Happy Valley episode three talking points, from bloody noses to a rolling-pin murder

Happy Valley is wasting no time getting down to the good stuff. Sally Wainwright’s multi Bafta-winning crime drama has only been back on screens for a total of three hours and already it’s delivered more glorious tension and high drama than most shows do in a season. Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) may be ready to hand over her badge in retirement, but the seedy criminals of West Yorkshire aren’t ready to let her go just yet. Here’s your recap of everything that went down in episode three…


A lesser show would make us wait for answers, but this is Happy Valley and satisfaction is guaranteed. This episode picks up from where the last left off: in a cafe in Sheffield where Catherine has just confronted Clare (Siobhan Finneran) about secretly taking Ryan (Rhys Connah) to see his good-for-nothing father Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) in prison.

It’s a sister showdown for the ages, as Clare looks cowardly down at her sandwich under Catherine’s piercing gaze. Time for some answers. “Where do you want to start, at the beginning?” asks Clare, prompting a quick rehashing of all of Tommy’s crimes from a sarcastic Catherine, including but not exclusive to kidnapping Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy), driving over Kirsten (Sophie Rundle) three times in a Mini Cooper, and oh yeah, beating up Ryan’s granny so badly she nearly died in hospital. “Why don’t we skip all that and cut to the chase?” smirks Catherine.

It turns out then, that Ryan had been writing to Tommy when he was in prison in Gravesend without ever hearing back. Around 18 months ago, when Tommy was moved to a closer prison in Sheffield – something which, by the way, Clare believes to be a fluke – he managed to get one of his prison mates to pass along a message to Ryan outside his school gates. It wasn’t Clare who Ryan first approached about visiting Tommy, but Neil (Con O’Neil) who was persuaded by the teenager’s anger and upset – and who, notably, stands by his decision to allow Tommy to see his dad.

Clare has a go at explaining why she went along with it, telling Catherine that the pair “genuinely” seem to want to get to know one another, and that she thinks Tommy doesn’t have an alternative agenda when it comes to Ryan. Catherine predictably is having none of it, arguing that Tommy is “too far beyond the pale” to ever apologise or understand his various wrongs. She also divulges that Tommy was brought up by a heroin addict. Perhaps most shocking, however, is Catherine’s stance on forgiveness. “When he asks me to forgive him, I will,” she says. “It won’t happen because he’s a narcissist and a psychopath.”

The bottom line is this: if Ryan wants to continue seeing Tommy in prison, he can’t live with Catherine anymore. Ryan, therefore, is bunking with his auntie and Neil for the time being. He also deduces that his mum Becky died by suicide, but it remains to be seen whether he really knows why. As Clare puts it later in the episode: “What a f***ing mess.”

Happy families in ‘Happy Valley’? (BBC)
Happy families in ‘Happy Valley’? (BBC)

Happy families

We do get a peek at what Ryan’s visits to Tommy in prison entail – and it’s not as sinister as you might imagine. No plotting of the sort. It’s mostly just chit chat, over cups of tea and biscuits fetched by Neil. The situation is still tense regarding Catherine, however. When Neil brings up her name, he is shot down by Tommy with a look that could kill. “Who?” he barks in response. Notably, Tommy asks Ryan to come and see him in Leeds on Tuesday, when he will be appearing in court. Do we sense a prison break on the cards?

For a brief moment, it’s happy families, with Tommy beaming when Ryan calls him “dad”. The peace doesn’t last long, though. When Neil and Ryan return to the car, all Clare has to say is “she knows” and the blood drains out of their faces. Anyone else get shivers?

Help in unlikely places

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, or rather his granny and dad, Ryan is running low on people he can lean on. It’s the only reason I can think of to explain why Ryan would be scraping the barrel asking for advice from his horrible games coach, and Joanna’s abusive husband, Rob Hepworth (Mark Stanley) who sits Ryan down for a heart-to-heart. Rob apologises for being hard on the kid and even divulges to the him that his marriage isn’t a happy one – which is putting it lightly.

Has Rob indeed turned over a new leaf and overnight become a decent man? The ominous music and sinister look on his face suggests otherwise. After all, Joanna (Mollie Winnards) did reveal his strange fixation on boys at his school in episode two.

What’s Rob up to now? (BBC)
What’s Rob up to now? (BBC)

Game on. Or off? Or on? Or off?

Last episode, we saw Faisal (Amit Shah) gawk in horror at Joanna’s suggestion that they kill Rob. Now, however, the local pharmacist has warmed to the idea and has already hatched a plan. This Friday, he tells Joanna, “you’ll crush up three or four Diazepam” in Rob’s drink and wait for him to fall asleep. Once Rob is unconscious, Faisal will enter the house and inject air into his veins, killing him in under 15 seconds. After that, he’ll drive Rob out in his car to Huddersfield and leave him there – the suggestion being that he drove there in search of prostitutes, while Joanna was asleep at home.

The problem is that while Faisal is now enthusiastic about the potential murder, Joanna is having second thoughts. Should they kill him? Should they not? In her confusion, she lets slip that she had lied earlier about Rob knowing that Faisal was the one who supplied her with pills, which was the main reason Faisal had plotted the murder in the first place. Her lying, together with her indecisiveness – and an emasculating comment she makes about Faisal’s less-than-muscular figure – leads to disaster. Faisal, who has barely been holding it together as it is, cracks. He picks up a nearby rolling pin and beats Joanna to death. The only problem is, she’s not dead and he decides he has to finish the job off with a needle. Just as he’s about to finish up, Catherine calls Joanna and leaves a voicemail asking her to come into the station. Great timing. I’m sure Faisal is feeling really relaxed about the whole murder thing now.

On a side note, we also learn that given their limited funds, Faisal’s parents had to choose which son they would send to medical school. They chose to send his brother, leaving Faisal to pay his own way through education, so he could only afford four years to study pharmacology. “That’s why he has such a big chip on his shoulder,” explains his daughter to her sister.


Last week, we learnt that a woman was found dead after falling out of the window of her fourth floor flat. In tonight’s episode, we discover the victim is Danielle, a blind woman who lived in Elland with no family who was tricked into believing one of the gangsters working for the Knezevices was her boyfriend.

As Catherine suspected, the man – Yakov – was storing the mob’s money in Danielle’s flat until the penny dropped and things went awry. According to Ann, who is now working on the case with the CID (Criminal Investigation Apartment), Danielle was held hostage in her own flat for two to three weeks until it appears she died when trying to escape. As shown on the CCTV, Yakov does not go check on her but leaves in his Toyota with two rucksacks to an address in Queensbury – where the police now plan to arrest him.

Race to Yakov

With the assistance of Catherine’s team, the CID makes haste for Queensbury in the hopes of arresting Yakov. What they don’t know is that they aren’t the only ones looking for him.

Bloody-nosed Catherine in ‘Happy Valley’ (BBC)
Bloody-nosed Catherine in ‘Happy Valley’ (BBC)

Gang enforcers Matija (Jack Bandeira) and Ivan (Oliver Huntingdon) – the same ones who are blackmailing Faisal – are paid a visit from the mysterious Viktor (Anthony Flanagan) who delivers a bollocking. “The Chief knows what happened in the flat down at Elland,” he barks. “A woman dead, 70 grand left in a flat by a moron and the feds all over it.” The real surprise, however, comes when he asks the men why Yakov did not think to take any of the money with him when he fled. The audience, of course, know that Yakov did make away with some money (that’s what was in the rucksacks) and from the guilty expressions on Matija and Ivan’s faces, they know too – although they don’t let Viktor know that. Viktor orders them to kill Yakov before the police can get to him, and after putting up a (very tepid) fight, they get to it.

And so the race to Queensbury is on – and the police manage to get their first with Matija and Ivan nervously driving back and forth past the scene in their car. Evidently, they pass by a few too many times because they’ve caught the eye of Catherine, who is standing guard outside the house and duly makes note of their number plate.

Yakov has taken refuge in the attic and manages to crawl his way out to the street through another house. And he might’ve escaped, too, if it weren’t for Catherine who chases him down and arrests him, getting a bloody nose in the process. Gosh, she really does have to do everything herself, doesn’t she?

Happy Valley continues on BBC One next Sunday at 9pm.