This episode is a bit more nerve wracking than previous ones, where we see Tom as an anti-hero that he is, the EIC declaring war with James and a tragic ending to one character I like.
Coupled with images of a black-clad, white painted face woman in a river, James and Brace had a word with each other about James’ mother. When James insisted his father had cast his mother aside by sending her to an insane asylum, Brace defended Horace’s action by telling him his mother tried to drown him when he was a baby. Sending his mother to the asylum was done for James’ protection. Afterwards, James visited the asylum where his mother’s grave also lies. At the docks, Winter approached James who told her to stay away from him. She said she’s not scared of him, only of what other people says of what he is, an “African Devil”. He looked at her, spoke of what sounded like an African dialect, to which she said to him not to stare at her as it scares her.
At the gunpowder factory, Dr. C. instructed his helper, Robert (James’ son) and the other men brought in to help, of the volatility of the chlorite when added to sulphur and coal. He stressed the importance of non-stop stirring of the mixture to prevent an explosion from happening. The grumpy guy, Robert’s caretaker, was seen looking on, horrified.
The EIC execs met Mr. Chichester at the EIC HQ. Chichester informed them of Prinny’s royal commission to look into the sinking of the ship Influence. He informed the EIC guys that the ship had illegally carried slaves from a port in Africa for profit. To hide such fact, it was reported as to have travelled empty of cargo with minimal number of crew. It paid the price of such scarcity of crew when it ran aground.
Lorna, worried that James hadn’t been home for 3 days, went to Zilpha’s home to ask if she knows of his whereabouts. She first encountered Geary, looking worse for wear, who continued spewing insults about James. When Zilpha finally appeared, she made Lorna feel unwelcome and showed her the door. Meanwhile, Dumbarton gave James the flyers/notice for Cholera, the function of which will be apparent later on.
Back at the gunpowder factory, some men were falling asleep while stirring the volatile mixture but caught in time by Robert, who hurriedly alarmed Dr. C. All these going on and the grumpy guy looked on in utter disgust.
Geary excitedly informed Zilpha he’s been accepted in a position he’s applied for in Australia. Zilpha, unhappy, told him that Australia is too far.
Now comes the scenes that had me on edge. The gunpowder due for delivery were all put in coffins and carefully loaded up by Robert, the men, Dr. C and James in what looked like a large funeral carriage. James put up the Cholera flyers/notice on the coffins and carriage. They travelled in the dark of night, with hankies covering half of their faces. When they were stopped by soldiers on the way, Dr. C. mentioned they were transporting a dead family, one of them a child, who were victims of cholera and they were doing it at night so as not to alarm the populace. Robert got in one of the coffins in time, pretending to be the dead child, before one of the soldiers could open and inspect the inside of one of them. When the soldier opened the coffin, he jumped in fright to see the “dead” Robert. They were let through and were able to deliver to Dumbarton, who was waiting with his own men by an old church. Dumbarton told James he would tell Madison (the US President?) about what he did. James replied that all he need is for his ship’s safe passage through the blockade set up by America.
Back at home, Lorna warned James that news has been around that he’s selling gunpowder to the Americans. She told James that he will be in trouble once the issue between the Crown and the EIC is resolved.
At the Geary household, Zilpha took out the sharp metal skewer-like weapon she has from her dresser. She stabbed Geary once in the chest, resulting in his death. She ran to James and told him that she did “what he told her” and had finally killed her husband. James said he’ll take care of the body for her and will send her home once it’s done. The body was sent to Dumbarton at the hospital where the doctor declared Geary as a victim of cholera and ordered his immediate burial. At the funeral, James personally dug up Geary’s grave, witnessed by Zilpha. Afterwards, he went to her house and ordered her to take her clothes off. They were in the middle of having sex when James had a sudden vision/hallucination of his mother drowning him as a baby. To his horror, he realised he was unconsciously choking Zilpha with this vision/hallucination. He ran and left the scared Zilpha in bed.
Sir Stuart happily announced to the EIC execs they had a breakthrough. A priest was handsomely rewarded by the EIC for spilling on a confession made by old grumpy guy about the going-ons in his cottage/barn/mill. James’ note taker informant hurriedly sought out James to tell him about it. James said he’ll take care of it. Just before the EIC soldiers raided the place, James forced Dr. C. to move out the gunpowder still in storage from the mill, despite the latter’s objection on grounds that unlike those which have been delivered already, the stock in the mill are not ready to be moved. Dr. C. said it is highly volatile to move it on rocky, bumpy roads. By the time the soldiers got in the mill, they found nothing. We then see James and company moving the stocks by boat.
When told of this unfortunate raid, Sir Stuart declared to let James believe he’s one step ahead of them. He declared war and all gloves off in the form of blowing up James’ ship. James went to Atticus and with the latter’s help, killed the guy (the same one whose thumb he’d cut off) as he was supposed to be the one who have guarded the ship. He had cut the guy, literally taken out his heart and handed it to Atticus. Atticus looked afraid of him when he did so. James has done the same thing to old grumpy guy, whose remains sans heart was left inside the confessional box for the informant priest to see.
In the last scenes of the episode, James was seen going to Helga’s pub to get pissed drunk and vent non stop for the loss of his ship. He was found in this state wading through the waters at the docks by Winter. He told her to go away but Winter handed him another bottle of liquor that she said she had brought for him. He woke up the following morning, all muddy and dirty by the shores. When he got up and walked, he saw Winter’s dead body lying on the shallow waters by the broken wooden walkway at the docks.
I felt really sad with this ending as I like that kid Winter. I hope to God she wasn’t killed by James during one of his hallucinations. I enjoyed this episode as I see this as the most fast-paced with all The Godfather-like revenge killing that James did and all the clever business with the gunpowder transportation. I think we are nearing the end. Let’s all see this baby out to conclusion in the next two episodes.
Hugs,Tags: Taboo, TV recap