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


Caroline, tired but relieved, heads home to get ready to go into work finally. But on the way, she stops at a coffee shop, seemingly just to take a moment to think about the events of the last 24 hours, of the possibility of what was lost and then what was found. She watches a happy family reuniting on the sidewalk outside, and as a hopeful song tinkles away in the background and the golden sun flares over her face in the glorious cinematography that creates the dreamy atmosphere of this whole show, I like to believe that she’s thinking, I, too, can be happy.

Indeed, when she reaches her house, the best scene of the episode ensues. John greets her with a big smile; she seems peaceful and at ease. He says he wants to tell her something; she splays herself onto a couch, exhausted, as he tells her about Judith and his newfound dedication to being honest and true. She says sure, okay, whatever; what a poor bitch. Then she asks, we can make this work, right? Making it work here for the kids? Hopeful, glad, he says, of course! Then she says, as nonchalantly as she’s spoken every word for the last five minutes, “I’ve been seeing someone.” Unsurprisingly, John’s face changes.

Seeing someone? You?

Yeah, me

She’s not sure if it’s completely what she wants, yet. But, she’ll won’t know if she doesn’t try. (Exactly! Go, Caroline, go!) And no, she won’t tell him who it is. That’s the deal. Well, off to bed, now!

As she walks away from him and up the stairs, John descends into a blind rage. He won’t live under the same roof while she’s off seeing someone else! She swoops down towards his face and croons, “You know where the door is.” He shouts, “Are you lying to me?” And Caroline, glorious, wonderful Caroline replies, “I don’t do lies.”

The shouting causes Angsty Curly-Haired Son to come out and ask what’s going on. Caroline, who’s reached the top of the staircase at this point, leans over the railing and yells in the most loosey goosey voice we have ever heard from her, “Hi kids!” It is a shining second of pure comedic gold!


John asks Angsty Boy if his mom has been hanging around anyone in particular at school. Angsty Boy suddenly recalls the way Caroline reached for Kate’s shoulder in that room the other day, hung over her silently for just a moment too long, right before another student accused his mom of being a lesbo. He shakes his head; says no. The episode ends with him standing, alone and deeply befuddled, at the bottom of the stairs.

And last but not least, here are my favorite landscape panoramas of the episode, encompassing both light and dark at Gillian’s farm. First, as the fire company arrived at the very beginning of the episode to deal with Gillian’s torched lesbianmobile–still a mystery, by the way–we get to see the glittery array of lights of the surrounding towns spread out in the valley below, and while it’s not the best picture of it, it’s a view that’s always my favorite view.

And then, before Gillian and Caroline have one of their talks, we see the dawn of a new day over the treeline.


Only two episodes left to retro-recap of this series, and I’m already dreading the finale because I don’t want it to go away, ever. And as of right now, the only news I can find is that Series 2 won’t air until closer to the end of 2013, at the earliest. Why do you do this to my heart, BBC?

What was your favorite part of this episode?

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