Just Recently Tom Hardy’s newest show “Taboo” has just finished it’s first season, now surrounding this show was a bit of controversy for some people. Tom hardy plays James Delaney an English man who is supposedly half black and half white, who was lost at sea and presumed dead. Many people were mad at the supposed rumors of the show and these were only rumors that I myself heard at the time, that Tom hardy was going be called “Nigger” and that he is nowhere near half black, many people felt this was whitewashing a character. When we know many slaves and children long ago were mulatto’s and treated very different. Before I watched this show I was very skeptical even though months prior when seeing the preview and even the simple fact Tom hardy decided to do a TV show had me very excited. Very few actors who are heavily in the film industry do not seem like TV series actors, especially with viewers and how someone can instantly say your show isn’t worth a watch, only 2 minutes in with no action.
Now as a Black man I am very opened minded, but also very conscious of what I feel is whitewashing, and also what I feel is good television and what is a good film compared to a lot of critics. Now watching this show I did have a lot of questions, but I wanted to see if what people said before even watching the show was true or if they watched pilot episodes and felt it just didn’t sit well with them. Even though I know Tom hardy himself probably wouldn’t do anything to truly jeopardize his fan base. These were only rumors and minor things I heard before even watching the show, so I would just like to give sort of an overview and also my review and thoughts on this new thriller.
Now first we meet James Delaney and his half sister Zilphia, James has supposedly been dead for 17 years after a voyage down to Africa where he finally returns home to London for his fathers funeral. Now we already are getting a kind of weird vibe from James and Zilphia as there’s something more than just a brother and sister relationship going on. We see that the everyone in London even the high monarchs who delegate are even worrisome of James’s return. The Only reason the head monarch Sir Stuart Strange played by Jonathan Pryce is worried that James will not give up his father’s ownership of Nunkta sound to the East India Company. This show takes place around the 19th century with the war between Britain and America happening at the most pivotal moment of who has the most gun powder and who can out last who. Now this show takes so many twist and turns, James comes back to London a different man and taking on African rituals, which kind of frightens most people who are calling him a savage and he only knows the savage ways now.
We see that James isn’t just some ghost from the past, he is also on a mission, and also very educated in politics and the ideals of how to do business, but more so business in his own way not by the book. Sir Stuart Strange and the rest of the East India Company figured out that James as already promise his share of the land to the Americans which creates an even bigger divide between James and the East India Company with James leaving saying he will create his own company to do business.
Before I move on I have to say this show has an amazing cast kudos to Tom hardy and Ridley Scott for bringing a lot of actors and actresses that Ive been watching for a long time. Tom hardy of course, Jonathan Pryce, Oona Chaplin aka Zilpha, Michael Kelly loved him in House of Cards and many other things, and also Stephen Graham aka Atticus I have been a fan of him for a long time since watching Gangs of New York. Graham always plays the perfect muscle enforcer that is needed. While watching this show we learn that James and Zilphia actually were having sex before James left and that James said he has always loved her, knowing that Zilphia was the one thing that got him through being in Africa. Zilphia’s Thorne soon learns of this and is on a constant tirade to exploit James of incest, but of also of his new found Nigger savage ways. Thorne is the only one in the show who calls James a nigger, but what I think Throne is a metaphor for the ideal middle class moving into the upper ranks british man at the time. No one else in the show referred to James as this, and I think because most people were afraid of him, but also still had a level of respect of how much he endured.
We soon learn that many people have been ordered to kill James, if he is killed that his father’s property can be turned over. Well that didn’t go to well for many people, the fight scenes in this show were great, James had a very raw kind of fighting one that was a mix of many things. One thing I would like to ask why did he always cut out the person’s heart? I mean I understand cutting out someone’s heart and leaving their chest cavity open would make anyone not want to mess with you. I think one of my favorite fight scenes is when James is at the house where his newfound company will be placed to produce, and we see this huge assassin trying to fight James. It was just amazing because this was James was over powered by this man, but came back with no mercy. With so many assassination attempts James finally decides to acquire a team of Atticus and other fellow men.
Watching this show you slowly, but surely get sucked into the story, and wanting to find out what’s going to happen next. James is definitely what you would call the friend to the underworld, and he has dealt with a lot of interesting people even before he left to Africa. One thing I can say is that we saw a lot of sexual tension between many characters and you can see that even though today is very sexual, that even back in the day almost everywhere you go you could find a whore house or brothel and the choices were women, young girls, and if people felt the person wasn’t interested they brought up men, or young boys. I think this was brought into the show, to add a part of like the british culture and of the 19th century that is highlighted but not really shown unless it is historical facts. But I do wish the show could’ve of not given us so much sexual tension and gave us some more backstories, but I think this was to show that people went to great length to get information, but also to kill anyone who stood in there way.
When I say I wish they would’ve added more backstories, there are a lot of interesting, and beautiful and creepy scenes where we see James reciting African dialects which made me wonder if that is a real language from wherever he was taken and captured. We also see James almost having LSD kind of illusions and visions, and how he is in contact with spirits, and that he and his sister have a very huge connection. A lot of this derives from his mother who was African and brought to London by his father, but soon turned crazy. I was very skeptical of some of the scenes when James was chanting things, but you can see they did it just enough to where you could see what he was trying to do. I think I wish there would have been more on what James learned and how he learned it, and seeing maybe why he adapted so much to this culture and more so his mothers culture. Especially there is a bird that James always draws and that his mother also drew too, I would’ve loved to understand the true significance of it. James also even acknowledges how he feels ashamed of being apart of moving slaves from one place to another.
We learn for James to keep up his end of the bargain with the Americans he had to provide gun powder, and lots of it. He soon be friends a chemist who I might add is such a great character, he was super funny and very intelligent. James and his acquired taste of a team started to create gun powder, but it was not fast enough for James. He soon learned from Michael Kelly a secret but dangerous ingredient to creating faster amounts of gun powder. Now this is where the show goes crazy, I absolutely love the whole sequence of James and his team plotting to steal from the East India Company. Towards the end of the season we are truly in for a roller coaster ride of finding out the truth of Sir Stuart Strange’s ship that James was aboard, and also the many plot twist and acts of treason that occurred. This show has a amazing season finale in which we see James always has a back up plan even if he was captured in which he always knew he would be in a certain predicament. The Season finale you are almost kind of in loathing with it, because you do not want this journey to be over, but you also want to keep learning what is going on, and how did James even put all of this into play.
If you have not watched the season yet, please do so, the show just ended you will definitely get sucked into this action thriller. Every character in this show has one thing in common, they are all fighting inner demons, and trying to hide something that has been hidden for a long time. We see James and Zilphia and the things they’ve done in the past, Sir Stuart strange and his wicked actions. Everyone is fighting for the right to be free without any consequences and which ultimately sort of catches up to each person. Taboo has been confirmed by Tom hardy that the 2nd season will be “explosive” as he says, so I am very excited to see what happens next It was rumored that BBC and FX have not talked about it, but Hardy and Scott have since spoken out. I hope for next season we get some more backstories, and one thing I have to say is I wish we could’ve seen more of Winter, she was so amazing how much she cared about James and wanted to see him succeed with his plans. Next season should be a wild ride especially how the season finale ended.