Welcome back to Happy Valley series one, where things are as gritty as they get on British television, but with excellent writing and a minimum of gratuitous violence. is everyone ready to dive back in after the harrowing previous episode? Let's find out after the break!
We open with a frantic Sergeant Catherine Cawood (the fantastic and superlative Sarah Lancashire) rushing back from the safehouse her nemesis Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) was spotted at. She found quite a lot of evidence of something shady happening, but only after kicking down the door sans probable cause, so she's treading lightly with her superior Mike Taylor (Rick Warden).
Mike seems wholly uninterested. He shares the news update about slain police officer Kirsten McAskill (Sophie Rundle) in a matter of fact way, Tommy Lee left lots of evidence on her when he drove over her several times, so they should be able to get something out of that.
*It was inhuman, how many times he drove over her with us watching, I tapped out about halfway through.
He asks how everyone is handling it, Catherine's doing fine, fine!
Mike does agree to send CSI/SOCO to the house, though, so that's something!
She mobilizes young Shafiq Shah (Shane Zaza) and arranges an interview with Julie Mulligan (Rachel Leskovac).
Across town, kidnapping mastermind Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) is psyching himself up to attempt a new strategy for self-preservation. See, after his boss Nevison Gallagher (George Costigan, whom I adore) refused to give Kevin a raise, he put forward a plan to kidnap Nev's daughter, Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy). Immediately after that plan went into play, Nev gifted Kevin the money he needed AND promoted him, which is sitting heavy around Kevin's heart. Especially since the kidnapped Ann has been raped while in captivity by the brutish Tommy Lee Royce, who then went on to kill the police officer as above.
ANYWAY! Kevin has been the go-between for the kidnappers, dropping off the ransom money and receiving his cut in return. His plan today is to mention that he recognises one of the kidnappers (which shouldn't be too hard, given that he's been renting a holiday caravan off Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong) for years) but he falters.
Ahhh Julie Mulligan is the wife of Ashley! And one of the registered owners of the house Catherine broke into, so after she and Catherine have a chinwag, Julie calls Ashley to give him a headsup.
He used a house registered to his own name? Honestly. Equally disgusted with the non-professionalism of this criminal enterprise is Lewis Whippey (Adam Long) who's dropping kilos of drugs all over the place due to some cheap bagging standards.
Ashley sends Lewis into the caravan to look after Ann and Tommy Lee Royce, he's got to keep everyone quiet until Catherine is gone. Lewis is horrified that Tommy's drugged Ann, but Tommy doesn't care because he intends to kill her as soon as they get the money.
Catherine's ex-husband Richard (Derek Riddell) calls as she drives, he's a journalist and he's decided to take her suggestion to investigate drugs in the valley seriously. He's just explaining about how the whole system works, with regular legitimate business people being up to their ears innit as we pull up and stare at Ashley.
*I LOVE watching Sarah Lancashire put on her police hat
A completely non-productive interview ensues, I think Catherine can sense that something's hinky with Ashley but can't find an edge up to pick it around.
She heads off to see Tommy Lee Royce's mum's house to interview another blank wall. Lynne (Caroline O'Neill) recognises Catherine's name; isn't she the granny of her Tommy's son? Catherine shuts that down RFN, but she'll have to acknowledge it soon enough.
Catherine deals with another panic attack in the car.
Ashley, Tommy Lee and Lewis try to strategize a path forward, Tommy offers to kill Ann for 10k and Ashley realises he is out of options. Lewis seems more devastated by Ashley firing him than the fact that an innocent woman who's been tortured for a week is about to be murdered.
Catherine's back at the crime scene when her sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran) calls; Nev's wife Helen Gallagher (Jill Baker) has popped into the soup kitchen. Catherine heads over to chat, Helen had wanted to talk to her about the kidnapping but bailed at the last moment. Catherine thought she might be a victim of domestic violence, so asks a bunch of uncomfortable questions that Helen deflects easily.
Just as Catherine starts to walk away, Helen blurts out "My daughter's been kidnapped" and everything goes nuclear. Catherine gathers as much information as she can, making me laugh when Helen asks if they should tell the police?
You've just TOLD the police, love!
Catherine calls it in as Helen collapses at the table.
Phil Crabtree (Alan McKenna) from the National Crime Agency arrives to figure out the situation, he and Catherine have a history, I can tell from just that one look!
Phil braces Nev with the reality of Ann's dire circumstances; the kidnappers have the money, Ann's likely to know a lot about the people holding her and they have a lot to lose by letting her go alive.
An important point comes up immediately, how are the kidnappers getting the money? Via Kevin, whose name Catherine remembers as he wandered into her police station just as everything went down. Nev explains how they asked for Kevin, identifying him as "that irritating little twat of an accountant you've got", which Nev didn't twig on but sounds super specific to strangers.
Now the NCA can check the CCTV to watch Kevin delivering the ransom to the dropoff spots, except that's not at all what he was doing.
Tommy Lee Royce makes a surprise trip to his mum's place, he needs to stay there for a few days so they negotiate a price because that's how happy families works, innit? He's going to keep Ann in the basement, that's the first dodgy criminal move he's made. It will be his downfall.
His mum drops bombshell after bombshell on him in quick succession:
- A policewoman was here looking for him
- The policewoman was the mum of Becky Cawood, who is dead
- Becky had his baby before she died, he's called Ryan
Phil is going to start making moves with the Gallaghers, he needs to make sure nobody else is involved so no telling anyone, including Kevin. Nev's already thought it was a bit odd that they were asking for Kevin, once everything goes south Kevin's story won't hold any bit of water. He'll be under surveillance in less than an hour.
Oh, it seems our Catherine used to be a detective but gave it up when Becky killed herself and she had to take care of Ryan (Rhys Connahr) full time.
Speaking of Ryan, he'd been asking for his grandad Richard to come play footy with him but Richard was holding onto a lot of resentment over his daughter's death, which he held Ryan responsible for. Richard pops round Clare and Catherine's to play some football.
An extremely jittery Kevin explains to his wife Jenny (Julia Ford) his plan to identify Ashley to Nevison and the police, she's devastated to learn that the gang was responsible for the death of Kristen the police officer. She wants him to turn himself in, right now. Like NOW. He hasn't got the nerve for lying to anyone, let alone the police who are used to people prevaricating like rabbits.
Tommy Lee Royce moves a still-drugged Ann to his mum's house under the cover of darkness, this really is the stupidest plan ever. He knows the police were just here!
He spends a bit of time chitchatting with Ann before preparing to rape her again, the news that he's a father is really messing with his head.
A few days ago Catherine ended up arresting a local Councillor named Marcus Gascoigne for possession of cocaine. He tried to apply pressure, even forgetting who he was ("DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I AM??") and so did Catherine's big boss, but she wouldn't cave. Now it seems the packet of cocaine was damaged in transmission and therefor unusable for prosecution. What a coincidence!
Catherine's boss Mike Taylor isn't the least bit sympathetic, he suggests she drop it. It's like when she entered a property by "ways and means", right? She compromised herself when she entered that house illegally and he knows it.
At school both Catherine and Tommy Lee are waiting outside to see young Ryan, he approaches as they're walking and the confrontation we've been awaiting is underway.
He wants to know why Becky is dead, and is that his son? He and Becky had a thing going on, which is something rather different than rape, isn't it? That's what Becky told her mum, but he seems mystified. EVEN THOUGH HE IS A RAPIST.
Catherine threatens him then drives away, Tommy shouting at Ryan that he's his dad.
*This scene was powerful because of Catherine's absolute domination of the foot-taller and violent Tommy Lee Royce, who has until now effortlessly taken control of every situation he's been in.
Back at the house, Clare is terrified that somehow Tommy Lee will get parental rights for Ryan, what will they do if that happens? Catherine vows that will never happen but Clare's put something even more important together: the house Tommy Lee was seen in: isn't that exactly the sort of place you'd hold someone if you were raping and kidnapping someone?
Catherine pooh poohs but agrees to flag the possibility to the higher ups.
Nev hears the news identifying the car that was used to kill copper Kristen McAskill being a yellow Mini Cooper and frantically calls Phil from the NCA: Ann has a yellow Mini!
Meanwhile, Catherine swings by Lynne's house, Tommy left evidence of his presence on her face. She mentions the "dog" Tommy's got in the basement and Catherine's eyes turn into lasers.
She breaks the lock on the basement door and finds our Annie! But Tommy is coming and Catherine is all alone, get her out of there!! And then Tommy's there, Ann scrambling to get untied as Catherine fights with everything she has.
The attack on Catherine is brutal, only stopped when Ann manages to hit him with a weight so Catherine can spray him with something.
Ann half-drags Catherine up the stairs, to be pushed into the patrol car and locked in as Catherine calls for an ambulance.
Ann screams as Catherine slides down the outside of the patrol car, devastatingly injured and unable to get her own self to safety. We're out as Ann screams "get in get in get in" and Catherine slumps to the ground covered in blood.
Jeebus Mary and Joseph, what a visceral show. I cried the whole last five minutes in terror, I don't even feel bad about it. Watching the tiny Sarah Lancashire be manhandled so brutally by the huge James Norton was impossible.
Okay, now that my blood pressure has returned to normal...some of the other things in the show. We see so many layers in Happy Valley, the first and most obvious being the reason for it's name: the drug trade. We've got that woven into each thread, as the kidnappers are importers and Catherine deals with it every day at every echelon of society. Her actions have affected the prosecution of a society user, could he have been an even bigger cheese? Was it worth Catherine compromising her integrity to tie Tommy Lee to the house? I'm just surprised that nobody seems to understand the connection she has to Tommy Lee, I'm sure she wouldn't be allowed to be involved in any case with him as a result, right?
The next layer is the complicated relationship between Catherine's daughter Becky and Tommy Lee: was Ryan a product of rape and then the reason for Becky's suicide? Tommy is probably not the best source of information as to whether he raped Becky, but he did seem genuinely confused by the allegation.
I still like the family layer best, I could watch Catherine and Clare discuss anything for hours on end. I don't know how they manage to perfectly capture the easy flow between siblings, but it is spot on.
Until next time, everyone. Cheers!