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Happy Valley ending: Does Sarah Lancashire’s character Catherine Cawood die?

Warning: HUGE spoilers ahead of Happy Valley season three episode six

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Emmy Griffiths
Emmy GriffithsTV & Film Editor
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After years, months and weeks of waiting, we finally have our conclusion to the third and final season of Happy Valley, and Sally Wainwright did not disappoint. For those who would love a recap of the gripping finale - or just can’t wait to watch on catch-up, here are the much-anticipated answers about what happened to our beloved Sergeant Catherine Cawood…

What happens in the Happy Valley finale?

While being moved, Tommy takes matters into his own hands by murdering the Knežević gangsters. Despite winning the knife fight, he is injured and goes to the only place he can think of that should have been empty - Catherine’s home. However, an exhausted and devastated Catherine is there too, taking a nap.

WATCH: What happened in the Happy Valley finale?

In a nail-biting sequence, Tommy and Catherine are in the same house unaware of each other’s presence, with Catherine leaving to collect Ryan at the exact moment Tommy opens a noisy door to their kitchen, with the pair missing one another by seconds.

After having a heart-to-heart with Ryan, Catherine reveals that she has realised she should never have been afraid of letting Ryan meet his biological father, as Ryan is a "happy, well-adjusted, pretty flipping normal kid," while reconciling with her sister, Claire.

sarah photo album© Photo: BBC

How terrifying was this moment?!

On Catherine’s final day on the job, she discovers that Tommy has been hiding in her home, and the pair have a stand-off for the last time. Tommy has overdosed and is dying, and Catherine manages to tell him exactly what she thinks of him, and how Ryan is nothing like him. Tommy realises that he doesn’t want anything bad to happen to Catherine, as she has given Ryan a normal, happy life - but he always does not want to go back to prison. He also tells her the truth about the Knežević murder for her to pass on the intel.

ryan cawood jacket© Photo: BBC

Ryan was in support of his granny

In a scene reminiscent of their encounter in the season one finale, Tommy pours petrol over himself and sets himself on fire - but this time, Catherine lets him. She manages to stifle the flames before the police and ambulances show up - and is overwhelmed with emotion upon leaving the house, leaning on her sister Claire.

catherine claire tea© Photo: BBC

Catherine and Claire reconcile

MORE: 6 Sarah Lancashire shows to watch if you love Happy Valley

MORE: Happy Valley viewers seriously divided by intense episode 5 moment

As such, on Catherine’s last day, her intel makes a dent in the Knežević operation, she has taken down Tommy Lee Royce once and for all, and she also passes on information about illegally sourced diazepam coming from Faisel - making him the new prime suspect in Joanna’s murder, while Mr Hepworth is arrested for possession of indecent images by means of blackmail.

faisel happy valley© Photo: BBC

The police are onto Faisel by the end of the finale

Does Catherine Cawood die?

No, she does not! In the final moments of the episode, Catherine takes her packed-up Land Rover to visit her daughter Becky’s grave before her trip, and while there, she receives a text that Tommy Lee Royce has died in hospital. Planting a kiss on her daughter’s gravestone, she dons a pair of sunglasses and heads back to her car, making the end of an era as a police sergeant.

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