Fave or Fail? (18-22 Feb 2019)

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! Emmerdale went back to its farming roots this week as a tractor accident had terrible consequences for Rhona.

Faves

Life Changing Accident

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h41m00s565Rhona suffered a nasty injury this week after a faulty tractor, driven by a worse-for-wear Pete, smashed into a barn. Following the accident, things escalated and Rhona was told she had fibroids in her womb and would need a hysterectomy to remove them. This immediately threw Rhona and Pete’s relationship into turmoil as they’d been living a laid-back romance and brushed aside more serious talks of the future. Not only did this story have the tension of who was to blame for the accident, but this also created interesting dilemmas in Pete and Rhona’s popular romance. Emmerdale haven’t utilised their farming setting in ages so it was great to see this used to explore conflict within a relationship. This story has already got fans speculating if and how Rhona and Pete could move forward, or whether it’s the end of the road for them with the kids factor being an insurmountable obstacle, and talking points like this are the backbone of great stories. It was great to see Pete find common ground in an unlikely heart-to-heart with Paddy and a welcome return of Zoe Henry’s stand-out performances. With a relationship on the line, Rhona’s painkiller addiction revisited and a hysterectomy affecting Rhona’s hormones, I can’t wait to see how this story progresses.

Friendship Focus

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m07s218Friendships and great partnerships can often be forgotten depending on the storyline, so I was thrilled to see so many Rhona and Vanessa scenes this week as their friendship is one of my favourites in Emmerdale. Although Rhona has support from Pete and her exes Paddy and Marlon, there’s nothing that quite matches the tenderness of her friendship with Vanessa. Emmerdale have dropped the ball in showing them together since they both became busy with their love lives, but I hope they don’t forget about them again. I loved their scenes before Rhona’s accident as they teased each other about their romances, but their emotional hospital scenes were a real highlight of the week. Going forward I hope Vanessa continues to be supportive of Rhona, especially now that her relationship with Pete has hit the rocks.

Serious Sharmas

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m50s007Manpreet’s story continued this week as she stole from the factory accounts and eventually came clean with Rishi. I’ve completely grown to love Manpreet’s role in the Sharma family, lifting them away from cartoonish stories and giving them grounded family drama. With suspicious Jai and Priya worried about her taking advantage of Rishi’s big heart, they took a tough love approach, but the writing for this storyline allow both sides their time to be understood. We can accept Manpreet’s struggle with her addiction and like her, but also empathise with Jai’s kids who are trying to look out for him. Involving Manpreet with the factory workers and seeing her socialise with colleague Liam also really helped to widen the Sharma’s circle as often their stories can feel isolated. I’m glad the Sharmas are getting to do more than mess around with fancy dress and Lycra, because they’re capable of the serious and heartfelt too.

Bonus Faves

  • I can’t let this week pass without mentioning how happy I was to see villagers actually at work! Manpreet’s first aid training, Liam’s GP surgery, the BnB hosting breakfast, factory and farming centred drama – it really felt like characters had a life, rather than waiting for the next story to drop. Using work to facilitate stories makes the village life feel far more authentic!
  • I was so happy to see Jimmy and Nicola reunited this week – and Jimmy throwing himself into make up sex was this couple to a T. Perfect.
  • Speaking of perfect, is there any couple more fun, more Carry On and more entertaining to watch than Bernice and Liam? Long live Cavastock, they are exactly what the doctor ordered!

Fails

Daddy Drama

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h43m27s515Paternity drama is ten a penny in soaps, but Emmerdale fell into predictable and irritating tropes again this week as Chas and Marlon continued to badger Paddy about finding out if Bear Wolf was his “real dad”. Having been unable to take Paddy’s word for it, Chas secretly sent off for a DNA result and endlessly discussed it with Marlon this week. Chas’s insistence was tiresome and unlikeable, particularly when Paddy rightly pointed out that biology made no difference to him, his dad was the man who raised him and Bear Wolf didn’t want to know. Chas nagging about this issue of “real”  was unnecessary. This story felt lazy, relying on dated concepts of biological ties being more significant, which coming from Chas didn’t work when she’s seen herself that Paddy’s been a far greater father to Aaron than his “real” dad Gordon. To make matters worse, after wearing Paddy down into reading the result, he found out Bear Wolf is his biological father meaning we’re destined to watch more of that awful character and this repetitive story. Oh boy.

No More Mr Nice Guy

vlcsnap-2019-02-23-22h40m15s142Ryan’s introduction to Emmerdale last year was a big hit with viewers but the countryside air must have got to him as this week we saw a nasty side to his personality that didn’t seem like the character we’d liked so much. Being an outsider in the village meant Ryan didn’t come with all the baggage and petulance that most soap characters have. He seemed like a cool, mature bloke, open minded with a sarcastic sense of humour – a refreshing change. This week, however, he reverted to a selfish sulky teenager and went as low as offering Dawn money for sex when his jealousy and insecurity took over. After oafish drayman Leon, Ryan was supposed to look empathetic, like a guy who’d just made a mistake, but his relationship with Dawn until this point had been compassionate and nuanced so his reaction to throw money at her was a big misstep. Exploring Ryan’s issues with his own self-worth and feeling insecure against Leon’s macho act needed the care and depth to do it justice. This week’s scenes didn’t have that, and it was difficult to empathise with him. Instead Ryan looked petty and cold and when it all came out, it was impossible not to be on Dawn’s side as Ryan’s remorse was lacking and he just seemed sulky. Even Ryan’s relationship with Charity, which had once felt fresh and different, is now repetitive. Like she does with Debbie, Charity’s begun to enable Ryan’s behaviour, mothering and interfering, and Ryan was once more independent than to tolerate that. Emmerdale need a serious rethink before they ruin Ryan’s character for good.

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Scene of the Week (18-22 Feb 2019)

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Emmerdale went back to its roots this week as all the drama happened on the farm and it was a welcome use of its countryside USP. With Pete still half-cut from his big night out the previous day and Matty ignoring Cain’s instruction not to use the dodgy tractor, Pete carried on oblivious. Rhona was patiently waiting in the barn calling Pete to find out where he was, but dodgy brakes and a ringing phone meant distracted Pete couldn’t stop in time, and veering to avoid Matty sent him straight into the barn. It was a knuckles in mouth moment to see the panic all round. Pete’s foot jammed uselessly on the brake, Matty’s wheelbarrow was crushed, but it was unsuspecting Rhona in the barn that offered the biggest tension. With the tractor ploughing on, she was thrown backwards, hay bails flying, crushing Rhona against a gate. Stunts like this work when you know the impact is going to be long-lasting, but it was especially a treat to see the farm being used again. Emmerdale might have tried to shake its farmyard roots, but it’s about time they made the most of their unique setting.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 Feb 2019)

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! A pretty poor week in the Dales that saw wrestler Bear Wolf visit the Woolie (in scenes I’d rather forget) and a very loveless Valentine’s Day.

Faves

Marlon’s Wake-up Call

Emmerdale - Marlon and Jessie's Marriage Collapses - YouTubeMarlon blew a fuse this week when discovering Jessie lied and left April alone in the house so she could break up the fight between Ellis and Billy. Marlon’s anger cut straight to the heart of the matter and shamed Jessie left to stay with a friend. These scenes were surprisingly well done, even if Marlon and Jessie’s relationship is a struggle to connect with. I still wish they’d stayed friends rather than rushing into an ill-suited marriage, however Mark Charnock gave these scenes his all and they added some much-needed depth to their marriage. The obstacles their family are facing are complex and interesting, it’s just a bit of a shame that the central Marlon/Jessie relationship is the real weak link.

Nicola’s Downfall

Emmerdale - Jimmy Still Refuses to Forgive PREVIEW - YouTubeShe might have caused her own downfall by trying to steal money from Graham right under his nose, but with Valentine’s love in the air this week, I definitely felt pangs of sympathy for Nicola. Perhaps it was Nicola Wheeler’s touching performance of Nicola’s loneliness on Valentine’s Day night that won me over, or her crushed expression when best mate Laurel revealed she was becoming her boss, or maybe it was her brilliant display of determination and fighting spirit against Graham. By the end of the week (and after the hilarious “hostage” scenes) Nicola decided she needed to show some more honesty and admit her mistakes and she turned herself into the police. Her teary eyed love declaration to Jimmy was a heightened parody of the Princess Leia and Han Solo scene in Empire Strikes Back and a great end to the week. Whoever she’s in scenes with, from Jimmy to Laurel to Graham to Bernice, Nicola makes Emmerdale far more enjoyable.

Sharma Spark Back?

Emmerdale - Jimmy Still Refuses to Forgive PREVIEW - YouTube (1)It was good to see Jai with a bit of life back in him this week. Chris Bisson’s been underused in Emmerdale in recent years but with a bit more focus on the factory workers this week, Jai was back lording it over them and he felt right at home. Though the Sharmas have recently been used as comedy D plots and Jai’s screentime has seriously lessened since his days as a cartoon baddie, his recent versatility between a support for Manpreet and a snarky boss shows he’s worth more than just being a background character. It’s about time he had more to do.

Fails

Jessie’s Boys

vlcsnap-2019-02-17-11h53m57s510On paper, Jessie’s complicated relationship with her sons and her inability to cut the apron strings is a story worth watching, same too is Ellis and Billy’s tension and rivalry. Unfortunately the reality of these struggles haven’t been as gripping to watch. The brothers have great charisma and chemistry, but this week’s scenes which saw Ellis drive at Billy with a van escalated too quickly making their confrontation feel forced. Their background strife over Jessie’s favouritism feels believable, but to have Ellis’s rushed jealousy over Vic be his motivation to mow Billy down just didn’t ring true – and neither did Vic’s disinterest in his romantic plans and sudden dumping. While Jessie’s bad decision to leave April alone to resolve her sons’ war left Marlon fuming, it’s her own parenting decisions that are irritating to watch rather than relatable. She might have agreed to stay out of their fights, but something tells me she won’t be able to resist and her inference doesn’t do her character any favours.

UnBEARable and Unfunny

Emmerdale - Paddy Exposes Bear Wolf's Shocking Secret! - YouTubeThis week saw Paddy meet the man suspected to be his biological father, the wrestler Bear Wolf. If the story’s build up sounded ridiculous, nothing could quite prepare us for his scenes this week which saw Emmerdale reach new lows of cringeworthy comedy. It’s been uncomfortable enough watching Chas and Marlon repeatedly push Paddy into meeting Bear Wolf, even though he’d told them he wasn’t interested, but this week they forced his hand even further by orchestrating the meet. Comedy is a subjective thing, but having well-trodden “real” father mystery mission wasn’t made more entertaining by Bear Wolf being a sleazy wrestler, in fact it managed to remove all the heart and emotion from Paddy’s curiosity. The OTT costume, the wig and the fact that his take-over of the pub dominated scenes made the humour feel laboured and almost unwatchable. It only got worse when Paddy grappled with him on the floor and an attempt to steal Bear’s DNA left them wig snatching instead. This was played for a shock laugh, but it was obvious to anyone that Bear’s long locks weren’t his own. If this is supposed to be the uplifting story for Paddy after Grace’s death then this awful story was the wrong way to go about it. If any story is worse than this in 2019 I’d be very surprised (and horrified!).

Scene of the Week (11-15 Feb 2019)

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Comedy can be hit and miss in Emmerdale, but Nicola’s determined fight against Graham’s house repossession in Friday’s episode was a chucklesome hit. After burying the key down her bra, Nicola held Diane and Bernice “hostage” as she ranted at Graham and tried to put off new residents by threatening that they’d have the villagers pooing on their lawn. Meanwhile Bernice and Liam took the hostage situation seriously with brilliantly funny love declarations and OTT claims of sacrifice. The sisters’ rivalry and clash of personalities is always entertaining, especially with Diane’s eye rolling along side it. It was great to see Nicola fight back and see Graham out of his dry lonely existence up at Home Farm – this was great entertainment at the end of the week.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 Feb 2019)

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! In the week that saw Jacob tell Maya he loves her, Graham planted evidence in Cain’s garage.

Faves

Liv’s Asexuality

Emmerdale - Liv Tells Jacob She Likes Him - YouTubeEmmerdale and actress Isobel Steele did an impressive job in exploring Liv’s asexuality on screen this week, in scenes that have been highly praised by viewers who could relate to her identity. Liv’s asexuality had been hinted months ago but much like with her drinking, it was an aspect Emmerdale needed the time and dedication to explore with authenticity. This week was a solid start. Even though she hasn’t labelled herself, she was open and frank with both Jacob and Aaron about her feelings towards relationships and sex and even commenting that she’s been reading up on it too. It’s original ground for soap and something that needs to be handled with care and so far it seems like Emmerdale is attempting to talk about asexuality in an honest and enlightening way. Stories like this are great for informing viewers and dispelling myths. Sadly for Liv, she’s going to be dragged into Jacob’s heart-breaking story, but so far Liv’s growing confidence about who she is and how she feels has been refreshing to watch.

You, Me and the Cockroaches

vlcsnap-2019-02-10-13h57m20s147This week Nicola had to pick up the pieces after Graham’s scheme exposure and with Jimmy begrudgingly letting her move back in, but only for the kids’ sake, she had to rely on all the friends she could get. Friendship is a funny thing in Emmerdale, sometimes forgotten about or underused when storylines get in the way, but a vital part of lives in the village. Storylines often benefit from friends supporting each other. I was glad to see Nicola and Laurel’s firm friendship resumed this week when she briefly moved in. Laurel wasn’t there to offer her a pity party, she wanted her friend back with a fighting spirit. Nicola also had support from fellow conspirator Robert, as he empathised with her isolation and related to everyone hating her. Robert and Nicola work well together so I hope their enjoyable partnership continues too, perhaps like Robert said, even after the nuclear winter and it’s just them and the cockroaches. More friendship scenes like these are more than welcome!

Big Spender

vlcsnap-2019-02-10-13h55m31s761Jai started getting suspicious about Manpreet this week when she moved into the Sharma household. First it was the box of things she didn’t want Jai to touch, but then he caught her trying to reason with debt collectors as they seized her car. Jai wanted answers and eventually discovered Manpreet had a spending addiction. With Jai’s history of addiction he tried to reason with her, even attempting to get her to visit a support group. This story has given Manpreet some much needed depth and is a surprising route to take a character known for a professional role in the community. I was glad to see Emmerdale use Jai’s past to inform his response rather than a kneejerk attempt of kicking her out. Stories work best when characters’ histories shape their current behaviour and I was grateful to see more of underused Jai too. Both actors have a great chemistry, but will this lead down a slippery path of more lies and infidelity if Manpreet uses Jai as a crutch?

Heart-breaking Decisions

Emmerdale - Dawn Realises She Must Leave Lucas Behind - YouTubeLately Dawn’s pinned her hopes on getting back her son Lucas, but despite warnings and hesitations from Harriet, she ploughed on this week and met with a social worker. Still trying to come off drugs and sort her life out, Dawn was optimistic but not thinking clearly as she managed to steal a glance at her son’s new address. But once she’d arrived outside his house with a toy, she started to have reservations. The “struggling mother trying to clean up her act” plot feels like a well-trodden storyline, but Olivia Bromley brings so much warmth and pathos to the role that her struggles are engaging and feel fresh.

Bonus Faves

  • Elliot King was such a scene stealer this week, from his quick-smart schemes (too much like Nicola for his own good), brilliant lines of dialogue and his sweet concern for his family. He’s one to watch.
  • Emmerdale fans are united in their hatred of manipulative Maya, but three cheers for Louisa Clein who is making her so uncomfortably compelling to watch. It’s a story almost too unbearable to watch but her butter-wouldn’t-melt softness makes her the perfect villain

Fail

Silly Stunt

Emmerdale - Maya Has a Nasty Accident - YouTubeThere have always been some strange stunts and accidents in Emmerdale. Who can forget Sam being shot in the bum?! But this week saw Maya fall and hit her head, causing a swift trip to hospital. Of course, the whole accident was to send Jacob into turmoil and prompt a love confession, and once more Maya had him back under the thumb. But from the awkwardly staged stunt to the clunkily plotted accident, it all seemed a bit of a ham-fisted way to force development in the grooming plot. Maya panicking and wanting to make a quick getaway felt believable, but her wrangling with a stubborn suitcase, while standing on a wobbly chair came across as convoluted. When it came to Jacob’s hospital panic, his dramatic reveal was conveniently cut short thanks to an interrupting medic. This story is strong enough – even if we’re all watching through our fingers and horrified over the developments – that it doesn’t need cringy stunts and desperate trips to A&E.

Scene of the Week (4-8 Feb 2019)

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My favourite scene in this week’s Emmerdale is a low key choice, happening right at the beginning of the week, but managing to be both touching and amusing in its impact. With Jimmy and Nicola’s marriage on a knife edge, Elliot bunked from school in an effort to make the couple realise they needed each other. As Elliot, Luca Hoyle’s performances are always smile worthy and he always shines even in a family as funny as the Kings. Wandering alone outside, Elliot questioned Nicola whether the end of her marriage to Jimmy would mean losing her as a mum. Nicola was quick to comfort and reassure him that both him and Carl would always be “her boys” but as their soft and emotional moment triggered a few tears watching at home, she soon made the atmosphere light and teasing again, talking about his smelliness! Nicola and Elliot’s relationship gets you right in the heart, and this scene was an Emmerdale family moment to cherish.