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 bit of a lacklustre week that saw Jessie shot, a cameo from Chris Kamara and a misguided proposal from Pete to Rhona (end it already!).
Happiness in Hard Times
Will Jai and Laurel’s budding romance be my favourite part of every week in Emmerdale from now on? Very possibly. In a week where several stories centred around new characters it was nice to take comfort in the joy of those familiar to us. Laurel and Jai’s smiles are infectious. This week as they tried to keep their new romance a secret they snuck around giggling like teenagers arranging secret dates and Jai putting on his stern voice in case anyone was listening. You can tell the actors are having a lot of fun with it and it’s endearing to watch, especially to see a happy, fun story in amongst the sadder tales.
A Little Star
The best performance in the siege scenes came from young Amelia Flanagan, who made April’s fear so believable. As soon as the focus was on April, the scenes became a lot more intense, her bravery and terror so raw that we were drawn into the moment with her. Perhaps her stand out moment, besides her escape was the moment she confidently faced Max and told him she wasn’t afraid because her mummy was a police officer. That was a great moment and one that would have made Donna very proud.
Friday’s episode gave us some very surprising and intriguing scenes as Priya struggled at both home and work with a secret. We’re in the dark about what this could be yet with her taking some deep breaths and looking far away in thought. Could this be the aftershocks of Jacob and Maya playing on her mind, a return to her struggles with food or something else? Priya is one of the show’s most underappreciated characters with Fiona Wade a great actress, especially when it comes to the serious stuff.
This week a hopeful Dawn took the first steps in seeing her son Lucas as she had a supervised visit through social services. It wasn’t as straightforward or as successful as she first hoped but after a surprising tough-love pep talk from Amy, Dawn’s mood was lifted. It always makes a good scene when unusual character pairings find common ground, sharing histories and experience through storylines past and present and this was no exception. It could be interesting to see what kind of friendship these two could forge!
Bear With It?
I’m in a quandary when it comes to Bear. I think Joshua Richards does a good job and when the story has been more about him and Paddy finding common ground I’ve liked it. I also think there’s a place for older characters in Emmerdale, something which has become less of a focus in recent years. However, this week made me question his inclusion in the village in terms of what he brings out in other characters. Did anyone ever feel Paddy needed a father figure at this stage in his life – surely Zak could’ve done the job? I’ve made no secret of the fact Paddy’s at his most irritating and unlikeable for me when he’s the bumbling buffoon and rather than the endearing idiot, he’s a pain in the arse. So this week saw Paddy sulk about a bit and regress to a child seeking his estranged dad’s approval and I wasn’t a fan. Bear isn’t exactly charming or funny, he’s a bit of a letch and seems to act as if he’s been in the village for years. This week’s community football match which had potential to be fun but the focus on Bear was a bit of a bore. Then there’s his budding relationship with Faith (and to swap the wonderfully charming Faith/Eric relationship for Faith/Bear seems a real misstep) and he’s only brought out the worst in her personality too. The two of them together is an overload of selfishness and bratty entitlement and the plot with the baby scan seemed oddly meanspirited.
Sieges and Sympathy
I tend to think Emmerdale should leave gun showdowns to big characters as a climax to long running storylines, rather than centring high octane moments to fairly one-dimensional characters like Max, so I can’t say I was ever particularly excited by a siege at Tall Trees. One of the problems with this story hinges on Billy and, again, Emmerdale’s habit of relying on heavy and convoluted backstory to carry their new characters (see Graham for more examples). Billy’s complex backstory is a worthy one but the execution has been muddled and frankly, a bit dull. Even his history was Aaron was dropped and ignored in a way that feels like Emmerdale regretted introducing him in such a way. So too has his relationship with Ellis and Jessie been muddled, both seeming to go in circles and never elevating into something fresh and engaging for the characters. Ellis and Billy’s rivalry began as something so intriguing and promising and has since devolved into a merry-go-round. It’s hard to invest. This week should have been pivotal for Billy’s character but beginning this change with Max, a rather soulless guest character, and an overblown situation with hostages and armed police was strangely devoid of any sort of tension or atmosphere. Then when Billy finally admitted to Jessie that he did in fact do the crime he was convicted of, the explanation was so overloaded with a history and characters we’ve never seen, that this pivotal moment lacked any sort of resonance. I don’t think Emmerdale needs to lose its complex intentions with Billy, he can still do the wrong thing for good reasons, but we need to see these actions to help us empathise.
The Woolie Weekly is taking a two week summer break. Blog posts will resume on Sunday 21st July.