Last Tango in Halifax season 5 came to me as a gift on my birthday. I don’t intend to review it or recap it, I simply want to talk about a few bits. It will be a little spoilery, but not in any large sense. A few scenes, and a few remarks, and I’ll be done.Continue reading “Off on a Tangent about S5 of Last Tango in Halifax”
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”
BBC One announced December 28, 2014 as the start date for season 3 of Last Tango in Halifax on British TV. Series 3 photos that have been released so far show us a photo of Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) and Kate (Nina Sosanya) in what must be a proposal scene (below), and in what looks like a wedding photo (above).
We get a look at Caroline holding the new baby (where is Kate?) in this photo. Judith (Ronnie Ancona) was also expecting a baby last time we heard. Could this be Judith’s baby and not Kate’s baby? Wouldn’t be the first time they’ve teased us with misleading photos before a season begins.
We also see Gillian (Nicola Walker) holding a very big Emily Ann. That child grows at a phenomenal rate, I must say.
If you recall the BBC’s previews for the coming TV season, there was also a hint that perhaps Gillian was getting married as well, although we don’t know who the groom might be. Or even if Gillian is really dressed to get married.
No word let on when series 3 will make it across the Atlantic to American PBS stations. Let’s hope PBS doesn’t drag their feet for months the way they did with season 2.
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.
At the registry office, Celia (Anne Reid) sits in a very pretty suit clutching a bouquet as episode 2 of Last Tango in Halifax begins. We’re mere minutes from the end of episode 1 when Gillian ran out the farmhouse door after finding the card from the Registry Office.
A man in an apron sits beside Celia, asking how long it will take. Alan (Derek Jacobi) drags in a policeman. He lassoed them to be witnesses to the wedding, but has to promise them both a £20 note to get them to stay. Celia looks like she has many misgivings about these two being at her wedding instead of her family but Alan breezes along as if he doesn’t see it.
Gillian (Nicola Walker) slams the Land Rover into a parking spot and runs into the Registry Office.
Gillian’s upset, angry, hurt, defensive. She berates everyone, angrily blaming her father’s behavior on Celia. She walks out, comes back to yell some more, and leaves again.
Celia says she’s a bit shaken. She wants to ring Caroline. Alan says they should ignore Gillian. Celia said getting married in secret was supposed to be a bit of fun. Alan insists they shouldn’t let it make any difference.
Gillian, outside in her car, is falling to pieces. Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) phones, but Gillian lets it go to voice mail. Instead, Gillian calls Robbie (Dean Andrews) and wants to meet him during his lunch time.
John (Tony Gardner), at Judith’s (Ronni Ancona), calls Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) and says he wants to talk to her soon. Caroline tells him to come to her office at 1:30.
Robbie and Gillian meet in a pub. It’s so nice that she has someone to call now. I remember an earlier scene where Gillian really needed someone to talk with and there was no one there for her. Robbie is. Robbie tells Gillian he thinks she’s overreacting. He tells her she can’t be jealous. She responds, “I’m not jealous.” Then she goes on to make all sorts of jealous remarks about how posh Caroline is. She talks about how much she and Alan have been at odds the last two weeks. When Robbie asks what they’re at odds about, she won’t explain. Finally Robbie says, “Should we get married and not tell anyone?” This elicits a big smile from Gillian. The scene ends so we don’t know if it was a serious proposal or if Gillian gave a serious answer.
In Caroline’s office, John is telling Caroline that he wants everything to go back like it was. He’s disheveled and rumpled and looks pathetic.
Caroline considers his remarks with a serious expression, walks around her desk to sit beside him, and says, “I’ve moved on. You have to get used to that.”
“My publisher’s dropped me.” John says. She offers him tea in an act of kindness or perhaps pity.
When Gillian returns to the farm, Celia and Alan are waiting inside. Gillian says, “I may have overreacted.”
Alan says, “It were just meant to be a bit of fun, an adventure. Nobody was excluding anybody. Why would you think it was all about you?”
Gillian says she thought it was because of what he said to her when he learned she’d slept with John. Alan and Celia try to explain their behavior, but Gillian continues to fuss.
Alan stands up to go and tells Gillian, “I’ve said what I’ve said. It’s true. If you’re not prepared to accept it, there’s very little I can do.” It’s an unusually firm dismissal of Gillian’s feelings from Alan and not in keeping with his character up to this point, which makes me wonder what’s really going on. Gillian looks at Celia and says, “What have you done to him? He didn’t used to be like this!”
Alan says, “We’re married now. We expected our surprise to make everyone happy. Not this.” Gillian apologizes again for overreacting. When they drive off, Gillian mimes shooting herself in the head, and walks back to the house pulling her hair.
Raff (Josh Bolt) calls. He wants to bring Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) home for tea. Gillian says okay. “Your granddad’s got married.”
Two cars pull in to Caroline’s house. Caroline and Lawrence (Louis Greatorex) are in Caroline’s SUV, Kate (Nina Sosanya) drives up in a smaller, sportier car. Caroline gets out and greets Kate with, “Have a good day?” This must be their routine now that Kate’s moved in. Meanwhile, Lawrence continues to sit in the car and look daggers at Kate.
In the kitchen, Caroline tells everyone she thinks Celia and Alan got married. She says it’s just as well they did it on their own because she wouldn’t have had time to go. Kate says, “Yes, you would.” Caroline says, “Kate, I haven’t got time to get divorced, much less go to someone else’s wedding.”
Kate levels a stare at her, “You ARE going to find time to get divorced.” In return, Caroline gives Kate a beautiful, loving smile. We have to read a lot into that smile. We see Alan and Celia talking, laughing, holding hands, snuggling – we see Gillian and Robbie working together at the farm, talking, supporting each other – but we haven’t seen much interaction between Caroline and Kate. I think that one smile is pulling a heavy load.
Lawrence said he heard John was at school today looking hung over. Kate wants to know what they talked about. Caroline says she’ll tell her later.
Caroline leaves the room for a moment, and Lawrence says, “It’s not rocket science why they didn’t invite you.”
When Caroline comes back, Kate says, “You don’t they didn’t invite anyone to the wedding because of me.” Caroline says, “What makes you think that?”
Raff and Ellie are at the farm, having tea with Gillian and Robbie. Gillian curses Caroline, Celia and everything that has anything to do with Harrogate and her dad leaving the farm.
Celia and Alan arrive in Harrogate. They relax in the car a few minutes taking about being married, what they used to do with their time before they were together (they don’t remember). Alan whispers, “It’s our wedding night.”
Inside, Caroline pours champagne and offers congratulations. She tells them Kate has gone home to her own place for the night while they sort out a few things.
She said William has a job in town and Lawrence is upstairs sulking. He got in trouble for his remarks to Kate. Alan explains that it’s nonsense to think that their decision had anything to do with Kate.
Caroline tells them about John losing his publisher, which means he can’t afford to buy her out. She wants to buy John out. She says she’s getting the house evaluated, but she thinks it’s worth about £850,000. She asks her mother for £100,000. Plus, she plans to ask Kate to sell her house to contribute, too. Suddenly she realizes she’s talking to them about money on their wedding day and sends them off with the bottle of champagne.
Celia stays behind a moment. She tells Caroline that the hurried secret wedding was actually because of the consultant’s warning in the hospital that Alan probably wouldn’t survive another heart attack. Alan likes to pretend they just did it for a bit of fun, but that they really just wanted to get it done.
The continuity in this scene drove me crazy. The level of champagne in the glasses changed every time the camera angle changed.
Robbie and Gillian are washing dishes when Raff asks if Ellie can stay the night there. Gillian quickly says no. Raff says, “The thing is. She’s pregnant. It’s mine. She’s 8 months. Her parents chucked her out.”
Next morning, Gillian calls Alan and tells him Raff wants to leave school. When Alan wants to know why, she says, “There’s a girl involved. It’s a man thing.” Celia says she’ll drive Alan over to Halifax.
Caroline and Kate are deep in conversation as they walk to assembly. Caroline asked Kate to sell her house. Kate says it’s so early in their relationship. She’s concerned about how settled they are and Caroline says, “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” The audience hasn’t seen the degree of depth developed between these two that would make us believe Caroline is ready to make that powerful a statement, but Kate is moved by it. They are in the hall behind a huge room full singing students. Kate grins, “I can’t kiss you here.” Caroline smiles, too, and says, “You really can’t.” They look as if they might, anyway.
Caroline says things are just moving faster than expected because of her need to buy out John. Kate promises to get her house evaluated. Then she says, “I would have brought it up later, when things were more settled, but I want you to know I want to have a baby.” Caroline looks stunned, then laughs. Kate says, “I’m serious,” just as the singing ends and Caroline has to turn to walk down the aisle for assembly.
At the farm, Gillian tells Celia and Alan that Ellie is inside and pregnant. Gillian is taking her to the doctor in a few minutes. Raff is convinced it’s his.
Inside, Ellie is having contractions. Guess the 8 months number was a little off. Alan, who needs zero excitement about now, says he’ll get her to hospital and Gillian should go get Raff.
Celia calls Caroline to tell her she’s delivering babies. The question is whether it’s really Raff’s. Celia tells Caroline not to worry about money. She asks if Caroline’s talked to Kate. Caroline says yes, but she hesitates to explain about Kate wanting a baby. It’s hard to tell just yet what difference, if any, that’s going to make.
Celia says, why don’t you just sell the house? Caroline says, “I can’t sell that house.” She’s mentioned before how attached she is to that particular house. Will she let it ruin her relationships with everyone to keep it?
In Ellie’s hospital room, she’s clutching Alan’s arm during her contractions and talking about how she doesn’t want a baby. He tries to be reassuring. She tries to pretend she’s not even there. Raff arrives. The midwife says it will still be a few hours. Gillian wants to know if Ellie’s rung her mom and says she will if Ellie hasn’t.
Alan and Celia snack on junk food in the hall, talking about how Celia almost died giving birth to Caroline.
They discuss the fact that Raff and Ellie are the same age they were when they fell in love. Celia says, “We never would have carried on like that.” Alan says, “They do now. We were before the swinging 60s.” Alan says, “I’m very good with babies. I never thought I’d live to be a great granddad.” He says he’d have to help with money to keep Raff in school. Celia says, I can’t see Caroline short either over this house business.
Gillian reports that Ellie’s parents can’t be found.
Judith arrives home with a sack of rattling bottles. She immediately pours a drink in a dirty cup from beside her computer. John is there with black trash bags full of his belongings. He says he’s going to get a flat near the university. He tells her about his publisher. She says he was just lucky for a while and that he’s never dared to do anything properly dangerous. She tells him to piss off.
Caroline and Kate are walking beside a playing field outside the school. Lawrence and a friend watch from across the field. The friend says, “Do they snog (I think that’s the word he used). Lawrence says, “I don’t know.” He also says he might move in with his dad.
Kate is talking about a baby. She has a donor in mind. A guy she went to university with named Greg. She says he’s nice, clever, good, like Caroline – one of the grown ups. Kate says it would be so easy because they could just “do it.” Caroline says, does he want children. Kate says it’s more about whether Kate and Caroline want children.
Caroline, with very defensive body language, asks questions about Greg, his marriage and betrays that she might be a bit jealous. She says, “I need to meet him.” Kate says okay.
Caroline says, “Why didn’t you and Richard?” (Richard is Kate’s ex husband.) Kate answers, “We did. Four times. It never got beyond 12 weeks.” So much loss in Kate’s past – that tells us a lot more about her than we’ve known before. Caroline says, “Oh, God. I’m sorry.” Caroline tells her she’s not daft to want a baby. Kate says I wouldn’t do it on my own. We’d be talking sleepless nights and nappies. Caroline says, “I could do all that.”
Speaking of babies, Ellie’s pushing and Raff’s fainting and Alan’s coaching her along with the midwife (more excitement Alan doesn’t need). Ellie asks him to call her granddad. Guess who he is? Harry, Alan’s mate (Paul Copley).
John strides across the university campus with his black trash bags. He approaches his office as he calls Gillian. He says, “I know you’re seeing Robbie, but we know that’s just a disaster.”
“Really?” says Gillian.
“Really,” he says. “You also said you needed an investment in the farm. Caroline wants to buy my half of the house. It would be 400, 450 grand, cash.”
Gillian says, “You think you can just buy me?” He, of course, says no. He asks to see her on the weekend. She asks if they can have the conversation later.
It’s a girl. 6 pounds 3 ounces. Ellie’s mother (Susan Cookson) finally shows up and says this is the first she’s heard of Ellie’s pregnancy. Harry’s arrived. The adults take turns blaming each other as they argue in the hallway. Raff and Ellie are in her room.
Alan holds the baby as Celia says, Well, we got married and we got a baby. They kiss as the camera closes in on the baby.
Season 2 of Last Tango in Halifax begins with Celia (Anne Reid) in a hospital corridor phoning Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) to tell her than Alan (Derek Jacobi) has come round and, “is feeling rather perky.”
A very happy Gillian (Nicola Walker) and Raff (Josh Bolt) are at Alan’s bedside. Gillian mentions that she thinks she loves Celia, Raff chimes in, “So do I.” Alan tells Raff to keep his hands off – Celia is his. Alan’s smiling and joking. Perky, indeed.
Outside the hospital, Celia, Gillian and Raff make plans for Celia to stay in Halifax at the farm until Alan is released. Celia comments that she’ll get Caroline to bring her some things.
Gillian gives Celia a hug and says, “Thank you. Thank you for making him so happy. I think you brought him back. You mustn’t fall out with him again.”
Celia answers, “I am NEVER gonna fall out with him again. Ever. About anything!”
Robbie (Dean Andrews) has taken it upon himself to help work the farm. We see him repairing fences as Gillian and Celia drive up. When they are all in kitchen, Robbie serves tea. He says he’s made a lasagne.
On the phone, Celia and Caroline discuss Caroline’s trip to the farm. Celia tells her Gillian’s invited her to stay the night and Caroline says okay. When Caroline tells John (Tony Gardner) she’ll be staying in Halifax, he wants to come with her – we know he wants to see Gillian again, but she does not. She tells him to stay home with the boys.
John explains how he really needs to go apologize because if it hadn’t been for him, Alan wouldn’t have had the heart attack. Caroline says, “It really is all about you.” She says when she gets back they need to work out what’s what between them.
As Caroline leaves, John immediately texts Gillian. She responds with Don’t. Text. Me.
Caroline calls Kate (Nina Sosanya) as she’s driving to Halifax. She explains she won’t be able to see Kate that night but wants to see her the next night. Kate is still a little unsure of her ground with Caroline and every conversation they have is fraught with importance to her.
At the farm, Celia is taking part in Gillian’s family life, which includes Robbie and Gillian teasing Raff about a girl named Ellie. John can’t get Gillian to take his calls or texts, so he calls Celia’s phone and after a few moments of inquiry about Alan, asks to speak to Gillian. Gillian takes the phone because Celia hands it to her.
With Robbie, Raff and Celia listening to her end of the conversation, Gillian tries to tell John to get lost in words that don’t reveal to her listeners what she’s doing. He won’t take the hint. He tells her he thinks he’s a little bit in love with her. He wants to meet up. She says no. She says, “Did you get my text message?” Finally she has to hang up on him while pretending to give him a cherry goodbye.
He calls Judith.
Alan says he gets to come home on Monday. Gillian, Celia and Caroline are clustered around him. Gillian wants to know what the prognosis is and what the doctor told him he could do and could not do. Alan is evasive about it with Gillian. He suggests Gillian and Caroline go have a cuppa.
Celia sits on the bed beside Alan and says, “Bugger everyone. Let’s get married immediately.” He wants to as well. And he wants to do it in secret without telling anyone. Celia isn’t sure about this idea and questions him gently, but definitely doesn’t fall out with him about it. She agrees to keep it a secret. She wants to know what the doctor said. He will only answer, “I’m A-1.”
In the hospital cafeteria Caroline and Gillian talk. Gillian says she wonders if you can die of a broken heart. She thought that’s what made her father have a heart attack. Then Gillian asks about Kate.
Caroline says she wishes everyone didn’t know about it, because she and Kate aren’t quite sure where they are themselves. Caroline wanted to get it all sorted through with Kate before it became public knowledge. Gillian says, “Yeah, the whole world is looking at you like they want you to make an announcement.”
Gillian says, “I want to tell you something.” She’s going to confess to the sex-with-John-mess. She bumbles and stumbles, doubles round and round, and explains badly.
Before Gillian can get it out, Caroline says, “You slept with John.” She expects Gillian to say, no that’s not it. Instead Gillian says, “I was pissed. It was my birthday. I felt sorry for him.”
“Oh, you really have slept with John? What was it like?”
“I don’t actually remember very much about it. Except that it happened. Are you hating me?”
Caroline says no. Gillian continues to apologize. Caroline is smiling. She says, “You can have him.” Gillian answers, “I don’t want him.” Caroline is actually laughing, trying to deal. Caroline realizes that was the night she was propping Judith up in casualty. She was in hospital with one of John’s women and he was off screwing another one. “Blimey,” she says, and finally looks serious. Gillian attempts a joke with a movie quote.
The 3 women pile in the Land Rover to head for the farm. When they enter, Caroline asks about Paul. Gillian says she finally got shut of him by sending him to his granny’s. Gillian goes off to make tea. Things are awkward between Gillian and Caroline now. Caroline says she thinks she’ll go back home. Celia asks Caroline if she’d mind if she and Alan came to live in her flat – it has no stairs. Caroline says it’s fine by her.
Celia walks Caroline out to her car. Caroline tells her about Gillian and John.
Caroline asks, “How do people do that? Why is everything so casual and meaningless?” She says she’s a bit shocked. She says, “Do you think before Judith, John was . . . ” That’s really what’s on her mind – has this been a more frequent thing with John than she knows. Celia promises not to say anything to Gillian about knowing.
Next morning, Celia arrives at the hospital to bring Alan home. They are so happy to see each other, happy to be together.
As soon as he’s released, they head for a scenic spot atop a rock which drops off before them for a fabulous view. All the outdoor shots of the countryside around Yorkshire are beautiful, but the camera loves this spot. We see the rock and the spectacular views from every angle as they talk. Alan says he wants to do everything now. He asks her if she’s ever fancied skiing. She says no and they laugh. They talk about their youth and things they did in that spot as teens. Celia says she and her mother scattered her father’s ashes from there. They talk about old friends who are no longer with them. Yet here they are, alive, together, and happy. He wants to pop over to the registry office. She asks again if they are serious about not telling anyone. He insists they are.
At the registry office, they make an appointment for the wedding to be tomorrow at 11 AM. They take the appointment time with them on a card.
Gillian greets them at the farm (she’s chopping wood with an ax, not a log splitter). She asks if they’ve set a date and they say no. They tell Gillian they want to live in Celia’s flat while Alan’s recovering.
Gillian doesn’t take the news well. She wants Alan near her. Celia says her flat has no stairs and she can take care of him 24/7, unlike Gillian, who has to work. Gillian accepts the decision reluctantly. She wants to come with them to help get him set up the next day.
Celia and Alan go up to the bedroom, where they lay on the bed laughing and talking. They are so easy with each other, so happy together.
Downstairs, Gillian listens to them laughing. She looks troubled and worried.
Next morning as they drive to Harrogate, Celia tells Alan about Gillian sleeping with John. It upsets him. He shakes his head in disgust.
Caroline enters the kitchen and tells John that Gillian is coming and Kate is there. He wants all the details about Gillian arriving. Instead, Caroline tells him Kate’s moving in.
John gets upset about Kate moving in. Caroline says, “After what happened here on Saturday night, you have no business talking about what other people are doing.” This angry conversation has something to do with Judith.
When Celia, Alan and Gillian arrive in Harrogate, Gillian sees Caroline’s gorgeous house and says, “You did all right for yourself here, Dad.” He responds by berating her about John. She tries to explain, but he’s not having it. He calls her a name, some British slang my American ears couldn’t make sense of. However, it isn’t the worst thing he could have called her, which is what Gillian expected.
In the kitchen, Kate says she’s put her bags in Caroline’s bedroom. “How permanent is this?” she asks. Caroline says they need to talk it through properly.
Caroline leans on the counter, gives Kate an affectionate smile, and says, “Is this what you want?”
“Do you need to ask?” Kate says.
In Celia’s little flat, Alan calls Gillian an “ongoing disappointment.” She tries again to defend herself and talks about how much she regrets what happened. Alan tells Celia, “She were pregnant when she were 15. She broke her mother’s heart.” Gillian is stung by this and by his disapproval.
In the middle of this tense moment, Caroline pops in. She invites them to dinner. She tells them Kate is there. She says she didn’t plan it exactly, and asks them to bear with her. She tells the story about Saturday night when she arrived back unexpectedly to find a drunk Judith (Ronni Ancona) falling down her stairs in a bathrobe, a drunken John dressed only in his underwear, and two upset boys witnessing the whole thing.
Caroline tells them John said, “You have friends round, I have friends round.” She told John to have things cleaned up by the morning. He said, “Whatever,” as Judith threw up on the floor.
Caroline went to Kate’s with the boys. When she got back in the morning she asked John to move out. He refused. Caroline explains that she asked Kate to move in “in the hopes that at some point he will get the message.” Well, it seems Kate was wise to be a little concerned about her status in the household. Caroline’s motives don’t look entirely pure if this description to her mother is used to judge her commitment to Kate.
John lurks around like a schoolboy, asking questions about Gillian, trying to catch a glimpse of her.
Gillian wants out of there. Her father’s condemnation has her ready to run. John tries to chase her down, but Caroline beats him to her. Caroline wants Gillian to come inside. John peeks at them through the mail slot. He’s hilarious doing it, like something out of a Shakespeare comedy.
Gillian wonders why Caroline told Celia about her and John. Caroline doesn’t offer a very good reason, but she sees that Gillian is upset about her father knowing. Gillian tells Caroline about having an abortion at 15 and that her father just told her it broke her mother’s heart.
As Gillian heads off in the car, John speeds out, runs down the driveway and hops in beside her. He tells her she can’t ignore him. She wants him to get out. He says, “We had sex.” She says, “Boy, am I paying for it now!”
They argue and try to explain themselves. He says his publisher’s dropped him. She reveals she’s worried about the farm and money issues. Wow, does anyone have pure motives around here? He wants to come over. She says, “I’m seeing Robbie.” I don’t know what this means to a Brit, but to an American “seeing someone” implies sex. This finally gets John out of her car.
John goes inside and joins everyone at dinner. Things are incredibly awkward. Celia gives John a death stare.
Morning on the farm, Gillian gathers the sheep and loads them in a trailer. Parallel to this are school children filing into assembly. Gillian and Caroline are at work herding their charges, unaware of their parents’ plans. Later Gillian is cleaning and finds the card with the appointment for the wedding on it.
Gillian calls Caroline and tells her about the secret wedding. Gillian is really bothered by the idea of not being there for her dad’s wedding. Caroline says she can be there if Gillian can. They talk a bit more, and Caroline says maybe they wanted to avoid a fuss. Caroline’s not nearly as upset as Gillian.
Gillian hangs up on Caroline and runs out the door.
It’s the morning after everyone was up all night looking for Alan (Derek Jacobi) and Celia (Anne Reid) and after Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) announced to her husband John (Tony Gardner) that she’s been seeing someone.
Caroline parks at her school. She’s on the phone to Kate (Nina Sosanya), all chirpy voiced, asking her to come to her office.
In her office, she grabs Kate, pushes her up against a door, kisses her passionately and pulls up her shirt to reach under and have a feel. She steps back, smiling, and says, “I told John. It felt good.”
Kate asks Caroline if she wants to come round tonight. Caroline says, “Yep.” She studies Kate’s face and announces, “You’re very pretty.” Kate answers, “You’re magnificent.” I have to agree with both of them about it. Caroline whispers something we cannot hear in Kate’s ear, but we can assume it was naughty indeed. They almost kiss again but an assistant comes in with a cup of tea. The assistant talks about the day’s calendar, offers lunch, and heads off.
Caroline collapses in tears with the same passionate energy she had just devoted to kissing, and moans, “I thought she was dead last night. There was this one moment when I thought that’s it. And I thought how unfair that was, to find that one person again after all these years and then die.”
She realizes she sitting on the floor. Kate suggests maybe she should be home resting. Caroline asks if Kate will be home by 4 o’clock and Kate says, “I can be.”
At the farm, Alan is watching Celia sleep. She’s on the couch. He perched on the other end, enjoying the sight of her. He brings in tea and the rattling of the china wakes her. She says, “We keep having adventures!” He reminds her that their adventures have been her idea. They talk about the “distinct presence” in the old Hall last night. Celia says, “We’re back in the land of the living now.”
He starts to tell her something about when Gillian’s husband died, but Paul (Sacha Dhawan) comes crashing down the stairs and through the door. He writhes on the floor in pain muttering about keeping his fluids up as Alan explains who he is.
A knock on the door and it’s Alan’s two sidekicks (Paul Copley and Roy Barraclough) which leads Alan to ask, “Is it Tuesday?” The fellas apparently have a regular Tuesday thing.
Celia is on the phone to Caroline while outside a pub with Alan and the fellas. She asks Caroline to bring her fresh knickers, her toothbrush, and a nightie so she can stay in Halifax a few days. Caroline doesn’t want to do that but asks to call her later. Celia tries to make her feel guilty, apparently an old and well worn game with them, then asks her what she wants for her birthday tomorrow. Caroline manages to get off the phone by promising to call her later. In the pub, Paul is there, trying to drink a pint. Guess they didn’t want to leave him alone at the farm. Alan and his sidekicks discuss Gillian’s birthday tomorrow. Well, well, well, isn’t that interesting. Caroline and Gillian have the same birthday. Alan wants to buy Gillian a used Land Rover and knows where he can find one. He wants to go have a look at it.
Sidekick number one lists his qualifications to be Alan’s best man. Alan won’t commit.
Celia comes in to join them. She says to Paul, “I hope you’re not taking pain killers and drinking alcohol.” He asks her to get him a straw. Cheeky.
Gillian (Nicola Walker) arrives at the house to find it empty. She calls her dad but his phone is on the table. She picks it up and talks to herself on two phones for a funny moment. Then she calls Caroline who explains they’re at a pub. Caroline asks Gillian if she can get her mom a few things – she doesn’t explain why, but we know it will leave her free to go to Kate’s. Gillian can do.
Out in a muddy field, Alan is trying out the used Land Rover. Paul and the two sidekicks are stuffed in the back. Gillian calls and says they are to take Paul to his mother’s house and she asks what size knickers to buy. Celia pretends she can’t hear – no way she’ll discuss knickers in front of these blokes – and hangs up. Sidekick number two announces that the clutch needs to be replaced. And – they are stuck in the mud.
Caroline rings Kate’s doorbell, looking incredibly eager. Just as they are about to start kissing again, Gillian calls asking about knicker sizes for Caroline’s mum. This gives Kate the giggles and we get to see Sarah Lancashire show off her physical comedy skills.
Alan buys a new clutch, and sidekick number two makes his pitch to be best man. Alan doesn’t commit.
Alan and Celia hide the Land Rover in the barn and go inside. He makes tea and tells Celia his story. When Gillian’s husband Eddie put his head in the log splitter, he didn’t die immediately. Gillian stood and watched him die without calling an ambulance. After about an hour, Alan arrived. Gillian told him what had happened and that she had called the police. Alan feels guilty and responsible for being a party to something that wasn’t right. He doesn’t blame Gillian, he just feels guilty about his part. Celia does not blame him or Gillian and reminds Alan about wanting to kill her own husband. Alan says sometimes he feels as if Eddie’s ghost is in the barn and that’s why the Hall bothered him.
They talk about jiving in the old days, and move on to happier thoughts. When Gillian gets back, she hears music and finds them dancing in the living room, much to her delight. (Derek Jocobi is a damn good dancer, by the way.) Gillian snaps their picture and texts it to Caroline. They stop dancing when they see Gillian. Alan is winded, but not having any chest pains.
Gillian says Robbie is bringing Raff back home tonight. She’s invited Robbie (Dean Andrews) to dinner and seems excited about it. She’s bought food and wine and wants to celebrate. She tells her dad Robbie apologized last night.
Caroline breezes in at home – her afternoon with Kate must have gone well, she’s very happy. John wants to know where she’s been. He wants to know who it is. Caroline wants to know if Judith is pretty – he says no. He says he thought they were going to try to make it work for the boys. He says he can’t stay there if she’s going to sleep around. She says, well maybe we should get divorced. She says if she’s going to be with someone she wants to have them at the house where she can have them any time she’d like. Caroline says it’s like a fog has lifted from her, that she’s happy for the first time in years. John says, “You’re not moving him in here.” Caroline says, “It’s not a he.”
Tony Gardner’s rendition of processing this announcement is absolutely perfect! Caroline is going on and on about something related to the boys but I can’t hear it for laughing so hard at the expressions rolling across Tony Gardners’ face. He’s gobsmacked.
Gillian phones and the two women discover that they share the same birthday. They both turn 46 tomorrow. They’re twins!
John, in the garden, calls Judith (Ronni Ancona).
Robbie and Gillian are saying goodnight. He asks her out for a meal and she says yes. He kisses her, a move she rather likes. She asks him to stay. He refuses.
William (Edward Ashley) wakes Caroline on the couch and says she should go to bed. He asks her if she’s seeing someone and if it’s Kate McKenzie. She bumbles around a bit and he says, “She’s nice, she’s interesting, she’s kind. I want you to be happy.”
Next morning Alan presents the Land Rover – and the clutch – to Gillian. She’ll have to install the clutch herself.
A car roars up and dumps Paul on the ground. His mother won’t have him. Maybe because he keeps calling her a bitch. Gillian walks away and leaves him in sprawled in the dirt.
At Judith’s, John is talking to Judith about how Caroline couldn’t be a lesbian. “Aren’t you quaint?” says Judith. She wants to know what it’s like to get hot and steamy with a woman. Then she points out that the woman he’s been living with for 18 years has probably been faking it every single time. Caroline calls and tells him she’s cooking for her “friend” and the boys that night for her birthday. She wants him to join them if he can behave like an adult. He finally clicks on the fact that he knows who the woman must be – the woman Caroline had in the garden.
Celia and Alan, still searching for a wedding venue, are looking at an impersonal public space. They talk about a chapel at Caroline’s school. That might be the answer.
Gillian is installing the clutch when John calls. He says she gives such good advice he wants to come talk to her. She tells him okay.
Caroline is cooking, drinking wine, and so happy she’s almost dancing. She answers the door to find Kate. William wants Kate to come play Scrabble with him and Lawrence (Louis Greatorex) before dinner.
Kate agrees to Scrabble, but steals a few kisses before she goes. Caroline says William knows about them and is being brilliant about it.
On the farm, John, Robbie, Paul and Raff are lined up like ducks in the living room. Gillian is pacing the floor in her bedroom. Alan and Celia arrive from their venue search. Alan again brings up the “manslaughter” he confessed earlier. She again reassures him. They go in laden with boxes and sacks from shopping.
Gillian tries to warn Celia about John and what’s going on. She can’t quite get it out about Caroline and Kate. John, who naturally is drunk, manages to announce that Caroline is a lesbian in the most offensive way. And Celia is indeed offended – both by the thought that her daughter is a lesbian and by John’s behavior. She gets very upset. Alan and Robbie try to shut John’s ranting down. Celia says it’s wicked to say things like that. She wants to go home.
Caroline’s dinner with Kate and the boys is going well when Judith appears at the door. She’s drunk and looking for John. She’s dropped a wine bottle on the sidewalk. She talks about how she always wanted to be with a woman. She keels over backwards and when Caroline goes to help her Judith is covered with blood from the broken glass. Caroline takes her to the hospital.
Caroline’s at the hospital and Kate is back at Caroline’s with the boys. She’s talking with Lawrence. He knows his mother is seeing someone but doesn’t know who it is for sure. Gillian calls and wants him to tell his mother that Celia is on her way home and very upset about Caroline’s relationship with . . . with . . . with . . . Gillian can’t say it, but Lawrence says, “Kate.” Gillian says, yes, Kate. Everyone important to Caroline now knows about Kate.
Robbie is leaving for the evening. He says good night and kisses Gillian again. She goes into the living room and sits down to have a drink with John. John says he only came over because he wanted to see her again. He keeps thinking about her.
It’s late, Alan is tired. He’s driving Celia back home. He pulls the car over to rest his eyes for a few minutes. Celia is upset, won’t look at him. We got a glimpse at Celia’s conservative politics when she and Alan were taking politics a couple of days ago in the church. Her conservatism may cause trouble between her and her daughter when she gets home. Gillian got a new car for her birthday. Caroline’s about to get an earful for hers.
Gillian and John have a few drinks. Gillian tells John she can’t decide if he’s an evil git. He says he’s not horrible, just disappointingly human. She says, “Do you want to go upstairs,” and rubs his thigh. Paul is out of commission, Robbie’s being honorable. John it is. Will he be honorable, too? We don’t find out in this episode.
This is Caroline and Gillian’s episode. It’s the rainy evening when Alan (Derek Jacobi) and Celia (Anne Reid) are trapped in the spooky hall they scouted as a wedding location. Gillian (Nicola Walker) is outside with firemen who responded to her flaming Land Rover. She returns to the house, anxious because her dad isn’t home yet and isn’t answering his phone.
Paul (Sacha Dhawan), in all his bloody, beat-up glory on her couch, asks how the fire started. She says they don’t know, but he says someone torched it.
In the old hall, Celia and Alan found candles, food, a deck of cards and a bed. They are on the bed, still wearing their coats. They sing and talk to the creaking noises that might be a ghost. Alan is having chest pains, which he hides from Celia. Alan says, “Do you think anyone’s realized that we’re missing?”
Indeed, pretty much everyone will know they are missing before long. Gillian calls John (Tony Gardner) looking for the two tardy lovers. John gives the phone to Caroline (Sarah Lancashire), who takes note of the fact that John has Gillian’s number and she has his while talking to Gillian about calling her mother. Celia doesn’t answer her phone either.
Gillian mentions that her dad doesn’t have his heart pills and shows her worry, which gets through to Caroline.
Celia flushes a noisy toilet in the old hall, while Alan stands guard with candles and a guide book to the age of this ancient structure they’re stuck in. Drafts and noisy spook them a bit.
Gillian calls her son Raff (Josh Bolt) looking for Alan. Robbie (Dean Andrews) offers his usual trash talk about Gillian and Raff actually stands up for her. Raff offers to go to the farm and to help find his grandad.
Caroline sets off for the police station, as the fears about the missing parents have infected her too.
The fearful spookiness of the hall is making Celia angry and she’s talking about suing. They climb back into the big bed as candles move around and doors open themselves.
Raff and Robbie reach the farm. A couple of Alan’s friends show up, mainly for comic relief. At least they notice Paul sitting on the couch, which is more than Robbie and Raff have mentioned yet.
In the car, Caroline is on the phone with Kate (Nina Sosanya), who brings up Caroline’s suggestion that they go away for the weekend. Kate is looking at a web site about Barcelona and is ready to book a getaway. Caroline says, “Can we talk about it later?” When she reaches the police station, the two old buddies of Alan’s are still about, still bringing the comic relief. Robbie explains that police cameras will tell them where the car was last seen. Gillian suggests they all go home.
Caroline goes with them to the farm. Caroline points at Paul on the couch, asks who he is. Robbie and Raff explain that he’s Paul, an idiot, who was beat up because he’s “not popular.”
Robbie follows Gillian into the kitchen and they finally have the conversation they’ve needed to have for days about what she’s doing with Paul. She says, “It’s been 10 years, do you seriously think I haven’t slept with other people?” He stumbles around and finally admits that all his lashing out was because he likes Gillian himself, a fact obvious to everyone but Gillian all this time. He basically apologizes and she says she appreciates it.
A phone call informs them the car was seen driving on Godley Lane. There’s a discussion about what’s on that road. Nobody knows why they are there, until Paul says, “You can get married at South Whatever Hall.” (I still can’t get the name.) They realize then that Alan and Celia were there looking for a wedding venue.
Cops arrive outside the hall where Alan and Celia are now sleeping peacefully. The cops find the empty car parked there but don’t think to look inside the hall because the manager of the place tells them the Hall was closed all day.
John, home with his boys, talks about not wanting to get a divorce. The younger son gets quite upset over the idea of a divorce.
Caroline and Gillian are cleaning up the kitchen at the farm, washing dishes. They talk. Really talk. They talk about Raff, Paul, John, themselves. Caroline isn’t holding it together very well and welcomes the offer of brandy with enthusiasm. They are starting to care about each other. If two women ever needed a friend, it’s these two. Happy as I am that Alan and Celia found each other, I’m even happier to see these two connect – they both desperately need someone to talk with.
A phone call tells them they’ve found the car, but not Alan and Celia. The police think Alan and Celia have killed themselves, to which Gillian answers, “They’re in love. They’ve never been happier.” Robbie reassures everyone about the situation and offers to go to the hall.
Morning comes and Caroline and Gillian sit outside drinking coffee (tea?). Again, they have a meaningful conversation. This time about Gillian’s husband’s death, about how beautiful what their parents feel for each other is. Gillian talks about how much it bothers her that her mother didn’t pass on the message from Caroline’s mum. Caroline tells her that her mother was a teenager then, and it shouldn’t be held against her. Gillian’s parents were happy. Caroline’s were not. They talk about that, laugh that they might have been sisters.
Celia and Alan wake up, snuggled deep in the covers of their borrowed bed. Celia complains about being stiff but is in a hurry to get out of there. When they get downstairs there are people there who tell them that you have to dial 9 for an outside line and the door was open yesterday for a delivery. Celia wants to call home and finds out the police have been looking for them.
Caroline talks to John about how things are at home with the boys as the phone rings at the farm. It’s Celia calling to say everything is fine. Caroline runs outside with Raff to tell Gillian. There are happy hugs all round, including Gillian and Raff, who definitely needed the shared moment.
John tells his boys they can stay home from school and he heads off for the “supermarket.”
Caroline and Gillian help Paul up the stairs and into bed. This removes him from the living room, but, alas, installs him in Gillian’s bed. Gillian tells him he’ll be out on his ass sooner than he can say compound fracture if he says anything vulgar to Celia.
Alan’s first thought on getting home is for the Land Rover. They go in for tea and Alan’s pills. Gillian explains why Paul’s car is in the yard.
John’s in a coffee shop, where he gives Judith (Ronni Ancona) money for her rent. She wants to be a writer and thought he was going to be a help to her. He tells her she has to put in the work or it won’t happen. She’s mad. He’s busy trying to dump her for good.
Tea in hand, Celia still wants to sue. Caroline points out that you can’t accept the very classy venue free of charge for the wedding and sue at the same time.
In the kitchen, Alan, Gillian and Raff have a family discussion about Paul. Alan says, “You always did pick ’em.” To Raff, he says, “You can’t be stopping with Robbie.” Raff answers he doesn’t mind his mom having a boyfriend but why can’t she pick on somebody who, A, isn’t a dickhead; B, isn’t 300 years younger than she is; and C, isn’t engaged to somebody else. After this most excellent speech he exits. This gives Alan the opportunity to say he wants to go to the doctor. He makes light of his condition, but Gillian knows it’s serious. She makes him promise to call immediately.
When Caroline leaves Gillian hugs her and tells her not to be depressed. Instead of going straight home, Caroline stops for coffee. She watches a happy family and smiles – some decision made, she relaxes visibly.
Alan tells Celia he’s poured her a bubble bath. She says he’s spoiling her. He gives her a kiss. He offers to have coffee ready when she gets out of the bath and heads for the kitchen, where we see him stunned by more chest pain.
Caroline arrives home where John is being cloyingly nice. He brags that he promised himself never to lie to her again, and tells her about giving money to Judith. Everyone is exhausted from being up all night, but John is invigorated by his honestly. Caroline says, “This can work. We can be civil for the boys. I’m seeing someone.” Boom! She won’t tell John who it is. John yells and rages. William comes in and John asks who Caroline could be seeing at school. William instantly realizes it’s Kate, but doesn’t tell his dad that. He’s been so angry with his dad for cheating on his mom. I hope he doesn’t transfer that anger to his mom, because I think his little brother really needs him now. John won’t take finding out about Kate well and Caroline isn’t the best at explaining herself to her children.
Whee! What did you think of this week’s developments?