So this isn’t JUST the series three finale of Happy Valley, but rather the entire series finale; I can’t be the only one hoping everything goes exactly only the way I want it to. With Sarah Lancashire triumphant, heading mountainwards in her Rover with Richard navigating from the passenger side. Are we ready to roll into the last Happy Valley recap ever? Let’s do it! Happy Valley S3:E06 Series Finale after the break!
We open with Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) sleeping on a teeny tiny couch waking up to a new ringtone. Awww, I kind of liked the space theme!
Ah, she’s hiding out in the flat of series two murderer Allison Garrs (Susan Lynch), that’s pretty smart! Except that we know the Knezevic gang also hangs out here…and they’re helping Catherine’s arch-nemesis Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) escape and hide so…Hmm.
Catherine rang round at 3 am.
Catherine can’t stop being a copper even for one minute on a teeny tiny couch in the middle of the night, she comes up with a packet of diezepam that look exactly like the ones Catherine busted poor Joanna Hepworth (Mollie Winnard) with before she was murdered by the person who gave her the pills: pharmacist Faisal Bhatti (Amit Shah).
Catherine asks who they belong to, Allison says her probation officer left them behind and offered to get her some too, so Faisal should start feeling Catherine’s hot breath on his neck any time soon!
I mean, she’s only got one day until retirement, chop chop!
Which means…it’s Wednesday and it’s finally time for one of our murderous thugs to get married! Mazel tov Ivan Sertic (Oliver Huntingdon)! Maybe put away all that drug money before you go meet your blushing bride, it’s making your mate and best man Matija Jankovic (Jack Bandeira) nervous.
That’s just when the police break down the door to arrest them both for aiding and abetting Tommy Lee Royce’s escape and imprisoning a young lady who fell out a window. Check out the other recaps for more backstory: Happy Valley Series 3.
Because writer Sally Wainwright is a weaver of complex plots.
It looks very much like Ivan will not be getting married today in two hours.
Tommy Lee’s son Ryan Cawood (Rhys Connah) stares at the video game console his dad contacted him through, then stares out the window as his granny pulls up and never has there been a more clear juxtaposition of Ryan’s choices.
She’s there to take him to the incident team; he’s hiding out from Tommy Lee with his great-aunt Clare Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran), her boyfriend Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neill) and their host Nevison Gallagher (George Costigan).
At the police station, Catherine and Ryan run into Detective Inspector Andy Shepherd (Vincent Franklin) who mistakes Ryan for a juvenile criminal then picks his brain about his coach, Rob Hepworth. Shepherd is in charge of investigating the murder of Hepworth’s wife Joanna, he asks for Ryan’s impressions.
Since Ryan and Rob spent the last few months screaming at each other followed by a weird period of Hepworth being overly friendly, Ryan’s impressions are mixed. BUT. There’s more, and it has to do with what I wondered a couple of recaps ago.
Hepworth was being overly friendly with Ryan and confessed he had a bad marriage, at which point I went from thinking he was following a previously-identified pattern of creating hero-worshippers out of disadvantaged youth to wondering if he was grooming. And it appears grooming it was.
Ryan caught him just like I caught someone I work with looking up my skirt; you don’t quite know what it means but you know it’s nothing good.
Oh wait, Detective Inspector Shepherd though Ryan was a new recruit! Not a criminal.
Tommy Lee is picked up at his safe house. It’s no longer safe to have him here so he’s being moved. He’s spooked by the guy picking him up, mostly because mob-boss Darius Knezevic (Alec Secanareau) isn’t there and the guy wants him to get into the boot of the car.
*That’s the trunk for those outside of the UK.
Tommy talks his way out of the boot to spot a petrol container in the back seat, are these guys taking him out to a field to burn him to death as Tommy Lee once threatened to do to his own son?
Tommy manages to palm a knife and sets off with the three thugs that have been undoubtedly been sent to speed his demise.
Ryan sits with the incident team and….tells them that Tommy contacted him through his video game console!! Yay!! I literally shouted!
Tommy manages to kill two of the three men transporting him within seconds and ends up in a knife fight with the third that I absolutely did not watch.
Not even through my fingers.
Meanwhile, it’s Catherine’s last day of work before retirement so she’s meant to have tea with the Chief Constable when a delay sends her packing up early. She’s got stuff to do.
*Sneaks a peek at the screen where Tommy Lee seems to be at the mercy of the last thug. Whoops. And then he gets free and murders that guy by beating him to death with a rock.
Okay, Tommy Lee appears to have been stabbed somewhere not immediately fatal, so we’ve got that going for us.
He hears Ryan’s voice saying he’s far from home as he lies there, bleeding and trying to breathe.
Catherine visits the grave of her dead daughter Becky, comforted by her presence as Tommy is discomfited by Ryan’s.
Catherine goes home, why does it feel like the last time? This has Goodbye Tour all over it and I’m not mad about it, Sally Wainwright.
She looks through Becky’s life in pictures, then Ryan’s childhood while we cry and just hope.
Tommy Lee is free, with a vehicle and a games console to contact Ryan. The police break into his safehouse. Too late. The games console is broken, so Tommy grabs the petrol jug instead as he creeps outside Catherine’s house.
Jaysus, he can barely move and this is how he’s spending the last moments of his life. Maybe that’s what that look at the video game console was; making the choice between revenge and the future.
Catherine sleeps on in her chair, all through Tommy breaking into her basement with the petrol, but waking up when Ryan calls from the police station wondering where she is.
She leaves her house just as Tommy painfully gains access to the main floor, looking around at pictures of Ryan’s life and then his room.
Back to the police station to continue the case of the murder of Joanna Hepworth, it’s time to bring in her husband under caution.
Hepworth admits to the rumoured affair with another teacher and we’re back to the first time we heard about him, sleeping with a teacher and also a ‘shirt-lifting arse bandit’. Out of the mouth of babes.
The person he’s been having an affair with has told the police that Hepworth talked about how much easier life would be without his (now murdered) wife around. Hepworth’s not great at explaining that away. Nor can he satisfactorily explain his bloody fingerprints made with Joanna’s blood in their kitchen.
Although: ‘She’d try the patience of a saint!’ isn’t exactly covering himself with glory.
In another part of the police station, unaware of the menace lurking at home, Catherine and Ryan finally talk for more than a few sentences. Ryan brings something home to us that we hadn’t realised earlier: not only was Catherine there when he was growing up, so was Clare.
Clare was there in the pictures with a giant baby Ryan, and even if Catherine writes that off as staying on the wagon, she was still there. You cannot underestimate how much showing up when it counts means to people.
Now Tommy Lee is looking through those same pictures of Ryan as a baby, smiling and laughing before switching to snaps of Becky. He cries then, did he love her after all? Or are his tears for himself, the pain of the knife wounds shifting his focus?
Catherine goes to Nev’s to find Clare in the kitchen, JUST HUG HER. HUG HER, CATHERINE! She doesn’t, they talk about Tommy Lee instead.
Catherine wonders aloud if she should have had more faith in Ryan; shouldn’t have fought so hard to keep him from his dad. She’s been worried forever that Ryan would be like his dad, you could see it throughout the last two series. She cries thinking about it, Ryan’s just a ‘happy, well-adjusted, pretty flipping normal kid.’
It’s Thursday. Catherine’s last day on the police force so she stops by home.
She notices the broken window immediately.
I love you, Sally Wainwright. Please don’t make me watch Catherine and Tommy Lee Royce physically fight again.
She does not call for back up.
She silently enters her home, but makes a noise that causes Tommy Lee to stay off wolfing down pills in her kitchen, washed down with whiskey. Is he committing suicide in her kitchen?
Jesus wept, she’s just got a tazer.
She asks if he needs an ambulance, he demurs. She tells him to push the knife towards her, he asks tiredly if she thinks he’s going to hurt her.
“No, but I might hurt you if you don’t do like I say NOW!!” is her glorious response. She is done fucking around with Tommy fucking Lee fucking Royce.
It doesn’t go like that.
Tommy is dying in front of Catherine, and he wants to talk. A Code 2 is called on the radio and everyone in the police station takes off running.
Tommy wants to talk about Darius Knezevic, how he killed Gary Gackowsky right in front of Tommy but didn’t get Tommy out as he promised.
Then they’re talking about Ryan.
Then they’re scrapping like an old married couple, and I never ever thought I would see or hear that as long as I live. Still talking about Ryan.
Tommy Lee has come to terms with his life, he hated Catherine for keeping his son from him, but he forgives her now. She gave Ryan a great life.
Catherine can barely believe her ears.
HE forgives HER.
After what he did to Becky, even as he protests that he loved her, that… he forgives HER. After telling Becky, as he did his victim Ann Gallagher, that he would ‘chop their t**s off’, scaring them to death. Catherine asks if he liked threatening women half his size. He protests he didn’t mean it! He was just saying stuff!
Some more fighting. Good lord, I can’t TAKE this. He douses himself painfully with petrol and here we are again.
*I will say the inability for the average person to get a gun in the UK makes for a refreshingly different series finale.
She tells him not to set himself on fire but he doesn’t listen and she puts him out with a blanket as the smoke alarm screams.
The police arrive as she walks out of her flat with photo albums under her arm, her mission complete.
She walks a block away and we cry as she processes the grief of her loss and the relief of putting down the burden she carried for 16 long years.
Clare spots her, rushing to comfort her sister
And then Catherine goes back to work to pack up because each and every day in this series of Happy Valley is 400 hours long.
Andy Shepherd stops by to chide her gently on her last day because that’s what he does. She asks about Hepworth but I can’t make out what’s happened. Hepworth was done for some pictures on his phone, he was blackmailing the school? What?
What about Faisal Bhatti?
Catherine hands Andy Faisal Bhatti on a platter, not just for the prescription drugs circulating in non-prescription circles, but also the murder of Joanna Hepworth as her going away present to him.
*We’ve still got two and a half minutes left, she’ll have world poverty and Elon Musk sorted in half that!
She finishes up packing.
And walks the other way from her going away party, Chief Constable and Joyce’s cake be damned.
I’ve not seen Catherine in the sun, not in that jacket with that scarf but here she is at Becky’s grave, at peace. Becky tells her: go home, mum.
This is before she gets a text that Tommy Lee Royce has died. She leaves, a woman content with a green monstrosity to drive to Mount Kilimanjaro while we cry and say goodbye to a strong character who never gave up on what she believed, not once.
I’m glad Tommy Lee Royce found some peace at the end too. I’ve said this about Joanna Hepworth, and today was the first time I felt it about Tommy too: he had a shit life. It doesn’t explain or excuse any of the terror he inflicted on other people, but it makes me understand that he didn’t have the best life. He probably didn’t have the best examples and yeah: racing death with pills, booze, a knife to the guts and self-immolation doesn’t indicate much in his life to live for.
Thank you to all of you reading along; this was one of my first series to recap and one of my very favourites. I met some great people via Happy Valley, and I look forward to seeing all of you on the next.
Thank you, Sarah Lancashire and Sally Wainwright.