Taboo - Episode 2

  • James:
    owns rough diamonds, barely eats but drinks a lot of tea and alcohol, knows things, is armed, likes to run around without pants at home
  • Zilpha:
    her middle name is Annabel, she hides things (like diamonds) from her husband, James' departure hurt her, likes music

James buys a ship for the Delaney Nootka Trading Company, meets old acquaintances, destroys the ship of his stalker, and cleans the ship he bought because he finds out it is a former slave ship. He then goes to see his sister and makes a pass on her. On his way home a man stabs him.

First Scene:
James rides out to the place where he had secretly buried a bag in the ground to get more rough diamonds.

Second Scene:
Zilpha receives a diamond in a letter. She looks amazed but also disappointed because there are no words attached. She hides the diamond in a box in the bedroom.

Third Scene:
The reading of Horace Delaney's will. James comes in and sits down. He looks at Zilpha and licks his lips. Zilpha appears indifferent to his behaviour.
Thoyt begins with the reading of the will. "Mr. Delaney dies a widower. He is survived by two children, both present at this division. Of his daughter, Zilpha Annabel Delaney, now Zilpha Annabel Geary, there is no mention in this last will and testament."
Zilpha looks sad, but it is Thorne who looks truly disappointed about the news.
"To his son, James Keziah Delaney," Thoyt continues, "is left the only existing assets of the Delaney estate, including the Nootka trading post and landing ground on the Pacific north-west coast of the Americas, in what was former Spanish America."
James turns his head and looks at Zilpha. She looks back, then casts her eyes down. (Yeah, well, that is why he'd sent you that diamond. He knew you get nothing. He knew you need some money.)
Zilpha: "We can leave now."
Thorne: "No. We will haunt this nigger to justice."
Zilpha: "He's already haunted. Come."
James watches them.
Zilpha stands up. Thorne does, too, but screams, pointing at James: "Be sure of this, Delaney! That legacy is your death sentence!"
James shows no reaction. Thorne and Zilpha leave.
James pays the debts of his father and silences the raging crowd.

Fourth Scene:
Night. James comes to a violin concert at which Zilpha is attending. They play Beethoven's sixth symphony, an opus about nature and a forest. The music starts and Zilpha smiles. James watches her. She feels his presence before she can see him. She turns agitated. She turns her head and looks at him. He turns his head to look at her. She turns away. After the concert she watches him in a mirror watching her. He finishes his drink and walks out.

Fifth Scene:
Zilpha follows James outside. "James, please, don't."
"What? I missed you. I couldn't bear to see you alone."
They turn to face each other. "Do you know, this is so old, I could even laugh at you?"
"And yet you came outside to see me."
"Because, otherwise you would've come to me - and made very loud declarations."
"I would, yes. Is it my loudness that troubles you?"
"In the forest, no." With every word she moves closer to him. "In the jungle, no."
He smirks. "You used to straighten your skirts and march away like nothing had ever happened."
"Who marched away?" Tears in her voice. "And thank God you did?"
"This is very simple, James."
"Hmm?" He watches her closely.
"Take away a little ancient history. You live in the East, I leave in the West. There are no practical difficulties." She walks up the stairs.
"Apart from that great big river that connects us." He follows her.
She comes back, leans into him. "Did you really eat flesh?"
"Why don't you tell your friends that you're sick and come and hear everything?" He says that in a very suggestive voice. They are standing very close now, looking at each other desperately. She breathes loudly, then touches his cheek with her left hand. "I would laugh at you, but you're not well." She turns away, walking up the stairs again.
"Ah, ah, ah!" He follows her.
"And I can't stand to have you this close to me..."
He leans in. "Well, that is a shame, isn't it?" He makes a gesture with his left hand, putting two fingers together, insinuating a very small space or distance. "Because I will always be this close to you."
She trembles, sighs, and then turns away.
"Won't I?"
She runs up the stairs and back into the house. He remains shortly on the spot, looking sad, and then walks away.

Best Quote:
Brace: "I made some coffee - that'll be stone-cold."
James: "Aren't we all?"

Best Dialogs:
James: "Is it my loudness that troubles you?"
Zilpha: "In the forest, no. In the jungle, no."

James: "You used to straighten your skirts and march away like nothing had ever happened."
Zilpha: "Who marched away?"

James is determined to put everybody away who stands in his way to execute his plan.

James wasn't happy in Africa. He considers himself to be mad, which truly mad people would never do. He dislikes wearing clothes.

James hates slavery fervently. He despises all the people of London who didn't help his father in the fight against the dominant British East India Company.

James seeks a connection with the Americans.

Zilpha wants more from her brother than money (diamonds).

James and Zilpha were very close before he left for Africa. They share a lot of secrets they won't tell anyone. They love each other and it's obvious his departure hurt her deeply and though he couldn't stop thinking about her all those years, he likes to torture her for whatever reason.

James' reaction to Zilpha's mentioning of God implies that James' departure was not his decision alone.

The Crew of the Damned:
Atticus. A common man James already knew 10 years ago. He writes a book about the world.

Lorna. Horace's young widow. Appears at the reading of the will to claim her rights.

Questions & Thoughts:
Does James ever eat? (except for the one apple?)

How did James and Atticus meet in the past and what kind of relations did they have? (Atticus succeeds in making James smile.) How much older is Atticus, though he sailed with Horace?

Atticus tells James that Thorne was the one who tried to find a man to kill Horace. Did Zilpha know about his plan? Was she part of it? What does James think of it?

Who is the father of Helga's child Winter? What does Winter know about James?

What is the meaning and possible magic of the colourful stones James finds in the former slave ship and which he throws into the river?

Who is behind the name CARLSBAD? (The head of the American Society of Secret Correspondence in London)

Is the ghost of his father Horace real or just in James's mind?

What are Lorna's true intentions? Did she tell the truth or not? How does she know that James spends time in German brothels?

What and where is the jungle/the forest? What had happened there?

What does James insinuate with his gesture to Zilpha? That they are always be this close because they had slept together? Or because she had born his child? Or because the same blood runs in their veins? Did he even know about Robert before he came back? Did he tell her with the gesture "I know now", and that unnerves her? Did he mean they share a much darker secret which will always connect them?

Why did James really leave for Africa? At the age of 17 apparently? What had he done?

Taboo Episode Guide