Fave or Fail? (19-23 March 2018)

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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, Cain considered murdering Joe with a hammer and Liv turned back to booze.

Faves

Breaking the Enigma

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-22h01m25s396The biggest mystery in Emmerdale village is not how many bedrooms the Woolpack has, but – who is Graham Foster and what is his past? Graham achieved the near impossible this week and took down Cain Dingle before he had the chance to murder Joe, Dexter-style, and then we had a few more hints about his past. The Graham and Joe dynamic is captivating, leaving us with just enough secrets and mysteries about their past together to keep it interesting. Actor Andrew Scarborough keeps Graham quiet and unassuming until it really matters, using careful – sometimes menacing – words when actions aren’t enough. We’re set to learn more about Graham soon, but hopefully in future he will find a more present role in the village too.

Joyful Jessie

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-21h57m38s241It was great news this week as Jessie finally moved into Emmerdale village and it looks like we will soon meet her son too. Jessie brings a fun new energy to the village and I’m interested to see what storylines await her, whether she will continue to be such a good laugh or if something serious is round the corner. I think her and Marlon could be a lovely match but she seems adamantly against that – and I wonder too if it would break that nice dynamic between them if things progressed. There are lots of unanswered questions about Jessie and I’m looking forward to see her more fully integrated in the village.

Everyone Knows Dave!

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-21h59m09s761Comedy can be so hit and miss especially in soaps, but thank goodness for Marlon’s midweek and improvised party which brought so many laughs. We’re used to Marlon and Paddy providing most of the giggles in the village but this week it was a surprise stranger that was such a highlight. Paddy took Marlon’s desperate pleas very seriously and invited a complete random to Marlon’s house and his reaction was genuinely laugh-out-loud brilliant. Poor Dave looked a bit bewildered too and it was all the more funny considering we often see village unknowns in the background of parties, but here it was used for classic comic effect. Great scene.

Fails

Out of Character?

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-22h00m26s336Lisa, matriarch of the Dingles has seen as much crime and bad behaviour in her family as she has eaten rabbit pies. But after her near-death experience she became almost unrecognisable (for a few episodes at least). A health scare is bound to make someone reassess but it felt jarring for Lisa to take such a harsh un-Dingle stance after everything that family has done, covered up and protected – especially when she’s housing a convicted sex offender too! Surely the Lisa we know and love would have recognised how devastating prison would be and found a better method of punishment, one that teaches consequence rather than the heavy hand of the law?

The Cringe Factor

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-21h57m17s333Surprisingly there are elements I like about the Laurel/Bob/Brenda plot, but this week was a showcase of the aspects that are really letting the story down. These are all characters who should be sympathetic and in the midst of a painful situation, but each scenario at the moment feels childish and contrived. As Bob and Laurel tried to stay away from each other, this week they found themselves in a silly scenario where Laurel got glue down herself and needed help undressing. Bob was on hand and it all got awkward when she was stood there in a vest. A vest! It was meant to be highly charged but the reality was embarrassing to watch – surely there’s a better way to inject a bit of sexual tension? Meanwhile Brenda continues to privately seethe but surely now eyebrows would be raised? Her running commentary about morality is painfully unsubtle and I find it hard to believe everyone can be so oblivious.

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Scene of the Week (19-23 March 2018)

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It’s another Scene of the Week winner for Isobel Steele this year as she continues to portray Liv’s struggles with raw and breathless emotion. Facing criminal charges and imprisonment, Liv again found escape in the bottle and hid out at The Dingles farm in tears. But having cut herself on glass, Lisa found her and saw how tormented the young teen was. It was a wake up call for both characters, softening Lisa’s harsh decisions and making Liv realise how devastating her actions had been on everyone. Despite this not being my favourite story of the week, it was hard not to feel empathy for Liv’s desperate upset and a testament to Isobel’s talent too.

Fave or Fail? (12-16 March 2018)

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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! Lisa’s health suffered when Gabby and Liv’s actions backfired and Joe discovered Debbie’s dark secret.

Faves

Dingle Divide

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h51m53s334Poor Lisa Dingle faced a health scare this week after Gabby and Liv’s prank went wrong. With Gabby determined to teach Daz a lesson, Lisa got caught in the crossfire and ended up in hospital and now the family are hellbent on revenge. There is one slight issue and one big secret, however – Liv is the one that did the actual spiking. It’s a story helmed by two great young actresses that causes friction not only between the extended families but will now surely divide the Dingles too when they find out the truth. I love stories that get the whole village involved, especially when it’s someone as beloved by the community (and viewers) as Lisa. With regretful Liv sure to spiral, this will give great dramatic material for Isobel Steele and might be the big consequences that Gabby and Liv need to learn from their mistakes.

Wicked Games

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h52m54s476Joe Tate learnt the shocking truth about Ross’s acid attack this week and decided to play a vengeful game with Debbie in order to keep her dark secret by blackmailing her into playing his girlfriend. Twisted, much? Joe’s manipulative wickedness adds a cruel spin to the story which might otherwise just be a quite repetitive and depressing story of Ross’s suffering. Health stories by nature can be slow so I’m glad of other elements to keep it interesting while still showing enough sensitivity and education through Ross’s recovery. Joe’s turning up at the hospital and forcing Debbie to reveal their new “status” to an already hurting was an especially bastardy move. Joe’s definitely the boo-hiss villain that makes soap so entertaining. But there’s a fine line between love and hate and Joe’s feelings for Debbie seem to be walking that tightrope, will hers follow?

Happier Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h23m44s125Smiles never last long in Emmerdale, but how nice to see resident misery magnet Aaron with some happiness this week. With much of last year bogged down in an angsty hell, it’s been good that the character has been shown to have a bit more of an adult life, not just in parenting and responsibility, but with his relationship with Chas too. With Chas absent a lot of last year, the mother son scenes were thin on the ground, but I’m glad we’ve moved to a more mature, less dependent relationship between the two. It feels fresher and far more enjoyable to see him carving a life for himself too.

Through the Tough Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h54m59s362Hooray for Eric again this week as not only did he invite Faith to move into his lovely barn, but he was a great support to Tracy. With Val and Finn gone it’s sad that we’ve not seen much of the BnB lately – we really did take those days for granted. But after David’s awful behaviour and his daughter-in-law needing a break from the shop, Eric was quick to offer her a better position working for him. I think this is exactly the boost Tracy needs. Eric has faith in her (no pun intended) and I love their supportive relationship, on both sides.

Fails

Recipe for Disaster

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h25m55s685This week, despite all the warning signs, Chas and Paddy decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and bring a Chaddy child into this world. As nice as it was to see Chas get some focus again, the writing choices felt heavily pro-life and dated, leading us to the inevitable outcome where they chose not to terminate. Still, we all know happiness for anyone – especially Chas – is short lived so all this champagne popping seems a bit pre-emptive, particularly when you remember Paddy was torn between two women five minutes ago. This has disaster written all over it and while I’m not a fan of the ill-suited couple, I dread the likely drift back towards Paddy and Rhona. It seems clear he’s still in love with her so how long before Chas’s heart is broken and the Dingles have another enemy on their list?

Scene of the Week (12-16 March 2018)

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For me the main strengths of the acid attack storyline have been getting to see Ross in a vulnerable light and the far-reaching consequences of Debbie’s naive revenge – and this Scene of the Week showcases both. Ross was one of my picks as a character who needed a shake up last year and I’m glad that this story is allowing different material for Ross, to cut through the bravado and show him scared and sad. Armed with just a white board and pen, Ross was exposed in this moment and his dry humour landed in a much more poignant way. Debbie and Ross as a couple, or potential love story, leaves me stone cold, but there were other elements at work in this scene which made it far more compelling. It makes her feelings of guilt and betrayal more painful and Charley Webb played that conflict beautifully. Ross and Debbie can both be quite sour faced and cold characters but this storyline puts them both in a position of self-loathing rather than self-involvement and that’s an interesting change. Do I want Emmerdale to revisit Debbie and Ross as a pairing? No way. But this scene was a good tease at one hell of an emotional fall-out.

Fave or Fail? (5-9 March 2018)

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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! Tracy stood up to David’s cruelty and hypocrisy this week as Ross tried to cope with his scarring.

Faves

Inner Strength

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h11m09s581Tracy was amazing this week and has fast become one of my favourite characters in Emmerdale. Buoyed by the knowledge that Phil had changed his plea to guilty thanks to another complaint and the piece in the local paper, Tracy was feeling much more positive about life. Until she discovered husband David was ashamed by her past and was trying to cover it up. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Tracy was helped by those around her to find the courage to stand up to David and confront his cruel and unempathetic treatment of her, as well as his hypocrisy for supporting other women in his life but not her. So far Tracy has stayed strong and resilient, telling him she can’t un-see the parts of him she doesn’t like, but I just hope she doesn’t backtrack because she deserves far better.

Cain’s Domestic Struggle

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h09m30s817Who’d have thought that Cain attempting to cook a meal and clean the house would have been such a huge hit this week? With Faith cramping his style, Cain wanted her out and attempted to impress Moira with his domestication. Of course, Cain being Cain it was a disaster and he roped in both Marlon and Lydia to help him out. Cain rarely gets the comedy scenes (see also: Robron’s scenes with Faith this week) but that’s why it was such an unexpected joy. From a great silly set up, to the clash of personalities and funny lines – it was a brilliantly cheerful and genuinely amusing set of scenes. And despite his uncovered deception, it clearly worked a treat on Moira too as she let him move back home.

Tracy’s Support Network

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h15m24s919How nice it was this week to see so many characters rally round in their support of Tracy. Even characters like Rhona who don’t know her as well, offered their empathy and the women of the Dales were able to use their previous negative experiences with men to help her find her strength. As mentioned in my Scene of the Week choice Charity’s speech was a particular highlight, even if Vanessa’s approach was far too forgiving of David’s attitude. Family members like Jacob and Eric were rightly horrified at David’s reaction and made up for his failings by saying the things he ought to have. All these scenes have made a welcome change from the usual way women in soapland turn against each other in action or judgement and I’m thankful that it’s only David who is this caveman anomaly.

Ross’s Recovery

Emmerdale - Cain Helps Ross to Finally Reconnect With Moses - YouTubeRoss’s road to acceptance and recovery had its ups and downs this week and it took some tough love and reverse psychology from Cain to help him move forward. After Ross’s violent outburst at Debbie at the start of the week (which was unfortunately horribly aggressive to watch and detracted a bit from the empathy I had towards Ross) Cain wanted words. But knowing Debbie’s role in the acid attack made Cain cautious and less vengeful and instead tried to help Ross bond again with son Moses. This is story is at its best when it lets Ross be vulnerable and scared and considering Moses might just be the cutest kid in Emmerdale, their scenes were especially touching and a real highlight of the week.

Sharma Drama

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h13m10s113I’ve had my ups and downs with the Sharmas over the years and think the family have suffered from dull factory stories or too much panto villainy from Jai. Thankfully those days are behind us and this week saw Priya come under suspicion for hurting Eliza after her breakdown last week. Despite initial finger pointing and doubt, what I liked about this story was its lack of sensationalism. Priya wasn’t kicked out of the family home and Jai didn’t refuse to speak to her – Priya took the decision herself to move out and even though the suspicion caused a rift in the family, there wasn’t any shouting and screaming, destroying that sibling bond. I like Jai and Priya’s relationship a lot so I hope this story doesn’t escalate into a war.

Fail

No Going Back?

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h10m23s643It’s hard to imagine how David will go back to being a likeable silly chap in the shop again after his continually awful behaviour towards Tracy. She’s always felt looked down on by him but this week proved he really does think less of her and is ashamed to be with her. Viewing his attitude towards her past, his mortification and the way he dismissed her struggle was uncomfortable to watch and made me hope she never takes him back. As if him cheating on her for no reason wasn’t bad enough, this disgusting treatment of the woman who’s meant to be his wife shows no obvious route of redemption. He’s been tactless and insensitive in the past but has this taken him too far?

Scene of the Week (5-9 March 2018)

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Charity’s incredible speech in support of Tracy blew me away this week, and it aired on International Women’s Day which couldn’t have been more apt. As Charity sat there with Vanessa and Tracy, the latter in tears, I think we all hoped Charity would be a support to Tracy knowing that she had experienced a similar past as a prostitute. Charity’s empowering speech wasn’t just reminding Tracy that she was an amazing woman, but that she deserves a whole lot more from her husband – not just love but compassion and empathy. Charity rightly reminded her that David is an adult and that it is his job to make her past easier to deal with and if he doesn’t then maybe he’s not worth it. It was hard for Tracy to hear but crucial that she did. Charity’s words were given confidently, but she’s taken a long time to reach this self-acceptance too and that’s why this moment was so resonating and inspiring. It’s a speech we all wish we could have given Tracy, a shame-free show of support and feminism that is vital in this story. Great story, Emmerdale. It’s what we should be seeing more of in our soaps.