Ripper Street ‘Dynamite and A Woman’ Recap – Episode 02.04

Ripper Street
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Flight goes undercover to discover the terrorist plot of an escaped Irishman and falls in love in the process. Reid struggles with his feelings for Jane Cobden.

The Breakdown

Flight goes to see a priest to confess to being a liar.

An Irishman is being transported through an Irish neighborhood in a Maria. The constable driving the cart seems nervous as the Irishman rallies support from the community by singing an Irish anthem. Suddenly, the constable falls from the cart onto the street. The Irishman persuades a young boy to retrieve the keys and he frees himself from the Maria. A shadowy figure approaches him in an alleyway, giving him fresh clothes. The Irishman recognizes the figure and congratulates him on his courage.

Reid and Cobden walk together after a town meeting of reformists and idealists. Reid supports change but is worried that people will find themselves disappointed, that people tend to resist change. Cobden points out that despite Reid’s reservations, he decided to attend the meeting rather than declining the invitation. Reid is called away to investigate the death of the constable and the escape of the Irishman.

The Irishman is Aidan Galvin, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, incarcerated with eight other of the brotherhood after a bombing. Drake takes some constables to search the Irish neighborhood and has some trouble going about it. Meanwhile, Jackson performs an autopsy on the fallen constable. Jackson says that Reid and Cobden look right together and that he’s sorry the situation isn’t less complicated. Jackson also says that the constable’s heart simply gave out on him and that Galvin got lucky.

Galvin visits the barmaid at the pub Drake searched earlier. It turns out that she is his daughter, Evie. He is angry at the English government for keeping him from her all these years, but she’s angry that he never wrote her any letters. Galvin says he wants to take them both away from Whitechapel as soon as his errands are run.

A group of stuffy Englishmen and a man called Knightly sit at a club making jokes about Irishmen. Galvin plants a bomb under Knightly’s bed, which kills him as he lies down. Later, Abberline comes storming through H Division with bomb fragments for Jackson to analyze while he takes Reid out with him to meet with Michael, a legitimate member of the IRB. They say that Galvin’s escape was not sanctioned and that he’s no longer affiliated with the IRB. He tells Abberline that Galvin has a daughter who barkeeps at the Black Rose. Flight is sent to watch undercover to see if Galvin turns up there.

Jackson discovers that the dead constable was electrocuted and that was what made his heart give out. Reid and Drake go to investigate the scene and find a metal wire hung from one of the clothes lines low enough to graze the constable’s head. Flight goes to the Black Rose where Michael arrives to talk to Evie. He says that it’s important that if her father turns up that he know of it before the police do. Flight comes to defend her from IRB bullying, but she resists him and says she didn’t ask for his help.

Flight returns from his rebuffing to be teased and chastised by the other men. Jackson tells him he has to make up a story about his life like Evie’s so that she feels sympathy for him. Drake punches him in the face to mark him out as a sympathetic victim of police brutality. Flight returns the next day to the Black Rose and is taken in by Evie. She gives him a room to stay in and prepares him some food. Meanwhile he searches the room for clues. He discovers letters from a James Holland to Evie claiming to be her real father. When she returns they talk some more and end up kissing.

Reid goes to see Cobden to ask about an area of slums that are to be torn down. She wants new homes to be built, but there is a proposed electrical power station and a number of bidders eager to gain the contract. Knightly sat in a position of power to choose the contract, giving a motive to any company that felt he was not in favor of their bid. Reid and Cobden go see a public presentation of direct current by one of the hopeful bidders, Charles Broadwick.

Broadwick talks about the bribery involved in gaining the approval of Knightly, or any member of parliament, and that he should go see Ferranti, another bidder but in favor of the competing alternating current. Ferranti admits to bribing Knightly so that his bid might not be ignored. Ferranti claims he had no need of murder because he had the perfect logic of science on his side when it came to his bid.

Meanwhile, Galvin walks in on Evie and Flight making out. He prepares to flog him, but she stops him saying that if he touches him she’ll go straight to the police. They have a word in private, which Flight eavesdrops in on. Galvin says that he’s leaving the city that night after his final errand and that he has tickets for both he and Evie for New York City. Evie asks about James Holland and Galvin leaves the house in a huff. Flight follows Galvin and sends a message for Reid by a constable.

Reid discovers that James Holland settled in a town in New Jersey that is home to an industrial park run by Edison. James Holland was one of the bombers from the IRB that was never captured. He worked under Edison for a few years in America and then returned to London under the name Charles Broadwick and started his own electricity company. It was Broadwick who sprung Galvin from the Maria and set him on the task of killing Knightly.

Broadwick and Galvin talk about Evie and her confused parentage. Flight eavesdrops as they talk about the plan to bomb the Ferranti presentation, clearing the field for Broadwick’s direct current system bid. The two leave as Flight examines some blueprints. Reid, Drake, and Jackson arrive and Flight shows them the blueprints. Reid determines that the bomb is to be put inside Ferranti’s transformer. They run to intercept the explosion.

Broadwick attends the presentation and both he and Galvin slip out while the crowd is distracted with applause. Reid arrives and has the transformer switched off, saving the bomb from exploding and evacuating the building. Broadwick tells Galvin to go back and fix the bomb, but Galvin refuses, telling Broadwick to do it himself. Broadwick goes back to fix it, but is caught by the police. He turns the transformer back on and electrocutes himself. Cobden, who was in attendance for the presentation, is a witness to the whole affair.

Flight arrives at the Black Rose to walk Evie to the ship for America. As Aidan is on his way to the ship, he is intercepted by the IRB and killed. Evie knows that Flight is not who he says he is. Flight is upset at her leaving, but tells her to go and won’t talk to her anymore. Reid walks with Cobden to H Division and she asks him to take her walking on Sunday. Reid refuses, saying that he’s married. Cobden knows his situation and asks him to let her help him look to the future. He refuses again, saying he’s sorry, and she leaves as he watches her go.

The Analysis

It is interesting how often these days the BBC and other British networks produce shows that have themes of Irish nationalism and the conflict with the English. These programs often have a very thoughtful, neutral feeling, looking at the grievances and feelings on both sides of the conflict. Hopefully this means that the wounds between the two nations are starting to heal and that England and Ireland are coming to a new understanding. Certainly the Irish characters in this episode are presented in a sympathetic light – even the extremist bombers have a kind of justification for their actions. The only really terrible character was James Holland aka Charles Broadwick, who took on the identity of an Englishman, forsaking his Irish roots, and committing murder for purely capitalistic gain – which is pretty much the worst reason for doing just about anything.

It is interesting to see that even Flight has a sort of “home life” that is juxtaposed to Reid’s personal situation. Both Reid and Flight find themselves drawn to a woman who, for whatever reason, they cannot pursue. Perhaps the most wrenching of moments this episode relating to this was Jackson’s statement that Reid and Cobden looked good together, that they seemed to fit. The fact that Reid didn’t have to say anything to Jackson about his attraction to her speaks volumes to both his level of loneliness and his intense longing for Jane Cobden. And it is completely true that Cobden, a woman who stands for progress and the future and everything that Reid is drawn to, is the perfect fit for Reid. At least she’s a much better fit for him than his mousey, religious wife. They never seemed to be able to communicate correctly, or interact in any kind of dynamic way. They just never quite connected like Reid does with Cobden, which makes his refusal of her that much more painful. Reid has always been a man to refuse his own happiness for what he feels is right, and despite his painful loneliness, he is unwilling to betray a wife who is effectively dead.

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About the Author

Bethany Lewis
My cinema education started when, at three years old, Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush" became my earliest memory of cinema. Since then, I've been obsessed with film and television, learning more about it, analyzing it, researching it, and experiencing different kinds of it. After getting my BA in Theater, I went on to get my MFA in Film Studies. I now spend my free time watching and writing about movies.
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