REVIEW Happy Valley (S3 E4/6)

Happy Valley – now on the backstretch – has imported a niggling, knotty feeling into my stomach. Much was made in this fourth episode that Catherine Cawood’s retirement was imminent. In a matter of days, the high sheriff of the valley would be hanging up her badge. Her colleagues had raised £2,000 for her send-off, and they worried how they were going to give her money.

All the foreshadowing, all this set-up… we’ve seen it in the past when writers have done this – double down on emotional connections, impending retirements – it usually lead to something dreadful happening. However, this is Sally Wainwright, so I’m hoping that she gets to her retirement.

This episode focused more on Tommy Lee Royce and, yes, his escape from prison. He’s been fairly smug in prison, like he knew something no one else knew, and had been talking about going bungee jumping with Ryan, and learning Spanish. There was no doubt that he had been cooking something up, and here, in this hour, those plans began to take shape. It wasn’t a surprise exactly that he escaped prison – staging a daring escape from the courtroom itself thanks to help from the Knežević gang -but ut was no less thrilling. The freshly shaven Royce left on a bike to god knows where.

Perhaps to confront Catherine. Perhaps not.

Earlier, there was more sparkling dialogue between Catherin, Neil and Clare, and also with Ann. And there were serious developments in the case of the missing Joanna Hepworth: her nasty husband found he body packed into a suitcase in the garage. But there wasn’t really a lot of Faisal, although what there was of him confirmed that he is also a nasty piece of work. He went from feckless to cocky and empowered in the space of one murder.

As good as Happy Valley has been in this final, third series, one thing that hasn’t sat well is the juxtaposition between the main storyline of Catherine and Royce, and that of Faisal. It’s pure Fargo, for sure, but whenever that second storyline has been onscreen I ‘ve found myself wishing that things went back to Catherine and Royce. It’s just a far more compelling storyline.

And with two episodes to go, there’s a lot to wrap up: Catherine’s fate, ultimate justice against Royce, as well as Faisal, Joanna and Rob, and the bringing down of the Kneževićs. There’s a lot more to come.

Paul Hirons

Rating: 4 out of 5.




Happy Valley is shown on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in the UK


4 thoughts on “REVIEW Happy Valley (S3 E4/6)”

  1. ‘And with one bound he was free!”
    Is he going to rope Ryan in with his ‘buddies’? What’s the fallout on Clare (that isn’t necessary, surely). … Will the landcover come in handy?
    A shame to see the end of the whole series. A part of the world I know very well. too.


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