Happy Valley, S1, E5

Siobhan Finneran and Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

Episode 5 of Happy Valley winds down a long road to recovery for Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire). The journey is as much mental as physical for Catherine, and it isn’t an easy trip. There are spoilers ahead.

Is she alive?
Is she alive?

We start out where we left off, with Catherine plonked on the street, Ann (Charlie Murphy) in the police car screaming, and none of the arriving police know what’s happening. By the time Ann explains the situation to the police officers, Tommy has found a back way out and is gone.

Clare and Daniel wait for hours
Clare and Daniel wait for hours

Clare (Siobhan Finneran) and Catherine’s son Daniel (Karl Davies) wait in the hospital for Clare to wake up after extensive surgery.

Kevin is arrested
Kevin is arrested

Kevin (Steve Pemberton) tries to lie his way out of everything. None of his lies check out and the evidence is against him He’s arrested by Phil Crabtree (Alan McKenna).

Ashley (Joe Armstrong) is arrested.

Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) and Lewis Whippey (Adam Long) are nowhere to be found.

Hiding out
Hiding out

Tommy and Lewis are hiding out together, in the grubby apartment of a friend. They watch the police talk about the case on television and stay hunkered down.

Richard picks up Ryan from school
Richard picks up Ryan from school

Richard steps up and takes care of Ryan while Catherine and Clare are both at the hospital.

Ann is home with her family
Ann is home with her family

Ann goes home.

Keeping you up to date
Keeping you up to date

Catherine slowly gets better. Phil informs her that Tommy and Lewis got away. She is extremely upset by this news. In her mind, she’d gotten Tommy and she is devastated that he isn’t in jail.

Don't tell my mother
Don’t tell my mother

While Catherine is still barely able to move, Ann comes to the hospital. Ann doesn’t want her mother to know she was raped. She wants her mother to die without ever knowing. (Her mother has liver cancer.) Before the trial begins, she wants Catherine to tell her father. Catherine says okay.

Her injuries, the news that Tommy is loose, and her still painful grief over her daughter combine to throw Catherine into a serious depression.

Still grappling with grief
Still grappling with grief

When Catherine is able to go home, she sits and stares at the walls, she visits the cemetery, she doesn’t want to do anything or talk to anyone. She’s paralyzed with depression.

You'd better start behaving properly!
You’d better start behaving properly!

Catherine turns against Ryan and is angry with him when he gets in trouble in school again and lies about it. She goes home angry. He trails after and comes in, throws a big red jug at her and calls her a bitch and a wanker.

Clare steps in and talks Ryan down but Catherine is flailing.

You weasel, you
You weasel, you

Kevin hasn’t done well in prison. He is attacked. He blames everyone else for his problems. It’s Nevison’s fault for not giving him a raise. It’s his wife’s fault for “encouraging” him. It certainly isn’t his fault any of this happened.

Ashley gets out
Ashley gets out

Ashley gets out because he squealed on all the drug operations up and down the line. His wife (Rachel Leskovac) is thoroughly pissed with him in the first place and when he tells her they have to go into the witness protection program she really gets upset.

Now who's defending Ryan
Now who’s defending Ryan

Richard asks to meet Catherine. She talks about not wanting Clare to do anything for her birthday. She hasn’t celebrated her birthday in 8 years. She says, “How can I celebrate my own existence when part of me is dead?” She talks about how she can’t stand to look at Ryan.

Now Richard defends Ryan. He talks about how much Catherine and Clare have loved him, blames his problems in school on dyslexia, and repeats and repeats that Ryan is nothing like Tommy Lee Royce.

Later Catherine talks with Phil Crabtree. He explains how much information they got from Ashley and what the case against Kevin is, how they are trying to find Tommy. Thinking about the case seems to wake up Catherine from a long slumber.

Okay, let's do something for my birthday
Okay, let’s do something for my birthday

She goes home, gives Clare a big hug.

Hugs
Hugs

She goes to Ryan’s room and gives him a big hug. She’s on her way back to normalcy.

In the apartment where Tommy and Lewis are hiding, Tommy slits Lewis’ throat because he knows Lewis wants to go to the police. Lewis manages to stick a knife in Tommy and hurt him badly before he dies. When the friend who rents the apartment gets home, Tommy kills him, too.

Just a nerdy guy with a book
Just a nerdy guy with a book

Tommy goes out in search of bandages and painkillers and gets the idea to disguise himself with glasses and a book so he looks harmless. Even old ladies speak to him on the street he blends in so well.

Some Thoughts

Tommy continues to murder everyone who comes within his reach. Catherine only has one episode left to catch him. Can she do it?

The best stories are about about character, and we see that play out in this episode. Catherine’s reaction to stress, grief, danger, worry, and the physical assault she has to heal from slow her to almost a dead halt. We see how she inches along, how she suffers, how she heals. She doesn’t leap from her bed and go back to fighting crime. I’m glad we get to witness this important part of Catherine’s journey. So many women live through such quiet struggles and find the strength to survive them. It’s wonderful to see it on the screen in such a powerfully told way.

I want to celebrate what a nuanced and skilled actress Sarah Lancashire is. This is a great cast full of very good actors. Even in this crowd, Sarah is so outstanding at what she does. Stellar. It probably isn’t allowed for her to be nominated for a BAFTA for series 1 of Happy Valley and series 2 of Last Tango in Halifax in the same year, but she deserves it. (I’m also hoping to see Nicola Walker get recognized for her work in series 2 of Last Tango in Halifax. Aack! Hard to pick a favorite.)

All images from Happy Valley © Red Production Co.

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