Happy Valley S1:E03 Ah Kirsten Recap

I’m back! It’s cold (-30 with wind) and incredibly snowy (even for me it’s a bit much), there’s nothing that could possibly beat Sarah Lancashire and a cuppa. I even have an Elly Griffiths novel or two for afters, who’s the coziest ever? Rolling Happy Valley S1:E03 after the break!

We open with Sergeant Catherine Cawood (the sublime, inestimable Sarah Lancashire) explaining the facts of farm life over the radio to young Constable Kirsten McAskill (Sophie Rundle from Bodyguard and the upcoming Gentleman Jack!); those fellas aren’t wearing wellies to keep their feet dry, lassie! It’s for traction, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudo.

Kirsten is driving the same back roads as our kidnapper Lewis Whippey (Adam Long from a too-brief stint on Home Fires), his captive Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) whimpering in the back. Kirsten calls in the plate, but it’s shift change so they’re not quite ready for her. She throws on the lights and siren anyway, awww shit, following up behind Lewis is the mean part of the kidnapping duo: Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton).

Tommy pulls over ahead of Lewis as Kirsten calls once more for a background check on the van she’s just pulled over, apparently so-and-so has gone to the toilet and Kristen decides to go ahead without waiting.


She approaches the van, asking lots of questions that Lewis mostly can’t answer and then asks him to exit the vehicle so she can show him how dangerous the broken taillight is.

**I have only been pulled over twice in my life and both times the police would have been extremely unhappy with me should I have jumped out of my vehicle to look at anything, let alone a broken taillight. Is this different in the UK?

Tommy Lee Royce watches from ahead (Kirsten hasn’t noticed him yet) as Lewis and the copper check out the taillight, she’s letting him go without a ticket (WHAT ABOUT THE SPEEDING) when muffled thumps are heard from inside the van. He tries to play it off, but it gets exponentially more difficult when she hears the screams. It’s just his Labrador named Tommy!

Except she knows it isn’t and Tommy knows they’re in trouble, so he pulls to the back of the van (Kirsten STILL hasn’t noticed Tommy in Ann’s bright yellow Mini Cooper driving back and forth around her traffic stop) while she retrieves the keys. Now she spots Tommy and asks, but as soon as the keys are moving towards the lock, Tommy reverses hard into her.

Kirsten falls to the ground, gasping “I think they’ve killed me” into her radio as Tommy Lee backs up and drives over her prone body. Catherine is up and running but Tommy’s backing over Kirsten again. My god. Fuck me, two more times.

I HATE violence.

Lewis looks horrified but does nothing, which is essentially what Lewis does.

It’s dark now, Catherine has called for air support and is rushing to the scene but it’s much too late. Ah god, I’m not looking at that.

Catherine does, so gently and with so much regret, trying not to choke on tears before turning off the insistent beeping of Kirsten’s radio as an act of reverence.

The professional once more, she calls in the circus and directs Shafiq Shah (Shane Zaza) and Twiggy (Amer Nazir) to block off the road. The long-awaited air support shows up in time to spotlight her care of Kirsten’s body.

Catherine blames herself for Kirsten’s acts, she’s been bracing Kirsten for not being firm enough with a local Councillor so thinks Kirsten was trying to prove something.

A harrowing death notification to Kirsten’s boyfriend Ollie (Luke Williams) and then it’s on to Kirsten’s parents. Catherine’s still not done her day, her boss Praveen Badal (Ramon Tikaram) would like to her to finish up and go HOME. After they review the arrest of that local Councillor I mentioned, that is.

Apparently said Councillor does a lot for the police, perhaps Catherine could let this one slide this time? Maybe not send the packet of cocaine to the lab?

Catherine would never do that.

Catherine tries to work out what could possibly have been going on in the van Kirsten was pulling over, what could be so bad that they would actually kill a police officer? Her sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran)  listens beautifully.

Praveen briefs everyone the next morning, but his words of warning about PTSD are blotted out by Catherine who’s busy imagining the dead body of her daughter Becky (thanks to Old Ain’t Dead who pointed that out on Twitter, but honestly: was there a sign? Did I miss something? Because while the dead person didn’t look like Kirsten, what with being hanged, she didn’t looks like…anyone else either, exactly) sitting across the room accompanied by ringing in her ears.

Ah Catherine makes me cry with her speech to her lot; be respectful and kind to people out there but PROTECT YOURSELVES.

Ann’s at the caravan park owned by Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong), ostensibly the organizer of this kidnapping.

Tommy comes out and puts paid to that lie; he takes over with little effort. He wants to kill Ann before dumping her, not least because he’s been raping her while she’s in captivity, but also because it is the smart criminal move and he is a crude reminder that there’s no finesse in violence and kidnapping.

You can see Ashley wondering when he lost control of his whole life.

Across town, the idea man behind the kidnapping is nervously explaining to his wife why he’s got some of the ransom stashed in his car. Jenny Weatherill (Julia Ford) is aghast, they decided Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) wouldn’t do that! Burn the money!

Kevin is an accountant who set up the kidnapping of his boss’s daughter to pay for school fees for his daughters, no way is he burning any money. Ever.

The boss is Nevison Gallagher (George Costigan, whom I adore), he and his wife Helen (Jill Baker) sit at home, worried about Ann but also dealing with Helen’s declining health from cancer. They decide to volunteer this morning instead of going in to work, so his secretary Justine (Hannah John-Kamen from so many things I love, like Black Mirror and Game of Thrones but also The Stranger!! ) gets some lines!

Justine rattles on about collecting around the office for Kirsten, Kevin is still processing the news that Nev is away and trying to sort out what to do with the illicit funds in his trunk so he’s not hearing anything.

Kevin rings Jenny again, who’s come ’round to keeping the money, carefully. This is a large step in the wrong direction.

An exhausted Catherine and Twiggy escort an angry, big and wriggly fella Khalid (George Bukhari from Ordinary Lies!) to their police van, local tough lad (Jamie Dorrington who I follow on Twitter, he’s lovely) jeering all the time.

Catherine’s had enough, pulling a particularly abusive lad singing Another One Bites the Dust into the back of her policecar to twist his balls up into his throat until he cries.

Literally cries.

Back at the farm, Ashley knows what needs doing but can’t bring himself to admit it. Inside the caravan Ann is realising the same. Lewis spills that something bad happened when there was a “bang”, Ann knows it’s gotten much worse for her.

The soup kitchen where Helen is volunteering is the same one Catherine’s sister Clare works at, they’re quite close. Helen asks after Catherine; is she a discreet sort of person?

**Everyone’s ears went up at that point

She’d like to run something by Catherine this evening, would that be all right?

Ahhhh we’re so close!!

Catherine cleans out Kirsten’s locker because apparently we need to cry some more. Catherine finally gets go, big gasping breaths and the hanged Becky is at the back of the room again.

**I swear to all that is holy, I do not remember any of these scenes of dead bodies or cleaning out lockers or even notifying the boyfriend. I wonder if I saw an abbreviated version.

Ashley calls Nev, who’s not volunteering but rather at home, Nev wants proof of life. He does suggest that the kidnapping might be over sooner rather than later, Nev is very excited and calls Kevin straight away. Can he do the drop again?

Kirsten’s boyfriend Ollie stops by to see Catherine at the station, he seems angry rather than sad. He’s cottoned onto the same idea that Catherine had, that her harsh-ish words about not being Kirsten’s mother drove Kirsten to prove herself against some tough bastage. It’s one thing to worry yourself of being the reason behind something, it’s quite another to have a grieving loved one scream that you got their person killed.

Catherine handles it with a kind of grave grace that characterizes her more grim moments in Happy Valley, sending Ollie off somewhat calmed down.

Earlier her ex-husband Richard (Derek Riddell) texted her to meet up; she ignored it due to their long-aged marital woes rearing their heads last episode. He has refused to acknowledge his grandson Ryan (Rhys Connah), who was a product of rape and he thinks the cause of his daughter’s death. It’s ugly.

Now she’s accepted because even that is better than having Ollie’s accusations ringing in her ears and dead people in the back of rooms. She asks Richard, a journalist on the cusp of being made redundant, to write about the drug problems in the valley, write about the Councillor for crying out loud! Tell someone!

He wants to talk about them, though, they’re divorced but still shagging so. He wants to know “How could you let Ryan come between us?”

I want to know why isn’t holding onto Ryan as the one piece he has left of his daughter?

He’s now willing to try with Ryan, does that mean he and Catherine will also be back together? They don’t know. It’s complicated, not least because he’s married someone else in the meanwhile.

A quick rush home to meet Helen, who hasn’t show up yet. An obstreperous Ryan wants to know about playing with his grandad, he doesn’t understand why there’s something to think about! He takes it out on his grandma, screaming “I hate you” at Catherine before running out of the room as she’s trying to figure out what Helen wanted.

She insists that Clare call Helen, who explains that she’s decided that it’s fine. Probably because Ashley suggested they might release Ann soon, no sense in rocking the boat, yes? Nev watches closely as she stammers through no explanation, Catherine pushes hard but ultimately comes up empty. Helen regrets telling Nev what she was going to do, she should have just driven over alone.

Ryan comes in to emotionally kick his grandma some more, honestly. How do kids know exactly when to do that?

Clare’s come up with a silver lining somehow; with her being so concentrated on Kirsten, it’s taken her mind off Tommy Lee Royce (except for the body of her dead daughter, whom she thinks died because of Tommy Lee Royce). That reminds Catherine, who heads over to the safehouse the next morning. She finds blood in the basement, there’s also Ann’s underwear and the pee bucket, get Forensics over here!!!

Nev comes in with the bag of money for Kevin to deliver (has he not twigged that it’s a bit odd that the kidnappers know of his mild-mannered accountant?), off Kevin goes to Ashley’s place. It takes a lot of stress out of the ransom drop when you know where the bad guys live. He asks timidly if they meant it about letting Ann go, is she okay? Ashley hands him his 10% cut (5000) and shoos him away after a chat about the police.

See, Kevin went to the police station and tried to report the kidnapping just as it was happening, chickening out but not before Catherine got some identifying details. He’s wondering what the policewoman who came to the house where they were keeping Ann looked like? Ashley didn’t see the police though, that was Tommy, and that’s why he’s unnerved.

Kevin leaves, to be jumped on by Lewis who lets him know exactly what his stupid plan has wrought. Until now, Kevin didn’t realise there was a connection between the death of the copper and his pet kidnapping project. The horror of it leaves him reeling.

After the search of the house, Catherine calls Clare at the shelter: how did she know Tommy Lee Royce was out of prison? Ah, Tommy had come into the shelter before he found his gang, Clare didn’t say anything because she knows how Catherine gets. Catherine can’t exactly investigate now, as she’s just kicked in the door without cause. Maybe she’ll pop round to his mother’s place…oh don’t worry, Clare, she’s not going to do anything bad, just make sure he can’t ever hurt anyone again. And we’re out.

Catherine wrestled with how to describe what the police are just before Kirsten was so brutally murdered; is it a Police Service or Police Force? She decided on Force, but I’d bet money Kirsten saw it as a service and that’s what got her killed. She was not ready, not to be out on her own, her instincts were laughably absent, except that it’s not laughable when someone is killed at 23, especially someone in a position of authority. It’s sickening.

You know I love Sarah Lancashire’s work and I’m betting you know about Old Ain’t Dead’s reviews of her work as well, but just in case you don’t, here’s a post she just did on Dame Lancashire.

Another great source is the Facebook page; this one in particular is fab for news about Last Tango In Halifax, another fantastic Sarah Lancashire series.

All the best you lot, see you sometime soon. Cheers!