Happy Valley S3:E03 Alien Life Form Liaison Recap

Hi y’all and welcome back to the wonderful world of Sally Wainwright and the very last series of Happy Valley with our Sarah Lancashire. Are you ready to be halfway done? Me too!! Except okay not really but let’s do it anyway. Rolling into my recap of Happy Valley series 3 episode 3 after the break!

We open with our sisters Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire!) and Clare Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran) facing off in Leeds, no, wait, I mean Sheffield.

It was then I realised I’d missed the point of all that talk about Leeds in the past episode, the prison must be in Sheffield and ANYWAY, that’s not the point.

The important part is that Clare has snuck off to Sheffield with her boyfriend Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neil) and Catherine’s grandson Ryan Cawood (Rhys Connah) to see Ryan’s murderous thug of a dad Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) very much without Catherine’s permission or knowledge (or so they thought).


And now Catherine is confronting her sister as to same.

There’s nothing that Clare can say to the quiet, vicious onslaught of words pouring from Catherine’s mouth, about all the lives Tommy Lee Royce has ended or impacted forever, including Catherine and her daughter.

I didn’t realise I was holding my breath until the credits rolled and suddenly I could breathe again. An angry and hurt Catherine is terrifying and deeply guilt-inducing. And I didn’t even do anything wrong!

In the prison, Tommy Lee is ecstatic to see Ryan, sending Neil off for tea and biccies peremptorily. That, more than anything, reminded me of who Tommy is, you can see how Ryan can have missed Tommy’s true nature among all the beaming and goodwill directed his way.

Clare tries to explain, Ryan’s been writing his dad in prison for the last 6 years with the help of that bit of dishwater from series 2. You know, the Moaning Mrytle lady who was in love with Tommy and slipping Ryan things like Tommy Lee’s address.

Catherine asks question after question as it all spills out of Clare; Catherine like a cobra swaying back and forth and Clare cloaking herself in Ryan’s desire to know his father in defense.

A harrowing conversation continues, I’ve forgotten half of the terrible things Tommy Lee has done (I forgot he threw gasoline on RYAN and was going to set him on fire) but Catherine has not. She’s disgusted particularly by Clare defending that specific incident as Tommy Lee “being in a bad place.”

100% Team Catherine there.


But Ryan wanted to know his dad and it wasn’t going to go away. Nobody really told Ryan about his mum, even if he did know about Catherine and others being hurt. And honestly, Ryan himself was quite scared and angry after spending time with Tommy before (probably the gasoline, now that I’ve remembered that) so that’s a little mystifying.

Clare tried to make sense of it, can she just explain what she came up with?

Clare starts by talking about how well-brought up Ryan is and we’re listening but when she takes a u-turn into talking about Tommy Lee Royce being rehabilitated she loses us and Catherine.

Ah Clare.

Clare does not want to fall out with Catherine, please don’t abandon her, Catherine.

Ah Catherine walks outside to see a mirage of her dead daughter Becky, hanged by her own hand. We haven’t seen that in a long time. Catherine screams and cries into the dark glass of a nearby store then snaps to. She’s got work to do.

Tommy is like a whole other person with Ryan; visiting time is over but he asks Ryan to come see him in court in Leeds right shortly. That’s why he pled guilty, so he could be close. Ryan and his dad chat about skydiving and bungee jumping together as Ryan leaves, confused. Why does he talk about stuff like that? He’s never going to get out of prison, he’ll die in there.

*We call that foreshadowing, in the bizz.

Back in whatever town is not Leeds or Sheffield, budding criminal mastermind Faisal Bhatti (Amit Shah) painfully makes his way over to the home of his lover, Joanna Hepworth (Mollie Winnard), aka the wife of Ryan’s football coach Rob Hepworth (Mark Stanley).

He’s now decided that he will help her kill her abusive husband as she had asked, be ready Monday at lunch. The red bird flies at noon! Ca caw! (Paraphrased)

Catherine goes to the one person she knows she can trust, her ex-husband Richard (Derek Riddell) who listens supportively while Catherine outlines her plan to explain Tommy to Ryan.

It’s just that: Ryan really wanted to know him, even if Catherine doesn’t consider him to be Ryan’s dad.

Richard cries with Catherine and us, he’s sorry he left her to deal with all of that on her own. They split when their daughter (and Ryan’s mum) Becky killed herself. It was a long time before Richard could accept Ryan at all. But Richard and Catherine were always connected.

Ryan’s gone to Clare’s for his tea, so that’s where Catherine brings his things. She takes a stab at explaining what’s wrong with Tommy (she starts with: it’s not hereditary) but won’t tell him much about his mum and that is going to be a problem. Telling a 7 foot tall 16-year-old that he needs to trust her and is doing things in his best interest is only going to go so far. The main thing: if he chooses to continue to visit his dad, he will not be living with her any longer. She emphasizes that it’s a choice.

Series one Happy Valley is back on our screens, with Nevison Gallagher (George Costigan) rushing to meet up with Catherine’s son Daniel Cawood (Karl Davies) and Nev’s daughter Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) who have heard the devastating news. Ann was kidnapped and brutally assaulted by Tommy Lee and apparently now is married to Daniel. I think.

Watching Daniel cry over his mum’s devastation , oh my goodness. He was so against her for so long, I hope he shows her this love.

Ann smokes and cries with her dad and us in the garden, everything is so FRAUGHT! And sad. And bewildered. She’s starting with the CID in the morning, great news if it also wasn’t such shite timing.

At school, Ryan is confused by his suddenly friendly football coach because he doesn’t know this is Hepworth’s pattern. Hepworth likes to do the ol’ tear em down and build ’em up, Ryan isn’t sure where to look.

Ryan’s friend Cesco (Freddy Smith) is bleating in the corner about Ryan being kicked out of his house, DO NOT say that in front of Hepworth!!! He will invite him there!!! There’s a murder afoot in that residence, we don’t need any more kids around!

Ah yikes, he does share his whole life with Hepworth, who we know is also a domestic abuser like his dad. I mean, Tommy Lee is a lot of things, but it all began with that, as it so often does.

Now Hepworth confides in Ryan about his bad marriage. Once again, I must point out that in this scenario: only Hepworth is an adult. And he has authority over Ryan, so I’m wondering about the nature of Hepworth’s interest in Ryan all of a sudden. Ryan is just trying to keep up with the lightning fast changes of mood displayed by his football coach.

(I can’t apologize for all the gifs of Ryan’s reactions, they’re gold)

Literally three days ago they were screaming at each other across the playground and now Ryan should know the door is always open? I mean, they’re not BOTH teenagers!

Ann was about to celebrate being made part of CID, what a shit time to start talking about dead women and murder, right as being re-traumatized by Tommy Lee Royce re-appearing.

She tries her best to follow along as the team is briefed about the woman who went out the window the other day but she’s clearly barely hanging on.

Hey! Wait! I know the two thugs the CID are looking for, they’re the ones shaking Faisal down for his drug selling money!

I mean, I didn’t get names per se but I know where they’ll be Friday!

Across the station Catherine gets her team ready to go, reading out slowly from a memo that instructs her to appoint an officer as an: I shit you not: Alien Life Form Liaison.


PS Shafiq Shah (Shane Zaza) is game.

But someone else gets their hand up first.That was more fun than it should be.

Catherine takes a break from playing games and ignoring Clare to speak with a vomiting Ann in the bathroom. Ann keeps replaying and replaying her abduction by Tommy Lee and thinking of all the things she could have done differently, Catherine spaces out suddenly while listening.

Sally Wainwright is a fantastic writer and I love how she weaves humour in among the dark but I really can’t take any more of this alien life-form liaison stuff mixed in with this horror of rape and hostage taking. I can’t.

Catherine and Joyce (Ishia Bennison) discuss the recent UFO sighting while Catherine pulls up the results of the lab tests she had run on Joanna Hepworth’s drugs. We know Faisal gave them to Joanna (so does Hepworth), will the tests show that? I mean, Faisal is in the process of conspiring to murder Hepworth for that exact reason. Plus the actual drug thugs told him to sort it.

I think the alien liaison is a joke concocted by Catherine? Maybe? Or Shafiq Shah?

Speaking of drug thugs! They have a boss named Viktor (Anthony Flanagan – the most Irish Viktor you ever did see) who is extremely unhappy with how:

Okay, I was going to leave this to the end as a subplot but I can see that would be too confusing. The entire police department has been working on the case of a (I think blind) woman who fell out the window in the same block of flats where Allison Garrs (Susan Lynch) lives and pointed out the flimsy windows last time. Quite a lot of money was found in the woman’s flat. This is how the drug thugs (my kingdom for a name!) got on police radar and are now at risk from Viktor, who isn’t liking the high profile of the case. These are the same drug thugs putting the arm on Faisal. I’m just waiting for someone to say Darius Knevicwsn.

Also, the woman was held hostage for weeks, says Ann in CID. When she fell out the window, it was thought she was trying to get away, not commit suicide.

The woman’s initial contact with the gang was a man named Josip Matic (Anthony Skrimshire). Once he realised she had fallen out the window, he took off with as much money as he could carry. We saw that in the CCTV footage at the police station, but maybe Viktor doesn’t know for sure because he asks our drug thugs. They say he DIDN’T take any money, after exchanging a glance, and try to talk Viktor out of putting a hit on Josip, all to no avail.

The whole police department mobilizes to take down Josip as the drug thugs move to do the exact same thing.

Faisal makes his own move; Jesus wept Faisal, what’s the point of wearing booties to prevent evidence transfer if you’re going to go around touching things with your bare hands? And sitting on things? I mean, would a Tyvek suit be too much to ask??

He’s got a plan for murdering Hepworth, sounds alright, I dunno. Joanna isn’t sure about murdering her husband now, and man I’m tired of people hurting or physically terrorizing her. He’s positive everything is going to work out because he’s very smart and very stupid at the same time.

The police converge on Josip as our drug thugs roll up, spotted by Catherine as they circle the block. I mean, they’re in marked police wagons! They park and wait, only Catherine is outside watching egress and of COURSE that’s where Josip pops out, right in front of the drug thugs who will be in a world of trouble if Josip is arrested.

Catherine jumps on the fleeing Josip; pulling off his pants to reveal some surprising underwear before he gets a crack in and she’s bloodied. She gives it right back and I bet that felt AMAZING after this week. Others rush up, thank the gods she’s okay.

She even gets the license plate number of the drug thugs, she’s a ROCKSTAR.

Back at the Hepworth house, Joanna tries to take it back, she didn’t tell Hepworth about Faisal, it’s all okay! She lied and now they don’t have to kill Hepworth and it’s all okay, can they not kill him now?

Faisal is a man on the verge.

I am very worried for Joanna right now.

Oh no.

Faisal attacks Joanna with a marble rolling pin.

As Joanna lies twitching on the floor, not dead, Faisal hears a message from Catherine, still covered in blood, letting Joanna know she can come see her today to get the lab results. Faisal prepares to inject Joanna with air as he had planned to kill her husband.

And that’s it, we’re done for today. Wow. That was rather a lot, a roller coaster of emotion from start to finish. We’re already at the quickening stage and that was just episode 3!

One quick side note: the alien life form liaison officer ties in with the report of lights in the sky somewhere which will turn out to be tied somehow to Darius Snevicwsc I’m sure but for now is being called a UFO. So there we are with that.

Until next time! Cheers