I understand that the next few episodes are...fraught on Last Tango in Halifax, so I've braced myself, let's roll the rest after the break. 4 year old spoilers ahoy!
I'd forgotten the vitriol being hurled about between Alan and Gillian as well as from Gillian to Celia, er-ooh, it's looking bumpy. Not just that, but Gillian's had a falling out with Robbie over not informing his teenage or grown self about the baby of his she'd aborted 31 years previously. So Gillian called that twat John over to help her watch Raff's baby, oh did I mention that? Raff and his off-again, on-again girlfriend Ellie discovered and completed her pregnancy within a couple of days with an adorable baby girl, fast work you lot! Little Elisabeth Beatrice still doesn't have an official name, but spends most of her time with Alan, especially now that Ellie's skipped the twigs. Things are ramping up with Kate and a reluctant Caroline having a baby; old boyfriend Greg will be calling 'round the posh hotel for Kate's birthday, whee! And we roll again:
We're still at lunch with Celia and Alan, amid Alan's murderous allegations about Gillian. The police suspected foul play, and had him in twice, he was just glad Gillian was able to keep her nerve, otherwise Alan would have been an accessory after the fact. Well, he WAS an accessory after the fact and as a matter of fact, still is! I like how those three conjugations show how you're never really shut of anything like that. Nobody USED to be a murderer.
Celia is shocked, but she too knows what it's like to be trapped in a marriage to the wrong person, and don't forget, she was lying in wait to murder her adulterous bastage of a husband for DECADES. Hmm. Alan thinks Gillian ought to be more grateful and gracious after he did all that for her, and I'd say just the opposite: she probably didn't feel beholden to him, more like even more fiercely bonded to her dad forever due to their shared incredibly awful experience. Oh hey, they better rush home, they're watching Lawrence for the weekend!
Raff comes home from school to find John working on his "novel", why did Gillian ask him to look after Elisabeth Beatrice asks Raff? Dunno, no idea, he just drove 60 miles from Harrogate to get here for a laugh I guess! Raff tries to usher John out the door (I knew I liked this kid! Just stay off the Malibu: all bad decisions flow from there) but John's been invited to stay for supper. Oh well sitting there in the kitchen all day with the baby in the crate, surely he must have made something for tea then, right? The Aga is right there! No, wait, I remember him "cooking" in Harrogate, flour everywhere and everybloodything all over the place. Maybe it's just that he just sat there and wrote ill-advised "fiction" about his friends and family.
Ohhhhh noooooo, John's got Raff all riled up about getting Raff's name on the birth certificate, isn't Gillian waiting for the results of the paternity testing first?? Raff JUST asked if he could go play X-Box, he doesn't want to be a parent! John says Raff has to defend his rights, his relationship's been severely compromised by a mad, manipulative lesbian and Raff breaks in with "wasn't it because you had a fling with.." HAHAHAHA. John'll get his coat and they'll swing 'round and get Ellie. This is NOT a good idea.
Caroline is giving Celia the rundown on care for Lawrence, who's invited Angus 'round for a sleepover. I'd make fun of how detailed Caroline's instructions are for taking care of a 15 year old, but you don't want to see the brief I hand out whenever some poor mad soul wants to take any of my hooligans for a night. Celia asks if Angus is Scottish and what IS that about her and Scottish names? She did that with Kate as well and I need to know: is Scottish a good or bad thing to Celia?? McKenzie is better than BuckBuckMcFate as a surname, anyway, although I'd love to have cheques made up in that name and I do like to say it out loud really fast. It's the closest I try to come to swearing with wee ones in the house. I have turned a corner and am now able to address all of the driving corrections I'd like to share silently, in my head. I just pretend my eyes are lazers and I have telepathy.
William stomps off, he hates his job. I miss seeing William, why do we not any more? He needs some attention. There was a study a few years ago; baby rats who were licked frequently by their mommas fared better and lived longer, I'd say Caroline needs to lick that particular baby rat, and soon. She's teaching him to enjoy when he has a university degree and doesn't have to take a stupid job. He is not getting that just yet.
Oh and by the way, she's called Gillian. Celia is aghast, she asked Caroline SPECIFICALLY to not do that! But Caroline felt bad for Gillian, which offends Celia: Caroline felt bad for GILLIAN?? But she could have been in tears!
Oh FFS, JOHN gets to help name the baby?? He's suggesting literary names, but thankfully Harry and Maurice are also there to moderate. Raff wants Elsie, after Alan's mother, but Ellie isn't having it, it's too old. Elise sounds like a firecracker, and handy with a frying pan! John's mobile rings, it's Lawrence, he can't find Reservoir Dogs and Caroline said he and Angus could watch it and did she? John and I are surprised. Lawrence successfully fakes out his Popsicle, right, back to naming.
Emily Jane! It was decided while that wanking pillock John wasn't at the table! And YAY! That's what Alan calls her! John waxes poetic about Emily Jane Bronte as Harry asks "who are you again?" hahahaha. Celia's son-in-law and why did Gillian ring him again? Er-oooh writing a book set on a farm in north Yorkshire and immersing himself in the setting (is all that a euphemism for Gillian's linchpin heroine vagina?) and whatever, man.
Oh I was mistaken, Gillian thinks it's great that they've done the birth certificate, so I had the wrong end of the stick there. Emily Jane Greenwood-Wallace sounds like a lovely name! It's impossible to find out people's last names on this show, IMdB is a fink, so I love it when they speak it directly and clearly into the camera like that. Raff and Ellie are meeting up for a drink later (maybe not Malibu...what with everyone's inability to remember the basics of birth control under it's influence), they're gonna try to try it steady-like. John will be watching his Ladyship and I almost felt fondly towards him when he said that, but of course I didn't. Wanker
I got a new dictionary / thesaurus today, I'm very excited!! Expect big words!
Kate and Caroline have arrived at their posh hotel for their dirty weekend; Greg will be meeting them later. Walking in, Caroline says, out of the blue, the Celia suggested that Caroline start calling Alan "Dad" and wouldn't that be a lovely, convenient segue to Lawrence and William calling Kate "Mum"? Just like she's always wanted and then they don't have to go through with this insane birth plan? They've been together 6 minutes now, seems legit!
Oh. I'll stand down. Caroline just wanted to say that as much as she likes Alan, he isn't her dad, even though her (by all accounts complete JERK of a) father is dead, he will always be her dad. I feel the same way, I barely knew mine but I've called my stepdad by his first name for the past 25 years. You lot are so unbelievably awesome, reading all this gassing on of mine, especially that bit up there ^^^, I really can't thank you enough. If you skipped past, odds are you didn't see this either, it's a win-win!
They use the light phenomenally on this show, it moves across the lobby with Kate and Caroline as they check in and they just look so happy. Out and blissfully so.
Back in Harrogate, Celia and Alan are visiting in The Kitchen while Celia mangles a tomato in the least efficient way possible with a paring knife. Serrated edge, darling, that's what you want! She's quiet and Alan fears he's scared her, or worse, made her feel embroiled in his scandal, dancing about with his closet skeletons. Alan really is haunted by Gillian's killing of Eddie, though, he can't get the idea that she killed him right from the start, no suicide whatsoever. Celia asks if there was even more than he said? No, so "let's live with what's on the table" and I absolutely agree the world would be a better place if we could do that. It's just that sometimes those ghosts start elbowing each other trying to get to the front and have to be dealt with. The truth comes for us all in the end.
The doorbell rings, must be Angus! And by Angus, we mean Judith. Oh and Celia gets to the door, that was FUN! "So you're her are you? You're the whore?" oooh Granny, sputters Lawrence! He bails to meet Angus in the drive while things get even messier. "I don't want a fight" mutters Judith to be met with "Oh well, you've probably come to the wrong place" and it look's as though Celia's SPOILING for a fight! And one where she holds the moral high ground, no less! AND mama bear instincts coming into play. If I were Judith, unless she's pregnant, I suggest she just leave right now.
Much hilarity ensues, Raff calling Alan just then to tell him about Emily Jane, Judith putting on her sweetest face and trying to find out where John, or Caroline is and also congratulating Celia and Alan on their marriage, oh she's heard of them! There's marching music in the background and shouting and they didn't name her Calamity Jane, it's EMILY and awww it's so sweet and "my dad is in Halifax" spills Lawrence finally and could someone give Judith Gillian's address?
Small aside: Ronni Ancona plays the desperately unlikeable Judith and the she's the only one I truly find doesn't necessarily always fit the bill; she has the manners of a stage play. She uses a lot of exaggerated actions, sort of like playing to the back row, which is great in theatre, but doesn't come across quite the same way on TV.
Caroline watches Kate walk down the stairs in a lovely dress looking exactly as though she's like to eat her for breakfast, no side of maple syrup required. Kate seems nervous and withdrawn, looking at her watch, but Caroline looks radiant. Kate's irate, not either of those, but why? She looked so happy at check-in?
Oh nooooooooooo. Not Out at all: and that's why Kate is so angry. She thought that Caroline was acknowledging their relationship outside of her house, but no, Caroline booked TWO rooms. Oh no. What a slap in the face for Kate. For her BIRTHDAY! Kate's furious, but like all women everywhere, lowers her voice to a hiss when the waiter arrives with the G&T, she's angry they're not driving in together, not saying has made her EXTRY resentful and she thinks it makes them look like hypocrites (and probably not good role models for the muff-munchers and shirt-lifters, which is the point Lawrence was trying to make, which I missed trying to figure out why lifting a shirt was a key sexual designation. Lesley B's sorted that out for me! Holla!)
Kate's only stayed because Greg is coming, she is LIVID with Caroline. Caroline is flummoxed by all the vitriol headed her way, she can't believe Kate didn't say anything if she was that angry! Kate isn't taking any "I'm just me" excuses from Caroline, however, she's done, Caroline's blown it. Just then Greg walks in and Happy Families must be played for a few.
There was a lot going on in this scene, but it's Sally Wainwright's deft touch with dialogue and these two superb actresses pulling it off that made it wrenching. There's notes of hilarity, with Caroline and Kate lowering their voices while others are within earshot and then Kate just about shouting when she decides it's high time to stop following Caroline's Rules of Secret Engagement. The smiling when Greg arrives, on the heels of a relationship-ending fight.
Greg, for his part, is lovely, really, oh! And he's checked into the hotel also! Ohhh says Caroline's face.
Gillian, Raff and John are having supper, yes, tell us about your novel, John! What's it about, again? A sullen, sinewy 40-something woman tumpty tumpty carriage of a 16-year-old boy? Tell your linchpin heroine all about THAT. He schlubs around a bit and just then, there's a knock at the door. Gillian and Calamity will get it! It's Robbie. He thinks he's overreacted. Er-oooh. She introduces him to Calamity Jane while he apologizes profusely. She invites him in, should be lots of room, let's get on the settee of destiny! Oh no, first have some tea with John first! She explains him stopping over as doing research for his novel and I cannot even say how much I hope she and Robbie make up and she makes John stay on the settee of destiny directly below Gillian's bedroom.
It's awkward, as it would be, as they struggle for conversation, what's the book about then, asks Robbie?
I feel like I should clarify: I quite liked how industrious and caring Robbie was, and I like him with Gillian, but it's absolutely murky AF with the fact that she was married to his brother and he tried to prosecute her and was an entire arsehole to Gillian for a very long time. Even if he was right. Until he remembered that she was still a woman and still someone he used to care about. I just want to make it clear that I'm not exactly Team Robbie, but I am utterly Team Anyone But John.
Greg and Kate are having a terrific supper while po-faced Caroline drinks wine and eats in the corner. She looks miserable as they reminisce and this is going to be a very long evening.
Celia is still angry about Judith popping over, AND the fact that John's clearly after Gillian; she, like Caroline before, is wondering if John is like Kenneth, insinuating himself into multiple beds with ease? Alan tells her to let it go, Caroline's well shut of John now. Calamity Gillian will sort him out.
Robbie's in his cups and holding forth about crappy police TV shows; he can't watch without throwing something. "Do your research! Would it kill you? I'll show you how to investigate a murder" and er-ooh says Gillians face. He could help John with his book; what's it about again?
Saved by a doorknock, it's Judith. She's found them! Gillian wants to know where the fire is?? Banging away like that? Does she need water? A bucket of sand? An unsure Judith spits out that she's looking for John, well well well says Gillian; what do YOU want? "Him" snaps out Judith and stomps on by.
She starts shouting at John immediately, writing about this story (Basheba Everdeen? Really?) was HER idea; he's a plagiarist! Ooooh, get to the description of Gillian!! Gillian and Robbie don't know exactly where to look, just wishing these drunk arseholes would bugger off.
Ohhhhhh CAN NOBODY IN THE WHOLE NORTH OF ENGLAND KEEP THEIR BLOODY MOUTHS SHUT??? When introduced to Robbie, Judith says "ohh what a fascinating menage" as Robbie wonders why? "Oh cuz they've slept together" and there's Robbie's face on the floor again. I told Gillian firmly two episodes ago that she needed to tell him. These things always out.
Ohhh, and Judith throws down the script (all stagey-like) and Gillian scoops it. Robbie is pressing now, asking Gillian and John, who are denying it (WHY?? LITERALLY everyone KNOWS!), asking for the exact language John used. Oh this just gets worse; Judith remembers EVERYTHING, that Robbie had been there (that's when he and Gillian shared their first kiss), it was the almost-sisters' birthday and just too much, too much detail. There's no way she's lying, it's so obvious, especially since SHE wasn't even there. Robbie.is.devastated. And angry, really, although there is a tiny out in that John said he didn't remember doing it, perhaps they both passed out before the genitals hit the, er fan? So to speak?
There is no possible explanation, so John goes on the offensive, accusing Robbie of preying on Gillian after persecuting her for so many years. Robbie asks Gillian if it's true; the sleeping with part and everything else? When she finally affirms, he turns on John with a giant roundhouse swing, clobbering him in the chest. Not nearly as satisfying as you would imagine.
In Harrogate, Lawrence and Angus are having a bit of fun in The Kitchen, I swear, there is a rest of the house somewhere, isn't there? I'm not complaining, but all I've seen is the one room! Lawrence is tied to a chair...being threatened with matches...ahhhhh they're playing Reservoir Dogs and Stealer's Wheel is playing in the background! Make sure it's a sharp knife for Mr. Brown's ear, Angus! Ah it seems the boys have broken into the spirits, I'm guessing it's the peppermint or peach schnapps! Alan rushes in, William's at the hospital!
Kate and Greg are still carrying on, he's just off to the loo and then they can talk about the baby plan after he's back. Caroline excuses herself.
Oh jeebus gawd, William's been ATTACKED! His face is all bashed up, and it was all fine bones before! Call Caroline!! He's left work for good and went to town. He had this idea of going to a club some of them from school go to, to perhaps see girl he likes there, Grace. Oh. Well. Okay! He went to get money out of the bank machine and was jumped by two blokes, kicked and humiliated but he remembers what they looked like and was able to report it . He's worried about how Caroline will take it, but he hated that job, he's always felt like the odd one out, always. Ah William. Alan counsels William to grow his confidence with being a little bit out of his depth, like this job, where he has to work with people he wouldn't naturally interact with, and he's proud of William for trying. It seems to help and thank Thor someone has licked that particular baby rat, even if it ends with Alan saying he wished our Raff was going somewhere too.
A beautiful and grave Caroline waits the next morning, the light here has a tinge of blue, as does she. It seems Caroline looked for Kate last night, in the hotel, the bar and also Kate's room. Twice. Kate was in Greg's room for a nightcap and Caroline gets right down to it: she says she won't falter again but if they're meant to be parents, she won't do it with This One. He's a jerk. He's also one of Kate's oldest friends and where exactly does Caroline get off making demands of Kate at this juncture? Kate just looks stunned.
Caroline continues, she thinks shes going to have to give up on the idea of buying John out and I think that's a smashing idea! Oh and it goes directly south at that point. Kate breaks up with Caroline firmly, but it's more than that, it would be cruel if it wasn't all true. Well, it's not ALL true, I don't believe for a moment that Caroline thought it was just an awkward fumble or two ever. She just hasn't gotten to the point where she's ready to be in an honest-to-Hera relationship. It's so incredibly sad! Kate's almost indifferent and that's the worst part of it. She's staying the night with Greg and hang on, they didn't REALLY just break up did they?? Caroline looks so terribly sad.
We're back at the farm with Gillian, I think Judith's (possibly stolen) car is still there? She comes in to ask John about it, he has a shiner so maybe Robbie got him in the face after all. I'm running that back. I watched it three more times and as lovely as that was, it really did look like a chest punch. But John's got a shiner anyway! And Judith spent the night in Raff's bed while he was sleeping on the settee of destiny, after drinking two bottles of wine and possibly the emergency brandy. She's the Real McCoy, says John, she doesn't just "languish in the amateur division like you and me" finishes Gillian.
Geez, what's happened to John's face, asks Raff? Er-oooh Uncle Robbie has fallen out with Gillian again, no explanation exactly, wrong end of the stick. Um. Phone! It's Harry, looking for Alan, something terrible has happened and Gillian looks like she can't breathe.
A very hungover Lawrence and Angus are being tortured by Alan and Celia with various breakfast stuffs when Gillian calls; can she talk to Celia? Celia? Gillian apologizes for over-reacting and she needs Celia to tell Alan something upsetting. We're back at the table just then, so we don't hear it that way. What's happened? And why does Alan have to sit down?? Oh Maurice has died. They think a stroke, someone found him at the bottom of the stairs. Alan and I cry while Celia holds his hands.
Gillian cries while Raff cuddles Emily, she explains to John that she's known Maurice her whole life. He and her dad were board-knackers together. There was a system of schooling back then, you were a board-knacker or a nash-bogger and it seems complicated but they were just very close. Gillian is still crying as she moves to call Alan back to see how he is, John asks her what? "Death. Dying. It's a bitch" and I suppose, yes.
My grandmother died just before Mother's Day last year and I spent Mother's Day weekend alone in a hotel room waiting for her funeral with far too much wine; death is indeed a bitch.
Alan is crying, who would have thought sprightly verbose Maurice would go before him?
Caroline arrives home quite and withdrawn to hear about Celia and Alan have gone ahead with purchasing the bungalow, I don't know if I've said this before, but I do like how Celia and Alan do keep moving. I know loads of people who mostly just speculate on doing things, but there they are, going ahead with everything they've planned. Caroline knew keeping the house wasn't possible, really, I'm sorry I got so shouty about it. I haven't even said ADOPTION once this time, so perhaps we're all growing.
Celia asks about Kate, is she still planning to put money into it? But Caroline says she's blown it, and I will forgive her for the almost-pout because she really does seem devastated. She's blown it because she's no good at things, sometimes. Ah Caroline.
It's raining on the day of Maurice's funeral, Alan is eulogizing him in a lovely fashion; his only regret is that he didn't ask Maurice to be his Best Man. He couldn't choose between he and Harry.
Caroline's in to see Kate at the school, Kate leaves after telling Caroline that she and Greg have done the deed and that's it. Caroline looks beautiful.
Alan, Celia, Ellie, Raff, Harry and Gillian are out for a pint after the funeral, Alan and Celia want to know why John's been hanging about? There is a part of me that sighed when a grown, 46-year-old woman felt she had to explain that nothing happened, but it's all relived anyway. Alan's come up with a plan; he wants to have another wedding! A big do! And he asks Harry to be his Best Man after all. Harry says it wouldn't be right now, so Raff jumps in, but bugger off you, he'll do it! In honour of Maurice. Celia says yes and that's it, a real wedding! I won't even bah-humbug, since it's Maurice's final day and all. Yay!
That was a tougher one; as advertised, I know Maurice was a huge loss to Alan, but I'm more concerned about Kate and Caroline. I don't know, I've not come Out, so I've never known what that's like, and I imagine a lifetime of being told to suppress how you feel has to be an enormous challenge to overcome. I DO know what it's like to date someone who won't acknowledge a relationship in public, however, and that hurts. So. They're both expecting a lot and I honestly don't think Caroline is there yet. It was hard to watch them in the school, Kate so closed off and Caroline shutting down again. If Kate has gotten pregnant already, that seems like an irrevocable divide.
I'm glad Alan and Celia are having another wedding (even though I hate weddings) with everyone, now that the urgency is over, and I'm happy they're moving into their own place. They need some space, they can't keep sleeping on settees and going up all those stairs. Yay Calamity Jane has a name and everything! She'll always be EB to me. Cheers, you lot, again, I am at firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone would like to chat or tell me exactly what Lawrence's pal's name was; Oscar, was it? Love yous, mean it!