Fave or Fail? (20-24 Aug 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! In the week Gabby and Liv got their GCSEs, Pete moved in with Rhona and Lachlan had Priya spooked.

Faves

Complicated Crush

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h58m36s643Vic might be confused by her sudden rush of feelings towards Matty, but I’m absolutely smitten by the pair of them. She’s known him for years and her complicated jealousy is now starting to make her get flustered and frustrated. Crushes are painful consuming things and watching this play out feels so perfectly true to life. I like that there are lots of layers to the setbacks, their tumultuous friendship, Adam and I’m sure Matty’s confidence and identity about being trans will come into play too. Marlon was an angel this week, offering Vic advice even when she’d hurt Matty in a big way by outing him. Emmerdale isn’t rushing this, it’s taking weeks for the feelings to unfurl and I’m so glad about that. I love seeing characters pine, getting their heartbroken and eventually mended and I’m so looking forward to Vic and Matty’s future.

New Beginnings

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h56m33s691When the concept of a Rhona and Pete romance was suggested I spoilers I baulked at the idea. Really?! But it’s been one of those strange partnerships in soap that just works. They have a fun, sexy kind of chemistry that’s done wonders for both characters, lifting Pete from his overly macho, aggressive rut and it’s given Rhona a break from being either sad or middle-aged housewife-esque tied to bumbling Paddy. Pete and Rhona is a flirty and cute pairing, but it also comes with a lot of humour and warmth. I don’t want to rush ahead or anything but when they talked about Leo and the future I suddenly got the urge to see them settled with a whole brood of gorgeous kids in tow. Here’s hoping that Pete moving is the beginning of a long relationship.

Worries About the Future

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h54m03s807We learnt more about Lydia’s past this week, with Karen Blick proving once again she’s as good at the emotionally dramatic as she is at quirky, as she bumped into a woman at the doctor’s surgery. Turns out Lydia’s beloved Steve (husband not cockatoo) had an affair with this woman and things were never the same after that. As poor Lydia opened up to Sam she admitted trying to put on a brave front and took Steve back even though she could never really forgive him. Sam, with his massive heart, wanted to prove he would never hurt her by setting a date for their wedding but Lydia didn’t want that. I’m pretty gutted that Lydia turned him down, but I hope this doesn’t mean a wedding is ruled out completely because these two are one of the loveliest couples in the Dales. Together they are adorable with actors James Hooton and Karen Blick making it seem like Sam and Lydia are truly made for each other. Long live Sam and Lydia!

Fails

Can’t Catch a Break

Tvlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h54m50s305here must be a rain cloud following Liv Flaherty whenever she goes as this week it was revealed her bad luck continued and she failed all her GCSEs. She has had a pretty difficult year following her issues with alcohol and her stint inside – not to mention her confrontations with Lachlan and Gerry’s death (which almost everyone has forgotten). But is it just me or are all these stories just floating like lose threads without ever being resolved or given the care they need? Liv’s issues with alcohol surely haven’t been “fixed” but we’ve not seen her get any real help, and her difficulties inside young offenders had no wider impact, will her exam results be the same? I can’t help but feel they should either give her a break or give her a well-written mental health story with all these miserable times piling on top of her and leading to recovery. Right now all these bad things are happening in a disconnected, meaningless way. It just seems like they want to make Liv sullen and miserable for the sake of it and that’s a real waste of Isobel’s’ talent.

Stalling for Time

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h59m46s315Don’t get me wrong – there are moments about the Lachlan story that I still enjoy. I think Thomas Atkinson is fantastic and when he gives us a display of Lachlan’s chilling and defiant smile, I love the thrill of it. His stand-offs with Priya this week have been tension filled and brilliant. But lately these moments don’t make up for the stop/start nature of the story that seems to take us one step forward and seven steps back. This week when Priya discovered the message Rebecca left about Lachlan being a killer, Lucky burnt down the shack, evaded police suspicion and buggered off on holiday with Belle leaving Priya suspicious but looking mad. There’s no real sense of momentum or jeopardy and every time we seem to creep nearer to a climax, the characters disappear off screen. With everyone stupidly believing Rebecca’s gone to Wales for good and Lachlan becoming the Dingles’ new BFF, it’s stretching the resolution far beyond the point of excitement to tedium. Lets hope things escalate and conclude soon!

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Scene of the Week (20-24 Aug 2018)

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This week’s choice for Scene of the Week is this surprisingly sweet moment with Rhona, Pete, Leo and Marlon. With Pete moving into Rhona’s, the pair were unsure about Leo’s reaction so they did their best to explain the situation to him using Makaton. It was really endearing to see Pete attempt to talk to Leo and try to sign “tractor” and even Marlon tried to reassure Pete when Leo seemed less keen to respond. Now that Pete’s out of the testosterone hot-house of Dale View, it’s been a welcome change to see him show a more sensitive and mature side. I loved this scene for its warm glimpse into a real-life situation of children adjusting to new partners and vice versa. Even more so I loved the use of the characters’ on-screen history to explain why they had both been hesitant, with Rhona mentioning her trust issues after Pierce and Pete wary to get attached to kids after his failed relationship with Debbie. This was such a casual, everyday scene but one which gives Emmerdale a feeling of normalcy and reality amongst some of the more outlandish stories. More of this please.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Aug 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! As Ross threw a terrible drug-fuelled party, Sarah agreed to have a heart transplant.

Faves

Generations of Support

Emmerdale - Sarah Gets Some Life Lessons From Faith - YouTubeSarah has a big support network around her at the moment (if you discount her MIA dad and the other Sugdens, despite the odd cameo from Diane) but it was her scenes with Faith that were the big highlight of the week. Sure, a hospital escape and a pub visit at 9am might have been stretching the suspension of disbelief, but Faith and Sarah’s honest talks were an example of familial moments Emmerdale does so well. With Sarah set on dying, Faith tried to show her that she hadn’t even begun to live, reminding her of all the things she was giving up on. I loved that the script wove in Faith’s health history and Chas’s story too, making these interactions feel truthful and real, even in a family as big and dramatic as the Dingles.

The Return of Bad Boy Cain

Emmerdale - Cain Issues a Chilling Threat to Frank If He Calls the Police - YouTubeWe got a glimpse of mad, bad Cain this week after Frank tried to confront him over the most anti-climatic car crash in recent times. After the crash, Frank threatened to call the police on Cain and we saw a smidgen of the darker Frank lurking underneath. Frank’s been a bit of a bore since his arrival, but something more sinister would be a good route to go down, especially if it revives Cain with a bit of menace himself. I’m all for family man Cain, but there was something deeply satisfying about watching him put Frank in his place the next day by listing everything he’d do to Frank if he went ahead with his threats. You get the sense actor Jeff Hordley relishes these moments of a confident and threatening Cain and that comes across – it’s a joy to watch too. It’s about time he had another adversary.

Difficult Future Ahead

Emmerdale - Paddy and Chas Find Out What Lies Ahead for Their Child PREVIEW - YouTubeChas and Paddy’s emotional story was made sadder this week by the introduction of a woman named Joanne. Joanne told her story about the loss of her child as a way to give Chas and Paddy not only comfort and advice, but a slice of reality. I haven’t felt especially connected to this story (perhaps there’s just been too much bumbling from Paddy and bloodyminded-ness from Chas, I’m not sure) but using Joanne and a talented guest actress made the story feel very personal and real. I think opening up the story to other characters helps lift the situation from being too repetitive and insular and it’s a sign of a good script and actress that Joanne’s story resonated in such a short space of time.

Jacob’s Return

Emmerdale - Jacob Finds Out About Tracy's Abortion - YouTubeJacob came back from visiting mum Alicia this week (Alicia we miss you!) and reminded everyone – especially David – how to be a half-decent man. David being David had Maya semi-naked under the counter of the shop (health and safety nightmare surely?) and had to quickly explain to Jakey that he’d moved on in record speeds. I really loved the scenes between Jacob and Tracy this week as he reached out and tried to support her and I’ll always be glad of anyone giving David some home truths. Maya is an interesting one though, isn’t she? Overly earnest and way too keen – there’s got to be something darker lurking under the surface.

Fails

Ross the Cokehead

vlcsnap-2018-08-19-14h14m05s118When Emmerdale revealed they were giving Ross the head-hitting acid attack storyline, I don’t think anyone imagined that Ross becoming a cokehead would be the direction the story would take! This was a story that would change Ross, showing us a more vulnerable side to him and take the character in a new and refreshing direction. But if Ross’s alpha male status was brash and unlikeable when he first arrived, then this week it became a whole new level of arrogant and dickhead. As Ross got wasted, throwing a party and causing arguments with Pete and his only friend in Ryan, it feels like all the worst aspects of Ross turned up to eleven. When we know Ross is on his way out, it seems a real shame to leave the character on such a sour note – is this really how we want to remember him?

Scene of the Week (13-17 Aug 2018)

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Sarah’s tragic storyline has been one of the strongest and a real highlight this week, but I particularly enjoyed this scene with her mum, Debbie, when she agreed to go ahead with the transplant. With Debbie battling to stay positive, the pair had a frank discussion with Sarah feeling like she caused her mum too much trouble in life. Charley Webb’s performance in this moment was a real tear-jerker as she struggled to imagine how painful life would be without her daughter and how powerless she felt. Young actress Katie Hill is so much like a young Debbie that their scenes together have a genuine charm, one which makes this storyline work even better.

Fave or Fail? (6-10 Aug 2018)

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! This week saw the kids get spooked with a trip to the woods and the Lachlan murder saga continued.

Faves

Lots of Nicola

vlcsnap-2018-08-11-22h01m16s233Every time Nicola King gets a more prominent role on screen I’m reminded why she’s one of my favourite characters. From her sharp one liners, dismissive put-downs and all round sarcastic attitude, I just love everything about Nicola. Amongst the stinging wit, Nicola has a huge heart when it comes to her beloved family and best mate Laurel. We haven’t seen much of their friendship in recent months so it was nice to see that again, especially as it included lots of eye-rolling over the Bob romance. We feel you, Nico. Nicola managed to liven up what was quite an unfunny and dull start to the week and it made me wish that we saw a lot more of her. Where have her and Jimmy’s stories disappeared to? I had high hopes at the start of the year with his health problems and the business being taken over by Joe but since then it’s fizzled out. Nicola is a huge asset to the village and it was about time she was used more.

Scooby Doo Gang

vlcsnap-2018-08-11-22h02m07s123The kids gave Stranger Things a run for its money this week as they ganged up to explore the woods. Feeling spooked out by Misty’s stories about energy never dying the kids played ghost hunters all to tease out the will they/won’t they discovery of Rebecca held captive in the cabin. The dialogue in Thursday’s two-parter was particularly funny as the kids wound each other up, bossing each other around and teasing each other’s fears. Particular highlights of the storyline were April’s team leading and subsequent cries of “Shut up April!”; Arthur’s mortification of Laurel turning up; and Angelica using the phrase “Grow a pair!” but none of them knowing what was meant to be grown. There are times when their dialogue was a little too self-consciously adult, but in Thursday’s double especially they felt like real kids on an adventure and Emmerdale’s child stars are great to watch.

Slow Burn Romance

vlcsnap-2018-08-12-14h14m45s692I’m a sucker for a slow burn romance with unrequited pining so this storyline of hidden and confusing feelings between Victoria and Matty is right up my street. Underused actress Isabel Hodgins has Vic’s butterflies down to a tea, playing the awkwardness of friendship-with-feelings perfectly against Ash Palmisciano’s charismatic Matty. The pair have a nice warm chemistry which works well as besties, but now that there’s a little romantic undercurrent I’m really invested. I think the potential here for drama is a goldmine and I hope Emmerdale doesn’t rush to something too perfect and smooth sailing. Let it grow.

Hospital Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2018-08-12-14h13m56s290Debbie and Sarah’s heart-breaking moment together before she was wheeled away for the transplant that never was really got me in the gut this week. The upbeat scenes in the hospital with Sarah being quite happy-go-lucky about it all and Debbie being the overprotective mum, soon got serious when reality hit. It was a contrast that worked well. It’s an unimaginable horror for any parent, and the onscreen relationship between the pair felt believable in its emotion. I’m glad Debbie’s got a story that is much more grounded in reality and separate from stilted love triangles too and actress Charley Webb is at her finest when she has the pain of these moments to play.

Fails

Hard to Believe

vlcsnap-2018-08-11-22h00m21s011Continuing the Amelia and Beth story just isn’t working for me on any level. Beth’s story as the misunderstood vulnerable teen reminds me of the Josh story from last year and I have the same question this time – why should I care? Surely Beth’s going to disappear just like Josh did, never to be mentioned again. The Amelia story was fun when it felt like we were invited to speculate on the mystery but as soon as her kidnapper was revealed, it lost any of the suspense. To buy into Amelia’s attachment to Beth we really needed to see how a lonely and lost Amelia got groomed and so attached to Beth, but all of this development and the foundation of this story happened off screen. Now we’re left to understand and believe that Amelia is so desperate to be with Beth that she’d lie, steal and run away from her home. Not only is it hard to believe, it just isn’t very interesting to watch.

Wince-Inducing

vlcsnap-2018-08-12-14h12m15s782It was a hard week of Emmerdale to watch if you’ve got a low cringe threshold for so-called comedy. If like me you think the Sharmas are being wasted on wince-inducing sitcom storylines, then Bob’s interview and Megan’s dress-up might have just pushed it too far. Comedy is a struggle to get right, and everyone has their own tastes, but instead of raising chuckles, situations of lack have made me want to reach for the mute button. It feels like a complete waste to put capable actors in these embarrassing set-ups when lighter characters, like the Spencers, are stuck in miserable stories. The cringe was just too much this week and that’s even without mentioning Misty and Rodney’s mortifying sexploits.

Scene of the Week (6-10 Aug 2018)

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Lachlan’s story might be going round in familiar circles, but Rebecca’s escape attempt and chase this week had all the thrills and tension of a horror movie. There was something pretty exciting about this scene and the way it was shot meant you were never quite sure just how close to freedom Rebecca was. With both her and Lucky tripping and falling, it was a perilous mission, one with a frustrating ending of course, with Lachlan capturing and dragging Rebecca off to meet her fate. Whether that’s a new cabin in the woods or a shallow grave (my money’s on the former) we’ll have to see, but I’m expecting more horror tropes before this story is out.