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.
Old School Vibes
Did 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!
Outside 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.
If 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.
Maya 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.
Joe’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.