TV Recap: Taboo – S1E2

January 18, 2017 5:30 am Published by 6 Comments

In this second episode of Taboo, we meet new intriguing characters, see some more James flashbacks, listened in to another weird brother-sister exchange and some naked Tom (finally! but unfortunately, no frontal).

Head honcho of the East India Company, Sir Stuart Strange, threatened one of his execs that his ass is fired unless the problem that is James Delaney is taken care of, i.e., executed. We would then see James going to a remote place a few miles outside of London digging up a small pouch from the ground. Shift to another scene at his home with the manservant to whom he offered a gun for protection and warned about food/drink safety. Presumably, knowing what he knows of the true cause of his father’s death. We would also see that the pouch he had dug up contained what appeared to be pieces of crystal stones (?). He set aside a piece from the lot which he placed in a safe. Next, we see him going to a place where there was an auction of ships/sea vessels going on. He bought himself a ship and announced to the auctioneer that his winning bid is in favour of the “Delaney Nootka Trading Company.” This purchase of his was immediately reported back to Sir Stuart and the EIC by a member present at the auction. Not surprisingly, Strange was furious and spouted off that the Americans “got” to James first. Otherwise, how would he know about the border negotiations between America and Canada (of which James’ land plays a vital role), have the money to do what he just did and play hardball against the British over said land?

James finds his horse missing but its stirrups were there, and a paper with “Atticus” written on it. Atticus is a butcher who knew him and his father. He found out from Atticus that someone approached him to kill his late father. He subsequently hired Atticus to be “his eyes and ears”, a lookout for the person who had propositioned Atticus for his father’s life and for his purposes as well. Next was a scene that I do not get: the Prince Regent himself, a hot mess, being briefed by one of his advisers on the blockage set up by the Americans on the British trading posts to the West. He is seen here in all his shallow glory by insisting the colours assigned to the Americans and British on the map be changed and of the dream he had where he was a big island which is England surrounded by shrimps who are the Americans, blah, blah, blah. I didn’t really care and see the point of the scene. I’m guessing its purpose is to illustrate the political importance of Nootka, James’ land, to the whole British establishment and not only for commercial purposes of the EIC.

James was then tipped off by a “mulato” teenage girl who called herself “Winter”. She informs him she stays with the Madame who was using James’ father’s former office by the docks for her business. The “tip” she gave him was that a “silver-toothed” man was asking the Madame about James and that she knows where said man’s boat was docked. She led him to it and James set fire to it after looking around and pocketing a few things from it. Winter was gone when James swam back to the rowboat where he’d left her.

Back to his house, he asked the manservant where his father’s important things are kept. He told him that he’s looking for a Nootka treaty, possibly written on deerskin. He explained he might need it to prove to a tribunal that the land was acquired by means of a treaty and not by conquest, in case it is contested by the authorities as a “spoil of war”. He searched his father’s desk but did not find anything significant except a theatre flyer of “The Painted Savage” with “Indian Princess- Lorna Bow” encircled in ink.

He then sought out the Madame at his father’s former office. He let her know that he had met Winter and made the connection that the teenage girl is the Madame’s own daughter. He persuaded her to work with him.

After signing the ownership papers for the ship he’d bought at auction, James went in and inspected it. Inside, he found metal shackles attached to the floor and what appeared to be fragments of beads stucked in between the ship’s wooden floorboards. This is when he undressed and started saying some sort of African chants in between his hallucinations/flashback episodes of people trapped underneath the ship’s floorboards. James went on to drink and scattered the bead fragments onto the sea.

In the next scene, James went to a hospital and sought a man working as a bone doctor. This doctor is an American whom James has outed as a merchant and spy. He let this American  guy know that he’d like to talk to the President of the 15 states of the Union as he’s got a land that is of interest to America and for which he’s being hunted by the British. The doctor did not buy what he’d said and pointed him out the door with a gun. Remember the crystals he had dug up at the start of the episode? Well, he sent one piece to his sister and she had hurriedly kept it under lock and key. What the hell is the significance of those crystals, I’m dying to find out next!

On the day of the reading of his father’s will and the final settlement of his debts and affairs, his father’s lawyer warned him about going against the EIC. To which he succinctly replied that he knows about the lawyer being EIC’s “whore” I.e., the lawyer spied on his father’s activities and had reported it back to the EIC. At the proceedings, the lawyer announced his sister inherits nothing, which pushed her husband to threaten James that Nootka will be the end of him ( or along those lines). At the call for the payment of his father’s creditors, a woman appeared and made it known that she is Lorna Bow, the widow of Horace Delaney, James’ father. She asserted that Horace married her in Ireland a couple of years before his death. The lawyer told her the marriage needed to be verified before her claim to the estate can be considered. Meanwhile, Atticus confirmed that it was James’ brother in law who had propositioned him to kill Horace.

At the EIC’s meeting where the lawyer attended, Sir Stuart let everyone know that the appearance of the widow presents an opportunity for them to get hold of Nootka through her full claim upon James’ death. Next came a scene at a musical concert where James seeks out his sister who’s in attendance. Now here comes the weird brother-sister heated exchange about being separated as East and West, a river always connecting them and the sister asking if he had eaten flesh?! This is a WTF scene for me so anyone who gets this, can you please send me a DM on FB please and enlighten me?

The last scene is a major cliffhanger as we see James being stalked by a veiled individual. There is a skirmish with a mutual stabbing that went on but it was James who was able to kill the other person. Last shot was of James touching the handle of the knife imbedded on the left side of his stomach. While he lays there, bleeding, he sees a vision of what appeared to be a Native American Indian staring at him.

This series is seriously turning into a mindfuck. It’s dark, intriguing, twisting and turning to I-don’t-where. Until next time, folks. Cheerios.



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  • Jennifer S says:

    I’m watching this too and I just don’t know what to think about it. I’m not sure it works well in a series format possibly, or it’s going to end up being a series that only makes sense when it’s over.

    I *think* the sister was perhaps referring to sex. I definitely think they had something going on and he left once rumors started up. We know they’re half-siblings. She could have also meant literally eaten flesh because he did take a bite out of that guy’s neck in the skirmish. I can’t tell if there’s somether “other” or supernatural perhaps about the series or it’s just a darker look at that time period and what was going on at the time.

    • Carmela says:

      Hey Jennifer,
      As I’ve said, this is the drawback of watching a mini series in its original broadcast as opposed to bingeing on it later on when after the entire series has been shown. We will just have to patiently wade in week after week to get some answers. Trouble is, unlike a lot of the BBC costume dramas, this is based on an original screenplay by Tom’s Daddy and not on a previously published material like a book or play. This makes it pretty hard to know what to expect.

  • Yessss I have been dying to talk about this show! So my general sense, so far, is sort of WTF. Like, WTF is this show about? What’s it trying to be? And WTF is Tom Hardy saying because I really can’t decipher it half the time? That being said, I think the atmosphere is just A+ – I love the dark, gritty, misty feel of this version of nineteenth century London. And I love how it explores historical events and figures (was that Steven Moffat playing Prinny, BTW?) but connects them in surprising ways.

    As far as the sister thing is concerned, I was mystified as well. I absolutely LOVED the dark sexual tension of that scene at the concert – when Tom Hardy meets Oona’s eyes in the mirror, I just about swooned. But as for what’s going on between them and what secrets they share? No clue, but I am curious.

    I’m curious to see where the show is going, plot-wise, as I’m hoping it doesn’t turn out to be this bloody revenge fest in the end. Then again, if Tom Hardy’s involved, I’ll pretty much watch anything…

    • Carmela says:

      You’ve said it, Jessica: WTF, right?! I struggle with some of Tom’s words myself, thank God for DVRs I can rewind and hear him repeat what he’s said several times. Not sure who played Prinny but the way he’s portrayed is pretty accurate, right? Lol. About the brother-sister sexual tension thingy going on, I’ve confessed to Scandal after watching the first episode that I’ve let my reaction to Tom, the actor, rule how I’d perceived the scene between him and Oona. Because I’ve said I didn’t feel yucky at all and in fact, my lady bits went all a-quiver. That, by the way, is the exact word I’ve used, “a-quiver”! In this second episode, that scene at the concert where he was looking at her through the mirror, well, same reaction from my lady parts but all because Tom is all about smouldering hotness! The heated dialogue they’ve exchanged next, however, fucked up my brain, I’m not gonna lie. And I’m not gonna lie, I’m perversely enjoying this show. You and I are alike in that, we will watch Tom Hardy in anything (and hopefully, in nothing), mindfuck and all.

  • Jo says:

    I’m a little late to the party but I just watched the second episode and would add the following comments (great reading everyone else’s POV!) –
    I believe the reason Oona asks Tom if he ate flesh was because when he returned there was gossip that he was “a cannibal” when he was away.
    Those are diamonds that in the pouch he dug up – that’s how he paid for the ship he purchased. I also think he gave Oona such a large diamond because he 1) has a thing for her and 2) feels guilty that his father left nothing for her in the will.
    I’m thinking they showed the interaction with Prinny because the Prince doesn’t want the EIC to continue to have so much power and would like to thwart their actions…this may help Tom in some way??
    While the story is a little slow, I am loving every dark and broody moment spent with Mr Hardy!!! Looking forward to your recap next week Carmela!

    • Carmela says:

      Right, that eating flesh comment makes sense to me now, thank you, lol
      About the diamonds, I’ve just realised they are diamonds after I’ve seen Episode 3 (my recap will be posted tomorrow I think), but clever of you to see that and it really makes sense.
      Yes, you are right with Prinny. Unfortunately, his ugly mug will be on again next episode!
      This series can go in a very slow snail pace it all wants, I don’t care. As long as I can look at Tom every scene. I am so happy I’m not the only one enjoying this dark Regency drama, Jo Ann. I feel like you and the other sisters here are holding my hand while watching this weird and wonderful show (okay, they have to hurry up with the frontal!)

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