TV Review: Taboo 1.8 “Episode 8” (Finale)
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Episode 1.8 “Episode 8”
Written by Steven Knight
Directed by Anders Engstrom
Starring Tom Hardy, Oona Chaplin, David Hayman, Michael Kelly, Jonathan Pryce, Jefferson Hall, Franka Potente, David Hayman
Air date: February 28th, 2017

“I witnessed and participated in darkness you cannot perceive.”

Last week, on the penultimate episode of FX’s Taboo, James Delaney (Tom Hardy) saw his plans hit an apparent snag. All of his plans were divulged to the East India Company by Helga (Franke Potente) as revenge, since she believes he killed her daughter Winter (Ruby-May Martinwood). James made a plan involving Godfrey (Edward Hogg), his man inside the E.I.C. He’s finally captured by agents of the crown and tortured in all sorts of nasty ways. He will remain steadfast in silence unless he gets a face to face with Sir Stuart Strange (Jonathan Pryce) of the Company. Strange was beside himself thinking he’s won, but it’s never over with James Delaney. Tonight was the explosive finale of Taboo, FX’s epic limited series.

Spoilers below.

Zilpha (Oona Chaplin) says she is leaving society and hopes to see James again soon, before leaping into the Thames to her death. James gets his meeting with Strange and their interaction is just loaded with tension and sarcasm. Delaney has full knowledge of Strange’s treason involving the sinking of the slave ship flying American flags. Godfrey is under protection ready to deliver an account supporting Delaney’s story. Delaney needs what he’s needed all season more than anything… including Zilpha. He. Needs. A. Ship!

There are mysterious envelopes flying backwards and forwards filled with threats, promises, bribes, you name it. While the plan is in place by his League of the Damned to rescue Helga and her whore, Delaney falls sick in his cell. Atticus (Stephen Graham) saves them, confirming that it was the East India Company that was behind Winter’s death. Interesting in her involvement is Lorna Bow (Jessie Buckley), as she helped coordinate Helga’s rescue. Meanwhile, Cholmondeley (Tom Hollander) is given orders to create “things that go bang” and “things that cause confusion.” Hollander’s drug using, drunken scientist is a bright spot of comedy in an otherwise dark world. Lorna steals the show by ensuring James gets his powder. When asked what she is to him, she responds, “I’m his mother,” in a dry confident way. Wow, great scene!

James barely recovers and is brought before Solomon Coop (James Watkins), agent of the Crown. Despite some pretty awesome threats from Coop, Delaney just speaks in tongues, ignoring him before confessing he lied. And… in a monologue of epic proportions, he tells Coop he will be free soon and there’s nothing he can do. Sure enough, minutes later James Keziah Delaney stumbles out a free man while his League of the Damned wait nervously. It needs to be said over and over until everyone knows it, but Tom Hardy, just dominates and controls every ounce of screen he is on. That monologue was just jaw dropping TV. The final envelope is sent to George Chichester (Lucian Msamati), who doesn’t seem happy about it.

Delaney returns home to find Zilpha’s suicide letter and it crushes him. Who else but Lorna is there to ease him out of his malaise? She is so quietly powerful. The “she” could be both Bow the character and Buckley the actress. Chichester’s anger resides in Delaney’s deal with Strange. Strange gets to remain out of jail for treason, in exchange for his silence about the slave ship sinking. James makes a trip to Dumbarton (Michael Kelly), and creates a Hannibal Lecter style tableau out of his body. Wow, that was like Dexter right there.

After outsmarting everyone of power in England, the Prince Regent (Mark Gatiss) gets fed up and orders James Delaney to be killed, no more questions. This leads to an amazing, bloody battle on the docks, and as Delaney and company wait for high tide, they go toe to toe with Royal soldiers. Significant characters meet their ends here, others left scarred and wounded, but it is a phenomenal scene, straight out of any grizzly war film.

After starting the first few episodes treading very slowly, Taboo hit a run of brilliance near unseen on television. This finale was so fast paced, with so many twists and turns, I felt at times like I was watching Ocean’s 11: 1800s England Edition. Hardy and the cast never felt like actors, they were fully immersed in their dirty treacherous world, and knowing this was a decades long passion project for Tom and his father Chips Hardy, I hope they feel they achieved their goals, because fans were delivered a treat. I would love to see where they can take these characters from here. But the guarantee is that when Tom Hardy is working, I am watching. So far, in our new world, still dirty and treacherous, Taboo was the highlight of 2017.


Episode 8 | Season 1 Episode 8 Trailer | Taboo

As James Delaney conspires to escape, an enraged Prince Regent unleashes one final plan to destroy him.

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  1. Yeah, this was a great mini-series. Tom Hardy is so good.

    Comment by Hugomarink — March 1, 2017 @ 10:07 am

  2. Seriously, if he doesn’t at least get an Emmy nomination, the system is broken

    Comment by Daniel Torkel — March 2, 2017 @ 7:44 pm

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