Welcome back to Last Tango in Halifax! We're rolling into the quiet wedding (approve) of two of our main characters, all the spoilers after the break! Even though you guys already saw this ages ago, I should say: I will be spoiling myself after the jump!
We left last time with Alan and Gary meeting for the first time, that's where we open as well. They stare at each other and make small talk about what a shock it was, Gary couldn't sleep at all last night! Alan wants to make sure Gary knows that Mary didn't tell him she was pregnant, so Alan's just a philanderer, not a deadbeat dad. Gary calls Gillian "lovely, by the way. She's so funny, so sweet, so uncomplicated" and Alan and I make a face. Er. Gillian? Gillian Greenwood? Alan gives Gary the British "bless your heart": "Gillian's "heart's in the right place." Buuurrrnnnn
Gillian with the heart in the right place is probing gently for information about John, for the love of: John's staying in the spare room at Harrogate again. I mean. Celia says Caroline's being much kinder than she (and I) would have been, Gillian's face doesn't exactly agree.
Gary wants to know how the babymaking shenanigans went down? Alan says he married Eileen in 1957, but who he REALLY wanted to marry was Celia (his face lights up when Gary says her name), being awfully fond of Eileen, but...Mary was very much like Celia, it seems. Same smile, same way of walking, all of that. Anyway, it happened, it shouldn't have, but it did and then she went away and he never saw Mary again. And no, Gary, he didn't try either. Throughout, Gary beams and it's very odd.
Over in the Hate Cafe, Lights Up A Room Celia is talking to Gillian about the upcoming "wedding", why isn't she coming again? Gillian didn't think Caroline meant to invite her, she was just being polite. I think perhaps the back and forth about telling Celia about Alan's youthful indiscretion had coloured ALL of that and that's why Caroline and Gillian are at odds sommat.
Not many people are coming, given that it's such short notice, even our Muriel won't make it back from Corfu in time. I'm curious about Caroline's Oxford friends, will one be an ex-girlfriend?
Gillian does the math; does that means that John, who never seems to be at work and Kate, who's on leave are just hanging about the house all day? It's weird that Gillian's asking about John so much, apparently other viewers find him hilarious, though, and maybe there are some redeeming qualities slipping past me.
In fact, Useless Underemployed John is actually attending pre-natal classes with our Kate, when put on the spot by the instructor about how to encourage Kate during labour, he finally blurts out "she's my wife's girlfriend" while Kate smiles painfully in the foreground.
Hahahahahahahaha! Wait, that's not even true! He and Caroline are divorced! And Kate and Caroline are engaged!
Okayyyyyyy says the instructor, turning around to find someone else, anyone else to talk to. Let's talk about pain relief indeed!
Alan's sitting pensively staring at the table as Gillian and Celia pull up: Calamity! We get to see Calamity! Lookit how cute and chubby wubby she is, oh yes you are, yes you are Calamity! Celia and Alan kiss; she confesses to having "spent up" but she should stop that if they're going on this grand adventure! Are they really, she asks? He's in if she is! I hate to be a soddy Noddy here, but he should tell her about his prodigal son first, at home. Gillian will put on the kettle, what does everyone want: tea? Coffee? Jagerbomb?
Gillian and Alan talk in the kitchen, it was odd, Alan felt like he knew him right away. Gary wants them to come meet Felicity, his wife and have supper at his house. "So he's married then" says Gillian and come ON! I know he's attractive (if you haven't seen him whingeing on Sherlock Holmes or violating ethical and moral codes on Scott and Bailey) but he's your half-brother!
The time has come; he's got to tell Celia. No more pussyfooting around, and there's the matter of Caroline's threat to tell her mother too. It seems Gillian has learned her lesson from the Robbie / Sleeping With John debacle, she advises Alan to tell Celia soon, so she doesn't hear it from someone else. A found child is even more important to share than the news that you didn't ACTUALLY list your house for sale when you said you did. Plus louder and more chatty. Alan swears he'll tell Celia soon.
Kate and Caroline are discussing the day in That Kitchen (AB/T and I know what's up), WHY did Kate let John come with her to the class again? And why didn't Kate jump in with a "she's not your wife, she's nearly my wife and you're just a wanker who won't ever SOD OFF" ? I may have taken some liberties with the wording.
Ah so they did buy John out, why the Sam Hill is he not living in some rental accommodation over a poetry bar that sells $14 martinis to bearded hipsters in porkpie hats? Caroline says Kate should have told him that (again, not EXACTLY word for word), but really, shouldn't Caroline be the one to do that, thinks Kate and I? (Kate looks very drawn, tired and thin here for a pregnant woman. I'm slightly concerned, although I'd probably look like that if I had to deal with John on the daily as well) Caroline says fine and strides away immediately, to find John and Lawrence playing a board game in the den, looking all cozy. She'll deal with it later, she tells Kate. It must be very hard to throw out your BabyDaddy when you have all that space and your littlest rat is so attached.
I mean this is the best way, and I'm trying to not read to much into things, but Kate looks very unhappy. I hear there is a massive plot dragon rearing it's head this series, to do with S2:E4 and I'm worried Kate's going to be mean to Caroline again and leave her before the wedding or sommat.
How on earth are they getting married already anyway? How did they get the money for the house? Have they been dating for a year yet? I mean, granted, you don't have to wait 60 years to get married *ahem*, but everything with them has been so rushy. It could be like what Billy Crystal says in When Harry Met Sally: when you find the person you want to be with forever, you want that forever to start as soon as possible.
Kate's frightened, the death of Judith and John's baby is looming over her and she doesn't want that git near the hospital when the baby comes.
They kiss and it's lovely, but there's still so much worry around Kate's eyes. Caroline looks well and truly happy, though, all relaxed and sinking right into her. Wait, she'd better ring her mum!
Celia and Alan are dozing together on the settee of destiny again, it must be laced with Ambien. Has Celia heard anything fresh lately? No, how about her? Celia's going to drive over on Friday, the day before the *pause as she makes air quotes in her head* wedding and now we have Alan's drop dead date. Thursday bedtime!
Ellie bangs in just then and a slimmer Raph is up and at her like a shot: where she been? Why isn't she answering her phone? Why hasn't she been at school? She drinks.out.of.a.juice.carton (Imma need a minute) and explains that she's quit school, she won't be doing her A Levels and she's got a job where Gillian works. She has quite a lot of hair all up the air, doesn't she?
Nobody can believe she's dropping out before doing her A Levels, has she told her mum? No, and she's not going to neither. Raph says she can't work at Greenhops( ? sorry!), that's just a job, not a career as Gillian glares at him and lets it go for the moment, until Alan asks if she's just going to throw it all down the drain? Another look from Gillian, this time like "oh come on now, stop."
Ellie has it all figured out though, the job is full time and she'll be fast-tracked in to store manager in two years and now I'm wondering if there is a dire shortage of workers in the north of England because Ellie is no my idea of either a go-getter OR a career-woman. Basically what she is, is YOUNG. Get some edumacation!
She doesn't want to be dependent on anyone any more, especially since she's got so many fewer people to be dependent on, like Harry who has bankrupted himself by destroying part of a lock gate while schwasted.
Caroline asks to speak with Gillian, Alan hovers while Caroline reinforces the need for someone to tell Celia NOW. He will, he will, Thursday bedtime at the latest.
At bedtime, Celia is musing, she quite likes Kate and if Caroline has to be "that way", it could have been worse. "It's funny, isn't it? Babies. They're always welcome when they come" as Alan leans against the headboard, looking pale and half-dead in the mirror. This is a perfect time! Spit it out!
He's had a bit of news...what news? What NEWS? pressed Celia. She thought it was health-related, but no, no, it's making him ill. He's got a skeleton in the cupboard, one he never knew he had. He's got a lad. A son. A boy he never knew he had. He had a bit of a fling and she says when? Before marriage? He says no and you can see her face move forward, all dreadfully intent and yet, at the same time, she draws back, moving her hand from on top of his. When? The year Gillian was born was 9 years after he got married, Celia does not understand. Celia asks who?
Alan describes Mary and I can't tell if saying Mary had the look of Celia is a good thing or a bad thing. I don't think there can be any good thing right now, Celia can't believe that he was mucking about with someone else the year Gillian was born. He explains about the non-date of Gillian's, and says it was just the once. Celia looks all sadness and emptiness.
They move to the kitchen for a cuppa, and now the rest of the lies are revealed: the everyone knowing, the getting Celia out of the way so Alan could meet with Gary, go on, tell her Caroline knew too, so she can understand that her humiliation is complete. Because I do think that is how a woman like Celia would take it.
Side note: who bloody cares, in this day and age, what gender or colour your children's partner is? It's easy for me to say, having kiddos all under the age of hormones, but I have several close relatives with complicated relationships, who cares what they look like or what gender they are? Are they good people? Do they love your offspring? Then you're miles ahead of many. I'm just holding out for girl-grandbabies, give me that and you can have whatever else you like. NO PRESSURE.
Celia spits out "this is what adultery does to people: it turns them into liars" and there is that. She can't believe everyone colluded to lie to her and keep this from her and I'm starting to get a little hot on Alan's behalf. He's telling her because he has a child that will presumably be part of their life going forth. He didn't owe you fidelity 50 years ago, he owed to to his "great pal" Eileen and marriage is complicated! Nobody's suggesting he's out waving his todger about in bars these days.
Ellie's up and gone to Greenhoughs (? sorry) to start her first shift, well there you go. I wouldn't have expected her to be that organized. Gillian's not being an unpaid nanny if Ellie's working, and she's not taking cash from Yvonne either. That isn't the way the world works, it's not Cloud Cuckoo Land and if Ellie's working, she'll have to pay her way. And why aren't Ellie and Raph communicating?
Speaking of that, Raph wants to know what's up with Celia and Grandad? They weren't talking at breakfast. Is one of them ill? Gillian explains it, she has a half-brother. Whut??
We don't need any conversation at the breakfast table, do we Calamity? No we don't! No we don't! You just keep chewing on that fork and I'll just watch and peek at the Aga periodically. Alan seems deflated and resigned, but he presses his case with Celia, Gary would really like to meet her. And Gary's very mannered and kindly and calm and very grown up about it. "And you'd like ME to be grown up about it, would you?" snaps Celia. Alan asks if they can find their way forward, but Celia thinks she'll go spend some time with Caroline for a few days. Oh sure, go during the wedding and hang about for the honeymoon, that's a GREAT idea! Don't forget to ask Caroline for 100,000 quid on her wedding day, it's tradition!
Alan tells her that Caroline knows, by the way, and she works out that Kate does too. That's what Celia's most afraid of: people knowing her life or the people around her aren't perfect.
Celia's on the phone with Caroline, yes Caroline told Kate, they're partners and that's what they do. Perhaps I've been unkind to poisonous Celia, the worst part about what happened with Kenneth is that she felt everyone knew he was stepping out on her and were laughing behind her back. Oh, I bet they weren't, but nobody wants to be a cuckold or imagine themselves an unknowing fool. She's just shocked, she though he was better than that. Are all men rotten? A lot are, but Caroline doesn't think Alan is; if she did, she would have driven over, ripped out his pacemaker and shoved it up his...where the sun doesn't shine.
It's not a reflection on Celia, Caroline reminds her, it was a long time ago and she doesn't really want to lose Alan over it, does she? I am SO GLAD she called Caroline!
Celia returns to the farm, where Alan is looking up Gary online; he owns a coffee shop? Or few? A bit of chitchat then to it: Celia says she doesn't want to be small-minded about this; Alan jumps in: he's not Kenneth. It happened once, and never again and he sort of maybe blacked it out. Are they friends?
Alan spills what he's learned about Gary; The Google told him that Gary owns Cafe Rapido, which is a chain of mobile coffee vans, he's a multi-millionaire! He sputters away about all the things Gary owns while Celia looks grave in the background. Maybe bring it down a tetch, Al.
At Greenhoughs (? sorry), Gillian's watching young Ellie being trained by the store manager, and tells her they'll be having a talk later, young lady. Just then Cheryl walks up and I have to tell you, I was very confused for a moment: Cheryl's dressed like Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley! It's like when I was learning French and Spanish at the same time, I was completely messed up! Cheryl's got a big smile on her face, she's heard the news! The news that Gillian and Robbie have been at it behind her back and I think Gillian should throw the wine bottles in her arms at Cheryl and RUN!! Anyone able to plaster on that big of a smile on her face while confronting the other woman is someone used to repressing their feelings and she's about to let them ALL out on you, Gillian! RUN!!
No fighting though, just some words to the wise. She plonks a box on condoms down on top of the boxes in Gillian's arms, she doesn't want to catch anything unpleasant. And if Gillian's so desperate for sex that she feels the need to borrow other people's fellas, here, have this purple vibrator. It's a rabbit, too, and the tip swivels as Cheryl addresses the gathered crowd: watch her, she'll have your kicks off (to a young man) and her, "with a face like a bus" must be exuding pheremones. Whew.
The tip of the vibrator continues to swivel and Gillian turns from the crowd to see her boss and Ellie watching. She tries to turn it off, but it just gets faster...
So the upshot is: Gillian's been fired. She just leaves out the sex toys. So how was this win-win, asks Alan? Well, there's time off...anyway, ahem, did he tell Celia? How did she take it? Oh fairly well, you know, it's all fine now. And I do believe Alan has the wrong end of the stick there. He was so excited finding out about his shiny new child that he forgot what that symbolised to Celia. And it's all well and good that he's excited, what's done being done, it's just that he spent much more time being excited rather than being penitent.
Celia comes down from upstairs; she's leaving for Harrogate and she doesn't want to meet Gary. Alan says he won't meet Gary either, but Celia insists loudly and firmly: he WILL meet Gary, she's not having that.
Kate's napping on the couch when John clangs his way in, he thought he might cook supper as a thanks? And he's got a toy for the baby, a wee rabbit with pink-dipped ears, he's always wanted a girl (AMEN). He loves the boys, of course (we do! We DO love our boys! It's just) but Caroline didn't want to have any after. He seems sad, so she offers to make him a cuppa.
Raph explains what REALLY happened at work with Gillian and...Cheryl. Ellie came over to help Gillian hide everything, as Gillian got dragged off to the office to voluntarily resign, which was nice, but then she told Raph everything, so...not awesome.
Robbie walks in just then to apologize, everyone finally sorts out what that means, Alan giving Gillian that look again and my heart BURSTS with pride when she turns to him and says "Don't you ever, EVER, pull that face at me again, young man" and GOOD FOR HER! Pfft to you, Alan, of the High Horse, humiliating Gillian in front of Celia and everyone else about her abortion at 15.
Cheryl's moved out? Hmmm, asks Gillian and me, peeking out from behind all that.
Celia's holding forth about the situation with Alan's Gary to Caroline, but there isn't much Caroline can say. Celia thinks that Alan's being blind to how Gillian's taking it, having lost her job and Celia's implying she's being held up against Gary as an example. I think Gillian quite likes Gary, and not in a familial way, of course, thinking she was being invited out on Valentine's Day, she's got to work all those emotions back. At any rate, Celia's nor wrong that Alan isn't being very sensitive to her and her situation dealing with Kenneth all those years, but he ISN'T Kenneth and he's just found out he's fathered another child: it's a boy! Of course he's excited. And it isn't about you, Celia.
Dinner time! Gillian's driving and having a grand old time holding forth about all these years, the sanctimonious Alan looking down his nose at her, and in this case, she wasn't even the other woman! Cheryl was, Gillian and Robbie were just having a bit of a...blip. So what was the deal with Paul Jattri again, then? Alan's worried, she's not going to go over this in front of Gary, is she? This "dirty linen?" "Hell no," sputters Raph, "we don't want him thinking any of us have sex, do we GRANDAD." Hahahahaha cheeky beggar.
They're driving in the rain on a stormy night and they think maybe they're lost, it's just like Rocky Horror Picture Show, says Ellie! That would make Gary the sweet transvestite from transexual Transylvania and I was doing all right until she said hey! There's a light! Over at the Frankenstein place and now she's done it, I can't get that song out of my head.
I am going to get so many unfortunate searches on this post, it will be unreal. There's a recap of the show Billions I did, the third episode titled "YumTime" and every single day there are disappointed readers who've been lured here by the internet. I blame Billions trying to be extry provocative that week.
But no, there really is a light! It's a mansion, and makes Harrogate look like a gate house. Wow. Gary's explaining how his career took off, from a donated coffee machine and falling apart van to a mansion. Gary's wife breaks in then, it was her idea that he put the coffee machine in the van, how did they meet again? Ah well, that's another story again.
After dinner, Alan and Gary are poring over books (rare and expensive copy of Wuthering Heights) while the other guests drink wine and visit. Side note, because I'm sure you were all wondering, the only books I collect are anything by Agatha Christie, and even then I bought a separate set for reading. I don't like books for showing off, I like books for READING. The old Agathas are for wondering at the state of them and some of them have some absolutely magic adverts in the back. It's history!
Caroline wakes up and smiles, she looks so happy! It's their wedding day! They're to be married in 3 hours! As Lawrence feared, there is to be much lesbean-o poetry to be read. She gives Kate a preview, but I don't know if I'd go with "built like a tank and guzzles diesel like it's going out of fashion" for my wedding vows, personally...Caroline looks so content, so happy, it's so gorgeous to see.
Alan's brought flowers and is wearing the suit he wore to their first wedding in the registry office, but Celia's still in a robe and she isn't going anyway. IT'S ALL ABOUT HER. She jumps right back into homophobia but that's not what the real root of her ire is today. She wants to know how Alan managed the sex with Mary? Obviously they couldn't go back to Alan's place, with Eileen and baby Gillian there, who did Mary live with? IT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, CELIA! She's very cruel and cutting, and you do not have to deal with that, Alan, you are NOT Kenneth. Kenneth was off shagging one of his tarts the night Caroline was born and I had suspected that. She keeps at him; he was off with someone's secretary that same year that Gillian was born.
Kate is setting the food on the buffet table, Caroline takes her aside to say how thankful she is for giving her the strength and the courage to stop hiding. "You're magnificent" Kate says in return and they relive all the snogging that day in Caroline's office. "It were more than a snog, pal, I had my hand in your bra" says Caroline and OOOH, I'm taken right back. That was smoking hot. They snog some more just as Alan knocks on the door.
He tells Caroline, er ooh, there's a problem with your mum. Caroline storms over, Celia greeting with her with "he's no better than Kenneth" and that's it, Celia's not coming. Today's not about that, says Caroline, and I really want you to be there, mum, get dressed.
This is not the first time Celia has let Caroline down, though, When Caroline received her doctorate, she was very excited and looking forward to the ceremony, not realising until her dad walked in that Celia wasn't coming. It ruined her day and she was rude to her dad. Her dad, who HAD bothered to come, who hadn't made her special occasion about himself and shown up. I read somewhere that half a friendship is showing up and I can believe that. Caroline begs Celia to get dressed and not do this to her; what she's upset about and this wedding Celia's been sort of avoiding, they aren't connected. Celia looks at her hands as Caroline walks out, saying "right. Right."
I am wondering if this is a plot device to make it that much more memorable when Celia shows up smiling in the back row, but I'm going to assume Sally Wainwright wouldn't use such a cheap ploy. I could have been in tears!
Wedding time! There seems to be an awful lot of people; and where is Gillian? Lawrence comes in, asking what's Celia wearing then? When Celia says she's not going, Lawrence says he isn't either, he'll stay with her and I am SO ANGRY with Celia right now! ALAN'S SITUATION HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT KENNETH DID! CAROLINE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT ALAN DID, WHY ARE YOU RUINING HER WEDDING??
Alan warns them both; they'll regret it. Think of Caroline, she doesn't deserve this.
Caroline and Kate arrive and all the guests greet them (seems like a lot?); where's Lawrence? Oh he's coming with Alan and Celia, and just then the Lexus pulls into view. Caroline watches intently as only Alan alights, and walks over to her. He explains about Celia and Lawrence and she says the exact same thing she said to her father lo those many years ago: "well there's no point in you being here then is there, if she's not here?" and turns and walks away.
Kate mouths a "sorry" over her shoulder as Alan turns around and leaves again, looking as though he's been punched in the belly and we're out. Oof indeed.
So. Celia is probably the most selfish person I almost-know, although I think she may have to fight Ellie for that title. To think that you wouldn't show up at your daughter's wedding because of a mistake your husband made 50 years prior while he was married to someone else...that's next level. I mean, none of us thought she wanted to be there anyway, what with the racist and bigoted comments, how convenient that she's got something bigger to hang that on. Don't get me started on Lawrence, how any grandmother worth her salt would let her grandchild miss his own mother's wedding to stay there and tend to her bruised ego, it doesn't credit thinking about. He's a teenager, they're all self-focused anyway, which is probably a defense mechanism anyway. I think back to everything I thought I knew at 16...it's best I had no idea how clueless I was. Also: I am on of those people that always shows up, that and approachability are the cornerstones of my charm. I'm there and you can talk to me about anything.
Celia is devastated because she thinks Alan's as bad as Kenneth, but there is nothing that suggests that. I am trying to be understanding, because I gather there are some people that think that once a cheater, always a cheater, but I am not one of them. Marriage is difficult; you can never truly know what happens in a relationship unless you are innit, and even then, everything is skewed with your baggage.
Gillian being fired on the same day she was shouting about Ellie not understanding how the real world works is, well, it's kind of like funny! And it's just as well Cheryl cleared out; she and Robbie were never a match, I just don't understand how a conversation about bacterial spread led to Robbie fessing up about nekkid-chatting with Gillian. I am so very glad that Gillian was able to put Alan back on his heels a bit about his judging of her, it seems everyone has feet of clay. Or human, everyone's extraordinarily human on this show. I'm concerned that I find myself disliking Celia immensely these days, I was so enchanted with her wry quips and total ownership of liking of the Daily Mail. Perhaps I'll come around, right after I get over the fact that she MISSED HER DAUGHTER'S WEDDING TO POUT ABOUT A 50 YEAR OLD AFFAIR COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO HER. Right after that. Cheers!