Ripper Street knows how to get to this reviewer’s heart — create an episode that revolves around is people, the Irish, and makes numerous references to the area of New Jersey he grew up in.
Personal affinity aside, Ripper Street continues to produce in its second season. Its latest installment, “Dynamite and a Woman” is a step up from last week’s solid but not amazing episode “Become Man” and put the series back on its path of pure excellence.
The plot of “Dynamite and a Woman” begins when longtime imprisoned Irish bomber, Aiden Galvin (Stanley Townsend) is freed from his prison transport due to the mysterious death of the transport’s driver. The boys of H Division — Reid (Matthew MacFayden), Drake (Jerome Flynn), Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) and Irish-born greenhorn Flight (Damien Molony) are called in after Galvin assassinates a British Parliament member who is the decision maker of which electric company (one promoting Direct Current, the other Alternating Current), will get a prime location to build their plant.
Reid sends the native Irishman, Flight who’s been a solid and eager hand in the precinct, to go undercover to find Galvin’s daughter Evelyn Foley (Charlie Murphy) and gain her confidence in order to apprehend Galvin. Meanwhile, Reid must undercover why two men, both hellbent on providing electricity to the Whitechapel section of London, would free an Irish bomber and set him loose on London.
Leave it to Ripper Street to take such wildly different worlds — the Irish versus the English and the evolution of electricity and tie them together in a logical and entertaining fashion. Oh, and they also take a brand new character who’s been used sparingly and not only thrust him into a main role, but develop and make him an absolutely engrossing and interesting one within a span of 60 minutes.
Ripper Street continues to churn out highly well-written and extremely well-acted episodes. As we mentioned in our Hannibal review earlier this week, Ripper Street is definitely one of those shows you should be tuning into to cure that hangover you might be experiencing since True Detective concluded on Sunday. Again, this is a show that is criminally under watched and we’re giving you the hard sell to check it out.
The best performance hands down tonight is Damien Molony. The young actor, best known for his role in the BBC version of Almost Human, plays the 19th century Johnny Utah — going undercover and gaining the confidence of a young woman. Luckily for Molony’s character the woman is much more attractive than Lori Petty in Point Break. Molony’s Flight has been a bit of a nebulous one at best, we don’t know much about him outside of the fact he is super-eager to please Reid and become part of his inner circle. Tonight, he earned his stripes in storyline and with the audience. He proved the capable detective as well as a truly emotional character. His backstory, unlike his 20th century comparison, uses his own tragic upbringing to connect with the disenfranchised Evelyn Foley. Molony amps up the puppy dog eyes and the boy scout honesty and by describing it this way you would assume the role is super cheesy and over the top. In fact, it’s the opposite. Moloney is able to give Flight’s undercover persona a true sense of honesty and raw, unfiltered honesty. Moloney has catapulted his character into the big leagues and we now care about and are intrigued by him as equally as we are the trio of heroes we met in Season 1.
Yet, we’re not given an overdose of Flight like we were last week when the focus of the episode was on Long Susan. We spent a little too much time away from the mystery last week and this week, the problem was corrected. We got just enough of a side character’s evolution and plenty of the crime. And once again, the show deviated from focusing on the “big bad” of Detective Inspector Shine — but this week he was not missed as the writing here and the suspense built up was overshadowed this excellent villain’s lack of presence.
Ripper Street keeps proving it’s an excellent show week in and week out, and tonight’s episode is a terrific one for you to drop into, even if you are not at all acquainted with the show’s history. It’s a standalone that will easily converted the uninitiated to total fandom.
All photos credit to Tiger Aspect