And then Caroline enters Lawrence’s room, and it’s been so hard to get a good grasp on who Lawrence is in this series. While the anger of William makes him seem more defined, more relatable, Lawrence is still just a kid who wants to be silly, who wants to hang on to his dad even when he knows somewhere inside himself that his dad’s done wrong. And when Caroline enters his dark room, it is full of his curled up, shoulders shaking, convulsive, scared sniffling. Caroline says quietly, “I love you,” and sits on the edge of his bed. And suddenly he bolts up and grabs on to Caroline for dear life, smashing his face into her neck, and as they rock back and forth for a bit, you can just barely make out when he says, still sniffly and muffled, “Don’t want people being mean to you.”
Grab your glasses of alcohol, guys, because this is where I lose it. When Lawrence’s first thought is that he doesn’t want people being mean to his mommy — I can’t. Bless you, dear little boy. She cradles his head, assures him in her typical Caroline way: “Nobody’s going to be mean to me. I won’t let them.” And then a second later, “Believe me, I can handle mean.”
The next morning, John wakes up in Gillian’s bed alone. He discovers her outside trying to fix the clutch on her new/old lesbianmobile, with the pitiful assistance of Paul, who’s become one of my favorite comedic bits on the show. Just his constant, pathetic presence makes me giggle; I’m glad that everyone has just sort of accepted his existence in their world at this point. Anyway, Gillian quickly puts John in his place. He asks if there’s anything he can help her with on the car. She raises herself fully upright from under the hood and retorts, “How likely is that, on a scale of 1 to 10?” He mumbles, “Right, yeah, fair enough.” Snort. He then implores, as if he can’t believe she’s acting so casually right now, “We made love.” Without missing a beat she says, “You were upset. It was my birthday. We were both a bit pissed. Go pour yourself some tea.” Double snort. She then adds, “And then you better ring Caroline, because I think you owe her one hell of an apology.” The depth of my love for you know no bounds, Gillian.
On the other side of the lush English countryside, Caroline approaches her mother’s little cottage. While Caroline normally walks with her head high, right now her posture is decidedly different, purposely humble and quiet. She apologizes to Celia for the way she heard the news. Celia says that she assumes it was rubbish. Oh, Celia. Caroline takes a seat, and she starts to tell a story. She tells a story of a woman having a hard time after her husband had an affair, and how some people were kind to her, and some people weren’t.
“I think people are scared of me, or think I don’t need a kind word now and again. But she didn’t think like that. And we became close. And then she told me she had a bit of a crush on me. And one thing led to another. She thinks the world of me, and I think a lot about her, and it’s what I want.”
It’s a lovely story, but one that has no affect on Celia. She asks all the typical things: Why can’t they just be friends? You can’t just switch! Why is this so sudden? (It’s not sudden, Caroline says; I’ve always known, I tried to tell you.) Why did you marry John? I’m sure there are plenty more men out there! At which point Caroline’s patience starts to crumble. “Oh, Mum, just try to GET IT. I’m too old to try and pretend anymore.” She then says she’d like both Celia and Alan to meet Kate.
Celia: Is that her name?
Caroline: No, she’s called Zanzibar, but I just call her Kate for short, it’s easier.
Celia: No. Thank you. I don’t think we do want to meet her.
Caroline: [Sigh] She’s called Kate McKenzie. She’s nice, she’s kind, she’s thoughtful, she’s —
Celia: Is she Scottish?”
Caroline: No, she Nigerian. No, I mean, she is Nigerian, that wasn’t me being sarcastic.