Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ripper Street: Season Three Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Allie Schembra
Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen, MI-5) travels deep into the seedy criminal London underworld, hell-bent on taking back the blood-stained streets of Whitechapel. But Reid isn’t fighting this battle alone. He’s joined by Detective Inspector Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn, Game of Thrones), a hard man who prefers to let his fists do the talking, Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg, Mad Money), a brash American with a voracious appetite for vice, and Long Susan (Myanna Buring, Twilight), a madam with shady secrets. The opening episode begins with a violent train heist that ignites a chain reaction of events that reverberates through the entire season.
Show (3 out of 5 stars)
Four years have passed since Inspectors Reid and Drake and Captain Jackson have worked together. Reid is now working in the police archives, Jackson is floating around town and Drake has left London. Fate brings them together again when a train heist goes wrong and the train Drake is on flies off the bridge onto the streets of Whitechapel, where 55 people are killed. Assigned by the lead inspector to investigate the case, the three men are thrown together and must put their animosity aside and work to find out what happened and who was involved. Little do they know, someone they all know and are close to is involved and wanting some bearer bonds that were on the train.

As they investigate, cases from the past pop up and once again, the possibility that Reid’s daughter Matilda is alive when the men investigate the murder of a woman who, along with her husband kept a young girl locked in a cage in their cellar. The girl, called Alice, is taken to Long Susan’s Obsidian hospital and treated, then remains in Susan’s care until Reid, realizing that the girl is indeed his long-thought dead daughter, Matilda, removes her and takes her home.

The case begins coming together and Reid, Drake and Jackson find that Susan is more involved in the chain of events than she is letting on. Her businesses are prospering, but her need to stick it to her father pushes her to steal the bearer bonds and start the ball rolling on everything. When Reid is shot and almost killed, Jackson suggests using a new technology to solve a case – unrelated to the shooting, but which proves to be the key to solving Reid’s case. With this new fingerprinting technology, Jackson is able to figure out which suspect in the death of a woman committed the crime. He uses this new way of investigating to confirm his belief that Reid was shot by someone other than Susan’s lawyer.

As the cases wrap up, the men each take a different path, Reid finally taking Matilda to the shore to put their toes in the sand, Drake finally marries his love, Rose, who returned to Whitechapel a singer and celebrity, and Jackson makes peace with Susan, reiterating the “for better or worse” part of their vows as he sits with her in her prison cell. What’s next for these three in the coming years? Will they live peacefully, or will they be dragged back to the streets of Whitechapel to solve more cases and still be haunted by the Jack the Ripper murders?

“Ripper Street” is one of those shows that I really enjoy. I’m currently obsessed with BBC America, so pretty much anything on the channel makes it onto my DVR. Matthew Macfayden is really good as Edmund Reid and I am still blown away every time I see Jerome Flynn in clothes other than armor and hanging out with Jaime Lannister as Ser Bronn in “Game of Thrones.” I really like the relationship between the men – even when they are at odds, they still manage to work together to solve the cases and their chemistry as actors is pretty good. I especially love the relationship between Drake and Rose. They are so cute together and I just adore the character of Rose. The sets and costumes are really authentic and it’s easy to believe they are shooting on location in those places. Adam Rothenberg is great as Captain Homer Jackson, the brash American who has found his place in London…whether he wants to or not.

The stories told weave together well and continuity is great from episode to episode. I like how there’s always the main case, but other cases which end up relating to the main case are also shown. Every time I wondered what a particular moment had to do with the overall story, it was clear by the end of the episode. By the end of the season, I was able to see how the pieces of each case fit together, just like a puzzle. It really shows the talent of the writers and their ability to keep a story going even when it might not be the focus. The direction and editing were also well done; I didn’t catch any awkward moments that weren’t intentional and all the scenes flowed together without any strange jumps. BBC puts out good shows and it’s no wonder why it’s becoming such a popular channel here in America.
Video (3 out of 5 stars)
The 1080p HD presentation of “Ripper Street” was good. Scenes look authentic and the sets were amazing. I really got the feeling that I was watching something from the late 1800s. The picture was clear and sharp and transitions between scenes were smooth. The only issue I had is that the picture could be a little bit dark. So, if you’re watching at home, make sure there’s no glare on your screen.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
“Ripper Street’s” DTS-HD master audio is good. The sound is even and no adjustments were needed. The dialogue was clear and easily understood and background music and noises blended well with the rest of the soundtrack. The transition from scene to opening credits was a little harsh and the opening theme at times seemed a little loud. But it wasn’t anything to be too concerned about. Accents are easily understood and I had no trouble hearing every word.
Extras (0 out of 5 stars)
There are no special features included.
Summary (2 out of 5 stars)
I wish this didn’t have such a low overall score, but the lack of special features is significant. Especially with a series like this. There’s so much that can be done for special features – behind-the-scenes, histories, character profiles – but instead they chose not to include any. I don’t know if that was because they thought the show was getting cancelled or what, but I was really disappointed in that. Overall, though, the series is still great and I really enjoyed watching the gang again. I look forward to seasons four and five, which I’ve heard are going to be playing on Amazon. I hope that it doesn’t lose the excitement or the momentum of the previous three seasons. While “Ripper Street” season three isn’t my favorite season, I did find myself captivated and interested in everything that was going on. It was nice to see that Reid’s daughter is still alive and to see him begin having a relationship with her. “Ripper Street” is definitely a show I will continue to watch and I look forward to the next couple of seasons.

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