“Last Tango in Halifax” recap (2.1): Are we cool, Vincent?

Gillian takes this moment of what seems to be solid friendship to take a deep breath and steer the conversation in a much different direction, gathering herself up to admit something to Caroline. After a rambly preamble, Caroline sticks her fork in her cake and says gaily, “So you’ve slept with John.” Gillian blanches, talks about how they were both pissed, and she doesn’t regret it because she makes it a point in her life to not regret anything, but it meant nothing, and—Caroline looks up, still holding her fork. “Oh, so you really have slept with John?” While Gillian continues to explain herself, Caroline laughs and smiles in a kind of amused shock, which is reassuring to Gillian, although she keeps asking if Caroline hates her. At one point Gillian says, “You’re thinking, brain dead, low life trailer trash, aren’t you?” Caroline responds with a smirk, “Yeah. But that’s ‘cause I’m a snotty bitch.” PERFECT ALL THE AWARDS.

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Things appear to descend into an awkward zone from there, as Gillian nervously references Pulp Fiction. “Are we cool, Vincent?” Caroline, obviously, doesn’t get it, and Gillian explains, “I’m Samuel L. Jackson. You’re John Travolta.” Caroline continues to scrape around her plate, looking at Gillian less and less now, and all she can think to say is “Blimey.”

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2lasttango1screencap11You have to forgive me, Aidan.

As the two women accompany Celia back to Gillian’s farm, the awkwardness thickens, and Caroline quickly decides to head back to her own place even though she’d previously planned to stay the night. When Celia walks her out to her car, Caroline shares the news she’s just heard, probably because she feels like she needs to tell somebody, and while she seems befuddled about Gillian’s casual sexual behavior, she’s clearly much more disturbed about John’s.

But when Celia walks back into the farmhouse, her ugly, judgmental head rears itself again as she regards Gillian somewhat coldly, at least in comparison to how they had been acting merely minutes and hours before. They had been brought closer by Alan’s near death experience, the man that means more to both of them than anything else in the world, and you can see Gillian now understanding that the woman who was actually beginning to feel mother-like is suddenly slipping away from her. She anxiously offers her tea, which Celia takes before quickly retreating from the room. Gillian’s shoulders slump and she closes her eyes, as if she’s resigned to the mess she’s made at the same time that she wants to wish it away.

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The next day, Alan is finally released from the hospital, and he and Celia promptly go to visit a rock at the top of the world, where they sit and look out at the cars passing below them, the vast green hills. After Alan gives a little speech about how he’s really going to live now that he’s got another chance to, they start talking about old friends they used to have, who they used to come to this same rock with, the things they’d done in the past, how some of those friends have passed away. And while the conversation between Caroline and Gillian in the hospital cafe was award worthy, there is something about this entire scene that is perfect, that wraps itself all the way around my heart.

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