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 baby Isaac was named and Chas returned from Ireland!
One of the best things to happen to Emmerdale this year has to be Faith Dingle. She wins hands down. Not an episode goes by without a killer outfit or a cracking line of dialogue. Most newbies seem to take a while to settle into the village but Faith feels like she’s been there forever, seamlessly integrating into every story and having great chemistry with everyone she works alongside. With the return of Chas this week, the pair had a touching moment and while Faith might often be used for witty one-liners, her relationship with her kids is gritty and complex. I hope she continues to play a big role up at Butlers and in her children’s lives – she’s been a revelation.
The Mother of Meltdowns
Moira had another difficult week as she suspected her new baby (now named Isaac) was ill and she doubted her ability to protect him so soon after losing Holly. The pressure’s been piling on her since Isaac’s shock birth, so much so that she left him at the hospital this week believing herself to be a terrible mother and that he was better off without her. Throughout this story Natalie J Robb’s been giving powerful performances and this week was no exception. Her almost cold detachment and distancing from motherhood has been emotively told and your heart breaks seeing Moira freezing out help and hardening to protect herself from any more loss. Her fractured relationship with Cain is one that always provides deliciously angsty moments, but her dynamic with Faith is one I’ve enjoyed watching build through this story too.
A small aspect of the week’s events, but one I always enjoy, was a community feel to some of the scenes. Whether it was the Dingles’ knees up in the pub (with Paddy the clown) for Debbie’s birthday or Jimmy playing Eric’s bidding game during the auction – I loved seeing bigger groups and different characters interacting. I especially enjoyed the parallels of Jai’s struggle after Eliza’s fit compared with Cain’s moping in the shop and Vanessa getting dating advice from a surprisingly woke Jimmy and Robert, who was released from the panto shackles of Home Farm for a day. Sometimes character groups can feel a bit stale and locked-in so it’s always fun to see interactions of characters who rarely share screentime, particularly when experiences in the Dales can often overlap in interesting ways. Community scenes are an easy way of making the village feel more real and I welcome them at every opportunity.
Chas was back this week and in her rightful position as pub landlady. Since her departure earlier this year (while Lucy Pargeter was on maternity leave) the pub has been missing that special something without her. But while I was thrilled to see Chas back and reunited with her family, her reintroduction was focused on her rather awkward romance with Paddy. Now, I love Chas and I love Paddy – and I even love their friendship – but when it comes a relationship it all feels a bit incestuous. The pair of them explored the possibility of reuniting earlier this year but after one too many doomed and funny dates realised they were better off as friends. And that’s where it should have ended! Sure, Chas could do with a reliable love and something to make her smile, but settling for Paddy feels like selling herself short – particularly when he was desperate to reunite with Rhona not so long ago. Emmerdale has had some odd pairings in the past and sometimes they work out but Chas and Paddy seem more like siblings than star-crossed lovers. Chas needs someone with a bit more impact than the village’s loveable fool. Sorry Paddy!
There are a couple of things to like about Debbie’s new romance with Tom. One – he’s pretty easy on the eye; two – there seems some potential there for sparks; and three – it spares us from the sizzle-free Debbie/Ross pairing. But this week’s scenes left me wondering what we’re meant to make of this story and Tom in general. Is he meant to be a swoony fantasy – good looking, rich, powerful? Or is he meant to be a bit creepy and overbearing? It’s hard to tell what the message is here and because of that I’m struggling to suspend reality and enjoy Debbie’s escapades. Tom feels too good to be true and his seduction methods are old fashioned and stalkerish at times. He bought her a house and he barely knows her! And yet, despite her attempts to stand strong, Debbie returns to him and is repeatedly charmed back to bed. So is this some dated Cinderella fantasy or is something darker lurking under the surface? Are we meant to fear for Debbie or watch in envy? I can’t help but feel if Tom was a bit more of an original, believable character rather than Christian Grey lite then the intentions might be a bit less ambiguous.