What with two murders, an off duty female PCSO bonking some random guy outside a nightclub and Sargent Cawood doing her best Karate Kid impression as she apprehended her sister’s drunken boyfriend, you could therefore say Happy Valley was a rather eventual watch last night. It felt like every scene mattered and had an intensive purpose. It was like bonfire night with the narrative being a Catherine wheel that just kept spinning and spinning, revealing more and more to us. Yet again it was drama of the highest quality.
Things got very dramatic very early on when character Sean Balmforth was charged for murdering four women(the prostitute serial killer) . His emotive pleas of innocence made me realise though that he probably was not guilty after all. You damn well knew he was not guilty after we witnessed DC John Wadsworth travelling home in his car all jovial, thinking that he had finally got away with the murder of his ex lover Vicky Fleming. His face was a picture when Catherine Cawood informed him at the police station that it looked like they had arrested the wrong man. John was therefore no longer off the hook, his amusing to watch blissful state of happiness had been extremely short lived.
With Balmforth no longer seen as the killer after a new murder had taken place whilst he had been held at the station for questioning, the narrative took on this sort of brilliant Catherine wheel style effect. I was watching and thinking ‘Oh my Lord it’s Neil'(the new boyfriend of Clare’s), the one that has been sleeping with her at Catherine’s house. This was a brilliantly written red herring though by Sally Wainwright. Just as the shock of Neil being the killer was starting to sinking in the real culprit was then swiftly revealed to us. It turned out to be childlike character Darryl Garrs, the oddball farmer who in the previous episodes had been having trouble with the local louts in the town. He was subject to the right bang that came at the end of the episode from his female relative via a shotgun, believing Darryl was never going to be able to withstand or cope with prison life.
In all honesty, I found Darryl being the murderer a tad disappointing. I say this with a note of caution though because it would not surprise me if it yet turned out to be really somebody else next week. I think it is Darryl though and to me it would have had a stronger impact if had been one of the other characters. Up to that point the town ‘oddball’ had only been on the periphery of things narrative wise, not really central to any of the action. Greater ramifications would have occurred if it had indeed been say Neil, as I am guessing most viewers like me thought it was for a brief moment. I also wondered that as well as murdering Vicky Fleming, we might get a shock and find out that DC John Wadsworth had killed the other women too. Who am I to tell Sally Wainwright how to write drama because she is a modern day storytelling genius in my eyes. Nevertheless, as the credits rolled last night I did think perhaps us finding out that Darryl was the killer did have a sort of an anti-climatic feel about it.
I also struggled to work out what relation Darryl was to the woman that killed him. I assumed she was his sister because of the small age gap between them however I am sure I heard him refer to her as ‘Mum’ or ‘Mam’ last night. Crazy casting if she was supposed to be his Mum because at the very most she only looked five years older than him. I take this criticism back though if I am getting things muddled up.
The rest of action focused on nutjob Frances manipulating Ryan, in terms of trying to get him to view his psycho Dad(Tommy Lee Royce) more sympathetically. In all the scenes that took place at Catherine’s house I thought the star performer in this episode was her son Daniel, played by Karl Davies. I just thought he excelled in the scenes that he had with both Anne Gallagher played Charlie Murphy and also Ryan(Rhys Connah). I thought Sally wrote him some great dialogue and he acted them really well. It ended up with Catherine finally finding out that it was Frances(the new classroom assistant) who had bought Ryan that expensive birthday gift which was supposedly from his Dad. This along with shots of Frances spying on them and practicing a series of chemistry experiments at her home, it all leads to a quite literally explosive finale next week.
As well as an explosive finish I have this funny feeling murderer DC John Wadsworth will escape justice and live to fight another day, well series. I reckon Sally will leave us wanting more and what better way than for us to see him get away with it for now. Personally, I would rather us see him get his comeuppance now, but I am struggling to see the likelihood of this happening with only sixty minutes left to air of the second series.
Last night episode five was riveting, captivating and also enthralling to watch. At the same time though I found myself waking up this morning and coming to the conclusion that although this second series has been brilliant so far, I do think the first series was just that bit better. It was more shocking for one thing, completely faultless television in my opinion. In this second series I am not sure I would have had character Darryl Garrs as my serial killer as I outlined in the above. Nevertheless, I look forward to watching the final episode next week, I wonder if creepy Frances will go out WITH A RIGHT BIG BANG TOO!! 4.5/5.