Warning: This article contains spoilers for the finale of Happy Valley.


With the third and final season of Happy Valley having drawn to a close now, so to does the subplot that's kept many of us on the edge of our seats.

The previous fifth episode saw Rob Hepworth (Mark Stanley) questioned about the murder of his wife Joanna. We of course knew it was Faisal Bhatti (Amit Shah) who had committed the atrocious crime, but in a weird way, many thought it was a type of justice for Joanna's long-time abuser and husband.

It turns out that although Rob has definitely been a series villain, there was no guessing how much of a totally awful character and criminal he actually is. Read on to find out how Happy Valley delivered the shocking twist about Rob Hepworth.

What happened to Rob in the Happy Valley finale?

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

Detective Superintendent Andy Shepherd (Vincent Franklin) reveals to his team that Joanna's post-mortem examination revealed extensive past injuries that hadn't been reported. "A fractured hip, fractured radial bone, broken ribs. Looks to me like this fella's been knocking her about all over the house for years," he says.

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Later in the questioning, we learn that Rob has been having an affair with Abigail Oats, a fellow teacher at the school. If you cast your mind back to the first episode of season 3, Ryan (Rhys Connah) makes a joke about Rob "having his oats in the morning", hinting at school-wide rumours of the affair.

The police had spoken to Abigail and she told them that their 15-month affair had led to Rob saying that "life would be so much simpler if Joanna didn't exist". He goes on to deny attacking Joanna and chooses not to answer when asked about physically abusing her. "I'm not a violent person normally," he says - but we know that's not true.

Bloody fingerprints are found in the house, matching Rob's middle finger and possibly pointing to his involvement in her murder. At the start of the finale, it's certainly looking more than likely that Rob could actually go down for Joanna's murder.

While much of the series's final episode understandably revolves around Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) and Tommy (James Norton), in the end scenes we learn about Rob's fate.

When Catherine asks Andy whether Rob's been charged yet, he says that Rob has been - "but not for Joanna, though". He says: "We found indecent images on his phone. Turns out he was blackmailing a lad at school to send them to him."

Ryan and his teacher Rob Hepworth in Happy Valley
Ryan (Rhys Connah) and his teacher Rob Hepworth (Mark Stanley) in Happy Valley. BBC

The revelation that Rob is a paedophile is one that certainly does come as a surprise, but then again, the warning signs have been there throughout this season. For instance, when we learnt that Rob had met Joanna and formed a relationship with her when he taught at her school.

Also, the scene between Ryan and Rob in episode 3 was heartwarming at the time and we thought both characters were turning a new leaf in regards to facing their own emotions and trying to mend broken bridges. However, Rob's lingering stare at Ryan afterwards has a new, sinister meaning now.

Could Ryan have possibly been his next intended victim? We'll never know, and thank goodness for it.

Joanna did initially mention that Rob always had to have a student that he doted on, telling Faisal in episode 2: "It's happened before, this. There's usually some lad at school. He ... gets a fixation, an obsession, and he'll pick a fight with them basically. To get their attention.

"Pick a fight, knock their confidence, then be the person that picks them up and turns their life around. And then ... God knows what. They're usually kids that haven't got any proper parenting going on at home."

So, as well as being coercive and an abuser, Rob was also leading an extra-marital affair with a colleague while abusing other pupils at the school. At least justice has been served.

Happy Valley seasons 1-3 are available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.

If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide or visit our Drama hub for more news and features.


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