'Last Tango in Halifax' Recap: Series 3, Episode 3

(Editorial note: Sorry for the lack of updates this week - Lacy's been out in San Diego at Comic Con, but expect regular service to resume this week. In the meantime, on to the recap!)

Previously on Last Tango in Halifax: The last week's recap is right this way

This episode takes us through a roller-coaster of emotions. It starts with a celebration, offers up some reconciliation and a pair of marriage proposals is added to the mix for good measure. Alas, it ends in tragedy. If only it could be different, but this is Last Tango in Halifax so what can you expect?

We find ourselves witnesses to Kate and Caroline’s wedding vows minus Celia, Lawrence and the unceremoniously uninvited Alan.  The women pledge their troths and are declared spouses for life.

Meanwhile Alan has returned to the house at Harrogate and asks John for a ride to the train station. He also stops by the flat and curtly informs Celia that he is going home to Halifax to get some distance and focus his thoughts. True to form, Celia doesn’t attempt to apologize or stop him from going.

Back at Gillian’s, she and Harry are discussing the situation with his granddaughter Ellie dropping out of school to go to work. Raff chimes in that he wants to ask Gary for a Saturday job when he and his wife come for Sunday lunch.  Gillian doesn’t remember inviting them to due to the amount of wine she imbibed at the Jacksons’ dinner party and poor Harry tries to catch up on the news about who Gary is. Apparently he’s been out of the loop lately what with all his legal and financial woes.

Robbie shows up at the farm and at first Gillian is annoyed with him for telling his girlfriend about their affair which resulted in her quitting her job. She’ll soon be skint (broke) without the extra income. Robbie suggests that they combine their resources by getting married. With his salary and pension, she can focus on farming full-time. Gillian resists, claiming she doesn’t want to be dependent on anyone, but sweet, sweet Robbie explains they would be equal partners sharing everything they have. She’s still not convinced so he asks her to think about it. Anyone remember when Robbie was a real jerk in series one?

Back in Harrogate, the wedding party has returned to Caroline and Kate’s house for the reception. Lawrence feels guilty for not going to his mum’s wedding and dumps Granny Celia to apologize to the brides and his friend Angus who showed up at the wedding to learn he’d been stood up. Older son William proposes a toast to the happy couple. Despite the joyous occasion, Caroline is not in the forgiving mood and forbids anyone from going to see Celia.

In his typical self-serving way, John wrangles a lunch invite from Gillian by pretending to be concerned about Alan’s health and so finding it necessary to drive him all the way home rather than dropping him off at the train station as requested. Over a wine-fueled lunch, they discuss the Gary situation, Gillian’s sudden unemployment and John’s philosophy on relationships. The two get intoxicated and flirty and John ends up essentially proposing to Gillian. Two offers in one day for the jobless, loose lady with a drinking problem; we all should be so lucky!

After the guests have departed from the wedding festivities, Celia finally emerges from her isolation nonchalantly asking how things went and if anyone asked about her absence. Caroline says she told everyone that her mother wasn’t attending because she was narrow minded rather than lying that she was ill.  Celia wants to talk about Alan and her fears that he won’t return, but her daughter isn’t feeling very sympathetic. Celia takes her leave by telling Caroline that she does love her.

The next morning we find John has “spent the night” with Gillian and endures a few awkward moments in the kitchen with Raff and Alan before Celia shows up at the front door. She apologizes to her husband for missing the wedding and falling out with him. Celia thinks what upset her most was the fact that Alan went to meet Gary behind her back -that and all his gushing about how wonderful his long-lost son is. She agrees to stay for dinner and finally meet Gary face-to-face.

John wants to stay for the meal as well, but a sober Gillian says she doesn’t think their being together is a good idea. She knows she’s flaky; she can’t trust herself and needs to be with someone better than she is. That someone is Robbie, not John, who is just as bad as she is. In the end, she tells John he’s not welcome to come around anymore. 

Later at the farmhouse get-together, Gary and his wife Felicity (Kate Isitt) seem inordinately interested in Caroline’s transformation from apparently straight woman to lesbian. In fact, Felicity frivolously proclaims that lesbianism is the future since men aren’t really necessary any more. Celia seems to relax with them and pokes a bit of fun at her daughter’s expense.

Then in one of those awkward dinner party exchanges where people don’t know all the guests very well, Felicity makes the faux pas of telling a story about a court case over which her father, who happens to be a judge, recently presided. The case involved a “little old man” who totaled his boat in a local canal. Harry is mortified and leaves the house as soon as humanly possible.

One nice thing to come from the gathering is that Gillian lets Robbie know she will accept his proposal. She wants to stop drinking so much and will make an effort not to disappoint him. He seems happy with that since he’s wanted to marry her since they were sixteen.

And now for the tragedy…Kate has driven William to the station to catch his train back to Oxford. Caroline becomes concerned, expecting Kate to have returned much sooner.  Just as she finishes checking in with her son, two police officers show up at the door. Next thing we know, Caroline is at the hospital trying to track down her mother at Gillian’s. We learn that Kate was struck by a car while coming out of a shop and is currently in surgery.

Once Alan and Celia join Caroline, she tells them the baby has been delivered and is in neo-natal unit, but the doctors are still working on Kate.  A tearful Caroline apologizes to Alan for what she said to him at the wedding and he forgives her immediately. Both parents try to comfort Caroline, telling her so much can be done medically these days and that Kate is bound to be okay.

Gary, who has driven the family to the hospital, and Gillian join the others just as the hospital’s head of surgery emerges and asks Caroline if she’d like to go somewhere more private to talk. He invites her parents can join them if she’d like. As Gary and Gillian sit in the waiting area, we hear Caroline’s heartbreaking sobs.

So how did this episode sit with you? There was less than one day of wedded bliss for Kate and Caroline. Gillian attempts to make a responsible choice in her life. And Alan and Celia’s relationship is apparently on the mend. Also besides the slightly rude text Gillian sent her step-sister on the occasion of her nuptials, did she really tell Harry her dad was at a “dykey lesbian wedding”?  I thought Gillian was okay with Caroline’s sexual orientation. I guess these are the exchanges and feelings real families have and, as they say, life is messy. The Buttershaw/Dawsons are definitely proof of that.

Last week a lot of comments expressed frustration and displeasure with Celia’s behavior. Does this week change your opinion about her at all? Let the commenting on this (and all the rest) 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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