After the end of Happy Valley season 3 episode 3, many of us thought the episode would pick up right from the point of Faisal Bhatti (Amit Shah) deciding whether or not to inject Joanna (Mollie Winnard) with a lethal dose of thin air.


But instead, in the clever way that the series often leaves us guessing, we were left not really knowing when all would be revealed in the fourth episode.

As we saw Rob Hepworth (Mark Stanley) and his daughters come home, many of us were left holding our breath wondering if their youngest would find her mother dead in the kitchen. But actually, the house was empty.

Rob is confused but not enough to inform the police. When he listens back to their voicemails, though, he hears Catherine's (Sarah Lancashire) message and tries ringing Joanna again. We then see that her phone has been silenced and pushed under a counter in the kitchen.

Of course, everything pointed at Faisal having carried out something sinister. But what we didn't bank on were Faisal and Rob coming face to face in a fiery stand-off.

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After accidentally crashing into Faisal's car in the morning school run, Faisal slowly pulls up the handbrake in his car. "Stay in the car ladies," Faisal tells his daughters once he notices Rob in the car behind him.

Hilariously, one remarks: "Who's he calling 'ladies'?" The mood change is evident, his own daughters unable to recognise the man before them. He's gone from his usual bumbling self to a confrontational figure, stepping out of the car ready to take on Rob, it seems.

Rob, of course, is his usual hot-headed self, shouting, "What are you playing at?" before flinging in some not-so-subtle racism in the form of stating: "There are rules in this country, pal."

For someone who has been having an affair with Rob's wife, supplying her with drugs and has likely killed her, Faisal seems strangely calm. And it only hints at a wider plot, one that, at that point, only Faisal knows about.

Happy Valley S3
Joanna Hepworth (Mollie Winnard) and Faisal Bhatti (Amit Shah) in Happy Valley. ,Lookout Point,Matt Squire, BBC

As Rob gets increasingly more angry, Faisal asks him if he's alright. "Are your little girls alright? The little girls in your car?"

He continues: "We can show them that this can be dealt with amicably, properly, without aggression. This isn't that bad, it really isn't. At worst, it's inconvenient and it may affect your insurance premiums, but we can deal with it."

But the final question is one that sent shivers down our spines, as he asked Rob: "Is something else upsetting you?"

After Joanna's parents take matters into their own hands and inform the police that their daughter is missing, the investigating officer, DC Hayes (Andrew Tiernan) goes over to Rob's home to have a look around. It's then that we finally get our first glimpse of the garage since the previous episode.

Everything seems fine, clean and in order but as the officer talks, Rob's eyes dart to a suspicious suitcase propped up against the wall. Once the officer's gone, Rob then runs back in and tries to lift it up but it's too heavy. He eventually turns it on its side and opens it to find Joanna's dead body inside.

Is Rob going to be framed for Joanna's death?

Mark Stanley as Rob Hepworth and Andrew Tiernan as DC Hayes in Happy Valley
Mark Stanley as Rob Hepworth and Andrew Tiernan as DC Hayes in Happy Valley. BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire

Most likely, it seems. If you cast your mind back to the previous episode, Faisal had come into Joanna and Rob's home with shoe coverings so as not to leave any trace of his footprints.

He would have also likely disposed of the rolling pin, syringe and cleared up any blood or other traces of himself in the house. As for now, the wheels are most certainly in motion for Rob looking like prime suspect number one in Joanna's murder case.

Let's run through the facts.

Rob didn't immediately report Joanna missing, instead choosing to ring Catherine and enquire about his wife through her. This only alerted Catherine more, especially after she spoke with Joanna's parents.

"They've got the same suspicions about the husband that I had when I nicked her," Catherine tells Mike. "Coercive control, psychological abuse – she's only been missing since yesterday morning but we only have the husband's word for that."

We also learnt through Joanna's parents that Rob was actually a teacher at Joanna's school when she was a student. "She just started her A-Levels... next thing, he's wanting her to give it all up so that they can get married. We hoped she'd get in at university," Joanna's mother tells Catherine.

Ryan and his teacher Rob Hepworth in Happy Valley
Ryan and his teacher Rob Hepworth in Happy Valley BBC

Her parents also reveal that Rob never let Joanna take her diazepam, which she was prescribed for anxiety. Rob even later tells DC Hayes: "I think too many people take medication for self-diagnosed mental health issues when all they really need to do is get out the door and go for a run."

While in his home, Hayes also glances at the detailed weekly meal plan on the locked fridge. So, Rob's long-standing history of manipulation and coercive control is plain to see.

Add to that the very public argument between him and Faisal, which could lead to neighbours making statements about his state of mind at the time of Joanna's disappearance. Faisal was calm, Rob was highly strung and angry – who seems the more likely killer?

Let's not forget that the PE teacher also strangely confided in Ryan and told him about his marital troubles. So, if students are questioned, could the teenager come forward with what he knows?

The investigating officer finally states that they're going to look into Joanna's mobile phone records, which will most likely reveal that the phone is still in the house and could, once more, point the finger of suspicion at Rob.

While Rob is most definitely a villain in this series, he's not Joanna's killer. Even so, it's looking almost certain that Faisal has engineered this to see Rob taking the blame for Joanna's murder. It's the kind of case that, no matter if Rob immediately calls the police or not in the coming episodes, a lot of evidence points at him being responsible.

But will Faisal's master plan be pulled off without a hitch? We'll just have to wait and see.

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Happy Valley season 3 continues on Sunday at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The first two seasons are available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.

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