Happy Valley fans have been left speechless by the performances in the latest episode of the third and final series of the BBC crime drama.
Episode three aired on Sunday night, picking up where we left off with Sarah Lancashire’s Catherine Cawood confronting her sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran) after she discovered she was taking her grandson Ryan to visit his dad in prison.
A series of chilling confrontations followed, with fans praising the incredible performances and the writing by the show’s creator Sally Wainwright.
Lauded: Happy Valley fans have been left speechless by the performances in the latest episode of the third series of the BBC crime drama – pictured Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood
Episode three opened with Catherine confront her sister after following her and partner Neil to Sheffield, where she saw them escorting Ryan to the prison where his murderous father Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) is being held.
Viewers were left in awe as the two actresses spoke in hushed tones during the tense scene set in a bustling cafe.
Many compared the emotional performances to the two actress’ previous roles, with one viral tweet pointing out: ‘If these aren’t two of the best actors in the world tell me how it’s possible that this is Raquel from Coronation Street and Janice from Benidorm.’
Tense: Episode three opened with Catherine confronting her sister Clare (played by Siobhan Finneran, left) about her son Ryan’s prison visits to see his father
Give them all the awards: Viewers were left in awe as the two actresses spoke in hushed tones during the tense scene set in a bustling cafe
‘That was PHENOMENAL. 15 minutes of pure talent. Not one raised voice. Sarah and Siobhan absolutely gave everything during that and Sally gave them the most amazing material to work with.’
Another lauded scene came when Catherine spoke to grandson Ryan (Rhys Connah) about how his mother had died, with the emotional conversation punctuated by a moment of comedy when the grandmother enquired what he was having for his tea.
‘A drama about drug dealers, serial killers and money laundering but somehow this ends up being the absolute highlight of the episode,’ declared one fan.
Heart wrenching: Another lauded scene came when Catherine spoke to grandson Ryan (Rhys Connah) about how his mother had died
Stew: The emotional conversation was punctuated by a moment of comedy when the grandmother enquired what he was having for his tea – a scene praised by viewers
”What you ‘avin?” “Stew” “Be alright” interjected into the most heart wrenching tense conversation ever is why Sally Wainwright is top of her game and why Sarah Lancashire’s way of delivering her lines needs alllll the awards,’ agreed another.
‘The way Sarah Lancashire can flip between tragedy and comedy and back again in half a beat is genuinely incredible.
‘And it’s surely the result of an astonishing talent honed on Coronation Street,’ read another tweet.
Final season: The third episode of Happy Valley drew in an incredible 8.1million viewers at its peak on Sunday night with an average audience of 4.8million
Critics’ reviews of Happy Valley’s series three premiere
The Guardian‘s five-star review said: ‘From its impeccable acting talent to a writer who captures the female experience like no one else, this drama’s final series is as excellent as ever’
In The Telegraph‘s five-star review, critic Anita Singh said: ‘TV drama doesn’t get much better than this’
Despite four stars in The Independent, it was dubbed ‘one of British television’s greatest sagas’
The Daily Mail‘s Christopher Stevens commended James’ ‘superbly menacing’ performance as villain Tommy Lee Royce
The third episode of Happy Valley drew in an incredible 8.1million viewers at its peak on Sunday night with an average audience of 4.8million.
It took the top spot in the overnight ratings, beating fellow BBC drama Call The Midwife.
The multi-BAFTA-winning show returned for its third and final series on New Year’s Day, after a seven year break.
The first episode of the series saw Sarah’s character discover the remains of a gangland murder victim in a drained reservoir, sparking a chain of events leading back to her former nemesis and the father of her grandson Ryan.
Happy Valley was a big hit with audiences after first airing in 2014, winning a BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series, with a follow-up second series in 2016.
Its creator and writer Sally Wainwright has revealed she and her lead star Sarah were in agreement that the show should end on three series.
‘We made a definite decision that this was going to be the final season,’she told the Radio Times last week.
‘Just because it’s been successful, we weren’t going to let it drift on until it became a pale shadow of itself.’
Happy Valley continues on Sunday night at 9pm on BBC One.
Final outing: Happy Valley was a big hit with audiences after first airing in 2014, winning a BAFTA Award for Best Drama Series, with a follow-up second series in 2016