‘Best ending ever’: Happy Valley fans praise ‘absolute perfection’ of grand finale

*This article contains major spoilers*

Ellie Harrison
Tuesday 07 February 2023 10:54 GMT
Happy Valley final episode trailer

After nine years, 18 episodes and a lot of effing and blinding, Happy Valley aired its fiery, heart-squeezing finale last night (5 February).

*Warning: this article contains spoilers*

Following Tommy Lee Royce’s (James Norton) escape from prison, the scheming villain and Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) had their long anticipated showdown in her kitchen.

“I forgive you,” Tommy told her. “You forgive me?” she spat back, her taser pointed at his chest.

After an agonising face-to-face (summarised in full here), Tommy poured petrol over himself and lit a match, signalling the end of the years-long reign of terror he had over Catherine and her family.

She was later notified of his death via a text that simply read: “TLR dead.”

Fans of the show have called the finale “absolute perfection”.

Writer Terri White tweeted: “Absolute perfection. Every word. Every breath… The way Sally Wainwright writes villains and victims is entirely radical. And every single breathless plaudit is deserved and still not enough.”

Another fan wrote: “I love that the evil men’s fates didn’t even need to be shown. Darius? Busted off-screen. Faisal? Arrested off-screen. That Hepworth prick? Charged off-screen. And Tommy Lee Royce? Tried to die on-screen but ultimately bumped off via text. Glorious.”

Entertainment writer Scott Bryan posted: “That was one of the greatest television finales of all. #HappyValley was also one of the greatest television series ever made. Faultless.”

“I hope the success of Happy Valley means there are currently loads of dramas being commissioned with 50-something women as the protagonists, especially if they aren’t always completely likeable characters,” shared journalist Rosamund Urwin. “Sarah Lancashire is just stellar.”

One fan working in the industry posted: “Working in film and TV I have heard producers say repeatedly no one wants women 40+ in lead, no one wants to fund regional female voices, no one wants to hear women be vulgar and swear. #HappyValley has proven every f***ing one wrong. Viva La Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire.”

Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee tweeted: “That was incredible. I am in actual bits. Slán #Happyvalley. What a character. What a show.”

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“Can’t stop laughing imagining an American watching that Happy Valley finale,” wrote another fan. “Not a gun in sight and two people screaming ‘you prick’ at each other over a kitchen table. Incredible.”

Another said: “I already feel sorry for any drama or actress up against Happy Valley and Sarah Lancashire at next year’s Baftas. Forget it. It’s over. You haven’t got a chance.”

While one asked: “Does that series get made – and get made like that – by anyone but the BBC? I’d say not. It got to take its time, spreading its three seasons over almost a decade. It got to come back when it was time. And it got to end on its own terms. That’s why we need the BBC.”

Read The Independent’s full recap of the final episode here.

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