I've been told this is also a pivotal chapter in Sally Wainwright's Last Tango in Halifax; it seems the last one and it's Can't Be Final breakup scene was a divisive episode, with TeamCaroline and TeamKate factions popping up after. I get that, but as always, I am TeamSally and I have faith she will take the story where it will go. On we roll!
Oh my. Caroline's got The Aga up for sale and they're moving William out to Oxford. Can I just have a minute with the stove? The important thing is that the divorce papers are in play and in the post (but maybe not by registered mail), but unfortunately, Brittle Caroline is back. The too-high voice and tightness in her shoulders. I'm a little confused at Celia and Alan being in the flat still, didn't they buy that little bungalow with the gorgeous view? Maybe not quite THAT much time has passed.
Caroline and William have a lovely moment, he really is her biggest ally. Lawrence, well, Lawrence has time to grow. John is driving William and Celia passes on invaluable advice and a fistful of money: girls DO like boys with clean underwear.
Caroline cries and Celia comforts her: Big Day. Her first wee man off to university.
Celia and Alan are off to Rippendon to help with Calamity Jane, but there's wedding planning nightmares going on. Alan's brother Ted (Alan has a brother? Caroline and I thought this would have come up before now) has a whack of kids and grandchildren, they're all coming over from New Zealand and ONE is a vegetarian... THIS is why weddings...sorry sorry, I understand weddings can be a fantastic time to gather family and all that but this gives me hives. Celia says this is why they wanted to do it quietly! Caroline points out that they did, and now they're doing this.
Caroline seems so diminished by her sadness now that John is gone and there isn't the anger to keep the energy up;it feels like she's pulled herself into a fetal position emotionally, if that makes sense? Caving into herself to keep the hurt contained. She stands in That Kitchen in another gorgeous pencil skirt in heels and gives us a moment to drink in all the beauty.
Gillian is mucking the animals (lookit all the sheep we're getting this season!) while Raff and Ellie handle babycare, it seems like things are proceeding apace, anyway! Although they are leaving her nappy a bit long, hey? And we get a stated timeline! I LOVE when they tell us clearly and directly to the camera how much time had passed! It's been a month since Ellie's moved in, can she stay? Yvonne is helping to pay for her and the baby's upkeep, yay! Look: a workable solution and it seems ADOPTION wouldn't have worked anyway, what with Kate and Caroline being on the outs currently. We can jump to that storyline any time now! It's been a month since Greg and Kate did the deed, that's enough time for a test?
Ah, it appears lots has been happening, Robbie's got a new girlfriend, Cheryl, and she may even be moving in. Men. No sense of a proper mourning period. Raff, Ellie and Calamity will be going there for supper that evening. Gillian swings Calamity around and CHANGE THAT BABY!
Kate's come to see Caroline in her office, she WHAT. She's pregnant. Kate, at 42 with a history of miscarriage, was able to get pregnant the one time she shagged a man in the last however many years.
Oh right, she's talking to Caroline about maternity leave, which makes sense, I forgot that Caroline is her boss as well. Kate wants to come back to work part time, which Caroline has supported in the past and she congratulates Kate as she leaves and then Caroline and I cry at what could have been.
Side note: Sally W, I'm not going to tell you your job, because you do it marvelously and at a level I can only peer at from miles away, but there is no way in the history of conception that this Plot Device of a pregnancy could have happened this way. Right, as you were.
Alan and Celia arrive at the farm, but they're too late! Harry's already taken Calamity down by Sowerby Bridge ( I know THAT from Happy Valley!), but it is lovely that they're all getting along again. Harry wants to see them, though, he's got something to show them!
Gillian and Alan chat and it's just like Caroline and Celia, she and I didn't know Celia had a sister Muriel! Whereas Ted was two years ahead and Celia and Alan, Muriel was one level behind them. It seems that maybe the reason we don't know from Muriel is Celia's ambivalent relationship with her, which I understand. But it's to a point where Celia doesn't know if she wants to invite Muriel to the wedding and wow, that sounds stronger than ambivalent. Gillian diplomatically notes that Celia seems to have complicated relationships with people.
Gillian seems happier than we've seen her in AGES, that's great!
Harry's buying a houseboat! He's got the house listed and he's going to seize the day! I spent far too long trying to suss out whether that was the same houseboat that Tommy Lee Royce was hiding in on Happy Valley series one. Spoiler Alert!
Back at the farm, Gillian's making tea and gabbing and it's so nice to see them all relaxed around each other!! There was just so much going on all the time, no time to settle whatsoever. They're discussing Robbie's new girlfriend, the blonde, gorgeous divorced 15-years-younger Cheryl (Rachel Leskovac) who he previously thought was "dippy". Celia asks if he's making a point, and of course he is says Gillian! John's back with Judith, but Gillian really doesn't care. He were kind of like a stopgap, yeah? And he's back with Judith because he can't get out of that bad habit.
Gillian is just GLOWING! I really can't say that enough. It's such a shame that Caroline is so drawn and unhappy right now.
As things are ALWAYS opposite yet equal on this show, Celia thinks the wedding planning holdup is Ted but Alan believes it to be Muriel slowing things down. Gillian's common sense cuts thorough all of that and that ends the chatting.
Lawrence and Caroline are having a very quiet meal; he asks if he can go live with his not-boring dad? That legit took my breath away: oh noooo. What a thing to be asked; while expected, surely, now our Caroline will have lost everything.
I'm quite concerned about Lawrence staying with John and Judith with regards to the whole raging alcoholic business, let alone the completely ignoring one's offspring part, but Lawrence just sees it as exciting and I suppose it would be, to a teenager.
Gillian rings just then, Caroline answers in that over-bright too-happy voice again. Sigh. Usually Gillian is the only one she drops her guard around, I'm so sorry she's not at that point now. Gillian has taken it upon herself to decide that Muriel is the problem and even asks Caroline to ring her aunt to get this sorted: it's stressing Alan out. My back is entirely up; exactly WHO does Gillian think she is meddling in Celia and Muriel's relationship, I mean. I know it's an over-reaction, but I'm still up in arms about it. Caroline is much more understanding than I.
Alan and Celia are playing Trivial Pursuit, she hates Sports & Nature / Leisure! It's all Sherlock Holmes, The Beatles, Shakespeare. It's always one of them, if it isn't Manchester United. Gillian pops her head in; how about she and Caroline plan the wedding? I can see I will need some Dramamine for this recap and on from here, I feel my throat closing already. Weddings!
Celia agrees to think about it, and let Gillian check out some venues, etc, when everyone's phones start to ring. Well, that's odd. Caroline tells Gillian that Celia didn't even invite Muriel (Gemma Jones who I know from Sense and Sensibility!!) or tell her she was getting married (again), that's her on Celia's cell just now.
Muriel seems lovely, why would Celia not tell her? How did Muriel find out? Why Caroline just rang her. Oh, that's spoiled the surprise, she was going to come 'round this ....very weekend, yes this weekend! So!Much!Rictus!Laughing! Caroline knows what's up, though, after Celia's off the phone it will be Armageddon, the forces of god and may-god (my kingdom for closed captions, sorry!) will gather from the four corners of the earth...as Celia chatters on in an over-bright tone: "you'll be thinking I wasn't going to tell you! Nothing could be further from the truth..." uh huh.
THEN Gillian tells Caroline that she's offered them to plan the wedding. *LONG SILENCE* She eventually agrees, but you can tell she doesn't want to, and I'm very sorry, I doubt very much that it will be a laugh. I mean.
Celia's off the phone now; "who was that?" asks Gillian all innocent-like. I hold my breath and wait for the may-gods and...on they roll as normal.
At bed, though, Celia is FURIOUS, what was Caroline thinking? Personally, I'd like to know what CELIA is thinking, however fraught someone's relationship is with a sibling, if you can chatter away in platitudes on the phone, you can invite them to your wedding and I'd like to know why she hasn't!
Celia's home and shouting at a gorgeous Caroline, what's going on? John's there to pick up Lawrence, and he has news: Judith is pregnant. WHUT?? I was joking, sort of, when I said that last recap! Huh. Does everyone want to have babies at an advanced age? I can't exactly complain about it, but I have heard that when you're younger, you roll with the lack of sleep better. You are able to pick things out better as you age, though, people think my youngest is adorable. It's like nobody recognises Satan any more! I blame the liberals taking church out of school. I'm joking, he's lovely. When he's asleep.
Judith is PREGNANT? 8 or 9 weeks. My goodness, North England is extraordinarily fertile for women of a certain age (I can say that, I am of a certain age). Oh and maybe Lawrence could NOT stay with them this weekend, it's only just reared it's...head. I'm glad John at least says it, not just leaving Caroline to explain, but Lawrence isn't having it, he doesn't WANT to go to Halifax to Gillian's. Lawrence locks himself in John's car and that's it; no easy road for John today.
Now we meet Cheryl! She's very pretty, and very good at small talk and chatter (classy jacket!), so essentially the opposite of our sullen, sinewy Gillian. I much prefer Gillian, as does Caroline "well, she's annoying." *smiling and waving*
Right, what's the plan? Lunch at a nice restaurant, it's on loaded Caroline! "Do I need to get dressed up?" asks Gillian with a gesture at Caroline's classy jacket and nahhhh they're off! To...Harrogate? No, the hotel that she took Kate to, where they "fell out" the last time. Ahhh I wouldn't want to go back there, but Caroline thinks it might be nice as a wedding venue.
Gillian wants to hear the story about Celia and Muriel! Over a gorgeous lunch with light all over them, Caroline spills. Ahhhh, Celia and Muriel dated the same man, Frank, who married Muriel and has died long ago. Caroline tried to fix it previously, but she didn't, she left it. A hotel staffer comes over with brochures for weddings.
Celia preps Alan about this meeting with Muriel, it definitely sounds fraught. So many things Alan isn't meant to bring up. Firstly, that Kenneth and she had such a bad relationship, due to the stepping out. She didn't tell anyone and that makes me hurt for her for a bit. You get better at keeping a secret as you get on, that's for sure.
Muriel talks a mile a minute, I think Celia gets one sentence, and hey! Raff is Raphael! I love that! I will now call him Raph. Alan's trying to play along, being friendly, but she's very...a lot. Gossipy? Chatty. Lots of words but not much of substance. Ah, I'm sorry to hear Celia say what I knew she was going to say: she warns Alan to not say anything to Muriel about Caroline. That makes me very sad that in this day and age, people think it diminishes them if people near them are different that the very middlest part of mainstream. I understand on a great scale like online that people can be very harsh, but in family?
The hotel is lovely, Caroline and Gillian are wandering about the grounds and now they're meeting in the bar to discuss. They start a game of Will You Drive If I Drink Too Much? and I have to say, my husband is the master at this: he always wins. I suggest one of you start pounding doubles, it never fails to have you declared the Designated Passenger.
Ah jeez, I'd completely forgotten Judith's drinking problem and how that relates to the BABY! She must be coming out of her skin not drinking all of a sudden, remembering that she's the Real McCoy and all. She's very edgy and needs to go for a walk; perhaps she can grab supper? John asks her question after question and that's actually a pretty good introduction to motherhood: nothing about your life is your own any more. I can't go for a walk by myself EVER, I haven't in years. John follows her anyway, he's worried about her drinking. This will not be easy. But should they be leaving young Lawrence alone? I guess so, he's 15, let me take off my smothering hat.
Muriel, Alan and Celia are visiting in the garden, Harry asked Muriel out too! Much to Celia's chagrin, Alan explains how he's related to Harry now while Muriel tut tuts. These things happen! *downward look meaning "not in my family, it wouldn't DARE"* and you can feel Celia's entire being creeping out of the garden by inches. She does make a point that if she'd had her druthers, it would have been Alan all along and I think that's a pointed comment about not pining after Frank.
Then Muriel asks about Caroline, will she get married again? Oh well, Caroline has maybe seen the light about what shallow-minded half-wits men are *horrified look from Alan* and I guess that's a softening move re: lesbianism? Although I don't think all lesbians hate men, do they? Unless it's required upon entrance, like cutting your hair? That's referencing Celia's remarks about Caroline's hair last series, not a blanket statement re: hairstyling choices of the lesbian and fabulous.
Caroline herself calls just then, her and Gillian think this hotel would be the PERFECT venue for the wedding. A waiter pours champagne as Caroline explains that the only thing is that the only date available is Dec. 24. And it's a Tuesday! Just then, Gillian points out that she thinks the hotel thinks they're the ones getting married. Hang on, mum, whut? Gillian thinks they remember Caroline bringing Kate there, and she's "just another one of your women" HAHAHAHA. That's magic!!!! HAHAHA. Caroline, you sly dog! She almost cries and I think Gillian does HAHAHA. Gillian's trying to look seductive, Caroline tells her to stop it and Gillian threatens to be finished with her if she doesn't cut it out.
HAHAHAHA. That whole scene was MAGIC! Caroline and Gillian cackle and all is right with the world.
See!! See Caroline, it's not so bad for people to think you're with a woman!! It's 2012, the Ladies Have LANDED!!
A tipsy Caroline and Gillian are being driven home in a cab? It is a cab! And Caroline's left her phone at the hotel, which is unfortunate because just then Lawrence calls. He wants to go home to his boring mum, he's worried that he's been left alone for too long and he needs her to come get him.
Gillian and Caroline flop onto the settee of destiny; Gillian asks what happened with Kate? Caroline explains about the separate rooms...Gillian doesn't understand Caroline's actions EITHER. Some minutes later, Caroline is so sad over blowing it with Kate, she's only just realising now how lovely it was and how much she misses it. Kate won't listen to her
Quickly now: is it weird that I'm measuring the distance between Gillian and Caroline? We know Gillian makes... impulsive moves while under the influence but I'm sorry if I'm completely mis-reading this intimacy. It's just that I've seen this gif before on Tumblr (you have to step lightly on there for fear of spoilers) and I always thought it was Caroline and Kate.
Caroline is so sad to be back in this box of hers, the arrogance, inept, selfish, repressed, emotionally crippled and I only agree with those last two. On Facebook, JT brought up the 20 plus years of repression being quite an obstacle to overcome and I can see how everything else, plus lack of proper relationship modeling, can flow from there.
Gillian's off to find the replacement emergency brandy, I think she's ready to explain to someone other than John about Robbie. I bet Caroline will be a great help!
Celia and Alan did agree to book that hotel! Yay! They're talking about Muriel now, Celia can't stand how Muriel always needs to be the centre of attention, but Alan calls it needy. Scared of being overlooked, they push their way to the front with sharp elbows. Is that what Celia's worried about? Muriel taking over Celia's wedding? But Alan reassures her, Muriels's awfully plain (she isn't) and hasn't made him laugh even once that day! He thinks he and Celia will eclipse all others their wedding day and I agree. Alan's looked at a picture of Kenneth earlier, now he spies Frank: is that Muriel's husband? Yes, he's dead.
Ah I did have the wrong end of the stick there, whew. Emergency brandy in hand, we get to hear about Robbie, Eddie and the log-splitter of doom again. She thinks she ought to have stuck with Robbie, but Eddie had a way of blotting out the moon. Gillian's trying to suss out whether Caroline is as drunk and she is, but she hops right to it, no long drawn-out talk about waiting for the ambulance, just straight to "I murdered him." Boom.
A very drunk and pregnant Judith and John are back at the flat, John drunkenly checking rooms for Lawrence while Judith drunkologues about the destructive nature of men. Queen Isabella of Spain was a b*tch? What? Where has Lawrence gone?
Gillian is explaining more fully, Eddie beat her. Carefully, where people couldn't see, so with premeditation. She tells Caroline how she did it, and how she involved her dad and cries. Caroline looks grave as Gillian says: that's why she couldn't ever expect to be with Robbie; she killed his only family.
The next day dawns; Gillian asleep on the settee of destiny and suddenly violently ill. She looks terrified, but we know Caroline won't say anything, right? She wouldn't, right? She is a great person to talk this type of things through with! And we're out to Gillian's worried face.
So, wow. Okay then, Alan was right, Gillian did murder Eddie and I can see how she would be concerned about starting a future with his brother. That part with Caroline and Gillian in the hotel was high-LARRY-us and I hope instructive! I find it odd that Celia is worried about her sister overshadowing her, Celia being so out there herself, although maybe she is truly an introvert. Muriel did talk all over her and it seems as though this type of thing is how situations get locked down: early on Muriel wins Frank's heart and is defined as the vivacious and desirable one, Celia holds onto that forever. I was sad that Celia still feels as though Caroline's sexual orientation is a shameful secret, perhaps why Caroline herself had a hard time letting go of that feeling as well?
Also: TWO pregnancies! One of whose mum is undoubtedly going to struggle with being on the wagon, and the other we're hoping can carry to term. Talk about OOF.
Until next time, you can email me with all my mistakes at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @gingesbecray or just here in comments! See you then!