Review: Miss Scarlet and the Duke, Season 1, Episode 5: Cell 99

Oh my goodness, was this ever DRAMATIC!

A secret crime syndicate, an abandoned prison, and a mysterious man in a gas mask!

I adored it all.

(As you may or may not know, I am a big fan of DRAMA on TV.)

First of all, I loved the ambiance of this episode. I cannot imagine a creepier setting for a mystery than an abandoned prison with dramatic smallpox contamination signs covering the doors. (I’m guessing this episode takes place before the vaccination against this ailment was developed). The echoes were also a nice touch.

Eliza’s faint cries for help bouncing off the walls of the desolate jail were particularly eerie. I congratulate the show runners on their attention to atmospheric detail.

Setting all of this aside, I think the plot was the most important aspect of this episode.

In case you need a recap, in this episode Eliza sets out to investigate some information that she found in her father’s journal. This leads her to an abandoned prison that seems to be in an isolated location; as she searches for her father’s secrets, she becomes trapped in a cell with no means of escape. The Duke is notified that she is missing and goes to search for her, even though this decision might cost him a promotion. (I applaud him for his gallantry.) The Duke eventually finds and helps to free Eliza, but the pair is very quickly confronted by one murderous criminal, then another! (Although, a third murderous criminal eventually comes along and kills them all! Are you having trouble keeping track of all these murders? Because I certainly am.)

Anyway. In the process of their escape, Eliza and the Duke stumble upon a massive forgery operation that’s going on in the basement of the prison. The implication is that Eliza’s father was killed because he was on to the perpetrators of the scheme, leaving Eliza’s future safety in question. As the episode ends, William takes over the investigation.

Now, I’ve enjoyed the show up to this point, but I have to say that these new revelations have made it ten times more interesting. There’s nothing like organized crime to give a show some zest! (I guess that’s why I enjoy Peaky Blinders so much).

My guess is that this “gang” of criminals will be led by Eliza’s own personal Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes’ legendary nemesis) and that she will be forced to confront her criminal enemies in the second season, seeking vengeance for her father in the process. (Which sounds like amazing TV, by the way). In my opinion, this episode was particularly succesful because it brought together all the disparate characters and plot elements and turned them into one, overarching narrative. The show has been episodic up to this point, but now we’re getting a really united, connected story that spans across the season.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how the writers are going to resolve this newly revealed storyline in the final episode. I’m guessing it’s going to be a smashing conclusion!

Rating: 10/10

Originally published at on March 9, 2021.

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