Fave or Fail? (25-29 March 2019)

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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 learnt Joe’s alive and Rishi and Manpreet revealed that they’re married!

Faves

The Fab Four

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h44m16s428They’re just one Dingle wedding away from all being one big family, but the power couple quartet of Robron and Vanity joined forces this week – first to finish a business deal and then to save it! The week begin with Charity using her womanly wiles to schmooze Robert’s client, after agreeing to take a cut of the profits herself. But once an unhappy Vanessa got involved, she realised Mike was up to no good and ended up stealing his car! The four made an unlikely dream team with Charity and Robert’s kindred spirits exhausting their other halves, but it was after Vanessa’s panicked efforts to thwart Mike’s backstabbing that the fun really began. While Robert, Aaron and Charity aren’t opposed to a bit of criminal behaviour to get what the want, clueless Vanessa was amusingly amateur. Once again Michelle Hardwick’s fun comedy performances made the rescue of the car a fun contrast against Aaron and Robert’s open-mouthed disbelief at her school boy errors. While this foursome are used to big emotionally dramatic plots, it was nice to see the couples have some fun in a comedy capers story, each of them all using their talents and funny mix of personalities. Here’s hoping Emmerdale makes the most of their popularity and gives the four another chance to cross paths for some fun in future.

Fresh and Contemporary

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h48m23s342Emmerdale’s story with Billy this week is definitely worth commending. So far Billy’s been shown as a complex and interesting character and this week, facing racism and a confrontation in the park, Emmerdale tried to take on a relevant and contemporary story. His muddled introduction, facing dramatic in the dark hostility from Ellis and the unresolved issue of Billy’s role in Aaron’s prison ordeal, has left some viewers struggling to connect, however Emmerdale’s attempts to create a multi-layered character have been worthwhile. Newbies often come in as a bit of a shapeless caricature but the impact of Billy’s upbringing, societal and cultural issues of race, the long-term impacts of prison and male violence show that Emmerdale have really tried to make an effort in shaping a well-rounded character. Its attempts might not always be successful, heavy handed to some, but a new character like Billy has a lot more potential as someone without the cliched introduction of “mysterious bad boy”!

New Lease of Life

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h46m14s593It’s been great to see more of the Sharmas lately, especially a character like Jai who was once so hateable and villainous that it was a waste of actor Chris Bisson’s warmth and humour. While within the family, it’s Jai and Priya’s sibling relationship that provides most of the good scenes, but in the factory Jai’s new friendship with colleague Laurel seems to be going down well with fans. Some viewers have ever noticed a chemistry between them that sets tongues wagging about a possible and unlikely romance. Whether that happens or not, the pair work surprisingly well together and it’s nice to see both characters finding their feet after Jai’s villainy and Laurel’s affair with Bob tarnished opinion of them for quite some time.

Fails

Grim Kim

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h45m35s245If there’s one word to sum up this week’s Kim plot, it’s grim. The lacklustre Joe reveal rumbled on this week and even Cain wasn’t told in a particularly dramatic way. For reasons unknown, Kim’s returned with a whole catalogue of gripes and vendettas and a long wish list of businesses she wants to own. Rather than let Kim bed into Emmerdale and grow new rivalries, Emmerdale seem to determined to give her enemies and motives that make little sense to anyone watching. Kim’s experience with the Dingles in her first stint was mainly through Sam and Zak, but on returning she’s decided to hate them all, except for Cain who for some nonsensical reason she wants to sleep with. Okay, so Cain does have his appeal to the opposite sex and soap affairs often happen with an impulsive attraction to the bad boy – but Kim’s desire to have the man she can’t have, toying and blackmailing him just feels completely baseless. There’s no chemistry between the actors and while Kim is better outside of the Graham bubble, she’s still far too cartoonish to take seriously. But the worst of it? Blackmailing someone for sex is just sleazy and horrid to watch. Alongside the attempts to tell the Maya and Jacob in an educational and responsible way, this plot feels sordid and grubby. We want Kim to be the villain we love to hate, not someone using money and power to essentially rape someone. Cain isn’t even remotely tempted so the whole storyline comes across as an ill-judged, misguided plot. Nasty.

Scene of the Week (25-29 March 2019)

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Who’d have thought an unlikely dinner date between two of Emmerdale’s most loved couples would have been this entertaining? It was a meeting of minds as Robert and Charity edged around the elephant in the room before they’d even got to pudding, with Charity eventually agreeing to flirt her way to helping Robert secure a contract with furniture king Mike. Charity being Charity wasn’t just about to agree to Robert’s charm offensive and awkward laughter, she wanted a cut too. As their bored other halves looked on, Charity and Robert eventually shook on it and a new partnership was formed. Both Robron and Vanity are used to scenes of powerful emotional drama so to see them indulge in a funny and sparky scene over a bottle of wine was really good fun. Even though Charity and Robert have their ruthless and stubborn similarities, it was their long-suffering other halves that struck a bond too, bringing the laughs too as they reached peak business chat and lamented the cut-throat likeness in their spouses. Could this be the first double date of many? Here’s hoping!

Fave or Fail? (18-22 March 2019)

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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! Kim settled down and made new enemies in the village, and it was finally revealed that Joe Tate is alive and well.

Faves

Old School Vibes

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-11h59m08s161Did you notice the sheep this week? The stables and horses? The beautiful countryside scenes? If Kim Tate’s return has triggered one thing then it’s a return to the feeling of ‘classic’ Emmerdale. That’s not just using its farming and country USP, it’s also about the dynamics of the village in the wider context. Home Farm and the classism in the village has been lost over the years but Kim being a villain might just claw that back and give the estate a purpose again. From owning and controlling businesses, to employing staff to hosting events, Home Farm should be much more than a villainous lair. Also with Kim’s return is an antagonism we had in Joe’s early days that we lost quickly – livelihoods, businesses and property should be under threat from Kim’s whims, not just because she enjoys being ruthless but because the estate actually means something. Think Frank Tate wanting to buy up farms and land to make a profit and build a tourist site. Add this to Nicola’s mentions of the local council and we might be returning back to some of the same vibes as classic Emmerdale, where the village had drama, but it also used the setting and some realities of country life to explore different stories. Next stop a village fete? Here’s hoping!

Councillor Chaos

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h03m06s387Outside of Emmerdale you might have heard enough about chaotic politics, but there’s if there’s something with comedic potential written all over it, then it’s Nicola running for local council. Much like my enthusiasm for the old school feeling of classic Emmerdale, Nicola getting involved in community politics seems like a great way to unite and divide the residents in a way that brings authenticity to the village feel. Putting someone as naturally funny and dangerously ambitious as Nicola in this role is asking for trouble, but for us as viewers it could be comedy gold. Anything that sees the Kings take centre stage again is fine by me.

Workplace Drama

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h00m35s755If there’s one thing in recent years that Emmerdale hasn’t been mining for storyline potential as well as they could, then it’s the businesses of the village. Most of the time, work is the last thing on characters’ minds and it becomes something of a joke to see how little they actually go to work. Because of this, the work environments can often be used just as a set rather than have any baring on the day to day lives of the characters. With Kim back things might be changing on that front, with workplaces being put under extra pressure to fulfil contracts and make decisions on whether to get involved in Kim’s bidding. Even the lighter, comedic Sharma storyline this week was made better by a work crisis, rather than all the drama taking place separately from their work but using the office as its location. A factory crisis may not be soap’s biggest talking point but it does bring groups of characters together and make them feel more real.

Fails

Near Misses

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h01m41s727Maya and Jacob’s storyline might be the biggest storyline Emmerdale has now, but with it featuring almost every week, there’s a chance it might start feeling like overkill. Now that the pair have slept together, confessed their love and contrived situations to sleep together right under David’s nose, we’ve reached a bit of a stalemate. We know Emmerdale intend this story to be long running, but with the early slow burn abandoned, now the only real jeopardy comes from Maya being caught out – and that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon. Surely there’s only so many times we can see Jacob almost reveal all, or Maya get perilously close to having her lies rumbled before the frustration turns into annoyance? It might reflect real life, but it’s a tough story to maintain with this same dynamic. Something needs to happen soon to take this storyline somewhere, because at the moment, Jacob is well and truly under Maya’s spell and a sluggish progression isn’t giving the drama the momentum it needs.

He’s Alive!!!

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-11h55m53s634Joe’s fate has been weighing heavily on the minds of viewers since his “death” in October, and the ambiguity of it all has made the storyline fallout feel sluggish and confusing. So this week’s reveal that Joe is alive should have been a huge climax, sending viewers reeling, but it was anything but thrilling! From cries that Joe’s fate was obvious and predictable, to it all feeling a bit half-arsed, is this really a story six months in the making – or was it hastily cobbled together last minute? The latter certainly feels most likely considering actor Ned Porteous didn’t even make a cameo and press reports reveal he’s got no plans to make a return on screen. Any viewer who was excited about Joe being alive is surely only going to be disappointed to realise he’s not actually returning. So in the end we were left with just a few photos of Joe and the whole pointlessness of it all. There are lots of questions unanswered (summarised perfectly in this article) but ultimately it completely undermines Graham once more. The menace of Kim’s threats were supposed to have lead him to almost killing the man that was a son to him, yet now he’s back at Home Farm barely bothered that she knows. What was the point? If Ned doesn’t come back then it’s time to recast and put this story to bed. It makes no sense and it’s dragging down all the characters involved.

Scene of the Week (18-22 March 2019)

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Rhona’s struggle to deal with her hysterectomy hasn’t been a bells and whistle plot with cliffhangers and silly twists, instead its been driven by understated yet powerful performances. This week again Zoe Henry’s underrated talents took centre stage as the pressure of dealing with life after her operation took its toll. In light of Paddy’s baby news, and anxieties that Pete would soon get fed up of looking after her, she confided in Marlon about the emptiness she felt. Not only has Rhona had to contend with the pain, especially considering her ongoing addiction to painkillers, but the surge in hormones has affected her emotions too. While Rhona had made the decision for no more kids, the hysterectomy took that decision from her and this emotional scene felt like fairly fresh ground for Emmerdale. Even though Nicola also faced a similar story about the menopause a few years ago, Rhona’s got even more on her plate and the scene was an affecting moment to explore Rhona’s sense of self. The chemistry and long term friendship between Marlon and Rhona gave the scene real poignancy and it was nice to see them paired up in this platonic way again.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 March 2019)

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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! Kim made her big return to the village this week as Maya dropped the L-word to entrap Jacob.

Faves

Right at Home

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h21m39s127Admittedly when I read Amy Wyatt was making a return to Emmerdale I wasn’t that fussed, but a week in I already feel like her return was a good decision. She feels right at home. Unlike Kim, Amy feels very relevant to the current cast – she knows multiple characters in the village and her reappearance actually threw up story opportunities for several characters. Not only did Amy mean trouble for Cain and the Dingles in light of her eagerness to spend time with Kyle, but she’s breathed life into the Spencers’ household, given Eric back another daughter figure, caused friction with David and Maya and given Vic another friend. The custody battle for Kyle is a well worn story, but newbie Natalie Ann Jamieson has brought lots of warmth and sensitivity to Amy which helps to soften the harder edges that Kerry sometimes influences. I’m looking forward to seeing the future Emmerdale has in store for her and hope, unlike her last stint, it’s not all fixated around Kyle!

Support Network

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h27m19s794My favourite moments of Emmerdale show families coming together, remembering friendships and connections, and showing the far-reaching impact of storylines across the community. A good story is one that affects multiple relationships and characters, and Rhona’s accident is still having an impact now, weeks on. This week saw her have a hysterectomy (something Emmerdale have already revealed they’ll be exploring) but not only have we see its personal, emotional impact, we’ve also seen its effect on her relationship with Pete, her enduring friendship with Vanessa and this week its wider impact with the business and Moira’s farm. Unlike some soap accidents that have little follow up, Rhona’s debate over whether the vets should sue Moira and the farm will have consequences for both the future of the vets business (with opportunity for things to get messy if Kim gets involved), and even with Pete if his loyalties are tested. But perhaps the biggest strength of this story is down to the underrated talents of Zoe Henry who continues to be one of Emmerdale’s brightest stars. Any story that uses her at the forefront is going to be a hit!

Glimmers of Potential?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h23m37s930It’s always difficult to bring back a character who has since been dubbed an icon, especially when the character is famed and remembered for just one aspect of their personality and the soap landscape has changed in their absence. In Kim Tate’s case, she’s renowned for being the classic soap superbitch, but the danger in her returning to her old stomping ground is that she becomes more of a caricature than the woman we love to hate. Kim’s return rides on a fragile premise – they retconned the entire Graham and Joe history to give her relevance – and she knows next to know one still kicking around the village. Emmerdale have to work quickly to give her enemies and make it feel worthwhile, rather than her antagonism feeling petty and pointless. A great villain is always a treat, but balancing the classic campy Lady of the Manor can often give way to OTT performances and dialogue that tries too hard to be cutting. There are promising signs in her latest return that Emmerdale are aware of this tightrope, and the mixed reception to her cameo last October, but here’s hoping they remember less is more when it comes to Kim. Her scenes with Charity, and in the pub with others were far watchable than her posturing at Home Farm and smirking in every scene. We could well do with seeing Kim’s more human sides soon, before the writers get too carried away with the cartoon villain one-liners.

Fails

Robot Wars

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h25m40s419Perhaps the biggest issue with Kim’s return is that she’s stuck, trying to shake some life into cyborg Graham. Such is Graham’s rigid and monotonous ways, Emmerdale has even started to reference it in the script! But when their scenes hinge on a bloated and retconned history, relying on an absent, scorching chemistry – it’s a tough ask. Kim’s treatment of Graham is more like a dog than a lover, and unless Graham’s into a BDSM set up, it’s baffling why he’s under her spell. Friday’s episode seemed to reopen the Joe death mystery AGAIN, but it felt like the first real hint to him being alive. This ongoing saga is as much clunky as it is sluggish so by the time we find out the final final truth, it’s a wonder if anyone will care. If Emmerdale really want Kim to work this time around, then the situation at Home Farm needs a fast rethink.

Fed Up with Faith?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h26m49s708Oh Faith, there’s so much to love – the sharp tongue, the saucy humour, the outrageous behaviour, the wise straight-talking, the moments of fragility – and yet this week, none of that. We really saw the worst, most unlikeable aspects of her personality and it’s surprising how intolerable she became. Her vicious and hypocritical campaign against Amy might have been rooted in her own failings as a mother, but there was none of this nuance or depth and she seemed spitefully gleeful at the thought of sending Amy to prison. This combined with her strange and underwritten vendetta against Kim has brought out the worst in her character, and an aspect I hope doesn’t stick around – let’s have more of the fun Faith back please!

Scene of the Week (11-15 March 2019)

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This scene might not have had any cutting one-liners or arch eyebrows, but there was something simply joyous about seeing Amy run towards Eric and throw her arms around him. Alongside the irreplaceable Val, these two were once family and despite Natalie Ann Jamieson taking over the role of Amy, the connection and warmth was there immediately. You could feel Eric’s heart swell to see her again and reminiscence about times with Val, and of course this set up immediate conflict with his partner Faith who wanted to see Amy gone from the village. I loved this scene for its heart and history, making Amy feel right at home and building a believable rift between Eric and Faith too.