Ripper Street

Season 2 Episode 5

Threads of Silk and Gold

6
Aired Monday 9:00 PM Nov 25, 2013 on BBC
8.5
out of 10
User Rating
15 votes
1

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Episode Summary

EDIT

A vice ring at the offices of the GPO are uncovered during the investigation into the murder of a telegraph boy.  Meanwhile, Captain Jackson attempts to find a way for him and Susan to clear themselves of the debt they owe Silas Duggan.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • A sesquipedalian cornucopia.

    10
    Not since the golden era of THE GOOD OLD DAYS (a BBC variety show purporting to be set in a Victorian music hall) and the seemingly endless and convoluted vocabulary of its master of ceremonies, Leonard Sachs, has there been such a shameless wallowing in the obscure and fascinating sub-pathways of Victorian slang, in this case gay and sexual.



    At times I was sure the writer was sitting with a dictionary opened to the most obscure and forgotten of terms for homosexuals and various sexual practices, striking out any that were still in common usage. Thus I heard "manticore" again and "mary-anne" and "rantipole" which shows just how impoverished our vocabulary has become recently. Why, there was even "gamahuching", a term I haven't heard since delving into a reprint of "The Pearl, A Magazine of Facetiae and Voluptuous Reading" published in 1879 which I was perusing purely for research purposes (of course).



    Actually it's extremely difficult not to slip into this style of writing after an episode of RIPPER STREET. The love of language goes hand in hand with a subversive political anger that powers every episode. All the characters have a curlicued style of speaking that comes straight from Victorian novels. Why, even a lowly GPO telegraph boy accessed a deep well of sexual slang in order to get arrested that made me think he had at some time been one of the panthers Oscar Wilde had feasted with and who had gained more from the encounter than a mere half-a-crown.



    What distinguished this episode however was not just the immense erudition of the slang or the sensitive exploration of the Victorian gay underworld. It was the clever unfolding of a plot that exactly mirrors our current relationship with our broken and crooked financial institutions. People were ruined and many were murdered to keep a bank from crashing and every trick in the book from blackmail to extreme violence was used to save the reputations of the monsters at the top of the social ladder.



    However, for all its wonderful attention to detail (everyone looks dirty!) and its historical accuracy (some GPO telegraph boys WERE notorious as rent boys on the side) there is a telling moment that tells you that RIPPER STREET is, in the final analysis, fiction.



    In the end, the banker is punished.



    That tips RIPPER STREET over from fiction to fantasy.moreless
Matthew MacFadyen

Matthew MacFadyen

Detective Inspector Edmund Reid

Jerome Flynn

Jerome Flynn

Detective Sergeant Bennet Drake

Adam Rothenberg

Adam Rothenberg

Captain Homer Jackson

Peter Sullivan

Peter Sullivan

Franklin Stone

Guest Star

Scott Handy

Scott Handy

Solomon Quint

Guest Star

Belinda Stewart-Wilson

Belinda Stewart-Wilson

Prudence Quint

Guest Star

Myanna Buring

Myanna Buring

Long Susan

Recurring Role

David Dawson (I)

David Dawson (I)

Fred Best

Recurring Role

David Wilmot

David Wilmot

Sgt. Donald Atherton

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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