Taboo episode 4 review: Was that the most violent episode of the Tom Hardy drama so far?

But at least Tom Hollander popped up as a comedy chemist to provide some light relief on an uneasy night of viewing

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SPOILER WARNING: DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN TABOO EPISODE 4

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You wouldn’t want to be the paid assassin sent on a mission to end the life of Tom Hardy’s James Delaney would you?

Whatever the Crown, the East India and, in tonight’s episode, the Americans, throw at him, our James always seems to get the upper hand – walking away with his long coat swishing and his top hat planted firmly on his shaven bonce.

Tonight it was the turn of the “giant” an unseemly-looking chap who had tracked our hero down to the farm where he was plotting to manufacture gunpowder.

But the “giant” didn’t count on the attentions of Delaney’s horse – yes, that’s right, Delaney’s HORSE – who alerted its master to the hidden presence of an intruder. Delaney found his man and withstood a clonking smack on the head that would have killed most mortals, before eventually vanquishing his foe.

That curved knife he carries did the job, as did a metal spike which impaled his assailant whose innards were then left to slop all over the floor. The sound effects made this particularly grisly tonight.

Yes, this was, without doubt the most violent episode so far of the drama which also included nasty prison scene involving poor Lorna Bow (Jessie Buckley) where she just about escaped being raped by the truly creepy Solomon Coop (Jason Watkins) when the East India stepped in.

And there was a truly devastating robbery committed by Delaney’s men on one of the East India’s port strongholds, complete with quite a few slit throats.

But at least we got to meet Tom Hollander’s Cholmondely, an eccentric chemist whom Delaney has enlisted to help in the manufacture of gunpowder.

Though precisely what his plans are is unclear at this stage. Will he trade it? Blow up the Tower of London? You can never tell with our man. The robbery also secured him a heap of saltpetre – aka poatassium nitrate – which is used in explosives and is also, by the way, a handy poison.

But the planning stages of the robbery offered the delightful spectacle of watching Cholmondely sampling the various forms of animal excreta scattered about Delaney’s farm. Was that pigeon dung? Or cow? Mmm….

Still, things got a darn sight bleaker when Delaney went to a ball (below) organised, it seems, by a cabal of American spies. He had one of his moody exchanges with his half sister (and lover) Zilpha (Oona Chaplin) before incensing her drunk-as-a-skunk husband Thorne Geary (Jefferson Hall) who then challenged Delaney to a duel?

Will our hero accept? Will he win?

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If you think the answer to either of those questions could even possibly be “no” then you don’t know our man at all…

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