The morning after Gillian’s wine-fuelled confession, both she and Caroline were hungover and reeling from the gravity of what she had shared the night before. Though her stepsister was still groggy, Gillian tried to make sense of what had happened and judge whether or not Caroline would go to the police with the information. She assured her that no one else in the world really knew what had happened, and she was the only person who’d ever heard the true series of events. Caroline characteristically suggested what she saw as the simplest route forward for the both of them – that they should forget their conversation and pretend that they had never discussed Eddie’s death.
Though Gillian agreed, Caroline couldn’t help but wonder why she had told her about the murder in the first place. When she briefly offered that it was because she wanted to be turned into the police, Gillian was quick to shut down her theory. What was clear was that she had needed to get the weight of the truth off her chest, and Caroline promised her that she wouldn’t tell anyone. When she dropped Gillian off to get her car at the wedding venue, she also managed to find her phone there as well. Of course, all of the missed calls from Lawrence after his escape from Judith’s flat only added to the mountain of worry she already to deal with. Before she left to be with her own family, Caroline made Gillian promise not to start things up with Robbie again, for fear that it would only bring up the past.
When she arrived back at the house in Harrogate, John was already making lunch for Lawrence, clearly trying to make up for his lack of parental attention the night before. Exhausted, Caroline asked after Judith, wondering whether or not John planned to marry her once they were divorced. The answer, unsurprisingly, was an unequivocal ‘no’. Rather than stay to discuss the ins and outs of their own failed relationship, Caroline made her way over to Kate’s to say thank you for taking care of Lawrence – it was to her, oddly enough, that he’d gone when his father was absent with Judith. Her thank-you, however, quickly turned into another attempt to get back together with her ex, and Kate once again refused.
She didn’t have too much time to worry about being rebuffed, though, as last-minute planning for her mother’s wedding started to take up more and more time. Over at Muriel’s house, Celia was still making no real effort show gratitude for her sister’s hospitality. When their host suggested that Celia might want a small gathering the night before the wedding, instead of a hen party, the bride-to-be took the idea and ran with it. Though Muriel was shocked, Alan seemed game for a night out in Amsterdam, and the two of them set about planning it on their own. Once they were in the car, it was obvious that they’d only been pulling Muriel’s leg, but they did enjoy the idea of a small party.
While Celia discussed the idea of a gathering (and the problem of who would give her away) with Caroline, Alan and Gillian went to visit Eileen’s gravesite together. With his daughter taking care of Emily, Alan told his departed wife that he was getting married a second time, and said that despite the fact that she’d kept Celia’s letter from him all those years ago, he hoped that she’d be pleased for him. Feeling that he’d made his peace on the matter, Alan set about helping Harry prepare the boat that he’d purchased earlier for habitation, finally impressing the skeptical Celia with the results.
As Christmas – and the wedding – drew nearer, Caroline was startled to hear from her assistant at the school that Kate had driven herself into hospital. Suspecting a complication with her pregnancy, Caroline walked out on her meetings for the day, and rushed to support Kate. When she offered to go with her into the examination room, Kate said yes, and together they watched as the ultrasound showed that her baby was fine, and was a girl.
Though it seemed as though they were on better terms following the trip to the hospital, Caroline still wasn’t keen when her mother asked her to request that Kate play the piano at the wedding. She offered to give Celia her number so that she could ask herself, but was spared going into any more detail when the doorbell rang, announcing William’s return for the holidays. No sooner had he sat down to dinner with the rest of the family than Alan got a surprise of his own, when his brother, Ted, arrived at the house, having just flown in from New Zealand.
The next night, Raff and Harry joined Alan and Ted in the pub, as they tried to convince Robbie to get back together with Gillian. At first, he was hesitant, citing his new relationship as a reason to avoid reconciliation, but the others would have none of it. Meanwhile, Gillian and Caroline enjoyed a dinner with Celia and her sister, and discussed the real reason that the deal with the bungalow had fallen through. As Gillian explained, Alan had been too kind-hearted to turn out the tenants in his other house, and so hadn’t come up with the money from its sale to pay for a new home. And while the younger women were in the bathroom Celia finally got the chance to tell Muriel how unhappy she’d been in her first marriage, and her sister stressed how glad she was that she’d found Alan again after so long.
When the day of the wedding finally arrived, all of their friends and family were in attendance (including Kate, at the piano), and the Christmas Eve ceremony was a modest but festive affair. The reception was where things really became memorable, however, with humourous and heartfelt speeches from both Caroline and Harry. During the proceedings, Gillian and Robbie got to chatting, and he told her that Alan had suggested that they get back together. Gillian was obviously torn between what she had promised Caroline earlier and her own feelings for Robbie, and while she showed every sign of wanting to rekindle their romance, Kate also returned to the reception after leaving, and asked Caroline to dance.
As the second series finale wrapped up on Christmas morning, we saw each of the show’s couples back together (including, depressingly, John and Judith). But while most of them slept soundly and happily, Gillian awoke next to Robbie with immediate regrets. Whether or not she feared that Caroline would refuse to remain silent given the turn of events, or worried about her own ability to keep her secret about Eddie, we’re sure to see the fallout of her actions in the series’ next season.
– Kate Shepherd