Happy Valley ending explained

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley.BBC

Happy Valley ended last night after three successful seasons on the BBC, but how did the finale play out, and what happened to villain Tommy Lee Royce?

Happy Valley is one of the BBC’s most successful and acclaimed dramas of the last decade. Created and written by Sally Wainwright, the show stars Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood, a West Yorkshire Police Sergeant coming to terms with the suicide of her daughter Becky.

Catherine believes Becky’s boyfriend Tommy Lee Royce (James Northam) was responsible for her death, and puts him away for other crimes in Season 1. In Season 2, Tommy manages to contact his son – and Catherine’s grandson – Ryan from prison, with precipitates the events of Season 3.

Article continues after ad

Over the course of the last six weeks, we’ve learned that Ryan has secretly been visiting Tommy in prison, which in part inspires Tommy to escape. That storyline climaxes in dramatic fashion during the sixth and final episode of the series.

What happens at the end of Happy Valley?

During his laboured efforts to avoid capture while on the run, Tommy Lee Royce is stabbed, but manages to make it to Catherine’s house, carrying a can of petrol. He considers torching the place, but seeing happy pictures of Ryan in a photo album, he thinks better of it. And begins to question everything he thought about sworn enemy Catherine.

Article continues after ad

Tommy then swallows a fistful or pills, just as Catherine arrives home. She threatens him with a taser, and the pair argue about what happened to Becky. Tommy then pours petrol on himself.

“If you taser me, it won’t work – petrol doesn’t conduct electricity,” Tommy tells Catherine. “But you might well spark me off it you taser me. But then, oh yeah, you might get done. But then, believe it or not, I don’t want you to get done, you daft b*tch. I want you to be here with Ryan. So I’ll do it myself.”

Article continues after ad

Catherine tells him not to, but Tommy sets fire to himself. Meaning it wasn’t a gun, or even that knife, that killed the show’s overarching villain. Rather it was Tommy himself.

What’s next for Catherine Cawood?

This all happens on Catherine’s last day on the Force. In an emotional reunion, she reconnects with her sister, then returns to work to say farewell to her colleagues. But before she leaves, Catherine suggests they investigate local doctor Faisal Bhatti.

We know that Faisal killed Joanna Hepworth in a previous episode, so Catherine’s final act as an officer is to help solve that crime.

Article continues after ad

Catherine then heads to her daughter’s grave to say goodbye, receives the news that Tommy Lee Royce has died from his injuries, looks to the sky, and smiles.

With closure achieved, Catherine heads off on her long-planned road trip through the Himalayas. Jake Bugg’s ‘Trouble Town’ then kicks in, and Happy Valley ends.

That’s how Happy Valley Season 3 ended, but click here to find out if there will be a Season 4.

While for more TV info, check out the below hubs…

Invincible Season 2 | The Boys Season 4 | Stranger Things Season 5 | Succession Season 4 | Ted Lasso Season 3 | You Season 4 | The Witcher Season 3 | Rick and Morty Season 7 | Outer Banks Season 3 | Marvelous Mrs Maisel Season 5

Article continues after ad