*Warning: This article contains spoilers for Taboo.*
When Tom Hardy worked with his father, Chips Hardy, to create the character of James Keziah Delaney for Taboo, he imagined him as an amalgamation of "every classical character in one," including the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Hannibal Lecter. By taking distinct, individual traits of well-known characters, picking them apart and piecing them back together in a jumbled, perverse mess, Hardy has created a compelling and unique protagonist unlike his predecessors.
Within the confines of the corrupt political backdrop of 19th century London, Delaney is, somehow, an antihero that stirs up support in his effort to enact vengeance following his father's death, even though he is capable of the most inhumane and depraved acts. Perhaps part of Delaney's (#TomHardy) charm is the bubbling of something mythical under the surface, an attitude that his path is a divine manifestation, that he has support from entities beyond our world.
There are a few theories on the source of those bubbles, each attempting to explain how James can communicate with the dead, see ghosts, or remotely sexually assault his half-sister, Zilpha, while she sleeps. The cryptic setup of #Taboo means the big, underlying explanation of James's abilities is difficult to predict. But there are more and more clues to one smaller facet of his superhuman ability...
Can James Delaney See Into The Future?
Before this week's episode, the evidence for this was already mounting quicker than a East Indian Company hitman on a horse. In Episode 4, he allows Lorna to go to prison, reassuring her that she'll be rescued by the Company before anything bad happens. She's rescued, but only seconds before royal creep Solomon Coop attempts to rape her. When Lorna confronts James, he gives the impression he knew this would be the case all along.
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Later that episode, when about to leave the farm, James suddenly jolts to attention, goes in search of a threat and uncovers the hitman sent to kill him, with the only other plausible explanation that he, somehow, was warned by his horse.
Three Pieces Of Evidence In 'Taboo' Episode 5
There are also three decisive moments in Taboo Episode 5 that hint at James's ability to see into the future:
- He agrees to the duel with Thorne, although this could only detract from his plan.
- He mysteriously knows about the rogue informer in the Legion of the Damned.
- And, most revealing, he has a "premonition" of an explosion.
Firstly, the duel with Thorne. No matter how confident Delaney is in his ability, there's no way of guaranteeing leaving a duel unscathed — something that could unnecessarily destroy his plan.
James seems confident he'll be okay, safe in the knowledge that the East Indian Company won't want him to die, because his death donates Nootka Sound to the Americans. Surely, though, no matter how cunning Delaney is, he wouldn't bet his life on an employee tampering with Thorne's gun. Is it possible this was the result of a premonition?
Next up, the bizarre and slightly terrifying scene where James is seen ruling over his chosen team, the Legion of the Damned, with an iron fist. After giving a foreboding speech about the East Indian Company's offer of financial rewards to anyone who gives them information, James declares confidently he knows of the informant in the group, before viciously chopping off the man's thumb. He then proclaims:
"I am inside your heads gentlemen. Always."
Note: At the beginning of the scene, James gives Atticus (Stephen Graham) some gold coins. It's possible Atticus knew of the informant and tipped James off. Or, maybe we're led to believe this is the case, but once the big reveal is out, we'll see this scene in a different way — this could simply be payment for the heist.
James Has A Premonition, But Will It Come True?
Last, and certainly not least, James appears to have a premonition, when he visits chemist Cholmondeley and the child, Robert, in the farm. He turns up, claiming he thought he heard an explosion, before ominously telling the chemist to "be careful."
Time will tell if this premonition comes true, however, after James is blackmailed by American spy Dumbarton, the process is expedited by adding a dangerous chemical — chlorate — that Cholmondeley claims can cause explosions.
This is apt and that's because with only three episodes left of Taboo's first season, whatever the cause of James's ability, you know it'll be an explosive finish.
Do you believe James Delaney can look into the future?