Hi everyone! Who enjoyed last episode of Last Tango in Halifax? Just joshing, I know we ALL did!! Woo hoo, what a lovely introduction back to life in Halifax where Celia is fussy, the mice are pooping and I really don't see any damp. Let's go look at my new AGA!!
We open with (the lovely) Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) and (the lithe) Gillian (Nicola Walker) shopping for booze; Caroline is making the case for having Christmas at her house; there's (wanker) John (Tony Gardner) coming with (spiteful) Judith (Ronni Ancona) and Greg (Marcus Garvey) who wants to see Flora, just not enough to keep her the whole weekend he was supposed to. Ah it must be because Bridget is going back home to Chipping Morton because OF COURSE that's where she's from. I don't know what that means.
Look, there are Brandy Snaps!! They sound hella gross but send Gillian into paroxysms of ecstasy, so they must be great. Caroline's not even listening, because you see.
She didn't leave Sulgrave because she wanted a new challenge exactly; the governors and parents felt that perhaps with her bereavement, she'd become a little..."lackluster is too strong a word." WHAT. Gavin (Hugh Simon) proposed a sabbatical; Caroline worked out that meant she wasn't to ever return. She thinks it was rooted in homophobia, but was too bereaved to challenge him, she didn't quite feel up to it.
She didn't want to tell anyone, but honestly: everyone's been treating you like some selfish cotton-headed ninnymuggins for moving out there, TELL THEM you were forced out by homophobic areseholes that don't understand that love is love!!
Caroline is worried; she's worried she won't do well, she's worried they'll eat her alive (heh, sorry sorry) but Gillian bounces it back: nobody could eat Caroline alive (HEH - what!!?? She's baiting me!). She's been making one rogue decision after the other and now she's in a house everyone hates, going to a job she's worried she hasn't the stamina for
Ah she choked me up there. Gillian wants to know why she chose such a challenging job? Well, right after that talk with Gavin, she met Olga (Lorraine Burroughs) and by that I mean that Olga drove straight into the back of Caroline's 45,000 pound car. Caroline is fascinated by Olga's vulgarity and spirit
You know how exciting complete opposites are at the beginning! And then 13 years on you'd just like to watch a bloody movie without explosions and / or people dressed in colourful spandex.
Caroline checks on Flora; which sends Olga into fits: she's so little! Olga starts to panic, especially when Caroline moves to call the police, which puts all our ears up. Has she been drinking?? Caroline and I are on the same page, but Olga swears she "could drink for England!" and I have no idea what that means. Is she such a good drinker she could compete on a semi-professional level representing England? Because if that's the case, I could totally bake for Canada! I do need a job
Caroline's worried now too, what's that leaking from the bottom of Olga's van there? Petrol? Nah, never petrol, must be coolant: *sniff* IT'S PETROL, GET THE BABY!
Speaking of, I don't know who was talking or what was happening right here, I just stared at beautiful Flora.
How is Flora so quiet? Is something broken? I have three little boys and they're only that quiet when they're wicket sick and can't summon any energy to scream at the top of their lungs.
Olga's staring at Flora too; is she...Caroline's daughter? An adopted one, maybe? I get where she's going with that, but I don't know if I would think it was all that odd, I'd just assume adorable Flora's daddy was black. Or "ethnic" as they say in Scarberia and on Black Mirror. Caroline explains that her partner gave birth to her daughter and she appreciates Olga's directness, it saves time. That's so true. I think I'll start future conversations with possible partners like this: "So! Have you ever secretly used online hookup sites? Which ones?!"
Oh and Caroline's face is so grave and so beautiful when she answers Olga's innocent query as to what her partner does. "Nothing"
So they ended up in bed together, Caroline protesting that she's not like that! She doesn't pick up strangers on the street corner (like me, chimes in Gillian) and then a week later, Olga showed up again! It's like she doesn't know how one night stands work! The key is in the first part; the "one" and the "night" not the "stand bit, that's just confusing, but makes for a great Halloween costume.
So then they ended up in bed again, it was Friday and Olga had a box of wine, see. And then they talked; Olga starting with "you know when I went into the back of you" and we all jumped a bit there, didn't we? But she meant on the road, ohhh. Okay, sorry, what were we talking about? She was texting, that was why she hit Caroline, and it's so much worse because of Flora AND Olga has a girlfriend, that's who she was texting.
Caroline and I can't believe she just tossed that out blithely as though it was nothing, they're in bed together! Ex, ex girlfriend!! Ex! They were fighting because Olga's ex figured she'd been unfaithful, which I gather she HAD.
Good lord Caroline.
Caroline felt as though she'd been unfaithful to Kate and perhaps to her memory for not being more "discerning" (the way she said that) but defends Olga as "intelligent, cultured, but entirely uneducated."
They talked in That Kitchen about Caroline's enforced sabbatical; this is when the idea of Caroline working at a state school came up. Olga had a shit education with disinterested teachers (they STANK of it), she could really do some good! I didn't listen to much of that, although Olga was certainly giving her all: I just stared at how lovely and relaxed Caroline looked for a moment.
This was meant to be! This is what Caroline was supposed to do! HOLD ON: if Olga knew about the job change and that it wasn't just a marvelous adventure and she WANTED Caroline SPECIFICALLY to work at a state school, WHY did she give Caroline such a hard time about it?
Celia (Anne Reid) and Alan (Derek Jacobi) are rehearsing for the upcoming play, only 10 days to learn all those lines! She calls him out for paraphrasing, playwrights are so dreary about "using their words" and "reading properly" and all that. Alan's concerned about these people's priorities; "there's a war on!" And then Flora appeared at the corner of the screen and I zoned out.
Lawrence (Louis Greatorex) is excited, Angus passed his test and will be driving over on Christmas yay, yay! I *may* have just stared at the cooker, sorry, sorry, focusing. He's a bit of a prat, though, right? Angus is bringing a Ouija board too, because nothing says Christmas like getting drunk and using secondary muscle groups to freak out minors!
We're at the farm with Grandad Robbie (Dean Andrews) and Grandma Gillian, shhhh! Calamity's talking about her "friend in the barn" and Grandma Gillian about swallows her tongue. What guy in the barn? What's he look like? His name is Grandad too!
There's a big table set for Christmas, it looks like a blast! Even Charades with this massive blended family looks fun, except for Celia who can't get anything across. Caroline and Gillian are outside smoking and drinking, Gillian needs to get something off her chest. She's bothered that Alan doesn't want to be buried next to her mum anymore, and even brings up his infidelity. Caroline apologizes for not saying anything....a year ago when she was told...because she had to sign as Executor.
Boom! Boom! BOOM!
Angus (Felix Johnson) pulls up just then with an adorable mini he has no idea how to drive and the promised Ouija board. Gillian is still schwacked from the news so blithely passed on by Caroline that she agrees to play later.
Caroline corners John in the kitchen: WHY is he here? It's not what she thinks, though, he's not following people around so he doesn't have to be alone on Christmas with Judith, he thinks they're quite well matched! "Things always tend to work out for the best in the end, one way or another," and she's happy to hear that. He takes another bottle of wine and bolts out of the kitchen, no more washing up for him!
Alan's trying to talk Harry (Paul Copley) into taking the stage role for him, it's only AmDram! Everyone is sleeping around them; Last Tango in Halifax must have the comfiest couches in the world! Harry won't take the doctor role, but he could be a gardener, is there a gardener in the play? He'd make a good gardener. He has a suggestion: play the role for laughs, Alan! Get a gimmick, like a limp, pissed, squint doctor with silly teeth!
Alan's really worried, he only has three days. Are there cue cards? Harry gives in, he'll have a look. Alan hands it over from under the pillow.
Ouija board time! There's not room for everyone on the planchette, but Gillian's in there! Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) and Greg sit out while Celia takes charge. The second time she asks if anyone is there, the planchette leaps to Y and then spells out a name: S-P-I-K-E.
Raff (Josh Bolt) is freaked out, they had a cat named Spike! Until Gillian ran him over with the combine, that is.
Robbie is snoring like a bull later in bed, driving Gillian mad. She wakes him up but he just rolls over and starts snoring on his back, those are the REALLY deep ones. She gives up to go out and watch the rain, he follows her out and we're suddenly in a showdown.
She can't do this any more; she thinks there is something happening and now she's going to tell him why. It's about Eddie; she cares about Robbie so she needs him to know that she believes Eddie is trying to hurt him in the barn.
They go over the three accidents Robbie's had in the barn, they shouldn't have gotten married! Eddie doesn't like it and I'd say the sleeping with the Deli Counter guy and lying about killing his brother are much less mad, but equally valid reasons for them to have not gotten married. Or as Caroline said...divorced...?
Robbie's trying to be rational; okay, if Eddie is hanging around the barn and it's driving her that mental: they'll sell up and start again somewhere else. She won't be driven out by Eddie, that's her farm!
She'll give up her long-awaited marriage with Robbie for him? I've said it before: as lovely and furry as Robbie is (and you know I appreciate a partner who cooks), he's not enough for her. She tells him to leave, it's for his own good.
Then she veers into crying that Caroline was asked to be executor and she wasn't, honestly. She brings up Calamity seeing someone in the barn and Robbie is starting to look at her from the side. He never took her for flaky.
I spent their entire conversation on tenterhooks, waiting for her to spill that she murdered Eddie and just after the talk about Calamity: she does. She confesses and he doesn't want to hear it. "I can't be married to you because I killed your brother." He wants her to describe it, he doesn't believe it! She explains clearly and now she would like to be arrested, please. She needs the peace. She'd rather kill herself than carry on like this.
The next morning, she breaks the news to Raff, it's been brewing for awhile and now Robbie is gone. She asked him to go, she was fond of him but never should have married him and they both know that now.
Celia is furious that Alan gave up his role to Harry, he doesn't look a bit like a doctor! Well, what does a doctor look like (we all looked for Caroline then, didn't we?)? Freud had a beard! Even if he did go on about "sex sex sex" all the time. Then we see Flora sitting with her pink bunny listening to them.
Alan's off to brush his teeth, Celia vents fully. She's "fcuking" SICK of Harry! Caroline shouts "LANGUAGE" with her whole body and a pointing finger
Caroline helps Alan out; she wasn't asleep on the sofa after all as Harry and Alan were carrying on; Alan's worried about his memory. Does everyone have their tickets for Blithe Spirit (that's THREE times we've had blithe this recap, high fives all around!); is Olga coming? Celia likes Olga. Caroline and I are confused: she DOES? Snobby, of the manner born Celia (is he Scottish?) likes rough and tumble Olga with the interesting vocabulary?
Gillian and Robbie are meeting in a cafe; is she still sticking to that story of what happened? She is. He's just sad, Sad for Eddie, sad for himself, but isn't he sad for Gillian? She bore the brunt of his brother's abuse for years. Anyway, turning her in wouldn't bring Eddie back, and while she should have married him all those years ago, she didn't. She was obsessed with Eddie. Robbie's going to take a cheeky offer on his home and travel, he's always fancied Canada (I perked right up! Right in the middle of this gripping scene) and that means they won't be going to the police station.
It's opening night and Harry is pisss...pixelated. Celia is aghast, but not surprised; after all, "this is a fella who capsized a 75 foot narrow boat and damaged a small enclave on West Yorkshire."
Nobody quite delivers lines with Anne Reid's flare, do they?
Showtime! They have alcoholic beverages IN the theatre??!! What wonderful travesty is this! Gillian's waiting out front when Olga drives up, fancy a drink?
Speaking of drink, apparently the actors are coming from the under and Harry falls off the ladder and breaks something painful.
He can't go on stage tonight, thankfully Alan is right there! The other players encourage him, Celia sealing the deal with "be the mouse that ROARED!" and "grab it for England and Boy George!"
Alan takes the stage, script in hand, his family just now realising what's going on.
Hahahaha I had to laugh when Alan tried on a voice for the line "baaay all means!"
Outside, Olga and Gillian are bonding, and Olga has more information about Caroline's choice yet. Caroline has been visiting Wyatt, the young man who killed Kate. He's only 16, but he wrote to her to say sorry and wanted to see her to apologize to her face. It reminded her that there was more important things that could be accomplished with young people. Gillian suggests Olga remind Caroline of that, she's having a massive amount of doubt about this move.
Then an ambulance arrives for Harry and everything stops yet speeds up at the same time.
Celia's doing great on stage, she's quite the entertainer! Once Gillian and Olga realise Alan's on the stage instead, they aren't waiting any more! At curtain call, Olga is just loves the old people kissing, she kisses Caroline before she can be blocked. Caroline hisses "don't" and I can't help but think of when it was Caroline shut out for an angry Kate at the hospital, she knows how bad that feels, don't do that!
Olga does as requested and reminds Caroline what a massive difference she's going to make, she hasn't made a mistake at all! Gillian watches.
We're near the end now, Caroline and Gillian facing their fears in parallel; Caroline striding into her new schoolground (and checking out a fetching teacher that looks like a combination of Kate AND Olga - someone has a type!) and Gillian going into her barn. Caroline's got her mojo back!
And Gillian's got the barn locked for good. Gbye Eddie, you sadistic bastage.
Celia and Alan drive in the sun with the top down, discussing which play they'll do next: King Lear? That was referenced season one, wasn't it?? Maybe Antony and Cleopatra! He can be her Marc Antony and sit astride the ocean, with nary a word about arthritis. We're oot.
Well. That felt like the end, didn't it? Alan and Celia have found something to do, Caroline has recovered her purpose, Gillian has made her peace with Robbie and sent him on his way, John and Judith are happy (but who cares? twats) and Lawrence and William seem fine. I could see them bringing Caroline's future into it's own story, but everyone else seemed kinda done, didn't they? And even she seemed happy and back in control, thanks to Olga's reassurance. A good ending to a great show, but I'll watch whatever they give us, mark my words.
I'm not sure about Olga, she seemed to be a bit of a bridge for Caroline, storyline-wise and looks-wise as well. She is nothing like Kate was, but her brashness probably felt like fresh air to Caroline.
I will say that Sarah Lancashire, who was my reason for watching in the beginning and AS EVER, felt a little more serious this time, instead of being a well-groomed punching bag for the rest of her family. I canea wait to see the next installment of Happy Valley, she brings a gravity and depth to that role that few could.
We'll see Nicola Walker in Unforgotten next January 5, how I wish for another River! I'll take a Unforgotten, though, it was also very well done.
Anne Reid and Derek Jacobi will be singing and touring and all KINDS of things, so they're well sorted. They have an album of duets out and everything!
All in all, it was a lovely way to spend two nights before Christmas and I hope all of you have a fantastic holiday. Thanks to everyone who's read, emailed or messaged about the recaps, I adore hearing from people. Cheers!!