Ripper Street Recap: “Am I Not Monstrous?”

Ripper Street


This week’s Ripper Street begins, once again, with a series of gruesome surgery scenes. An anonymous woman stumbles, screaming, into the hospital for an emergency c-section—surely a nightmarish procedure under 19th-century medical conditions. But while mother and baby survive the operation, getting knifed on a gurney ends up being the better part of their day. That night, an unseen man sneaks into the ward to kidnap the child, and in the ensuing chase the mother is thrown down a flight of stairs and killed. So it’s up to Reid & co. to determine both the name of the woman and the person who stole her newborn boy. They don’t have much to go on, until the doctor shows them one surprising clue to the young lady’s identity: she has a tail.

Beginning their investigation at a local London freak show, the officers gradually uncover a backstory that involves a lost love, an estranged father, and some seriously messed-up Victorian ideas about eugenics. We also get new insight into Reid and Jackson’s own romantic troubles: Reid reveals, under twisted arm, the painful details surrounding his wife’s demise, while Jackson throws a tantrum after learning the truth behind Long Susan’s business venture. The team also gains a new member. Detective Sergeant Albert Flight (played by Being Human UK’s Damien Molony, sans fangs this time) may look young, but he’s determined to prove himself.

Meanwhile, tensions continue to simmer over the death of Maurice Linklater, who was murdered by Jedediah Shine at the end of last episode. Shine and Reid both want to blame each other for the detective’s death—but only Joseph Merrick, a real historical figure whose mysterious medical condition earned him the cruel nickname “Elephant Man,” witnessed Shine committing the act. Ripper Street portrays Merrick as a gentle and wise soul. And one that Shine—who is both hard and reckless—would not hesitate to crush.