Happy Valley S2 E3 begins with Sgt. Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) talking to a therapist (David Crellin). She either has to get help or retire. Catherine chooses to fill the silence in the therapist’s office with shite.
There will be some unavoidable spoilers in this overview.
Catherine is burning with anger. Everyone near her feels the heat. She’s mad at her son Daniel (Karl Davies) for cheating on his wife. She’s mad at her sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran) for getting drunk and blaming it on Catherine. She’s mad at her grandson Ryan (Rhys Connah) for getting in trouble at school again. She’s mad at CID and Jodie Shackleton (Katherine Kelly) for investigating her as a serial murderer. She’s mad at Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) for existing.
Catherine admits to the therapist that she’s sad. She won’t admit to her anger. She doesn’t tell him the truth about why she didn’t finish off Tommy when she had him sick and helpless on the floor of a narrow boat.
I cannot talk about John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle) without huge spoilers. In the last episode he strangled his mistress Vicky (Amelia Bullmore). He didn’t intend to kill her, but he did. We learn in this episode that he mutilated her with a broken bottle so she’d look like she was killed by the serial killer. He burned her apartment. He put her body in an out of the way location to be found.
When she’s found, she is declared a victim of the serial killer, as John hoped. Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) figures out the connection between the fire in Rippondon and the identity of the murdered woman. Vicky’s not a prostitute and doesn’t fit the profile of the serial killer. So far, nobody is worried about this.
John Wadsworth is on the serial killer case and is very jumpy and distracted about everything. He found his wife Amanda (Julie Hesmondhalgh) shagging someone in his bed. He’s furious with her for doing exactly what he was doing.
Joyce (Ishia Bennison) takes Catherine out for dinner. They talk about the therapy sessions. Catherine tells her the truth about why she didn’t kill Tommy.
Joyce offers to try to find out from others around the station if they know what Catherine was doing on the days the prostitutes were killed. Catherine finally gets cleared by this.
Joyce reveals that Catherine has nicknames within the department.
There’s some comic relief in Catherine’s efforts to learn her nicknames from both Joyce and Ann. Neither will tell. I have it on good authority that the nicknames are Brunhilde and Miss Trunchbull. Shh, don’t tell Catherine.
Amid conversation about how Clare’s fella Neil (Con O’Neill) is spending the night but is afraid of Catherine, Clare mentions in passing that the reading aid at Ryan’s school was asking him about his dad.
Ryan apparently unloaded his whole life story on Frances. When she tells it all to Tommy, he emphasizes how much they need to get Ryan away from Catherine. And how much they need to get rid of Catherine. He’s using every emotional trick he can conjure to convince her to do what he wants.
When Ilinka (Ivana Bašić) was rescued from sex slavery, Catherine arrested a man – after she tasered him in the family jewels. He was charged with all sorts of crimes for holding the women captive. Inexplicably, he is suddenly released on bond.
Catherine and Ann go investigate what initially looks like a suicide. It’s the man Catherine tasered. Ilinka and Winnie (Angela Pleasence) think the Knezevics got him released so they could murder him. They think the Knezevics didn’t want him talking about the sex slave trade in the Calder Valley.
Our favorite police officer is now cleared as a serial killer. Catherine may be able to investigate the murders at long last.
John is a wreck. He even has a wreck because he’s distracted. Kevin Doyle is perfect in this part. Speaking of perfect, Ivana Bašić and Angela Pleasence are the picture of chemistry between actors.
I wish there was a way to capture with words some of the anger, sadness and pain in Sarah Lancashire’s portrayal of Catherine. She creates an electrifying performance with her eyes, the set of her jaw, and a slouch. This is a great cast. Everyone does their job well. Somewhere above that is Sarah Lancashire, who is simply brilliant.