I've been trying to hold onto this last episode of Happy Valley from the first series for as long as possible but I'm late with my newsletter and it's time to make amends. I also had a super slow month (was busy with ridiculous things) and one cannot sustain oneself with reality TV show recaps. They're like casual sex or fast food: too much leaves you feeling unsettled and poopy. Let's roll into the very last episode of Happy Valley series 1!
We open with rapist Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) still in disguise, creeping around Halifax on a bus, peering at a wanted poster of his face.
His nemesis and our hero Catherine Cawood (the sublime Sarah Lancashire) rolls up to Nevison Gallagher Associates with her sister Clare Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran - I'm getting caught up on Downton Abbey before the movie, hai O'Brien, you skunk!).
Nev Gallagher (George Costigan, whom I adore) rushes out to meet her, he can't do enough for her. In fact, he wants to pay off her mortgage. Catherine assures him that would be unethical, as she was just doing her job (well, sort of, she went about 14 thousand steps beyond the call of duty and got beat right to shite), but that isn't why she's here anyway.
Nev's daughter Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) came to see Catherine in the hospital (Nev did not, but he sure wanted to) and asked her to pass along the facts of her rape by Tommy Lee Royce. She did not want her dad to find out in court. Ann doesn't want her mum to hear nowt about it, and since her mum is dying of cancer, there's a better than even chance she might not.
Tommy Lee Royce breaks into a houseboat while his former boss Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong from Gentleman Jack!!) gets raked over the coals by his wife for his illegal activities. Julie Mulligan (Rachel Leskovac) spots the police watching and welcomes them in her own special way.
Young Ryan Cawood (the so-talented Rhys Connah, honestly, he's so great) has been confused about his parentage ever since his dad Tommy Less Royce accosted his grandma Catherine on the street. See, Tommy Lee either had a thing with Catherine's daughter or her raped her daughter, or both, I guess, it's not as though rape doesn't happen in relationships. Catherine does not parse what she thinks happened and has been determined to keep Ryan away from Tommy Lee, whom she blames for her daughter killing herself.
*For the record: Tommy Lee absolutely did rape Ann Gallagher, so there's no ambiguity about his status as a rapist.
Clare meets with her nephew Daniel Cawood (Karl Davies from Game of Thrones) to ask him to please play nice at his mum Catherine's birthday party the following week. Um, I'm SORRY Clare, but wtf are you thinking telling Daniel that his mum and divorced dad are shagging again on the side? WHAT
Ashley is shot to death while waiting in traffic with police following him. I guess whomever was running the drugs he was smuggling cleaned up some loose ends.
Catherine picks up Ryan from school as Tommy Lee watches from nearby. Then it's party time as everyone gathers at the Cawood home to celebrate Catherine's birthday. Nev and Helen (Jill Baker) arrive with Ann, Nev thumping his chest about cutting off the salary of his daughter's kidnapper to Helen's dismay. See, Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) worked for Nev and decided to arrange the kidnapping of his daughter Ann after Nev refused him a raise to pay for school fees. Slight overreaction? Perhaps, but a lifetime of familial enmity emboldened him. Kevin was arrested by the police, Nev stopped paying him, quite reasonably, I think. Helen is worried about Kevin's wife, who is somewhat disabled, but Nev wants Kevin to understand that "actions have consequences."
It's Catherine's party, but she's out smoking on the back step while her family cavorts within. Not exactly that, however, Daniel is moody and out of sorts, picking at his pregnant wife Lucy (Amelia Young).
He could also just be drinking too much, that's what his mum thinks. Ann mistook Ryan for Catherine's son instead, she thought he was another late life gift as she was to her parents.
*I have to point out: none of these things made it into the edit I originally watched. I knew nothing of Ann's huge age gap with her parents nor that Nev and Helen had discussed leaving Kevin's wife penniless. So odd.
I am transfixed by Catherine's face in every scene.
She finally makes it into the party proper, where Daniel has unfortunately found himself alone with his dad Richard (Derek Riddell from Gentleman Jack!). He wastes no time bracing him about the shagging with his mum, just like it was his business and everything. Ahhhh I forgot how much Daniel hates his nephew, whom he and his dad blamed for Becky taking her own life. But to call a child "that thing" with such venom. Or "the thing that shouldn't exist" to Ryan's FACE, who has no idea what he's clapping on about.
Catherine and Clare join the party in the kitchen after Daniel breaks a bottle of wine, he tells his mum to "sod off to bed you old twat" and everything goes narrow. Clare is dispatched to put Ryan to bed, Catherine deals with her arsehole son.
Daniel is most disappointed in his dad, he thought Richard got it, that he understood it. He calls Becky a loser, which makes Catherine's face crumple but we all get mad when he says Becky was "asking for it" by hanging out with a bunch of rough lads.
The real issue at the heart of Daniel's teary and feral discontent is what Catherine uttered at Becky's deathbed: why didn't you die instead, Daniel?
Catherine does not remember saying that, but tries to apologize anyway but Daniel's not done railing at his mum. He shouts some more then leaves with his wife Lucy trailing behind him.
Catherine is trying to sort out how Daniel could have known about her and Richard when Clare gently explains it might have been her. Okay, it was her, and she just wanted to know if it was all right to invite Richard's current wife Ros (Kelly Harrison) and that is the thinnest of excuses, honestly.
Catherine takes some of her frustration out on her sister, she has a completely different view of what Daniel and Becky's childhood was like. She thinks he was always jealous of his sister, Clare tactfully suggests that might have been because Becky always got the spotlight, but Catherine's not taking that either. She said she didn't want a sodding party!!
Catherine dresses, preparing for the war.
Ryan asks at breakfast if he can start taking himself to school and back, Catherine grudgingly agrees but insists on loads of regulations that will not help either one of them if Tommy Lee Royce stops by.
Catherine is dressed so smart because she's got a return to work interview at the station, Praveen Badal (Ramon Tikaram) and Mike Taylor (Rick Warden) are waiting for her. Instead of them asking her questions, she goes in hard straight off asking if they're caught Tommy Lee Royce and Lewis Whippey (Adam Long) yet. She has lots of other suggestions too!
She gets back to work, to be interrupted by Joyce (Ishia Bennison) who thinks she might want to hear what a visitor has to say. A mail carrier has noticed a bad smell in an apartment block...looks like they found Lewis!
Tommy Lee Royce approaches Ryan as he leaves a shop, does he remember him? His dad? Ryan asks him his name, then starts looking skeptical as an obviously tweaking Tommy presses his case. He just wants Ryan to not believe everything bad he hears about him, even if absolutely all of it is true.They bond over Ryan also getting in trouble for things he thinks are not his fault.
Tommy Lee Royce brings Ryan to his stolen houseboat, sharing one drag of a cigarette with him because that's what good dads do, apparently. Hm, Tommy didn't even know that Becky had died, but swears he loved her anyway. Tommy extracts a promise that Ryan won't tell his granny where Tommy is, swearsies.
After they identify one of the bodies as Lewis, Catherine informs the Gallaghers and Nev visits his former employee Kevin in prison. He doesn't get the sniveling groveling he expects from Kevin, instead a reiteration of his own words.
The malevolence is frightening.
Ryan's brought a friend to see Tommy at his houseboat, that is a very little boy thing to do. Tommy is not familiar with little boys, how many questions they ask and how they never ever stop talking. He's already irritated by Ryan and his friend.
Catherine isn't in the field right now, she's back in the office taking calls from Twiggy (Amer Nazir) and Shafiq Shah (Shane Zaza) about tweakers going bonkers in the park. She follows her boss Mike to ask if his boss actually did any of the things she suggested and then all of a sudden her job is in jeopardy and she's handing back her stripes after hurling imprecations at her superior.
What the HELL
Ryan shows up at the houseboat alone this day, his friend didn't want to come because Tommy was so mean to them. It's that Ryan wasn't supposed to tell anyone, see. He tells Ryan to go to the front of the boat.
And hands him a beer.
A forlorn Catherine sits at Becky's grave when a frantic call from Clare snaps her head up. Ryan's been missing and his little friends told his mum he'd been hanging out with Ryan's dad and where. That is also very much a little boy thing to do, thank the gods.
Catherine calls into work, directing Shafiq Shah to get the troops together to search the canal for Tommy Lee on a narrowboat, her recent shouting at her boss is making everyone slow down when we can't afford it.
Tommy knows that Ryan telling his friend means he'll have to shift it quickly, but first he drinks a bunch beer and scares his child. He's got a plan that involves taking Ryan with him on the boat away from Catherine.
Clare tackles her sister running towards the canal, she needs to calm down. She does, right until she sees Ryan's bike.
Tommy Lee is inside shittalking Ryan's granny, I hate him so much for hurting Ryan's feelings. Ryan's scared now, he doesn't want to go away with his dad anymore, even as his dad talks about what misfits they both are.
Tommy Lee starts unscrewing the cap off the gasoline can, throwing Ryan back against the couch with his good arm when he makes a run for it. Catherine and Clare have been waiting outside, once Tommy Lee starts spraying Ryan with gasoline and he screams, all bets are off and Catherine is tearing at the access hatch to the boat.
Tommy Lee stands holding a lighter in the middle of the boat, covered in gasoline holding Ryan, also covered in gas. Catherine begs him to leave Ryan alone, it's her he wants. But he doesn't care about her! He doesn't care about her so much that he'd like to live the rest of her life in agony.
Catherine punches him in the face, yells at Ryan to run and then it's the two of them in one last standoff. (Of this series). Catherine has the drop on the wounded Tommy Lee, he begs her to kill him but in the pivotal moment of the series: she refuses.
No, he will stand trial and face the consequences of what he's done. However she may appear to be an avenging angel, she is still Sergeant Catherine Cawood and she will always do what is right, whatever the personal cost.
And about her being Sergeant...she won't be for very much longer if she throws a meltdown like she did on Mike again. She's got three weeks more mandatory leave, but has her stripes back.
Catherine meets with Daniel in a cafe, she tries to explain how mad she went when she lost a child. No child should ever see their parent in that condition and she's sorry. She just wishes she could help him understand how much she loves him.
She doesn't see what else she could have done with Ryan, she had to do the right thing, she had to care for her grandchild, even if the rest of the family hated her for it. Daniel grabs her hand, nobody hates her.
Catherine stands on a windswept hill, remembering everything that's happened since she saw Tommy Lee Royce outside the Chinese takeaway that fateful day. She doesn't end with beating the shite out of Tommy, though, she ends thinking about taking wee Ryan into her arms. Ah beauty.
And we're out. Until the next series, which I recapped loooong loooong before this one. Try it, won't you? Thank you for reading. Cheers, love.
Another note: this show wouldn't be as amazing as it is without the music, used to beautiful affect above and throughout. Never mind the beautiful cinematography.