The second season of Happy Valley takes place a few months after the previous season ended. Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) is in prison and Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) has returned to her beat. When the episode begins, Catherine and Clare (Siobhan Finneran) sit around and chat about Catherine’s day, which involved killing a wounded sheep. Meanwhile, John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle) has his own set of problems. His fling with Vicky Fleming is coming back to haunt him.
Vicky (Amelia Bullmore) gives John a good startle, when she stalks him outside of his home. John does his best, while attempting to prevent his wife, Amanda (Julie Hesmondhalgh) from learning the truth. Meanwhile, Catherine gets to the core of her story, as she admits to her sister that she discovered a dead body. Initially, she is unable to identify the victim, but later learns that it was none other than Royce’s mother, Lynne Dewhurst. On the flip side, things seem to be looking up for Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy). She has now joined the police force and begins working alongside Shafiq Shah (Shane Zaza).
While John seems to be losing it and daydreams at work, Andy Shepherd (Vincent Franklin) tasks Mike Taylor (Rick Warden) and his comrades with investigating the murder scene. On his way out, Mike informs Catherine about the victim’s identity and confirms that HMIT will most likely want to speak with her regarding the case. Meanwhile, a priest is brought in to break the new to Tommy. He learns that the body had been strangled and sexually assaulted. Tommy learns that he will be questioned by detectives regarding the crime and he immediately begins pointing his finger in Catherine’s direction.
Meanwhile, Clare runs into an old friend, Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neill). Their pair agrees to sit down and chat at a later time. Later, Wadsworth makes contact with Vicky and arranges to meet her at a later time. Next, Sean Balmforth (Matthew Lewis) is reprimanded at work and seems to fly off of the handle. Next, Catherine is questioned by Detective Inspector Jodie Shackleton. She admits that she left several threatening voice messages on Lynne’s phone, but denies the murder. Catherine is told to go home and obtain enough information to provide her with an alibi. Outside, Catherine runs into Ann and is told that Lynne was sexually assaulted with a broken bottle.
Clare and Neil share a drink at home, before Catherine interrupts. Neil goes about his way and Catherine breaks down to Clare and seems genuinely shocked that the HMIT would accuse her of the murder. Meanwhile, John heads to the club and meets with Vicky. He tells her he wants to end the relationship, drinks some alcohol and retrieves a few personal belongings. Moments later, he becomes groggy and Vicky is forced to escort him out of the establishment. Back at home, Daniel Cawood (Karl Davies) speaks with his mother and admits he has been sleeping in a motel and has been fighting with his significant other.
John passes out in the car, wakes up in a motel and passes back out. When he finally awakes, he is back in his vehicle. Meanwhile, a stranger, Frances Drummond (Shirley Henderson) arrives in town. She immediately pays a visit to Tommy and learns about his suspicions regarding Catherine being responsible for his mother’s death. He insists Catherine is untouchable and will not be punished for the crime. Catherine returns to work and speaks with Mike about the investigation. She is once again told to obtain enough information to make an alibi. She also learns that a serial killer is being blamed for the murder. Meanwhile, Alison Garrs (Susan Lynch) arrives and confronts Catherine about putting down her sheep.
Alison tells Catherine about Daryl (Robert Emms), who has been beaten. She blames Catherine, since she previously let the attackers off with a warning. Afterwards, Catherine meets with two street walkers and provides them with some food. She tells them about the potential serial killer, who is now being blamed for Lynne’s death. Meanwhile, Daniel spends time with his little brother, Ryan (Rhys Connah), and tells him about his significant other and her alcohol problems. John returns home and speaks with his wife, before receiving a call and being interrupted by Vicky.
Afterwards, Frances checks into her motel room for the night. Vicky tells John to check the pictures on his cell phone. He does and discovers that he is being blackmailed. Vicky dressed him in drag at the motel and produced incriminating photographs. As the episode comes to an end, Frances is shown watching Daniel and Ryan outside of the Cawood home.
Happy Valley Review
Man, it is nice to see Happy Valley back and the opener did not disappoint. There was a lot going on, yet everything managed to flow together seamlessly. First and foremost, Catherine is being accused of murdering Tommy’s mother, which certainly isn’t true. Could it be a serial killer? Second, Tommy doesn’t care and will blame Catherine regardless. He seems to have enlisted the assistance of Frances and will likely con her into doing his dirty work.
And finally, John Wadsworth has a lot of trouble on his hands. What will Vicky do to him now? All in all, the episode was gripping and well paced. An 8 out of 10 is deserved.