After watching him in Game of Thrones and now in Ripper Street, it’s hard to think that Jerome Flynn was once the singing partner to his Soldier Soldier co-star Robson Green. Indeed while Green has been hosting Extreme Fishing, Flynn has been busy acting however at the start of this episode he does partake of a bit of Extreme Shaving. Flynn’s Bennett Drake finally takes centre stage in this week’s instalment of Ripper Street having been quite a background character up to this point occasionally appearing to rough someone up or appear topless in a boxing ring.
As we saw last week, Drake’s weakness lies with Rose who unfortunately is a lady who is paid to spend time with men something Drake seemingly doesn’t care about. Instead Drake takes Rose to the theatre and buys her some love birds while later asks Reid for a raise so he can help Rose fulfil her dreams of becoming an actress. As Reid attempts to move some money around he has other more pressing things to deal with when a spate of robberies occur that seem to have been carried out by someone who knows what they’re doing. We learn early on that this person is in fact Drake’s former army Colonel Madoc Faulkner, played by Flynn’s Game of Thrones co-star Ian Glenn, who later appears at the police station telling his former charge that he has now retired from the forces. As Jackson carries out his weekly autopsy the police learn that the robberies have been carried out using an army issue rifle and at that moment Drake realises that Faulkner is behind the crimes. Though he has his suspicions he doesn’t let on to Reid and instead they journey to a local shooting range and discover that the slightly deranged George Doggett, who has been using live targets to practice on, may have had his part in the crime and eventually track him down.
At the same time Drake’s personal life may not be as secure as he first thought after we see Jackson in bed being pleasured by Rose, a scene I never thought I’d see on a Sunday night prime time drama on the BBC, and he later tells her to let Drake down gently. Indeed when Drake arrives at Long Sally’s residence he gets angry when he sees Rose go off with other clients and reacts violently causing Sally to remove him from the premises. As Drake learns of Faulkner’s latest plan he seemingly agrees to join his old army colleagues in steal some gold presumably so he can treat Rose in the manner that she deserves. However it is unclear whether Drake has actually joined Faulkner who if he is in fact doing Reid’s bidding and implanting himself in the group in order to arrest them.
For those of you who read these weekly reviews know I’ve never really been a fan of Ripper Street as I find it a bit dull and a programme that favours style over substance. I have to say though that this week’s episode was one of the better offerings mainly due to the fact that Jerome Flynn’s Drake takes centre stage while Matthew MacFayden’s dreary Reid takes a back seat. For weeks I’ve been saying that Drake was an interesting character and this week we learn more about how the war had damaged him mentally and how it had impacted on his relationships with others. It was also fascinating to have an insight into Drake’s personal life and his relationship with Rose who he believes is falling for him but in actuality is simply acting in order for him to pay her more money. In the scenes with Rose the once violent Drake seems a lot more bashful and indeed comes across as a fairly shy character when asking Rose on another date. Drake’s relationship with Jackson, which is frayed at the best of times, is also put under the microscope here as the American Captain attempts to bond with Drake over their common experiences of war and women. Jackson claims that both he and Drake are damaged characters and that they have more similarities than the sergeant would like to admit.
Ripper Street also has a knack of getting the best out of their guest stars and that is certainly the case this week with the choice of Ian Glen to play the enigmatic Faulkner. Throughout the course of this episode you can see why men would be charmed into doing what he told them to and indeed why Drake holds him in a high regard. Whereas I criticised Paul McGann for playing it too broadly in last week’s instalment I felt that Glenn’s over-the-top portrayal of this former army colonel suited the character and he was able to play both the charming dinner companion and the evil mastermind with ease. Glenn also was able to convey why Faulkner was carrying out these crimes, namely that he felt let down by his Queen and country, and even though he was the villain of the piece I sympathised with him to an extent.
Overall I found this to be the most entertaining episode of Ripper Street thus far due to the fact that it focused on Jerome Flynn’s Bennett and because of Glenn’s enigmatic performance as Faulkner. This week the over-stylised scenes added to the plot rather than detracting from it and the final robbery scenes were tremendously execute. This episode proved that Drake is definitely the most interesting of the three central protagonists but I fear that after this week he will be demoted to the role of Reid’s lackey once again. Personally though I’d much rather see more from Drake than hear about Reid’s dead child but I predict that next week Reid will be front and centre once again. This is a shame as Flynn proved this week that he was the most accomplished of the three actors and has come a long way from singing Righteous Brothers hits opposite some guy who now fishes for a living.
What did you think to this week’s Ripper Street? Did you enjoy Flynn taking centre stage? Leave Your Comment Below.