Later, another actress emerges who might balance the gender equality scales, but by the end of Episode 3 that’s far from certain.
READ MORE: Beyond ‘Generation KKK’: 30 Shows That Were Canceled Before Their Premiere Proponents will argue the series is simply remaining true to the time period, or posit that the despicable male characters (outside of James) make the female characters stronger by comparison.
But “Taboo” feels like it is trying a little too hard to establish grit, while failing to establish anything else; while the viewer is still wondering what’s up with James Delaney’s bountiful angst, he and the lawyer say the word “piss” several times in their quaint accents and then threaten each other with murder, presumably to drive home the impression that it is all very hard over there in old-timey Londontown.
Then — in the pub, incongruously hosting the post-funeral wake for James’ father — James comes face-to-face with his half-sister Zilpha, played with wonderful histrionic nerves by Oona Chaplin.
Vi har brug for, at depression ikke bliver et tabu.
Hardy spends most of the first episode of “Taboo” brooding and lurking about in dark corners (every corner in 1814 London is shadowy), casting portentous glances and uttering every word as if it is the beginning of an incantation.
One of his father’s few remaining holdings is an island, one that was to be sold to East India before James showed up, and both sides refuse to let go. “Taboo” is a delicious tale of retribution as we watch a son honoring his father while taking revenge very, very personally.
Jimmy would be ready to protect that island even if his father hadn’t given it to him in death, but the writers double, triple, and quadruple down on the personal war waged between Delaney and his country by hinting at multiple secrets in Jimmy’s past. ) Listing them all would spoil the fun of the premiere, which sets the stage for at least one brutal act in Episode 2 that, by the time it goes down, is as shocking as it is immensely satisfying.
For example, James has a tense run-in with a lawyer in a pub outhouse — itself just a few steps away from a butcher stewing offal in a back alley cauldron.
The scene is a foul corrective to the period nostalgia of “Downton Abbey” and other similar fare, which is to be expected from showrunner Steven Knight, the mind behind World War I-era gangster drama “Peaky Blinders” (also starring Hardy, in a smaller role).