Written by Hannah Dunleavy


Happy Talk

As Happy Valley reaches its fourth episode, Hannah Dunleavy will be checking her sandwich bags extra carefully from now on. Contains SPOILERS.

Catherine (Sarah Lancashire): "TV's most magnificent beast". Photos: Ben Blackall/Red Productions.

Catherine (Sarah Lancashire): “TV’s most magnificent beast”. Photos: Ben Blackall/Red Productions.

What’s in the box? What’s in the box?

Well, that was all unbearably tense as the Cawood family came to the slow realisation that the Scalextric was from Tommy Lee Royce, or rather Frances, although the effect is much the same. There was such a sense of doom, I was half expecting Gwyneth Paltrow’s noggin to emerge.

Despite being at the centre of everything, it seemed this episode was less about Catherine and more about adding some light to shade for other characters – most obviously Frances and Neil.

However, that cold opener, the splendid dressing down she gave the Special Constables and the pep talk she gave the woman who wants to quit, have ensured Sarah Lancashire continues to hold the title of TV’s most magnificent beast.

Groupie think

I’ve not yet had cause to try to corrupt a young mind, but Frances’s plan seems pretty smart. That said, explaining it to Tommy – who is so angry his neck looks like it has architecture – using phrases like “subtly undermine” and “slow process” was a mistake. It might as well have come with a Powerpoint presentation. He’s more an act first, think at Her Majesty’s pleasure kind of guy.

Frances (Shirley Henderson) and Tommy (James Norton): a match made in hell?

Frances (Shirley Henderson) and Tommy (James Norton): a match made in hell?

It was a good episode for Henderson, who got to do a bit more than be straight-up unnerving, although whether that flash of rationality is now gone remains to be seen.

Probably from behind a cushion.

Meanwhile, at the building society

I was right about Vicky being the start of Neil’s woes – his inability to keep it in his pants notwithstanding. It seems she had a particular MO, which sent me on a brief flight of fancy that she might be responsible for the other women’s deaths. Still, I was right about the affair. Win!

The prick with the brick

John shocked us all by writing something down in the team briefing. (It’s out of character shit like that will get you caught mate.) This week was an emotional rollercoaster for him, as he bounced wildly between thinking, “I could not have done a better job of faking that serial killing” and “Oh fuck, I’m done.” Nice work Kevin Doyle.

Hammer time

Who knows what’s going on at the farm? No really, who knows? Things aren’t getting better for Darrell (the best thing he’s got going for him is that funky – probably in more ways than one – jumper) but I’ve still no idea where this is going. Although, I’m pretty sure there’s going to be an irony in his mother’s statement about his car: “You could have hit someone.”

Small things mean a lot

It’s the tiny stuff that never fails to delight with this programme: Catherine taking notes on a torn open fag packet, Claire’s gift of a football (to be kicked up Winnie’s wall) and the teenage fashion with which Neil has his arm around Claire on the sofa. Why, oh why would you want The Night Manager when you can have this?

The big questions

Jeez, they’ve jazzed EastEnders ads up, although to be fair, I haven’t seen it since Arthur stole the Christmas Club money. Was it to pay for those previews?

Ann’s got to be upset about something other than John standing her up. Surely? Surely?

Was that a baguette bag Ann put the hammer in? I trust this series implicitly, so I can only assume evidence bags do, in fact, look like supermarket baked goods bags. In which case it’s no wonder so much evidence goes missing.

How am I going to continue with the lighthearted with all this going on? Fingers crossed for speed-dating with Nevison Gallagher.



Catch up on Happy Valley via BBC iPlayer here.

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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.