Fave or Fail? (18-22 April 2016)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! After the many highs of last week this week was a little meh all round.

Faves

Rhona and Vanessa’s Friendship

em3_0003_Layer-2Rhona had a pretty shit week as her and Paddy decided to put an end to their marriage and despite making the VERY questionable decision to let Pierce shack up with her (erm WARNING WARNING!) Vanessa was on hand to talk some sense into her. But as soon as Pierce was on the scene, Rhona started shutting her best mate out of the picture. Was it really about support, or Pierce’s hairy chest in a dressing gown? As Rhona decided to be a shoulder for Pierce to cry on, happily skimming over the fact that he’s a serious mess right now and tried to sabotage their business only last week she really stuck her claws into poor Ness, calling her a busy-body. But when even Pearl tried to bash their heads together, Rhona realised it was about time she apologised. There’s something really lovely and genuine about Rhona and Vanessa’s friendship so thank god they made up before the end of the week. With Pierce around, making himself very comfortable in Paddy’s place, this looks like it’s only the start of something worrying for Rhona – she’s really going to need Vanessa.

David and Dylan

em3_0004_Layer-1David’s testicular cancer story has barely begun, but it’s already managing to be both emotive and heart-warming. As with many of David’s stories, Emmerdale hasn’t played this story completely straight and serious (bum flashing ahoy) but somehow this makes the sadder moments even more effective as we all come to realise the gravity of what a nice, fun guy like David is about to face. He doesn’t just have his own fears about the future but Amba, Jacob and his father’s own vulnerability to worry about. This week saw some stand out scenes with a young lad named Dylan who David met as he was waiting for his results. Once again it’s the simple scenes that work most successfully in Emmerdale. Dylan faced his bleak future with humour and optimism (warmly played by actor Charlie Gallagher). After David’s test results and plagued with anxieties of what the future might bring, he managed a brave face after unloading some of his concerns with Eric before saying “Up yours” to cancer. Couldn’t have said it any better.

The Dream Team

em3_0001_Layer-4My love for bad boy Ross had waned the last few months after the endless, tedious Debbie and Ross debacle but actually, pairing him up with sharp-tongued Charity just might be the dream team we’ve been waiting for. They already have the slightly reluctant co-parenting situation to handle (poor sweet Moses, you have no idea what kind of trouble mummy and daddy are) and with Ross involved in Charity’s dodgy dealings it might be even better. With Charity desperate for cash, and Ross sitting on his gun-toting brother-death-pact secret, it’s a partnership that works for them both – not to mention the two have a sparky, sarky chemistry that works surprisingly well. It at least makes a change from Charity’s pining over Cain and Ross stuck sulking over dour Debs.

Fails

Cringey Behaviour

em3_0002_Layer-3Tracy and Belle have been tough to watch this week and no, not because of emotional, tough storylines (sidenote: can we see more of the ladies get big hard-hitting plots please?) but because their behaviour has been plain embarrassing. Tracy is one of my underappreciated favourites (I know, controversial) and I think she can be a right laugh in the village, but her desperate flirting with a troubled David left me feeling uncomfortable and it’s hard to believe she couldn’t read his cold no-go signs. And as for Belle, even if she is charmed by married Doctor Bailey’s bedside manner her flirtatious efforts are toe-curling. That’s not to mention her bratty behaviour when it came to Joanie (I’m no fan but yeesh, what an attitude) – it’s going to be one big bump to earth sometime soon!

Joanie and Zak’s Ring Saga

em3_0000_Layer-5Here we go. The ongoing saga of Joanie’s missing engagement ring. I’m sure Lord of the Rings was over faster than this plot. Who cares?! More detestable Zak, more unlikeable remarks from Kerry, more pity-parties from Joanie, more weird behaviour from Rishi. The only one who emerges from this story with any sort of dignity is Lisa. She manages to rise above any pain and hurt and does the right thing (eventually). In fact she’s so admirable and calm that I reckon she’d deserve a pay rise if it wasn’t for Rishi going ga-ga over Joanie. The fact is, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for Zak and Joanie and the “cruel” treatment of their “love” when it started in such an ugly way so it’s hard to care when they are whinging about being ganged up on. Joanie told Lisa she’d have to get over it and to stop punishing them! The cheek of it! Lisa’s been married to Zak for years – she’s got every right to still be upset! Serious RAGE inducing TV. Zak got arrested this week in suspicion of arson in the factory after another go at Rishi out of jealousy and I almost wished he had been locked up, it would at least have saved us from watching any more of this terrible relationship.

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Scene of the Week (18-22 April 2016)

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Paddy and Rhona packed in their plans to go to Germany this week as it dawned on Rhona that leaving for a fresh start wouldn’t fix their mess of a marriage. Could’ve told you that last week, Rhona! Having decided she couldn’t stay with Paddy when she couldn’t trust him, Paddy decided the only option was for him to leave for Germany alone and Rhona agreed. I mean, just imagine how awkward the vet surgery would be if they both stayed – yeesh. After a touching goodbye to Leo and a tense farewell with Rhona, Paddy drove away. Paddy has grown to be someone pretty unlikeable and unrecognisable since his ill fated affair with Tess so maybe a break is for the best, but it was a great scene where Paddy looked back at the house and adorable little Leo trotted down the path as if he was chasing Paddy’s car. That was a real ‘aww’ moment. Poor lil guy.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 April 2016)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week is a bumper week of faves.

Faves

Justice For Aaron

em2_0000_vlcsnap-2016-04-17-10h32m37s253This week saw the long awaited trial of Gordon Livesy for his brutal sexual abuse of son Aaron. It’s a storyline that’s spanned over a third of the year and with it incredible performances and very emotive, challenging scenes, but finally this week Aaron got justice. It’s been a long road of pain and while court cases aren’t often the most gripping television, Emmerdale managed it in a very intense way. Fists were curled at the defence’s accusations thrown at Aaron, fingernails bitten during the testimonies and tears shed as Aaron lost all hope. His sister Liv did what we all hoped she would and turned on Gordon, calling him a liar and a bully meaning the jury were persuaded into the guilty verdict. The trial was full of really powerful individual scenes and it was lovely to see was Aaron’s loved ones rallying round, the whole village in fact, and being there to support him. And now, with a name change and a reunion with Robert – hopefully some happier times. Perhaps though, one of the most poignant moments came once the trial was over, when the realisation came that Gordon being found guilty didn’t remove the years of agony and torment. This seemed like a very real, very heartbreaking moment to close one chapter of this well-handled, sensitive story.

Robron Reunited

em2_0002_vlcsnap-2016-04-17-10h24m08s607Cards on the table, I’m an out and out, huge fan of the behemoth ship known as Robron (that’s Robert and Aaron for those uninitiated) so obviously them reuniting was going to make the faves list. There’s nothing better than passionate, messy, complicated, slow burn relationships in soap and in terms of messy, Robron has been catastrophic. Away from that is the chemistry that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley always deliver, through the good and bad times for the couple. In recent months Robert’s love for Aaron has been vital for Aaron’s strength to carry on. It’s safe to say Aaron needed him, allowing him to open up in a way he just couldn’t to his family or friends. That was evidenced in the touching final scene of the week, mentioned above, as Robert comforted him. Seeing them tentatively approach starting again, with their soft nervousness was exactly the kind of hope Aaron needed. Aaron’s relieved, warm smile after their kiss and tender hug was a tonic to all the grief he’s suffered. Here’s hoping for some long-lasting happiness!

David and Zak’s Heart to Heart

em2_0003_vlcsnap-2016-04-17-10h21m57s138David’s testicular cancer story has already been emotional, even though it’s just begun. I’m here to confess the scene where Jacob called David “Dad” really had me choked – Emmerdale really know how to tug on the heartstrings. The nice thing about David as a character is his ability to weave the serious and sad with the funny – like this week when we learnt one of his balls is named Eric (not after his dad, he reassured Leyla but after Eric and Ernie). One of the most surprising and successful moments of the week was when Zak and David – two characters we rarely see interact – discussed his diagnosis. Long term Emmerdale viewers will know that Zak had testicular cancer himself in the early noughties and so he was exactly the right person to speak to David and give him a very honest insight into how he might feel. He gave David the outlet he couldn’t get from his family as well as telling him what to expect without sugar coating it. It’s scenes like this that Emmerdale excel at – the quiet conversations. It’s not always the characters you expect to open up to each other and sometimes that’s why they work so well.

Pearls of Wisdom

em2_0004_vlcsnap-2016-04-17-10h22m34s359Pearl is by far one of the funniest villagers in Emmerdale. If it’s not her quirky berets and habit of saying the most inappropriate things at the worst time, it’s just her general joie de vivre. This week she “helped” Vanessa interview vets for the surgery for when Paddy and Rhona are away. Pearl made a striking entrance (pushing Ness to one side) in an outfit straight from 1987 (as Vanessa put it) and then put the poor interviewee through a surreal and hilarious list of questions. Her hysterical power trip was one of the funniest moments of the week and in a week with such dark and upsetting stories it was a perfect moment of light relief. Maybe if Lord Sugar ever steps down from The Apprentice, Pearl could give the candidates a good grilling.

Fail

Taking Sides

em2_0001_vlcsnap-2016-04-17-10h25m45s806Oh Kerry! She’s normally the funny Geordie lass with a sharp tongue and big heart but it’s been so disappointing to see her treatment of Lisa and Belle over this whole Zak and Joanie disaster. Zoanie (as Dan revoltingly termed them this week) is like seeing your dad run off with another woman, isn’t it? And it’s a hard plot to get over, especially with the whole engagement car crash I moaned about last week. Kerry is usually pretty insensitive but she’s only befriended Joanie recently so it feels like she’s being unnecessarily vicious when she keeping banging on about Zak and Joanie getting married right in front of Lisa and Belle at the factory. It doesn’t seem right that she’s so bitchy and cruel to Lisa – is she really that heartless? I didn’t think so but it’s put right off her.

Scene of the Week (11-15 April 2016)

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It’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for and the second that GUILTY sounded through the courtroom felt like a hugely powerful scene. As Aaron’s closest circle awaited the jury’s verdict it was a heart-in-mouth moment watching at home, even though it seemed pretty certain that Gordon’s fate could only go in one way. Everything in the scene was played perfectly with the high stakes tension this story has been building from day one. One thing that really stood out was the direction, the way the camera zoomed closer – at first showing the wider reactions, Gordon’s disbelief and outburst, to the relief and joy of Aaron’s loved ones – until we finally saw Aaron’s overwhelmed response to the decision. As ever Danny Miller’s performance was superb – he took us through each and every one of Aaron’s emotions in a matter of heart-shattering minutes. It’s the pay-off we’ve all be waiting for and Emmerdale really delivered.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 April 2016)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments!

Faves

Living for Liv

em1_0001_Layer-4It’s always slightly risky to introduce a new relative of an established character in a soap but the casting for Liv, Aaron’s sister is SO good that it’s actually hard to believe they’re not related. She even manages the whole ‘single tear escaping down the cheek’ thing that Danny Miller has perfected. Actress Isobel Steele had a tough job on her hands to come into the show on such a harrowing storyline but she’s delivered a killer performance every time, making her inclusion in the Gordon storyline even more tear-jerking. She realised the true extent of her father’s manipulation this week and that could be the key to getting him locked up for good.

Teenage Kicks

em1_0003_Layer-2There were some touching scenes this week with Ashley and Gabby bonding. Since Gabby’s head swap she’s had a lot more to do onscreen and it’s been great. Like Liv, Gabby’s another teen with real potential. Despite being easily led astray, her relationship with her dad was enjoyable to watch as she listened to and cringed about his record collection and his brief musical ambitions. But when the truth came out about her cruel lies, she was full of apologies and then when that didn’t work – got drunk (and snogged) Jacob. The week ended with Ashley and Gabby hugging it out. Will it be that easy for the two of them to cope with his illness? Probably not. But it seems to be a worthwhile storyline to show how teenagers struggle with their family members becoming ill, just as much as the adults.

Welcome to the Family

em1_0000_Layer-5We saw Lawrence’s dark side again this week when he suspected Andy had been at it with Bernice. Of course his face fell when he realised it was Chrissie who’d be enjoying Andy’s biceps. Oops. The Andy/Chrissie love affair isn’t really setting the screen alight, but Lawrence is far more interesting making shady phone calls than he is just being Mr Moneybags. The highlight though had to be Lawrence and Andy’s simmering tension (not the sexual kind, unfortunately for Lawrence) at the hospital when Lawrence was forced to flatter Andy and welcome him into the family. Topped off by Andy calling him Dad. So awkward it was genius.

Fails

Oh No He Isn’t

em1_0002_Layer-3One of the many beauties of Emmerdale is its morally grey characters – villains who are more than just bad. So just WTF was that scene with Robert Sugden? Devious, manipulative and sometimes downright cruel – that’s the Robert we know and love. But he’s human too and we’ve seen it. Lately he’s shown his more compassionate side when supporting Aaron, but just in case viewers forgot Rob was a bad ‘un, Emmerdale thought they’d treat us to a bit of early panto season. Characters are best when they feel real, have well drawn motivations, but the campy scene where Robert checked his teeth in the mirror, leaving Lawrence to die, was straight out of a cartoon. It might have been an attempt to mimic Kim Tate’s infamous lippie scene, but for Robert it was a misstep. Don’t flatten our favourites into 2D characters, please Emmerdale!

Sinking Ship

em1_0004_Layer-1UGH Zak Dingle! That pretty much sums up the reaction to Zak’s behaviour this week. If ruining Zak and Lisa’s marriage wasn’t bad enough (they should be like The Woolpack is to the village, inseparable) he only went and bloody PROPOSED to Joanie this week. Having spent the week growing more and more jealous of Joanie and Rishi, Zak behaved like a real Neanderthal as he suggested Joanie’s head might be turned again. As if the caveman attitude wasn’t bad enough he went and dropped the bombshell on poor Lisa that he was going to propose to Joanie. As Chas pointed out to him this week, if he’d treated Lisa to a few more days out then maybe their marriage would have survived. Then (if he couldn’t sink any lower) he proposed in a packed pub. Okay he wasn’t to know Lisa round the back, but you’d think he’d be a bit more sensitive considering! This story is a horrible watch and the sooner it’s over the better.

Scene of the Week (4-8 April 2016)

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Lisa Dingle and actress Jane Cox absolutely shattered hearts in Friday’s episode when she broke down to daughter Belle, after cheating  Zak revealed he was going to marry his bit of stuff Joanie. The bastard. There’s been little to enjoy from the Lisa/Zak/Joanie debacle but Lisa just stole the show at the end of the week with her outburst. “Life is cruel!” she told Belle, going on to reveal how she couldn’t compete with women like Joanie. You don’t need to Lisa, you’re lovely as you are. It was heart breaking viewing to watch someone as kind hearted as Lisa snap and say that love isn’t real. Here’s hoping there’s something happier on the horizon for Lisa because she doesn’t deserve this pain.