Ripper Street, S5 Ep5 – A Last Good Act

The penultimate episode of Ripper Street deals with characters coming to terms with their past and finally listening to their conscience. The title is pretty much a giveaway of what goes down in this episode, but the whole story still plays out powerfully and emotionally because of the good writing and excellent performances from the cast.

Ripper Street, S5 Ep1 – Closed CasketReid is imprisoned and wracked by guilt, and Susan decides to fulfill her promise of clearing things up with Mathilda. The timing isn’t ideal, as Jackson points out, because they are supposedly all set to make their grand escape, with Connor in tow. But Susan is determined and so finds a way to talk to Mathilda and explain her part in pushing Reid to murdering Horace Buckley. It’s a painful scene to watch and it’s a credit to the Ripper Street team that not only are outstanding issues being addressed, but also the audience is so invested in the characters that all these things actually matter. 

Jackson also has an attack of conscience, to his dismay, and he enlists Mathilda’s help to break her father out of prison. Reid, meanwhile, asks Thatcher to find the body of Robin Sumner. The child’s death continues to have consequences on the characters as Nathaniel also confronts his brother about the latter’s part in Sumner’s demise. Augustus denies everything but this time, Nathaniel does not trust his brother completely.

Ripper Street, S5 Ep5 – A Last Good ActAll these revelations push Dove to try and pick up the pieces. Unfortunately, he and Thatcher find the body at the same time and Dove shoots the latter. Poor Thatcher. For all his arrogance and swagger in the previous season, he’s proven to be a reliable ally in this one and this was a tragic way for him to go. At least, Nathaniel witnesses all this and manages to take Robin’s corpse from the river.

He flees to the only person left whom he shares a connection to, Susan Hart. And though they have only known each other for a short time, the bond that developed back in season four bore fruit and seeing them turn to each other for help is believable and moving. She sees his sincerity and understands him more than anyone. So she manages to convince him to do his “last good act” by surrendering himself to the police.

There’s a poignant moment when she also realizes that she needs to face justice for her crimes. She has been a survivor all her life, cleverly getting out of one scrape or another. And no doubt, she and Jackson would have been able to start another new life together. But she knows that the past will always find a way to catch up with her and she decides to finally stop running.

So, in one glorious sequence towards the end of the episode, everyone gathers in Leman Street. Dove arrives in full uniform, smug and convinced that he has gotten away once more. There was even a curious scene where he almost sinks into quicksand as he escapes the marshes. But he manages to pull himself out somehow, and I’m glad he did because that would not have been a good end for him. Ripper Street can do better than that.

Susan and Nathaniel arrive, the latter carrying Robin’s body, and Dove is forced to face the evidence of his crime. Susan publicly confesses and encourages Nathaniel to do the same, and he sadly admits to the murders of the golem of Whitechapel, particularly those of Rabbi Ratovski and Bennet Drake. Fred Abberline is also there because Castello summoned him to help Reid. It’s fitting for him to bear witness to what is about to happen.

The episode concludes with everyone locked in Leman Street, all the major players in a single venue, hopefully to wrap everything up in a satisfactory manner. It’s still sad to know that there is only one episode left of Ripper Street but it’s been an excellent final season so far and I have no doubt that the series finale will not leave us disappointed.