. Drake encourages Reid to leave and doesn’t question Jake. Mathilda arrives at the station and Drum seems lovestruck by her presence. Reid arrives moments later and they take Leda home together and prepare her a bed and food. That night, Drake pays a visit to Reid and ridicules him for stepping out of line. He insists Reid was only supposed to work on the costermonger case. Reid admits he has already identified the man as Percey Orton (Billy Seymour) and reveals he was carrying out the crimes just as his father previous did 20 years ago.
Drake admits that is precisely why he needs Reid, who admits he is not acting in opposition of his comrade. They share a drink together and chat about Reid’s current case. Drake doesn’t think the woman’s demented memories are good evidence. They both admit they love the excitement of White Chapel, before sharing a toast. That night, Leda awakes in the middle of the night calling for William and Barnabas. She admits her mind is currently clear and her son was afraid, because his friends, William and Barnabas, disappeared. After she finally calms down, Mathilda asks Reid about the woman’s insanity and that of her mother. She admits having Leda around is nice, since it makes her feel like her mother is still around. Later, Abel Croker (David Threlfall) chats with a potential business partner, Bo Nystrom (Jon Oigarden).
Susan enters and intervenes. She manages to score a good deal for Croker. In the morning, Mathilda and Edmund are confronted by Castello. She attempts to acquire information from Reid regarding Bloom’s case, but Reid remains loyal to Drake and admits the case has been closed. She returns to her office and scours over her paperwork and maps associated with the case. In the dead room, Reid and Jackson inspect the boy’s body. Jackson admits he couldn’t have deteriorated that quickly within a week. Jackson prepares for the boy’s examination, before Drake enters. Jackson provides Drake with enough evidence to convict Jake. With that Drake and Reid prepare to speak with the man.
Drake prepares to charge Jake, while Reid asks him about the workhouse. Jake reveals Wilde shut down the casual ward and pays the Salvation Army to take those that he deems to be worthless. Wilde is caught in a lie, when Jake admits the ward has been shut down for many months. Reid concludes that Wilde is interested only in managing costs. Jake insists the infirmary is far worse than the workhouse and many of those sent there are killed by an old black potion, which contains poison. Drake insists that the potion is simply a myth. However, a consultation with Jackson confirms a large quantity of iron in the boy’s system and he admits he is unable to rule out poisoning. Drake agrees to head to the workhouse and speak with Wilde.
Thatcher scours through the workhouse for evidence, while Drake and Reid visit the infirmary. The doors are locked and they’re unable to get inside. The nurses insists they’re combating an outbreak of Scarlet Fever and that the children are being quarantined. The duo then check out the casual ward. They notice the construction is awkward and the ceiling is slightly low. They eventually return to the Wilde’s office and interrogate him. Reid uses Wilde’s own books against him. Drake discovers a boy by the name of Jabas Starling within their records. Thatcher enters moments later with bottles of Blaud pills. He admits there are hundreds of bottles. With that, Wilde’s game comes to an end. Reid next checks out the book regarding deaths at the facility. None of the deaths have been documented.
Next, the group heads to the casual ward. Drake admits it wasn’t the ceiling that was too low, but the floor too high. Reid tears up the floor and discover bodies underneath. Wilde insists the boys were ill and he was only doing them a favor, by ending their miserable lives quickly. On the streets, Jackson spots Connor misbehaving Rose. He returns home with Rose, sings to the boy and puts him to sleep. Rose encourages Jackson to visit the boy more and agrees to keep it secret from Drake. Croke visits and flirts with Susan, before giving her a share of the loot. He also provides her with documentation for all of his businesses and tells her to look it over. Next, Reid takes Leda to the asylum, while she continues rambling about her lost boy. In between her spats of insanity, she tells Reid he is a good man, while he tells her about his own once lost daughter. As the episode ends, Leda tells Reid he is forgiven.
Ripper Street Review
The second episode of season four was very dramatic and incredibly bleak. Edmund Reid’s first case back in White Chapel required him to relive his own past troubles. Leda suffered in the same way that Reid and his wife once did. The episode has brought about some questions. Why was Dove visiting Rose with flowers and what was his intention? What is Susan’s motive for buddying up to Abel Croker?
The episode was great and very depressing. A 9 out of 10 is deserved. Be sure to catch up with previous recaps of Ripper Street right now.