Alan can’t hold in his complete and utter disappointment in Celia anymore, and we once again see Gillian waiting for him at the train station in Halifax the next morning, where he steps off the train, once again, alone. They share another pint at the pub while Gillian tries to make sense of everything Alan tells her, which is, essentially, that he and Celia had come to the end of the road. “Oh, Dad. I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.” And there is nothing worse than seeing your dad cry, or your hypothetical honorary grandpa cry. The only thing that would make this better is if Boyz II Men burst into the pub for a performance of “End of the Road,” but they don’t, so everything just sucks. Other than Gillian’s eyes which are still real nice.
And even with all the awful things Celia has said, it’s still heartbreaking to see her so heartbroken, and Anne Reid’s acting job has been absolutely smashing. You see it in her eyes, you can almost feel the devastation in your own bones. And when she goes to talk to Caroline the next afternoon you think it might be to apologize and seek comfort, yet she chooses the path of anger once again, blaming Caroline for everything that’s happened, telling untruths that are so transparent at this point — that Alan wouldn’t want to marry into a family such as this, all amuck with lesbianism and whatnot — that you almost start to feel sorry for her. Caroline says that if it’s any consolation, Kate’s finished with her, too, even putting in her resignation at the school that morning. Caroline then outright explodes, calling her mother a “nasty, small minded old bitch” who’s going to “die alone, very bitter and very, very lonely” and that she’s glad she’s heartbroken because “Alan is worth a thousand of you,” storming out of the kitchen with a final, “Fuck off.” Celia has gasped, “Oh, Caroline!” and covered her ears in pain, and the only person left to comfort her is pathetic old John. Caroline rushes to her room, and William steps into the hallway just in time to see her slam the door and then hear her gut wrenching sobs emanating from inside. And oh God, I am drinking pretty much constantly at this point, because whose pain is worse at this point, Celia’s or Caroline’s? Each of their anger carries its own vital hurt, its own potent sadness.
You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!
Over in Halifax, Gillian and Alan are chilling on her cozy couch post-pub and Gillian’s trying to tell him how she Like Likes Robbie and maybe always has, when Alan starts to get a slightly pained look on his face with his hand on his chest. Gillian asks if he’s alright, he says it’s just a bit of indigestion. NO. NO. IT IS NEVER INDIGESTION! NO. I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN! NOOOOOO.
Before we get to see what happens next, we first see Celia pulling her car up, surprisingly, to Kate’s house. She sits down and gives a great spiel about how much she loves Caroline, and how unhappy her own marriage was, and how the truth is she always thought it was her fault, the lesbianism, projecting her own unhappiness with her husband onto Caroline. Kate tries to tell her, “That’s not how it works.” But whether or not Celia does truly understand how it works, she knows she was wrong, and asks for forgiveness, and implores Kate to not leave her daughter. And then they show up together on Caroline’s doorstop, and after a moment of shock, Caroline smiles.