Ripper Street, No Wolves In Whitechapel. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg, MyAnna Buring, Charlene McKenna, Jonas Armstrong, Anna Burnett, Lucy Cohu, Anna Koval, Matthew Lewis, Giacomo Mancini, Benjamin O’ Mahony, Killian Scott, David Threlfall, David Warner.

The streets of the East-End have known pain throughout their existence, the proximity to the docks, the burden of being so close to the capital of a country once steeped in historical value and now one of the mega cities, one that stretches beyond its natural borders and boundaries. At one time full of disease, rancour and malcontent, full of life and the firm grip of humanity sucking on its tender breast, a place of fascination and toil and yet at least for quite a few years, and despite the best attempts of many to introduce metaphorical ones, there are No Wolves in Whitechapel that require taming.

Ripper Street’s penultimate episode of its engrossing fourth series is one where the loyalty and honour are odds with self preservation and the love of those around you. The wolf that has stalked the series, the howling of insanity that turns a human into a monster, is now shown to be one close to H Division’s door and the act of the mad man is revealed.

Ripper Street has long captured the imagination of those wishing to understand the flip side of the so called Victorian age, of those who know that with every perceived golden period must ride along with it the seeds of discontent and fear of abandonment. In No Wolves in Whitechapel that fear is exacerbated, stretched beyond reason as the mistakes of Detective Inspector’s Drake and Reid and the culpability of Captain Jackson and his wife Long Susan are brought to light; it is in those mistakes, the hanging of an innocent man and the nature of the beast hunting in the Jewish enclaves of the area, that despair and fear now burn.

Adam Rothenberg has always been a lynch pin to the show’s success, part of the three pin domination on the screen that includes Jerome Flynn and Matthew Macfadyen, but it has always felt that the American actor has been underplayed, not given the same prominence as his two colleagues, No Wolves in Whitechapel changes that assumption and gives the meatiest of moments in the entire series as he realises fully the danger he has placed Long Susan and himself in and the confliction with his work in apprehending the monster at large.

An episode dominated by outstanding writing and portrayals of the fear that stalked the East-End, No Wolves in Whitechapel is a pivotal episode in the much loved series.

Ian D. Hall