New FX Show Taboo Episode 8 Discussed and Explained

First first first… this has been a really fun ride. Such a fantastic show, and the conversations I’ve had with so many of you via email, or in the comments, or in my voicemail inbox has been a lot of fun. I don’t normally play inside the realm of TV, but this has been a really fun experiment. The OA and Westworld were my first forays into this world. And those were fun too.

As it stand right now I have yet to see the series finale – and am about to head into it. Currently a little giddy as to what to expect. How will James walk scott free? Will James make any sort of overture towards Lorna Bow? ANYTHING? I’m not expecting him to bow on one knee mind you. But good gracious she was originally painted as a gold digger, but now? Now? She’s his fiercest defendant and confidant. And what of a ship? This seems like too far a road in just one episode. And monopoly too?!? Hahaha. No. He will be tortured and released and he’ll spend the rest of the episode licking his wounds. THEN, his final words will be… “Boy, that didn’t go to plan… good thing there will be an episode 2!” Or something like that. You watch. That’s how that will go down. And this week, as it’s the final-E, I think I’m just going to write as I watch. Because, that’s good times right there.

Let’s light this candle!

Shows opening – PREVIOUSLY ON TABOO is exciting. Getting me kind of jelloey even. I think I’m might just have a problem. Like certifiably. Could you all stage an intervention? Thanks for that.

Ok… SHHHHH. It’s really starting. Oh, Zilpha is saying something about slipping the gates of this frame? Somethin somethin? And you and I will hopefully, wait. Wait. Where is this going right out of the shoot.

SHE’S COMMITTING SUICIDE?!?!? What?! Stop stop stop stop.

GAh. Already this show is so of the rails and we are exactly 3 minutes in, including the opening credits. Who saw this coming? Up with your hands. You did not. Stop it. Put your hands down. None of you saw that coming. I didn’t think she had it in her. Heck, I didn’t think Knight had it in him! hahaha. Alright alright already. Hit play dang it. Let’s see what other crazy happens next.

After watching Zilpha take a header into the Thames we flip over to James in the Tower. Delaney is talking with Strange:

Strange: “Is this the extent of your ambition?”
Delaney: “It’s in return for my silence. And for Godfrey to burn his account as well. I need a ship, you have four hours.”

So, apparently James is going to make a deal with the devil. He’s going to buy his freedom by ditching his testimony that he promised Chichester. Well, that’s a fine how do you do, isn’t it? Hrmmm. Not sure how I’m digging that. Obviously, something is going to have to happen there. Because I’m not down with that particular development.

But now, Robert, James’ son (Are we ever going to learn the provenance of where he came from? Is he Zilpha’s?) is off to the races delivering letter after letter to half of London apparently. And then James’ well thought out plan? Oh it’s kicking off. We have Atticus attacking a coach, and the drivers seem to be in on it. But to the extent of their knowledge seems fleeting as they soon find themselves all dead. Pettifor is killed by Atticus for his role in the Winter murder I’m assuming. James must have negotiated his head as part of Strange’s clean up program.

Flip back to James in the tower – weird African mutterings – and then he falls over frothing at the mouth. Doctor! Apparently it looks like James is buying time for something. We cut over to Strange as he is negotiating for a brig called the Good Hope which is currently heading for Constantinople. And now we know the end game for James getting his ship.  Lorna Bow talks to Helga (the prostitute, the mother of Winter) and convinces her that winter wasn’t killed by James. She has the boy that was the witness and saw the East India man who killed Winter.  Not only that and offers a new start for Helga if she wants to join them on the boat.

PAUSE

This episode is flying fast and furious. Does it seem like that to you? Like out of control fast? Knight couldn’t have possibly tied a few of these threa”ds up last week or the week before? NAH! Leave them all to the absolutely last minute and do them all at once. We have Zilpha dead. We have a new ship coming to port in the next four hours. We have Atticus killing Winter’s killers. We have Cholmondeley creating flash bangs and explosives for some reason. Letters are rapidly moving about the city and everyone that James knows is moving. So let’s shotgun this thing out then…

Lorna then goes to the American spy, Countess Musgrove, and tells her she is selling feminine products including powder…. they are speaking in code. But basically she’s saying, I have gun powder for you and need to get through the blockade. Not only that, but Musgrove has a spy in her midst that James is going to take care of. By this she is referring to Dumbarton. We’ve seen that Dumbarton and Musgrove aren’t on the same page. And it would make sense if Dumbarton is a double agent with England. And hahahaha. Love this snippet of conversation between Lorna Bow and Countess Musgrove:

Musgrove: “What are you to him?”
Bow: “I’m Mrs. Delaney.”
Musgrove: “His wife?”
Bow: “No, his mother…”

James’ son Robert, sings in to James signaling that everything was complete. And James says that he’s ready to go in now. But he refuses to talk. He renigs on his agreement with the Prince Regent that he was going to turn on Strange. But the ballsiest move? James tells them outright that he will be freed by the afternoon. “How do you know?” “The ravens just told me.” But how will that work? The only way I can see it working out in James’ favor is if and override the Prince Regent is if the East India negotiates the India issue back into the mix in exchange for Delaney’s release? I’m assuming they’ll explain how this is possible.

Strange tells Chichester that he won’t be getting the testimony from James.

DANG SLOW DOWN – and now James is free, he heads home. And he finds the letter from Zilpha that she is going to commit suicide. I just snapped a photo of that letter and I re-listened to her voice as James read it, and you know what? They aren’t even close to each other. They aren’t even similar. Here’s what we hear her saying:

“I’m planning to journey to heaven James
I’ve realized the truth, my cage is my flesh, and I can shed it.
The river thames will take me to God
Death is just the turning of a key in a lock… etc etc.
… if you survive your recklessness keep some part of my soul inside your own.”

But here is what I BELIEVE the letter in his hand is actually saying. I photoshopped the heck out of it to clean it up. I even played with the levels on each and every word to try and make sense out of it. And I have also included it above so you can review it yourself… if you are nutty like me about stuff like this:

“Dear James,
You will be reading this letter after hearing of my death. I could no longer live with the shame that has been pressed(?) upon us.
Although something ins of me rejoiced upon your return, I wish you had stayed away – xxxx is xxxxx and is something I can no longer life with.
We were cursed from birth, I hope to take the xxxxx with when I am gone. There is nothing left for me here on this earth. Perhaps we will meet again in the next.

Your Sister,
Zilpha”

I would love your help in getting the rest of the words that I can’t quite make out. But it’s interesting that in the letter they show on screen it talks alot about shame, and about this curse. And the audio talks more about a poetic freedom from the chains of this world. I’m sure Knight dashed off some fill letter to send to the calligraphist to write out. And then in the editing room realized that wouldn’t fly – and then sent the new wording to Oona Chaplin to read out, and be inserted. But I digress.

Returning our attention back to Lorna and James – and the current bind they find themselves in… Bow is pretty insistent that they get moving. There are people waiting. Never mind the fact that she is internally giddy that her competition is now dead. Something has changed between the two of them that has caused Zilpha to commit suicide. This much is true. Right now though, she needs to get James’ butt out of that chair, and get him moving. And then he says to her that the two of them would board the ship together. Implying worlds of potential and meaning. No?

James though has to keep his word to Countess Musgrove, and silence the leak in her spy organization. And so he kills Dumbarton. The Prince Regent realizes that absolutely everything is going to pot now, and decides everyone ought to die. Including James. That he’s done. (Which sort of begs the question… we still don’t really know the reason that James was levered out of prison. Not really. We can guess. But why would Coop allow it?

And then we have our big battle in the streets of London near the new ship that James has requisitioned from Strange. Helga is shot. Lorna is shot. But all the guys in the middle of the melee are fine? hahaha. Cut away to Strange, and he has received a package. “All the tea in China, delivered on the ass of a pig.” So he thinks it’s the title to Nootka, no? There is no way that James is giving him the title. Oh, yup. He dead. hahahahah. Which means we only need to see Chichester to close out that loop. Yup… here he comes. And he has now, the testimony of both Godfrey and James in order to finish out the inquisition. But does that mean that James actually did nail the holds closed? Hrm.

Alright, then we are going to America then, Atticus says to Delaney. No. We are going to the Ponta Delgada in the Azores. Um. Where? Here. I drew you a map… Which, if you look really closely at said map, you will realize, there is no America anywhere near that map. Like, at all. Eh? I know. And what does the Azores have to do with Delaney? Great question.

First, the location is an island off the coast of Portugal. Ponta Del Garda is the main city of the island. And who is Delaney wanting to see? Someone by the name of Collonnade? (Spelling is directly from Closed Captioning – I’m seeing some out there spelling it Colonnade as well). Who is this? Why aren’t they going directly to America? Gah. Let’s talk about it in my follow up discussing the best theories of where we are going and wrap up for the season. But this Collonnade is going to be a big deal to the next steps of the show.

And the show ends with Delaney dropping the British flag and unfurling the American flag… “We are Americans.”

Thoughts on Episode 8 of Taboo

As I just mentioned, I’ll be doing a final post about the entirety of the first season of Taboo. But I can’t not, won’t not (double negative to the power of double negative much?) talk about it before then. Just turning off the TV there are a number of things that give me pause. I’m just going to list them (think, table of contents for my next post.)

  1. Zilpha’s suicide(?!?)
  2. The relationship between Dumberton and Strange.
  3. Lorna Bow and James Delaney?
  4. Robert’s mother?
  5. Has James’ revenge been exacted?
  6. What is in Ponta Del Garda?
  7. Who is Collonnade?

There’s still a lot to talk about as we head into the long dry spell between seasons. And I’m already genning up my thoughts on these topics. And as I type, I guarantee you there will be a million more things that come to mind as we go. But this is a good start on a list! Let us commence!

 

Interested in reading all of my Taboo recaps so far?
Taboo – Episode 1.1
Taboo – Episode 1.2
Taboo – Episode 1.3
Taboo – Episode 1.4
Taboo – Episode 1.5
Taboo – Episode 1.6
Taboo – Episode 1.7
Taboo – Episode 1.8
Taboo Season 1 Final Thoughts

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