Taboo Season 1 Episode 4 Review
BBC and FX‘s Taboo: Season 1, Episode 4 further distilled James Keziah Delaney (Tom Hardy)’s plan for Nootka Sound, introduced a hilarious new team member, equalized the threat James faced with the East India Trading Company with the United States of America, and brought to a head the conflict that had brewed between James and Thorne Geary (Jefferson Hall) since the season began.
Lorna Bow / Lorna Delaney (Jessie Buckley)’s imprisonment held surprising moments. Her jailers were perverse, deviants in sheep’s clothing, their power, influence, and upbringing the only differentiating factors between them and those shackled. Solomon Coop (Jason Watkins), chief advisor to the Prince Regent, was the most deplorable amongst them. He didn’t even try to hide his physical ill-intent towards Lorna Delaney. At first glance, Coop seemed like a character who expeditiously went about his job. What he wanted to do in that cell with Lorna added an entirely new layer to his character.
Lorna Delaney may be beginning to fancy James but courting him would be a fruitless endeavor. For one, he only has eyes for his half-sister and two, James is focused like a laser beam on his mission: gaining the monopoly for Nootka Sound and the creation of the commodity (gun powder) he will sell there. Everyone and everything else is fodder in his wake. That even includes his loyal Butler Brace (David Hayman).
Mr. Cholmondeley (Tom Hollander)’s entrance into Taboo was theatrical then tastefully salacious. Hollander is an actor capable of handling any dialogue or situation thrown at him with ease. His portrayal of Mr. Cholmondeley was no different, bringing humor into the show and a scholarly yet practical new character into the series.
The meeting between James and Countess Musgrove (Marina Hands) in the turn-around chamber was amusing (like the robbery in this episode – minus the throat cuts and direct heart stabs). You would think James and The Countess would have used that time to constructively move forward regarding Delaney’s proposition. Instead only demands and threats were levied, the same desires and threats that were introduced in the last episode. Each characters was exposed to the other but neither were able to use their leverage to gain the upper hand.
The Americans trying to kill James was an eventuality that James should have planned for more vigilantly. What if James’ assailant was armed with muskets and shot James instead of punching and kicking him? Will all of James’ attackers only be armed with sharp or bludgeoning weapons? Weaponry aside, the fight (or the James Delaney Beat Down) in Episode 4 was entertaining. What was strange is that James didn’t more thoroughly try to ring intelligence about the assassin’s employer from the assassin before he so artfully killed him.
In the third act of Episode 4, was Thorne Geary drunk, high, or both at the party? It looked like both. That is the only explanation for what he did to himself, his reputation, his wife’s reputation, and their joint life together in front of all Thorne held dear. It was something, seeing a person’s angst roar to the surface through a stupor of jealousy, anger, intoxication, and drugs.
James, for his part and like in most situations, was stoic. He could have killed Thorne on the spot. Instead, James let him roar, cry fowl, and then call him out. Whether that folly will lead to an actual dual, cleverly, remained to be seen. A dual with anything other than pistols will lead to Thorne’s demise. Throne truly did not know with whom he was dealing with (stories don’t equal reality). If the dual happens, Thorne will find out, and it will mean his end.
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