Fave or Fail? (20-24 May 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! We lost an Emmerdale legend this week as Lisa Dingle died. And we witnessed another big moment as Maya was arrested.

Faves

Lisa’s Death

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h47m51s914We’d only just got used to beloved matriarch Lisa Dingle being back in her rightful home and before we knew it, we’d lost her all over again – and this time, for good! After a fortnight of special “goodbye” scenes with individuals in the village we should have guessed Emmerdale were subtly hinting at her fast demise. But after the nostalgic and warm feeling of the Dingle wedding (see below) Lisa’s death was both understated and very fitting. When the time came Lisa was at home, with the doe eyed and expressive Monty, and one by one her family came to learn the sad news. These were impressive and heartfelt scenes. So much was done in the quiet, tender moments between the family members and Lydia also did a great job holding the family together. It feels like soon she and Sam will play a vital role in keeping the Dingles together, as others struggle to cope. The aftermath of Lisa’s death was particularly moving and the quiet scenes which panned over their homestead were a nice touch. Lisa will be a huge loss, but this was a fitting end to a treasured character.

The Big Dingle Wedding

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h50m34s696There’s nothing quite like a Dingle wedding! We’ve seen a few big do’s over the years but the nostalgic humour of pigs’ muck and a big Woolie knees up was the perfect calm before the sad storm of Lisa’s death. Emmerdale even reunited legendary show band The Woolpackers to perform their big hit (and yes, still singing it now). These episodes were fun, family filled and had a classic Emmerdale feel that was a truly warm-hearted send-off for Lisa. Even the central relationship of Zak and Lisa (though tainted by the stupid decision to split them in 2015) had a sentimental renaissance as the pair put the past behind them and celebrated their love. If I had only one niggle it would be that despite the family do, there were far too few village members at the reception and there are many who should have had a chance to say goodbye in their own way.

David’s Showdown

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h51m31s159David’s adamant refusal to call the police was getting to be teeth-grindingly frustrating but after days of waiting, he finally did the right thing. His delay this week was because he wanted to confront his wicked ex face to face and after tricking her to the cricket pavilion he got his wish. It was all a little convoluted getting to that point but the tension and the spiky dynamic between Maya and David was worth the wait. Louisa Clein continues to be brilliantly manipulative as Maya twists the truth and Matthew Wolfenden’s restrained fury and disgust was a satisfying watch. Just don’t leave us waiting for that all important justice, Emmerdale!

Diane’s Despair

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h49m55s582Since Victoria went away with Robert for a break, her sad plot has been put on hold for the time being but rather than lose momentum, I like that the story has continued through Diane and Aaron. This week saw Diane distant and struggling, coping alone with Vic’s secret tragedy and not knowing how to help her. Aaron, who had a nice turn this week as sage and comfort, did his best to reassure her. These were a surprisingly touching set of scenes and it’s nice to see two characters who rarely interact (despite being family) come together in comfort. It was a welcome change to see more of Diane too, who is one of Emmerdale’s most underused since she left the pub. More please!

Fails

Sacrificing Justice

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h53m37s328Maya’s arrest this week should have bought relief to Jacob’s loved ones but Leyla’s vigilante justice efforts threatened to jeopardise Maya’s conviction. Knowing she could get in serious trouble with the police, Leyla persuaded the other women to lie for her and they attempted to cover up the night of Maya’s kidnap. This posed a problem because Priya’s sighting of Maya and Jacob kissing should have been key evidence but of course, none of them spilled on that part, meaning Maya’s lies could very well see her go Scott free. We all know Leyla can be self serving at times but in this insistence it just didn’t sit right. How can the women that had helped to raise Jacob sit back and lie, knowing their words could seriously mean the difference between justice for their beloved family member and an abuser walking. I didn’t buy it and it lessened the emotional impact of their discovery. Perhaps they will realise their selfishness and confess but I was seriously disappointed to see them act so self-servingly instead of protecting a vulnerable child.

The End of the Line?

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h47m22s572I was once one of the biggest advocates for Pete and Rhona’s romance, from their sparky chemistry to Pete’s lovely relationship with Leo, but now the shine is starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve still got a nice chemistry and it’s good to see something different from Pete, but the strain on their relationship is starting to drain. After Rhona’s accident things haven’t been the same and while their differences of opinion on their future have always spelled trouble, the aftermath of Rhona’s hysterectomy should have been the bittersweet end of them. Let’s be honest, they’re doomed and they know it. Right now their struggle to stay together seems futile, the end is nigh and current scenes feel like a repetitive way to delay the inevitable. If there’s a way to rescue them and make them fun again I’m all for it but their prolonged break down is a chore to watch.

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Scene of the Week (20-24 May 2019)

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It was a shattering moment when Zak discovered Lisa had died this week, but even more impactful was when Belle learnt her mum had passed. Just moments earlier they had been celebrating and unsurprisingly Belle couldn’t believe she had gone so soon. Belle spoke for all of us when she said she thought she had time left with Lisa and Eden Taylor Draper’s performance, from shock and disbelief to the injustice of it, was beautifully played. It was even harder to watch as oblivious Sam and Lydia came in full of high spirits, and broke seeing the distraught look on Belle’s face. This was just the start of an impressive episode and a tragic moment that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 May 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! It was a week of returning home – as both Lisa and Zak got a warm welcome, and Jacob reluctantly came back to the village.

Faves

Welcome Home

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h04m42s720Zak and Lisa returned to the village this week as Emmerdale gets ready to say goodbye to our beloved matriarch. For many, Lisa is the heart of Emmerdale and there’s a sense that even though she’s been gone a year, it’s almost as if she wasn’t gone at all. This week after revealing her heart-breaking news to the family, Lisa caught up with the rest of the goings on she’d missed. This gave us plenty of heart to hearts, such as Lisa’s lovely scene with Moira talking about Matty’s likeness to John and a scene at Grace’s grave with Chas. We were also treated to a number of emotional scenes with other members of the family, as Charity and Cain struggled together and Belle opened up to Sam. While this story is undoubtably moving, it’s brought a greater sense of community to the village as everyone knows how integral Lisa is to the village. Her death will affect everyone and the Dingles might never feel quite the same again without that motherly figurehead at Wishing Well Cottage. When the time comes, it’s probably going to be as powerful as Ashley’s death.

Sugden Struggles

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h04m23s041Victoria had another difficult week as she struggled in the wake of being raped. Isabel Hodgins continues to shine in this role and while Vic obviously needs a break from the village, I’m sad to see this story put on hold when she’s doing such a fantastic job. This week Diane and Robert rallied round to support her, although Robert struggled with anger and guilt and ended up making things worse. Although his reaction put a brief strain on the siblings’ relationship, it’s been a welcome sight to see the Sugden family (and there’s not many of them left!) united and supportive and the scenes between Rob and Vic were tenderly done. Much like how Lisa’s return had a wider impact in the village, even though Victoria’s story is so far quite self-contained, I liked that characters like Aaron, Moira and Cain also played their role in the wider repercussions.

First Sparks

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h03m09s068This week we had the first real indication that Jamie and Belle might become a couple in the near future. Finding love among the hamster cages might not be the most romantic of settings but with them bonding over their difficulties with their respective mothers, they struck up an understanding. A union between the Dingles and the Tates has obviously been done before but Jamie seems to be a very different sort of Tate to the ruthless ones we know. His sweet nature seems like it could be a nice fit for Belle, who hasn’t been short on troubled relationships seeing as her last boyfriend was a serial killer! So far it seems like they have a cute rapport – let’s just hope Emmerdale doesn’t rush to put them together.

Love Hate

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-16h58m25s892Will finally confronted Harriet this week and despite the hate between them, there was a long history of deeper feelings bristling under the surface. The story has been a bit sluggish since it was revealed to us that Will was alive, but the two met at last this week and Will’s anguish over their history proved his inability to let go of the past wasn’t just to do with revenge. The concept of an undercover cop falling for their target, and its long-term consequences, is ripe for story material and it’s a bit of a shame that this plot has fallen a bit flat, but with Harriet and Will discussing the past there was a glimmer of chemistry there and something that could be explored further. Emmerdale always struggles when their characters have pasts more interesting than their presents, but should Emmerdale want to keep exploring the repercussions of Harriet’s undercover past then I’m open to it. They just need to find a way to keep it interesting in the here and now.

Fail

Coffin Dodger

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-16h45m28s895Harriet’s stalker story started with promise but despite her coming face to face with the truth this week, it had all tailed off a bit. It’s true both her and Will had chemistry in their confrontation but the build up seemed to drag on too long, involving a cast of fairly new characters (Dawn, Ryan, Will) which is always a struggle to completely connect with. Had Harriet’s story involved more of the village, and perhaps had we felt her presence a bit more as the village vicar, then maybe the story might have had more impact. By the time Will and Harriet had their face off the church the story had lost its momentum and this wasn’t helped by the cringey and ridiculous “fight” with the coffin. “Murdered By My Own Coffin” might make a good headline on Take a Break but it made for a stupid, unintentionally funny scene, when actually the dynamic between the former lovers had an authenticity that didn’t need a silly prop involved.

Scene of the Week (13-17 May 2019)

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In a week of sad, hard-hitting storylines, it was this brief moment of joy at Wishing Well cottage that makes my Scene of the Week. For many viewers Zak and Lisa are the backbone of Emmerdale and after Lisa’s terminal diagnosis, it seems only right the pair marry again (shush, nobody mention the disaster that was Zak and Joanie). It’s rare to have scenes of joy and laughter so this scene felt like a cosy hug. They haven’t had the easiest of years and their marriage hasn’t been the same since their split, but it was lovely to see Zak make an effort for a change and to see Lisa’s lovely smile. Sometimes it’s nice to end an episode in a way that makes us feel warm and fuzzy and this was certainly it.

Fave or Fail? (6-10 May 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! An exceptionally good week of Emmerdale as the flashbacks from the Big Night Out revealed what really happened.

Faves

Victoria’s Episode

vlcsnap-2019-05-12-16h01m46s434It was clear Victoria’s flashback episode was going to be the hardest to watch, but having an entire episode centred on her night made that horrific ending a complete gut-punch and even more impactful. With Victoria’s rape being leaked by the press, the sense of dread hung over the episode, increasing the feeling that Vic was being lulled into a false sense of security with Lee, who at times even felt like boyfriend material. Seeing Vic so carefree having such a normal night out with a guy she was growing to like on their unconventional journey home, made knowing what was coming an unbearable prospect. The rape scenes themselves were traumatic to watch, but Isabel Hodgins gave impressive performances throughout, particularly given she was central the entire episode. While Emmerdale have had big sexual assault storylines every year this past five years and there’s a danger of these stories seeming repetitive or desensitising their impact, Vic’s episode was incredibly affecting.

The Maya Showdown Episode

vlcsnap-2019-05-12-16h00m04s537It’s what many viewers have been desperate to witness – the beginning of the end for Maya – and this week we finally got to see what really did happen to her after the club. What followed was a tense and thrilling episode as Leyla, Tracy and Priya attempted to get their head around Maya’s abuse of Jacob. Their pursuit of the truth led them to horror-esque scenes in the woods which also contained some brilliantly black humour to briefly ease the relentless tension. As the three confronted Maya, a melting pot of emotions lead to tensions in the group and Maya took her opportunity to escape, only to meet Leyla’s wrath and a rock to the head. Despite the scenes quickly spiralling, it didn’t lose its grounding as they held Maya accountable for her actions and refused to acknowledge her endless lies. It could have been all too easy to turn this story into a whodunnit of vigilante revenge, but Jacob’s reveal that Maya is still alive quickly put the focus back on the central crime and not a murder. This was an exciting non-stop episode that barely gave us time to breathe and a satisfying showdown to lead us towards Maya’s final downfall.

The Aftermath of Victoria’s Rape

vlcsnap-2019-05-12-16h03m02s728This week of Emmerdale blew me away in its quality of well-written scenes and gut-wrenching performances, and the aftermath of Victoria’s ordeal was the show at its finest. It was Moira who Victoria turned to this week as she confided about her rape and these scenes were breathtakingly good. Moira and Vic have been at loggerheads since Victoria discovered Adam covered for Moira’s crimes, but Moira’s empowering words and comfort of her ex-daughter-in-law was exactly what she needed. Their past tensions weren’t brushed aside either and Vic lashed out in her trauma, blaming Moira for the domino effect of events, but Moira herself also had advice on her own experience of the damage of bottling up emotions. Isabel Hodgins and Natalie J Robb had a visceral on screen rapport and their performances worked to make the storyline even more emotive as both characters broke down in their own ways. This story is difficult viewing but with strong leading performances, it’s a story impossible to look away from.

David Learns the Truth

vlcsnap-2019-05-12-16h04m35s218Matthew Wolfenden is another of Emmerdale’s underrated actors so it was great to see him step forward again to the forefront of the show as the truth about Maya came to light. We’ve all been anticipating David’s reaction since the plot began and his conflicted response didn’t disappoint. Out of everyone, David’s reaction had the biggest emotional gut-punch, being that Jacob is not only his son, but Maya being his girlfriend meant the discovery contained a double betrayal. David has form for rash and unlikeable behaviour, but his gut reaction felt uncomfortably authentic as he seemed to suffer multiple stages of grief. There was denial and anger, sadly lashing out at Jacob when he realised he wasn’t being pranked. But that anger swiftly turned to horror and as he began to realise what Maya had been doing, he also began to blame himself. David’s progression through his complex reactions felt true to his character and there was no moment where it felt plot devicey or out of character. By the end of the week David was full of guilt and worry, first threatening Maya and then trying to plead with Jacob to talk. Emmerdale did a great job in this storyline of truly making the aftermath both uncomfortably raw and rewarding.

Twists and Turns

vlcsnap-2019-05-12-16h00m20s056It was a week of gripping episodes and the stories were made even more compelling by Emmerdale’s juicy twists and turns. I argued a few months ago that Emmerdale was struggling to find its ‘must-see’ momentum, but this week was something of a gamechanger. From early in the week, Leyla revealing she’d killed Maya, to us seeing a glimpse of Victoria at home talking to a faceless character – Emmerdale kept us guessing. Almost everything in the Maya episode was edge-of-your-seat viewing and Maya jumping from the car was a true gasp moment! But it didn’t stop there, with Leyla leaving Maya for dead it seemed obvious Emmerdale wouldn’t make it that straight forward and it was revealed Jacob had used his phone to find her and the two were holed up in a hotel room – Jacob had never even made it to Portugal. Rather than be a frustrating twist, it’s prolonged the story in a different way, keeping us all wondering how Maya will face justice.

Ellis’s Night Gone Wrong

vlcsnap-2019-05-12-15h59m19s255It’s fair to say that out of all the flashbacks episodes, Billy’s was the weakest. It was hard to connect when we knew Hotten General had discharged Ellis within days and much of Billy’s story involved characters we’d never meant before and a laboured backstory. Despite all this, there was enjoyment to be had from this episode. Not only was this the first of the club flashbacks and did a better job of interweaving the storylines than the original club episodes a fortnight ago, but getting a glimpse of the other blockbuster stories in the background gave a real ‘Super Soap Week’ vibe. When charming and cheesy Ellis took centre stage it was an enjoyable watch, particularly when his meet-cute romcom moment turned into a sinister twist and we learnt it was a rouse all along! This was a good start to the week of revelations, I only wish there were more stakes in the Billy and Ellis plot so Ellis’s stabbing had more impact.

Scene of the Week (6-10 May 2019)

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After a stellar week of episodes, choosing a single Scene of the Week was an impossible task. So impossible that I even asked for suggestions on Twitter. Would it be the blackly comic scenes of Tracy and Priya in the woods? Leyla’s showdown with Maya? David’s hellish discovery? The horrific and shocking moment of Victoria’s attack? Emmerdale delivered this week – and then some! After some deliberation I chose a scene from the aftermath of Victoria’s rape, as Moira tried to help her realise she wasn’t at fault in any way. This scene wasn’t just a stunning performance from the criminally underrated Isabel Hodgins, but it also managed to dispel every myth and misconception surrounding the assault. The writing was fantastic in this scene. As Moira quite rightly pointed out, Victoria was entirely blameless and inviting Lee in was not an invitation for him to ignore her consent. Discussion overnight after Vic’s episode was rife, with fans on social media talking at length about the episode and how Lee had gone from a seemingly nice guy and potential boyfriend to raping Victoria in a brutal and disturbing scene. My Scene of the Week choice was almost an immediate response to these discussions, challenging any viewers who might have thought Vic’s behaviour was at fault. A powerful scene and in a tough storyline like this, essential dialogue.