TV Club: Even treason, torture, and a solved murder mystery are tedious on Taboo
For all its flaws, Taboo knows how to drop a last line that resonates, and so does Tom Hardy. “I have a use for you“ is the phrase that echoes through “Episode 7.” James intones it ominously to Robert, to Godfrey, and finally to Sir Stuart, escorted to a cell in the prison where James has been tortured for 12 brutal hours without yielding.
James’ insistence on the usefulness of his confederates and his enemies is both sinister and effective, but the word that keeps popping into my head as I watch Taboo—the florid, outdated word James’ contemporaries might have used in this context—isn’t “useful.” It’s “inutile”: useless, pointless, unprofitable. With just one episode left in the limited series’ current run (but with the possibility of more to come), Taboo remains grim, grimy, grotesquely lavish, and ultimately tedious.
Buried beneath layers of muck and magic, the …