I liked this episode. That’s not to say I wasn’t a fan of the first episode, because I really enjoy this show. But at first glance, this wasn’t really one of those “contender” shows for me. It’s tough for network TV to compete with the likes of HBO, Showtime, Netflix, and even Amazon Video to an extent. They just don’t have the freedom that these premium channels are granted. That being said, there has been a quiet rise in network TV. Shows starting with Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, and more currently Atlanta, Preacher, and Sherlock have rose to the occasion to challenge premium networks for quality entertainment. I might be jumping the gun here, but Taboo is shaping up to be one of these shows.

Filthy Fuckers

Alright, so following the first episode, which was a bit scattered, we got a better look at James’ struggle with Stuart Strange and the East India Trading Company. Now, going up against a giant titan like the EITC is quite a task, even for Tom Hardy. Starting off with a ship is a veteran move. Especially since your new estate is halfway across the fucking globe, a ship might be the recommended way of transportation. Unluckily, for James, he picked a former slave ship. You’re also probably gonna need some eyes and ears to compete with a group of grizzled old bastards who seem to have more than just spies hidden throughout the world. Enter Delaney’s Damned (©).

You really can’t have a crew of miscreants without a crazy hitman (?). Actually, not entirely sure if he’s a hitman or just a guy who tends to know things, but Atticus (Stephen Graham) is someone I can get behind. In an 1800’s English TV show, you kinda need a token crazy dude who just looks straight up dirty, all the time. Also, having knowledge of your dead father’s enemies/person who might have (definitely) killed him is a bonus. Side note; having a compass tattoo on the top of your head is sneaky useful. Why don’t people do that more…?

Again, conforming to the handbook of How to Make a Crew of British Ruffians, you have to hire a prostitute. Or even better, the head of a prostitution ring. If that happens to be a woman, bonus points.  Helga (Franka Potente), as with any woman of the night, has ears, eyes, and orifices in all the right places. Kinda had to see her sticking around after James forces her to move out, too much of an asset for someone like James to pass up.  More interestingly though, was her daughter Winter actually real? I say no. She has all the inklings of being some kind of ghost that will haunt James throughout the series. Considering we’ve already seen this through the slave ship he was involved with, it’s more likely than not she’ll be around as a guiding hand to James. Also, Helga never really mentions or acknowledges Winter so keep this one in the back of your head.

Lastly, we get to meet a little bit of a wildcard here. Dr. Edgar Dumbarton (Michael Kelly), who in this episode at least, offers little in the ways of help to James, but makes his worth well known. Considering we don’t quite know yet what James plans to do with Nootka Sound, Dumbarton may be a valuable ally, IF James decides to sell the land to the lovely United States of America. If not, honestly he’s not a shitty guy to have around. Granted, he is a bit skeptical about James off the jump, especially being an American spy in London, right after the Revolutionary War ended, I think he has some cause for concern. But, having an American spy, who more likely than not knows the territory near Nootka Sound could be very useful. You really gotta assume Dumbarton isn’t just there as a line of communication from James to the U.S.

(Wo)Men with the Silver Teeth

Aside from the EITC, James’ half-sister and husband SEEMED to be the only people challenging him for his father’s inheritance. I mean, obviously there has to have been some kinda romance between James and Zilpha, considering all the awkward eye contact and sudden gasping, but I wouldn’t sit on Zilpha being some kinda deer in headlights. Although we find out from Atticus that the Man with the Silver Tooth, who came to Atticus to have James’ father killed, is actually Zilpha’s husband, he seems more like a pawn in Zilpha’s game. More importantly, is this a long-con by Zilpha to try and snatch the fortune away from James? Did she send the hitman to take out James or was that Strange and the EITC? Or are James and her in a huge con and are secretly teamed up to basically take down the EITC for trade?

Aside from the EITC and Zilpha, we get to meet Lorna Bow (Jessie Buckley), supposed mistress of James and Zilpha’s father. It seems that things just don’t change at all throughout history. Hoes coming outta the woodwork for either cash, property, or jewels, how is a son of a large inheritance supposed to live?! Now, I don’t know a whole lot about inheritance and wills, but I don’t think Nootka Sound is up for grabs. It was left to James, it’s his, unless he dies. So really, the only thing James has to worry about is not getting stabbed by women dressed in all black in dark alleys at night. Should be pretty easy to do man, keep your head on a swivel…

Some tidbits for the road

Why is there so much horseshit everywhere?! Like, a noticeably large amount of horseshit. I know this is supposed to be somewhat of a period piece, but there is really no need to have that much horseshit. Unless this may be some super sneaky foreshadowing! The second time we see a huge batch of shit is when James goes to meet Dumbarton, possibly leading to the fact that Dumbarton is full of shit about being a doctor? If that’s the case, big fan on that one.

At first glance, I figured this fat, hideous slob was the King of England. It turns out, that fat, hideous slob was not the King of England, yet. And especially for a British show, this is a wild portrayal of George IV. I don’t really know much about my own country’s historical figures, let alone England’s, but if this is what George IV was like, I’m guessing Trump will behave in a similar fashion. Probably a bit more flashy with his outfits, but more or less the same.

TDR’s 5 Vegas Picks

Winter is dead:80/20

Zilpha and James are working together:50/50

Lorna doesn’t work with the EITC:70/30

Godfrey becomes Delaney’s spy:80/20

Trump is the reincarnation of George IV:90/10

Rating

Tea and Crumpets

(8.5)

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