Last Tango in Halifax: S3 E5

Caroline with the baby and a ghostly Kate

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.

It’s been 6 weeks since Kate’s (Nina Sosanya) death. Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) is still having regular mental chats with her.

The name of the Headmistress on the sign outside the school is Caroline McKenzie Dawson.

Caroline peels potatoes

On this day, Caroline and Gillian (Nicola Walker) are peeling potatoes and carrots in Gillian’s kitchen. They talk about Lawrence’s suspension from school, about their own pranks as school girls. Caroline’s story was about doctored up food from home economics. Gillian’s was about shagging Robbie (Dean Andrews) in the cricket pavilion.

Gillian asks Caroline if she will come to the wedding. Caroline says it would look odd if she didn’t. Gillian’s ouch is internal.

Dinner in Gillian's kitchen

Over dinner, Alan (Derek Jacobi) and Celia (Anne Reid) complain about the football match that Gary (Rupert Graves) dragged them to. They were bored, but saying no to Gary is not so easy.

Robbie asks if Caroline is back at work. Yes, for the last two weeks. She hired Holly (Cara Theobold) as a nanny. She disappears inside herself for a bit, but no one seems to notice.

Gary calls Gillian.

The phone rings. It’s Gary wanting Gillian to meet him on Monday. Gillian makes hilarious faces for the dinner table crowd as she assures Gary that Alan and Celia loved the football. When she hangs up, Gillian says she has a million and one things on Monday. Raff (Josh Bolt) really likes Gary, but the consensus at the table is he’s needy and annoying. Caroline thinks they should tell him the truth about their issues with him instead of talking about them over dinner.

Celia and Alan get ready for bed

That night, Alan talks to Celia about how humiliating and embarrassing it was for Gary to introduce him – 3 times! – as his real dad. The bloke who was unfaithful to his wife. Celia’s advice: say something to Gary about it.

John is at Caroline's house

When Caroline gets back to Harrogate, John (Tony Gardner) has been there with Lawrence. He has his own flat now. He asks how Gillian is. He asks Caroline how things are for her.

She answers, “Shit. But it will get better.” She looks exhausted and downhearted. He goes for his jacket.

Kate appears in Caroline's mind

Caroline turns around and sees Kate by the baby. Kate says, “You were happy today. I saw you.” Caroline says, “Briefly.”

Caroline gets upset with John

John comes back and asks if they could get back together. Caroline says, “It’s six weeks since Kate died. Are you seriously asking me that question?” She unloads some venom on him about what an idiot he is and concludes with “I’m a lesbian. I like sleeping with women. I always did. And – this is after you’ve been trying so blatantly to get inside Gillian’s knickers.”

Kate and Caroline look at Flora

Caroline slams the door behind John and picks up Flora, who is fussing. She says, “Told you I didn’t want a baby,” to the Kate she feels beside her. Kate says, “I’m sorry. Are you angry with me?” Caroline answers, “Sometimes.” Caroline stares down at Flora for a long time, feeling Kate’s presence with her.

Robbie and Gillian on the sofa

Robbie and Gillian talk about how he and Eddie were adopted. Robbie says he knew Eddie was a mad bastard, that he had demons.


Alan and Celia arrive back in Harrogate in time to see Caroline off to school. Holly, the nanny, says she and Flora are going for a ride in the car today. After Caroline kisses the baby goodbye, Holly says, “How about a kiss from big brother today?” Lawrence declines. As Caroline and Lawrence head out the door, they argue over whether or not Lawrence is Flora’s big brother.

Gary talks to Gillian

Gillian meets with Gary. He has an agenda, none of which sits well with Gillian. A) He wants to hire Raff full time and train him as an accountant. He claims this is Raff’s idea. B) He wants to pay for Gillian and Robbie’s wedding in a posh location with lots of guests. He wants to celebrate the wedding, but he also wants to celebrate “us.” Meaning him finding his biofamily.

When Gary doesn’t get the answers he wants from Gillian, he pouts.

Robbie and Gillian behind the police headquarters

Gillian heads for the police station to talk to Robbie about how insulted she is by Gary. Robbie kind of likes the idea of Gary paying for the wedding. Then they could have a nicer honeymoon. He also likes the idea of letting Raff take the full time job.

Alan answers the phone

Gary calls Alan. Gary says he thinks he’s upset Gillian. Alan tells him to take Gillian at her word about not paying for the wedding. Alan says he is her dad, he should be the one reaching in his pocket.

The conversation is a little hectic for Alan, because Celia is signaling him to tell Gary to stop introducing him as his dad.

Celia’s phone rings.

Celia answers the phone

It’s Caroline. Flora is in the hands of the police. Caroline wants them to meet her at the police station. Holly’s been arrested. They dash off.

Caroline finds Flora at the police station.

When Caroline gets to the police station, she learns that Holly was 4 times over the limit for alcohol.

Caroline paces the floor holding Flora

At home, Caroline paces the floor, holding Flora. Alan and Celia are there with her. She rants about Holly, about how she’s still shaking from the incident. She asks what she’s going to do. She won’t hire another nanny  – Kate would kill her. She’s going to have to rethink everything. Resign. Even with a nanny she has so much to do. She can’t sleep, she can’t think. She wants Flora to feel loved, not like she’s an inconvenience.

Celia says, “Who else is there?”

Kate suggests someone

That nagging Kate inside Caroline’s mind knows someone else. Greg (Marcus Garvey). He isn’t so bad, Kate repeats.

Caroline says she might ring Greg. He’s a jerk but he’s self-employed and he did offer.

Celia plays the piano

Celia and Alan entertain Flora by singing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Caroline calls Greg.

Gary in Gillian's kitchen

Gary’s struck out getting what he wants, so he drives his Aston Martin to the farm in Halifax. Raff, Robbie, Gillian and Gary have an extended and not very friendly discussion about the various things Gary wants to do for Raff and for Gillian’s wedding. Gary doesn’t get a yes on the wedding, but Gillian does bend enough to say that if Alan is in favor of Raff taking a full time job, she would agree. Raff is eager to do it.

Gillian in the barn

Gillian goes out to the barn sneaks a phone call. She asks Alan to come back to Halifax to talk to Raff.

Alan talks to Raff and Ellie

Alan talks to Raff and Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) about the college vs. job issue. He convinces Raff to think about it for 2 weeks before making a decision.

After Gary leaves, Alan and Gillian discuss how annoying Gary is, how he doesn’t think about how he affects other people. Alan complains again about Gary introducing him to people as his “real dad.”


That night, Gillian has a bedtime conversation with Robbie. She tells him how Eddie knocked her about, burned her with cigarettes, how she shed blood in every room of the house. She mentions she’s never told anyone but Caroline about this. That’s as far as her story goes, she leaves out the big finale.


Robbie wants to know why she’s telling him this now. She says it’s because he said what he did about Eddie being a mad bastard.

Greg is ga ga over the baby

Greg arrives in Harrogate. Caroline introduces him to Lawrence as Greg Birchill (that might not be the right last name, but it’s close). Greg rushes in to see Flora. He’s completely gaga over her. Caroline thanks him for coming as Lawrence stares at him.

Lawrence is happy

Lawrence asks if he is the Greg Birchill who does superhero comic books. It turns out Greg is a famous comic book artist, known and loved by every adolescent boy in Britain. Lawrence is overjoyed.

Celia is skeptical about the comic books

Greg’s able to work a few hours a day on his books while Flora naps. And he’s thrilled to be taking care of her. He even likes changing nappies. Celia is skeptical of the size of the knockers on the women in the comics. Surely they should just fall over, those knockers are so big.

Flora gets a kiss from Caroline

Greg talks baby talk to Flora and calls himself daddy. He apologizes. Caroline says, “But you are her daddy.” She checks to make sure he knows where everything is, kisses Flora, and heads off to work.

Gillian walks away from Ollie

Gillian’s interviewed for a new job in a new supermarket. As she’s leaving a handsome young fella named Ollie (Jaz Martin) steps out from behind the cheese counter and calls her name. They know each other from nights at a bar. He expects her to drop everything and have sex with him over his noon hour. He has a whole hour! She walks away, but she’s hot and bothered enough by him that she grabs a newspaper to fan herself with as she leaves.

And there’s the small problem of her starting work there on Monday. Ollie be trouble, Gillian. Just say no.

Greg says hi to John

John arrives at Caroline’s with flowers as part of his campaign to get Caroline back. (Chrysanthemums, which she hates.) Lawrence, Caroline and Greg are having dinner. Greg greets John with an offhanded wave.

When John asks about Flora, Greg answers in detail, right down to the color of her poop. John wonders where the nanny went. Caroline says, “We’re just eating,” in a voice that means get out.

John's mad

Mad as hell, John goes to Celia’s cottage. He wants to know about the guy who’s moved in with Caroline.

Alan is angry

John moans about Judith. John thinks because Alan had a fling, he should understand why John feels so misunderstood. Alan does not appreciate this line of reasoning.

Caroline first hears about Judith

John tells them Judith didn’t mean anything, that he never intended to leave Caroline. But when he confessed about her, Caroline got angry. We see it as a flashback.

Caroline takes aim at John

She hurled things at him, cursed him, and booted him out. He didn’t leave to be with an alcoholic – Caroline threw him out. Therefore, Alan and Celia should be on his side.

The poor-John train gathers no steam with Alan and Celia.

Gary tells his story to the news

Gillian rings before Celia and Alan get John to leave. She asks her dad if he’s seen The Courier. Gary told the story of his “real dad” to the newspapers.

Some Thoughts

Caroline only holds the baby when she has to. She acts affectionate toward her when other people are holding her, but she’s quite willing to let other people hold her. When she used the word inconvenience to describe the baby, I think it’s because she feels that way about her. I think there’s a crisis coming over Caroline’s bonding with Flora. The scare with the nanny didn’t seem to wake her up about it. Maybe it’s because she’s still in the anger stage of grieving.

The 5 stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Caroline has a long way to go. The depiction of grief is so well done. Each person grieves in their own way, but one thing that is common for many is that feeling that the person who was lost is still there. Talking to them, feeling their presence – those are common reactions. Sarah Lancashire is brilliant at her job.

We are all grieving right along with Caroline, and like her, we are still in the anger stage.I’m glad to see Nina Sosanya, even in tiny bits. It’s reassuring to know she wasn’t tossed out on her ear in the middle of series 3. We are all grieving right along with Caroline, and like her, we are still in the anger stage. Many people threatened to quit watching the show when Kate was killed. I wonder if viewership actually dropped off.

Speaking of coming crises:

  1. Gary is a bit off, is he not?
  2. Ollie: there be dragons.
  3. Robbie is a cop. He knows what abused women are driven to do. He was suspicious when Eddie died. Now Gillian’s told him how he treated her.

John is simply flailing and has been ever since season 1. He never seems to make any progress as a character. Suppose he’ll ever sober up and go to a 12 step group? That would help.

20 thoughts on “Last Tango in Halifax: S3 E5”

    1. Odd, I’ve noticed her being left handed before, but I didn’t pick up the throwing thing. I loved that scene. She was so furious! I loved the way she way she yelled, “18 fucking years” and blasted the biggest thing she could find down the stairs.

  1. John is so pathetic.Nobody likes him,nobody wants him and he has the guts to complain that Celia and Alan aren´t on his side. Pity that Caroline didn´t really hit him when she threw things at him.

    Well,seems that C&C are getting along again.It´s a bit painful to see that Kate´s death really seems to fix their relationship.
    Agree with you about Flora.I shouldn´t wonder when Caroline gives her away.I mean she already told Ghost-Kate that she never wanted a child and Ghost-Kate probably noticed by now that Caroline is a bit stressed.

    Not sure what I think about Ghost-Kate.I think she´s just there for the fans.To give us a little treat that we´re no longer upset about her death.

      1. Or maybe she has to give her up at one point because of the authorities.Like she said to Greg at the funeral,she is nothing to Flora and Kate probably never wrote a testament.

        I´m a bit surprised how good Caroline and Greg get along.Sure she needs him but nontheless was he reason why they split up.
        Did they talk about this?

        Liked Celia´s comment about the comic book 😀

      2. I think the split was because Caroline couldn’t find her way to live out of the closet yet. Greg was a side issue.

        I loved Celia’s comments on the comic book, too. Sometimes she makes me cringe, but she was right on with the social commentary on the way women are depicted in super hero comic books.

      3. Dunno,guess it was the combiantion of not being out & proud and the fact that Kate actually wanted to sleep with Greg that caused the split.And Kate didn´t really asked Caroline if she wanted a child,Kate simply told her that she wants one and Caroline has to deal with.
        Never really understood why Sally wanted Kate to sleep with Greg(I know Kate explained it)

      4. One more thing, Nicole. Caroline told Greg at the funeral that she is listed on the birth certificate as a parent. That and the name change we saw at the start on the school sign suggest that she and Kate had all the legal work taken care of before the wedding.

    1. I think John is a brilliant participant in the story. He is pathetic and annoying but he’s so well written and cast that he is thoroughly believable. He makes me smile every time he’s on screen.

  2. The scene where Kate asked Caroline is if she was angry to me was very poignant. To be so close and not be able to touch..Wow..And I wish people would quit calling Kate a ghost. She’s not a ghost. Caroline is having conversations with Kate inside her head. I do that on a daily to people as if they are really in the room. I don’t know what that says about me and my state of mind, but I do. Second, Sarah is looking quite ravishing and it seemed when she was disheveled she looked better. Thirdly, I enjoy the scenes between Sarah and Nicole. They hold their own with each other. And I yes, I’m still grieving and STILL quite angry.

  3. Gary is creeping me out. I worry about Raff taking a job from him when he (Gary) is so nervous and needy. What if he got angry or felt hurt over some “slight” and dumped Raff? The boy would have no education and no job reference. I don’t know. Gary just doesn’t seem someone to pin your dreams on.

    I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a new baby at 40-something, be newly widowed, only recently divorced, have two teenaged sons, and have a demanding FT job al at the same time.

  4. Jane Hutchinson

    When I see Caroline with Flora, I’m reminded of Raff and Ellie with their new baby, right after their baby was born. Raff and Ellie have settled down since then and are both being nurturing parents to their baby. I think things will settle down with Flora and Caroline, and I think Caroline will be a nurturing parent, which is what Kate would want.

    Alan tells Gillian that Gary doesn’t think about how he affects other people. The same was said of Gillian in previous seasons of Last Tango In Halifax, with her sleeping around, etc. Most recently, she didn’t attend Caroline’s wedding, which was hurtful to Caroline.

    I have a hard time with Sally Wainwright creating this character Gary who wants to pay for a posh wedding and set up Raff in a good career. Doesn’t seem believable to me. And if the spoilers are correct, Gary will be throwing more money around in the next episode.

    1. Jane, you’re right about the correlation with Raff & Ellie and Caroline. I hadn’t thought about it before, but it’s really there.

      Of all the things Gillian has done, I thought not going to Caroline’s wedding was bad. And Celia not going was unforgivable. I don’t care how upset she was, it was unforgivable.

      Gary thinks he can buy anything he wants. He has a lot to learn.

      1. Jane Hutchinson

        I think many of the characters in Last Tango In Halifax are guilty of impulsive behavior, not thinking about how their behavior will affect other people. And some of the behavior, like you say, is unforgivable.

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