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 big week for the teens as Sarah took a pill and Jacob struggled knowing Maya had been released from prison, and Vanity were reunited.
Lydia’s Life Gets Harder
If one thing proved that Lydia Hart is one of THE best Emmerdale characters, then it was this week’s episodes. When we first met Lydia, Karen Blick delivered comedy with aplomb and soon made quirky odd ball Lydia a fun part of the Dingle household. But as we’ve heard more and more of Lydia’s tragic past, she’s become one of the warmest and most loveable characters in the show. I’d probably go as far to say Lydia doesn’t have a bad bone in her body. This week she learnt her sister Beth had been lying and her mum was actually alive. As the pair got to know each other, both Karen Blick and Judith Barker did a superb job, particularly as two characters talking about the past we haven’t seen can be cold and unengaging (see any Graham backstory, Cain, and Nate’s mother). Their emotional conversations felt authentic but with the focus on Lydia’s heart breaking, made the scenes all the more emotive. And then the bombshells continued as Lydia learnt she might be a carrier of Huntington’s. At the moment on screen there’s a lack of emotive “issue” based storylines but Lydia’s long lost family and the dilemma about getting a life changing test is the closest to their best type of story. If Karen’s performances don’t earn her some awards recognition it’ll be a travesty.
The teens had a surprisingly big focus this week as both Sarah and Jacob had their own stories, while Gabby, Dee Dee and Leanna had their parents’ wedding to contend with. Sarah was in true brat mode this week as FOMO lead her to host a secret boozy party at Jacob’s Fold, incurring the wrath of Granny Charity. As Noah and Samson watched with horror (I love how both of these lads have a real ‘old before their time’ quality about them) Sarah took a pill offered by shady newcomer Danny. So far, despite a lecturing from Noah, Sarah’s covered up her drug taking but it looks like this is only the start in an effort to impress Danny. This week also saw a lot more from Leanna who has been mellowed in recent writing and had great onscreen report with the other teens and also Bernice (shame that’ll be over soon). Her mini story with Jacob really helped to soften her and shed the cold and bitchy demeanour she’d had previously. Teen stories might not be to everyone’s taste, but now and again it’s a good change, especially with watchable actors like this. Though let’s just hope Sarah doesn’t stay too whiny and bratty though otherwise we’ll have a mini Debbie on our hands!
David and Jacob’s breakthrough
Jacob had one hell of a difficult week and that’s without him knowing about Maya’s baby bombshell! Just as life was looking up, more teenage and more normal – with cinema dates with Leanna – David and Leyla received news Maya was to be released from prison. Eventually they broke the news, sending Jacob spiralling. He took a bus at night to try and see Maya, but David hunted him down and the pair talked in the rain, with David desperately trying to get Jacob to see sense. These scenes on location made a nice change and it felt fresh, rather than rehashing conversations they’d already had. When later in the week Jacob reacted terribly after sleeping with Leanna and was cruel and heartless, the disgust on all sides from family and friends seemed to give him a big setback. Later David and Leyla managed a breakthrough, but it took some cold reverse psychology to do it. I was much more convinced by Jacob and David’s scenes at the start of the week and felt the tough love approach sent out a confusing message to the audience and was an irresponsible way for David and Leyla to treat Jacob given his vulnerable state of mind and trust issues. It might have worked, it might have been difficult to make him see sense, but there are aspects to this big, sensitive and challenging storyline that needed a little more care and the end of the week didn’t work as well for me.
Billy and Dawn’s budding relationship is the epitome of sweet. Somehow their new romance awkwardness has softened both characters and made them feel more than just pawns in their family’s drama. Around Billy, Dawn has an endearing innocence about her and Billy’s efforts to impress with an apron and a pretend home made meal were adorable. His encouragement of her job is a big improvement on the slimy way Ryan treated her and in turn it’s been a welcome change to see Billy in a more upbeat story rather than his dour moans about his past. Time will tell if these two manage to be one of those couples we really root for, but whatever happens I’ve got a feeling that Al may become a big thorn in their side.
If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen I’ve been trying and failing to shut up about Wendy Posner and her recurring role in Emmerdale. Rumours seem to be true that Wendy is being made into a regular character and it’s already posing a problem on screen. Don’t get me wrong, Susan Cookson is a great actress and had she had any other introduction to Emmerdale, she’d be welcomed with open arms, the problem is the way Wendy was written when we first met her cannot be glossed over. It seems inevitable that Wendy will have a redemption of sorts. She will (hopefully) realise her son was a vile rapist and struggle with the revelation – which would be an interesting story to tell. However, there’s an issue with the way Emmerdale have already started Wendy’s change of status without her having this realisation. We’ve already seen Wendy victimised and gaining Vic’s sympathises purely because Lee died and this week Emmerdale attempted to manipulatively have Wendy portrayed as the hero, helping Chas and baby Eve. Cynics like me might say, what’s heroic about Wendy doing her job? It doesn’t make her a nice person. It doesn’t make her worthy of forgiveness yet. Neither does a dead son. Not, and this is the crucial factor, when she repeatedly stalked, harassed and accused Victoria of being a liar. She has shown no remorse for this, no compassion for Vic and she still thinks the sun shone out of Lee and that she has some form of ownership over Vic’s unborn baby. Had Emmerdale tackled Wendy’s horrendous victim blaming first and given us time to see her remorse, then we might have been able to accept her into the village. As it stands, Wendy is being made a victim and a false hero, all while Vic is written to pity her. Terrible choices all round a really unpleasant watch.