Happy Valley fans frustrated after mind-boggling question is left unanswered in finale

Catherine Cawood played by SARAH LANCASHIRE wearing police uniform and walking away from a police crime scene in Happy Valley season 3
Catherine Cawood has been through the mill in Happy Valley. (Image credit: BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire)

Fans were left feeling emotional after the last ever episode of Happy Valley aired last night, but while many viewers took to social media to share how much they loved the ending, there were some who were left feeling puzzled by one part of the storyline. 

* WARNING — spoilers for all episodes of Happy Valley season 3 below*

Clare embraces Catherine in Happy Valley season 3

Happy Valley fans have heaped praise on the show following the final ever episode.  (Image credit: BBC)

After watching an intense showdown between Sarah Lancashire and James Norton as Catherine Cawood and her nemesis Tommy Lee Royce on Sunday night (February 5) fans are demanding that the acting duo get all the awards for a scene that will no doubt go down in history as one of the best to air on British TV thanks to Sally Wainwright's beautiful writing. 

But while Catherine got her happy ending, now finally facing a future free of Tommy Lee Royce after he took his own life, fans were left confused about another part of the season 3 plot line. 

The storyline that has got everyone talking is the one that saw pharmacist Faisal Bhatti (Amit Shah) batter Joanna Hepworth (Mollie Winnard) to death with a rolling pin and frame her abusive husband Rob Hepworth (Mark Stanley) for the crime. 

Rob Hepworth played by MARK STANLEY sitting in the back of a police car wearing a grey coat in Happy Valley season 3

Rob Hepworth found himself in the frame for his wife's murder.  (Image credit: BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire)

While Catherine managed to tie up the loose ends to that police investigation by pointing her team in Faisal's direction as she packed up her office on her last day in the police force, fans have been left still wondering why Joanna and Rob's younger daughter, Poppy, never takes her coat off.

Poppy in Happy Valley wearing her blue winter coat in the kitchen

Fans were desperate to know why Poppy never took her coat off.  (Image credit: BBC)

The fact that the young girl always wears a huge puffy coat indoors was mentioned on screen on numerous occasions throughout season 3, leaving fans convinced that it would be linked to some sort of major plot twist.

Some fans thought maybe she was hiding bruises on her arms caused by her abusive father, while others thought that maybe at some point Joanna had told her daughter that she needed to be ready to flee their dad's evil clutches at a moment's notice, with Poppy taking her mum's worlds literally.

Poppy in Happy Valley eating her dinner while wearing her winter coat indoors

Poppy's coat wearing was a way of protecting herself from the trauma of living with an abusive dad.  (Image credit: BBC)

Poppy's coat-wearing habit wasn't addressed again before the final credits rolled on the last ever episode of the BBC drama... and fans were annoyed they will never know the truth. 

They took to social media to share their frustration... 

However, there is good news for fans, as Mollie Winnard, who plays Joanna in Happy Valley, told Metro: ‘It’s actually a trauma thing, so it’s a protective layer. The coat is definitely to protect herself because of what she’s living in, and the environment that she’s living in. She doesn’t want to take her coat off."

So there you have it — mystery solved after all! 

To catch up on Happy Valley you can watch all three seasons on BBC iPlayer now. 

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.