Happy Valley Season 3 Review (SPOILER FREE): A Bittersweet Return

happy valley series 3 might return after six long years, but once you see Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) strutting across the screen – in a muddy tank investigating an abandoned body – it feels like no time has not elapsed.

Lancashire’s picture-perfect portrayal of Catherine is still world-weary but caring, sarcastic but sincere and savvy in the face of stupidity, as evidenced once again by the opening scenes, which see her effortlessly disarm CSI detectives with grace. to his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Yorkshire criminal. past.

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Her closing line – “Twats” – left the first screening in rapture celebrating what is easily one of the best female characters in TV history, and best of all, very British. The only downside is that these final six episodes, which begin on New Year’s Day, will be the last in the series, a prospect almost as terrifying as Tommy Lee Royce – because happy valley the third series is brighter than ever.

Designer Sally Wainwright told the BBC: “The intention developed through the conversations I had with Sarah [Lancashire] make it a triptych, make it a trilogy. We always said it would be the last season and it is most definitely the last season.”

james norton, happy valley season 3

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The show features all the main cast members who made the two original series such a hit, everyone getting a peek during the hour-long premiere, along with smooth developments of their individual stories, masterfully intertwined , as always, in a natural disposable. dialogues or shots by designer Sally Wainwright.

Indeed, the characters are exactly where we left them six years ago, albeit happier, a surprise both to audiences and to Catherine and her sister Clare, whom they notice to be woefully unusual during the movie. Ryan’s birthday. Admittedly, the first two series could at times be an exercise in disbelief as to the pain a person might suffer – all within a week.

mollie winnard, sarah lancashire, happy valley season 3

BBC / POV / Matt Squire

Catherine looks at her upcoming retirement plans, meanwhile, predictably, Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) has slept with Catherine’s son, Daniel Cawood (Karl Davies), while her sister Clare Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran) is still with a seemingly stable boyfriend, Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neill). (Although the recap of his alcoholic breakdown at the start of the episode makes it unlikely that it lasts long.)

Catherine’s ex-husband Richard Cawood (Derek Riddell) enjoyed a strong relationship with Ryan (Rhys Connah), the same young actor returning to the role, now 16 with a newly broken voice and angsty teenage side. But Connah plays the role believable and has always handled the show’s heavy plot lines solidly and with surprising nuance for such a young actor.

rhys connah, happy valley season 3

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Sure, happy valley would be nothing without its most unfortunate resident, Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), who returns with another new haircut, this time channeling the big Charles Manson vibes.

Norton is just as calculating and vicious as ever, and you can sense his malevolence throughout his few scenes when he’s pulled over for questioning around that body in the tank.

The episode’s larger crime storylines tie into the show’s core interpersonal relationships, as always, and there’s a genuine thread running right back to the first series. A simple and rewarding badge of quality than other BBC drama heavyweights such as Course of action and Kill Eve had difficulty landing.

amit shah, joseph palmer, happy valley season 3

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Ryan’s teacher, played by Trigger points Mark Stanley, is a bastard even beyond the classroom, and it’s clear he and another new character could fill the first clueless criminal role we’ve seen play with Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) and Detective John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle) in series one and two respectively.

Overall, the happy valley the series three premiere does everything you’d expect from a revival, especially after so long. We’re naturally updated with everyone we know and love while being moved through many new storylines, which evolve into web-like plotlines with those we know and hate.

Meanwhile, new characters fit authentically into the existing world and give Catherine a chance to shine with her unique brand of tough-but-fair policing.

brand stanley, happy valley season 3

BBC / POV / Matt Squire

Eight years later Happy Valley’s launch, there was a lot of discussion about behavior, funding, fairness, and policing biases. Still, Sarah Lancashire’s Catherine Cawood remains the ideal rose-tinted British bobby you’d want to appear for you.

It’s inevitable that his final months before retirement will be generally dark, but the show does a better job than ever of integrating the levity and love that makes tragedy feel deserved and, more importantly, realistic.

happy valley Series Three returns, 9pm, New Years Day on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The first two series of happy valley are available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.

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