'Last Tango in Halifax': Series 3, Episode 2 Recap

Caroline and Kate plan to make it official. (Photo: Credit: Courtesy of Rachel Joseph)
Caroline and Kate plan to make it official. (Photo: Credit: Courtesy of Rachel Joseph)
Previously on Last Tango in Halifax: The Season 3 premiere recap is right this way

Welcome back and we’re jumping in right where we left off in the last episode of with Alan and his newfound son, Gary Jackson, meeting for the first time. It’s a veritable love fest; Alan feeling like he’s always known Gary from the moment he “clapped eyes” on him, Gary not judging Alan for using his mother in a moment of weakness.

Alan explained about how he’d married Gillian’s mum, Eileen, on the rebound and that when he met Gary’s mum at work she reminded him of his true love Celia. He said they were old enough to know better, and after it happened Mary left so he never knew there was a baby. Alan would like to think if he had been aware he would have done the right thing no matter how difficult.

Meanwhile, Gillan and her granddaughter Calamity are out and about shopping with Celia for the wedding. However, unbeknownst to Celia, they’re keeping her occupied while Alan is having his rendezvous with Gary.

On top of all of that, Caroline’s ex, John, is staying in her spare room and making Kate uncomfortable. He’s even accompanied her to childbirth classes and has to awkwardly explain that he is not the father, but Kate’s girlfriend’s husband. Kate, who is already frightened about losing her baby like Judith did, firmly insists that Caroline kick John out, but when she goes to confront him finds father and their son Lawrence contentedly playing a board game, she chickens out.

Back at the farm, Alan tells Gillian about his successful meeting with Gary and that the whole family has been invited to the Jackson home for a meal on Friday night. Gillian urges her dad to tell Celia ASAP since if he doesn’t Caroline will. In other Buttershaw news, Raff (Josh Bolt) and Ellie (Katherine Rose Morley) are facing more growing up pains. Ellie has quit studying for her A-levels in order to take a full-time job at Greenhough’s supermarket where Gillian just so happens to work. After this bombshell, Gillian makes it clear she doesn’t intend on being an unpaid babysitter if Ellie’s earning a paycheck, nor will she accept housekeeping money from Ellie’s mom.



As Alan and Celia prepare for bed at the farmhouse, Celia mentions how if Caroline has to be “that way”, she’s happy it’s with someone like Kate. Also she remarks how babies are always welcome whenever they come. Alan takes this as a sign to tell Celia about his skeleton in the closet- his fling with Mary Kershaw that produced a son he never knew about.  Celia’s a bit in shock, but she’s not running out the door as of yet. She seems most disappointed that this happened the same year Gillian was born and that Gillian colluded with Alan to get her out of the way while he met with Gary for the first time.

At breakfast, Alan tells Celia that he wants her to go to the dinner at Gary’s house. Celia takes a drive to call Caroline and vents that she feels just like she did when her first husband cheated on her. What is most humiliating is that so many other people knew about the infidelity before she did and she feels as though they are talking and laughing about her behind her back. Caroline tries to calm her down and make her see that Alan is not like her father, but a good man who made a mistake and is trying to make things right.


When Celia returns from her drive, she and Alan make up but the forgiveness doesn’t last for long. Alan wants to show Celia what he’s found on the internet about Gary’s business accomplishments and charitable activities. He’s giddy with admiration for this man he barely knows which obviously impairs his judgment about sharing it with Celia.

While Alan has one child to be proud of (one he had nothing to do with rearing, by the way), his other progeny is out there letting him down once again. Gillian returns home with news that she has unceremoniously quit her job. Robbie’s girlfriend Cheryl (Rachel Leskovac) has stopped by the supermarket to confront and embarrass Gillian in public, presenting her with a box of condoms to drive her point home. This prompts Gillian’s boss to chastise her, calling her a troublemaker. Fiery and tired of working the farm, babysitting and holding down a part-time job, Gillian resigns.

In the midst of this mini-drama, Celia has come downstairs to inform Alan that she won’t be attending supper at Gary’s house after all. She just wouldn’t feel comfortable there. She insists that Alan and the others go, but she’d rather help Caroline with the wedding.

As the Buttershaws prepare to leave for the dinner party, Robbie shows up to apologize to Gillian for Cheryl’s behavior and to inform her that his girlfriend is now his ex-girlfriend. Alan puts two and two together, but Gillian is having none of his disapproval in the light of certain recent events. Driving to Gary’s house that evening in the rain, they think they’ve lost their way until they come upon Gary’s palatial estate. At dinner, Gary holds court telling stories of how he started his mobile coffee kiosk empire with an old coffee maker and a run-down van. Everyone seems entertained except perhaps Gillian who might be experiencing a touch of the green monster.

The next morning, Alan comes home to Harrogate for the wedding and finds Celia still in her dressing robe. She’s changed her mind about attending Caroline’s wedding. She is so distressed about the situation with Alan, explaining to him how humiliating it feels to be cheated on, that she won’t be able to pretend to look happy at the ceremony. Alan tells her this has nothing to do with her daughter and it’s not fair to Caroline, but finally has to go out and inform the brides that Celia has changed her mind.



Caroline comes round to Celia’s to tell her how much she wants her to be at the wedding. She implores her to separate what has happened with Alan from what’s happening for her and Kate today. Caroline reminds Celia that when she didn’t attend her doctorate ceremony due to a marital argument, it hurt her greatly. Caroline, in turn, tried to hurt her father by saying there was no point in him being there if her mother wasn’t there. Celia doesn’t budge even when Caroline pleads with her to please get dressed.

Outside the church, new William (played now by Dean Smith) is greeting guests. When Alan arrives he must break the bad news that not only Celia, but Louis as well, have decided not to attend. Caroline coldly turns to Alan and informs him that there’s no point in him being there if Celia’s not coming.  

So there we have it… a wedding cliffhanger of sorts. Despite Celia’s feelings of betrayal and loss of trust in Alan, can we talk about how selfish she is to put her feelings and crises ahead of her daughter’s biggest days? That’s mothering 101 in my book. How about Gary’s assessment of Gillian as lovely, funny and uncomplicated and Alan’s reaction to that comment? Priceless! Also when John offers to make dinner for the family and so asks Kate if she’s a vegetarian?  She says as long as there are no nuts, she’s okay. That’s too specific a comment not to be foreshadowing.

Let’s chat about the tumultuous state of affairs that Alan, Celia and their clans are forever finding themselves in. The comments section is ready and waiting.

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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