East India thinks they've won, but it's James Delaney who appears to have the upper hand, as always.
There were so many HUGE reveals in Taboo Season 1 Episode 7 that I barely know where to start, so let's get right to it.
Helga was so convinced that Delaney killed poor Winter that she dimed out Delaney to East India, but of course she's wrong.
I don't think anyone out there really thought Delaney did the deed, but it's good to know that it was the evil East India responsible for it.
And it was heartbreaking to see Winter join the cast of dead spirits that haunt Delaney: poor guy.
Lorna is really feeling Delaney now, but he seems resigned to the fact that he is damned, and doesn't want to take anyone else with him.
Lorna: I know you didn't do it.
Delaney: And how would you know that? [grunt] I very well may have.
Lorna: [grunt] You might have done it. I do know you cared for her. You were kind to her-she told me.
He was pretty heartless the way he blew off Zilpha, too.
I think he finally realized how wrong their relationship is, or it freaked him out when she told him that she killed Thorne because he told her to. Only one cray cray per relationship, please.
Just give her a diamond as a parting gift: it works for everyone else, right?
The League of the Damned was pretty scared at the actions of the Company and the Crown, but Delaney seemed to know everything would happen the way it did, and he acted accordingly.
He knew that Helga would rat him out, knew that he would be arrested, and just continued with his plan.
Gentleman, we have two witnesses willing to testify that Delaney gave gunpowder to an enemy of the Crown, within the confines of the city of London. That's treason-high treason. We have him-we fucking have him! We have Delaney, we have Nootka, we have the China trade, we have opium, tea, and powder. He'll be cut to pieces.Strange
I know Helga is pissed – rightly so. But did she really think that she could throw Delaney under the bus and just walk away? Dumb.
The most heartbreaking part of the episode for me was the revelation that Brace poisoned Delaney's dad Horace.
I thought for quite awhile that it was Brace, but the way he told Delaney the news was very hard to watch.
Brace truly loves the Delaney family, and he served them through all the craziness with loyalty.
Brace: It was a kindness.
Delaney: For who?
Brace: We couldn't go on, James.
Delaney: But you did.
Brace: You were dead: everyone was at his throat. It was burning his own flesh. There was no need to go on. Nothing left to live for.
Delaney: So you did him a kindness.
Brace: I put an end to his pain.
Delaney: You did him a kindness.
Brace: I killed him. You came back too late. For both of us.
Mad props to David Hayman in his portrayal of Brace.
Used mostly for acerbic comic relief early in the series, in this episode he showed the true anguish and tortured soul of a man who has served an insane family for his whole adult life.
He is a good man, and was just trying to do right by the people he served.
Brace: Arsenic is gentle. It was mercy. Horace was no longer a Christian soul. I only wish I'd killed James, too. Give him a kindness, protect him from himself. Instead, they've got him.
Lorna: What do you mean? Where is he?
Brace: They took him to the tower, where no one will be kind enough to feed him arsenic.
I don't really know why so many people are loyal to Delaney. He is a mean piece of work, an unstoppable force of rage and revenge.
Maybe they comply out of fear (most likely), or maybe it's the bag of diamonds – money talks, right?
Or, they see that he's trying to stick it to The Man, and who doesn't want that? It's a complex dynamic at work here.
The way they all risk their freedom and potentially their lives for a man who clearly only uses them as pawns is very interesting.
Chichester is turning out to be a force to be reckoned with.
Now that he has the testimony of the cross dresser Godfrey, he has Sir Stuart Strange dead to rights regarding the sinking of The Influence.
I put forth the theory in my review of Taboo Season 1 Episode 6 that Delaney was part of the crew, and nailed the cargo hold shut to trap the slaves, and it turned out to be right on the money.
He started out as a slave on the ship, eventually turning to a slave master.
This cements all the guilt and angst that Delaney feels about that issue, so it's good we finally know that for certain.
I happen to like driving in nails. Takes your mind off the rain, and off of the sinking ship.Delaney
Despite the drunken bluster, Delaney is clearly haunted by his actions, so his rage at Strange is well justified.
Jonathan Pryce gave a killer performance again. The glee that he reveled in at the prospect of finally getting Delaney was delicious: he was like a kid on Christmas morning.
Then, when he realized that Chichester has major dirt on him, his blubbering anger was hilarious.
Delaney's master plan is coming together, since he seemed to know that sooner or later he would have to be taken by the Crown and tortured.
Those scenes were extraordinarily brutal, but they hit home the fact that the Crown and the Company have NO idea who they are dealing with.
I will give you all the information you request, but in return, I will need a single meeting with Sir Stuart Strange of the East India Tea Company. Here, in a cell, and in private.Delaney
The Crown: Hey, let's water board him!
Delaney: Dude, don't you know I was almost drowned by my crazy mum when I was a baby, and that I regularly try to drown myself at least once a day? I mean, seriously?
The Crown: Let's give him potions to mess with his mind!
Delaney: Bruh, I have crazy visions all the live long: hell, I see dead people, AND they talk to me – pish posh!
Sooo, 12 hours of torture later, Delaney is still standing strong, and the Prince Regent relents, summoning Strange to Delaney's cell.
Which leads us to the most delicious moment of the whole series so far. Strange, kinda scared, demands to know why he is there.
Then, Delaney said THIS:
I have a use for you.Delaney [to Sir Strange]
Strange is reduced to a mere pawn, just like everyone else in Delaney's orbit.
This sets up the mother of all season finales next week.
I think Delaney will use the leverage that Chichester has over Strange to not only get free, but also pry a ship from Strange.
Atticus and his League of the Damned will release Helga from the clutches of East India, and then I think Delaney will royally screw over Strange, leaving him at the mercy of Chichester!
Sounds like a good theory, right?
This was the best episode of the series so far IMO, and that's saying something.
I hope we get a satisfactory resolution in the finale, but since there's talk of having one or two more seasons at least, be prepared for a huge cliffhanger!
Your turn: give me your thoughts. Where do you think the finale next week will lead us?
And remember, you can binge watch Taboo online before the finale right here on TV Fanatic!