Taboo: Episode 4
January 31, 2017 10:33 AM - Season 1, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Another dose of Delaney, with doctors, drugs, dancing, debauchery, and diplomacy of a rather physical sort.

“We’re all just part of the plan, aren’t we sir?” I could sympathise entirely with the note of weariness in Brace’s voice, as if even the characters were tiring of James Delaney’s endless games-playing (at eight episodes, Taboo is starting to feel like a long haul) and alliance building.

Delaney’s crew is either “the league of the damned”, as Lorna Bow would have it, or in Delaney’s words “a group of people drawn together with the willingness to do exactly as I say”; I would say they’re both right.
~ Telegraph review by Gabriel Tate
posted by filthy light thief (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I haven't yet put my finger on why, but there's so much in this show that is just the sort of thing I usually really like, but none of it is working for me. I wonder if it's just that the convolutions of the plot are overly complex and yet not really moving forward in any real way, so maybe the sense of stakes is actually missing from all the other stuff. Or maybe it's that while Delaney is supposed to be the kind of antihero you want to root for, apparently the thing he really wants is to continue an incestuous relationship with his half-sister against her will and, like, I really don't care for him to succeed in that. If her protests against him are false, that's something I guess, but they don't really feel that way to me.

The essential set up of the show - that he's inherited this tiny piece of land that's crucial to the political warring of England and the US - that's a great start for something. But at the moment it feels like they'd have been better off making it a 2 hour movie so the story would stay focused. Instead they've made a series where they've had to add all kinds of side characters, convolutions and machinations that don't make sense, just because they have so many hours to fill.

I mean, I'm gonna keep watching. I'm still hoping for some amount of payoff for all this.
posted by dnash at 10:25 AM on February 2, 2017

Same here. There's a lot of elements of this show that are things that would create a show I love. But it's almost like they're very slowly swirling them together until they look appetizing rather than throwing puzzle pieces on a table and quickly putting them into place. I'll keep watching too, though.
posted by numaner at 8:24 AM on February 7, 2017

This show reminds me a bit of HBO's The Young Pope. Both are visually stunning, both dwell on moral ambiguities, and both have mysterious main characters with shadowy pasts that caused them trauma and which still haunts them. In both I'm not sure if they're the good guy or the bad guy, and even if they are the good guy maybe that's a bad thing.

The show doesn't seem to be doing well with either the critics or the ratings, which I'm really bummed about because I actually really like this show, and in particular, this take on that period in history. I understand that it's primarily a fabrication, (though apparently, East India did have a relationship with a shipper using the Natooka Sound) but this is a fun, beautifully composed and costumed, sorta steampunk, rendering of Georgian London and maybe I'm lame, but I'm loving it.
posted by Stanczyk at 3:09 PM on February 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

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