The closing of ‘Live Free, Live True’ saw Jackson gain proof that Susan was behind Reid’s shooting which I was hoping would lead to a massive fall out this episode. Her story line has built up over the last seven episodes and the finale is where it should have all come to head, when she is forced to confront the despicable acts that she has partaken in. Sure, she sees Capshaw as the brains behind it but she does have a mind of her own, she didn’t have to agree to all his plans and she shot Reid of her own accord. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the climax of her storyline but ‘The Peace of Edmund Reid’ wasn’t quite what I was expecting because it focused mainly on the new evil that arrived in Whitechapel last week, Susan’s father Theodore Swift. The target of that train robbery in the first episode where unmarked bearer bonds which belonged to Swift, and now he has discovered that his estranged daughter is behind it he blackmails her into joining him as he situates himself in Whitechapel to run his arms trafficking business.
Fred Best has always believed that Susan was involved in the train crash and has made contact with a reporter based in New York, together they are attempting to track Swift’s whereabouts and misdeeds. The first two seasons of Ripper Street we’ve seen Fred be more of a hindrance to ‘H’ division and always looking for the next story. Very rarely do we see his morality seep through which is why season 3 has been quite refreshing for his character. He is investigating the train crash but not for personal gain, he is doing it because it is the right thing to do, he has lost someone he loved in the accident and the police aren’t following up the leads so he feels like he must. He seems to be the most heroic character this season, everyone else (apart from Drake I guess) has made horrific mistakes so it’s hard but sort of triumphant to see his story end this way.
The beginning of the episode follows Swift and his men abduct and torture Ackerman, the journalist that Fred was sharing information with. Ackerman’s body is found by ‘H’ division who link him to Fred so Reid and Drake decide to pay him a visit, leaving the body in the hands of Jackson. After conversing with Constable Grace who mentions Swift’s name in passing Jackson puts two and two together and decides to track down Fred himself and see what he knows, so he can protect himself and Susan. He finds Fred just as he is about to go to print, but then leaves him to be watched over by Hermione (like that’s going to turn out well) as Jackson heads back to Ackerman’s body to find evidence of Swift’s arms trafficking business. Of course Fred is a proud and stubborn fool so he leaves against Jacksons advice but ends up being captured by Swift’s men and what followed it was one of the most uncomfortable viewing experiences I’ve had with Ripper Street.
Much like Ackerman Fred is tortured but it is much more graphic and significantly harder to watch. It’s harder because he isn’t Ackerman, he’s Best who we’ve gotten to know and respect over the past couple of years, it was torturous to see him in that state. Through the ‘interrogation’ of Fred we get to experience just how brutal Swift is and that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty, the scene displays just why he has to be stopped. Even though he was literally being ripped apart Fred didn’t show any cowardice, he avoided Swifts questioning and actually has the balls to goad him. I was praying for Susan to intervene or for ‘H’ division to conveniently burst in to end Fred’s suffering but it ended in another way. Swift decided to show off the machine gun and use if on Fred as he realised he wasn’t getting anywhere, up until that last bullet hit Fred I still had hope that he would somehow survive it, but there was no way. Off to ‘H’ division his corpse went so the trio could see the damage Swift causes.
Reid, Drake and Jackson were not particularly close to Fred Best but they seemed to take his passing hard. They knew that even though he could be stubborn and at times immoral he was pretty much harmless and through his passing the trio were let in on Swift’s ruthless nature as well as the weapons that he was using. They knew instantly that there was no way that they could let Swift’s business continue and enlist Susan’s help in trying to catch him. At this point it has already been revealed to all that Susan shot Reid, but I’ll get into that a little later. The trio and Susan lead Swift to the abandoned site where the Obsidian clinic is to be built and lead him into the underground cell where Mathilda was held, leaving him there to die alone. This seems completely out of character for Reid, more personal than it should be. I understand why Susan may want to be this brutal but Reid and Drake? They have no personal issues with Swift, they are lawmen, they should have arrested him and let the courts decide whether he should hang or not. The Swift storyline was rushed as it is, but to end of this way just seems very wrong, it just doesn’t fit.
Now back to Susan, I said before that her story line has been bubbling for the last seven episodes and as ‘The Peace of Edmund Reid’ was the last episode I was expecting all her secrets to come out, which they did. Jackson informed her that he had evidence against her, but agreed to keep her secret after discovering her pregnancy, but of course Reid and Drake find out. I expected Reid to go gunning for her as he was in the earlier episodes, he has all the more reason to now but he didn’t. He instead forgave her and asked for her help in capturing her father and essentially torturing him, something that I feel that she will have more pleasure in than Reid. In my eyes it seems that Susan has been rewarded for her actions, it may have started off as a mistake but covering it up wasn’t, and she attempts to make amends in the last episode but that is not enough to absolve her of the guilt of killing those people. The closing of the episode does show that she has been arrested by Drake but she has Jackson by her side, will justice be served? I doubt it, she is a pregnant woman and can easily blame Capshaw as he isn’t around to defend himself and show herself as the victim she came across in episode 8. I’ve gone from loving the character of Susan to loathing her in the span of eight episodes, well done Ripper Street.
I have some gripes with ‘The Peace of Edmund Reid’, mainly it being way too rushed with the Swift storyline and almost completely sidelining Susan’s in the last episode when the writers had spent so long developing it. However ‘The Peace of Edmund Reid’ is one of the better finales I’ve seen in my time but it seemed more like a series finale than a season finale. Jackson and Susan are back together, and about to face her punishment, Drake and Rose are married and Reid has escaped Whitechapel with Mathilda so they can lead a happy life. The trio are with the women of their dreams, they can now live happily ever after (I’m assuming Jackson and Susan will anyway) so will there be a season 4? I’m sure if the ratings are good enough then Amazon won’t hesitate to bring it back but from a storyline perspective why bother? The characters have found happiness that they’ve been yearning for, why pull them back into a life that they detest? I enjoy Ripper Street immensely and although I had some issues with this episode it was a fitting end and I hope it doesn’t come back. But if it does I’ll watch it.