“Last Tango in Halifax” (Ep. 3): And it burned, burned, burned


The next morning, this sweet show about two old people falling in love takes a sudden, violent twist when Gillian discovers a strange car in front of her house, and opens its door to find this.

It’s Paul, the guy she slept with, the guy Raff is so mad about, although it seems the blokes that did this to him this time were related to the gal he was supposed to be marry. Gillian brings him into her house; he says that they told him they’d throw petrol on him and light a match. And he believes them. And he cries like a baby, because who wouldn’t? And the quiet truth of Last Tango in Halifax starts to really reveal itself, as a show about people not being what you expect them to be. The elderly widows who society ignores and belittles, finding richer love and joy than anyone else around them; even having great sex, apparently, too! (That happens this episode, as well.) The high strung, accomplished head teacher of a high class school, discovering she’s a lesbian. The slimy guy who makes crude jokes and objectifies women, being really nothing but scared and small inside, and the brunt of more small town cruelty than anyone ever deserves.

As Gillian takes Paul to the hospital, we merge to an utterly gorgeous scene at Caroline’s school. Sunlight makes the dust in the air glitter, soothing plucks of music overlaying the scene as Angsty Florence Loving Son takes an exam amongst his classmates. Kate is watching over them; Caroline comes in to relieve her; she and Angsty Son catch each other’s eye and share a small smile as the sun flares in the camera lens and continues to seep into the deep, privileged, history-etched wood of these types of schools; there’s a feeling of utter peace about everything. And then the boy sitting in front of Angsty Son flashes this at him.


The only people having a good time this episode are, unsurprisingly, Alan and Celia, who in addition to making love, are scouting out wedding locations. After a trip to a church which is deemed absolutely unsuccessful, they both mention an old building they used to love, a hotel or a museum or something or other, and head out to see if it’s still around. When they arrive, it has the setup of every creepy haunted house story ever made: ominous music, thunder and lightning outside, an open door and lights on but absolutely no one around. As they wander around, Alan mentions that someone he knew saw a ghost here once. And I would normally be real scared at this point because I am the biggest scaredy cat in the world, but it’s Alan and Celia! Nothing bad could ever happen to Alan and Celia!

So they head in the direction of the room where the ghost lives, because that is a great idea, but I still feel fine about everything until they get to the room and there are CREEPY DOLLS EVERYWHERE AND NO. NO. RUN AWAY, ALAN AND CELIA! GET THE HELL AWAY FROM THIS PLACE! YOU SEE CREEPY DOLLS AND YOU RUN!


So then OBVIOUSLY the lights cut out, and they hear the door slam shut downstairs, and they run to it but it’s a massive, gothic, black steel door that won’t budge and OF COURSE they don’t have any service for their phones and they’re stuck in this creepy haunted hotel for the night I guess and what is even happening?

To end this episode off, we see Gillian and Paul sitting quietly in her living room watching the rain, Gillian presumably contemplating whether her son will ever move back in with her, when we hear glass break and a sudden explosion. Gillian runs outside to see that someone has set her Land Rover on fire. SOMEONE HAS TORCHED THE LESBIANMOBILE. THIS IS NOT OK. NOT. OK.


Basically: there is a lot going on in Halifax this week, you guys. Holy shit.

To help calm my nerves a little, here’s the Pretty Landscape Shot o’ the Week:

That’s better. A little. I cannot wait until next episode. Just tell me the oldies are safe from the dolls and also some lesbian kissing would be nice. OK? Good. Good. Swell. Thanks. Love, Jill.

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