'Last Tango in Halifax' Recap: Series 3, Episode 5

Caroline and baby Flora (Photo: Courtesy of Ben Blackall)
Caroline and baby Flora (Photo: Courtesy of Ben Blackall)
Previously on Last Tango in Halifax: Last week's recap is right this way. 

Okay, are any of you out there starting to replace Celia with Gary as your pick for most annoying, selfish character this series? Someone please tell me what is wrong with that man! Let’s take a look at Mr. Jackson’s behavior as well as the other happenings in this week’s recap.

First off, Lawrence and Angus have gotten themselves suspended for lighting a firecracker in the dining hall, inciting panic and then running off school property in a slow motion Guy Ritchie style (I’m assuming) getaway. Did I mention it’s a two day suspension? A bit lenient if you ask me, but further proof Lawrence is having trouble adjusting to the whole baby Flora situation, I suppose.

Later on in Halifax, Caroline is visiting Gillian at the farm. Gillian reveals she was suspended once for having sex in the cricket pavilion. She thinks it was Robbie, but she can’t be certain. Quelle surprise!

Celia and Alan return to Gillian’s after attending a football match with Gary (he owns a team, if you’ll recall). Both of them found it boring and Celia concludes that her new step-son is quite needy. As if to prove her observation, Gary calls Gillian during dinner to check on how Alan and Celia liked the football and to ask her to join him for lunch on Monday to discuss a few things.

Later Alan admits to Celia that he was embarrassed with the way Gary introduced him around to everyone as his “real” dad as though identifying him as a cheater. Celia suggests he say something to Gary if it upsets him, but they’re all aware that things are tricky with Gary. Robbie empathizes with Gary by saying it affects a person when they know they’re not wanted.

Back at Caroline’s, routines have settled in over the past six weeks since Kate’s death. Holly has been hired as Flora’s nanny. John has gotten his own flat and Lawrence has been staying with him in order to escape the baby’s nightly crying sessions. Kate is still popping up when Caroline needs her to talk to.



On this particular night, John has actually brought Lawrence home to sleep in his own bed courtesy to noise cancelling ear phones. Before John leaves he asks Caroline, in his normal insipid and vacillating manner, if there’s an argument for the two of them getting back together. Caroline is angry and insulted that he would bring this up so soon after Kate’s death and that he would assume her sexual orientation has changed in the process.

Back in Gillian’s bed, she and Robbie are having a heart to heart and we learn that not only Eddie, but Robbie too, was adopted at a very young age. For the first time, Gillian hears Robbie refer to the older brother he idolized as having demons and being a “mad bastard.”

The next day Gillian meets with Gary as requested only to find that her half-brother wants to give Raff a full-time job and send him to a tech school to train as an accountant. He says this was Raff’s idea, but Gillian is resistant and wants her son to stick to their plan to go to university. Gary lets that topic go by the wayside temporarily and then asks Gillian to let him pay for the wedding venue. Gillian doesn’t want to be beholden. Then in what is becoming Gary’s go-to reaction, he sulks and starts in with the whole “I shouldn’t have offered; you probably hate me” spiel. A bit exasperated, Gillian tells him to stop being paranoid as it’s not about him.

A bit later on, Gary proceeds to interrupt Alan and Celia’s afternoon at the pub by calling to discuss how he’s upset Gillian by offering to give her a nice day for her wedding. Alan counters that as the father of the bride, he should be the one to pay.  He advises Gary to accept Gillian’s wishes. Meanwhile Celia has received a frantic call from Caroline informing her that Flora is at a police station in Bradford and could she and Alan meet her there.



The grandparents reach the station first and Celia delicately and humorously tries to explain her relationship to baby Flora. When Caroline arrives shortly afterwards, she learns that Holly ran a stop light and was stopped by the police who suspected the young woman was intoxicated. The nanny swore profusely at the officer and was subsequently arrested where they discovered she was four times over the legal alcohol limit. 

Back home in Harrogate, Caroline phones Holly’s mother who informs her that Holly had a drinking problem at university and the nanny agency was in the dark about her issues. Caroline sees no other option, but to resort to early retirement. She wants Flora to feel loved, not like an inconvenience. The omnipresent Kate puts a bug in Caroline’s ear to call Flora’s biological father, Greg, and take him up on his offer to help.

Needy numpty Gary shows up the farm unannounced to apologize to Gillian about the wedding business. Raff reckons she and Robbie should get married where Alan and Celia did. Gillian says the bill was about 5000 pounds for the whole shebang. Funny money she calls it, a drop in the bucket for Gary to be sure. Raff is firmly in Gary’s corner and thinks Gillian’s refusal to take him up on the job and accountancy offer is because she messed up her chance to go to university so he has to go instead.

Gillian withdraws to the barn where she calls her father to fill him in on the havoc Gary is wreaking with her life. Alan drives up right away to talk with Raff about leaving school and gets his grandson to agree to dwell on the situation for two weeks before giving up on his A-levels.


Since Robbie has admitted to seeing the dark side of his late brother, Gillian decides to see if she can push a bit further towards the truth with her fiancé. She tells Robbie that Eddie used to knock her about with serious regularity. She confesses to telling Caroline about the abuse and that, while not great friends, they do share things.

Back at Caroline’s, Greg shows up in the middle of the night, eager to help with Flora. Lawrence is impressed when he recognizes Greg’s name as the author of his favorite comic book series, Death Grip –so much so that he acknowledges Flora as his sister for the first time.

Celia comes upon Greg in the kitchen first thing in the morning and ends up warming to him despite the sexist nature of some of his comics. He says you have to cater to your audience.

 As Caroline prepares to depart for work, Greg refers to himself as Daddy, but apologizes immediately. Grateful for his help and cognizant of his obvious affection for Flora, Caroline agrees that he is the daddy and should be accepted as such.

Back to silly cow, Gillian. She’s applied for a cashier’s job and apparently has been offered the position. On her way out of the store, Gillian is approached by a young man who it becomes clear very quickly has been a past sexual conquest. Ollie (Jaz Martin) suggests getting “together” for an hour. While she doesn’t take him up on his proposition, does Gillian say, “Hey, I’m engaged “or “That won’t be happening again”? Of course not! It’s becoming clear that Gillian’s problem isn’t with alcohol, but rather an addiction to sex.

John comes back to Caroline’s house at dinnertime with flowers and an apology for his ex. He’s nothing if not persistent. John finds Greg at the table, but no one offers to explain his presence there nor does he get an invitation to stay. Not even Lawrence seems to care now that his new hero, the comic book author, is around.

Next John worms his way into Celia and Alan’s flat where he explains how an unintended fling with Judith turned into a permanent separation from Caroline and a rift with his sons. As viewers, we witness what I consider an unnecessary flashback to John and Caroline’s breakup row.

The episode ends with a classic Gary misstep. It appears that publically bandying about the identity of his biological father at the football match attracted the attention of the local press. Gillian comes upon a two page spread in a regional tabloid and calls her dad immediately to alert him to the unwanted coverage.

So the bloom is definitely off the rose for Alan as far as Gary is concerned. Obviously a person who is successful on the surface can have a myriad of insecurities propelling them forward. Gillian is well on her way to wrecking a good thing with Robbie either by sleeping with someone else (again) or revealing what she did to his brother. Caroline is the only one whose life seems to be getting back on course at the moment and no one can begrudge her that.

Please share your thoughts about this episode and what you surmise is to come in the finale. I ask that you refrain from spoilers if you already know what transpires in the last installment of the series. Let’s get chatting…and armchair diagnosing character flaws!

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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