It's been a long old wait since 2014, but Happy Valley is back and we've already been thrown into the thick of the action.

Seeing Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) and Clare (Siobhan Finneran) sat outside, cup of tea and a fag in hand, chatting about Catherine's escapade with a not-quite-dead sheep was like being reunited with old friends.

But, of course, Happy Valley wouldn't be Happy Valley if everything stayed calm and sunny, and by the end of episode one, we had a serial killer, a creepy psycho-loving girlfriend stalking Ryan, a blackmail plot and a wronged colleague a la Weatherill in series one.

Here's what we learned from episode one:

Things don't stay quiet for long

Catherine (SARAH LANCASHIRE)
Catherine (SARAH LANCASHIRE)

"This is sheep rustling north Halifax style, so it's one sheep and three lads off their heads on acid." The scenes in which Catherine had to put a poor, mauled sheep out of its misery without traumatising the little old lady making her a brew were darkly comic, and a great start to the episode. Only when you're top cop Catherine Cawood, one jaunt to an estate to round up some lads nicking sheep from Ovenden leads to the discovery of a rotting corpse in a garage. And this isn't any old corpse — it's the body of Lynn Dewhurt, mother of drug-dealing kidnapper and murderer, Tommy Lee Royce. And we're off!

John's playing with fire

Vicky Fleming (AMELIA BULLMORE), John Wadsworth (KEVIN DOYLE)
Vicky Fleming (AMELIA BULLMORE), John Wadsworth (KEVIN DOYLE)

Elsewhere, Detective Sergeant John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle) abandons his wife Amanda (Julie Hesmondhalgh), who's battling with their sweary kids, to dash out to his mistress, who's decided to ambush him at home after he didn't return her calls. Vicky seems besotted, although the whole situation is just making John panic. "I love you," she told him from the car. "I will ring you," he replied. Ouch. The follow up phone call to say that actually, he didn't really want to carry on cheating on his wife with her went down about as well as could be expected... things definitely seemed to have the potential to go a bit Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction here.

Ann's a PCSO

Ann's got a new job — working with Catherine as a PCSO, or 'plastic police officer' as Shafiq (Shane Zaza) informed her. Her traumatic experience last series seems to have made her grow up — but she's still a little green for the mean streets of the Calder Valley, bemoaning the state of some of the houses. Still, she reads people well (being the first to suggest John Wadsworth was playing away) and Catherine trusts her — after all, she not only saved herself from the cellar last series, she saved a beaten Catherine too.

John Wadsworth (KEVIN DOYLE)
John Wadsworth (KEVIN DOYLE)

Tommy's found god... and a girlfriend

Tommy is banged up. Isn't that satisfying? He also seems to have found god in his isolation, with rosary beads hanging from his notice board (and was that cross tattoo on his neck always there?). There's a surprising number of personal letters on his desk. When the priest arrives to tell him (quite bluntly, too) that his mother has been murdered, we see a vulnerable side to him that it's hard to have sympathy for. Not nice when the shoe's on the other foot, is it?

Then, continuing the crazy, we see a luggage-dragging Frances Drummond (played oh-so-creepily by Shirley Henderson) arriving at King's Cross - to visit her new beau: Tommy. Ranting to her about his mother's death and how Cawood's ruined him, it was interesting to see the tables had turned for Royce. "She's ruined my life and she's untouchable," he cried. Funny, that — he did the same to Catherine.

Clare's met an old flame

Clare (SIOBHAN FINNERAN), Neil Ackroyd (CON O'NEILL)
Clare (SIOBHAN FINNERAN), Neil Ackroyd (CON O'NEILL)

That's the problem with living in small, rural-ish communities — you're only the turn of a corner away from someone you know, or someone from your past. Luckily, Clare seemed delighted to bump into Neil Ackroyd, who she'd once snogged after a school disco. They've made plans to go out, and seemed cosy enough in the kitchen — but why do I feel like Clare can't have something nice without there being some sinister consequence? Still, she's got Catherine to protect her. "I always was terrified of her," Neil said. As were most folk, I imagine!

Nevison's still the boss

Nevison Gallagher Enterprises has grown a bit! A new site and business seems to be booming. Except poor Nevison has got gobby employee Sean (Matthew Lewis) kicking off — and he has to sack him. "You churned up their garden with a seven tonne struck, do you expect them to come out and say thank you?" Quite.

Matthew Lewis plays Sean Balmforth
Matthew Lewis plays Sean Balmforth


Like he hasn't got enough stress — Helen was in the hospice, and sadly died before the episode was through. No doubt worried about his daughter entering the same police team where a young officer was killed, now he has to deal with his wife's death.
Which makes it all the more concerning that Sean had a Weatherill-esque air of revenge about him when he skulked out of the office to get his P45.

Catherine's a suspect

Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) and Jodie Shackleton (Katherine Kelly)
Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) and Jodie Shackleton (Katherine Kelly)

They say it's merely eliminating her from enquiries, but CID seem awfully keen to question Catherine on Lynn's death. How many of you could produce a detailed account of all your movements for a select time frame, six weeks ago? I barely remember what day it is sometimes. And the most frustrating part seemed to be that while they were concerned with Catherine, actual police work like warning the vulnerable street workers in Stonyroyd Lane fell by the wayside. So of course Catherine went maverick and did it herself. Cue Sean driving past, swigging vodka and speeding off when he saw Catherine.

Annette (KEELEY FORSYTH), Leonie (HEBE BEARDSALL), Catherine (SARAH LANCASHIRE)
Annette (KEELEY FORSYTH), Leonie (HEBE BEARDSALL), Catherine (SARAH LANCASHIRE)


Did he recognise her? She's been given a medal by the Queen, you can bet she's been in the papers — is that why he sped off? And was he planning just to buy some company, or were his intentions darker?

Daniel's come home

Also on the adultery train, apparently, is Daniel, who has been thrown out by Lucy for an alleged affair. Apparently since their child Daisy was born Lucy's lost the plot — but I'm not sure Daniel's the one being wronged here. It was nice to see his attitude to Ryan has dramatically improved — and hasn't Ryan grown! Still a bit of a cheeky sod, but a cute one. His questions on 'What's an alcoholink?' were adorable — and Daniel seemed to have learned a few things about speaking to children.

Ryan (RHYS CONNAH)
Ryan (RHYS CONNAH)

Hell hath no fury

Daniel may have been chucked out, but at least he's not in John's disaster of a situation. Turns out, quelle surprise, that Vicky wasn't happy for their TWO-YEAR affair to peter out, and had believed all along they'd run off into the sunset together.

He should never have met her at the pub (shout out for the Wills O'Nats pub in Meltham). After returning a toothbrush, a sock (where was the other one?) and, most importantly, his warrant card, John got an extra present in the form of a laced pint. "How do you know I'm not going to make like difficult for you?" she said, then laughed. Good grief.

Vicky Fleming (AMELIA BULLMORE)
Vicky Fleming (AMELIA BULLMORE)


Turns out her version of difficult involves drugging him, kidnapping him, taking pictures of him in a hotel room in women's lingerie and then blackmailing him for £1,000 a month to keep the pictures private. Calling herself 'Vicky from Forensics' when she spoke to oblivious Amanda was a nice touch. How exactly will John get out of this one unscathed?

Frances is watching

What has Tommy Lee Royce told deluded prison girlfriend Frances Drummond to do?! This is terrifying. After checking into the White Lion pub/hotel (can anyone tell me which one that is in real life?), Frances decides to stand eerily in the rain watching Ryan and Daniel through the window of Catherine's house.

Frances Drummond (Shirley Henderson)
Frances Drummond (Shirley Henderson)

Then the trailer for next week shows her chatting with him. Gulp. How does she get to him? What is she planning? Poor Ryan, will that kid ever be left to play football in piece?"

Sassy Catherine one-liner of the week

"I'm going to strangle a few more prostitutes and stick some bottles where the sun don't shine." Yeah, don't make Sarah a suspect, it doesn't bode well.

Questions for next week

What's creepy Sean going to do next? What on earth is Frances planning for Ryan?

Is Clare's old flame a bit shifty or am I just being mean? And will John deliver the blackmail money — or find another solution?

Same time next week — I can't wait.

Send your thoughts to Samantha.Gildea@trinitymirror.com

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