We begin the Series 2 finale of Last Tango in Halifax a mere moment after our last scene of last week: Gillian looking over Caroline’s sleeping form on her couch, repeatedly poking her and saying her name, anxiously offering tea. She needs to know what Caroline’s next course of action will be after she confessed to the murder of her husband, Eddie. Will Caroline hate her forever? Will she turn her into the police?
More than anything, once she rouses herself, Caroline seems befuddled as to why Gillian told her in the first place. Just being extremely pissed isn’t an adequate reason when it comes to something like this. Caroline ruffles her hair and suggests they never speak of it again; pretend it never happened. This answers some of Gillian’s questions, but not all. On the upside, herein begins a series of Caroline somehow looking astonishingly sexy while being supremely hungover, a feat only the most magical of creatures can attain.
A few minutes later in the kitchen, Caroline seems to answer her own questions, as Gillian seems incapable of doing so herself, perhaps understandably. Caroline wavers on the line between irritation and empathy, finally concluding with what sounds like the truth: “You told me because you needed to.”
They get themselves together enough to drive back to the fancy wedding hotel, where Caroline has left her phone and Gillian has left her car. They are both clearly busy in their own heads, and the laughter of the evening before seems far, far away. But as they prepare to leave each other, Caroline has one last bit of advice for Gillian. She says, “I think you’re right about you and Robbie.” Gillian glances down at the gravel for a moment and replies with a little smile, like she is 13 years old and admitting to a longheld crush in the schoolyard, like the alcohol is still affecting the truth filter on her brain: “I know. I really like him.” Caroline, who is soberly back in reality land, stares at her and clarifies that that’s not what she meant. What she meant is that Gillian and Robbie could never work, as Gillian had explained herself last night when the whole I-committed-murder conversation started. Caroline implores her to just move on. Gillian shakes the cobwebs from her brain, says, of course. Caroline asks her to promise her. Gillian says, you’re right.
And when Caroline gets into her car, she seems almost 100% Caroline again: mad at John, ready to go take care of her kids, already backing away in her shiny vehicle, focused on the tasks ahead. But as Gillian stands outside of her dusty Land Rover, she just seems a little diminished, sad, preparing for the rest of her long hard life, alone on the farm.
Meanwhile, Celia continues to be a bitch to her sister, and now that Caroline has her phone back, she’s heard about the whole John-losing-Lawrence ordeal. Interestingly, Lawrence ended up at Kate’s house, a solution William had suggested when Lawrence called him, alone and upset, because Will is the best. When Kate returns Lawrence home the next morning, John is relieved, yet neither apologizes for his own buffoonery or thanks Kate for taking his son in. Another good moment for John!
But don’t worry! Caroline is ready to swoop in and make up for John’s lack of gratitude. She soon shows up at Kate’s door with flowers. Flowers! Oh, Caroline!
She asks if she can come in, to say the things she can’t say on the doorstep. They make polite conversation about the baby; Kate affirms that Greg is out of the picture now that his deed is done, that that was really his only part of the equation. It was still a bad part of the equation, but it’s good that we can move on from it, hopefully.
And then Caroline suddenly begins talking about the weird night she’s just shared with Gillian. And for a moment, the small part of you that questions how loyal Caroline actually is to Gillian wonders if she’s going to let Gillian’s secret slip, but she doesn’t. That’s not really the point of her monologue at all. Kate asks why a person would be as horrible as Eddie was to Gillian, and Caroline replies that it’s arrogance; it’s control; it’s power. And in a small way, while she is very far away from the abusive husband that Eddie was, it appears that she is actually talking about herself.
She says that it all just made her realize what a good thing it was that they had, her and Kate. She apologizes once more for all she did wrong, and that if they could give it one more go, she promises, she would be better. It’s all very open, vulnerable, genuine. And if it were me, Caroline’s almost-teary blue eyes would be all that I needed. But Kate’s face hardly registers any doubt before she answers rather quickly, “No. Thank you.”
Caroline returns to her car. She doesn’t cry; she doesn’t shout. But she sits for a moment, staring out the windshield, those blue eyes resigned to Kate’s rejection once again, which is almost worse.