The crime of the week on Ripper Street was all about back-street abortions. The poor woman taking tinctures laced with lead to cause the foetus to Miscarry. The boys at Leman Street on the trail of a man creating a new cocktail of chemicals designed to permanently prevent pregnancy.
Gruff,chain smoking Doctor Amelia Frayn is up to her neck in this one, her progressive attitudes and practices have been bubbling under the surface since she arrived at Obsidian and now she is calling in a few markers to enable a project to give the women of the borough some freedom for their bodies. Susan ( not exactly adverse to bending the law to suit her purposes herself) is adamant that no further black mark on Obsidian's copybook. However when the full extent of the crime is revealed. Dr Frayn is appalled.
Susan has troubles of her own, her contractors are taking liberties now Mr Capshaw is out of the picture, a woman has no place in business or so they say, but she has a few weapons up her sleeves, or more correctly up the skirts of her old girls at the Brothel who had ears to hear all of the of the underhanded machinations of all the important men who hold the reins of her investments. With leverage like that she can take control back.
I had worked out the twist in the tale early in the episode as my photographic memory of actor's faces meant I knew who was playing every role. ( I won't spoil it for viewers who have yet to see the episode)
Despite the serious nature of the subject matter, Ripper Street has lost some of it's heavy oppressiveness in past weeks. There is a little bit more playfulness between the characters. I seems symbolic of the lifting of the Pall over Reid's head now that Matilda is fit and well and safely under his supervision. Not that young Matilda is minding her "Daddy" as she keeps running from her Governess. However keeping her in the Office after her latest escape and calling in Jane Cobden to ask her to once again step into a maternal role proves to be a Godsend. Not only does Miss Cobden give him a few home truths about being a responsible parent, but it also gives Bennett a chance to have a heart to heart that results in a breakthrough in the case! Thank Heavens for his tradition of buying her a Strawberry Ice!
Bennett too has found himself to be freer since his return to Whitechapel. His Career is on the rise, he has been able to express his feelings to Rose. His only trouble right now is summoning up the courage to allow her to prove her devotion. His need to protect her from the darkness of the borough makes him overprotective but the resolution of this case shows him a better way and that by giving her freedom, he in fact gives her the she needs stability to faithfully return to and at last he is able to ask her the question that he has wanted to since he saw her at Miss Susan's so many years before.
Even reprobate Captain Homer Jackson seems to be leaving his dissolute ways behind him. His work with Reid and Drake grows ever more exciting. The scene with the safecracking was my favourite in a while!
Homer's own private investigations are consuming him much more than the alcohol and loose women ever did. He cleverly solicits evidence from Susan who he suspects has not told the truth about the events that left Edmund Reid in a coma. Before he can check it, he is rather rudely interrupted in Susan's parlour by the arrival of his Father in Law, who I suspect might want his Bearer bonds back!