Last week I took you through Emmerdale’s bonkers Thursday moments. The drunken lowlights, if you will. But this week it’s the good bits. Those Thursday episodes that leave you gawping in the thirty minute gap between episodes, those Thursdays so good you don’t care about the weekend, you just care about Friday’s Emmerdale because yes, sh*t’s gone down and you want the aftermath.
I’ve picked my Top Ten (in date order) but there are three key episodes missing from my list, namely the Woolpack Siege, Donna’s death and Charity and Declan in the woods. These episodes are amazing but as I wasn’t a regular Emmerdale viewer back then (I know, shame on me) I can’t appreciate them as a loyal Emmerdale lover should, but let it be known those are some damn good moments.
Archie is actually Fake!Archie
Okay, forgive me, this plot twist is borderline drunk-bonkers for a Thursday, but I still loved it. When it comes to shocks and exciting plots you wouldn’t expect a story that centred around Rachel, Ali, Ruby and Jai to feature, but this is the exception! Hooray! Rachel returned to Emmerdale to help send Charity down (another cool surprise!) but the bigger moment, the climax to a simple Thursday in January was seeing Rachel pick up a baby from the car. “It’s Archie, who do you think it is?” she said. Well then who the f*ck is the boy Jai’s been calling his son? What a moment!
Laurel kills Daisy the dog
Animal deaths are always bloody horrible and the death of Marlon’s beloved dog, who was the only thing Marlon had left to help him get over Tricia, was no exception. Laurel was at her worst, struggling to cope with her alcoholism. After a confrontation with Cain, Laurel left the house, with Daisy the dog making an escape too. Later on, after Laurel had stopped at the shop for more wine, we saw the horror through Marlon’s eyes. The abandoned car. A drunk Laurel trying desperately to bury Daisy. With Marlon devastated and sickened it seemed like there was no going back for Laurel in what was one of the most awful soap deaths. The performances were incredible. A year on, Laurel is still on the long journey of recovery although I suspect some people still haven’t forgiven her for poor Daisy’s death.
Adam and Victoria get married/Cain kidnaps Robert
Kidnap in Emmerdale might be more frequent than Christmas, but the Thursday two parter which saw Cain kidnap Robert to stop him crashing his sister Victoria’s wedding was perfect soapy drama. With Vic’s court case hanging over her head, she and Adam decided to get married in secret and who doesn’t love a wedding? Well, Robert for one. But Cain foiled Rob’s plans to sabotage it and took him to the Emmerdale staple – an abandoned warehouse. What Cain didn’t factor into his plan was his nephew Aaron discovering Robert in the boot. While Victoria was saved from a prison sentence by Ashley’s changed testimony, Cain beat the living daylights out of Rob until Aaron stepped in for a tear-filled rescue of his secret lover. Bad Cain is always fun and the rescue was full of tension, especially when Aaron later dropped the bombshell that Robert was having an affair – with him. Dun dun DUN!
Robert holds Aaron hostage
Another one for the almost bonkers pile, but these slightly preposterous episodes are saved by killer performances and the intense stakes leading to the ultimate pay-off of Aaron revealing his seven month affair to Robert’s wife, Chrissie. Boom! Being the panicked, terrible decision maker that he is, Robert kept Aaron tied up overnight when he realised Aaron had a recording of him admitting to accidentally killing Katie. Whoops. What followed were emotional and intense scenes where an increasingly desperate Robert had to make the choice between having his whole world blown apart or killing the man he’d fallen in love with. Tragic love and do-or-die love confessions – soapy bread and butter. Of course Paddy stormed in and Robert was forced to play nurse and stitch him up after accidentally shooting him. They all made a pact to keep everything on the down-low but emotionally wrecked Aaron had one last card to play and Robert could only watch as his life fell down around him.
Cain reveals to Debbie that Ross is Moses’ father
Confession time: for me Debbie and Ross’s affair and “great” love story was a real low point of Emmerdale last year, however there’s nothing I enjoy more than a dramatic reveal slap bang in the middle of a Thursday double. Just as Debbie and Ross were about to leave for a new life together, Cain interrupted ready for revenge. Not only did Cain not want to lose his daughter to Ross, he wanted payback for Ross trying to split up him and Moira. In one brutal line that suddenly made the Debbie and Ross situation a whole lot more complicated, Cain revealed to Debbie that the baby she was holding – her half-brother – was in fact Ross’s son. The Dingle family tree just got even messier!
Diane is rushed to hospital after being stabbed by Chas
After everything she’s gone through it’s no surprise that Chas Dingle is a PTSD sufferer and last year saw her trauma-induced sleepwalking take a fatal turn as she stabbed Diane, thinking she was an intruder. As Chas’s paranoia increased, she started hearing voices and scarring incidents from her past. The chilling voice of Cameron began haunting her at the same time as Diane was prepared for surgery. Chas did the right thing and confessed to the crime but it was only the beginning for both her and Diane’s health problems. The hour-long episode had emotional scenes for both families and lead to some brilliantly creepy scenes of Chas being haunted at night in later episodes which was an unusual and clever device for Emmerdale.
Adam finds out Johnny isn’t his son
The Kirin/Vanessa/Adam/Johnny plot was one that lasted a really satisfying length of time, giving heartbreaking scenes for poor Adam when he learnt the horrible truth. As viewers we knew all along that Rakesh had tampered with the DNA results and that proud dad Adam wasn’t really Johnny’s dad at all. It’s always fun and frustrating waiting for a secret to implode. It was only a matter of time until he found out and when the little’un developed Mongolian blue spot, Vanessa did a second DNA test. Devastated Adam, who had adored his little boy, asked for time alone with Johnny and then in an act of desperation, ran away with him. It was down to wife Victoria to talk some sense into him and eventually he returned Johnny back to Vanessa. With Kirin on the run and Adam having cut ties with Johnny it’s just a shame this plot has almost been forgotten about!
Aaron reveals he was raped by his father Gordon
Aaron Dingle’s life has never been short of tragedy but the horrible secrets of his past were revealed in a crushing Thursday parter at the beginning of 2016. Having been hospitalised with septicemia, Aaron was in a mess and Robert urged him to offload. Drained and ill, Aaron finally confessed to the childhood trauma he experienced at the hands of Gordon. With dialogue that depicted the dark and cruel abuse that Aaron faced, this was a memorable Thursday double that stunned with its performances and quiet tragedy rather than stunts and shocks.
Kirin hits Tess with his car and flees
There was a real sense of impending doom in these episodes but with similar great soap moments, Emmerdale managed to keep the finer details under-wraps. Paddy’s affair with Tess (a storyline which stretched believability to breaking point) met a dramatic end as she turned a little bit Glenn Close and he ordered her to leave. Meanwhile Kirin had reached the conclusion he was a terrible father and took to the road in a drunken state. The tension was building and building, Tess rang Rhona and wanted to meet her, stepped into the road and BAM! is hit by Kirin’s car. A shocking body-on-bonnet impact lead to an exit for Kirin and Tess that was genuinely surprising and while the affair storyline turned Paddy into an unlikeable rat, the unbearable weight of the secret and Tess’s demise did result in strong scenes including…
Rhona discovers Paddy’s affair
If you remember this episode it’s probably for one reason alone – Rhona giving Paddy an almighty slap! Although I hated Paddy’s unbelievable affair with Tess, the scenes of Rhona’s discovery and reaction were superb, with stand-out performances from Zoe Henry. With Paddy’s suspicious behaviour making Rhona confused, she put the pieces together after discovering Paddy went to Tess’s funeral. As grief and realisations turned to fury, Rhona declared Tess’s death to be karma, livid that Paddy could go from her bed to Tess’s – their son’s teacher and her friend. She slapped him across the face, telling him to get his sleazy hands off her and later saying their marriage died with Tess. Ouch!