“Last Tango in Halifax” recap (2.5): Muriel’s Wedding

As a taxi drives them back to Gillian’s, we learn that in her drunken stupor, Caroline has left her phone at the hotel, which is bad time for Lawrence. He’s sitting alone at Judith’s flat, where both Judith and John had left hours earlier—Judith in a haze of distraction, John following after to make sure she doesn’t drink because baby. Lawrence calls Caroline and asks her to come get him, and apologizes for calling her boring. And I feel bad for all the mean things I’ve said about Lawrence over the last few weeks, because right now, he just appears somewhat small, and lonely: just a boy in need of a good parent.

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The two adults will eventually return to Judith’s flat, and indeed they have been drinking, baby be damned, and as they argue, John discovers that Lawrence is nowhere to be found.

The good times continue to spiral into darkness here, as Caroline and Gillian lay out on Gillian’s country couch and their drunkenness spreads from fun giggling to overly honest confession, as drunkenness is wont to do. Gillian asks what really happened with Kate, and Caroline stares into the distance, delivering this heart aching monologue.

“I blew it with Kate. I really blew it. And I only realize now how lovely it was, how precious. And I’ve tried to apologize, but she won’t listen. I think she’s decided that I’m bad for her. There’s nothing I can do or say. I’m just in a box now with ‘bad’ written on it. Well, not bad. Just arrogant, inept, selfish, repressed, just emotionally crippled.”

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Maybe these things are true. But you are a beautiful emotional cripple, Caroline. And while I was one of the ones defending Kate’s rage last episode, it’s suddenly unfathomable to me that Kate is able to stay away from such a specimen as Caroline Elliot.

When Caroline passes the shoe back to Gillian, however, and asks about Robbie, Gillian says that’s a different story altogether, and oh, how true that is. And then begins minutes of painful anticipation, as Gillian leads up to what we all know she’s going to say: that she murdered Eddie. She murdered him after he repeatedly beat her—”I’ve shed blood in every room of this house.” She murdered the only true family Robbie had ever had, and that’s why they can never work, even though they “could have been great together.” The horrible, trembling Nicola Walker cry face is back with a vengeance.

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Caroline’s eye get large when Gillian first confesses, and then as she continues to tell the tale, Caroline seems to sink into herself, stock still on the couch, unsure about why Gillian is telling her this—the last thing Gillian says before they fall asleep is that she’s not sure why she’s told her, either—and we’re left wondering what Caroline is actually thinking about it all.

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The last scene of the episode shows both women passed out on the two couches, with Gillian soon jumping up to puke in the sink. But clearly, she wasn’t drunk enough to completely forget what she had said, and she looks into the living room at Caroline’s still sleeping form, her face full of horror and regret.

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Next week is the finale of the Series 2. (And yes, a Series 3 has been confirmed, although who knows when we’ll get it.) What do you hope to happen? How do you think Caroline will react once she wakes up? And do you think there’s any future at all for her and Kate?

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