“Last Tango in Halifax” (Ep. 4): Search and Rescue

 
 

Speaking of relationships, over in Gillian’s corner, brother-in-law Robbie has also had a sudden change of heart from Angry Guy Who Wants to Slander Gillian At Every Turn. Perhaps it’s her tender fear and worry at this very moment that softens him, but he finds her in the kitchen and suddenly apologizes for the last ten years of pain. “We could make a good team, couldn’t we?” I’m not sure where this is headed; does he mean team as in, two people who help look after Raff, or two people who help look after Raff and also each other? If it’s the latter, that’s a turn I wasn’t quite expecting. One thing I do know is that the lighting at Gillian’s house is just ridiculously gorgeous.

But while Robbie is suddenly warm, and Kate is concerned, and Raff is starting to admit he still loves his mom, and Celia and Alan are cuddling by candlelight, the most meaningful relationship of this episode is without a doubt that between Caroline and Gillian. And what a pair these two women are! If I shipped them now as hard as I did at first, this whole episode would have been nothing but explosions and fireworks in my head. But now I see them slightly differently, as two women who need each other in ways that aren’t romantic but, perhaps, more important.

The first Caroline and Gillian Bonding Moment begins as they’re drying dishes while waiting for more information from the police; Gillian explains her Paul feelings–he’s still lying around beat up and pathetic looking, by the way–and Caroline breaks down over John. As they share some brandy, Gillian calls herself a mess and Caroline begins crying out right, and apologizes again for the way she treated her when they first met. She explains, “I’ve been depressed for months, bottling things up. And then it comes out and you say things, silly, nasty, stupid things that you don’t even mean.” With any other actors, perhaps these sudden, teary, sad confessions would seem a bit sappy, but with these two ladies, they are perfect and powerful.

Their sniffling fest is broken up by a call from the police, who have finally found Alan and Celia’s car outside the haunted hall. Although when one of the caretakers of the hall shows up and says that the place wasn’t even open yesterday, they apparently decide that’s all they need to know for that part of their investigation, and continue to look elsewhere. Good call, gents!

Luckily for us, though, this allows enough time for Caroline and Gillian Bonding Moment #2, early the next morning as Caroline wakes groggily from the couch and notices Gillian sitting on a stone wall out front. She goes outside to join her, contemplating the morning light, and this time it’s Gillian who’s crying the most. She shares some more grisly details of her husband’s suicide, but it’s when she starts talking about her feelings over her mother not passing on Celia’s note to Alan so many years ago that she gets the most emotional. What does it mean that her mother was so jealous? What would have happened if, if, if— Caroline gently reminds her that her mother was 16, a child. And if their parents had never married who they did, they themselves would never have existed.

Gillian asks if Caroline thinks Alan and Celia are dead; Caroline assures her they’re not. And they collectively ponder the utter, simple yet extraordinary happiness Alan and Celia have suddenly found, that Caroline and Gillian are still searching for, that the world needs to still survive for us all to believe in, so for the love of Pete, show your faces already.

And they soon do, as Celia and Alan wake up from their nightly slumber in the hall and hear sounds downstairs of employees starting the work day. As they get out of bed, Alan turns pale and says, “I swore I shut that door last night.” Celia says, “Oh, let’s get out of here!” And after giving the two employees a hard time about their ordeal, they do.

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