“Last Tango in Halifax” recap (3.5): Kate who?

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Hello, friends. (We are friends now, right?  After going through last week’s trauma together I consider us, at the very least, war buddies.) I almost didn’t write this recap.  I seriously considered abandoning the show entirely, and I discussed that possibility with you guys in the comment section. Several people said that, yes, AfterEllen should withdraw coverage from a show that treats its lesbian characters so abominably that even their funerals are about straight men’s literary careers.  But several more people said that as long as Caroline is still around, we should at least cover her grieving process. Obviously, I came down on the side of the latter group, and I did so for two reasons.

  1. Many of you announced that you no longer plan to donate your time and eyeballs to Last Tango in Halifax, and while I fully support that decision, I imagine that you might still feel a residual curiosity as to Caroline’s well-being and state of mind.
  2. This is my job and I am trying to save money to buy a really cute bicycle.

So here we are.

This episode tries to prove that Last Tango is still the warm, light-hearted show you fell in love with. It’s DESPERATE to prove it, in fact.  It hugs you so hard you can’t breathe.  It smiles so intently its teeth crack. This is the Gary of episodes.

We open with Lawrence (who we are suddenly supposed to give a shit about, I guess) and Angus sitting in the dining hall at school, huddled close together.

tango5.1BABY, I KEEP TELLING YOU KLAINE IS ENDGAME. YOU HAVE GOT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT.

I was really expecting this to be the moment where these young lads clasped hands and stood up in front of the school to declare their homosexual love. But no, instead they hop on their lunch table, make finger guns at some slightly bigger boys, quote Pulp Fiction at them, and then detonate some firecrackers under their desks. Then the boys, presumably after wetting themselves and fearing for their lives, chase them all around the school to the tune of the Pulp Fiction theme.

It’s supposed to be Weasley twins light-hearted, but all I could think about was that if this was America and they were black, those boys would probably have been shot by police before anybody figured out that their only weapons were a handful of M-80s.

Of course, Caroline is the one who has to deal with Lawrence’s prank, which she does by suspending him for two days. Personally, I think a good flogging might have been in order, or at least a good night spent in the Forbidden Forest.

Next up, the whole family (sans Gary, who doesn’t count) gets together for dinner. Gillian asks Caroline if she’ll attend her wedding to Robbie, and Caroline accepts with a minimum of bitterness, because Caroline is a Perfect Human Woman. (FYI, in the show’s timeline it has been six weeks since Kate’s death, so we got to skip over all the messy weeping that happens in the immediate aftermath of a the tragic loss of a spouse. Thanks, Sally!)

While the family sups, who should ring up but Gary, the neediest little orphan since Oliver Fucking Twist. He wants to make sure that Alan and Celia enjoyed the football match he dragged them to, with a thrilling outcome of 0-0. They did not, but they keep that opinion to themselves, since failure to appreciate football is a hanging offense in England, I am given to understand. He also foists his company on Gillian, and demands a lunch date to “run a few things by her.”

tango5.2 OH YEAH, IT’S SUMMER WHERE I AM. I PAY FOR MY OWN MICROCLIMATE.

After dinner, Alan confesses to Celia that Gary is kind of Freaking Him The Fuck Out.  It’s not just his obsessive neediness, or off-putting insistence on making everyone in his vicinity financially obligated to him, he’s started introducing him to everyone as “my real dad, the one that cheated on his wife.”

tango5.3TO BE FAIR, I SHOULDN’T HAVE ENCOURAGED HIM WITH THE NED STARK AND JON SNOW TATTOOS.

Back at Caroline’s, John is lurking around like a stray dog.

tango5.4I SLEPT UNDER YOUR PORCH BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.

He casually mentions that perhaps it might be better for Lawrence if he and Caroline were to reconcile, and Caroline rebuffs him with the following statement: “What do you think I am? I don’t think you do think, do you. I think you just let words spill out of your mouth and onto the floor and see if anyone is stupid enough to pick them up. I’m a LESBIAN. I like sleeping with other women. I always did. AND this is after you’ve been trying so blatantly to get into Gillan’s knickers.”  And then John is like, “I’ll phone you” and Caroline actually says, “Yeah, whatever.”

tango5.5

Were it not for subsequent events, that scene might have gone a little ways towards cheering me up.

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