Last Tango in Halifax might be Last Tango in Santa Fe

The Guardian tells us that Diane Keaton plans US remake of BBC’s Last Tango in Halifax. It will air on HBO. Sally Wainwright, the creator of the show, says she will be a producer of the American version but will not have a huge role in the production.

I know I have lots of feelings about this news, and I’m sure the dedicated Last Tango fans do, too.

First, where would it be set? I just made up the part about Santa Fe. It’s a cool place, there are ranches surrounding it, and a lot of films get made in New Mexico. It might be a sensible location for a series that needs both urban and rural settings along with great scenery. Diane Keaton has not asked for my opinion in this matter, however.

Who would be in it? Would Diane Keaton play Celia? She’s 67. What American actresses are in their 70s? Shirley MacLaine, Barbra Streisand, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Ellen Burstyn, Olympia Dukakis, Julie Christie, Candice Bergen are a few possible names. So we have talent in that age category, but American women don’t look their age. That’s a bit of a problem. Do we want to see anyone who doesn’t look as genuine Anne Reid in the role?

Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi in Last Tango in Halifax
Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi in Last Tango in Halifax

There are simply tons of older men to choose from for Alan. Robert DeNiro, Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Peter Coyote and dozens more. But I so like Derek Jacobi’s sweet and loving Alan. Some swaggering American who is used to waving a gun around just doesn’t feel right. And 70 year-old American men still fancy themselves leading men who should be snaring women 30 and 40 years younger than themselves. That’s a bit of a problem, too. As for the feckless John, Tony Gardner was perfection in this part. Who could equal that?

What about Caroline and Gillian and Kate? Remember my dream actress pairing of Ashley Judd and Jennifer Beals? Think they’d make a good Caroline and Kate? Other actresses in their 40s abound, include Sandra Bullock, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Renée Zellweger and lots more. But I’m sort of convinced that Sarah Lancashire is irreplaceable as Caroline. Nicola Walker in her jeans and Converse sneakers brings such nuance and subtlety to Gillian.

Casting is a challenge. Adapting the dialog and locations will be a challenge as well. Diane Keaton has taken on a huge task to make this wonderful story American. I wish her well, and I wish her great luck finding the right people to do the writing and casting and create the sets.

I’m really attached to Last Tango in Halifax. Even so, Diane Keaton is trustworthy, in my opinion. If anyone can make a love story about older adults shine, it should be Diane Keaton. Who knows, I may love the American version of this tale of second chances as much as I do the British one.

When I get attached to a show, like the Millennium series in Swedish (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest) I feel a vague dread at the arrival of American versions. Then I go see it (of course) and I like it on it’s own merit. It isn’t the same as the original, but it still has the characters and the story and I end up enjoying both versions. I’m ready to see what happens to this lovely British tale of second chances. Go, Diane!

One extra good piece of good news from The Guardian post is,

The second series of Last Tango In Halifax, one of BBC1’s biggest-rating new shows of 2012, launches next month and a third is planned.

A big hurrah for season 3.

Diane Keaton image © 2003 Columbia Pictures

3 Top Shows From the Fall TV Season

What if you picked the top 3 shows from the fall season that you were the most excited about, the most eager to see, and most wanted to recommend and talk about? That’s the question I asked myself. Here is my answer.

Last Tango in Halifax

Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid in Last Tango in Halifax
Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid in Last Tango in Halifax

Choice number 1, and an all time favorite, is Last Tango in Halifax. This BBC series was shown in the U.S. on PBS.org, where you can still watch all six episodes of season 1.

Last Tango in Halifax is built around Alan (Derek Jacobi) and Celia (Anne Reid). They were in love as teens, and probably should have married but did not because of an interesting plot twist. Sixty years later they find each other again via Facebook. They realize they are still in love and decide to get married. Their story by itself is warm and wonderful and a real treat.

We get more story than just an adventurous Alan and Celia from Last Tango in Halifax, however. The children and grandchildren of these two charming, Facebook using elders get into the mix.

Celia’s daughter Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) is headmistress of a school. She’s brilliant and snotty and sarcastic and positively luminous. Her husband of 18 years (Tony Gardner) recently ran off with another woman. In his absence, Caroline began a relationship with another teacher at her school, a woman named Kate (Nina Sosanya). When the series opens, Caroline has yet to tell anyone in her family that she’s seeing a woman. Her coming out affects each person differently and causes mayhem in several episodes. Caroline, her two sons, and Celia live in a big house with a cottage for Celia. As the season begins, Caroline’s husband arrives and wants to come back home.

Alan’s daughter Gillian (Nicola Walker) is a farmer in Halifax. She’s been a widow for 10 years and runs the farm on her own. Alan and Gillian’s teen aged son live on the farm with her. She builds rock walls, drives tractors, replaces clutches and generally is the perfect self-sufficient woman. Well, except for her habit of choosing inappropriate sex partners like 20 year old boy toys of questionable character who are already engaged to someone else. Gillian’s sexual choices cause mayhem in every episode.

The love stories of this extended group of northern England’s most engaging characters are riveting and often run parallel as everyone in both families gets a second chance at love. The best part? They are already filming season 2.

Nashville

Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere in Nashville
Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere in Nashville. Image from ABC TV.

Give me music and I’ll love you. My favorite episode of Grey’s Anatomy? The musical one. My favorite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The musical one. I love Glee and Smash (is that even still on?) and I love Nashville.

I’m also pretty darn big on Connie Britton, and she’s the star of this drama, playing country music legend Rayna Jaymes. Connie Britton isn’t a great singer, but she’s good enough. Hayden Panettiere (who is a very good singer) plays Juliette Barnes, a young country star who is trying to unseat Rayna from her throne as the queen of country. There is plenty of  musical talent on this show from many other characters. A special favorite is Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlett O’Connor, and possesses a wonderful voice. Lots of guys with guitars and big hats fill out the singing contingent. Rayna’s family is into politics so there’s political drama along with all the music industry goings-on. Rayna and Juliette both have rather messy love lives, further adding to the weekly drama.

I love the music, I love the characters (even Juliette, who we are supposed to hate) and I love the soapy melodrama of Nashville.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast.
Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast. Image ABC TV

I am so not the target demographic for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I love it anyway. I mostly love it because it reflects Joss Whedon’s sensibility about what makes a good story. That means that the gender balance is perfection, the women are as powerful and smart as the men and no concept is too ridiculous a stretch of science fiction to entertain.

I happen to believe that we need more geeky female role models for young girls (who are part of the target demographic for this show). Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a female jet pilot warrior commando, a female scientist, and a female hacker. Role models everywhere.

These are the 3 shows I get the most excited about seeing each week from this year’s fall TV season. What are your three?

NOTE: This post was syndicated on BlogHer.com.

Review: Hostages

Hostages got off to a slow start. I’m glad I stuck with it, however, because it builds week by week with unexpected plot twists, character development that throws you off balance, and increasing suspense. Episode 5 (of 13) aired this week, and I’m now well and truly hooked.

Hostages poster

I will watch Toni Collette do anything, which is where my initial interest in Hostages started. But not where it stopped. The cast is large and excellent. Take a minute to watch the trailer, before I get into the cast.

The cast can be explained as hostages, hostage-takers, and others. But you are never really sure who is actually a good person and who is not. Everything shifts, which is one reason why the show is so interesting. Here’s a lineup.

The Hostages

  • Toni Collette as Dr. Ellen Sanders
  • Tate Donovan as Brian Sanders, husband of Ellen
  • Quinn Shephard as Morgan Sanders, daughter
  • Mateus Ward as Jake Sanders, son

The Hostage-Takers

  • Dylan McDermott as FBI Special Agent Duncan Carlisle
  • Billy Brown as Archer Petit
  • Sandrine Holt as Sandrine Renault
  • Rhys Coiro as Kramer Delaney

Others

  • James Naughton as President Paul Kincaid
  • Hilarie Burton as Samantha, Brian’s mistress
  • Tyler Elliott Burke as Boyd, Morgan’s boyfriend
  • Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as First Lady
  • Joanne Kelly doesn’t appear until episode 6, but she will be the First Lady’s sister

The plot begins when Dr. Ellen Sanders is ordered to kill the President during surgery in order to save her family. The writing is tight, there’s plenty of action, and nothing is what it seems. In each episode, we learn more about the characters and their motivations, which are often surprising.

I don’t want to tell you any more about the plot than that very beginning. If you haven’t seen it yet and want to catch up, I don’t want to ruin the experience with spoilers.

Hostages is on Monday nights, opposite Castle. Not an easy spot. I’ve been taping it while watching Castle, and catching up later. That’s turned out to be a good thing, because I have all the episodes of Hostages on my DVR. I think I’m going to enjoy replaying them when the season is over and I want to look back at how the clues were revealed and how the story was constructed for the maximum suspense.

Even if you didn’t DVR Hostages, full episodes are available at CBS.com if you want to catch up. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Images ©CBS and Warner Bros. Television

Apocalyptic Thinking with The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is gruesome and gross and bloody. It depicts killing by all kinds of characters, including children. If you can stand looking at that, it’s worth watching. Why?

Because behind all the gore, it’s a story about what humans do when faced with apocalyptic events.

When they aren’t busy killing zombies, the characters in The Walking Dead do all the things that people normally do – fall in love, have kids, argue, garden, work, build things, take care of each other and look at each other with suspicion.

characters in the prison
In season 4, humans are living in a prison to keep the walkers out as life goes on inside

The Walking Dead is about a zombie apocalypse, which is of course, fiction. What this fictional event does is force the characters to face questions about morality and ethics and self-preservation that go deep into human nature. If other humans threatened your safety, would you kill the them? If people came to you in your safe place wanting to share your food and security, would you allow them in? Would you teach children to be kind and caring, or would you show them how to use a knife to kill as the character Carol (Melissa McBride) is doing in season 4?

Melissa McBride in a jail cell
Melissa McBride in season 4’s prison setting

Much of the plot deals with how humans – even while surrounded by hoards of ravening zombies – are unable to trust each other and work together for their common good. There are power struggles, there is mistrust, there is no effort to join together to try to solve the problems facing everyone. Sounds like the U.S. Congress, does it not?

There are other possible forms of apocalypse that are not fiction. Nuclear war, climate change, global monetary crises – things could fall apart in many ways. The Walking Dead gives us a template for the kind of thinking that would face us if a catastrophic event overtook the world.

Global warming, for example, is already causing change. What happens when millions of people who live in coastal cities are made homeless by rising oceans? As such climate refugees move inland, will you welcome them, help them, or regard them as a threat to what you have? If you had to move inland because your city was underwater, how would you approach your new situation?

If our infrastructure fell apart around us, would it be every man (or woman) for himself, or would you work with others to bring a peaceful organization to whatever situation surrounded you? Would you put your faith in a leader such as the character Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in The Walking Dead, or would you try to take command yourself? Rick lead for 3 seasons, realized he made mistakes, and turned his leadership over to a democratic process. Do you think something like that would work in a real world situation?

The Walking Dead takes viewers on a moral and ethical journey that’s worth exploring. Our moral and ethical choices don’t involve zombies, but real people, real human failures and behaviors. What would we do in the face of global catastrophe? The Walking Dead makes you think about these things. That’s why it’s worth watching.

What’s your opinion of The Walking Dead?

All images ©AMC Television.

Lost Girl Season 4 Trailer: Here’s What We Know – Updated

If you’re lucky enough to be Canadian, you can start watching Lost Girl in November. As a deprived American, waiting until 2014 feels like agony.

Showcase is teasing us with this trailer.

Okay. Here’s what we know now about season 4.

  1. Although Lauren tried at least twice to break up with Bo, there will still be smooching with Lauren involved in season 4.
  2. Dyson got his love back, but he was holding back by letting Lauren have Bo. Apparently that deal is off, because Bo is busy ripping his shirt off his manly chest.
  3. Even having matching naked blonde kewpie dolls in your bed isn’t always enough to distract you from whatever is lurking at the foot of the bed.
  4. Kenzie is still by Bo’s side, helping kick butt.
  5. The Morrigan is still Bo’s nemesis.
  6. Bo never sleeps in a night gown, yet we see her running through the woods in one in a dreamlike sequence. She is apparently being chased by someone in sensible shoes who might just possibly catch her because, oh no, she looks as if she’s been possessed by something evil. Frankly, my dear, I like the blue eyes better.

YES! I’m in for all of that. Bring it to my television ASAP.

Just one question. What in the world is Lost Girl going to do with George Takei? I’m dying to know.

UPDATE!

I’m seeing a lot of searches for Lost Girl season 4 trailer in my stats. Maybe the trailer above is what you were looking for, in which case – hurrah – you found it. If you were looking for the super hot teaser of Bo washing a car, you can find the exclusive of it on AOL. You’re welcome. Also, hang on to your eyeballs.

Reflections on Season 1 of Last Tango in Halifax

We’ve seen all of season 1 of Last Tango in Halifax now. It’s a good time for some reflections and personal reactions. There are many – I’ll list them randomly.

  • Credit for creating, directing and producing this show falls to Sally Wainwright. She won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Writer: Drama for the series. The show itself won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Drama Series. Derek Jacobi, Anne Reid and Sarah Lancashire were all nominated for BAFTA TV Awards. I think the awards and nominations were well deserved!
  • Except for Derek Jacobi, every face in the cast was new to me. Every performance was outstanding. I’m particularly enamored with Sarah Lancashire. She projects great strength and grace and is positively luminous.

    Sarah Lancashire
    Sarah Lancashire, image ©BBC
  • Nina Sosanya is fabulous. She’s had roles since 1992 – over 20 years as an English actress – and I’m just discovering her. She was in a number of TV series as well as Love, Actually which I must rewatch and look for her.
  • It’s frustrating to be in the U.S. and want to see TV shows with these English actors and actress and not be able to get them.
  • I really enjoyed the way the story explored the parallel lives of Caroline and Gillian and other characters. From the first episode when we saw Caroline sweeping down the aisle in her cap and gown as headmistress of her school while Gillian swept through the aisles of the supermarket, we knew we were in for a look at their two parallel worlds. The fact that they shared the same birthday, that they were both so lonely, and that they reached out to each other so quickly really worked for me. It’s like they are the sisters they laughed about being if their parents had lived different lives.
  • I loved the way Celia’s happiness gave Caroline permission to find her own happiness.
  • Gilllian was so capable and self-reliant while still being vulnerable and way too impulsive about her choices in men. She built walls and backed up tractors and installed a clutch without batting an eye. What a woman! She is one of the most interesting and most messed up characters I’ve seen in ages. All props to Nicola Walker for making her so fascinating (although she always looks like she’s checking the oil when she’s supposed to be installing a clutch).
  • I loved that Celia and Alan found each other again using Facebook! Technology changes our lives in so many ways, particularly in the way we connect with others. I’m an elder myself, and I know that many elders use technology like Facebook and blogs on a regular basis – it’s a very ordinary thing – and it’s good to see it treated as ordinary in a TV series.
  • The relationship between Celia and Alan was simply a delight. I loved that Celia and Alan were in their 70s and still vital, engaged, in love, and great dancers.
  • I liked the sets and the houses they used and the way the sets were lit. The lighting was wonderful. I loved the scenery around the farm and the landscape vistas we got to see. The costumes were perfect.
  • Celia’s transition from homophobic judging and condemning Caroline to accepting her choices – even though it was forced by Alan – was important. It happened really fast (we only had one episode for her to have an epiphany and grow) but it showed that a woman of 75 can be flexible and adaptable and evolve. That is a big deal. Anne Reid’s performance in episode 6, where all the drama over accepting Kate takes place, was stunningly good.
  • Celia and Alan fell in love as teens. Caroline told her mother at 18 that she was interested in women. Decades pass in which those early realizations and attachments don’t come to pass. Yet they remain as strong a pull on the heart as ever. When those buried emotions finally make their way out of the subterranean world where they were stored, they are as true as ever they were. This is another example of the parallel story telling that works so well in this series.
  • I love that Celia had to deal with Kate not just as a woman but as a woman of color. Celia had to deal with both issues as part of her character development – a lot to tackle in one episode. (Race relations in England are very different from the sorry state of race relations in the U.S., but it still seemed to be a hurdle for Celia.)
  • The three boys, Gillian’s one and Caroline’s two, were so protective of their mothers. They hit it off immediately when they met at the engagement do at the farm. In the same way that Caroline and Gillian are connected, I think the boys connected as well – another parallel storyline.
  • Alan and Gillian’s relationship as father and daughter was so loving and supportive. Inspiring.
  • John (Tony Gardner) worried that Caroline faked it with him, and that she was thinking of a woman when they were together. His questioning of his entire sexual history and manhood when he learns that Caroline is seeing a woman is beautifully done and rings true. If it had been another man he would have been hurt or jealous or territorial. But another woman really rattled his world. It was important that Caroline reassured him, told him she’d loved him and enjoyed sex with him. It was important partly because he needed to hear it but also because we needed to know that Caroline accepted her choices and her past without blame or regret.
  • In a series about second chances, I like that we waited until the final episode of season 1 to find out what Gillian longed for in terms of second chances. Gives us something new to look forward to in season 2.
  • Assuming Celia and Alan do get married in season 2, I’d like to see Caroline and Gillian kind of adopt each other as sisters. This will depend on how Caroline reacts to the news (you know she’ll find out) about Gillian’s little birthday boink with John. Try as I might, I cannot predict how the writers are going to have Caroline respond to this information.
  • Judging from videos I’ve seen on YouTube, PBS cuts out small bits and even whole scenes of the BBC version to air on PBS. I guess it’s a time constraint problem, but I wish we could have seen every second of this show without any snipping.
  • Anne Reid and Sarah Lancashire have played mother and daughter before, in a series called Rose and Maloney, which I don’t find available for streaming in the US. (See also Sarah Lancashire in Rose and Maloney.)

Reviewers are supposed to find things to criticize, things that are not well done. I simply don’t find anything about Last Tango in Halifax that isn’t wonderful storytelling. Season 2 cannot get here fast enough!

Season 1 of Last Tango in Halifax is available on DVD from Amazon on November 12, in case you know someone who’d enjoy getting it as a holiday gift. It’s also available from iTunes.

Do you have some reflections on season 1? Share them in the comments!

Glee: The Quarterback

Thursday evening when Glee’s The Quarterback episode in memory of Cory Monteith aired, I was at a reading by writer Terry McMillan about her new book Who Asked You? I watched Glee the next morning. I’ll get to it in a minute, I want to tell you a story first.

Before Terry McMillan spoke, there was a reception with food and music by vocalist Catherine McGill. I was seated at a table with a friend and several women I didn’t know. One of the women hummed along, kind of under her breath, with the music and I noticed what a lovely voice she had. Later we went in the auditorium where Ms. McMillan would read. While we waited, recorded music played. I wasn’t far from the woman with the lovely voice and I heard her again quietly singing a note or two with the recording. After the talk, a line formed to get books autographed, and I was standing behind the singer. I asked, “Do you sing somewhere?” She smiled and said she was raised up in the choir but she had horrible stage fright and only sang in the car and the shower. (I don’t think she realizes how much music leaks out of her by accident.) She indicated that she had given up on the idea of performing because she was so paralyzed by stage fright. She said it was the most vulnerable feeling in the world.

As a writer, I’m aware of how hard it is to read your own words – to give voice and breath to words. I said something to her about how you can’t sing without emotion and we talked about how you can’t hide when you sing, the emotion is there in your voice whether you want it to be or not.

It was a short conversation, really, but it came back to me the next morning when I sat down to catch up with Glee.

Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson
Cory Monteith as Finn Hudson

At the end of the episode, Lea Michele as Rachel Berry presented Mr. Schue (Matthew Morrison) with a plaque for the Glee club room with a photo of Finn and a quote about “the show must go on.”

The show must go on seemed to me to be the real theme for this episode. What plot there was to the episode explored how every person deals with grief in a different way. Everyone showed up and sang, they went on with the show, because they had to.

The show felt very personal. The emotion in the voices and in the music cut close to the bone. It almost felt as if the writers asked each person what they wanted to say and let them say it or sing it.

Lea Michele
Lea Michele

Lea Michele showed up and sang, how she managed I’ll never know. She clutched herself as she sang, as if her grip was the only thing holding her together.

Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester

In one scene with Santana and Sue Sylvester, as Sue talked, Jane Lynch’s lines about loss and lost potential sounded like the thoughts of everyone involved in the show.

Glee
Romy Rosemont as Finn’s mother, Kevin McHale as Artie, Naya Rivera as Santana, Chord Overstreet as Sam

There was a lot of pain in people’s faces, in their voices, in their music.

Glee couldn’t ignore Cory Monteith’s death. Something had to be done. The show had to go on. As a fan of the show, and for all of us out here on our couches, I want everyone involved with Glee to know that you are troopers – everyone who sang, spoke and appeared in “The Quarterback” –  you honored your friend, and you did it beautifully with every vulnerability you possess ringing in your voices.

It must have been hard as hell to do. Thank you.

Recap: Last Tango in Halifax, S1 E6

The episode opens with Celia (Anne Reid) and Alan (Derek Jacobi)  having a cup of coffee on their way to Celia’s. Celia tells Alan that Caroline told her when she was 18 and home from her first year at Oxford that she was interested in a woman. Celia said she didn’t want people pointing and saying things. Alan wanted to know what happened. Celia revealed there was one girl but Caroline never brought her home. In a few years Caroline met John and Celia thought it was forgotten.

Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) arrives home after taking a drunk and bloody Judith to the emergency room. Kate (Nina Sosanya) is there waiting. Caroline asks how the boys are. Kate says do you want the bad news first or the even worse news?

bad news
Do you want the bad news first, or the even worse news?

Kate tells Caroline that Gillian (Nicola Walker) rang and warned about Celia coming home. Kate says Celia is apparently taking the news badly. Plus, Lawrence now knows about Kate.

Caroline goes up to Lawrence’s (Louis Greatorex) bedroom. He is in tears and hugs her fiercely, saying he doesn’t want people being mean to her. She hugs him back and says, nobody is going to be mean to her, she can handle mean. Since we saw her effectively shut down the male teacher who tried to intimidate her, we know she’s right. Lawrence appreciates the reassurance, however.

I can handle mean
I can handle mean

At the farm, John (Tony Gardner) wakes up in Gillian’s bed. He goes outside to find her working on the clutch. Paul (Sacha Dhawan) is sitting outside reading a manual on Land Rovers while Gillian works. John comments that Gillian is up early. She says, “Early? It’s half past 7.”

We made love
We made love

“We made love,” John says. Gillian says, “You were upset. It was my birthday. Go pour yourself some tea.” John seems to want to process the night, Gillian doesn’t. She lets him know with her attitude that it was nothing but sex and she’s not interested in anything more. Paul’s a bit jealous. Gillian isn’t interested in that either.

Caroline goes to her mother’s cottage in the early morning. She looks like a child, steeling herself to face an angry parent. She says she’s sorry Celia heard what she heard the way she heard it. Alan tries to leave them alone, but Celia insists he stays.

Caroline says, “I don’t know what you’ve heard.” Celia answers, “Well, I’m assuming it’s nonsense.”

Alan looks at Celia in dismay. He doesn’t like the way Celia is dismissing Caroline.

assuming its nonsense
Alan doesn’t like Celia to assume it’s nonsense.

Caroline tries to explain how she and Kate became close and how things developed. Caroline said, “She thinks the world of me, and I think a lot about her.”

Celia raises her voice and calls it sudden. Caroline says it isn’t sudden, that she tried to talk to her mom about it when she was in university. Celia ignores that and says, “Why did you marry John?”

Caroline answers that she married him because she like him and thought they could have a good life, which they did until he ran off with Judith.

Caroline wants her mother to get it. Caroline says, “I’m too old to pretend anymore.” Celia is untouched by the pain in Caroline’s face. Caroline says, “I’d like both of you to meet Kate.”

too old to pretend
I’m too old to pretend any more

Celia says, “No thank you.” Caroline insists they must. She says she’s called Kate McKenzie, which prompts Celia to ask if she’s Scottish. Caroline answers, “No, she’s Nigerian.” The Brits are far more enlightened about race that we are here in the states, but the implications of the word Nigerian wash across Celia’s face in an unpleasant way. Celia announces that she and Alan have decided against the school chapel and will make other plans.

decided against the chapel
We’ve decided against the school chapel and it would be better if I moved out.

Celia says it would be better if she moved out. Alan watches her walk away from Caroline with a horrified expression on his face.

Talking to Gillian
Lesbian spores?

Alan arrives back in Halifax on the train, where Gillian is waiting to pick him up. They stop in a pub where he tells her the story. Gillian says, “Why does she have to move out so fast? Is she afraid she’s going to get infected with lesbian spores?”

Alan explains that he told Celia that Kate seemed like a nice person and that was what mattered. He says it’s nothing these days, people don’t bat an eye at lesbians.

John arrives home. Caroline says, “I specifically asked you not to tell my mum.” He says he’s sorry. He says he went to Halifax to talk to Gillian. Caroline says, “I knew you were infatuated with her.” He keeps quiet about the sex with Gillian. He offers to apologize to Celia.

Then Alan asks her about the hundreds – thousands – of times they had sex. He wants to know what she was thinking about.

what were you thinking
What were you thinking about?

She says she can’t remember. She says, “I was a good wife. You blew it, not me. I liked having sex with you. I’m sorry if that doesn’t compute but it’s true. I liked you. I loved you. I wanted to have children with you.”

He says he feels used. She talks about how sordid Judith’s flat is and how vulnerable Judith is. When John asks what she was doing with Judith she answers, “I was having sex with her.” He believes it for a moment, but she quickly adds, “That was a joke.” She explains about Judith accidentally slashing her wrist in the garden, William fainting, and how it was a memorable birthday.

At the farm, Paul and Raff (Josh Bolt) are on the couch playing video games like old friends when Gillian and Alan arrive.

Paul and Raff play video games
Paul and Raff play video games

Alan and Gillian go in the kitchen where Alan continues to worry over his disappointment in Celia. He says, “She reads The Daily Mail.” Gillian turns very seriously and says, “How long have you known this?” Then they giggle. They talk about Celia’s honesty and plain spokenness, which Alan normally likes. Alan says he was shocked by how unkind and unthinking she had been toward Caroline. Gillian says, “You’re not going to fall out with her.”  He doesn’t answer.

Celia comes to Caroline’s door and asks to talk to her. She says it’s been several days since she talked to Alan. He wants Celia to meet Kate. Caroline says she can cook dinner for Kate and Celia and Alan. Celia mutters Oh, god, under her breath as Caroline leaves. She’s only doing it for Alan.

The night of the dinner, the boys are helping with the table, Kate is helping make salads. Celia and Alan are in her cottage waiting for 8:00 to go to dinner. He tells her he thinks she’s bigoted, small minded and old fashioned. She denies it and claims she is not. She’s bewildered by his opinion.

I'm not bigoted
I’m not bigoted or small minded or old fashioned

Robbie (Dean Andrews) arrives at the farm. Gillian greets him with a big smile. Robbie’s brought wine for dinner with Gillian. He’s a bit surprised to see Paul still there, but he accepts it. Their dinner will include Robbie, Gillian, Paul and Raff. It’s odd, but it works for Gillian.

Robbie
Robbie

At the other dinner party at Caroline’s, Kate is trying very hard, talking to Celia and Alan about how wonderful their story is, which she calls uplifting and extraordinary. Celia is being difficult. Alan keeps attempting to  jolly Celia in to behaving better. He says William and Raff put their names on Facebook. Kate says, “I know all about it. Caroline told me.” She takes Caroline’s hand when she says this. Celia looks horrified.

touching
Caroline told me all about it

Alan reminds Celia to ask Caroline about using the chapel after all. She acts reluctant to ask. Kate offers a choir – seems she runs the choir at school.

William mentions he’s in the choir. Lawrence says that’s because William is a puff. He says William fainted.

Kate asks what music they would like and Alan mentions “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.” Celia is still reluctant to talk about this with Kate. By now Caroline and Celia are shooting daggers at each other with their eyes.

Celia asks why William fainted and Lawrence says, Judith slashed an artery and he got sprayed in mad alkie-woman blood. Kate tries to make light of it, which lets Celia know she was there. Kate asks about honeymoon plans.

Caroline asks to talk to Celia in the other room. They leave the room, but everyone can hear them arguing. Caroline says, “Why are you being like this?” Celia says, “I can’t stand seeing you make a fool of yourself.”

make a fool of yourself
I can’t stand seeing you make a fool of yourself.

Celia says that Kate is only being nice to Caroline because she wants a promotion. She says that Caroline doesn’t love Kate, a fact she thinks she knows because Caroline didn’t say it outright the other morning. Kate hears this and looks hurt. Alan is mortified on Kate’s behalf. Celia says, “It turned my stomach when she touched you.” Caroline says, “She touched my hand.”

Celia goes back to her cottage. Alan lingers. He asks Kate if she’s all right. She says she’s tough as an old boot. Kate calls a cab and goes outside to wait for it. Caroline chases her outside and asks her to stay. Kate says, “I always knew you didn’t feel the same about me as I feel about you.” She leaves even as Caroline asks her again not to go.

disappointed
I’m disappointed

At Celia’s cottage, Celia says, “Well, that’s done.” Alan says, “Yes, that’s done,” in a sad voice. She asks if he’s all right. He says, “No, I’m disappointed.”

alan arrives on the train
Alan arrives on the train

Morning in Halifax and Alan has come home on the train again. Gillian and Alan stop at the pub for a talk. He tells her that he thought Celia should try to get on with Kate. He was hurt because Celia told him that her relationship with Kate wasn’t any of his business. He told her they’d reached the end of the line. Celia answered that she couldn’t feel something she didn’t. Gillian is sorry that he thinks it’s ended. He looks terribly sad.

At home, Celia is sitting alone. It looks as if she’s been doing it for hours. Let’s hope she’s doing some soul searching. When Caroline gets home from work she asks to speak to her. She says Alan’s dumped her. Caroline just says, “Oh.” Celia says it’s all because of Caroline’s business. Caroline says, “Don’t you dare blame me.” Celia says, “I’ve been so happy.” Caroline says, “If it’s any consolation, Kate’s finished with me.” Kate handed in her resignation, which Caroline has in her purse.

Caroline calls her mother a nasty, small-minded old bitch. Celia recoils as if she’d been slapped. John comes in and says, “Don’t speak to your mother like that.” Caroline counters, “I haven’t got a mother.” Celia, who was already miserable about Alan, is clearly hurt deeply by Caroline’s venom. Then Caroline runs up to her room where she starts sobbing.

Gillian and Alan talk
Gillian and Alan talk

Gillian and Alan are on the couch at the farm. Gillian tells Alan that Robbie asked her out, proper. She reminds Alan that he apologized the other night. We learn that she went out with Robbie before she married Eddie. She says she always liked Robbie. Alan and Celia seem to have lost their second chance at love. Caroline seems to have lost her second chance at love. Here we are in the last episode of the season and we learn that Gillian is hoping for her own second chance at love. The writing on this show is so good!

Alan is rubbing his chest and dismisses it as indigestion when Gillian is concerned.

Celia goes to Kate’s house. Celia talks about her unhappy marriage, about how Caroline was the one thing that kept her going. She talks about how Caroline reminds her of her dad, whom she still misses. Celia says, “The thing that worried me when she told me when she was 18 – what worried me – was I thought it was my fault, by being so disappointed in Kenneth. I thought it was my fault.”

Kate says, “Celia, that’s not how it works.”

not how it works
That’s not how it works

Celia says, “Now I know that.” She adds, ” I just want her to be happy.” She give’s Kate a plaintive look. “Don’t leave her.”

don't leave her
Don’t leave her

The next thing we see is Celia and Kate arriving at Caroline’s door. Caroline opens it and realizes what’s happened. Celia leaves and heads for the cottage. From Celia’s viewpoint outside the house, we see Kate and Caroline on a couch touching and laughing. Celia smiles.

At her own cottage, Celia sees Alan inside and she’s suddenly joyful, but when she gets the door open and turns on the light, he isn’t there.

In the morning Celia drives to the farm. Only Paul is inside. He tells her that Alan had a heart attack. He says the paramedics brought him back from the dead.

Celia rushes to the hospital where she finds Gillian and Raff in Alan’s room. Gillian is crying, she says she didn’t ring because they split up and he was so unhappy. Celia says she’s put everything right and she needs him to know.

Gillian crying
Gillian cries as she tells what the doctor said

Gillian explains what the doctors said and how bad it is. He hasn’t been conscious at all. Celia wants to sit with him and tell him that she’s put things right. Gillian tells her to go ahead.

Celia sits down and talks to the unconscious Alan telling him that it turns out that she’s not bigoted or small minded, but that she blamed herself for Caroline being “the other way inclined.” She says, “I’ve been on the road to Damascus, come out the other side. They’re back together, the ladies. I’m assuming you and I are back on.”

Caroline arrives at the hospital. She hugs Celia and they apologize to each other. She asks how Alan is and Celia whispers, “Not good.”

not good
How is he? Not good.

Alan is dreaming about their youth, about the time he asked Celia out, the time he asked her to meet him on the bridge at 6 PM and she agreed.

Alan awakes saying, “I always knew you’d turn up eventually, even if it took you 60 years.” Celia says, “Hello.” Alan asks, “Did I come to see you last night or were I dreaming?” He says he loves her and he doesn’t care. She says, “I went round to Kate’s house last night and they’re back together.” Celia says, “You’ll never guess. Kate can play the organ. She can play The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.”

you'll know
Kate knows The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba. That’ll be coming in handy.

Alan laughs. Celia smiles. The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba plays in the background. The first season ends on a happy note.

What are your thoughts about this episode?

All images ©BBC productions

Jon Stewart’s Interview with Malala

Malala Yousafzai is 16 now and is appearing in promotion of her book I am Malala. The Pakistani girl is the youngest person ever nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Her story and her courage are remarkable. Jon Stewart had her on The Daily Show.

 

At the end of the interview, Jon Stewart mentions malalafund.org where you can donate in support of education for girls. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban is available from Amazon.com (affiliate link).

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is so much fun

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. puts me in a zone where the passing of an hour of TV seems to take about 5 minutes. I’m shocked when it’s over – already?

I know it’s a comic book come to life, so I guess I’m a 10 year-old at heart. I love the way it looks, I love the special effects, and I love love love the female characters. I even love the male characters.

The special effects are fun. Semi trucks lifting into space, gravity defying machines, floating weightless in airplanes, cool tech gadgets everywhere you look.

Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May

Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May is a pilot, a soldier, and guardian of Agent Coulson’s safety (which Agent Coulson doesn’t seem to realize.) She dresses in black leather and looks powerful and awesome in her costumes. In all that leather, she looks like she just came from the set of Lost Girl.

Chloe Bennet as Skye
Chloe Bennet as Skye

Chloe Bennet as Skye has mad skills with a computer and can work her way into an enemy compound with nothing more than her smart phone. She originally went into S.H.I.E.L.D. undercover for The Rising Tide, but has committed to S.H.I.E.L.D. at this point. She is the geeky young female character for tweens and teens to see as a role model that I long for more of in popular entertainment.

Elizabeth Henstridge
Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons

Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons is another geeky young female role model. She’s a scientist, along with her partner in science, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz.

Let’s add this up.

  1. Female jet pilot and action hero
  2. Female computer whiz who’s learning to be an action hero
  3. Female scientist who can do anything sciency the team needs

Three amazing female characters in one place. What a joy. What a gift.

What about the guys?

Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
Brett Dalton as Grant Ward

Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, or Mr. Impossibly Handsome, can do anything in combat and turns out to be Mr. Really Nice Guy under his chiseled chin. He’s willing to mentor Skye and bring her self-defense skills up to speed.

Clark Gregg
Clark Gregg in action with Ian Hart

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson wears a suit and tie, even in combat, and leads his team of agents with stoic calm. He just has to stand there in that suit and tie to be funny, like Jack Benny giving a camera a double take. Plus he is a miracle man, because he got killed off in another comic book universe somewhere. How can you improve on that?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is great entertainment. Do you agree?

Images ©ABC television.