Happy Valley season 1 (Netflix)

03 Jun

Having seen the first season, I do wonder how things will continue. The series profiles itself by saying the title is a wee bit ironic.
That’s not a lie.
Catherine Cawood (very well played by Sarah Lancashire) is a police sergeant, always on the go, with a heart for business. She will do whatever she can to help, but with firm talk.
Her colleague Kirsten McAskill (good play by Sophie Rundell, whom I swear to god looks so much like Emma Watson at times, it confused me. Rundell also played in The Bletchly Circle. Also ‘A Must See’) almost sees her as a motherfigure, and so do many, it seems.
Kirsten is a good worker, but a bit more easily intimidated, causing her to blink at times. She is a good friend and a good cop though.

But this first season is based on a fight that’s mostly a misunderstanding between two men.
Kevin Weatherill (well played by Steve Pemberton) is finding himself troubled after he has asked his boss Nevison Gallagher (awesome play by George Costigan) for a payraise and this is declined. You feel for Kevin, as you see his struggle to even ask such a thing.
Being the accountant of the company, Kevin finds he knows Nevison should be able to afford this. Nevison rather plays equal for all of his employers, but after a talk at home, his mind is changed. Not just because that’s the person he is, but since his wife Helen (Jill Baker) and daughter Ann (Charly Murphy) both think he’s a bastard for not agreeing to the proposed pay raise.
Unfortunately, by this time, Kevin has been visiting a friend of him, where Kevin finds out a bit more about this friend than he would ever have liked. However, given that Kevin is quite a desperate person at this moment, him and this friend come up with a plan for some ‘quick money’. Kevin tells his friend he knows Nevison has a daughter and should have a load of money. So why don’t they kidnap the daughter and extort Nevison for the money?
Everything goes different than Kevin had planned.

For starters, the money he needed, gets offered to him anyhow, while at the same time, Kevin receives a phonecall that the incredibly stupid plan he had, is being executed at that time.
It goes from bad to worse from that point. Kevin is not the kind of person to have nerves of steel. There’s times you wanna cut his balls off for showing no strength, to discover he hasn’t got any to begin with. It’s quite well played because of that, really.

Meanwhile, Catherine Cawood is in the middle of all this, unknown. She goes home to her sister (the strict but funny Siobhan Finneran, whom you know from Downton Abbey) who lives in the same house, Catherine has a grandson that starts acting up more violent every day and she has a son who no longer speaks to her, an ex-husband who can’t stop having one night stands with herself, and so on. They had a daughter who died and the reason why is the giving this season its main plot and makes it a soap all together. It’s entertaining in a dramatic way.

George Costigan and Jill Baker portray honest parents. The desperation one can read from their faces and the fear that comes along with a situation such as this, which you hope will never happen to you yourself.
Jill Baker and Sarah Lancashire together, along with Siobhan Finneran was quite a scene already, Sarah Lancashire with George Costigan in a later one was another stunner. The use of just eyes to bring a message across. Not many can do that so well. Costigan and Lancashire make it happen, even though it’s just a few seconds. That can be enough.

James Norton is a proper villain. Showing no remorse of any kind, showing no feelings or emotions for anyone but himself, he is a good at torture in every sense. He doesn’t respect any kind of authority and certainly has no boundaries for anything or anyone. You utterly feel for each and every one of his victims, good or bad.

Catherine Cawood is not a woman to mess around with, something I highly appreciate about this series. A proper superhero, if you will. She is the one with rational superpowers.
The moment where she truly helps the ones surrounding her are nothing short of raw emotion. You really feel your own adrenaline kick up. You’re with her in that room or wherever she might be and everything she feels, you feel. The injustice, the victory, it’s really there.
Also, they’ve done a great job with cliffhangers at the end of episodes, and starting the new one.

I had never heard of Sarah Lancashire or George Costigan before this. Time to change that!

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Posted by on June 3, 2016 in Opinion, series


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