DVD Review: Ripper Street Series II
It’s been two years since Jack the Ripper murders shocked England and the question of “Will the Ripper return?” no longer permeates the dark, shadowed back alleys of Whitechapel, but these alleys are still a hotbed of crime, sex and murder. Three men work hard to keep the peace: Inspector Reid, bare-knuckle brawler Drake (Jerome Flynn, who I gleefully recognised whilst beginning season four of Game of Thrones last night) and Jackson the token American, and the cutting edge of forensic science.
For their second outing, the Ripper Street creators clearly decided to embrace the crazy side of everything. The show now has a definite pulp adventure tone and there’s no shortage of wonderful weirdness thrown at us. From masked, cloak-wearing figures lurking in the dark, to an underground circus freakshow, a poison-happy fanatical death cult and even a kung fu fightin’ Shaolin monk who seems unstoppable. This is certainly no history lesson, but embracing the craziness of the pulp era of writing gives Ripper Street both an edginess and a style that is all its own.
Of course, Ripper Street is as much about it’s characters as it is about their wild adventures, and this time our trio of heroes is in for a bit of a rough time, which does put a bit of a downer on the series – can’t say more without entering spoiler territory – but it leaves the show at a bit of a crossroads. Whilst no one wants to see Ripper Street turn into a happy cheery place to be, it’s a bit of a kick in the stomach to have all three players feeling the pain.