Happy Valley Season 1 Episode 4 step outline

SPOILER ALERT and CONTENT WARNING: references to suicide and sexual violence

I found Episode 4 more difficult to decipher the act breaks. I’ll explain why later. But let’s crack on and analyse the structure relating to the 4 storylines.

Before we start I have to admit I have missed a trick. There have been moments throughout the series where Catherine hallucinates her daughter’s suicide. This reflection on how this past trauma has affected her ‘mental health’ perhaps deserves its own colour code, or could be RED with the A story of the trilogy, considering it is connected to the A story of the trilogy: Catherine / Ryan V Tommy Lee Royce. I will have to analyse this thread in a separate post.

The colour codes are same as in the previous post.

Let’s begin.

So, Act 1 is dedicated completely to the A story (season) – Ann’s kidnapping.

Scene 12 seems to make sense for the act break if the act breaks in this episode revolve around the journey and rescue of kidnapping victim Ann.

Act 2 opens with Richard excitedly teaching a bemused Catherine all about the drugs trade – pointing to C story: police/drugs/corruption.

Next we’re into the A story of the season for a 3 minute scene where Catherine quizzes Ashley about the house. She also asks him if he has heard of Tommy Lee Royce, so actually scene 14 could also be RED, as Catherine is referencing her main antagonist – Lee Royce.

The following 3 scenes 15/16/17 – a 4 minute sequence – are solely focused on A story for the trilogy as at this point Catherine has no idea Lee Royce is connected to the kidnapping of Ann or the murder of Kirsty. As I said before, the hallucinating scene I included as A story for the trilogy as her daughter Becky killed herself on account of Lee Royce’s violent sexual assault.

The next 4 scenes, 18-21 are focused on the kidnapping.

I initially broke Act 2 after scene 18. However, I finally decided to break after scene 21 as it’s a harrowing scene when Helen tells Catherine that Ann has been kidnapped and breaking here means Act 3 will begin when D.I. Crabtree arrives from the National Crime Agency to question Helen and Nevison about the kidnap.

Act 3 opens with D.I Crabtree of the National Crime Agency arriving to interview Helen about the kidnapping.

The following scene Nevison arrives and explains that when the money is dropped they asked for the accountant, Kevin Weatherill. You can see the cogs in Catherine’s heads turning – superb thinking acting from Sarah Lancashire – as she remembers where she has heard the name Kevin Weatherill before. Actually, she didn’t hear it, but saw it, as she ran his number plate in the final scene of Episode 1 – which means the visual of Ep 1 was paid off with audio in Ep 4.

In Scene 24, Catherine visits Tommy Lee Royce’s mother. We might say that, although highlighted red for A story (trilogy) this scene is also A story (season) because Tommy Lee Royce is about to hide Ann there and it is the venue of the fight in the climax of the episode. However, at this moment, Ann is not yet there. He takes her there in scene 31 of Act 4. Scene 24 revolves around Ryan as Lee Royce’s mother asks Catherine if Ryan is Tommy’s son, which is the A story (trilogy). It is interesting to note that the location of this central scene of the episode foreshadows the location of the episode climax.

In Scenes 25 we’re back with D.I Crabtree giving instructions to Nevison and telling him that Kevin is a suspect.

Scene 26 is a little information about Catherine’s bio – we learn that she has been ‘back in uniform’ for 9 years. So actually, this scene needs its own colour code, as it relates to Catherine’s work history – the first time a scene has been dedicated fully to exposition about Catherine’s biography without being directly related to the two A stories.

Scene 27 shows Richard’s emotional arc for this season completing as he accepts Ryan as his grandson.

In Scene 28 Jenny is watching a news story on TV about Kirsty’s murder. Kevin snatches the remote control from her, turns the TV off, and tells her it was Ann’s kidnappers who killed her. I saw the act break broke here as it refers to Ann.

Act 4 gets much more entangled with story threads, with all 4 stories making an appearance.

We open with Clare telling Catherine the good news about Richard and Ryan. Catherine counters in the next scene with the bad news that Lee Royce’s mother knows Tommy is Ryan’s father – B story – family.

In Scene 31 Lee Royce brings Ann to his mother’s house and acts the most disturbing and creepiest scene of the season – A story (season).

Scene 32 brings us back to drugs and police corruption as Catherine’s Chief Super tells her, just as she wanted him to turn a blind eye at her illegal breaking and entry of the hostage house when she was looking for Tommy Lee Royce, so she should also turn a blind eye at the cocaine she found in Councillor Gascoine’s car. Quid pro quo – C story.

Scene 33 gives us the first direct confrontation between Catherine and Lee Royce in the street over Ryan – A story (trilogy).

Scene 34 – A story (trilogy) Catherine / Ryan V Tommy Lee Royce.

The final scene of the act brings us back to the season plot – the kidnapping of Ann.


So, Act 5 is a little simpler. No B or C stories, only the two A stories: season and trilogy.

The final scene sees Protagonist and Antagonist in actual, physical, violent combat – interweaving both A stories together with juicy expertise.

What do you think?

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