We knew what we were getting with Taboo. A noir-style revenge drama starring Tom Hardy probably wasn’t going to feature a lot of sunshine and hugs. Taboo was not going to be light. Taboo was not going to be a safe space. We all expected to flinch a couple of times if we were going to watch this show, and the first three episodes delivered them. But last night, episode four?
Jesus H I felt like I needed to take a shower after that one. Sexual violence as an interrogation tactic, supernatural incestuous violations, British high society perversions, disemboweling meat hooks, slit throats. It’s like if Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton and George RR Martin all smoked a joint together then decided to write something and get reallllly weird with it.
However, it still didn’t make the episode any less enjoyable or insignificant. Now that Delaney seemingly has his band of misfits all together (named the League of the Damned, which sounds like a skinhead group from Sons of Anarchy or an R.L. Stine book about a haunted NFL team) all together and ready to rock, it’s time to move.
First order of business was pulling off a heist to get the ingredients to get some gunpowder, effectively circumventing the Crown’s attempts to leave Delaney defenseless with nothing to bargain with. Check. He has to get his stepmother/possible love interest (whatever you want to say about Delaney, he sure likes to be close with his family) in line, eliminating any possible for legal circumvention to take Nookta. Check. And he had to dispatch a few more assassins in gruesome fashion so now the Americans, just like the Crown and the East India, won’t be trying to put him in a coffin for the time being. Check.
Delaney is now armed, has bodies working for him, and doesn’t appear to be in as much immediate grave danger. The Americans are willing to offer him more. The East India is slowly losing it, seemingly teetering on a long, sustained nervous breakdown as the people who are so used to playing God all over the globe can’t control the havoc being caused by one guy in their own backyard. The Crown’s plans A, B and C have now failed.
So now the ball is firmly in James Delaney’s court. As his loyal manservant said “We’re all just part of the plan, aren’t we James?” That’s undoubtedly true, but….what exactly the plan is, we can’t be too sure of. Again, the only thing we know for sure Delaney cares about is his sister. What worth Nookta has for him in the grand scheme of things is cloudy, but if it’s ultimately just a bargaining chip he has to secure a life for the two of them together, that wouldn’t surprise me. Or maybe he really just want to set up a company to make a lot of money. Maybe he wants to take down the East India and this is all just some House of Cards maneuvering until he can have them right where he wants them. Maybe he wants something entirely else I can’t think of. Who knows? I’m not going to pretend like I do.
What I do know is with many open questions, I’m still intrigued enough to see Taboo through. Yes the plot sometimes drags on a little bit, at times the show is over the top trying to be a uber-gritty Tom Hardy might as well look at the camera and say “YEAH WE’RE NOT AFRAID TO GO THERE, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT, MOM AND DAD?!?!” But I still am finding myself consistently entertained and engaged. What I’m most excited to see next? Geary’s duel with Delaney. Easily the most hateable character on the show, Geary thinks it’s wise to settle his feud with Delaney in a fight to the death which is kind of like if I thought the best way to settle my feud with Desean Jackson was with a footrace. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it works out for him.
Twitter is @CharlieWisco if you want to chat about the show, weather or how your day is going.