TV Review: Ripper Street, ‘Threads of Silk and Gold’


Plot: The strangling of a Telegraph Boy lifts the lid on the telegraph boys prostituting themselves and blackmailing their clients. The investigation leads Reid (Matthew MacFayden) to Barings Bank and the apparent suicide of one of its employees and a missing folio of the Bank’s business in an economic disaster in Argentina that would bankrupt the bank. Fred Best (David Dawson), one of the boys’ clients, becomes involved as Reid’s instrument of justice when the law fails. Captain Jackson’s (Adam Rothenberg) means of ridding himself and Long Susan (MyAnna Buring) of the debt they owe the moneylender, Silas Duggan (Frank Harper), backfires when he loses all their money in Argentine stocks.

Ripper Street decided to go less heavy on the “ripped from the history books” storyline in order to tackle a social issue that still resonates in today’s world — the societal acceptance of homosexuality.

RIPPER STREET (series 2)

The episode isn’t one long soapbox speech about acceptance and tolerance — there’s actually a great cat and mouse murder mystery in here. The plot has a lot of twists and turns due to a number of wild card characters that run rough shod throughout the episode causing everything wildly fun sharp turns that’ll keep you scratching your head until the end.

Yet, it’s the big, sweeping issues that Ripper Street tackles in this episode that is so enthralling. There’s no reason why this show should be tackling this issue at all. It’s a historic crime drama that entertains week in and week out with ripped from the history books plots.

Yet tonight, on the heels, in America of national and international beer companies pulling out of local Saint Patrick’s Day parades due to the exclusion of the LGBT community, this episode seems all too timely in this country.

This engagement of the issue of homosexuality is never treated with overly dramatic, overly preachy dialogue. The question of whether homosexuality should be accepted by society is actually treated like a case. MacFayden’s Reid is presented with clues, facts, witnesses and suspects in order to come to a conclusion. Seeing this man who is a lover of the law decide that the rules he must uphold are not fair and unjust, is powerful.


However, the episode does have a bit a of a misstep. The ongoing Dugan/Jackson/Susan debt storyline is just a bit tiresome at this point as it’s being included in every episode and by included we mean forced in. Having some time off from the series would do wonders for this storyline. Also, the series has lost a lot of momentum with the Susan character as she was a force to be reckoned with in “Become Man” but has become a background player once again.

“Threads of Silk and Gold” is a very good episode of Ripper Street as it is a both a highly entertaining whodunnit episode that tackles moral and social issues.

Photo Credit: Tiger Aspect

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites