Last Tango In Halifax S3:E3 Congratulations from Halifax Recap

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Welcome back to Last Tango in Halifax! It's (TTM-approved small) wedding day, yay! It's been such a fast relationship, and so very exciting. On we roll!

It was a very ugly episode last time, tempers flaring and bad behaviour all around, but especially from Celia, who I may or may not have had a dream about last night (she IS horrid!!), who refused to attend the "wedding" of her only child and even used her grandson's teenager-ness to prop up her fragile self, allowing him to MISS HIS MOTHER'S WEDDING. Then Caroline took it out on Alan a bit, who was quite soundly shut down by Gillian (it's confusing for me now, I've started recapping River and I keep wanting to call Nicola Walker Gillian!) and who may or may not be getting back with Robbie (yes!! Get back with Robbie!! Oh. But she kind of murdered his brother, so. Um. Go for it, Gillian!) now that Cheryl has found out about their carrying on. Alan's met his lad from the other side of the blanket, Gary's filthy rich and smiles at odd times, so they're getting along swimmingly. Celia does NOT approve. Everyone ready for some lesbean-o poetry? Woot we roll!

Oh, we open at the wedding and it's lovely. There is light everywhere and Caroline's middle name is Elisabeth! Of course it is. Yay!

Wedding

This is contrasted with Celia sitting with Lawrence in her robe, staring a hundred yards away while he watches crappy cartoons. Ahhhh Caroline looks so beautiful. I love to listen to vows, they always seem so serious. Kate is glowing as Alan drives away grimly and Celia pouts. Awww, and they say Spouses for Life instead of Man and Wife! That's a great change! I hadn't even thought, but yeah, that makes sense.

Alan arrives back at Harrogate to ask John for a lift to the train station. John looks like hammered shite, by the way, does the man not own a razor? Or a comb? Alan tells John he's going home and the way he says it...I'm worried for he and Celia's marriage but I think he's well shut of her. He comes to the gatehouse to find Celia and Lawrence, drops off the car keys and tells them he'll be on his way then, home to Halifax and she'll know how to reach him if she wants. He doesn't mention Caroline's cruelty, which we all chalked up to the stress of the day, but I'm still glad he doesn't bring it up.

I could just SHAKE Celia!!

I guess I may have underestimated or passed by the effect of finding out that Alan was an unfaithful husband in the past may have branded him with a giant UH (that'd be a fun jumper!) in general to Celia, but nah, I'm still not giving her a pass for her selfish behaviour. Staying home from Caroline's wedding was the last thing that made sense and I hope Caroline sticks to her guns about not having a relationship with her. You can only allow yourself to be hurt so much by someone like that, family or not.

In Halifax, we've got Calamity (hey!!) and Raff (gave up the Raph for Raphael, it was too confusing for me and others) are also watching cartoons. Harry's there, and Alan's at "a dykey lesbian wedding up in Harrogate" says Gillian, when Harry asks. Now, I know Gillian's supposed to be all rough where Caroline is smooth, but this is the second time she's said "dyke" and she reads The Guardian. I mean.

Harry's found out about Ellie working at Greenhoughs (I know that's right, I got confirmation!!), what's going on there? And why is Alan at a lesbian wedding anyway? And if it's Caroline, Gillian's there, isn't she? Yes, Harry, she is, she's there right now in two places. She's amazing.

A hilarious three-way conversation follows with a clueless Harry (who's GARY??), Gillian and Raff, he doesn't know why she would say they were too busy to go to the wedding, they're not busy at all! And he wants to ask Gary for a job, NOPE says Gillian (WHO'S Gary??!!) and they can just ask tomorrow at brunch. Gillian invited them when she was drunk. So now, she's got to go out and buy food for this multi-millionaire and his family when she has no job. Up drives Robbie, yay! Let's do THAT! says Gillian.

She goes out to meet him in the courtyard, lots of half-sentences hurled about, she's worried about money now that she's lost the Greenhoughs job and he says that's why he's there. Can they talk somewhere? Everyone possible (save John for once) is gathered on the settee of destiny, fire away, Robbie!

And he proposes!! She figures it out a couple of sentences in and there's this glorious flit of a smile across her face and I know I was listening, fully, chin on hand, but I was mostly waiting for what I didn't hear. Do you think she'll ever tell Robbie about Eddie? Can she just leave it be for now, knowing in her own head that what she did was a form of self-defense and not retribution? Can she do that and move on to this wonderful (if prosaic) life of shared life and resources Robbie is proposing? It's not the worst marriage proposal I've ever heard (although he did say "you're YOU"), he didn't even mention how much they'd save on taxes! She's got to weigh it out, though, and I hope she takes it. They are good together, but I don't think he's enough for her.

The wedding party arrives back at Harrogate, so happy. Lawrence is jumpy, knowing he's done something really REALLY impossible to take back, asking his granny what they should do? Celia's dressed, anyway, but still not speaking. Lawrence is going to go over and apologize, just then Angus knocks on the door and he's off.

Oh good lord, that twat John has used this opportunity to drive Alan all the way to Halifax, I bet to see Gillian. He should propose too, make it a party! For the love of sweet baby Jeebus. Alan explains what happened, but he DOESN'T leave out the part with Caroline this time, which Gillian seems glad of, another chance to call perfect Caroline a "b*tch" and honestly. I don't think I'm going to make it through this whole show liking ANYONE!

Gillian decides to TEXT CAROLINE, because this is of course THE EXACT RIGHT TIME FOR THAT, just after someone's wedding that you didn't even bother to go to. I may need a drink to calm the Sam Hill down. It's very warm out, I'm sure one tiny beer, mostly foam, wouldn't register a blip. Be right back.

Thaaaattttt's better. Where were we?

Alan manages to stop her while I was provisioning, none of this would have happened if Celia hadn't, well, nothing would have happened if HE hadn't...and oh right, John doesn't know. Gillian explains it then, she has a younger half-brother, Alan has a son and Raff has an Uncle Gary. "Gosh. Okay" says our chatty John. So well-spoken. Alan's scrambling to defend himself and I WANT to feel badly for him, but look how he humiliated Gillian in front of people and everyone knowing about her and John, which led to a lot as well. Let's just say the world would be a much happier if everyone stopped imposing moral judgements on other people all over the place and have done with it. Deal? Let's drink on it!

Beer
Cheers! From my happy place

Gillian asks how John is doing now, since the ...baby, and how is...Judith? Gone to Saint (St.?) Albans and there's some soup and bread if he fancies stopping? John's nose comes up: dinner?

Back at Harrogate, this is quite a lot of people for a quiet do, isn't it? (Wait. Did they switch out William? That doesn't look like Edward Ashley!! Off to IMdB. They did! They did replace him with a Dean Smith, what the hell??) William (sort-of) gives a speech (this William is all wrong, all smiley-looking, none of the delicate bones and vulnerability under the skin of Edward Ashley. It does explain why they kept cutting to his visage during the wedding, though, I thought maybe Angus had gotten a perm until I saw Angus next to him. Plus he's short. I WANT MY WILLIAM BACK!!! I don't respond well to change) to his mums, one new, one factory, and he's very charming (for an IMPOSTER): to Kate and Caroline: every happiness. He welcomes Kate to the family after, he's all weird and happy.

Kate's spotted Lawrence, she asks Caroline to not make a fuss, but of course not and does she want William to bring Granny cake and champs? No absolutely not. Celia's watching old movies while Alan and Calamity snooze on the settee of destiny. I am slightly concerned because Calamity is not surrounded by pillows OR bubblewrap, but I'm sure she'll be fine. If someone could just scootch the coffee table over out of the way, please? Tanks ever so.

Oh great, Gillian and John, Co-Captains of the Caroline is So Mean Club, are drinking together again, which is their idea of flirting; let's get schwasted and exercise free will in a horrifying manner! They debate the class structure and I can't even WAIT until Gillian marries Robbie and years later they reminisce with family about her shagging that sodding John on the day Robbie proposed. Just like when Gillian and Robbie first kissed. Brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it? Because she will marry Robbie if she has half a brain in her head, and I'm pretty sure she has at least twice that and it will be irrevocably marred by what she's about to blame on Emergency Brandy.

Sigh. Sorry, I got that wrong, three bottles of wine I meant.

Gillian loves drinking too much at lunch time! John too! Gillian has all these troubles, recounting them one by one to John, but why bother resisting the onslaught? Drunkaloguing is AWESOME. She has 1001 things she want to ask him.

  1. Did he have NO idea that Caroline wanted to bat for the other team? Not much, really, did he ever really know her? Or did he fall in love with this eye, this lip, this nostril? And then he calls Caroline boring because she reads chemistry instead of drinking three bottles of wine for lunch and solving the world's problems.

Drink break! Before things get smashy

John blathers on pantomime blah dead at 27 or plague or smallpox blah Gillian's a Bucaneer blah silly bitch blah that's why she's so EXCITING. Yeah, yeah, she says, until the next thing, and he's a moron because he takes that to mean she's agreeing. That was a poke, John, not agreement, she's NOT okay with being just another.

And then HE proposes they make a go of it together, well, this sinewy 40-something woman with the face like a bus really IS exuding pheromones all over the place, isn't she?

Alan's phone rings just then, as Gillian and John giggle, can he borrow her Rover later? More tittering, sure, sure. I hope they're both hung to the nuts tomorrow, the arseholes.

Alan's meeting Harry at the pub, he wants to talk about Alan's news. Why did he tell Celia then? He had to, once Caroline knew.

Celia listens to everyone leave Harrogate, Caroline and Kate have this LOVELY makeout sesh in the hallway. I think I felt their kissing in my toes.

Makeout

Kate heads upstairs while Caroline goes to just tidy up a bit in the kitchen...in comes Celia. She wants to talk, but Caroline has nothing to say to her. When people asked where Celia was at the party, Caroline told them Celia had come down with a case of a narrow mind and didn't want to be a part. Good for Caroline, not covering and making an excuse about illness or somefing like that!

Oh and this scene. Caroline cries while Celia pretends she doesn't understand; Kate's mum wasn't there, right? Like, what's the big deal? The deal is that Kate's mum would have liked to have been there, but she's in New York and Caroline makes me cry on that line. Such anguish.

Caroline

Celia wants to talk about Alan, who's left, Caroline doesn't have an opinion on that. And she won't answer Celia's "I do love you, you know."

The next morning finds a hungover Gillian working on a tractor while Caroline and Kate wake up slowly in bed; discussing the fact that Celia's car is gone. Oh and there's Gillian's text after all "Piss off you mad old dyke, I hope you have a shit day."Perhaps it's ironic, suggests Kate. Perhaps in Halifax that's how they say "Congratulations?" HAHAHAHAHA I mean

She sends back a "thank you x" and it's EXACTLY the reminder that Gillian needs to check her phone and see that she indeed did send that text after all. Whoops! Her screen is smashed; THIS is what happens when you hang out with that twat John!

She drops the phone, looking as though she's about to vomit, shouting "WANKER!!" and really, do I have to say anything here?

Alan's assembling formula in the morning when John stumbles down, trying to explain his presence, but Alan doesn't want to discuss. He's very glad John's fond of Gillian, given that John's "SLEEPING IN HER BEDROOM" finishes Raff, but Alan doesn't want to talk about it any further. Hello Calamity, good morning! Please tell me someone else flinched when John touched Calamity's head?

John wanders outside to find Gillian, meeting Celia in the drive. Alan meets her in the doorway, not inviting her in until she apologizes. Raff's very happy to see her but then what does he know? Pfft. Teenagers. Celia complains; she still hasn't slept! She thinks she's more bothered that Alan went and met Gary without telling her first, but I really think it had more to do with Alan not being properly contrite. She complains that Caroline isn't talking to her, what did she expect, says Alan? She was wrong to take it out on Caroline, he reminds her, but she was upset! 'OH YES I THINK WE ALL GOT THAT, CELIA!!" and I've never loved Alan more. She wants to move on and she doesn't want to fall out with him. She also said she didn't want to fall out with Caroline last night, and it must be lovely to just walk around doing whatever bloody selfish thing you want, say wait all day for your daughter to come sobbing at your doorstep on her own wedding day, perhaps bringing guests and cake, or take your husband to task for a mistake he made 50 years ago and expect to just get away with everything by saying you don't want to fall out with them.

I don't want to fall when I trip over something, but there it is: a natural consequence of my actions! And nothing to do with beer. Maybe wine.

Nobody taking apologies that she isn't half-offering anyway, but Alan doesn't want to fall out with her. Sometimes these things take time to process! Oh and Gary's coming over for dinner tonight, should they reschedule or...no, Celia thinks it's time to meet him after all. That extra 18 hours was all the time she needed to get over it. Pity it wasn't in time for her daughter's wedding.

Alan mentions something a bit off between Gary and his wife, who was keeping up with Gillian in the knocking-back race, he thinks there's an undercurrent there. Perhaps Gary isn't perfect?

John finds Gillian in the field, another "how pissed were we yesterday?" conversation. She asks him why he didn't stop her from sending the text, but she sloughed him off, calling him a limp-wristed-twat and sent it anyway. Oh she's invited John to stay for the dinner with Gary and family, but he can't see, Robbie's coming. She invited Robbie over earlier in the day, when HE was proposing.

She tells him it would never work out between them, he presses and she lays it out for him: he turned up at lunch with several bottles of wine and some people don't have the luxury of that, John! She had stuff to do! Not everyone makes money with their minds (very few do) like John, she has all kinds of actual work she has to do! She calls herself ridiculous and rubbish and she doesn't need anyone who's like her. He thinks she just needs to like herself more, and sure, self-esteem can come into play, but surely easing off on the wine a tetch couldn't hurt either.

She seizes at the slim chance that Caroline could have thought that text was a joke? Maybe? Maybe that's what "Congratulations" sounds like from Halifax? Let's look at it again! John doesn't know why she cares what Caroline thinks and in that moment, I'm reminded why Gillian likes him in the first place. Everyone else thinks Caroline is perfect (cuz she IS), only John will indulge Gillian's jealousy which is masquerading as bad decisions.

He reminds her that Caroline did say that awful thing to Alan, though, perhaps Caroline deserved it? But she's still upset that Alan cheated on her mother, and I don't suppose anyone's thought about her feelings in all this, asks John? John is exactly that little debbil sitting on your shoulder, telling you "yes! Drink four bottles of wine with lunch! And yes! It IS all about you! You are entitled to feel upset about something that had nothing to do with you! In fact, that's an excellent excuse for calling people 'mad dykes' (can they stop with that word now? I really can't say how much I don't like it) and hoping their wedding day was shit!"

Gillian tells John he's a nice fellow, but he can't be at the same wedding party as Robbie. Why? Because before she drank in-advisably with you as Captain Enabler there, Robbie proposed, that's why. John says she doesn't want to marry Robbie, he asked her to marry HIM, more or less, and she finally works it out: she DOES want to marry Robbie. There you go, John IS useful! He helped her figure out what she wanted! And THEN! Then she tells him not to come round here no more, YAY!! He didn't have to bring Alan all the way here, all Alan wanted was a lift to the station, so THERE! Yay!

Kate's bringing Angus home, Lawrence and Caroline negotiate over homework and they're off in Caroline's jeep. Smiley, smirky William says goodbye to Caroline, asking about the honeymoon? They might pop down to Oxford after the baby's born, good idea!

At dinner, somehow Gillian has dug up a massive kitchen table and is serving up a big meal in a lovely green dress. Raff's going on about his future prospects, complaining that Gillian won't pony up for driving lessons. Robbie offers to teach him, but then Gary jumps in and says he can sort that out for him. Gillian demurs just as Gary's wife Felicity (Kate Isitt) warns that Gary will take over their lives. A bit brittle there, I don't think Alan had the wrong end of the stick.

Gary switches his attention to Celia, filling her glass under Felicity's watchful eye. He asks about her family, so Celia puts her most impressive foot forward, which is William, who's in his first year at Oxford. But what about her daughter, asks Gary, didn't she get married yesterday? To a woman, yet, which seems to interest Felicity a bit, anyway. She grabs the bottle of wine (under Alan's watchful eye); she thinks she'll do that next time, marry a woman! But she was married to a man first, wasn't she? presses Gary, much to Celia's dismay. Does she not agree with that? As Gary watches her face intently; she can't even remember Kate's name. I mean.

Now it's time for Felicity to hold forth, wow, I just met her and I do not like her. She thinks women are the future, as Gary laughingly disagrees, but she has a whole theory! It has to do with chickens; apparently chicken farmers kill most of the male chickens at birth, only leaving one or two for fertilization purposes. Harry thinks that's all very well and good, but what would happen if there's a puncture?

And we're off into the Battle of the Sexes, ending with Gary asking Celia how Caroline would deal with a puncture? Ah, she'd just buy a new car and they all laugh and laugh and I really don't like it when they mock Caroline.

The lady herself is at home wondering where Kate is, it's been longer than expected.

More wine and chatter after dinner, Felicity is oh no. Felicity is talking about her father, who was the judge who presided over Harry's case. Oh no, this will not go well. Calling Harry "this little old man" in his seventies who's invalidated his insurance being drunk. Oh Jeebus. The whole point of that is never revealed, but I think it's something to do with her poor dad having to make a decision about that drunk "little old man" what had to sell his house to pay. In the midst of all that, Harry asks; does your dad like a bit of drink? He can see she does. What about Gary? How are they going to get home? Gary sputters about a driver and just then Felicity realises that everyone in this room already knows this case; do they know this person? "Yes," says Harry, "we know him."

Caroline's calling William on the train, did everyone get off okay? It's been an hour and a half. He thought he heard something about getting some milk? Caroline's just concerned, Kate should have been back by now. The doorbell rings, she has to go. It's two dour-looking policemen, and it's raining now, what's going on???

Celia is still holding forth about Caroline, telling Gary over much more wine that between them and the fencepost, Caroline's not talking to her right now, Alan chimes in that Caroline's not talking to him either.

Blah blah blah WHAT'S WITH THE POLICE??

Robbie and Gillian do the washing up while Ellie and Harry talking about her choice to leave school. She's moved on, though, and it's all his fault, what with doing his boat up *side eye towards the dining room* and having to sell his house. I mean. Let me see what my grandparents had to do with my education (or lack thereof) that I had the right to expect from them...nothing! Yes, that's right, my grandparents owed me nothing toward my life or education and none of them even had a bloody boat. Harry's suitably chastised, though, and slips out whilst the tittering continues from the sitting room.

Robbie takes that moment to press his case; does he really mean it, asks Gillian? He does, he's wanted to marry her since they were 16 and yes that means yes! She will marry him, Raff will like it.

This moment is interrupted by Caroline calling, errr Gillian tries to put on HER too-light and brittle tone, but Caroline isn't calling about the wedding or the text, she needs to speak to her mother. Kate's been in a car accident and is unconscious, not in labour, Gillian, put Celia on the phone.

Now wait. I've seen the series three poster, it's right up there, THERE IS A BABY IN CAROLINE'S ARMS, there can't be anything seriously wrong, right?? And put her mother on the phone!!

Caroline and I cry when Celia finally gets on the phone, oh okay, Lawrence and Angus were also dropped off first, so they're okay, but Kate was unconscious when she was brought in. They're arguing about whether Celia and them should come (OF COURSE THEY SHOULD COME) when an alarm goes off and a bunch of people run into the operating theatre.

BUT SHE HAS THE BABY, RIGHT, IT'S RIGHT UP THERE^^^^?!! Kate's going to be okay, right?? RIGHT??

Celia and everyone arrive and find Caroline crying in the hallway, the developments are: the baby's been delivered and they're working on Kate still. She sees Alan and we all cry when she rushes to her feet to apologize for the awful thing she said, but it's okay, it's okay.

Celia and Alan reassure Caroline, they watch a lot of medical shows and they know doctors can do just about anything these days. Caroline's upset because Kate had this whole birth plan, and none of that happened and I will say: most birth plans do not happen. Not for this reason, but because babies don't know how to read.

Gary and Gillian are there, too, not a great time to meet someone, I would say. Just then the chief surgeon comes through, calling Caroline into a side room. Celia and Alan come with, Gary and Gillian sit down in the waiting room and all you can hear all of a sudden is Caroline keening. Oh my god. Kate died???????? WHAT THE HELL?? The DAY AFTER THE WEDDING??? What's going on?? Why would they do that???

I did not expect that. Why would they do that?? What's the point of them getting married and Caroline coming into her own and then Kate dies?? Why would they do that?? I did not expect that. I don't understand.

Well. You can't accuse Sally Wainwright of following any traditional path, that's for sure. No Celia at the wedding and a fatal accident the day after. I do not understand that whatsoever. I guess that horrible things can happen to good people? Kate's barely said a word this series, but I guess I'm glad there wasn't a lot of foreshadowing, I can't stand that kind of emotional manipulation in a show. I just. I thought it might be Kate breaking Caroline's heart or leaving at the altar, Kate's been such a cipher this series, but that just seems so RANDOM. I had a cry break before coming back for this ending, I can't even imagine what it's like for the hardcore Caroline x Kate shippers. Group hug, you lot! Until next time, when hopefully we find out what the point of THAT was.

PS: I've had a night to think about it, perhaps Kate was paralysed, not killed? That could leave some hope, I mean, we didn't hear? But still, I think that would have been a cause for celebration, not the anguished cry we heard from Caroline, so. Maybe not. I guess I will find out next episode.

  • PLL

    As impossible as I thought it might be, IMO you’ve absolutely outdone yourself with this episode. You have brought back tears of both laughter 😂 and sadness 😢 for me. I’m sure you will get plenty of comments/opinions on this (and those yet to follow), so keep that seatbelt tightened and the refreshments within reach!

    • Thank you, lady. That was so awful, I just. I don’t get it. I’m hoping the next few episodes sort it out.

  • D Holtz

    Oh, we hardcore shippers were devastated (and could be, still are!). Thanks, as always, for the wonderful recap. I was so sad in advance, knowing you were going to get here! Blurgh…

    • Thank you, my goodness. I spent a bit of time wanting to kick things, I can’t believe that’s the way things are going to go! So unexpected