'Last Tango in Halifax' Recap: Season 4 Episode 3

(Credit: Courtesy of Stuart Wood)

Picture Shows: Alan (Derek Jacobi)

Lookout Point


Previously on Last Tango in Halifax, Alan’s brother Ted arrived at the airport with two pretty young nurses in tow. Gillian’s barn was targeted as a graffiti installation of a possibly famous artist. And Caroline’s hopes for a new relationship with a work colleague were dashed when she revealed the details of her life with Kate. The full recap is right this way.

This week opens with Alan working a shift at the supermarket checkout. Like a juvenile pickpocket from Oliver Twist, Harrison pops up and tries to finagle a hot chocolate in one breath while demanding protection money in the next. Alan warns the lad that he won't be bullied and is having none of this nonsense.

Back at the Buttershaws, workers have started tearing out Celia’s kitchen. We also see that Ted has returned safe and sound. He apparently went out before dawn for a walk. He was found later wandering in the rain by a dog walker who called the police.

At school, Caroline and her staff are preparing for Judith’s assembly only to have Ruth back out of the Q&A at the last possible moment. Caroline tries to argue that she’s not being fair to the kids or Judith, but Ruth feels her boss used her power inappropriately, intending to hit on her when she was vulnerable. In an unnecessarily cruel parting shot, Ruth points out their age difference and tells Caroline to take a look at herself.

Celia and Ted have taken a bus to the supermarket, at Alan’s request, in order to pick up the Lexus in case Harrison’s threats are genuine. As they wait in the café, PC Cheryl (Rachel Leskovac) shows up – you may remember her as Robbie’s girlfriend in season 2. She’s condescending to Ted and out and out rude to Alan, calling his daughter Slack Alice and suggesting she’s just seeking attention with that giraffe mural.

Speaking of Gillian, the hits keep coming. Her farm is being set upon by helicopters and hikers gawping at her barn. She sent a photo to Sotheby’s who will let her know if the painting is a real Banksy but told her not to hold her breath. Finally, the bank has sent a schedule of crippling repayments to cover repairs of the woodworm-riddled roof. Lawrence (who has hooked up with Nurse Mia) asks if he can help, but really just needs a ride to his mother’s place.

As Caroline scrambles to prepare for the interview (shout out on that William cameo), Judith has arrived. Not only is she a bit tipsy, but she intends on staying that way, ordering her assistant Laura to spike her on-stage water pitcher or else…

(Credit: Courtesy of Matt Squire)
(Credit: Courtesy of Matt Squire)

Caroline attempts to get Judith on her side by telling her about Ruth’s false allegations and how it has left her in the lurch. An inebriated Judith equals a cooperative Judith. She shares her liquid courage with Caroline before the pair head out to face an auditorium full of students.

Banksy finally comes forward on social media to deny the giraffe is his handiwork, but Gillian has other things on her mind. The gate to her field has been left wide open allowing most of her flock to escape. To make matters worse, PC Cheryl rolls up with an amusing, but a greatly exaggerated, account of the havoc Gillian’s livestock have been wreaking.  Gillian vents about the vandalism to her barn and the rogue pot farmers in the area (who, by the way, always seem to get tipped off before the police show up).

At this point, PC Cheryl makes a reference to Sgt. Cawood -  the one who would rip Gillian’s spleen through her nose for speaking to an officer like that. If you’re familiar with writer Sally Wainwright’s show, Happy Valley, you might recall that Sarah’s Lancashire’s character on that series is Sgt. Catherine Cawood.

The most concerning thing revealed in this scene, however, is that Cheryl mumbles “you murdering bitch” as Gillian walks away, leaving us to wonder if Gillian’s secret is safe after all.

Meanwhile, judging by the thunderous applause, Judith and Caroline’s Q&A session was a splendid success despite (or perhaps because of) the drinking. It would appear Judith twisted the knife a bit for Caroline’s benefit by mentioning the headmistress was gay just to prove that she wasn’t hiding anything. The look on Ruth’s face made it clear she got the message.

Alan returns home on the bus after his shift to find chaos- no tea, a child in need of a lift home, and a disgruntled wife who has changed his brother’s name to Ted Bless Him. Overwhelmed by the unexpected state of her kitchen and the responsibility of keeping a constant eye on her brother-in-law, Celia backs out of their arrangement with Caroline and Gillian to pick up the girls after school.

Back at Judith’s place, John gets some good news and some bad news. Judith has realized she doesn’t love him and doesn’t want to marry him. However, this means that she doesn’t want to live with him either making John effectively homeless.

Once in town, Gillian learns firsthand the damage her flock has done. She gets a well-meaning lecture from a pub landlord and apologizes to everyone who was inconvenienced. Seven sheep are still missing and two were killed by cars on the road. She comes to the realization that debt and stress are getting to be too much, and she must consider selling the farm.

(Credit: Courtesy of Stuart Wood)
(Credit: Courtesy of Stuart Wood)

After tailing Alan all day, Harrison has taken up secret residence in the Buttershaws’ shed and so far, only Ted has noticed. In the meantime, Nadine has phoned to check on her father’s arrangement to stay permanently with them, telling a confused Celia that she needs to ask Ted to tell them about Angelina.

While Lawrence and Mia move in temporarily at Caroline’s, she and Gillian commiserate on their parents’ relationship, John and Judith’s deluded marriage plans and their shared wish for a life partner. Caroline even admits to missing John. Endlessly coping and managing just isn’t cutting it anymore.

The episode concludes with a trio of bombshells. First, Ted has no money. He was scammed out of most of his life savings by Angelina, a woman he met on a dating site for older folk, along with her brother.

John shows up unannounced at Caroline’s house hoping to move in after being given the heave-ho. He laments ever looking at anyone else when he had Caroline. Just then Judith calls, alludes to a realization that she’s just had and asks Caroline out to dinner.

Finally, Celia gets a visit from kitchen carpenter Rick who informs her that his boss Martin has disappeared without paying his workers. They think he’s gone bust. Apparently, Ted isn't the only one who can be ripped-off.

So with only one more installment to go in this abbreviated season, how do you see things working out? Will Gillian sell up and move on? Is the John-Judith-Caroline triangle for real or will the ever-practical Caroline walk away from them both? And what of Celia and Alan? Will their love survive this rough patch or were they really just star-crossed from the start? Let the chatting begin!

Carmen Croghan

Carmen Croghan often looks at the state of her British addiction and wonders how it got so out of hand.  Was it the re-runs of Monty Python on PBS, that second British Invasion in the 80’s or the royal pomp and pageantry of Charles and Diana’s wedding? Whatever the culprit, it led her to a college semester abroad in London and over 25 years of wishing she could get back to the UK again.  Until she is able, she fills the void with British telly, some of her favorites being comedies such as The Office, The IT Crowd, Gavin and Stacey, Alan Partridge, Miranda and Green Wing. Her all-time favorite series, however, is Life On Mars. A part-time reference library staffer, she spends an inordinate amount of time watching just about any British series she can track down which she then writes about for her own blog Everything I Know about the UK, I Learned from the BBC.  She is excited to be contributing to Telly Visions and endeavors to share her Anglo-zeal with its readers.

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