Taboo Season 1 Episode 6 Review: Secrets

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I never thought I'd see it, but by the end of this episode James Delaney was a hot mess!

A terrible family secret was revealed in Taboo Season 1 Episode 6, which set forth a series of events that shook Delaney to his core and, of course, caused carnage to follow. 

Add to that the Honorable East India basically declaring war on Delaney, and we have a great setup to the final 2 episodes. Oh, and did I mention we had not one but TWO shocking deaths? This one was VERY dark, folks.

Delaney Has a Plan - Taboo Season 1 Episode 6

I like that Brace finally had enough, and told Delaney the real deal about his cray cray mum. Brace definitely has a yard of guts to stand up to the beast, or maybe he just doesn't care anymore. 

Brace is usually used for comic relief, but he is excellent in this scene, finally telling Delaney the secret that he probably should have told him a long time ago. 

Since he is one of the few people that Delaney actually trusts, I wish it had happened earlier, but then we wouldn't have had the dramatic buildup, right? It is a TV show, after all.

Brace: Do you know she took you down to the river to drown you? She waded in, held you under until the bubbles stopped. She was deranged, James. That's why your father had her committed to Bedlam, to protect you. To save your life, son.
Delaney: Be very, very careful now.
Brace: She wanted you dead, James.

This, along with the revelation that East India did in fact run a slave business on the ship The Influence finally explains all the drowning/water imagery in the show opening and in Delaney's visions.

What I want to know is, was Delaney part of the skeleton crew who was responsible for nailing the cargo holds shut, trapping the slaves?

He must have been, because in his visions he was looking down at the trapped slaves, no?

It seems like he barely avoided joining them in Davy Jones' locker, and he is consumed by guilt.

Now that he knows mum dearest tried to kill him as a baby, all that angst he's been suppressing has finally come out, and boy is he not handling it well.

We are leaving now, because we have been betrayed. No excuses - the talking is done.


I'm surprised the gunpowder gambit actually worked, but then the Chemist IS pretty sharp. We also finally know two things about Delaney's love child with Zilpha.

His name is Robert, and he actually SPEAKS! Well, three things -- he's also scared sh*t of his daddy, but who the hell isn't, right?

Which leads me to to worst thing in this episode. I'm so sad that Winter is dead. Was that REALLY necessary?

She was one of the few people who were actually friends with Delaney, even though she was terrified of him, too.

Delaney: Go away, Winter.
Winter: I'm not scared of you.
Delaney: What are you scared of?
Winter: Of who they say you are: The African Devil. Stop staring, you're scaring me.
Delaney: Go home to your mother.

She did so much to help him, and was clearly in love with him.

When she brought him the bottle at the docks and watched him get sloppy drunk, the look of pity on her face was heartbreaking. And now she's dead -- NOT cool. 

Of course he was having visions of his mum before he woke up, so they want you to think he killed her.

But it's entirely possible East India had her killed, just to keep Delaney off balance. If that happened, then they better look out. Delaney WILL get revenge!

Zilpha is in Mourning - Taboo Season 1 Episode 6

And speaking of revenge, I'm sooo happy that Thorne is dead!

They foreshadowed it last week, but Zilpha finally used the hat pin from Hell to do the deed. The demonic look on her face was VERY creepy, I'll say that.

I wonder if the Australia job was the last straw, or was it going to happen anyway. 

What was weird is the conversation she had with Delaney when she showed up at his manor. 

Delaney: What have you done?
Zilpha: I killed him, just like you said.
Delaney: Where is the body?
Zilpha: In the bedroom.
Delaney: Are you sure he's dead?
Zilpha: Quite. Dead.

Acting like a giddy schoolgirl after she murdered her husband was strange enough considering she had been, at best, sending mixed signals about her interest in Delaney from the beginning.

The other thing was Delaney didn't know what to make of the fact that she claimed HE told her to kill Thorne.

I wonder if mum is still alive in some supernatural aspect, and is exerting her will over not just Delaney but Zilpha as well. Nothing would surprise me at this point, that's for sure. 

Take that dress off. Take that fucking dress off now.

Delaney [to Zilpha]

The sex scene with Delaney and Zilpha was very hard to watch. I'm not that comfortable with the whole incest angle, frankly. And don't get me started on the love child drama. Geez.

I know that's a cornerstone of the series, but for crissakes, they just buried the dude she MURDERED. Could we at least take a breath before we jump in the sack?

Maybe that's why the mum of the year visions interrupted the love fest.

Oh, and before I forget, did you see how Zilpha used the same hat pin she used to murder Thorne to secure the hat she wore FOR HIS FUNERAL? That demented look on her face was creepy as f*ck!

Lorna is Worried - Taboo Season 1 Episode 6

Lorna appears to be genuinely concerned about Delaney, given her actions in this episode.

I still don't totally trust her, but she seems smitten with Delaney and is actually concerned about his welfare. Didn't see that coming.

Oh, and here's a helpful hint from back in the day, evidently: CHOLERA SOLVES MANY PROBLEMS!

Wanna hide your secret spy operation? Just make up a cholera epidemic!

Dumbarton: The enigma that is James Delaney. You know, it's curious, this cholera epidemic that you and I invented for our own convenience has actually begun to claim lives. Six people. It's as if the disease is not transmitted by air or miasma, but by false rumor.
Delaney: That is the same as religion, or patriotism.
Dumbarton: You have no God, certainly no country. What do you have?
Delaney: Powder.

Do you need to transport illegal gunpowder under the noses of the Royal Guard? No problem -- just put the stuff in coffins and label them as cholera victims.

Have a dead hubby that you need to dispose of? No worries. Just kill him and call him a cholera victim -- easy peasy!

But alas, not all can be solved by the cholera option. East India is now coming hard after Mr. Delaney. First, they catch a break with Ibbotson, who broke down and ratted out Delaney. Of course death by tongue-ectomy took care of that.

Blowing up his ship was a very bold move, but I have a feeling that Delaney will strike back with a vengeance.

Mr. Delaney, Sir Stuart just wants you to know it's war. The gloves are off.

East India Lackey

I don't think Sir Stuart Strange really knows how far Delaney will go to get the revenge he seeks.

The fact that he was in a barn full of kegs of unstable gunpowder, setting off sparks over and over means that Delaney really doesn't seem to care if he lives or dies at this point, and that makes him a very dangerous adversary.

This one was maybe the darkest episode yet, and I don't know what frame of mind Delaney will be in going forward.

Whether he will be wracked with guilt over the death of Winter (if he in fact killed her), or will he be even more of an unstoppable vengeance machine, I would not want to be on his bad side. 

The Chemist Teaches the Men - Taboo Season 1 Episode 6

There was a little humor in this one: I like the analogy that the Chemist made about how introducing chlorate to the powder mixture was the equivalent of bringing a baby into a marriage. Funny.

And the comic line of the night:

Brace: You stink of cow shit.
Delaney: It's horse shit, actually.


We are hurtling towards what will probably be an explosive (pardon the pun) finish to the season, and I'm really looking forward to how Delaney will deal with East India now that war has been declared.

It's on like Donkey Kong, folks! Strap yourselves in.

Tell me what you thought: are you sad to see Winter dead? What's next for Delaney and Zilpha? 

And, of course you can watch Taboo online right here on TV Fanatic!

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Ron Gilmer is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and read his personal blog at Idiotbox Watcher.

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Taboo Season 1 Episode 6 Quotes

Take that dress off. Take that fucking dress off now.

Delaney [to Zilpha]

Delaney: Go away, Winter.
Winter: I'm not scared of you.
Delaney: What are you scared of?
Winter: Of who they say you are: The African Devil. Stop staring, you're scaring me.
Delaney: Go home to your mother.