“Last Tango in Halifax” recap (Ep. 5): Magnificent


Caroline has also returned to her home, where John is still hanging about, and here begins the lesbian dominoes. She’s decided that if she loves someone enough to have sex with them, she wants to be able to bring them to the house, to have “whenever she wants them.” (You saucy minx!) If this arrangement doesn’t work for him, they’ll need a divorce, and he’ll need a good lawyer. He presses her about this mysterious person she’s seeing, eventually shouting that he forbids her bringing him to the house. She looks at him across the kitchen counter. “It’s not a he. I suppose we might as well get that out of the way.” And the first domino falls.

While John might be too shocked to say anything anyway, Caroline commences to give one of the finest, most Caroline-ish coming out speeches of all time. She asks for his discretion until she can tell the boys herself. “Obviously, if you need to take the piss and make ridiculous comments, it’d be best if you did it straight to my face and not in front of them. But being a liberal minded intellectual, I assume you won’t need to do that, anyway. (Pause.) Yeah. You might need to think about it.”

While John continues to grind his jaw around and widen his eyes like a fish, Caroline takes another call from Gillian, in which they discover that they both have the same exact birthday, down to the year. Gillian quips, “We’re twins!” What a kooky world!

Then later, Gillian and Robbie make out. Not sure how I feel about this, probably because I just really want her to be making out with ladies. Regardless, it’s clear that he respects her more than most men in her life recently; he turns down on an offer to stay the night because she’s a little drunk and he wants it to be right. Robbie, maybe you should come over to America and give some young men a few talks.

And then comes the scene that I almost love even more than the Kate and Caroline making out scenes. (Although they are really, really good.) Caroline has fallen asleep on her couch at the end of the night, looking deeply at peace, when Curly Haired Son sits down next to her and she gently wakes up. He asks if she has indeed been seeing someone.

Caroline: “How would you feel about it if I was?”
William: “Fine. If it was someone who deserves you.”
Caroline: “OK. Well then, yes, I am — seeing someone.”
William: “Is it Kate McKenzie?”
Caroline: “What makes you think that?”
William: “Is it?”
Caroline, thrown: “OK. Well, if it, if it — hmm. It was, uh, what would — how would you — ”
William, interjecting: “She’s nice. I like her. She’s clever. She’s interesting. She’s kind.”
Caroline: “How — how did you know?”
William: “I saw you. When you came in to the exam yesterday. Just the way you looked at each other. No one else saw.”
Caroline: “I won’t embarrass you.”
William: “I know.”
Caroline: “But this wouldn’t have happened if your father —”
William: “I don’t care. I want you to be happy.”

Of course he wants you to be happy, Caroline, when he is obviously an angry young gay himself! In seriousness, though, they are equal parts anxious and awkward during this conversation, but it is the most tender type of anxious, the most heartwarming sort of awkward. And while we’ve seen many young queer characters come out to their parents and friends in a variety of media now, it’s rare to get such a wonderful and warm scene of a parent coming out to their child, and William’s acceptance and Caroline’s love for him is outstandingly lovely.

John, on the other hand, is not taking things quite as well, and has been hiding out at Judith’s house. While Judith plucks away at her writing on her laptop, John lies on her couch and moans and groans about all his lesbian woes. While he’s drunk, she actually isn’t for once, and we learn that Judith sober is in fact awesome. Here are some examples of Ridiculous Things John Says Right Now, and Awesome Replies Judith Shoots Back.


John:  “She doesn’t look like a lesbian! I know what they look like. We have them on campus!”
Judith: “Aren’t you quaint. What decade do you live in?”


John: “What do they do? They haven’t got anything to do anything with, have they?”
Judith: “Are you being deliberately stupid?”

Duh! We always forget. You can’t have sex without the penis!

Caroline then gives a ring to invite him to a dinner she’s cooking tonight for her birthday, with the boys AND Kate. This is a bold move, but an awesome one. John calls her a sanctimonious bitch. Judith says, the thing is, I don’t really want you here either. So he invites himself over to Gillian’s. And here’s where the dominoes start to go astray.

By the time Celia and Alan return to Gillian’s after a long day of shopping, Gillian is pacing in the kitchen while an odd assortment of men are sitting in silence in the living room: Raff, Robbie, Paul, and a passed out drunk John. John has obviously spilled the beans to everyone in attendance, and when Celia and Alan walk in, Gillian tries to stutter out an explanation for John being drunk in her living room, but obviously doesn’t feel it’s her place to make this particular domino fall. John has been wakened by their arrival, however, and obviously feels no remorse himself about it. He blurts to Celia that her daughter is a lesbian, and, surprisingly, this domino seems to crash the loudest.

Celia is visibly upset; she asks Gillian to make him shut up as he continues to prattle on drunkenly; she says it’s wicked; she demands him to stop saying “silly” things and “upsetting people.” Gillian offers her tea. She says angrily, “I don’t want any tea! I want to go home!”

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