Boy, oh boy, is “Taboo” taking its viewers on a Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride of craziness. Tom Hardy’s James Keziah Delaney is bound and determined to be an unlikable, brooding, skulking madman. On the way into his descent of angry madness, Delaney is also bound and determined to take anybody in his way with him.
Armed with the knowledge of his father being poisoned, Delaney sets out to discover who did the poisoning and get the family shipping business back in working order. These are daunting tasks: James has no modern convenience like Google, no police resources or assistance (except his servant Brace) to detect who killed daddy Delaney. He does have the fortune of being singular in his mindset. He wants to find his father’s killer…and believes he will do so.
There are so many obstacles in his way, most of all the East India Company. Led by Sir Stuart Strange, the East India is THE be all and end all in the British empire. They have money, resources, connections, heck, they have THE CROWN in their back pocket. Standing against their interests in Nootka Sound (a strategic area in North America that Britain and the USA both want) is Delaney. Bold in their stance, Sir Stuart declares “His impending death will be a shame.”
In the midst of all this turmoil is James’s (sibcestual) relationship with his sister, Zilpha. Locked out of the elder Delaney’s will, her interactions with James are not one of a sister but of a scorned lover. It’s intense, it’s disconcerting. It’s freaking gross. There’s a reason “Taboo” is so aptly named.
All of this and we didn’t even talk about dead daddy Delaney’s actress widow (swooping in at the reading of the will like Alexis Carrington in “Dynasty”) OR the fact that Delaney was shanked (while ripping a man’s jugular out). Oh the places “Taboo” will lead.