Happy Valley Didn’t Stick The Landing

Bob Mayer
2 min readJun 27, 2023


Happy Valley

I’ve enjoyed all three seasons of Happy Valley. Great characters and fast-paced storytelling.

Spoiler alerts ahead.

The only small gripe was the fact the plots relied HEAVILY on coincidence. To an extent that really, really, stretched credulity. But that was okay because the emotional impact of the stories allowed one to suspend disbelief.

But that flaw came to the forefront in the season 3 finale. It felt wooden and as if boxes were being checked off. Yes, we resolve the main issue of Tommy Lee Royce. But, oh yeah, that drug dealer guy, let’s tick him off in an aside that comes from a very convenient finding of some pills at the beginning of the episode that just happened to get dropped and only found by Cawood. And she literally does it on the way out the door.

The part that didn’t work for me, after all the great writing, was the long back and forth between Cawood and Tommy Lee Royce. It made little sense and totally broke character for him. He’s a psychopath. For him to suddenly have feelings, even messed up ones, didn’t click. And it sure took her people a LONG time to get there when she sent the alert. Long enough for the chatting back and forth. And really? A taser doesn’t work if you’re doused in gasoline? It was a good loop back to episode 1 of season 1, that is true.

Even the very end, where she’s going to drive off in her Land Rover didn’t feel right. Yes, she bought it earlier, but we never really knew WHY she was so keen on driving off in it. To get away? To get to something? To camp? To see Europe? Is she leaving Ryan with Clare? And she never really forgives Clare after 4th Stepping her pretty brutally.

The entire pills/murder subplot could have been dropped and we would have lost nothing. There could have been more focus on the key characters.

Despite all that, it is an excellent series and highly recommended.

Just being a picky grouch.

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Bob Mayer

West Point grad; Special Ops Vet; NY Times bestseller of over 80 books; for free books and over 200 free downloadable slideshows go to www.bobmayer.com