Last Tango in Halifax, S4 E1 – The Christmas Special

Last Tango in Halifax season 4, episode 1 is the first hour of the 2016 Christmas special for this BBC series. It’s been 18 months or so since the last episode of series 3 when Gillian (Nicola Walker) and Robbie (Dean Andrews) got married. Beware the spoilers! Continue reading “Last Tango in Halifax, S4 E1 – The Christmas Special”

Last Tango in Halifax: S3 E6

The season 3 finale of Last Tango in Halifax takes place on Gillian (Nicola Walker) and Robbie’s (Dean Andrews) wedding day. The day is mainly a series of comic disasters overlaid with the faint aroma of horse shit.

There are spoilers. Continue reading “Last Tango in Halifax: S3 E6”

Last Tango in Halifax: S3 E5

Episode 5 of Last Tango in Halifax starts with a bang when Lawrence (Louis Greatorex) pulls a prank on the boys at school who put the sign on his back. By bang, I mean he tossed some firecrackers at them and pretended to shoot them. A chase scene ensued, with wild music which was also used over the credits. Continue reading “Last Tango in Halifax: S3 E5”

Last Tango in Halifax, Season 3, Episode 4

This episode is about grief, about dealing with loss, about flailing for the right choice when all of the choices are wrong, and about being there for the people who need you.

There are spoilers ahead. Continue reading “Last Tango in Halifax, Season 3, Episode 4”

Recap: Last Tango in Halifax, S2 E4

This episode of Last Tango in Halifax begins in the cafe where Celia (Anne Reid) and Alan (Derek Jacobi) continue to talk about the death of Eddie. Alan says he is an accessory after the fact.

Celia says he probably did the best thing under the circumstances. He tells her that Robbie and the police asked lots of questions. He says that’s why, 10 years on, he doesn’t mind putting a little distance between himself and Gillian (Nicola Walker).

Who's car is that
Who’s car is that?

Raff (Josh Bolt) walks up the road from school and sees a strange car in front of the house. He finds John (Tony Gardner) inside, working at his computer, and watching the baby. Raff doesn’t understand why Gillian asked John to babysit. John’s explanation is a bit lame. Raff tells John he can leave, but John says he’s invited for supper.

Get your name on the birth certificate
Get your name on the birth certificate

John asks about Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) and Raff explains that he doesn’t know how things are with her legally. He doesn’t know if Ellie left the baby with him or if she can just come back and take it.

John, because this is really his business – right? – tells Raff he must go to the registrar and get his name on the birth certificate. Because mothers have all the rights where kids are concerned, look at all the problems he’s having with his kids. Raff says, oh, I thought that was because you had a fling with Judith. Good one, Raff!

Rugby at 9:30
Rugby at 9:30

In Harrogate, Caroline is lining out Celia on the boys’ schedules for the weekend. Lawrence (Louis Greatorex) has a rugby game in the morning. Lawrence says he’s invited Angus (Felix Johnson) for a sleepover. When Celia hears the name Angus she asks, “Is he Scottish?” in a funny callback to the first time she heard the name Kate McKenzie. William (Edward Ashley) is going to work. (William’s back!) William throws down his newspaper and complains about his job.

Something literary for a name
Something literary for a name

John has assembled Raff, Ellie, Harry (Paul Copley) and Maurice (Roy Barraclough) in the registry office to get the birth certificate filled out for the little girl. No one seems to question his right to do this, although Harry and Maurice do want to know why he’s hanging about. He explains he’s writing a novel about farming and that he’s Celia’s son in law. Everyone groans.

They argue over names. John wants a literary name. Raff likes Elsie. Ellie does not. They finally agree on Emily Jane, which prompts John to quote Emily Jane Brontë. I’m the one groaning now.

John’s phone rings. It’s Lawrence, who learns that his dad is in Halifax.

We put both surnames
We put both surnames

John, Raff, and the newly named Emily Jane Greenwood Wallace stop by the grocery. They show Gillian the birth certificate. Raff says they put both surnames, because they couldn’t decide which to use. Gillian likes the new name, and comments that it’s a lot of name for a 6 and a half pound girl. That’s hilarious, because the baby they are hauling around, supposedly less than a week old, can sit up and hold up her head.

A weekend getaway
A weekend getaway

Caroline’s black SUV rolls down the highway toward the weekend getaway. The camera does love Yorkshire, doesn’t it? My gratitude to whoever finds these gorgeous locations. As they walk up to the hotel, Caroline and Kate (Nina Sosanya) talk about Celia wanting Caroline to call Alan Dad.

A happy moment
A happy moment

Caroline smiles happily at Kate and they go inside to register. Caroline tells the desk clerk, “We have reservations.”

In Harrogate, Alan and Celia are rehashing the Eddie story once again. Alan just can’t let it go. He keeps coming back to his notion that maybe it wasn’t suicide at all. Celia says, “Let’s live with what’s on the table.” The doorbell rings and Lawrence answers it thinking it’s Angus.

Oh, you're alan and celia
Oh, you’re Alan and Celia

It’s Judith (Ronni Ancona). She’s looking for John. Celia says she doesn’t know where he is. Celia says, “So you’re her, eh? You’re the whore.”

Angus arrives, Alan’s phone rings. Judith suddenly realizes who Alan and Celia are and gets all gushy about how sweet their story is. On the phone, Raff is talking over very loud music.

You can't name a baby that
They named her Calamity Jane

In all the commotion Alan cannot hear Raff telling him the baby’s name. He thinks it’s Calamity Jane. He says, “You can’t name a baby that.” Finally, he gets the name right. Lawrence tells Judith that John’s in Halifax and she leaves.

Caroline is sitting alone in the hotel drinking wine. Kate walks up and asks if she can sit there.

An angry woman
Now you made her mad

Kate is very angry, which Caroline can see, but she tries to make small talk about Greg (Marcus Garvey) anyway, and tells Kate she looks beautiful.

Kate says, “You’re unbelievable. I was so happy to be here, that you were going to treat me like your partner when we were outside the house. And then you go and book two separate rooms. Mentally I’ve left. Physically I’m here because Greg’s coming.”

Caroline tries to explain and they talk over each other for a while. Kate says, “You’re not fooling anyone. It just looks sad.”

Caroline says, “I’m not trying to fool anyone.” She says, “I was going to book a double room when I rang but I couldn’t.” She whispers they can still sleep together.

Kate says, “Sod it. Sneaking around like a couple of idiots from a 1970s bedroom comedy. I’m not having it.”

I panicked
I panicked

Caroline says, “I panicked.”

Kate says, “You have a doctor of philosophy. You’re 46 years old. You have the welfare of 857 children on your hands on a daily basis. You don’t panic. You’ve blown it.”

Greg is here
Greg is here

Greg arrives, he’s checked in, he can stay for dinner. Kate’s really happy to see him.

At the farm it’s dinner time. Gillian is grilling John about the novel he’s writing. Gillian bounces the baby on one knee as she eats. This baby is in so many scenes, plus it’s handled so quickly at times, that I’m wondering if it isn’t a very real looking baby created in one of those studios where they build dinosaurs and vampires.

Raff wants to know if he’s in John’s novel. Gillian says, “Am I your muse?” She calls the baby Calamity, which Raff says he hope doesn’t stick. A knock at the door prompts Gillian to say in a silly voice, “Why, Calam, that sounds like a knock at the door.”

Could we have more Nicola Walker doing silly voices, please?

I'm sorry
I’m sorry

It’s Robbie (Dean Andrews) at the door. He says, “I’m sorry. I overreacted. It was a long time ago and you had a lot to deal with. I’m sorry.” So, Robbie didn’t dump Gillian as she assumed he would. Gillian introduces the baby by her new name as well as her Calamity nickname and invites him in for tea.

You remember him
Remember that time?

At the hotel, Greg and Kate share a grand time talking about the good old days and people they know. Caroline is in misery.

Judith knocks on the farmhouse door. She introduces herself and Gillian says, “Well, well, well,” and gives her a once over.

It's my idea!
It’s my idea!

Judith carries a handful of typed paper. When she sees John she says, “You bastard. You stole my story.” They argue at length about who had the idea to write a novel about Alan and Celia’s story and to include the sheep farmer in the tale. Each claims the idea as their own.

Judith gets really wound up and tells Robbie about how John and Gillian slept together. She gives Robbie the complete details about the night it happened.

John blusters, tells Robbie off, says he’s no good for the kind and wonderful Gillian. He says Robbie preys on her and tells him to get lost. Robbie asks Gillian if it’s true and after some hemming and hawing, she admits the part about sleeping with John is true.

Kapow
KAPOW

Robbie slugs John.

Dumb and dumber
Dumb and Dumber

Lawrence and Angus manage to get drunk and make a huge mess. Just as Celia is berating them about it, Alan comes in to say William’s in outpatient.

At the hotel, Greg is ready to talk about the baby. He excuses himself to go to the bathroom first. Caroline says she can’t stand Greg. Kate says, “Okay. Good night then.”

Looking back
You blew it, Caroline

Caroline leaves to go to her room. She looks back sadly but doesn’t say anything. Kate stays at the table, clinching her teeth. If she had nails to crunch, she’d be spitting them.

Celia brings home a beat up William. He sits down with Alan as Celia goes to make tea.

I couldn't stand it anymore
I couldn’t stand it anymore

William tells Alan he left work because he couldn’t stand it. He was getting cash to meet a girl he likes at a club when he was attacked by two guys who beat him up.

Alan gives him a talk about confidence and what a smashing fellow he is. By the time Alan finishes, William is feeling better. Alan is the best granddad ever, even to William.

I know actors love the meaty parts, the villainous parts, because they are so much fun to act. I hope Derek Jacobi enjoys playing the charming and lovely Alan as much as I enjoy watching him at it. Charming, lovely male characters are so rare. We need more of them.

In the morning, Caroline is eating breakfast when Kate comes in. Caroline asks her where she was last night. Caroline looked everywhere for her.

I was in Greg's room
I was in Greg’s room

Kate says she went to Greg’s room for a night cap. Oh, Caroline says, you’ve made a start. Kate says no, we just talked.

Greg won't work for me
Greg won’t work for me

Caroline apologizes. She says, “I was a coward. I won’t be again. But if we are going to be parents, this bloke is the wrong person.”

Kate says, “He’s perfect from my point of view.”

Caroline sighs, leans back in a long pause. Then she says she’s going to have to give up on the idea of keeping the house. It’s unrealistic.

Kate says, “I want to have a child. I don’t need your blessing. Not after yesterday. And what you just said about the house shows me you were doing for the wrong reasons anyway. It will always be about you.”

“Are you dumping me?” Caroline asks.

“I don’t think anything ever started, did it? Just embarrassed fumbles.” Caroline looks unbearably sad. Kate tells her she and Greg didn’t do anything last night but they plan to and she’s staying there again tonight. Kate tells her she blew it before Greg even showed up. Kate gets up to leave.

Grow up
Grow up

This is hard for me, Caroline says. “Yeah, well, grow up. You think it’s easy for anyone?” says Kate.

If season 2 is about Caroline learning to be out and proud, she’s made a big mess of it so far.

Quite a shiner
Quite a shiner

At the farm, John has a bruised eye matching almost exactly the one William has. Yes, he spent the night at the farm. No, I don’t know where he slept.

I know Raff slept on the couch with the baby beside him in a box because Judith drank two bottles of wine and all the medicinal brandy in the time it takes Gillian to tie one shoelace, then passed out in Raff’s bed.

Gillian tells Raff that Robbie’s fallen out with her again. Forgiving the distant past is easier than forgiving recent betrayals – I’m backing Robbie on this.

The phone rings at the farm. It’s Harry with bad news.

Alan and Celia are tormenting Lawrence and Angus with conversation about food as they lay hungover on the couch, rugby practice forgotten. The phone rings and Gillian asks to talk to Celia. She wants Celia to tell her Dad something that will upset him.

Maurice is dead
Maurice is dead

Celia takes Alan aside and tells him that Maurice died. Apparently it was a stroke.

He was a great guy
He was a great guy

Gillian and her dad cry over Maurice while 60 miles apart. She talks to John about it.

He was fine the last time I saw him
He was fine the last time I saw him

Alan cries about Maurice with Celia.

Caroline arrives home. Alone. She has tea in the cottage with her mother. Celia tells her about buying the bungalow and not giving her money for the big house. Caroline assures her it’s okay, she just didn’t want to face up to letting the house go.

I blew it
I blew it

Celia asks about Kate and Caroline says, “I’ve blown it.” Good lord, does she look sad. She’s had her face smacked into her own inadequacies in the relationship department by Kate. Will she grow from it or continue to squirm in her own fears? Now she’s finally facing the house issue realistically. Caroline, I cannot wait to see what you do in the next episode.

Maurice was a kind and honest man
Maurice was a kind and honest man

Move forward a few days to Maurice’s funeral. Alan speaks. He mentions how badly he feels about not having Maurice at the wedding because he wasn’t able to choose between Harry and Maurice as his best man.

What should she say
What can she say?

Caroline enters a classroom where Kate is picking up papers. Caroline looks like she wants to say about 100 things, but she asks about Greg and Kate says they did the deed.

I'm leaving this room
I’m leaving this room

Caroline seems to want to say more but Kate says she finished what she came into the room to do and she’s leaving it. She walks out without another word, leaving us looking at another broken-hearted expression on Caroline’s face.

Everyone from the funeral has gone out to a pub for a drink in Maurice’s honor. Alan says that he and Celia should get married again – a big do – invite everybody. He asks Harry to be the best man. Harry hesitates and Gillian says, do it. Then she asks to make sure she’s invited.

Yes
Yes

Alan thinks to ask Celia if she’ll marry him again. She says yes and gives him a kiss. Raff says, “Get a room,” and the episode ends with a laugh.