“Last Tango in Halifax” recap (3.4): For Kate

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I didn’t expect to cry.

I thought my rage would insulate me like a diving suit and keep me from having to really feel anything.  But approximately two minutes into Last Tango In Halifax, I started sobbing so violently that my dog became concerned. (My dog generally does not understand why I inflict TV on myself if I find it so upsetting.)

I cried because I let this show into my heart.  It was a delight, a treasure, a cozy getaway where I loved to return for a few weeks a year. It was a show about family, about improbable loves, and about getting out of your own way long enough to just be happy.

But this isn’t that show anymore.  This is some kind of sick gingerbread house where the candy is poisoned and there’s a witch waiting inside to throw you in the oven. I can’t trust this show anymore.  I can’t even work up much interest in it. I don’t want to find out what’s wrong with Gary, I don’t much care if things work out between Gillian and Robbie, and I sure as fuck don’t want to see a relationship of any stripe between Caroline and fucking Greg. I have cried myself hollow.

Like Caroline, I’m still in that stage of grieving where it doesn’t feel real yet. Kate’s death seems like an absurd glitch in the universe and if you could just rewind time a little bit you could set it right. Caroline is still talking to Kate in her mind; it’s Kate who names their new daughter Flora Grace, and they joke and chide each other about it in the manner of longtime couples.

last tango4.1

But then William knocks on the door and Kate disappears because in reality, it’s time to go to her funeral. (Cue my sobs.) After Kate’s body has been consigned to the Earth, the surviving family members gather to mourn. Present are Celia (who couldn’t be bothered to attend Kate’s wedding but manages to grace her funeral), John (who is there, no joke, to tell Gillian that he can’t give her any money but she should still fuck him instead of marrying Robbie), Kate’s mom (Michelle Hurst, who I was really looking forward to seeing but who seems more interested in discussing John’s novels than grieving her daughter), and Greg.

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Greg, as you may recall, is the man who impregnated Kate with Flora and he is here now to claim his paternal rights. I mean, he does it in a very British, just-trying-to-help way, but that’s exactly what he’s doing. The baby to whom his relationship was supposed to be “donor,” he now wants to be “father.” Just like Celia always fucking wanted. Then again, Greg is the only person offering to help at all.  Caroline asks Celia to help but she shies away, agreeing only to take the occasional shift. And John, who Caroline let stay at her home even after he’d revealed his true nature as a cheating, alcoholic scumbag, won’t agree to anything more than an hour or so once a week. And Lawrence, jewel that he is, refers to Flora as an “it” and says “all it does is cry and shit.” Which is pretty much how I would describe Lawrence, to be honest.

last tango4.3IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU, LAWRENCE.

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