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.

4 thoughts on “Ripper Street: A perfect ending … or not?

  1. I wonder now if you watched the additional 2 seasons that were produced and what you thought of them? I’m quite conflicted myself.

    1. Dunno. I heard the show just got more and more depressing … I can’t HANDLE IT!! Ha. But, man, I loved the earlier seasons. Will probably pass on continuing to watch.

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