This episode of Last Tango in Halifax opens with the two great granddads (Derek Jacobi and Paul Copley) as well as Alan’s other sidekick (Roy Barraclough) with the baby at the pub. They talk about what the little girl should be named.
Both of Alan’s sidekicks think they were asked to be the best man and are hurt because they weren’t invited to the wedding. Alan tells them neither of them were asked to be best man and they should let it drop.
Celia (Anne Reid) is in Harrogate picking up bits to take back to Halifax. She’s in the kitchen telling Kate (Nina Sosanya) about how shocked and unprepared Raff (Josh Bolt) and Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) are to be parents. Celia thinks they are scared of the baby.
John (Tony Gardner) comes in to ask Celia several questions about Gillian (Nicola Walker), all of which Celia ignores. As far as Celia is concerned, John isn’t even in the room.
Kate asks if it’s really Raff’s and Celia says that’s been confirmed by the chemist. Ellie’s parents aren’t helping with the baby so Ellie and the baby are at the farm. Celia says the child hasn’t even got a name. Kate rattles off 4837 girls’ names as in a long monologue. Then she says, “I don’t know. It all depends on what Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) thinks.” Oops.
Celia and John both say, “You and Caroline?”
Celia doesn’t know how ladies have babies, although John opines that they do. Celia says Caroline wouldn’t want to go through all that again at her age. Kate glances down and says, “No,” but she points out that both of them are still capable of having a child. John asks if they are serious about a child and Kate tells him of course not.
Celia asks where Caroline is and Kate says she had to stay late for a school production of King Lear. Celia leaves saying, “Tell her to pop round, but not tonight. If she has to sit through King Lear she’ll just want to lie down.” Since Derek Jacobi recently did a production of King Lear and is an old hand at Shakespeare, I found this very funny.
John immediately calls Gillian. She’s squirting something into the mouths of her sheep, but manages to answer the phone. He asks her how things are and she says, “Complicated.” He says he thinks about her all the time and she says, “About putting money in the farm?” He says, well, yes, but he’s been writing again. He’s writing about his real life and Gillian is the star of the story.
John asks Gillian out for a drink or dinner. She says, “I can’t. Too messy.”
Alan and Harry arrive at the farm with the baby to find Raff and Ellie playing video games. When they don’t respond to the need for a clean nappy, Harry turns off the TV.
They complain and he says, “It’s not real. Me and your granddad lived through the Blitz.” Ellie smarts off and Harry says they know everything except how to avoid getting pregnant. Raff throws the game controller and runs upstairs.
Alan goes to him. He is the world’s greatest grandad. Raff is crying and scared and talking about needing to get a job and quit school. Alan encourages him to stay in school. Raff thinks going to school now is ridiculous.
Later, Alan and Celia chat on the phone. While they are talking, Celia’s on the computer. She books an appointment on a real estate web site to look at a house – a bungalow, she calls it. Alan talks about the mess things are in with the baby and Celia tells him not to get stressed. She says, “I’m missing you.” Celia brings up the topic of girls’ names again, and suggests Cordelia and Goneril from King Lear. The way she says Goneril it sounds like a social disease. Anne Reid is having fun with Shakespeare tonight.
Caroline arrives home. She sees Kate sleeping on a couch and smiles affectionately. She walks over to Kate, kneels down on the floor beside her, caresses her cheek to wake her up. When Kate opens her eyes, Caroline says, “You’ve been crying.” Kate tells her she was feeling a bit sorry for herself. Caroline says, “Was it John? My mother?” Kate shakes her head no. Caroline asks if Kate wants to tell her about it in bed, and Kate says yes.
Caroline gives Kate a brief kiss. Almost immediately, Kate says, “Have you been eating peanuts?” Caroline ate some popcorn during the play, which was peanutty enough to set Kate off into an allergic reaction. Kate lies down on the floor, panting and wheezing. Caroline grabs an EpiPen device from Kate’s purse and shoots Kate in the leg with it as she calls for an ambulance.
Lawrence (Louis Greatorex) walks by just as Caroline is bent over Kate, vigorously rubbing her leg to encourage the epinephrine on its way. Caroline’s been calm and in control through the whole scene, holding Kate’s hand while efficiently giving her the shot, but she gets flustered and funny when she tries to explain their position on the floor to Lawrence.
Caroline tells Kate she’s so sorry about the popcorn. Kate says she was crying about a baby. The conversation with Celia and John did upset her, after all.
Gillian tells Raff to get to bed. He’s full of excuses about why he doesn’t want to sleep in the room with Ellie and the baby. Gillian goes to get him a blanket and, from behind Raff’s back, signals to Robbie that she wants him to come upstairs. He will.
At breakfast the next morning, Caroline explains about Kate being in the hospital to Celia as John comes in demanding his computer and papers, which Caroline says she confiscated.
Caroline mocks John’s writing. He’s compared her to overripe fruit, but the sheep farmer in his story has the body of a teenaged boy. He also has 70-somethings in his story who reunite after 60 years. She threatens to ring Gillian to share the story she’s found, but finally tosses the whole mess, including the computer, across the counter to him. John grabs it all and leaves the room. Celia wants to know why he’s even there. Caroline says he has no where else to go and asks Celia if she’s made any decisions about the money Caroline wants to buy John out. Celia says no. Celia asks about Kate’s baby remarks.
Caroline chases off Lawrence, who’s in the middle of his cereal, and closes the kitchen door. By the way, William’s absence has been explained so far in series 2 by saying he has a job, but shouldn’t he be home for breakfast? I miss William.
Caroline first tells Celia that Kate’s house is on the market. Then she admits Kate does want a baby. Caroline says, “It’s unlikely that she’d get pregnant. She’s 42. She was pregnant 4 times when she was married to Richard and she never got past 12 weeks.”
Caroline plans to take her to a little hotel for her birthday next week and try to talk her out of it – for Kate’s sake, she explains – so she won’t be tearful and unhappy if it doesn’t happen. She asks Celia to watch the boys so she and Kate can have the weekend away.
Celia says she and Alan are going to look at a bungalow over at Ripponden.
They take the baby to see the bungalow. Alan is doing everything with that baby. The bungalow has a gorgeous view, they love the house, but they aren’t sure they can afford it.
After viewing the bungalow, they stop for tea and have an argument. They argue with so much love, even while being utterly honest. Celia wants him to offer his renters an opportunity to buy his house. Alan says Caroline should sell her great big house and move into something more suitable in size. Celia thinks Raff should be allowed to quit school and take responsibility for his child.
Back at the farm, Celia is in the kitchen looking at the web site with photos of the bungalow as Robbie (Dean Andrews) prepares dinner. Alan’s asleep in the living room. Robbie asks if Gillian and Alan are all right now. Robbie says something was up that whole 2 weeks you were in Harrogate. Celia says, it was something about Gillian’s mother being disappointed. “Oh,” Celia remembers, “I know what it was. Gillian had an abortion when she was 15. Had to leave school.”
We know that Gillian dated Robbie before Eddie, but Celia doesn’t. Her remarks hit Robbie hard.
Caroline and Kate snuggle in front of the TV. (This is the sort of homey relationship stuff I wanted to see in episode 2.) Kate says she asked Greg – her sperm donor of choice – to pop over for her birthday. Caroline says, “I made plans for your birthday.” Kate thought Caroline would want to meet Greg. They go back and forth on the issue a bit.
Caroline tells her about the weekend away plan and they decide they could meet him at the hotel. Caroline talks about what would happen if Kate did get pregnant and lost the baby. Kate wants to try anyway. Caroline talks about Kate’s career and that she has what it takes to move up. Career be damned. Kate wants to be somebody’s mom.
At the farm, Raff looks at Alan and Celia sleeping in front of the TV on the couch and says to Ellie, “Maybe we should get married.” She answers, “Don’t be daft.”
Robbie sits in the kitchen, waiting. The moment Gillian arrives from work, he leaves, saying there’s a casserole in the oven. “What’s up?” Gillian asks.
“Did you have an abortion when you were 15? Was it mine?”
Gillian says yes. She asks how he knows. He wants to know why she didn’t tell him. Gillian says there was no point in telling him. She said, “I’m sorry.”
He gets in his truck and she says, “Are you dumping me?” He answers, “I just don’t want to be here for a bit.”
Gillian says, “I was the one who had to leave school. I was the one who never got a crack at my A levels. I never told you but I never inflicted anything on you either.” Robbie drives off.
Gillian goes inside, furious. She sends Raff to get Ellie and says, “Robbie’s gone.” She tells her dad that Celia told Robbie about the abortion and that the baby was Robbie’s. Alan had no idea it was Robbie’s before now.
Celia says she’s sorry. She didn’t know.
Gillian is unusually articulate in her anger. “But what you do know, Celia, what you must know, is that’s a pretty indiscreet thing to be saying about somebody to people.” Celia apologizes again.
Gillian says, “That’s poisonous, saying something like that to somebody when you’ve got no idea of the consequences.”
Raff asks what’s going on and Gillian tells him the whole story. He’s shocked both by the abortion and by the Robbie revelation.
Alan says, “Celia made a mistake, she’s apologized.” Celia wants to go back to Harrogate and Alan says he’ll go, too. Gillian blames Celia, blames Harrogate, blames Alan for defending Celia.
Gillian talks about how much he’s changed and that she doesn’t like it. Alan gets in her face and says, “I’ve spent my life watching you go out with unsuitable buggers. Have I ever fallen out with you about it? Ever? Don’t you dare say anything about Celia to me.”
When Derek Jacobi puts power in his voice, you hear every imperial majesty he’s ever played hiding inside sweet, kindhearted Alan.
In Harrogate, Celia tells Caroline the story about how Alan put up with Gillian’s green hair and pink eyebrows, her shoplifting, her wild behavior, and all sorts of things that we hadn’t heard about before. Caroline offers to call Gillian, but Celia says not to because Gillian doesn’t like her. Kate leaves for school.
On the farm, Raff calls Gillian inside to answer the phone. It’s pouring rain and Gillian is stacking hay in the barn. Gillian may still be a mess all these decades after being so broken at age 15, but she works like a dog on that farm. Inside, Raff holds the baby awkwardly and says Ellie is gone. When Gillian finally reaches the phone, it’s Caroline. So much for Caroline listening to her mother.
Caroline was in the car with Lawrence, on the way to school when she phoned Gillian. Caroline apologizes for her mother. They have an unfriendly conversation. When Caroline asks about the baby, Gillian softens and says, “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.” She says she’s sorry for having a go at Celia and asks Caroline to apologize for her. Caroline promises to keep an eye on Alan for her.
Celia enters her little flat with both a Guardian and a Daily Mail and a carton of milk. Alan is on the phone with his renters, who do want to buy his house. Celia says, are you sure that’s what you want to do? I’m not forcing you, I’m not manipulating you. Alan says, “You can manipulate me any time you want.” Celia asks about Gillian and Alan says, “Bugger Gillian.” Celia doesn’t like all the bad feelings between them.
Celia will tell Caroline she won’t be giving her any money. She plans to tell Caroline after she and Kate get back from their weekend. Parallel to this, Caroline is telling Lawrence about the weekend away with Kate.
At the school, Kate is getting out of one car, Caroline and Lawrence out of another. Lawrence says, “Why don’t you and Miss McKenzie come to school together?” Caroline says it’s because they don’t always leave at the same time. Yeah, right.
Lawrence replies, “Everyone knows, you know. You need to stop kidding yourself because you just look like a hypocrite, which is not a cool message to be sending out to the 2.7% of the kids in this school who will one day turn out to be muff munching shirt lifters.” The promos and PR for season 2 talked about Caroline’s struggle to be out and proud. It would certainly be an interesting twist if Lawrence’s macho machinations are a precipitating factor for Caroline in that journey.
Caroline can only get out, “I see,” as Lawrence jumps out into the rain. Lawrence walks with a friend and invites him over to get pissed and trash the place while his granny is babysitting.
John arrives at the farm. Gillian called and invited him. They make tea. Gillian tells him she’s up shit creek without a paddle. “It’s a bit mad, you and me,” she says. She tells him the story we’ve heard before about Eddie’s death.
She also tells him that Robbie never cared for anyone but Eddie and her. She thinks she’s ruined it for good with Robbie and that she’s nervous about getting in any deeper with Robbie.
Meanwhile, Celia and Alan are in a lovely restaurant talking about how much they love each other and how happy they are. Celia feels guilty about what she told Robbie, but Alan tells her not to worry about it. Alan tells her more about the story of Eddie’s death.
Alan says Gillian actually finished Eddie off with a block of wood. She didn’t just stand and wait for him to die, as they said before. Robbie knew it and called the police. Alan has nightmares about it to this day. “I sometimes wonder if it weren’t even suicide,” Alan says. “The point is – I’ve done enough for her over the years. We’re buying this bungalow and I’m putting it all behind me.”
John’s selling his merits to Gillian and thinks they could be good together. He offers to watch the baby while Gillian goes to work. He says he can do babies.
Gillian leans over and kisses him.
3 responses to “Recap: Last Tango in Halifax S2, E3”
I think Celia’s impression of Gillian is so negative that she, not thinking, spills the beans to Robbie about Gillian’s abortion. The plot thickens when Alan tells Celia that Gillian has told him she hit Eddie with a block of wood. No wonder Alan has nightmares about it. I think Gillian had battered woman syndrome and hit Eddie in a sort of self defense. Hard to prove in court unless Gillian had reported, to the police, beatings prior to Eddie’s death. But, the truth behind Eddie’s death is a nightmare for Gillian and Alan, perhaps Robbie and, now, Celia. Great acting and great writing! It’s hard to not feel for these characters.
Jane, I know they needed to find a way for Robbie to hear about the abortion, but Gillian was right for once – it was a terrible thing for someone to tell about another person. Also in Gillian’s favor – she was quick to forgive Celia. Then she went and blew all that righteousness by planting a kiss on John.
I agree. I am from the old school where having an abortion is a very private matter. However, I have heard women talk openly about their abortions in a public format, as if it was nothing. I suppose women do that to bring the matter to the light of day. But, that is up to the person who had the abortion. I agree that Celia had no right to bring it to the light of day. Celia can have a big mouth, totally lacking in discretion. One of her flaws. I am glad that Gillian gave Celia a piece of her mind. No doubt, even though warranted, Gillian felt insecure about reprimanding Celia, a pattern of insecurity I have seen with Gillian. Not surprised that Gillian kissed John after Robbie took off. Gillian’s off to plan B.