first_imgStay on target Taboo’s Finale Lived up to Most of Its PromisesTaboo Delivers Answers, Intrigue and a Torturous Cliffhanger Now that we’re firmly into the back half of the season, Taboo appears to be picking up. At the end of last week’s episode, we were promised a duel. For once, the show wastes no time in delivering. Chapter Five opens with Delaney and Geary dueling with pistols. As the two men walk towards each other, Geary fires the first shot. Delaney is surprised to find he’s unscathed and points his gun directly at Geary’s face. Deducing that Geary’s second is an East India Company man and that he loaded a blank into Geary’s gun, he chooses to shoot the fleeing second instead. So Delaney spared Geary’s life. That could make things interesting.It doesn’t change too much yet. Geary comes home and acts all moody and passive-aggressive when his wife asks what happened. When she asks if she’ll have to learn the details of what happened through gossip, he retorts that it’s how he learns about her activities. So, Geary’s still a dick. As we’ll discuss later, that turns out to be a gigantic understatement.Delaney’s part in this episode mostly focused on him trying to secure his claim on Nootka Sound and avoid getting hanged for his robbery. The latter, he says, he will accomplish because only the British Crown can order a hanging. And, unlike the East India Company, they would probably prefer to make a deal. As Delaney rides out to the farm to see how his gunpowder is coming, he notices he’s being followed. Not one to take things like that lightly, he sneaks up on the man, slashes his stomach open, disables his legs and lets him crawl back to his employers as a message.Cholmondeley (Tom Hollander) and his new apprentice make gunpowder. (Photo via FX)At the farm, Cholmondeley makes a few inappropriate comments about Delaney’s stepmother Lorna before asking for an assistant. Delaney is happy to oblige, and enlists his… brother? nephew/son? Whatever he is, the boy becomes Cholmondeley’s apprentice. Delaney is well on his way to having gunpowder. Good thing too, because the East India Company has offered a reward for information regarding the stolen saltpeter. Not only that, soldiers have been turning the city upside down looking for it. While visiting Atticus, Delaney catches onto the fact that one of his men is considering taking the company up on their offer. That man no longer has a thumb. For some reason, Tom Hardy waving a severed thumb around is more unsettling than any of the disembowelings we’ve seen so far.The thumb serves as a message. If any company men come around, Delaney or Atticus are to be informed right away. And wouldn’t you know it, the company does send a man to interrogate one of Helga’s prostitutes. During a session, the man grabs a knife and holds it to her throat, demanding information. Fortunately, Winter spies this through a hole in the wall and tells Atticus who pulls the man off the woman. The next time we see that guy, he’s very much dead. His body is dumped in the water with a note reading, “Died on company business.” If that’s not an effective message, I don’t know what is.Lorna, meanwhile, has followed Delaney’s instructions and brought him his father’s trunk. Delaney searches through it, looking for a treaty that proves Nootka Sound was bought from the Native People, rather than taken through conquest. Not finding it, he throws everything into the fire, which Lorna isn’t happy with. The final straw for her comes when Delaney implies his father bought his mother, a Nootka woman, for beads. She angrily insists her late husband never bought anyone for beads and rips open a secret compartment in the trunk. Inside is the treaty Delaney has been looking for.Meanwhile, it appears the Crown is losing patience with the East India Company. Losing that much saltpeter during a time of war smells of criminal negligence. The Prince Regent plans to send inspectors in, making things very difficult for the company in the future. One such inspector is George Chichester, an investigator for the Sons of Africa. He’s been asking the Crown to investigate the sinking of the Influence, the slave ship that’s been haunting Delaney’s memories. 280 people died on that ship, and Chichester believes that members of the East India Company were kidnapping, selling and transporting people for personal profit. Given a scene where Stuart Strange tells Benjamin Wilton to burn certain documents, it appears his suspicions are correct.Oona Chaplin as Zilpha Geary. (Photo via FX)Finally, we check back in with Zilpha, who’s had it worse this episode than in any other so far this season. Her husband finds her writhing on her bed in her sleep and hears her call her brother’s name. When he tries to force himself on her again, she decides she’s had enough. She spits in his eye and slaps him. As heartening as it is to see her begin to fight back against an abusive husband, it doesn’t go well for her. Geary knocks her to the floor and insists she’s been possessed. He intends to call a priest to perform an exorcism.When the priest arrives, Zilpha tries to resist and escape, but she is overpowered by the two men and tied down. In one of the most uncomfortable scenes the show has had so far, the priest sits on top of Zilpha, speaking in tongues and groping her. As she passes out from screaming, the priest gets up and says the demon is gone. This whole ordeal appears to have only furthered Zilpha’s desire to fight back. The episode ends with Zilpha standing near her sleeping husband, caressing a long, sharp needle. Wouldn’t it be great if that needle found its way into Geary somehow?Finally, things are starting to pay off in Taboo. While there wasn’t a ton of plot development as far as Delaney is concerned, Chapter Five kept us captivated by having its characters actually do things, rather than just talking about doing things. I still can’t say the interminably slow build of the first four episodes was worth it, but Taboo may have some life in it yet. This was also the episode where the cinematography got to shine. It’s always been a great-looking show, even when it’s showing us something truly disturbing. This episode surpassed even the high standards of the previous ones, providing us with diverse, beautifully shot scenes that drew us into the harsh world. Taboo made some major steps forward last night, and it’s looking like they’ll be able to sustain that momentum for the final three chapters.last_img