Last Tango in Halifax S1:E6 Zanzibar and the Road to Damascus Recap


Time to Last Tango in Halifax again! I am just loving this series with Anne Reid and Sarah Lancashire, but I can't say it hasn't been...complicated. Let's jump right into it after the break.

First, full disclosure:I found I was missing scenes, thanks to various online friends, so I got a great full download but with no closed captions. I'm going to do my best! I am quite grateful and not the least bit offended by corrections, you can send to , and I will use my ordnance map from Lesley B too!

Back to it; last time Kate and Caroline finally and gloriously snogged, Gillian and Robbie did as well but then she and John had a...thing? I don't know what to call that, maybe "alcohol"? Onward we roll, with an eye out towards Alan's heart!

Alan and Celia are stopped in a way station on the way back to Harrogate, Celia's been acting very odd since finding out that Caroline is a lesbian (from that wanker John, who couldn't wait for Caroline TO TELL HER OWN MOTHER) and I'm concerned.

Ohhh, but Celia already knew, Caroline told her when she was 18. Caroline was back from Oxford with her hair cut short and surely it's not like the army, is it? You join up and they cut your hair off? Celia told her not to tell anyone, and especially not her father and that's not very supportive. Not for CELIA'S sake, of course, for Caroline. People do talk, though, and I get that. People thought I was a lesbian for ages when I was young. It was a small town and I was like Caroline, a brain and short hair. I couldn't understand it, I was shagging every fella who stood still for more than a minute, what else did I need to do? And what was the problem with being a lesbian anyway? Think of all the hair product we'd theoretically save money on! I really feel like there would be more to it, though.

Celia figures there was a "friend" in the past, but then years went on and no more mention of it and then Caroline married John. Celia thought she'd gotten over it. Alan looks a bit shocked, literally taken aback. Now. I'm going to tread lightly here, because it's not my area of expertise, but as far as I know, being a lesbian isn't the least bit like a persistent cough or the loss of a beloved goldfish, one doesn't "get over it", but sexuality is a tricky, tricky thing and absolutes are just so much better left to numbers.

Caroline arrives home and Kate gets it! She stands away from THAT STOVE so I can get a good long eyeball in. Kate has to break the news; Gillian rang to say how much of a git John's been, telling Celia about her and Caroline, who immediately rabbited home in the dark with her senior's eyesight. Oh, and Lawrence took the call, so he knows too. And Celia took it badly...better go and look in on Lawrence. And Kate leaves, which makes for a shite birthday for Caroline all around. At least Gillian got some loving, however inappropriate.

Caroline finds Lawrence crying in his room, he won't talk at first and then grabs her in a big hug saying "I don't want people being mean to you" and she firmly says "nobody's gonna be mean to me, I won't let them. I'm big and believe me, I can handle mean." So touching and me and Lawrence cry a little bit more.

At the farm the next morning, a hopefully hungover John strolls out of Gillian's house and she has tea and an Aga too! You tell me, how many of you lot have Agas?? I'm visiting every one of you next time I'm in England!

Gillian's working on the new Land Rover, John politely asks if he can help and she ask how likely that is? On a scale of 1 to 10? Hahaha. He stands down. Oh man, they did have sex. He's quite worried about it, but she brushes it off, saying he was upset, they were drunk and it was her birthday, go getta cuppa. Oh, and go call Caroline; you owe her a massive apology!

Paul chimes in just then, John asks who is he? No, he means, who IS he? And Paul makes me like him a tiny bit with a big greasy, bloody lip smile "I'm gigolo" HAHAHAH. He means boytoy, but it's still hilarious!

Off stomps John and Paul asks: she's been at it with him?? Slapper (I really need to find out what that means because I think I was one). Gillian calls John an erudite man, Paul protests he is as well! If he knew what that meant, anyway, he would be. Gillian "good point, Paul. Can't argue with that" HAHAHAHA

Caroline is in to see Celia the next morning, lovely in a pink cardi but apprehensive as all get out. Caroline looks like a timid schoolgirl, apologizing for how Celia heard what she heard and who she heard it from; what was John doing there anyway? Alan makes a run for it, but Celia won't let him leave, saying anything to be said can be said to both of them and I'm quite glad about that as I'm pretty sure Alan is sensible.

Caroline starts by saying she doesn't really know what's been said, because she's only heard it third-hand, through Gillian, then Lawrence, then...someone else and just then Celia breaks in to say she assumes it's nonsense?

Caroline sits. She explains about Kate, starting as friends, and now as more and she tried to talk to Celia about this before, Celia's probably forgotten, it was when Caroline was at school? But why could Caroline marry John, then??? Celia doesn't understand, but Caroline liked John, loved him even, and she thought they could have a good life, and so they did, except for now when they don't. Celia asks why Caroline just doesn't find another MAN, Celia just doesn't GET it, Caroline says she's too old to pretend. She wants them to meet Kate. Celia asks if that's her name and Caroline lobs back a "no, she's called Zanzibar Buck Buck McFate, we just use Kate because it's easier" and Alan pretends he's not laughing. Kate McKenzie, in fact, and Celia wants to know if she's Scottish? Celia says it like it's some kind of hereditary disease, but I wish Kate was Scottish and we could hear her say Wednesday, I hear that can cheer up any day. But Kate's Nigerian, actually, and that part wasn't a joke.

Also not a joke is Celia's announcement that her and Alan have decided to not use the school chapel after all, they'll make their own arrangements. I wonder if this is how it would have been growing up with Celia when Caroline was young; cold and withdrawn in disapproval all the time due to unhappiness. Oh, and Celia's moving out, too, and all of this astounds our sensible Alan.

Gillian meets a rueful Alan at the train station, they go for a pint and discuss the wedding plans, which have been shifting dramatically all over the place. Celia wants Alan to kick out his renters with the newborn baby or rent something themselves, neither of which sounds like a great plan. I wonder if Celia doesn't want to stay at the farm, either, since everyone there knows about Caroline and her Kate. Gillian asks why Celia is moving out so quickly, is Celia worried she will "be infected with lesbian spores?" and I didn't know it was airborne! We need to ramp the alert level up to Burnt Umber!

And "what's up with Caroline being a "bit of a dyke" anyway?" Gillian asks and I'm sure she's trying and also that "dyke" is offensive, but this sounded hilarious to me. I know I go on about sexuality being a spectrum, but I've yet to hear it described as being a "bit of" something. Alan tried to talk sense into Celia; but she would not be deterred from hatefulness. She can't get over what people will think but it's as Caroline said ages ago "it's 2012! The ladies have landed!" I hope Celia comes around, and soon.

John arrives home, time to have it out for being such an arsehole. He and Caroline spar a little back and forth and Caroline manages to stay calm at first, saying her relationship has no reflection on HIM, she liked him! She liked him a lot and having sex with him too! And loved him! That's not sold all that well, especially since she keeps forgetting to say "love" and not "like" first. She keeps it together until he says he feels used. USED. She goes off then, she's been round Judith's flat, to that shabby little hellhole with that incredibly vulnerable woman (that's an interesting term; Caroline herself before was the exact polar opposite of that, you have to wonder if that was what the draw was) and perplexed, John asked what Caroline was doing at Judith's flat? "I was having sex with her"


She fills John in on what happened with Judith, worst.birthday.ever. And don't bother pretending you remembered, wanker.

Gillian and Alan arrive home to find Raff and Paul locked in a head to head video game battle...I mean. Alan tells Gillian that Celia reads the Daily Mail and it's as though she's been worshiping Satan with child sacrifice. "How long have you known?" I thought the same thing, though, when she was going on about what people think; when they were having that kinda-fight about politics in the church, everything she was saying was appearance-related. Anorak in the cenotaph indeed.

He thought maybe just the telly page, but he's not sure..."Jaysus, Dad" *head shake* hahahaha. But not funny, really, Alan was shocked at how Celia talked to Caroline that morning, it was so unkind and unthinking. And deep rooted. Gillian asks if he's not thinking about falling out with Celia over it?

The next morning, Caroline and the boys are having breakfast when Celia knocks on the window, she'd like a word. Alan didn't ring for a few days and now he is pressing for them to meet Kate. Caroline says she will see if Kate's free Wednesday and they crisply say goodbye. They were always so lovely and warm before, I'm sad to see how they are now.

At school, Kate asks about Wednesday, mostly she's worried about John being there, but Caroline's already got that sorted: Judith and her bloodstains in Caroline's SUV owe her a favour, she can consider John occupied Wednesday evening. Kate looks so unsure, but Caroline seems supremely confident, striding into her unruly classroom shouting what sounds like Latin (I'm not sure, I'm from the colonies).

It's Wednesday! Caroline and Kate are preparing supper and talking about Celia; Caroline thinks, reading between the lines, that Alan threatened to dump Celia if she didn't come around. AND, she doesn't need Celia's approval or permission for anything, so the only one who has anything to lose this evening is Celia alone.

There are scenes with Celia and Alan spliced in throughout Caroline and Kate's talk, with Celia protesting that she's not bigoted (good), or small-minded (right) and certainly not old-fashioned. She doesn't understand how anyone can find her attitude about her own daughter distasteful? It's going to be a long evening.

Robbie arrives for supper bearing wine, shooting daggers at Paul with his eyes.

Over at Caroline's, it's not going very well. Celia does not like it when Kate touches Caroline's hand and you can see it hurt Caroline, but she will not bow to this pressure. They talk about having the wedding at the chapel after all, Caroline will check the diary, but that's not good enough for Celia, who won't even discuss a Kate-led choir at the wedding just yet. It's a battle of wills across the table, with incidentals ranging wildly around them. Lawrence calls William a poof, and wasn't he JUST worried people were going to be mean to his mum?? Like that, I presume? And then it comes out that William fainted when Judith slashed herself on the wine bottle and what was she doing there? It gets even uglier and Caroline asks to speak to Celia privately.

Oh. It goes very poorly, not the least of which because everyone can hear them very clearly in the other room. Celia throws at Caroline that she's making a fool of herself, Celia's the only one that will tell her is all. She doesn't think Caroline likes Kate at all; that isn't what she said when describing their relationship and she thinks Kate is having her on for a promotion or something and I don't want to write anything else down. It's too hateful. I can't believe this spiteful woman was the glorious Celia in love two days previously. She's so small.

At the dinner table, Alan tries to comfort Kate and William, Lawrence leaves and Kate swears she's bulletproof, but she doesn't look that way. She's off to call a cab and Alan tries to talk to William a little, but of course, he just met William and I forget that with how lovely Alan is with everyone.

Caroline comes out to find everyone gone or leaving, William sends her after Kate, telling her that everyone heard everything said and that means Kate thinks Caroline doesn't like her in the same way. Poor William sits alone after and I'm not begrudging Caroline or Celia their miraculous changes of life, but William needs some attention. He's purely miserable.

Outside in the cold, Kate is waiting for a cab and furious and devastated that Caroline told her "hardcore" mum that she didn't feel the same way about Kate, before she even met Kate! Caroline tries to explain that she was talking about the beginning, and probably downplaying it for her mother but Kate is just so very hurt.

Back in Celia's apartment, she tells Alan that that's that; and he agrees, but he's disappointed and angry with her. He goes home the next morning looking devastated himself, another pub for another pint with Gillian and it sounds like the end of the line for these two star-crossed lovebirds.

I am going to try to understand how Celia is acting, it's just her opinion that what Caroline and Kate are up to is wrong and she won't pretend otherwise. I have experience with a similarly intractable sort-of relative and the problem is (besides the homophobia), is that they really do think that THEIR opinions about what other grown people do matters. And it doesn't. It's so very hurtful, though, for the other people, unless they cut the other person off entirely, and THAT'S hurtful in and of itself and again; why should it matter what YOU think about what other people do with their innies or their outties or how often they cut their own children's fingernails? I know it's not the same thing and I'm not making light of it, but it's the same mentality; that there's just ONE right way for things to be: theirs.

Gillian picks up for Celia; isn't it between her and her family? And when you love someone, doesn't that mean you love them no matter what? Alan says they've left it that they've reached the end of the road and we all cry. Why can't Celia see that Caroline being happy with Kate after all this time being miserable with John is like her and Alan finding their happiness? Even if it wasn't what they expected to happen?

Celia stares out her window at Caroline and the boys coming home, she comes around and knocks on the window as they come in. She looks slightly more friendly, asking Caroline if she has a minute, but Caroline doesn't give her full attention, so Celia bursts out with it; Alan's finished with her. She continues that Caroline will be satisfied, trying to bait her, having the nerve to blame Alan's defection on not wanting to be part of a family with all this going on.

This is very hard for me to watch, it's so hateful and infuriating; I can't imagine what it's like for those that have faced this in actuality, how is everyone doing?

Celia cries, saying this was the first time she's been happy in ages and here, now she is ruining it for herself. Well, she doesn't see it that way exactly, but just to make her feel better, Caroline shows her that thanks to Celia, Kate is finished with her, too. AND Kate's handed in her resignation as well.

Oh no and Caroline gives it to Celia both barrels and I get it, but "you're going to die bitter and alone" and "she's not my mother, I haven't got a mother" is the kind of thing that can't really be taken back. Caroline storms off to her room and we see William, shut out again. I really worry about William. Caroline and Celia are adults, locked into this dynamic of fear, pain, anger and now lashing out, but William is so young, and if he IS struggling with his sexual identity, or having problems in general, he's got nobody to talk with. As Caroline didn't when she was his age.

John takes Celia back to her apartment, apologizing for how he broke Caroline's news to her at Gillian's. She asked if he knew, and he didn't, but she did. She's devastated and has a lot of thinking to do; it's hard not to feel sorry for her.

Gillian broaches the subject of Robbie gently, she explains how she would like to make a good team with he and Raff. AND, her and Robbie dated before Eddie! I KNEW IT!!!!! That's how she met Eddie, actually, and it all gets a bit mucky, doesn't it? Relationships. And ooh! Alan says he has indigestion! GET HIM TO THE DOCTOR!

Oh and Celia's gone round to see Kate! YOU BE NICE, CELIA!! Don't you hurt our Zanzibar!! Celia explains about her unhappy marriage, sticking it out with as much dignity as she could, and that's what people did back then. Sometimes now, even. It was all pretty joyless, but her Celia was what got her through. Caroline reminds Celia of her dad, and she loved her dad. Celia sits in degrees, first perched on the arm of the chair, then finally on the seat, as she explains what she's worried about. She thought she made Caroline a lesbian by hating Kenneth so much. Kate tries to explain that isn't how it works.

Celia apologizes sincerely to Kate and even says "don't leave her" and I can't be the only one crying. SOMEONE GET ME SOME TISSUES, GAH THIS SHOW.

Caroline opens the door to find Kate and Celia on the step, they've come to make up. Celia leaves Kate on the couch cuddling with Caroline and comes home to find Alan in her flat: AHHHH BUT HE'S NOT THERE! He didn't die and is astral traveling is he???? WHAT??

Celia races out to the farm the next morning, but AHHH Alan DID have a heartattack last night and even died for a few seconds and she's off and racing to the hospital. Alan looks terrible! Gillian apologizes for not ringing and cries while she asks if they've not really fallen out, have they? Ehhhh, but it's worse than that, the doctors are worried that there was a lot of damage and the family has to be brave because it might be just a matter of time. Celia wants to sit with Alan, who hasn't regained consciousness, she's got things to tell him: she's been on the Road to Damascus and she's put everything right now.

Is it okay that I am angry with Celia for endangering Alan's life? I know that isn't the point.

Celia talks and talks about the wedding plans, speak up if you don't agree with anything, Alan! Caroline arrives at the hospital and Caroline apologizes for everything she said, too. They agree each one another is perfect, except not Celia, but she's "entertaining" hahaha.

We get a flashback!! To young Alan and Celia and Celia was a ginger! Yay! And this is when he asked her out, and then he's awake in the present and he DID come to see her the last night. He wanted to apologize and tell her he loves her. Celia tells Alan the rest of the news; she's asked Kate to play organ for the wedding, The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba is on!

Gah this show! How is anyone supposed to have a sensible day when there's all this crying and laughing and carrying on at 8 in the morning?? A small note; it seemed awfully quick, Celia coming around, but I'm glad things went the way they did. I KNEW Alan didn't pop round to the surgery! Another great episode, see you next time!

  • Dixie M

    Great recap as usual! 😃
    You made me laugh with the bit about Caroline coming home from Oxford with her short hair 😂🎓
    Love your reaction to Caroline telling John she was having sex with Judith! 👭😝
    I think you hit the nail on the head and got your analysis spot on with how Celia is acting. When you’re faced with a homophobic family member or friend, it’s so hard to ignore it and to just accept that they have a different opinion to yours, because that’s not all it is. They disagree with how you live your life and who you choose to love (or in your words… What we do with our innies and outties, LOL!). Yet if you choose (or are forced) to not have contact with the homophobe in question, it’s just as painful. You’re losing someone close to you. So there’s never a winner whatever way you go. The only way anything can be solved is when their opinions reach the modern world! 😏
    I’ll just say one thing, Celia’s coming round WAS quick…… Looking forward to s2 😉

    • Well that’s just it, loss either way and nobody can change that for anyone else’s mind. Just such a shame all around for everyone

  • PLL

    What Dixie said – every word! Brava! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  • What a great show! I am hooked now, so I can’t read the recaps until after watching.

    John is such a tool. A self-absorbed man-child. Enough of a prat that I loath him, and yet well acted enough to not become a caricature.

    Good lord! I thought the same thing. “Does everybody in the UK have a bloody Aga???”

    I definitely choked up several times at the end. Great recap!

    • Thank you! And when Gillian said Aga I thought exactly that: do they grow them on trees there?? Because in this nearby city there is exactly one shop that carries them and I think I’m pushing up against a TRO if I go fondle any more stoves