Fave or Fail? (23-27 Oct 2017)

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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 baby Isaac was named and Chas returned from Ireland!

Faves

Glamourous Granny

vlcsnap-2017-10-29-11h02m41s905One 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

Emmerdale - Tuesday 24 Oct 7pm - The ITV HubMoira 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.

Community Spirit

vlcsnap-2017-10-29-11h32m40s293A 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.

Fails

Paddy Power

Emmerdale - Chas Returns and Instantly Kisses Paddy! - YouTubeChas 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!

Muddled Message

Emmerdale - Debbie Won't Let Tom Control Her - YouTubeThere 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.

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Scene of the Week (23-27 Oct 2017)

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Moira and Cain were back to doing their very best this week and that’s showcasing their bristling chemistry in an embittered row over their future. With Moira struggling after the birth of their son, Cain went to Butler’s in an attempt to support her and unearth some of his buried feelings, in the emotionally strained Cain-style we get a glimpse of every now and again. But if you thought a bit of belated emotional honesty would chip away at Moira’s defences you’d be wrong as she protected herself from more heartache, telling him that she hated him and wanted to parent Isaac alone. Behind closed doors both halves of Coira broke down in a classic case of yearning and miscommunication. It might be too little too late on Moira’s terms, but it’s obvious the love between them has never gone away. Actors Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley make it look effortless, every charged moment and hurtful word stinging, every look and silence meaningful – it’s an Emmerdale partnership that’s hard to beat and one that makes their scenes stand out.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 Oct 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! Some hard hitting and important stories told this week alongside the never-ending saga of Robert’s revenge.

Faves

Worthy Story

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h27m00s037In January, I complained that Megan’s worries about the difficulties of her daughter potentially being disabled was a story worthy of more than just one episode, particularly as Gaynor Faye’s talents are regularly wasted in lifeless plots – and being tied to boring Frank. Thankfully that seemed to change this week as a hugely important and interesting story surfaced when Eliza had a fit and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. While this is a sad and difficult story to tell, there are thousands of parents like Megan and Jai who are given similar news about their child’s future and it’s a story worth telling. Already both parents are dealing with Eliza’s disability differently, expressing different worries and finding it hard to cope. It’s a very human story, but with honest performances and effective writing it’s already been moving and well told.

Identity Issues

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h31m05s774Vanessa had a difficult week as she questioned her sexuality and faced questions from the gossipy village. After spending the night with and being cruelly outed in the pub by Charity, Vanessa was confused about how to label herself, knowing that she was now interested in women. Despite the cliché public Woolie outing, I’ve enjoyed this story so far for the refreshing way it’s letting Vanessa take a slow and unpressured journey towards discovering her identity. Not only has it been great to see Ness get a storyline of her own, but the key players in her life – Rhona, Tracy, Frank and even Paddy and Pearl – have offered her great support and advice, in a non-judgemental and encouraging way and these have made for some touching and rather sweet scenes.

A Bit of Humour

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h53m43s196One shining light in this frustratingly slow “Robert takes over Home Farm” plot this week was Kath – the woman Robert hired to play an investor. Much like when Robert teamed up with Bernice last year, his irritated “brains of the operation” roles needs a slightly maverick comedy sidekick to clash with, and in this he has Kath. Despite her playing the part well and securing the deal, it was fun seeing her test the waters with him and make him sweat with her off-the-wall suggestions for Kath’s backstory. It certainly gives the story a bit more of the “fun” element even if it’s a stretch to believe Robert wouldn’t have knocked up a fake LinkedIn page for Rug Tree Bonds in his spare time.

Fails

Scheme of the Week

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h52m45s737Robert Sugden seems to be reliving his villainy Greatest Hits at the moment as he cartoonishly seduces his way into Home Farm. Literally. Again. But it’s not the excruciating scenes of Lawrence falling for Robert’s charms (come on Larry, he’s played you exactly like this before!) that make my fails list, it’s the plodding pace of this revenge plot. Every week a new scheme of Robert pops up with no end in sight giving him no real set backs to speak of. Even Chrissie was lured into forgiveness and trust this week, thanks to an anti-climatic near-death experience orchestrated by Rob. Come on, Chrissie – we were counting on you! At this point Robert will have so many puppets to control he’ll need a spare hand. Chrissie’s uncle Tim returned from nowhere (angry about some baffling injustice) to aid Robert’s evil deeds for a reason that made zero sense, leaving this plot with more holes than Lisa Dingle’s crochet blankets. Robert might be doing the trick to win over the Whites but it’s making panto season feel like an eternity – isn’t it about time he had a real rival to come up against?

Falling Flat

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h51m55s027Perhaps it’s a bit meanspirited of me to say, especially as he’s not been in Emmerdale long but Dan’s brother Daz already feels a bit surplus to requirement. Sure, they seem to be lining up a story of PTSD for Daz, but I can’t help but think his character is a bit dull and pointless and I’m struggling to care. This week he integrated himself into village life a bit more, getting a date and a job, but he’s not exactly got the charisma or fun factor to add anything new to the Dales. A dodgy woman from his past showed up threatening him and the family but there wasn’t any real sense of jeopardy and Dan and co’s response came across as laughable rather than strong. I don’t feel like we know Daz enough to care about his struggles, especially when these tales are based on his retelling of events, and he just doesn’t have enough charm or personality to be engaging. We have Dan, did we really need another downtrodden Mr Average?

Scene of the Week (16-20 Oct 2017)

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It’s no wonder that Natalie J Robb is nominated for Serial Drama Performance at the National Television Awards again, when stand-out performances like this manage to steal the show. Since the shock arrival of her new son, Moira’s been distant and struggling to cope with the new addition to her life. She’s not been short of support but her family have been almost smothering at times with none of them quite able to understand the difficulties she’s having. The last scene on Friday – and my Scene of the Week choice – saw Moira cracking under the pressure and shouting at her baby to stop crying, before she could no longer take it and walked out on him, sobbing on the farm. Not only was Natalie’s amazing performance a heartbreaking display of agony but the beautiful rural scene, with the sun setting, made for a stunning moment. We’ve seen so little of Moira this year so it’s great to have her back at the centre of Emmerdale.

Fave or Fail? (9-13 Oct 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! We said goodbye to Finn this week and discovered that Emma’s death might have been murder.

Faves

Farewall Finn

vlcsnap-2017-10-15-12h56m01s905For a lad that spent most of the time in the village being unappreciated, Finn had a huge send off this week as Emmerdale gathered to mourn. It wasn’t just your usual church service and pub wake, but individual characters got to come and say their goodbyes to his coffin and there was a superhero themed get together in the Woolie too which was a really nice touch. All of the coffin-side mourners gave emotional and touching performances, especially Amy Walsh (Tracy) and Chris Chittell (Eric), making his death feel all the more impactful on the wider community outside his family members. Last week it felt like his death was overshadowed and bogged down under too many events happening at once, so I’m glad that this week gave enough time and space to letting the villagers grieve for him. RIP Finn, you’ll be missed.

Murder Mystery

Emmerdale - Ross and Pete's Suffering Is Far From Over - YouTubeEmmerdale went a little CSI this week as DS Benton began investigating Emma’s death as a murder rather than a suicide and kicking off an infamous soap Whodunnit. Whodunnits aren’t always my favourite plot as it often involves lots of characters doing unexplained shady things and looking suspicious all to ramp up the suspense, but so far it’s been pretty fun and it even included a suspect montage set to Kylie Minogue! I liked the twist of having the police conducting their enquires before the rest of the village knew, looking on at the Bartons as outsiders and making it seem like its own forensic spin off. There are lots of likely culprits but I hope Emmerdale doesn’t keep us hanging on for too long before we find out the truth of Emma’s death!

Baby Beginnings

Emmerdale - Moira Reads Out the Paternity Test Results - YouTubeIt seems early days for Moira’s baby storyline but the warning signs are there that she’s not bonding with him and his arrival has caused friction in the Charriet camp. The awkward tension of the paternity reveal was really worth watching this week as Pete got the news that he wasn’t the little one’s father and Cain had to deal with the consequences. Poor Harriet faced up to the inevitability that she’d always be second best while Cain and Moira remained their usual stubborn selves, insisting nothing will change. We’ve seen Cain’s reluctant father routine several times now so hopefully something new will emerge from this storyline in future and as for his future with Moira, the chemistry is there in spades, but it’s going to take a while for them both to soften up for the idea. Let’s hope for Harriet’s sake that Cain doesn’t drag out the inevitable and kid her – and himself – in the process.

Bonus favourites:

  • Gerry’s continued integration into the village – he was sweet and supportive of Liv, helping Doug with his gardening (wingman goals), the comedy torture scenes with Zak and Sam
  • Vanessa finally getting a storyline
  • Sam and Lydia getting engaged!
  • Belle being there as a mentor of sorts for Liv

Fails

Silly Filler

Emmerdale - Tuesday 10 Oct 7pm - The ITV HubWith the big Barton plots dominating the screen this week, it was disappointing that many of the other plots felt a bit pointless. While there were good aspects (Sam and Lydia getting engaged, Gerry being a rather entertaining addition to a scattering of stories), the teen plot and the factory story seemed to go nowhere. Both Lydia and Rishi add comic value to Emmerdale and regularly make me laugh, but this week’s story of the elusive Una was short on giggles. With Lydia unable to let go of her old home and memories of Steve, her fake alias of Una was exposed by the Sharmas. It wasn’t the worst plot ever – it just wasn’t funny enough. If they needed a mix up to get Sam to propose surely there was a better way. As for the teens – we’ve seen so many of their alcohol inspired antics now – surely it has to be leading to an actual story soon?

Shouty Man

Emmerdale - Pete Can't Accept the Truth About Finn's Killer - YouTubePete Barton is the human equivalent of nails down a blackboard. One shout from him and that’s my teeth set on edge for the day. And boy did he do a lot of shouting this week. I get it, okay? He’s grieving, he’s angry at the world and he was told he was a dad – and then he wasn’t. Pete’s got a lot of things to be upset and angry about, but there’s still something so unsympathetic about him. If you’re able to put aside his sleazy behaviour with Priya and forgive him that (miraculously Leyla managed to, while still spouting off at Priya), you’d recognise that he’s suffering a big loss right now. The world is against him. But still, his sadness turns from zero to “I’m gonna thump you” in thirty seconds and all the aggression and gurning doesn’t exactly lead to much sympathy, sorry mate. In fact, Dale View is a bit too heavy on the male posturing and aggro right now which isn’t helping. Also there is the knowledge that Pete’s moods vary between just two – aggressive and dull – and if we were picking Bartons to lose, I’d have picked him over Finn any day.

Scene of the Week (9-13 Oct 2017)

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Of all the “goodbye Finn” moments that this week had, it was Eric’s that broke my heart the most. Eric took Finn’s death pretty hard, especially considering that he’s lost Val too, and his emotive speech to Finn’s coffin was beautifully played. Chris Chittell’s performance of Eric’s grief perfectly encapsulated the sense of devastation at losing someone taken too soon, especially someone who was also “like a son” to him. This moment felt so truthful to times of loss that it resonates with many of us watching and the light-hearted joke Eric made about Finn giving Valerie a hug from him was particularly moving. We all know Eric as rather cantankerous and cold at times, so when we see his emotions pouring out like this, it hits even harder and made for a show stealing scene.