Sara Dobie Bauer · Television

Ripper Street: A perfect ending … or not?


Let us not call this a rant. Let us call this a confused, mystified, 600-word bitch fest wherein which I try to make sense of someone else’s terrible decision. Since its inception in 2012, I have been a fervent fan of the BBC television show Ripper Street. The setting is Whitechapel, London, in the days directly following Jack the Ripper’s bloody rampage.

Three men are drawn into the fray: brilliant Detective Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfayden), brawler Sergeant Bennet Drake (Jerome Flynn), and cocky American doctor Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg). I love a good mystery, but I also love intelligent British dialogue, pithy retorts, and characters who evolve and change.

The show lasted three seasons … I thought. Jake and I just finished season three, and we knew it was over, not only because leading man Macfayden asked for his character to be “killed off” (or some other plot device) because he wanted to spend more time with his family. No, we knew it was over because after years of violence, horror, and heartbreak, the final episode of season three gave us one of the best series closers I’ve ever seen.

I won’t give you exact details, but let me put it this way: everyone got what they deserved. The season three finale was so strong, I cried and knew there could be no way to top “The Peace of Edmund Reid,” the glorious coup de gras. All loose ends: tied up. All masterful monologues: delivered. A final laugh? Yes, even that.

It was decided in my household: Ripper Street had come to a brilliant end. Then, I find out they’re making season four, and I’m like “WTF, Gary?”

As it turns out, Ripper Street was supposed to be canceled after season two, but Amazon Prime picked it up from the BBC. Macfayden made his plea: “Get me off the show.” Yet, as an already released trailer for season four depicts, Macfayden is back, as is the rest of the cast who damn well should have ridden off into the sunset.

I understand it’s about money and possibly fans, but I’m a fan and I cannot understand what in the name of Whitechapel they’re thinking keeping this show going. It’s over! It’s done! The ending was perfect. Everything was okay! Catharsis achieved!

Season four of Ripper Street is coming January 15th to Amazon Prime, and I want to say I won’t watch it (because the show is OVER), but I might be lying. I love the dour Reid, the redeemed Drake, and the sexy, hilarious Jackson. I love the costumes and the setting, and the writing is akin to poetry, despite all the gruesome slicing and dicing.

However, I suspect season four will suck, because (one more time for the folks in the back) the show is OVER. It ended. It had a perfect ending, and there is no reason to drag this out any longer. You remember that show Lost? It was great for a couple years, and then, it seemed like the writers even confused themselves. By the final season, I dunno how many viewers they’d lost (ha), but no one knew what the hell was going on or why the show was still happening. I don’t want this for Ripper Street. Go out in a blaze of glory, guys, not a dying spark.

Entertainers (directors, writers, and actors) need to know when to say enough is enough. If they had even an inkling there would be a season four, Ripper Street shouldn’t have made season three a masterpiece. I recommend everyone watch the first three seasons of this marvelous show, but watching season four is defiantly not on my bucket list, because, like shoulder pads, it just shouldn’t exist.


9 Best shows on Netflix right now

Funny: when you fall ill with some mystery virus that keeps you restrained to the couch (or even the floor, depending on how far I have to walk), you find time to watch some TV. When I say TV, I mean Netflix. I’m not suggesting the following nine programs are critically acclaimed or that they’ll soon be winning Golden Globes, but shut up, these are my favorites and NEVER QUESTION A SICK PERSON.

1. Salem

Witches! Sexy witches!! Takes place in the heat of the Salem witch trials, and it’s one of those shows where you’re not sure if you like the good guys or bad guys more. And who is a good guy / bad guy anyway? There’s only one season out right now, but that means you can finish it fast and be prepared for season two.

2. Ripper Street

Dark. British. Takes place just after Jack the Ripper finished terrorizing London. The three lead actors are charismatic, sexy, and comical in their own sick, twisted ways. I’m particularly fond of the American, Jackson (yum). Each episode is another mystery, but don’t skip around, as character development is really just as intriguing as the murders themselves.

3. Twin Peaks

I realize I’m horribly late to the game. This show (a cult classic) only had two seasons back in the early nineties. It’s quirky, scary, and rank with melodrama and bad 90s music. I adore wacko FBI agent Dale Cooper, and you even get to see David Duchovny in drag. Who killed Laura Palmer?

4. Archer

Reprehensible, inappropriate, and politically incorrect: all things I strive to be in life. An animated gem, this FX original will keep you laughing … and laughing … and quoting lines until your stomach hurts. Plus, the super sexy voice of H. Jon Benjamin fits super sleuth Archer perfectly.

5. Sirens

Follow a ragtag brigade of EMTs around Chicago. Really, it’s the dialogue that makes this show, as well as the super gay sidekick. Jake and I binge-watched this beauty, because laughter is the best medicine.

6. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

A friend of mine said Miss Fisher reminded her of me, which is a huge compliment, considering this roaring 20s female PI is hot, fashionable, fiery, and irresistible. Follow her as she solves crimes and slowly falls in love with gorgeous Aussie detective Jack Robinson. Love the clothes!

7. Doctor Who

I’m talking mostly about the Matt Smith years. Doctor Who is a consummate sci-fi classic, but Matt Smith nails the character of the doctor. It doesn’t hurt that he’s handsome and funny. As The Doctor travels through time and space, he always has a grin and a quippy comment. He’s fascinated by all things new and dangerous; I’d like to be more like him.

8. Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch. Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch in a tight purple button-down. Cumberbatch with black, curly hair. Mmmm, yeah, I’m shallow, but really this revamp of the Sherlock Holmes story is modern and well-written … although you might need subtitles, because Sherlock talks fast, like a giraffe on cocaine.

9. The IT Crowd

I’m not a computer nerd, and yet, I love this show about computer nerds. It’s the British humor: over the top, physical, but never gross or crude. The three lead actors make the show. Think Seinfeld on a different continent and with accents. I almost cried when I watched the last episode, simply because there were no more.