We’re back at Happy Valley for the penultimate episode of this series and I am all trepidation. Social media has been abuzz this week with news of a brutal couple of final episodes and the pictures released…not so happy in the valley. Well, it was always an ironic title anyway, wasn’t it? I still can’t wait to get at it, so let’s get to it!
Last week they picked up Sean Bamforth (Matthew Lewis) for all the murders and assaulting Leonie (Hebe Beardsall) besides (very much besides, all the shouting) and we found out Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) has a drinking problem.
John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle) got kicked out of his home and Ryan Cawood (Rhys Connah) got a wicket cool birthday present from his dad (who didn’t know it was his birthday) but only got to keep it for approximately 93 seconds. Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neill) came clean that Career Other Woman Vicky Fleming (Amelia Bullmore) was his Past Shame and shame-er but he’s not talking to the police about it, so SOD THAT. Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) was tiring of how long it’s taking Miss Weiland / Drummod (Shirley Henderson) to kill our Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), not even acknowledging the psychological ramifications of a 10 year old boy having to give back a wicket cool racetrack on his birthday, and is threatening to withdraw his affections until she sorts out the shooty parts. I think that’s everything, are we ready to roll? Onward!!
Yay, there’s an ABBA act at the bar, I love ABBA! Now, if only it were 6 foot drag queens…Catherine is drunk and going on about what it was like when she joined the force, they didn’t get truncheons like the fellas, no! They got a small thing, looks like a vibrator and I’m not sure whether I should high five the police department for their forward-thinking or be mad because: no truncheon. I think I’d rather make wank, not war, so, kudos coppers!
She’s with Joyce (Ishia Bennison) and explaining it to Ann, and I’m super happy that Catherine is all relaxed and yay! But Ann has a drinking problem, is it wrong that I spent a bit of time trying to figure out which glass was hers and what was innit? This is why it’s sometimes hard to tell people about drinking problems, you know, because of arseholes like me concernedly counting your bevvies after the talk. I do count my own bevvies too, for the record. ANYWAY, Joyce was a police officer for 30 years before she became a civvie and Shafiq Shah (Shane Zaza) looks bored, right until they get into the more hilarious tales of sexual harassment on the job.
They had to wear skirts, see, and senior officials were always having their hands up them and one in particular kept trying to play Tune in Tokyo with Catherine until she pasted him on the nose and then he started avoiding her. Not to get too far off topic, but I once worked for a company where all the women were kissed daily by this lizard of a man, usually on the cheek. After an unavoidable dance at a Christmas party, I was moved up in the ranks to full on wet-lipped kisses with a wandering waist squeeze. I worked in the oil industry, so it may as well have been 1950 or Newfoundland, or 1950’s Newfoundland, so it took me months to get him back to cheek, using a combination of a pivot foot, a gentle hip bump and a last-minute head turn. I wish I’d pasted him on the nose instead, that sounds MUCH more satisfying but I’m quite sure I wouldn’t have worked up north again.
Shafiq is staring a little longer than normal at Ann, who is ABSOLUTELY up for tequila shots! Catherine and Joyce are about passing out while talking about taking care of Ann, where was our Ann again? She’s out in the alley pulling the belt off a fella with a lovely earring then throwing up against a tree. Catherine is mumming her now, and Ann is drunkologuing about how what a fantastic person she is. I mean, she is, really, but you know how drunk people get, they love you right until you won’t let them do any more tequila shots after puking and you’re nothing but a BUZZKILL TTM!!
I know I go on about Sarah Lancashire a lot, which is okay, because I think most of the people reading are Sarah Lancashire fans, and if they aren’t, they SHOULD BE, because she’s amazing, but in this scene I’m reminded of how good she is. The gentle bounce back and forth on her feet as she smokes and half-listens to Ann and then the slow down as she realises our Ann is getting more serious. It’s the entire physical embodiment of her character and just magic. Right, where we we?
Ann thinks god is a general sense of goodness and Catherine is so good and oh hey, she’s GOD and there’s a moment where I think Ann’s gonna make a move on our Catherine, who’s more worried about whether there was a condom or birth control involved with the bloke in the alley with the fetch earring. Ann is now seeing double ; “(I’m) omnipotent AND ubiquitous” says Catherine with an eyebrow raise while Ann tosses some more cookies in the bushes.
Frances is building molotov cocktails and wow. Those houses are all together, arson would be statistically terrible.
Jodie Shackleton (Katherine Kelly) and John are interviewing Sean; he’s decided to come clean. He thinks he might have known the one whose DNA was in his van, Iliana Vescu (total guess), being that she was a prostitute and he would pick one up here and again. He also moved some furniture for a friend of a friend, Eggy, who knew Lynne Dewhurst (Caroline O’Neill). Jodie pushes for more information, but he knows enough that I think she believes him while John watches with his whole body.
The other thing Sean wants to explain is that he gets blackout drunk and he can’t say if he did the murders or not; he has no memory but he really doesn’t know. John is so relieved! That’s practically an admission! On all of them! I think Jodie’s smarter than that, though, the murders were so clearly thought out in advance, and you can’t really be blackout drunk, do something, then get blackout drunk and do the same thing again; I mean, if Girl on a Train was good for anything (not much else, for me, sorry), it was the information that when in a blackout, you don’t make memories. It’s not that you’ve forgotten them, and can only retrieve them in a state of ANOTHER blackout, it’s that you can’t make them. So. There. Science via fiction.
Catherine and sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran) are visiting in the morning, Catherine’s tired of sleeping on the porch, but figures that as soon as she stops, the Knesevices will swoop in. Actually, it’s Frances that will be popping ’round shortly, but I’d completely forgotten the traffickers. Oh and Catherine has made that connection and hey! Frances can’t firebomb Catherine without hurting Ryan, they all sleep upstairs and all her skulking about outside would have shown her that. Hmm
A very cheerful Daniel Cawood (Karl Davies) pops down, he must have sorted something out with his wife or his girlfriend, he hasn’t looked this chipper in ages!
Back at the office, Jodie is pondering and John is probing. She is certain Vicky is a different case, and I am still quite worried for her safety, however well connected she is. Their lead comes in; CPS is going ahead and charging Sean with all four. Jody presses about Vicky Fleming; she’s really unconvinced.
Jody formally charges Sean and go through his rights again; he cries and swears he didn’t do it, but we mostly just see John’s face.
Catherine is buying the replacement racetrack for our Ryan; she asks if they sell many of these? Just as Frances is staking out her home and seeing Ann recovering in the back with a cuppa and Daniel. I’d forgotten they’d only met once, it was at Catherine’s birthday party (which she hadn’t celebrated in years but was talked into), he got drunk and went OFF on Catherine about preferring Becky and there may have been something about…anyway, grief is wicked.
He’s sitting awfully close to Ann, hmm, and talking about his marriage. He says he only married extremely tidy Lucy to get away from here, she asks if he means because of Becky. And he says all of it, Catherine going mental, his dad leaving, he was 20 and didn’t handle it well.
Ann’s just remembered something she said to Catherine, erk. I’d be more worried about Earring Bloke, but I guess that’s sort of long-term problem, not short-term “I called my boss a God” problem. Daniel accidentally lets her know that the whole night out was for her benefit, to cheer her up, but they get past it to why she needed the cheering up. She actually liked John, even though she knew he was married, having an affair with someone else, old enough to be her dad and as attractive as an old boot (that last part might have been me). It was the first time she’d thought about getting close to someone after her kidnapping and rape, it felt like a big deal and. He never showed. We know that’s a very GOOD thing, but she doesn’t, and apparently it was devastating. So. Um. Now the Plan B?
John is having the best day of his life, though. Rocking out to Elton John and calling his kiddo Jack (who looks startlingly like a young Tommy Lee Royce just then) to let him in. He and his wife have a terrible argument wherein John flexes his power; given that she’s been caught er, red-“handed” and all she has is suspicions. It’s hard to watch; I can’t decide if I dislike freaked-out desperate John or happy John more. He’s off with a new set of keys, the address of Amanda’s lover (who was in it for a bit of fun, turns out, as they usually are) and is it wrong that I was hoping SHE was feeling a little head-smashy for once? I mean. To shame her in front of the children like that, ESPECIALLY since he’s done that and so much worse, it’s untenable.
Catherine is under Frances’s surveillance as she walks home from the shop with the replacement racetrack ($149.99!!!!! Jeebus wept); Ryan doesn’t want it. He wants the one from his dad. There’s a tense standoff but nobody has a better poker face than a 10 year old of uncertain parentage.
Catherine drives Ann home and yay! She got her a Morning After Pill, we’re so on the same track, Catherine and I. Let’s just say they didn’t have those around when I was in my early twenties, it’s the trade-off for not having cell phones either, and I will take it. Clare calls; can Catherine pop up to the allotment after dropping Ann off?
An allotment is apparently a community garden, and that makes sense when you think about it, English people being mad for gardening (ask Agatha Christie!) but there being not much for yards in the city. Clare is worried, Neil hasn’t shown up, or texted back and now Catherine has to help. That’s a great way to sweat out tequila shots, Catherine!
She’s still mad about Ryan and her’s fight this morning, particularly the “it’s not your dad” “yeah, but he is” and well, he kind of is. But. She’s after whoever left it now, and Frances should have felt a chill across her spine just then.
Ahhhh this music is making me tense while Frances eats beans and stares at her Tommy Dream Board and Tommy himself smokes in his cell.
Mike tells Catherine that they’re investigating all of Tommy Lee Royce’s contacts and NO he won’t give her the list. She shares the CCTV footage of Frances buying the racetrack from the store and asks…anyone on that list from around here? Always working. She’s off to brief the troops, happy because she led them to the arrest of Sean Bamforth, but he tells her not to celebrate too soon: there’s been another body found and I’m annoyed that I’m immediately worried about what John will do next. Sean, or rather his solicitor, will be happy, though. It’s Daryl then, is it?
Catherine runs into a very happy John, who tries to congratulate her, and actually stumbles as he hears news of the new body found. He looks like he’s about to throw up and has NOBODY noticed his affect?
Jody and the lead are at the crime scene; the person has been killed less than 48 hours previously and fits the profile that all the other do, except Vicky Fleming, which Jody brings up again.
Miss Weiland is asking Ryan probing questions about when he’ll be doing sleepovers with his bestie Tesco (guess), she asks too clearly and he wants to know why? She offers herself as a shoulder to lean on, so he brings up the tea time argument about whether Tommy wants forgiveness. He’s worried Tommy doesn’t have enough food, or is warm enough in prison and the helpful Miss Weiland tells him maybe he should try visiting, or at least writing him a letter, he’s at Gravesend Prison, isn’t he? Last year Ryan managed to get into quite a lot of trouble trying to see his dad, I’m worried he’ll try to go on his own, although I’m quite sure his enabler Miss Weiland is more than willing to help.
Catherine gets a radio call; an obstreperous young man is topless and trying to get fish and chips, Catherine was already dressed and going out the door and “a semi-naked man at lunch time in Sowerby Bridge (ty Facebook besties!) , how could I stay away?”
She arrives to find Neil, oh it’s Neil! I’m guessing he’s off the wagon and everyone laughs at him and the barman won’t stop telling him he’s barred and eventually Catherine has to handcuff and arrest him while people video him with their phones and alcoholism is a terrible beast.
She calls Clare. She figures it was a three-day bender, and you can see Clare debating on whether to tell Catherine why Neil was upset. She is distracted by Ryan walking by to grab his coat; I KNEW that was going to be more trouble than Frances thought! He’s off on his bike, you can’t trust a 10 year old with uncertain parentage a bike and a helmet to stay put until he figures out that how much help you REALLY plan to be, Frances!!
The Task Force is meeting again to go over the information about the new body, who was once Elise May Hughes and the kill fits the profile of the other. There is a break, though, in some evidence of a car wreck being seen in the neighbourhood.
Let’s cut to Daryll! His mum is bringing him tea while he smokes and they talk about the letting Sean go and are looking for the driver of a red car. She tells him to get his story straight about how he damaged his car and I would like to THINK I wouldn’t help my (hypothetically) serial killer son evade police, but I’m not there yet, they’re all 7 and under, so I’ll try not to judge.
Ryan is home now, asking Daniel about Tommy. Remember, Daniel had an actual view of what Tommy and Becky’s relationship was like, unlike Catherine, who was somewhat…biased based on being a parent. He says Becky and Tommy used to hang around, they didn’t “have” Ryan together, Tommy was long gone by then. Ryan asks if his mum and dad loved each other, Daniel says she was just infatuated with Tommy and he “had her on” which neither Ryan and I really understand. Becky was 17, not 18, though, as thought, and not ready to have a baby or understand that Tommy was just having a bit of fun. The tricky part comes when Ryan asks if he (the baby) is the reason why she died; Daniel asks (with a pained expression), “what’s your gran said” and that is exactly the way to go with that. Tea time!
Catherine is escorting a sheepish and hungover Neil through checking out of jail, he’s so sad. She asks what she can do to support his sobriety, he just wants to get back to work. I was so shocked; Neil took three days off work, planning ahead for his bender, two of which he’s has before. He could tell he was about to go off, why not talk instead?? She’s mad now, and warns him not to mess Clare about; he swears he won’t. He leaves with a very understanding Clare, only five minutes past her own wagon bounce.
Catherine and Daniel are setting up for supper; he brings up an interesting point: three days he’s been off on a bender and in that time period, another woman has been murdered. My wee brain remembers just now that he said he’d fallen off the wagon two times before. And Jody did say that she thinks the killer must be super organized (like calling into work in advance of a wagon bounce) and I did worry about our Neil in the beginning, because of how he acted around Catherine, which Daniel also brings up. She says that “could be my effortlessly overwhelming charisma.” But we know Neil didn’t kill Vicky, so that would have to be a MAJOR coincidence.
She compares it to the Ripper; who everyone thought was their brother, dad, son and that makes me think of the movie Son of Sam. If you haven’t seen it, I don’t know if I could recommend it, but John Leguizamo is a tour de force innit and it beautifully captures the sense of paranoia she’s talking about. Mira Sorvino is almost perfect as well. Daniel brings up the conversation with Ryan, and he’s figured out that it’s right after school that Ryan is bringing up all these thorny points. Hm thinks Catherine.
Daryl has creeped into his mother’s room in the middle of the night; he doesn’t feel so well and he needs to talk. He doesn’t want to tell the police about his car, is that okay? She asks why, alarmed now, and he says it’s because he’s done things. He doesn’t want to tell her what things, exactly, he thinks she’ll be cross. She tells him she won’t be cross, you can tell me anything, all those parental lies you say so you can find out where they’ve hidden their brother’s toys, and she says she’s suspected for awhile now. She asks why; he doesn’t know.
In the kitchen having a cuppa, she wants to know if he had someone or voices telling him to do it? No, and he’s hoping she’ll come visit him in prison. She looks sad, but also as though she’s thinking of something. Never underestimate mama bears.
The next morning, Daniel, Catherine and Clare are discussing Ryan and his school questions and Miss Weiland; Catherine pulls out the CCTV footage and Clare recognises her.
Daryl’s mum has a plan; they’re going to American: he wants Las Vegas and she wants to have an adventure before they find them. I think she fully understands right then that he is a psychopath and
gets a gun?? HOLY.FECK. I had considered it, but not really, I mean. Wow. I just sat there for a full minute to process her killing her son. At the very least, I need to find out her name. It’s Alison (Susan Lynch) and I’m sorry for spelling Daryl’s name wrong for the last few recaps. I guess it could have gone either way; Alison hiding him or taking the responsibility for his innate wrongness, but it’s done now. Mama bear indeed.
And we’re out. Just one episode left and we’re being led everywhere, I truly am feeling quite mind-blown by all of that; I wonder how it will all be handled. As a commenter said on Facebook, it’s all about the handling and not about the facts, isn’t it? Just one more show, see you next week, ladies and gents.