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TV Review: Taboo 1.1 “Shovels and Keys”
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FX's Taboo Starring Tom Hardy

Taboo
Episode 1.1 “Shovels and Keys”
Written by Steven Knight
Directed by Kristoffer Nyholm
Starring Tom Hardy, Oona Chaplin, David Hayman, Michael Kelly, Jonathan Pryce, Jefferson Hall, Franka Potente, David Hayman
FX
Air date: January 10, 2017

“Forgive me father, for I have indeed sinned.”

FX is known to push the boundaries on cable television. This is the channel of such provocative hits as American Horror Story, Sons of Anarchy, The People vs. OJ Simpson, and It’s Always Sunny of Philadelphia. When I first saw the previews for Taboo that aired during AHS Season 6, I was immediately hooked. I mean, Oscar-nominee Tom Hardy starring in a series involving indigenous lands and customs… I’m in.

The show opens in 1814, London. England is at war with the U.S. and in pursuit of land and trade routes that will continue their path towards global empire. Into this walks James Keziah Delaney (Tom Hardy), a man long thought dead, whose appearance at his father’s funeral draws audible gasps from his half-sister Zilpha (Oona Chaplin) and looks of consternation and disgust from everyone else. Their father was long mad, the only one it appears who still thought his son alive. So much so that he bequeathed him in his will the small piece of strategic and contentious land, Nootka Sound, that lies between British controlled Canada and the U.S. in what we decipher is western Canada. This is described by his father’s lawyer as follows: “If America was a pig facing England, this is the pig’s asshole; nothing but rocks and Indians.” Delaney’s response: “But those are my rocks.”

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