Ripley review | Episodes 5-8

ripley review 5-8
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The final four episodes of Steve Zaillian’s wonderfully stylish show find Ripley in a tense cat-and-mouse game with Italian police. Here’s our review of Ripley episodes 5-8. 

Spoilers for episodes 1-4 of Ripley. 

If you’re here, reading this, I can only assume you’re bang in the middle of Netflix’s Ripley, the addictive, slow-burn miniseries about the crimes of one Tom Ripley. Or perhaps you’ve already finished it and are now craving to read about the delicious coda of the series. 

Regardless, there will be spoilers for the first four episodes, so consider this your final warning. Our review of the first four episodes can be found here

By episode 5, Ripley has settled into a nice new life in Rome. After killing Dickie (Johnny Flynn) with an oar and dumping his body in the sea, Ripley has adopted his identity, easily inserting his own photograph on top of Dickie’s in his passport and perfecting his signature. 

ripley andrew scott
Credit: Netflix

His perfect life is under jeopardy when Dickie’s old acquaintances come sniffing around, suspicious of Dickie’s sudden disappearance. Soon, Ripley is forced to commit another murder, which kickstarts a thrilling, tense cat-and-mouse game with the local police.

The final four episodes of Ripley mostly focus on Ripley trying to fool the police, especially Inspector Ravini, who has been assigned to investigate the murder that Ripley, or should we say Dickie, might be connected to. 

By now,  it’s clear that Steve Zaillian’s take on Patricia Highsmith’s most famous character is very different from the adaptations we’ve seen so far. Matt Damon’s Ripley in 1999’s The Talented Mr. Ripley was a young man, full of innocence and the sexual tension with Jude Law’s Dickie was ever-so palpable. Andrew Scott’s Ripley, in comparison, is not only older but also a deeply unlikeable, sociopathic liar. 

That’s not to say Scott’s performance is any less mesmerising than it was in the series’ first half. If anything, it’s even more masterful as Ripley’s deceit is threatened to be revealed. Ripley rarely blinks, instead facing those who suspect him of foul play head on. He’s often seen to walk right towards the police rather away from them. Tom Ripley, or Dickie Greenlead, does not cower. 

Episode 7 is particularly gripping as Ripley is almost caught several times. It’s almost ridiculous how he plays everyone. It’s not even always skill, just blind faith that no one would think to show Ravini a photo of Dickie to reveal himself to bear a resemblance to Johnny Flynn instead of Scott. 

The final episode opens with another body on the ground. This time, it’s not Ripley doing the murdering, but the famed painter Caravaggio as we’re revealed to be in 1600s Italy. The episode opens and closes with Caravaggio sitting in front of a fire, with a glass of wine and a bloodied knife next to him. 

Throughout the 8 episodes, Ripley has always featured art. After all, Ripley’s actions, in all their homicidal mania, are almost artful. Zaillian draws a parallel between Ripley and Caravaggio. While the series ends on a slightly open note – with room for another series, or more, considering the four additional Ripley novels Highsmith penned – we know that the real Caravaggio had to spend the rest of his life fleeing from the police. 

Unlike Highsmith’s original novel, Zaillian’s series doesn’t end on a particularly paranoid note, but it’s a satisfying, delicious ending. We won’t spoil it here, but Ripley is certainly worth your time, even if it’s a little overlong with 8 episodes. The action here could have been condensed into maybe 6 episodes, but Ripley runs on Zaillian’s impeccable visual eye and Scott’s commanding performance. 

Ripley is now streaming on Netflix.  

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