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

At the same moment, Celia and Alan are rolling up outside to move Alan in, with Gillian behind them to see him off. In the car ride over, however, Celia has spilled the beans about Gillian and John to Alan, and Alan is not. happy. And strangely and horribly, he is the meanest to her of all. When they all arrive in Celia’s cottage, Alan goes on a slut shaming parade, calling Gillian a longstanding disappointment. He then decides to inform Celia that Gillian got pregnant when she was 15. It broke her mother’s heart, he says. Gillian stands, slack jawed.

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Before this happy scene can go any further, Caroline bursts in, still glowing from her lovely dovey eyes with Kate, and informs everyone about why Kate will be living at the house, at least for now. It seems that when she had turned up Saturday night after her awkward departure from Gillian’s cottage, she entered through the door just in time to see Judith tumbling down her stairs and landing in a heap of bathrobe and pale skin. John soon followed, rumply and drunk, and Caroline glances into the kitchen, full of empty wine bottles and greasy handprints on the walls. The boys burst out the living room and the angsty gay one that I love complains that Judith and John have been loud and annoying all night. Caroline calmly tells them to get in her car.

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2lasttango1screencap24Poor Lawrence.

Caroline tells John that he’s traumatized their children, and that she’s leaving to give him time to clean up the kitchen, somehow. He says that whatever trauma he’s done doesn’t compare to what she’s forced on them by being a “mad old dyke.” He then continues to stomp his foot about the house being his, not hers, because it was mostly paid for by his profits when he was on the best seller’s list. Writers, man. Then Judith pukes. Curtain!

2lasttango1screencap25 The universal “Whatever, dyke,” hand signal.

Back in Celia’s cottage, Caroline explains that that’s why Kate’s here—as an effort to push John out of the house, which he is still refusing to do. Oh, Caroline, Caroline, Caroline. Those googly eyes you were giving Kate felt genuine, but just using your girlfriend as a ploy to get your annoying husband out of the way is definitely against the rules in the lesbian playbook. You know Kate will do anything you ask. Don’t mess with her heart, Caroline.

Even though Caroline also says she’s made everyone dinner, Gillian takes the opportunity to excuse herself. Caroline follows her out, to see why she’s in such bad shape, and Gillian fills in a few more of the holes: her dad’s mad at her for sleeping with John, and she broke her mother’s heart she was 15 and got pregnant, had an abortion, and never finished school.

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My desire to hug her is now fit to bursting, but after Caroline says sorry a few times and Gillian walks to her car, Caroline says to herself, “Why am I apologizing?” Gillian smiles back at her through her windshield and mutters under her breath, “Sanctimonious bitch.” Aww, things are getting back to normal!

As she backs out the driveway, John bolts out of the house and chases her down, because having a chat with John is just what Gillian needs. She shouts, “Get out of my Land Rover!,” which is an amazing line. He, shockingly, refuses. Yet as John whines about his pathetic life, it at least gives Gillian a chance to laugh at someone worse off than her, and to not be treated like she’s a horrible person for a few moments.

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Fast forward two weeks, and we see Gillian and Caroline at their parallel, yet entirely different every day tasks: Gillian herds sheep; Caroline herds students.

2lasttango1screencap28 Sheepies!

2lasttango1screencap29 Hogwarts!

As Gillian then cleans her living room, under a couch cushion she discovers the card from the reigstrar’s office, scheduling Celia and Alan’s marriage—for that morning at 11:00. She rings up Caroline, who seems just as bewildered by this secret wedding as Gillian, although Gillian is clearly more flustered by it. They both come to the conclusion, though, that their parents must not have wanted them there. Caroline says that she has to go back to her meeting, and Gillian hangs up on her and then grabs her coat, heading out the door. Meanwhile, Alan and Celia are rolling down the road towards Halifax in their Lexus, grinning at each other without a care in the world.

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Next week promises more tough times for Gillian, and Kate informing Caroline that she wants a baby.

What were your thoughts on the beginning of the second season? What do you hope the next five episodes have in store?

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