This review contains spoilers.
1.5 The Weight Of One Man’s Heart
As Carrie Bradshaw and many other important figures of our time would say: all is fair in love and war. However, it seems that our sweet yet brutal Sergeant Drake has been beaten black and blue from both the sands of Sudan and the sordid streets of Whitechapel. In this week’s episode of Ripper Street, we find out a little more about our beloved cockney’s history and his love for local tart, Rose.
In The Weight of One Man’s Heart, a blast from the past returns in the form of Madoc Faulkner, his old Colonel from the army, played by the formidable Iain Glenn. Meanwhile, H Division are being kept busy as some hefty amounts of jewellery are being stolen in a series of masterminded robberies. Bizarrely, all of the items are returned minus one sapphire, which Madoc offers to Bennet with an ultimatum.
The episode starts off with a sniper killing a horse and a bunch of bandits attacking a carriage. But more importantly, Bennet is getting ready for a date! Of course, he’s putty in young Rose’s hands as he takes her to the theatre. He offers her some flowers, which she gratefully accepts, while exclaiming that “there is nothing more lovely than a Rose”. Yeah, got your number. After the theatre they wander across a stall selling lovebirds. How symbolic these creatures become in this episode. I warn you now, do not roll your eyes at the blatant inclusion and his inability to pay for them in front of Rose, for this is foreshadowing to the extreme. Oh, how you are warned. (Forgive me a moment, I have something in my eye.) To save further embarrassment but to Bennet’s obvious dismay on his day off, he is called back to the station in light of another robbery.
At the scene, chortle of the day comes from Reid’s reaction to Jackson refusing to ‘rouse’ for work, his excuse being a headache and needing the hand of a fair maiden. There’s not too much gore for him to work with this week, just a horse’s head and some gunpowder. But he does get knocked around a bit – again.
We return back to our dear, sweet Bennet as he fumbles and mumbles and asks Reid for a raise. The Inspector admits that it is merited but questions if Rose is behind it, warning “beware the kitten’s claws”. In embarrassment, the Sergeant revokes his request and runs away, bumping into the Colonel. The two are old friends, so there is no cockfighting to be had here just yet. But wai, is that your other master Reid there getting his feathers ruffled? Two of the finest thespians on British TV are about to have a little cock-off. And no, Bennet does not protest. Discussing honour, sin, symbolism and Egyptology, the two do a little word dance and Bennet squirms in-between. The Colonel has beef as he’s seen so much war and bloodshed, while Reid sits in a place of authority having seen none. However, he knows the heart of Whitechapel and the work of the Ripper. And how did he get those scars? Oh how you make us wait so!
Drake goes back to the whorehouse to see Rose and talk about the possibility of a future. Unable to talk with Long Susan watching over her, she is sent upstairs with another customer. Our stoic gentleman loses his cool before being shouted at by the Madame and called back downstairs. A bit broken, Susan treats the sergeant with pity and impatience, despite the fact that he and Reid recently let her get away with murder and run a whorehouse however she pleases. Realising he will never have a future with Rose unless he has wealth, and feeling unappreciated by Reid and being the victim of mind games from Madoc, he goes over to the dark side, involving some heavy drinking, smashing a glass in his fist, beating Jackson up and some motion-sickness camera work. Cue more flashbacks, weird Hulk moments and the odd man with lovebirds.
Despite spending most of the past few episodes getting off his face, Jackson ends up being the voice of reason when it comes to Bennet’s lovelife. Despite continuing to get down and dirty with her, he pleads with Rose to be kind when she breaks the poor man’s heart. Then he returns to smoking something.
Reid realises that Madoc and his gang are about to attack the Mint. Unbeknownst to Madoc, Reid is among his small army of soldiers. However, during the robbery of the “wretched majesty’s gold” things start to get a bit nasty when one of the soldiers goes in a bit heavy-handed with the staff. Bennet has a change of heart and attempts to take the boys downtown. Clearly he’s outnumbered and things don’t work out for him just yet. His old friend Madoc turns out to be a few sarnies short of a picnic and reveals his real motive, while attempting to set fire to Bennet. He foils this plan and is used as a hostage for an escape route.
When Bennet is about to have his throat slit, Jackson comes to the rescue, apparently now a talented marksmen. Is there nothing that these men can’t do when they sober up long enough to put their minds to it? Released from the knife, Bennet seizes the opportunity and in typical action mode, he gets a red mist and everything goes into slow-motion. Slow-motion always means business. Mix in some flashbacks of his time in Africa and boom – he’s like the Victorian Rambo.
There are only two men left, guns drawn and blood covering the walls, Bennet and his old master Madoc, who begs to be shot. Our sergeant refuses, saying that he is not ‘his’ sergeant anymore. Some more Shakespearian-style speech is uttered as Reid steps in. Sadly, Madoc shoots himself in the head. The ending is incredibly bleak, perhaps deliberately so, mirroring the current social situations of soldiers returning from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan today, drawing parallels with their welfare in the face of general disinterest from the public and government alike.
Bennet returns once more to see Rose and asks her in his bumbling manner to be by his side. She politely declines but in her unladylike way says she cannot be a bobby’s housewife. We see that he is also carrying a wide satchel but learn when he is outside that it contains a little cage with a pair of lovebirds. Oh the symbolism and tears! Cue some violins and more slow motion as he sets them free. My (I mean our), poor, sweet Bennet.
Read Jamie-Lee’s review of the previous episode, The Good Of This City, here.
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