Warning: This article contains spoilers for Happy Valley series three.
We can’t quite believe we’re saying it, but Sally Wainwright’s acclaimed crime series Happy Valley is set to have its last ever episode on the BBC on Sunday night, with Sarah Lancashire’s no-nonsense copper Catherine Cawood confronting twisted psychopath Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) one final time.
This third series, which comes seven years after the previous batch of episodes, saw Sgt Cawood approach retirement only to find Royce – who sexually assaulted her daughter Becky, who then died by suicide after giving birth to her grandson, Ryan – is continuing to cause problems.
Episodes which have already aired on the Beeb have seen him transferred to a Sheffield prison, meet several times with Ryan behind Cawood’s back (which she isn’t too happy about now she’s found out) and appear in the dock, only to pull off a shocking escape from court and go on the run.
As if all that’s not enough, it’s looking likely that Ryan’s PE teacher Rob Hepworth is being framed for the murder of his wife, Joanna.
We’ve learned he’s been physically abusive towards her, but it’s actually local pharmacist Faisal who did the deed, as he’s under continuing pressure from both an organised crime group and the police.
The latter are investigating where exactly Joanna got a supply of the prescription drug diazepam from, and the answer is Faisal.
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So, it’s all going on. And with the grand finale’s synopsis detailing a “moral dilemma” for Ryan and “scores [being] settled for good on Catherine’s final shift”, there’s a whole load of unanswered questions waiting to be resolved in the special 68-minute episode (yep, we get an extra eight minutes this week, how jammy).
1. Will Ryan go with Tommy to Marbella?
In the penultimate episode last week, we saw Royce lying low, having been offered a chance to flee the country and evade police capture out in Marbella.
The prolific criminal hopped on a voice chat with his biological son via his games console to run through the plan, which a now apprehensive Ryan – learning Royce is dangerous and responsible for the rape of his mother – says he’ll think about.
Fans are already speculating whether Ryan will finally see Royce for the psychopath that he is, and may well lure his biological father into a trap where the police await him.
We do see him quizzed by officers about his last contact with Royce – so perhaps he’ll reveal all, and help organise a sting?
Royce is seen delivering a blow to someone off-camera in the trailer. Could he be angry at a Ryan who has betrayed him?
It would be pretty shocking if so, but not too surprising, considering Royce was all too happy to douse Ryan in a flammable liquid and threaten to set him on fire at the end of series one.
2. Will Faisal get found out?
Some of us are probably already expecting Hepworth to be wrongly done for wife Joanna’s murder – given Cawood and her colleagues are alert to the signs of his domestic abuse and coercive control. But, could there be a slip-up from pharmacist Faisal, which sees the suspicion to turn on him?
3. What does the fire in the field and the barn have to do with the final episode?
\u201cSeeing this picture lots so I\u2019m guessing the barn, the fire and the discarded bike, that\u2019s all to come \ud83d\ude33 #HappyValley\u201d— Sharyn (She/Her) (@Sharyn (She/Her)) 1675030163
Eagle-eyed viewers have noticed that the promotional poster for the series depicts Catherine, Ryan and Tommy, but also a bicycle which looks like the one Royce used to escape court, a fire in a field and a remote barn.
So what do all of these have to do with what’s in store?
Well, at the end of the last episode, we learned Ryan is hiding out at family friend Nevison Gallagher’s place for the time being, and that’s a pretty fancy rural residence. Could that be it? Could that be set alight?
Or, given Tommy is seen having a look around Catherine’s house in the trailer, and the series trailer sees Cawood raising a taser in her hallway, could he threaten to burn that to the ground?
4. What will happen to organised crime chief Darius Knežević?
Fellow baddie Darius Knežević might look and sound like a newbie in this third and final series, but if you cast your mind back to series one when thug Ashley Cowgill was shot dead just before he was about to go into witness protection for dishing the dirt, Knežević’s gang is considered by the police to be responsible for that grisly shooting.
This series, he’s been overseeing the work of two gang members who have been putting pressure on pharmacist Faisal, and in episode four, the pair were tasked with causing an altercation in court to create a distraction to allow for Tommy’s escape.
Did the police apprehend the pair after the assault? Given Catherine has already taken down their vehicle registration number after the duo were trying to deal with another problematic gang member (one who was later apprehended by Cawood), could she connect the dots and realise this is all connected to Knežević, and finally get her hands on him?
Not only that but with Catherine’s ex Richard driving off to interview Knežević about his political campaign, only for him not to show up, will the two finally meet? Could a tense encounter be around the corner for Richard?
5. Will Catherine fulfil her retirement dream and explore the Himalayas?
The teaser trailer for the final episode sees Cawood looking particularly distraught over something, and pretty worse for wear, too. Has someone died? Has Royce finally been apprehended again by the police? Has she lost Ryan or sister Clare?
So many questions, but hopefully this evening, we’ll get some answers.
The final episode of ‘Happy Valley’ airs on BBC One at 9pm on Sunday 5 February.
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