Last Tango in Halifax S4 E2 is Part Two of The Christmas Special. Holy Moly! What an episode! Stirring, momentous scenes between Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) and Gillian (Nicola Walker) and between Gillian and Robbie (Dean Andrews). Beware the spoilers. Continue reading “Last Tango in Halifax S4 E2 The Christmas Special Pt. 2”
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”
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”
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”
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”
Be glad to start episode 3 of Last Tango in Halifax in your happy place because you’re in for a bumpy night by the end.
Every word that follows is a spoiler. Continue reading “Last Tango in Halifax, Season 3, Episode 3”
Episode 2 of Last Tango in Halifax in season 3 of this BBC series is a painful one. Pain from old wounds and betrayals still unforgiven come forth from the past to color and hurt again today. It begins mere minutes from where episode 1 ended.
Every spoiler imaginable ahead. Continue reading “Last Tango in Halifax: Season 3 Episode 2”
Last Tango in Halifax begins season 3 on Valentine’s Day. Several important things happen on Valentine’s Day that require a lot of processing on the part of the characters in Last Tango in Halifax.
I’m changing the way I recap Last Tango in Halifax for series 3. I’m going to be much briefer and rely more on images to tell the story. I’ll leave out most of the details and only hit the high points. Hope you like this way of doing it. Continue reading “Last Tango in Halifax, season 3 episode 1”
Episode 5 of Last Tango in Halifax begins in Harrogate where the Elliots are packing a car with William’s (Edward Ashley) things as he sets off for Oxford.
A for sale sign is outside the driveway. John (Tony Gardner) and Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) take a moment to share a rancorous discussion about their divorce papers as John carries out William’s luggage.
Everyone comes outside to see William off, including Celia (Anne Reid) and Alan (Derek Jacobi) who are making tea in the cottage. Hugs and handshakes and Lawrence’s (Louis Greatorex), “Finally we get rid of him,” and William is off with John driving.
Caroline looks torn as her eldest drives away from the nest to begin college. Celia follows her down the driveway as the car disappears and wraps her in a hug. “Big day,” Celia says.
They talk about mundane things for a moment. Celia says she and Alan are going to Ripponden to help with the baby. She says, “It’s a shame that bungalow fell through.”
Caroline asks about Celia’s wedding plans. Celia says they are on hold because of Alan’s brother Ted in New Zealand. They can’t plan a date around all of them who want to come from there.
Celia wants to know if there have been any inquiries about the house. Caroline says not this week.
Caroline walks into the kitchen and stands there, utterly alone. Beautiful image, even though it’s full of pain. This kitchen, with its big window, has been a wonderful frame for some lovely shots, but this one is exceptional.
At the farm Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) hands off the baby, dirty nappy and all, to Raff (Josh Bolt). He passes the baby to Gillian (Nicola Walker) for burping and a diaper change.
Everyone calls the baby Calamity. Gillian says, “Calamity, is there no end to your shining wealth of talents,” in regard to her dirty nappy. In spite of everything that’s wrong in Gillian’s life, and there’s plenty wrong, little Emily Jane makes her happy. Perhaps she sees a bit of redemption in her grandchild’s eyes.
Ellie has moved in at the farm, with cash coming from her mother to help out. Raff says he, Ellie and Calamity are eating at Robbie’s that night. Cheryl is cooking. (Cheryl? Who is Cheryl?)
The two young people leave for school and Gillian is alone with the baby.
Kate (Nina Sosanya) enters Caroline’s office. She sits down across the desk from Caroline and tells her she’s pregnant. She’s past 12 weeks now and is cautiously thinking about the future. She asks for arrangements to be made for her to work part time after the baby comes. Caroline asks for time to work out the logistics.
As Kate is leaving, Caroline says, “Congratulation.” Kate smiles and says, “Thank you,” but Caroline cannot look at her.
As soon as Kate closes the door, Caroline begins to cry.
Gillian loads a trailer with sheep as Alan and Celia arrive. She tells them the baby is with Harry (Paul Copley) down at the wharf. Celia goes inside to use the bathroom. Gillian tells Alan the relatives in New Zealand keep Skyping about a date to come to the wedding. Alan says Celia won’t set a date, but his story isn’t like Celia’s on this topic. He says it’s because of Celia’s sister, Muriel.
At the wharf, Harry has a boat where he plans to live. He’s going to install a stove, a satellite dish, and a drinks cabinet.
He says losing Maurice made him want to seize the day. He wants to take them for a spin and Alan is ready to jump aboard. Celia grabs Alan’s coattails and won’t let him go. She tells Harry he’s a dozy old sod. I’m not sure what that means, but I don’t think it’s a compliment.
Alan and Celia have dinner at the farm with Gillian. Gillian tells them Robbie (Dean Andrews) has a new girlfriend named Cheryl. She’s a cop like Robbie, blonde, gorgeous and 15 years younger than him. Celia talks about John being back with Judith like a bad habit.
Gillian says, “Celia, tell me about your sister. I didn’t know you had a sister. Shame the wedding plans have got bogged down because of her.”
Celia says it’s because of Ted. No, says Gillian. There’s no problem with Ted coming from New Zealand. You set a date, they turn up. Celia isn’t thrilled about her daughter-in-law calling her bluff.
Caroline and Lawrence are having a quiet dinner. He asks if he can move in with his dad. Caroline thinks this is a bad idea, but Lawrence says at least his dad isn’t boring. Before they can finish talking about Lawrence’s idea, Gillian calls.
Gillian tells Caroline that the wedding is bogged down. Caroline says, yeah because of Ted. No says Gillian, it’s because of Muriel. She wants to move it along for her dad’s sake.
Caroline says she’s not surprised. Muriel and her mom are chalk and cheese. Gillian asks Caroline to ring Muriel so they can get things moving. Caroline says it will be complicated.
Gillian goes into the living room where Celia and Alan are playing Trivial Pursuit. Celia says, “Sherlock Holmes, the Beatles, Shakespeare,” before Alan even reads the question because that’s the answer to everything.
Gillian suggests she and Caroline organize the wedding. They can check out venues, make up an invite list. Gillian says Celia can cross anyone out. Celia agrees just as her phone rings. It’s Muriel (Gemma Jones). Celia answers with false cheer.
Celia speaks with apparent warmth to Muriel, but it looks forced. Muriel is enthusiastic about Alan Buttershaw and how wonderful everything is. She asks when the wedding is. Celia says she and Alan were going to pop down to tell her all about it. That’s news to Alan.
Meanwhile Caroline calls back and tells Gillian that Muriel didn’t even know about the wedding. She says she will have to face Armageddon with Celia because of letting Muriel know. Gillian tells Caroline that she offered to organize the wedding. Caroline hesitates but Gillian convinces her to help.
Alone in their bedroom later, Celia complains about Muriel finding out. Alan says if you don’t want her at the wedding, we won’t invite her. Celia says why wouldn’t she want her there. Alan says, “It’s an impression you’ve given.”
Celia has a long list of old resentments about Muriel, which she airs to Alan.
In Harrogate, John arrives. He’s supposed to be taking Lawrence for the weekend.
John says, “Just so you’re aware. Judith’s pregnant.” Caroline says, “How? Is it yours? Does she want it?” He stumbles and stutters a lot, and says things may be a little bit fraught and it isn’t a good weekend to take Lawrence. Lawrence gets in the car and won’t be moved.
Caroline goes to the farm. She arrives just as Robbie and his new girlfriend Cheryl (Rachel Leskovac) are leaving with Raff, Ellie and the baby.
Caroline endears herself to Gillian by pronouncing Cheryl annoying. Caroline wants to take Gillian to lunch.
They pull into the same hotel where Caroline took Kate, but they are there to consider it as a possible venue for the wedding. They sit down for drinks and Caroline tells Gillian that Muriel stole a boy named Frank from her mom when they were younger. She married him. That’s two women who stole men from Celia. Ouch. And Celia does hold tight to her resentments.
A wedding planner gives them brochures and offers to take them round to look at the venue after lunch.
At Muriel’s, Celia and Alan conduct a conversation in the car, as they are prone to do. Celia doesn’t want her sister to know that her marriage was unhappy. She doesn’t want her sister to know that Caroline plays on the girl’s team. Both Alan and I find Muriel perfectly acceptable, but every word poor Muriel utters irritates Celia.
Over tea, Muriel thinks Celia must be proud of William, wants to know what Alan’s daughter does, wants to know about Caroline and John and is full of questions. When she leaves to make more tea Celia says, “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”
The wedding planner shows Caroline and Gillian around, talks about deals, offers them champagne. They’ve already been drinking wine at lunch.
Judith (Ronni Ancona) tries to work as John and Lawrence watch TV in her tiny flat. She can’t concentrate and goes out. Lawrence thinks she’s too old to be pregnant. John follows Judith out the door, ostensibly because she shouldn’t be drinking.
The conversation at Muriel’s moved to the garden, where they talk about Harry. Alan says he and Harry share a great grandchild, which makes Muriel ask about Raff still being in school and irritates Celia even more.
Caroline calls Celia to explain that she thinks Celia would love the hotel as a venue. The only available date is December 24. As Caroline is talking to her mother, Gillian realizes that the waiters and the wedding planner think that she and Caroline are the ones getting married. Celia asks Caroline to email photos as Gillian goes into a contagious giggling fit.
“They think you and I are getting married,” Gillian giggles. She acts coquettish with her hair, and says, “I’m going to finish with you if you aren’t careful.” Caroline continues the conversation with her mum by punctuating it with laughter, and can hardly say goodbye to her mother before she and Gillian burst out in loud guffaws. Another toast with champagne seems in order.
By nightfall, Gillian and Caroline must take a cab to the farm because they are both too drunk to drive.
Lawrence calls his mom and asks to be picked up because his dad is gone. He says, “I”m sorry I said you were boring.” Caroline’s forgotten her phone at the hotel bar so she doesn’t get his message.
At the farm, Gillian and Caroline flop on the couch side by side. Gillian asks what happened with Kate. Caroline says, “I booked two separate rooms for our romantic getaway.”
“You did not,” says Gillian.
Caroline says she’s tried to apologize but Kate won’t listen. “I really blew it. I only realize now how lovely it was. How precious. Now I’m in this box with bad written on it. But I’m not bad, just arrogant . . . inept . . . selfish . . . repressed . . . emotionally crippled.”
“What about you and Robbie?” Caroline asks. Gillian sits up, goes for more liquor.
Celia and Alan study the emailed photos of the hotel. Alan also looks at the photos on Muriel’s bedroom wall, including ones of Kenneth and Frank. He says Muriel seems fond of Celia, even though Celia isn’t fond of her. Celia drags out even more resentments about her sister. Alan has a more mature point of view. In a stroke of brilliance, he tells Celia that Muriel is very plain compared with her and hasn’t made him laugh even once.
Judith and John arrive back at her flat in the midst of a drunken argument. Lawrence is not there.
In Halifax, Gillian tells Caroline about going out with Robbie early on. She says she’s always been fond of him. But she says it will never work with Robbie.
“I’ve never told anyone this,” Gillian says.
“Don’t tell me something you’re gonna regret.”
“I want to tell. I . . . I murdered him. Eddie. The only proper family Robbie ever had. I murdered him.”
Gillian talks about her marriage to Eddie. He beat her, pinned her down and burned her with cigarettes. She says she’s shed blood in every room of this house. He knocked her teeth out. He humiliated her in ways she won’t name. Caroline listens without speaking, but her face says volumes. Gillian thinks her Dad and Robbie know there was more to it than what she told the police.
Nicola Walker is stunning in this scene. Stunning. In a show filled with outstanding actors and acting, this powerful scene stands out. Amazing performances from both Nicola Walker and Sarah Lancashire.
In the morning Gillian wakes up on a couch in her living room. Caroline is asleep on the other. Gillian runs to the kitchen and throws up.
She turns to look at Caroline with terror on her face as she remembers what she confessed the night before.
The precipitating moment setting off the story of Last Tango in Halifax was the reunion of Celia and Alan. Alan leaving the farm set off a chain of external events for Gillian, leading directly to last night’s confession. Caroline’s journey, on the other hand, is internal. It began before Celia and Alan even found each other. Caroline and Gillian have been yin and yang every step of the way.
Yet, here they are, because of their parents, telling each other things they’ve never said to anyone before.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
Robbie slugs John.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Celia takes Alan aside and tells him that Maurice died. Apparently it was a stroke.
Gillian and her dad cry over Maurice while 60 miles apart. She talks to John about it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.