Prediction: James Delaney will be alive at the end of episode 8.
End game: Violence, destruction, and life-shattering vengeance for all the people responsible for the derailing of James’ life in 1800 which led to him going to Africa in 1802. If he “wins” this, we will see him, Zelpha, and a few other’s escape London. Why do I think this? Because of the Sankofa on his back. The brand symbolizes consideration of the past to build a successful future.
Process: It has been a game of moves and countermoves. To win a game you have to concentrate and focus on the process. Dedication to the mechanics of the game and the process of the game creates the desired outcome. Much like the process of making the gunpowder. Do it right, a little luck, and you win. Strange himself has called all the intrigue activity a game of chess. In chess, you sacrifice pieces (some of them even painfully so) in order to win the game. In poker, you throw in cards to build a better hand.
In Taboo, people are the chess pieces or cards as a part of the process to win the game. James has surrounded himself with people he is willing to sacrifice and tried to push away those he views as innocent. The loss of Winter created the need to be harsh with Zelpha (although I suspect it didn’t work), he’s repeatedly tried to push Lorna away. After briefly using young Robert he has him sent to the house and away from the rest of his league of the damned. We WILL lose more characters we enjoy, but so be it!
As every a great episode, on a tangent, this all looks very good for American Gods – my 3rd favorite Neil Gaiman story. Sorry but Good Omens (with Sir Terry Pratchett) and the Sandman series of graphic novels take the 2nd and 1st places respectively.
After the last episode and listening to your episode this morning, I have an idea that might work within the narrative framework of Taboo.
Essentially Delaney died either when the ship sank and returned as a revenant. His only intention being to exact revenge on those responsible – the EIC, specifically Sir Strange.
Thus no one can actually harm him in any way, shape or form. This is why he is so resistant to the torture in episode 7. It would also go some way to explaining why he has had visions of the dead – he is neither dead nor alive, but has “one foot in the grave”. It might also explain why Delaney has been acting the way he has. He has gathered people around himself to bring about his revenge on the EIC.
He doesn’t care about the war in America, about the Canadian-American border, his all-consuming interest is to may the board (if not the whole company) of the EIC suffer and pay for what they have done.
It is revenge, pure and simple, against those he trusted and placed him in a no win situation that led to his death; as well as the deaths of the crew and the slaves sealed within the hold.
In short, he has been playing everyone to bring down the EIC for his own death. Almost certainly an off the wall theory that has no reality within Taboo, but there it is and I’d be interested to hear what you guys think.
First off, I enjoy your podcast on Taboo. Your plot and character analyses are brilliant, and on a personal note, your cultural competence and self-awareness is inspiring. Thank you for the time and work you put into your podcasts. They truly are a gift.
OAN, I have a use (question) for you…actually, a few uses.
(1) What is up with Horace’s fascination with tribal women? When James found an old program in his father’s belongings from a play Lorna acted in, her role was one of a savage tribal woman. I wonder if her costume was similar to how Salish looked when Horace met her at Nootka.
(2) In the forest wet-dream scene in episode four, was James actually making sex with Zilpha? He appeared to be looking for Zilpha, while the thing with the wooden mask was having intercourse with her. In the same episode during the Countess Musgrove party, someone (or something) was wearing the identical wooden mask. Maybe the mask is the one speaking to Zilpha and the one who told her to kill her husband. Maybe James was not always visiting Zilpha in her dreams as an animal to make sex with her. Could it be something else? (Which could be why she is so cray cray).
I also wonder if Salish was trying to drown James, or if she was preparing him for a vision that she had about his future. A vision of the shipwreck of the Cornwallis and a vision of him being waterboarded. Perhaps she was trying to build up his tolerance to being under water? James appears to be prophetic in his visions (the explosion, cutting off the thumb of traitors, etc.). Maybe he inherited this “gift” from Salish. Also, Salish being in the tower with him in episode 7 totally creeped me out.
Hopefully, I didn’t go too far down the rabbit hole with these questions. Looking forward to the podcast tomorrow. Again, thank you for what you do.
This weekend I sent along an MP3 of my Audio challenge to the listeners to give us their best David Hayman but realized it was not declared as an impression, The attached revised version has full disclosure, to avoid confusion.
Speaking of Brace…He’s having a bit of a crisis of conscience, isn’t he?
Hello, I’m just discovering your fab podcasts re the great dark and moody Taboo. And I’m enjoying the all-American delivery of your insights in a way that I think only a British person can! Hats off to you!
I listened this evening to the podcast relating to episode six. This episode left me gasping somewhat towards the end with the whole, ‘Take off that fucking dress’ scene (I am a human female, after all!).
But then, piling heightened emotion upon heightened emotion – Winter? Dead? By the hand of James Keziah Delaney? Noooooo! And you can’t see what the attachment is to her for the audience?!
For me it is dazzlingly obvious – we care about her because JKD cares about her. She has a relationship with him that is unique (with the possible partial exception of the wonderfully played Helga – who is, after all, Winter’s mother) insofar as she is not afraid of him; and, on his part, he does not seek to exploit her. Through her we see glimpses in him of a humanity and an appreciation of, if not purity, then at least innocence. At least, that’s why I care.
A possibility: Winter is JKD’s daughter? (There was mention of intimacy between him and Helga…)
Thanks for all your hard mulling and pondering, chaps!