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

Ginika and Caroline with baby Flora (Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Joseph)
Ginika and Caroline with baby Flora (Photo: Courtesy of Rachel Joseph)
Previously on Last Tango in Halifax: Last week's recap is right this way

Just watching this episode made me weary what with all the grief and the fussy baby and the paranoid, illegitimate son and such; however, the need to recap is stronger than the need to sleep. So onward and upward…

At the beginning of the episode, we find Caroline and Kate in their bedroom discussing what the baby’s name should be. Kate favors Flora Grace and, while Caroline is obviously not a fan, she doesn’t feel she can refuse the name Kate has chosen. But wait! We know that old trick. Just for a second we’re supposed to think Kate survived because we never actually heard it from the doctor’s lips that she had died at the hospital. Then William enters the room to inform his mum that the hearse has arrived and all of a sudden Kate disappears into thin air.

While I don’t know anyone who has ever claimed they saw or talked to their dearly departed loved ones, I don’t doubt some people do something like that to deal with the grief.  It’s also a means to give us, as viewers, the opportunity to say goodbye to sweet Kate (Nina Sosanya) due to the very sudden nature of her passing.

At the funeral and then the wake, we find the usual family and friends gathered, but this time Kate’s mother, Ginika (Michelle Hurst) and the baby’s biological father, Greg (Marcus Garvey) are in attendance as well. As Celia and Ginika stand around with the baby talking about how mothers often don’t like their son-in-laws, they both express how fond they each were/are of their new daughters-in-law. Excuse me, Celia? Saying you weren’t always as kind as you should have been is something of an understatement in anyone’s book.


Meanwhile, baby daddy Greg corners Caroline in the hallway. He acknowledges that his involvement in baby Flora’s life wasn’t part of the plan, but in the current circumstances, he would be willing to help look after her. Caroline is uncomfortable with the suggestion, but since he is obviously itching to hold his daughter for the first time, Caroline escorts him to the kitchen to meet her.Celia goes looking for Alan who inexplicably happens to be outside smoking a cigarette. As is to be expected, his wife gives him a hard time and once again digs into the old wound about not knowing him at all. “First women, now smoking…”

Inside Gillian seeks out Caroline and they commiserate on the exhausting task of caring for a newborn. Caroline glances over at Greg and Ginika and notes that they are Flora’s biological family, not her. In addition, even though she knows the baby is suffering from colic, it’s as though she is crying out for Kate instead.

Apparently the incessant wailing is really getting to Lawrence as well since he mean-spiritedly wonders aloud why the baby is there. “It” isn’t even theirs. John breaks up an argument between his sons which prompts Lawrence to mope off to his room.  Gillian, sensing the tension and Caroline’s impending collapse, kindly offers to stay and help with Flora by taking her on a relaxing jostle in her pram.

Alan and Caroline have a heart-to-heart in the sitting room. He promises there are no more skeletons in his closet and reveals that in his first marriage he realized over time that he had settled for someone other than the one he wanted. When his wife, Aileen, got pregnant it delighted and then frightened him that this was all there was to his marriage. Celia joins them with a tray of tea things and continues to tease and badger Alan about the smoking incident. “Next we’ll find out he’s a Russian spy!” Kate makes another appearance through the window.

In the meantime, John has gone trotting off after Gillian and the baby. He seems to want to pick up things with her again, but she sets John straight right away informing him of her engagement to Robbie who she’s marrying because he’s good for her. With his quick writer’s brain, John reneges on his offer to assist her financially with the farm since Caroline needs him nearby to help her with angry, baby-hating Lawrence. Gillian assures him it’s fine since she didn’t take his proposal seriously anyway.



Gillian returns to Caroline’s house with a sleeping baby. Though the timing isn’t ideal, she tells Caroline of her plans to marry Robbie in order to keep John from breaking the news first. Twice during their conversation Caroline says she can’t think about this now, but proceeds to ask Gillian if she can live with a man when she murdered his brother and reminds her that Gillian herself said her past actions were the reason things couldn’t work out with Robbie. They agree, as they did on the night all was revealed, not to talk of it again and Gillian leaves the house mumbling “like I need your permission.” Clearly she desires Caroline’s approval and clearly Caroline doesn’t know what “I can’t think about this now” actually means.

The next day Robbie arrives at the farm. He asks after Caroline and is bemused as to why John would attend his ex-wife’s partner’s funeral. Gillian attributes it to some sort of weird middle class behavior. However, Robbie really wants to talk about announcing their engagement and getting the planning started, particularly the honeymoon. Four weeks in Australia, Robbie? Who won the lottery? During the course of the discussion Raff joins them downstairs and, though he finds it hard to believe, is happy for his mum and Uncle Robbie.

Gillian is concerned about the budget so suggests a registry office ceremony to which Robbie counters in jest that she should ask Gary for some help with the expenses. Gillian reacts badly saying they’ve only known him for five minutes. Raff, who is enjoying his part-time job with his newfound uncle immensely, says that Gary has been asking if Alan and Gillian have fallen out with him since he hasn’t heard from them for a week or so.

Back in Harrogate, Caroline is weighing her options in regards to her career and childcare for Flora. She could take early retirement, ask for help from family and friends or hire a nanny to which the now frequently appearing ghost Kate counters with a resounding no.

Later Celia brings Caroline some tea in her room and does her honest best to console her daughter. They talk about loss and Celia reveals her greatest grief was losing her father. She said she never thought she’d smile again but then Caroline was born and things got better. Caroline admits that she is fixating on how Kate felt and what she was thinking when the accident happened. Celia counters with the old chestnut that life isn’t fair, but assures her sobbing daughter that she will come out the other side because she is resilient and clever. 

The next day Caroline makes the rounds asking for help in caring for Flora. Quitting her job is not an option as she is ambitious and will end up resenting the baby. Celia agrees to help out with the odd shift here and there but is understandably hesitant since she is seventy-six years old. Caroline gets pretty much the same response from John. Kate wouldn’t have wanted him involved with her child and apparently the loss he felt for his own daughter has subsided. He sees her only long-term options as quitting her job or hiring a nanny.

Meanwhile in Halifax, Raff checks with his mum to make sure she is finished with John. She assures him she is and that she “likes” Robbie and he loves her. (Oh my dear, that is not what you say when you are just about to tie the knot!) Robbie tells Raff they will invite Gary to the wedding and then presses Gillian for the reason she seems to be so unenthusiastic about her new half-brother. She finally admits that she is jealous of her dad’s fascination with Gary’s success and how it accentuates his disappointment in her. Robbie tells her that he, at least, thinks she’s perfect. I fear Robbie is about to have his heart stomped on again, don’t you?

All this talk of Gary prompts Gillian to call him up and arrange a meeting at one of his cafes.  She explains that she and Alan have both been snowed under with the funeral and work on the farm. A clearly fidgety Gary apologizes for being paranoid. He claims he really doesn’t want to be a nuisance. Gillian says “her” dad would never feel that way about him which she immediately attempts to correct. All this awkwardness sets off a very needy and weird reaction in Gary. Gillian has to repeatedly tell him to calm down while simultaneously wondering “what in the flipping heck is wrong with this man?”

As the episode closes, Kate’s mother is making plans for summer visits and saying her tearful goodbyes. As her taxi leaves the drive, we see a young woman approach the house. It turns out Holly (Cara Theobold) is a past student of Caroline’s who is there for a nanny interview. Caroline invites her inside though it’s already established she is probably more chatty and cheery than any parent, particularly Caroline, will be able to abide for long.

So what do we think? Has all been forgiven between Caroline and Celia? I had one commenter last week who said all of Celia’s bad behavior gets swept under the rug so Kate’s death is for naught since it doesn’t make Celia change her attitudes or grow as a person. Do you agree?

How about Alan and Celia? Is she really okay with his recent revelations?  Are her constant remarks about what she’ll discover about him next mere teasing or passive-aggressive behavior?   Gillian and Robbie – what odds would you place that their wedding doesn’t happen? And finally, Gary; what’s up with him anyway? I didn’t think he could be the selfless, golden boy he’s been pretending to be since we first met him. As always, we welcome your insights on these questions and more in the comments section provided below. 

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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