Fave or Fail? (18-22 Sep 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Liv ended up in hospital this week and Robert’s schemes took a twisted turn.

Faves

Sibling Solidarity

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h43m51s959Liv returned right into the middle of a storm and this week found herself caught up in the mess, and in hospital. Despite Liv’s trip to A&E seeming to be just to pile more angst onto Aaron and Robert, and give Aaron a brief love interest, the end of the week ended on a much more positive note for the siblings. On Thursday’s episodes Aaron and Liv had a touching heart to heart, bonding over their shared heartache and Aaron’s struggle to cope after the split and in prison. With Isobel Steele, superbly cast as Aaron’s sister, the two have a great rapport which works naturally in scenes like this of honesty and openness. I wasn’t sold on Aaron and Liv’s instant connection when they first met last year but this week in their quiet, difficult chats and teasing humour their relationship felt real. Is it too much to hope that they might one day get their unconventional little family back on track?

Going it Alone

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h20m06s590I’ve been really impressed by the subtle way Emmerdale have continued to tell Laurel’s story of grief and loneliness since Ashley’s death. It’s not been played as a big story of weeping and wailing, but something much more true to life. This week saw Laurel try and sort through Ashley’s things and there was a wonderful moment as Eric welled up as he bonded with her over their loss – of Ashley and of Val. Like others who have lost someone, Laurel is painting on a brave face as she tries to move on and keep busy, finding company wherever she can. It’s worked well as a slice of reality, even alongside the humour of Nicola and Jimmy’s desperate attempts to have sex and Bernice’s bulldozer behaviour, and gives Ashley’s death the long lasting impact it deserves.

Gamut of Emotions

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h42m43s923There are few characters that run through as many emotions in one week as Robert Sugden and this week he had the full spectrum. Trying desperately to cling on his scheme to win Home Farm as well as deal with the prospect of Aaron moving on, he spiralled through rage, panic, heartache, jealousy, before finally ending the week feeling pretty smug. Standard. While the charming schmoozer routine does work its Machiavellian magic, it’s always a welcome change to see that veneer shatter and Ryan Hawley’s pained expression manages to resonate in the heart, even when you think it’s only fair that Robert does suffer a bit. Even when stories have Robert awkwardly lurching between heartbroken man and twisted villain in the space of ten minutes (whiplash anyone?), Ryan manages to make Robert watchable, even when the plots do their best to make Robert unlikeable.

Early Sparks?

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h17m30s567This week Debbie got dressed up for a business meeting/date with Tom but the smooth businessman’s idea of lunch wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. We only briefly got to meet him last week and mostly in a stuffy setting, but Tom’s cheeky-charmer attitude seemed to work well up against Debbie’s frostiness. He might look like a pretty Apprentice candidate but his jokes about “Mayo-nose” warmed me to him quickly and even Debbie seemed to enjoy herself, despite being unsure about his intentions. Debbie’s last big romance plots have been a bit lacking, and I still prefer Debbie as a bit of a homegirl rather than a dodgy schemer, but there’s definitely potential there with Tom.

Bonus Faves:

  • Gabby’s return and lovely reunion with Arthur
  • Nicola and Jimmy’s choice of role play costume
  • Lydia’s insistence on historical accuracy, even in role play
  • The thought of Paddy and Pearl at the bingo!

Fails

A Step Too Far?

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h44m12s570By the end of the week Robert Sugden had deviously managed to secure 30% of the Home Farm estate and one step closer to being king of the castle, however his twisted plot might’ve gone too far. Having realised his future as a settled family man at the Mill with Aaron and Liv was long gone, Robert’s ruthless scheming ramped up a gear as he managed to convince a drunken Lawrence that they’d slept together. While many people would find the prospect of a naked Rob in their bed pretty appealing (Lawrence too if the truth be known) the whole plot twist was nothing short of gross. With Finn walking in on the scene and Robert’s comedic glances and coughing to stir a zoned out Lawrence, the incident was played mostly for laughs, but with Lawrence’s troubled history with his sexuality the whole thing seemed too sleazy and uncomfortable to be funny. This was pitched as a fun revenge story but Finn’s request for bleach seemed more apt. It seemed far more disturbing than it was fun. Robert’s schemes have lurched from improbable to ridiculously transparent and with the clueless Whites painfully unable to see through his plans the whole thing has become ludicrous. Not to mention – besides being heartbroken, does anyone really know why Robert is going to all this effort anyway?

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Scene of the Week (18-22 Sep 2017)

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In what might have been the world’s most awkward first date, Robert Sugden out-did himself as the ex from hell, but boy was it entertaining. With Aaron facing pressure from family and friends to move on with his life, he and Dr Alex shared a lunch date in the pub. But being that Emmerdale is a small and nosy village, anyone could have warned them that this was a bad idea. If staring at them menacingly from the bar wasn’t cringey enough, Robert went over to their table and after a dismissive introduction plonked himself down at their table, with Vic and Charity wincing as they watched. Weren’t we all! It was a classic dick move, but the kind of amusingly petty behaviour from Robert we’re used to, with his alpha male bravado masking the heartbreak we’d seen earlier. Surprisingly Alex wasn’t put off and a stung Robert left the pub, but only after a mic drop (“I hope my husband makes you very happy”). Awkward – yes, clutching your face in horror – of course. But fun – definitely.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 Sep 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As Nell’s story ended on a whimper, we met newbie Tom.

Faves

Girl Squads

Emmerdale - Wednesday 13 Sept 7pm - The ITV HubFemale friendship was at the forefront of Emmerdale this week and I loved it. From supporting Leyla, to Kerry and Bernice’s salon antics and encouragement of Daz, to the brilliant scenes of Nicola, Bernice and Laurel – it was great to see warmth and solidarity amongst friends. My personal highlights were the scenes between Laurel and pals as there were subtle reminders of other ongoing stories like her wariness of Emma and her coping alone as a single parent now that Ashley’s gone. These moments, like the dinner party and the date crashing, were funny and heartfelt and in amongst the big dramatic plots we could do with more quiet, relatable scenes like this of friends getting together to bond, gossip and open up over a bottle or two!

Getting Over It

Emmerdale - Monday 11 Sept 7pm - The ITV HubI really enjoyed Leyla’s storyline this week as she attempted to pick herself up after the Pete and Priya debacle, because after a betrayal and a jilting what could be better than putting on a glam wedding dress, getting drunk and moping in a puddle? Okay – maybe the puddle dwelling was a minor set-back to her recovery, but it did give her a touching heart to heart and muddy cuddle with BFF David. Their scenes always have a natural rapport and they seem to bring out the best in each other. Despite a brief consideration that she might still have feelings for him (no Emmerdale, don’t go there) Leyla eventually realised she just needed to find a better man. This week prompted a lot of soul searching from lonely and heartbroken Leyla but I was glad to see she had other friends ready to help her since Priya did the dirty. I also really liked Leyla’s new understanding with Megan, even in light of their history, and they finally feel like a solid team with Megan being a warm support for her through the week. I hope they don’t rush into a new relationship for Leyla because let’s face it – the next one needs to treat her good!

New Faces

Emmerdale - Mr Waterhouse Has Some Bad News for Debbie - YouTubeNewbie Tom seems to be Emmerdale’s answer to Christian Grey, but despite the slightly hokey introduction story (Cheese Factor 100), he already seems to have charm and potential alongside Graham too. Sure the business talk was a little stilted and Debbie seems awkward in these glamourous heist style stories, but there’s definitely more intrigue and spark there with Tom than there ever has been with Ross. All I ask of Emmerdale is that they ease off on another Debbie centred love triangle so soon after the last one. I’m all for letting her pick and choose her lovers but it’d be nice to see a bit more of Tom before he gets bogged down in falling for her.

Fails

Empty Gestures

Emmerdale - Is This the End of David and Tracy - YouTubeIt’s coming up to David and Tracy’s first wedding anniversary (and also a year since we had to watch David’s tedious and never-ending proposals) so by soap law the mostly happy couple were due a bit of turmoil. That came in the shape of money and miscommunication and it almost seemed like Tracy was ready to call it quits on their marriage. But watching them argue I couldn’t help but think they were both in the wrong and both acted unreasonably! David was insensitive and Tracy over-reacted – but this isn’t new ground for their relationship. Like the other couples in the Dales, the Metcalfes always end up digging over the same ground in their arguments – David underappreciates or fails to support Tracy, she overreacts, and he makes it up to her with an outlandish gesture. This week it was a Thai themed fake wedding (which did seem ill-timed in light of Leyla’s recent dramas) but has much changed? When they’re not stuck in that shop, their lowkey relationship drama often relies on David talking down to Tracy and her tendency to act first think later – wouldn’t this be better resolved by learning from their blips than papering over them with another big gesture?

Racing to the Finish Line

Emmerdale - Nell Proves She's Learned Absolutely Nothing - YouTubeLast week I was pumped with excitement over the Nell storyline. The events following the reveal were something of a thriller and it felt like just the beginning of Nell’s machinations, especially with her moving in with Moira and getting Jai arrested. But no sooner had it begun was it all over leaving me thinking: is that it?! By Tuesday Nell was already out of the village and tricking another vulnerable person into taking her in. What a waste! A character like Nell is obviously short term, but her months of deception didn’t seem to have that great an impact on anyone besides confusion and anger for a few episodes. As Nell’s state of mind pushed her to greater and more disturbing lies, the climax fizzled into nothing and honestly I was expecting a classic Emmerdale shock, putting a few lives at risk at least! Ultimately, unless there’s some consequences on the horizon, I can’t help but wonder what the point of it was?

Scene of the Week (11-15 Sep 2017)

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Granted, the resolution of Nell’s storyline was something of a disappointment, but Moira’s furious reaction to her deception was a great scene this week. Having been taken in by Nell’s lies, Moira had gone as far as giving her a place to stay and even the use of her dead daughter’s clothes trusting her every word because she saw so many similarities between Nell and Holly. As Jai tried to make Nell own up in front of Moira, she was outraged that Nell lied about using drugs and as Nell stood there calling Holly a pathetic junkie, a fuming Moira threw her out. Considering how Nell’s whole story hinged on her assimilation of Holly’s character, it’s only right Moira’s discovery of the truth was a fiery one and as ever there are few others in Emmerdale who can deliver a verbal take down quite like Moira!

Fave or Fail? (4-8 Sep 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a great week on and off screen as the Nell’s lies were uncovered AND Emmerdale cleaned up at the TV Choice awards.

Faves

Twists and Turns

vlcsnap-2017-09-09-20h34m57s790In the space of just one episode, the Nell and Jai plot went from being sluggish and a bit dull to completely gripping. I was hooked! Many suspected there was something not quite right about Nell the minute she arrived as Holly’s double and then created an increasingly tragic backstory for herself. This week the lies unravelled as Jai discovered her pregnancy, her addiction, her dead child were all inventions. Jai managed to uncover everything just like a twisty psychological thriller (complete with jump scares too!) but with Nell exposed, things were far too easy to end there. By the end of the week, implying Jai had hurt her to Moira, Nell managed to have Jai arrested and Moira completely fooled after staging a drug collapse just like Holly. In Nell Emmerdale have created a devious and frightening character, one who has terrifying potential. Now she has Moira fooled I seriously worry for Moira’s safety but at the same time – I can’t wait!

Leyla’s Showdown

Emmerdale - Leyla Confronts Pete About the Affair - YouTubeThursday’s epic 90 minutes of Emmerdale was well worth watching and not just for the Nell shocks. The Leyla/Pete/Priya story has been a bit of a let down, wedding episodes aside, in fact Leyla summed it up well when she called it the “world’s least funny sex comedy” but the big confrontation between Leyla and the two who betrayed her was fantastic. Roxy Shahidi gave a superb performance as she had it out with best friend Priya, saying everything we’d been dying for her to bring up. She was angry, unfiltered and devastated, but delivered key moments of this with her head held high. The writing too was effective in painting the women’s friendship as the biggest casualty of this betrayal and giving Leyla the strength and agency in this moment, rather than let her be the unfortunate ditz that she had been during other parts of the story. The scenes too also gave the opportunity for the characters to explain the often nonsensical developments between Pete and Priya and why they hurt Leyla so much. I hope the aftermath continues to be complex rather than falling into soapy catfights and with any luck Leyla might find some much deserved happiness!

Jai’s Turnaround

vlcsnap-2017-09-09-20h34m41s969I laughed out loud this week when Nell told Jai “Everyone likes you now and they couldn’t stand you before!” for its meta take on Jai Sharma’s redemption arc. It seemed to happen before Nell’s arrival, so she’s wrong about her impact on that, but I’m really impressed how Emmerdale transformed Jai from a cold and unlikeable villain to someone far more sympathetic and interesting. If this turnaround hadn’t happened then Jai’s discovery about Nell’s lies and his subsequent arrest on Friday wouldn’t have had the same devastating impact but I was right there with him this week – cheering him on and worried for him too. Chris Bisson did a great job in taking us through everything from Jai’s shock and horror to those quietly devastated scenes in the fallout, but with him only just having sorted his life out and Nell the expert liar, I wonder if enough people will believe his side of the story.

Fails

Out of Place?

vlcsnap-2017-09-09-20h35m35s466For me the two most tiresome aspects of Debbie’s plots are when she falls out with Charity (again) and when she gets herself mixed up in heist-style gangster stories – and unfortunately we had a bit of both this week. The new wealthy men soon to be village regulars have been well documented in the press and we met right-hand man Graham for the first time. First impressions are good, even if it did leave me wondering how Charity and Debbie have found themselves renting a car presumably to a man who could have whatever new car he wanted with the snap of his fingers! The problem, and probably one that’s always a sticking point with Debbie, is that I don’t really believe in her in this world. Charity has charm and wit – even when she can be full-on – and Debbie has brains, but she’s  serious and dour-faced, and feels out of place in these stories. I believe her as a mother struggling with what’s best for her kids, I believe her in those softer scenes with Moira. I can even buy her falling for a wrong un like Ross (even though their scenes are flat and lacking in spark). But these stories where she gets mixed up in a rich and dangerous underworld just don’t ring true. Some of Debbie’s stories and characteristics seem very real and believable but the moment she steps into this cartoon world of tycoons and gangsters it becomes more fantastical and far less enjoyable.

Scene of the Week (4-8 Sep 2017)

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What a scene this was! So good you can almost feel Jai’s life crashing down around him. Having gone to the department store to buy an engagement ring for Nell, the last thing Jai expected was a whole wall of photo frames showing Nell’s apparently dead baby “Rosie”. Of course this was just the start of Nell’s lies unravelling, but this was a gasp-out-loud moment as we all realised alongside Jai that the cherished photo Nell carried with her was in fact a stock photo of a child model. Kudos to actor Chris Bisson who delivered that shock moment as Jai’s face changed from joy to horror. From this moment, the Jai and Nell story just got better and better.