Happy Valley S2:E6 Series 2 Finale Recap


So this is it. The very last known episode of Happy Valley to date and now we find out at least some of what's happened with our Catherine and everything else.

Right, this is Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire)'s patch, let's find out how this series ends.

Last week we left Alison Garrs (Susan Lynch) shooting her son Daryl (Robert Emms) after his nocturnal homicidal confessions, John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle from Downton Abbey!) flexing on his wife Amanda (Julie Hesmondhalgh from Broadchurch series 3!) and then deflating like a balloon at the news of another body.

We also saw wee Ryan Cawood (Rhys Connah) sending a letter to his dad, thanks to the ever-helpful Miss Weiland (Shirley Henderson - Moaning Mrytle!), who Catherine has only just identified as the racetrack purchaser. We also saw perhaps the birth of a new power couple, whom Dixie has dubbed Gawood, given Catherine and Ann Gallagher's (Charlie Murphy) booze-soaked cuddle last time.

A couple of things I would like to clarify before we jump straight in; I said last week that while Neil Ackroyd (Con O'Neill) was always a suspect to me because of his disturbed affect around Catherine, I forgot to say why I don't think he did the murders. It's because we know he didn't kill Vicky (Amelia Bullmore!), who would be the presumed catalyst for him becoming a murderer. It would be a hell of a coincidence if she just ended up being part of a bunch of poor women lumped in with his kills, you know?

Another thing that's bothering me is that this murderer is supposed to be be quite organized, DNA and evidence savvy. Daryl...well, he got rid of his car, right enough, but. You know? A truly organized killer would have been able to maybe take advantage of the fact that someone was in custody for the rest, not go and get Sean Balmforth (Matthew Lewis - Neville Longbottom!) off the hook almost immediately. I'm picking at straws here, I know, just the little things. On we go!

Catherine is at the school, talking to the Headmistress (I don't know if that's her role but I've always wanted to use that title), explaining about the situation and showing her the pictures of the racetrack purchase and why not just bring in the helpful Miss Weiland? Catherine has seen Frances at Lynne Dewhurt's funeral and this part will all be done. Mrs. Beresford (Olwen May) wants to know why anyone would do such an insidious thing, Catherine says "because people are weird. People are mad. And they don't always have it tattooed across their foreheads" and if we weren't only two and a half minutes in, I'd call that the line of the night.

Mrs. Beresford offers to bring Miss Weiland of the excellent CV in, but Catherine needs to let the DIU handle it, she can't be involved, and really, she just wants the school to find someone else to read with Ryan, so he doesn't keep coming home with the idea that his dad is a bit of all right and she's just a nasty bitch trying to keep he and Ryan apart. The Headmistress only nods; knowing what Catherine's really saying. Parenting is hard, even without a murderer in the family.

Holy shite and it doesn't matter anyway, as Catherine is leaving, Frances is walking in, both the film and my heart slows down as they walk by each other and I swear I am all chicken skin and every hair sticking up. Catherine knows.

Catherine and Shafiq Shah (Shanze Zaza) roll up on the Sunderland farm, and hey! There's Daryl's car back and the front end is all bashed up. I thought he got rid of it. Catherine knocks and they enter to find...holy feck. Alison killed Daryl and then tried to kill herself and they don't know what's going on. She's tried to overdose and it's so fcuking bloody. It's carnage. Catherine is trying to walk Alison around a bit, maybe to get the drugs working and out of her system, but Shafiq doesn't think they should touch anything "oh man up Princess, use your initiative" snaps Catherine and that would be a great gif if it didn't feature an Alison covered in blood and brains front and center.

Backup isn't coming for another 16 minutes, so Catherine has Shah call the paramedics for advice about to treat someone who has ingested a bunch of diezapan, whiskey and vodka. They need to induce vomiting and then put her in the recovery position; Shafiq goes back inside while Catherine does her best to explain to Alison about throwing up while grudgingly digging in her pouch for rubber gloves.

Alison is able to speak a bit, and she tells Catherine SHE shot Daryl, astounding Catherine. Alison leans forward to throw up and suddenly, the Peugot is in view and Catherine knows exactly what's happened. She radios Operation Syracuse to check out Daryl's car and gently holds Alison in her arms while cautioning and arresting her for murder.

Why am I crying?? Catherine cradling that woman covered in blood and resting her head on her crown and she just. She knows and she understands and I wonder about Becky and why am I still crying?? I can't think of a way that could have done better, it was brutal and tragic and just. Magic

Wait a minute, I cried during Girls this week too, let me get a calendar, no, forget THAT, it's just. So well done.

Back at Operation Syracuse, John is looking like wallpaper paste again, watching Jodie Shackleton (Katherine Kelly) and the lead talk across the office. Jodie fills him in on the developments at the Sunderland Farm, you can see hope spring up in John again. He's gonna have a heart attack just from each of these up and downs. How can no-one have noticed his AFFECT?? Maybe Jodie has, because she lies to John and says Daryl DIDN'T cop to Vicky Fleming. And maybe he did say that, maybe we didn't see that, but I am wondering if she's winding him up. He swallows his tongue again as she goes on to explain that Daryl only murdered that last victim because he was angry that people thought he DID kill Vicky. There's the blood of two people on John's hands now.

The investigation will now focus on Vicky's mysterious boyfriend and John moves in slow motion to retrieve his notebook to head down to the briefing.

In the changing room, Catherine breaks down and we take another minute to cry. In walks Mike Taylor (Rick Warden), who knows just what's up, asking if she's okay, is she still seeing that therapist: YES. Back off, Mike, she's just seen someone murder their own child, she who has held onto every scrap of Becky she can. He says there is news, they've identified the racetrack purchaser as Frances Drummond, but Catherine wants to know how she has an excellent CV as Miss Weiland with references? Mrs. Beresford would have checked.

Clare Cawood (Siobhan Finneran) is sunning herself at the allotment when her phone rings, startling her into a crotch of hot tea. It's Catherine, and she explains to Clare and us how the resourceful Frances was able to impersonate Miss Weiland of the excellent references: Miss Weiland is dead. Now. Did Frances kill her, or was it just a happy coincidence that someone with the exact credentials she needed to get close to our Ryan happened to die conveniently? Turns out Frances is a pharmacist and that made my ears go up.

No, I need to shut up and just watch, Cecily Weiland was Frances's sister and she stole documentation while comforting Cecily's bereft husband.

Lead investigator Andy Shepherd (Vincent Franklin - couldn't take it any more, I didn't think they'd take this long to say his name anywhere near the camera and I FINK this is the guy in IMDB) is on scene at the farm; he's twigged that it MUST be someone connected to the investigation (DNA awareness and the, er, bottling) and he asks Jodie to think about it while she's sitting directly across from John who pretends to not be listening and tries not to poop his pants.

Andy asks Jodie to run through a scenario in which he would do the murder; everyone has it in them, he figures: why would he? She's talking out loud, bringing John's ears up even more, but then Andy cuts to the chase: John's number was in Vicky's phone.

Frances is arrested summarily for fraud, she sags but still insists to Mrs. Beresford that Ryan needs someone to talk to. I'm more concerned about Catherine, who says someone may need to pop 'round to Upper Brunswick Street to suggest the resourceful Miss Drummond head back to Scotland after she gets out on bail.

Clare distracts by saying that Winnie (Angela Pleasence) has found Ilinka (Ivana Basic) a job cleaning at White Lion, one of the neighbours has found it so it's probably legit. Catherine is off reliving the horror of the morning again, she can't believe someone would kill their own child. And that all Alison was worried about was that Daryl didn't want anyone thinking she'd killed Vicky Fleming, because THAT makes a difference.

Catherine is indeed staking out Frances's house on Upper Brunswick street, but she doesn't want to frighten Frances, she wants to understand why. And she wants Frances to understand what has really happened with Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton). Frances lets her in and they have an extremely tense conversation and I know Catherine can take care of herself, but I spent most of the time measuring the distance between her and Frances. You cannot discount desperation, as we found with John, OR the wiry strength of a person whose first love, found late in life, is being threatened by an force made corporeal in Catherine.

I hate it when Catherine closes her eyes! Ergh!

Neil and Clare are watching the news, OH GREAT THANKS FOR PUTTING ANDY SHEPHERD'S NAME ACROSS THE TICKER LIKE THAT IN EPISODE 6, VERY HANDY, Neil looks so relaxed...and then the extra appeal for information about Vicky. Clare comforts Neil and Amanda Wadsworth looks...twigged.

Hey! Tesco IS a grocery store, NOT Ryan's friend, thanks Facebook friend! John is crying in the parking lot, bemoaning how he hasn't done ANYTHING and well, that's not exactly right...

Much calmer and not-attacked is Catherine, returning home to find Clare and Neil wanting to talk to her about Vicky Fleming.

It's the next morning, Catherine stops John in the hallway to pass on her information to one of "you lot" and poor John, he just gets to hear it all, doesn't he? She tells him about the whole scam Vicky was running, the blackmail and everything else and now he knows that was a pattern. I don't think his heart can take much more of this. Catherine notices how pale he is, yay! Someone noticed he looks like he's been squirting syringes of Drano into his mouth every morning. It's about time!

She carries on, but she's definitely noticed how odd he is acting and looking; telling Ann she did well to dodge that particular bullet. Ann thinks John was having an affair, though, and there's a miscommunication and we're so CLOSE I can almost taste it!! Also close are Ann and Catherine in the hallway; Dixie's got me measuring that distance now too!

John holds onto Neil's contact information, trying to work up the nerve to bring it into Andy and not throw up at the same time and then Jodie walks in there and his nerve fails. That information will bring so much more pressure to bear on this mystery boyfriend.

Joyce (Ishia Bennison) is ushering  gentleman into the station with a great bloody shiner; is that Amanda's boyfriend? I only saw him the once, under the sheets, so I can't be certain. He has information about Victoria Fleming, so maybe he's another of her victims.

Operation Syracuse is investigating two people who have come forward to say they've seen Vicky with a man, the publican and a front desk clerk, both of whom John remembers and then it all gets a little echo-y for him.

Ann stops Catherine; she's remembered everything about the house to house and John all jumpy and on his phone and asking about where to find a thousand pounds and thinking he was having an affair. She's pressing the point that someone inside the investigation would make more sense than OUT of it when Joyce grabs Catherine to come interview Graham Tattersal (Steve Edge), the bloke with the black eye that had information about Vicky; nobody upstairs is available to listen. Catherine tells Ann she'll pass it along.

Graham IS the man under the covers with Amanda! And he remembers very clearly how John came in early at 1 pm on a supposed Ops Night, it was "exciting" and Catherine thinks it's a bit ridiculous, until he gives John's name.

Catherine is walking through the station with Graham while John gets his things and runs. Full out, he's gone and now everything is out. She radios and jumps in with the young office who was such a wanker so many episodes ago (careful now, Cawood's got a bottle in her hand!), who is in the right place for once in his life.

Jodie and Andy stare at each other.

John is at a dead end at the rain station, but he can't stop, and I think he's armed! He runs on foot now, through the woods to another dead end on a wall, threatening to jump. She says "it's not that high, you're just gonna break your legs and make a mess" and this is why I love Catherine Cawood.

John and Catherine are talking, he explains everything and he didn't get very far, he's standing up nice and high on a wall right where all the police can see and hear quite clearly from the station.

He says he's not like that, he's not a monster and I'm reminded of Frances suddenly, who Catherine said the very same thing to. Catherine is trying to talk him off the wall, but the mention of his children brings him to his knees and it's terrible and funny all at the same time. She asks for advice as to how to handle Suicide Prevention and he tells her she should be telling him he's going to get out of this alive! And be assertive, Catherine! Assertive but reassuring, empathetic, kind, and John's done this 17 times and what are you going to do, John? Mess up Catherine's record up before she's even started?

This scene is why I love Happy Valley

He knows, though. He knows that it won't be better in 24 hours and I knew he was going to roll off the wall from there and I knew also that there would be a vehicle there to make much more of it than a mess. And so it was.

Catherine sags to the ground. Too much. Too much. Maybe we both cry.

Mike is walking with a recovered Catherine, he says "there but for the grace of God" and she doesn't agree. She doesn't think the bottling involved any situational bias. She says she did try to talk him down, you know, she thought she had him coming down and she cries "WHAT A SHIT WEEK!!"

It's about to get worse, and maybe NOT NOW, MIKE! He has information about who else has been visiting Tommy Lee Royce and I wonder if Ryan made it there on his bike.

We cut to Tommy Lee Royce being informed that his visits and phone calls have all been suspended pending further inquiry, he takes it with his usual grace under pressure. Good thing there was another officer or it might have gone quite badly for the first.

Catherine knocks on Frances's door again, this time in uniform. She reads off a list of all of Tommy's other visitors, which are also his fiancées it turns out. Is it illegal to be engaged to several people at once, or is it just the marrying? Some kind of fraud? She tells Frances to take care and takes her leave.

Catherine's at the hospital now, visiting Alison, who is alive and lucid. She tells Alison she can't begin to understand how she feels, but that she also lost a child and can be depended on at any time to talk.

Tommy gets his letters, including the one from Ryan, and smiles. He really is very handsome. Shame about the psychopathy.

Catherine is visiting Becky's grave when Clare comes up, she tells Clare what Alison told her at the hospital. Daryl was a product of child abuse, his dad was also his granddad and she thought maybe he was an aberration, so kept him away from the lads in town, but they sensed it, or something, as teenagers do, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy: they were outcasts. Alison suspected Daryl knew, but she didn't know how to talk to him: she didn't have the language. Catherine understands that.

They leave the graveyard, Catherine lagging behind while Clare and Daniel tease Ryan about his wanting a dog. It's more than she not knowing how to bring up the language of rape to our Ryan; he also has one half of the DNA of a rapist / murderer and in the first series...she was worried that some of his more obstreperous goings on at school were related to that. So. We're out.

The whole theme of this series revolved around the Nature vs Nuture debate; what would drive seemingly good people with decent lives to commit heinous acts such as murder, disfigurement, even fraud? Are people born evil, or is there a switch inside us all just waiting to be turned the wrong way? You could argue that there is only one truly evil person: Tommy Lee Royce, although Daryl is certainly in there as well, lacking any empathy or remorse. Everyone else could have gone either way, including Catherine, but as there is one truly evil person, there is one truly good person: our omnipresent and ubiquitous Catherine.

That's it for our Happy Valley series for now; thank you so much for reading. Join me for any of the other shows I recap, House of Cards recaps being starting next week and I am always up for viewing /  recapping suggestions for other excellent shows. I will miss you, Sarah Lancashire and fans, be well!

10 thoughts on “Happy Valley S2:E6 Series 2 Finale Recap

  1. Well done and funny as usual considering such a dark episode! Your recaps make me wish we had discovered you ( or you had discovered HV ) for season 1! And Last Tango. I’m sure I’d still be laughing at your take on THOSE! Time for me to read your other show reviews, eh? Cheers…Patty.

    1. Thanks lady! I’ve been tossing around the idea of doing season 1, people sort of tend to bingewatch, which is what I did for season 1, but not sure there would be an audience. Thank you again for reading, I’ve had a blast with it, although it almost feels sad! Like an ending! I just met all of you lovely people! Cheers, P

  2. Another great recap, thanks TTM! ?
    Made me laugh with your parts about Catherine & Ann ?? #Gawood
    What a brilliant finale, and you’ve done the whole series justice with these fab recaps every week. Thanks for keeping us all entertained!
    Hope we’ll be seeing you back doing them again when LTIH hits our screens again at Christmas?! ??

    1. Thanks lady! It seems like Last Tango in Halifax was Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire’s definitive work pre-Happy Valley, been planning to watch! Cheers Dixie!

  3. Love your breathless review style and your frequent pronouncements that “this” is why you love Happy Valley. I love the show, too, but wanted to mention something I haven’t said elsewhere. The music was great in this series. Especially the music behind John every time he went a bit wonky over remembering what he’d done.

    1. Oh sorry, yes I try to review somewhat impartially usually but I do get quite carried away on Happy Valley. Take that last scene; I can’t imagine any other show making you laugh and cry within seconds of each other and STILL have it make sense in the show.

      You’re right about the music, every time they’d cue in on Frances, same thing! We’d get music rising and it was all chicken skin.

  4. As one or two have mentioned – and I’m sure many have thought – Last Tango is a must-watch must-binge for you. It is custom-made for your style of recaps. I’m laughing already at what you would have to say. Sure, it’s a bit after the fact, but your take might make even MORE people watch it on Netflix or wherever…and would make a fitting lead-up to whatever Sally has for it in the future.

    1. I absolutely will check it out, everyone says it’s just the best, and I’m afraid to talk to Dixie until I have! There may have been an order. I have to say, you lot are the best readers, thank you so much for all the feedback!

      1. I don’t blame you for being afraid of Dixie – she’s so ridiculously hard to get along with ?. If she issued an order, you’d be wise to follow it, lest you be inundated with a barrage of emojis – and she’s got a kabillion of them! And being totally unselfish (ahem) I’m sure we’d all reap the benefits of your recaps.

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