Director: Anders Engstrom
Cast: Tom Hardy, Franka Potente, Stephen Graham, David Hayman, Jonathan Pryce and Oona Chaplin
Genre: Drama, Historical
Poor James Delaney.
Winter’s death at the end of last week’s episode came as a shock that made it impossible for him to come out unscathed of the maelstrom that was imminent.
And the walls are well and truly closing in for the Delaney scion, with Brace’s revelation (We kind of knew it though, didn't we?) and a betrayal from a disgruntled subordinate the chief talking points in an episode that has so much packed into it that it is sort of overwhelming.
From what we know, James’ father was every bit as cuckoo as his mother, at least towards the end and while Brace slobbering confession of “I did it as a blessing,” isn't exactly convincing, one feels for the servant who must have been at his wits end.
And Helga’s defection sets the ball rolling, with the East India Company (EIC) lapping up their latest informer and collaborating with the Crown to finally end the upstart James. He has been a thorn in both their sides so far but up until now, never gave them a reason to band together and crush him once and for all.
George Chichester makes his presence felt in this episode as he strives to strike a deal with James, getting straight to the point in his typically frank style. James was a member of the ill-fated EIC ship that sunk off the African coast, something we had probably guessed but nobody had said it aloud before and one has to give it to the freedman to spill the beans.
Chichester’s accusation has deep-reaching consequences for if Sir Stuart Stranger is to be brought to justice, James will go down as well for being an accomplice in the crime.
Is the matter over the shipwreck the reason James has a personal vendetta against Strange?
A harrowing ordeal which James somehow managed to survive, with presumably some help from the locals and clearly he is not going to forgive the EIC supremo for being forced to commit an act of cruelty that he is still unable to come to grips with.
Yet, James’ cool as you like demeanour suggests he has an ace up his sleeve, despite being told by Godfrey that he is a fool for believing in his far-fetched fantasies of waltzing with the towering waves of the Pacific as he does.
The penultimate episode of Taboo is stunning any way you look at it, but the problem is that there is so much happening. It is difficult to keep track of the all the sub-plots that are leading up to one massive explosion.
After the sedate pace of the last couple of episodes, it was inevitable that the final two would feel ‘rushed’. This is the problem with this week’s showing which packs quite a few punches, but ones which seems to have come too close to the final bell.