Fave or Fail? (24-28 Sep 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! A great week in the Dales as Vanity shared those three little words and Moira confessed to killing Emma to Matty and Vic.

Faves

Exposed Secrets

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h23m41s338It wasn’t long ago that Victoria was nominated on this blog as one of Emmerdale’s most underrated characters so it’s been fantastic this week to see her front and centre of the show. Not only was Vic battling with her feelings for BFF Matty this week, as the pair gave into a passionate snog (yay!) but she was also thrown into turmoil after learning that Adam took the rap for Emma’s death and Moira was the real culprit. Not only this, but she found out that her future brother in law Aaron knew about it this whole time. What I love about this story is that there’s no villain here, no black and white. I feel for both Moira AND Victoria, and that’s the beauty of a good story. My only wish is that Emmerdale hadn’t ruined Adam and Victoria’s marriage so close to his exit and had her not mention him for months following his departure, because that weakens the impact of her upset a little.

Consequences for Moira

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h21m05s161Recently I bemoaned Emmerdale’s lack of follow-up when it came to Moira’s PTSD and huge murder reveal, being that overall she’d been mostly unaffected. After a few months of misery, a reunion with Cain seemed to almost fix all her problems. It was a welcome relief for viewers and Moira alike but put a full stop to the conclusion of Emma’s storyline that never really seemed feasible. Though Emma’s death and the fall out lasted far longer than it should have, making Moira her killer was a massive decision that should have had far reaching ramifications. But it didn’t. It was a bold move, but one that never really materialised. Might we finally be getting the shockwaves the story deserved? I hope this gives Moira something juicy again as Natalie J Robb is far too good to spend another year around Butler’s table not doing much.

Rebecca’s Struggles

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h15m57s069It’s only taken two years but the writing for Rebecca has finally made her feel like a fully fleshed out, consistent character, vocalising her struggles rather than her brain injury only there to benefit other plots. Even though we all know Ross is due to exit from Emmerdale soon, his supportive and tender relationship with Rebecca has brought out the best in both characters. Rebecca’s pain at not being able to be a reliable mother for Seb and her loneliness feel like they’re being properly explored rather than her simply being used as either a plot device for Lachlan or Robert, or a comedy bit-part in the pub. Hopefully now Emmerdale have acknowledged that she’s an isolated character whose had six months from hell, they will continue to give her a consistent voice and agency in her own stories.

Everyone Loves Dr C

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h08m44s351Was it the stubble? The endearing sadness of a divorcee? Was it because Liam’s self-confessed highlight of the week was choosing his kitchen worktops? Whatever it was this week, everyone seemed to have fallen head over heels for Dr Cavanagh and Bernice wasn’t even in the village! There’s something oh-so charming and swoony about Liam that I was right there with Diane and Kerry in fawning all over him – and let’s face it, he’s far more of a catch than dull Daz. As Liam tried to fake reasons to call Bernice, this was exactly the kind of light-hearted watchable story in Emmerdale that I love and it made me even more glad he’s been made a regular character in the show. Hurry back Bernice before you get pipped to the post!

Meeting Obadiah

Charity amp; Vanessa 26th September 2018 Part 3 - YouTubeIt was great to meet Charity’s father this week, with the brilliant Paul Copley in the role. Both he and Emma Atkins had a short time to build up and on screen rapport but their conversations were compelling to watch, especially as we learnt about the suicide of Charity’s mum. Throughout the Bails story, despite the impressive performances, there’s been a lot of repetition and it hasn’t shone many new lights on Charity as a person. Bringing in more of her background in terms of her parents was new for us and gave her childhood an interesting dimension. However the introduction of Obadiah and meeting him seemed far too rushed and I wish these had been the scenes Emmerdale had spent longer on rather than the stop/start stalling with Ryan.

Fail

No Empathy

Charity amp; Vanessa 24th September 2018 Part 2 - YouTubeThank god for Vanessa this week, one of the few people in Charity’s life to offer any sort of empathy or compassion for her behaviour in the wake of Bails’s trial. The Dingles, on the other hand, had me raging. It wasn’t that long ago that Lisa and Aaron both went through similar hell after facing their rapist in court and the Dingles rallied round to support their loved ones. With Charity it’s been a different story. Sure, Charity’s struggling made her destructive and uncontrollable, but Zak and Chas’s bulldozing “Dingle Court” method was completely aggressive and tone deaf to what Charity needed. It is a difficult situation for a family to work through, but out of everyone you’d expect Chas to be a bit more understanding – you can’t imagine her taking such a hard line with Aaron, can you? Much like the Dingles not bothering to show up to court, I felt that this level of harshness from the family was hard to believe, designed to make Charity spiral than being something stemming naturally from their perception of Charity. They might think Charity’s strong and at times selfish, but I don’t buy that the family would be so lacking in empathy after something like this.

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Scene of the Week (24-28 Sep 2018)

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Charity had an unlikely ally this week, in the shape of village regular PC Swirling and this surprise and tender moment makes my Scene of the Week. Poor Charity has been struggling in the wake of Bails’ sentencing and after a maddening lack of support from the Dingles she spiralled. Swirling picked Charity up after an altercation with a farmer, but when he dropped her off home he was sympathetic and sensitive to her plight which was an immediate relief to Charity. Swirling has been a regular copper in Emmerdale having multiple run-ins with the Dingles so it was nice to see him be one of the few actually perceptive to Charity’s struggles rather than dismissive. Emma Atkins gives so much to even the smallest scenes and you could tell how much of a relief it was for Charity, albeit briefly. Great unexpected scene.

Fave or Fail? (17-21 Sep 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 saw Lachlan locked up for life as Matty overheard something suspicious from Moira and Cain.

Faves

Family Secrets Exposed

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h21m08s813Ellis has only been in the village five minutes but his believable rapport with mum Jessie makes him feel like he’s been around for a long time already. This week Marlon discovered the secret Jessie had been keeping, about her son in prison and we finally got the depth to Jessie that the character needed. This story gave Jessie’s character focus rather than just being the cheery headteacher, now Marlon’s girlfriend. It gave us a good chance to understand what makes Jessie tick and why she’s so determined to make a good impression. Pretty much all the village has had run ins with the law, but Jessie’s concern that their family would be labelled, that Billy would be another statistic about black young men felt like a believable concern and an interesting story to tell. I’m sure it won’t be long until Billy arrives in the village and creates more fractures between Ellis and Jessie, but right now I think these characters have a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to their future in Emmerdale.

Reopening Old Wounds

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h18m09s509Moira’s fury was unleashed this week during a school event celebrating past students’ achievements as she was confronted with a rude and transphobic parent. When the snooty woman criticised Moira’s parenting, badmouthing her children as she referenced Holly’s drug addiction, Adam’s murder charge and Matty’s transition, Moira grabbed the woman by the throat and told her how proud she was of her children. Not only was it great to see a ballsy return to form for Moira, but it was good to see her struggle and then resolve her awkwardness about how to talk about Matty’s transition. Her scenes with Matty have been good and I’m glad they haven’t glossed over the times where Moira might find it hard to know what to say. I’m also really happy that Emmerdale are revisiting Emma’s murder and Moira’s guilt as it seemed like that story was brushed under the carpet to facilitate Adam’s exit and keep Moira away from prison. This seems like a good way for the story to have a longer impact on the Barton family and more believable consequences.

Family Pep Talk

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h22m39s284It was a small aspect of the week’s events but I really enjoyed the scene of Aaron seeking advice about being a father from Chas and Paddy. Since Aaron’s been busy with his own family, there’s been a real lack of involvement of Aaron in Chas’s pregnancy, especially seeing as he’s been off screen for weird reasons a lot of the time (chickenpox anyone?). But as Paddy has been a surrogate father to Aaron, it seemed only right for Aaron to talk to him about being a dad to Seb, and I wish Emmerdale would make more of this parallel. Here’s hoping with Chas and Paddy’s tragedy around the corner, their stories can intersect a little more.

Fails

Never-ending Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h19m08s996After Rebecca’s outlandish and ridiculous captivity and cringy return to the village (the graveside appearance was far more laughable than it was dramatic), it’s been a pretty miserable return for her. After over a month sitting in her own muck and being tied, chained and gaslighted, things didn’t exactly improve when she got back to Emmerdale and struggled with the trauma. It’s been one miserable event after the next for Rebecca, having just learnt to cope with her brain injury Rebecca now has to cope with the fallout of her family’s murder, Lachlan’s true colours and all the associated PTSD. The only thing Rebecca had going for her was her son and now she can’t even be trusted to see him. Isn’t this unrelentingly cruel for one character? And it’s only a few months since we had very similar scenes of her realising Seb was safer with Robert, why are we getting such a miserable repeat? After months of this, shouldn’t Emmerdale give her a break, a bit of hope? It’s been pretty horrible to watch. She’s got no friends, no family and no real ties, except through Seb, isn’t it about time Emmerdale gave her a life?

Massive Anti-Climax

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h18m39s910I can’t say for sure that this really is the end for Lachlan. There is always time for a final hurrah in true soap style where he breaks free from prison and heads up an explosive showdown, but then that might just be stepping on the toes of superior supervillain Cameron Murray. But if this really is the end for Lachlan, then what a huge let down! After a few weeks of dragging out his time in prison (following the dragging months of him becoming a serial killer and covering it up), Emmerdale relied on the ludicrous Rebecca captivity story and the two wise-cracking coppers to create Lachlan’s exit. Why? The success of Lachlan’s story relied heavily on the chilling charisma of actor Thomas Atkinson and he deserved far more than this whimper of an exit. I can’t help but feel his last scenes should have been an arrest, or his cell door being bolted, not a half-hearted walk back down the prison corridor. It lacked all the thrills, complex emotions and excitement that were so pivotal to Lachlan’s best moments. As someone quite rightly pointed out on Twitter – Emmerdale sacrificed our beloved Gerry for this?! This damp squib of an ending? I feel cheated.

Scene of the Week (17-21 Sep 2018)

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I was massively disappointed in what seems to be Lachlan’s final week on Emmerdale, but I couldn’t let the week pass without praising the bristling face-off between Lachlan and Robert in Monday’s episode. Since their antagonism began, Lachlan’s been one of the few characters that ever felt like a real challenge to Robert, one of the few able to outsmart him, and with their final showdown this week, even behind bars, Lachlan managed to unnerve Rob. Knowing the ball was in his court, Lachlan taunted Robert with clues about Rebecca’s fate and whereabouts, before revealing his plot to murder Robert and Liv and how they’d resisted his attempt by “inconveniently breathing”. Hats off to Thomas Atkinson who gave a brilliant, darkly funny impression of Robert clinging to life like a guppy and Rebecca’s clueless reaction. It was stone cold sinister but a fantastic final display of just how good Thomas has been in the role. He’ll be missed.

Fave or Fail? (10-14 Sep 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! Bails got sent down this week and Emmerdale revealed what happened to Rebecca.

Faves

Worthy Winner

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h17m41s438It was perfect timing for Emma Atkins to win an award for Best Soap Actress (at the TV Choice awards) the same week as she gave a string of outstanding performances during Bails’ trial. She’s without question one of Emmerdale’s finest performers and she really got to show that off, and prove her worthy win, as Charity stood for questioning and then had to deal with the emotional aftermath of the guilty verdict. I’ve had issues with the pacing of this story (from the dragged out Ryan reveal, repetitive conversations and then a very rushed trial) and felt that the narrative has been far too similar to Rhona and Aaron’s stories, taking place very recently for this story to feel fresh. But despite the story’s weaknesses, Emma’s been fantastic. Even when Charity is saying nothing, when she’s brooding, Emma performs the moment with a storm brewing inside of Charity so powerful that viewers can feel it too. With Charity really struggling and putting on an act, I’m sure this is just the start of impressive moments from Emma.

Support System

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h16m51s043Despite some of the AWOL Dingles, I was glad to see Charity had a group of people surrounding her and giving her love this week, even faces like Tracy and Harriet who have been there from the start. Noah and Ryan’s bonding was great to see, and it was a powerful and moving moment to see them arrive in court, and give Charity that boost she needed. Although at times her loved ones have struggled with the right words and knowing how to best support her, the unflinching support from Vanessa this week was touching, even when Charity tried to push her away and bottle up her real feelings. It’s a long road ahead for Charity and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t shown that a guilty verdict feels gratifying or like a relief for everyone, but hopefully the right people will be there for her when she needs it.

Three’s a Crowd

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h14m45s599It wasn’t a big story this week but I’ve been really entertained by the trio of Rodney, Eric and Faith as Eric realised he was enjoying having Rodney around, just as Faith was getting more and more fed up. As Eric and Rodders bonded over love for the same auction telly show, Faith was asked by Brenda if their set-up was polyamorous like she’d read in the magazines. But Faith’s hope for an end in sight seemed unlikely as Eric turned down the generous offer on his statue and pretended to want rid of Rodney. This story might not have the must-see tension of a trial or soapy disaster of a serial killer, but it’s everyday fun and we could do with more of that.

Tracy Unleashed

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h15m22s475I’m definitely not here for a Ross and Tracy romance, and Ross’s wild-eyed cocaine ravings aren’t a pleasure to watch either, but I loved the cathartic scenes of Tracy smashing up a car on Friday. Tracy’s become one of my absolute favourite characters and after her emotional and mature reaction to her split with David it was fun to see her let loose and have a bit of fun, releasing all that pent up anger. There was something childlike about Tracy’s joy in the scene that I loved and I hope there’s something brighter on the horizon for her.

Fails

Dingle No-Show

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h19m09s969They’re the first family to talk codes and rules, but when it comes to support, the Dingles can be flaky at best. Perhaps the lack of consistent family support for Charity can be blamed on real world production issues considering many of the main players in the Dingle family are involved in big stories of their own (be it Chas’s pregnancy, Sarah’s heart transplant or Lachlan’s chaos) but it feels like a massive oversight to not have them there by her side, especially when they’ve been missing in most of the story. Charity’s relationship with Chas has all but disappeared, Debs was too busy to be there for the trial and Aaron, who had been through similar himself two years ago, barely gave more than a passing comment. I don’t buy it. The idea that Charity is a strong woman who doesn’t need support might seem a believable perspective for them to take at times, but I didn’t believe that her loved ones would really behave in such an uninterested, nonplussed way knowing what she’d been through. It felt a contrived way to isolate Charity and exacerbate the aftermath of the trial. Take Marlon, for example, who is known for his huge heart, but spent the time he could’ve been with Charity, bonding with Ellis. It might be an actor availability issue but it didn’t ring true, not in this context.

Rebecca’s Fate

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h18m15s415In case you hadn’t already guessed the surprise twist, Emmerdale revealed that Rebecca is alive and well (ish) this week. Despite the fact Lachlan has no reason to keep her alive, especially considering he killed both his mother, grandfather and best mate and Rebecca knew all his secrets and conspired to lock him up in the first place, Rebecca’s been spared. This week we learnt that she’s been transferred from ramshackle shack to a bed in an unknown location where a creepy nurse is keeping her drugged and her hair well-conditioned. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds, like something from a horror B movie or American soap and while there’s always a level of outlandish soap stories, this exceeds that to stupidity. This latest development just feels like another way to extend the already stretched Lachlan plot, leaving viewers with more questions than answers. Who is the creepy nurse? Where did Lachlan find her? Why did she agreed to drug this distressed woman? Where is this random room located? How did Lachlan get her there? And so on. When Lachlan’s story should be hurtling towards a conclusion after last week’s climax, this just felt like filler. What makes the story even more tedious is that like the rest of her family, Rebecca was an isolated character with few meaningful connections in the village, meaning that when Rhona was mourning her this week, or Rishi talked about the girls in the factory being upset (characters she’s never interacted with) it just rings hollow.

Scene of the Week (10-14 Sep 2018)

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This moment isn’t just my favourite scene of this week, but might just be one of my favourite scenes of Emmerdale this year. Between the high tension of Bails’ trial, Charity took a breather outside and was given a pep talk by Cain in a moment that was steeped in character and history and even managed to move me to tears. Although their days of being a couple are long gone, there’s a complicated history behind their interactions which is palpable in the actors’ chemistry and in this moment you could really grasp the journeys they’ve taken to get to this settled place. We’ve lived through it, just as the characters have, and this kind of reflection was a beautiful moment, quietly powerful. I found Cain’s reassurance that it wasn’t luck that Charity had a lot to be thankful for, but through her own progress, especially moving. His encouragement that she should be proud was an uplifting moment for her and the audience. Emmerdale at its finest.