Fave or Fail? (12-16 Aug 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! Ellis’s dad Al arrived in the village and had a shady phonecall, and Debbie left for Scotland.

Faves

Call Me Al

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h00m52s495Jessie had one hell of a week as no sooner had she lost her job, but her household was rocked by the arrival of Al, Ellis’s father. Al didn’t make a great first impression on the family and Ellis didn’t seem all that keen to repair their bond either. There’s tension already, and Al is not a fan of Billy, but this is great news for the audience as a new character like Al, played charismatically by Michael Wildman, needs a great introduction. What’s even better is that Al seems a bit shady and all signs point to him being revealed as Kim Tate’s new business partner. Al could be just the new villain Emmerdale needs. Bring it on!

Sensitive Souls

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h04m14s417One of Emmerdale’s sweetest family units was rocked this week as Samson came home and learnt about Lydia’s tragic past. Sensitive Samson was horrified to learn Lydia had been keeping secrets, and worse, that they’d been kept from him. At the graveyard, Sam tried to talk Samson round in a lovely scene in the place where Alice is buried, and eventually Samson was able to empathise with Lydia’s plight. Realising that Lydia needs support, Samson listened to Sam as he said Alice would want them to be happy, and eventually the family were reunited, ready to plan a wedding. Fingers crossed things go smoothly from now on and we get to see Sam and Lydia made official!

Doug on Pot

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h01m33s577The most amusing and bizarre plot of the week was Doug, on pot. Straight laced, garden enthusiast would be the last person you’d expect to smoke a joint, but with Gerry’s stash playing on his mind – and his terrible back – Doug went to surprising measures to cure his pain. As we all know Duncan Preston has a long history of comedic acting so it was great to see this at play, even funnier when his oblivious loved ones have no idea and don’t notice the signs. High Doug was a lot of fun and seeing as he’s already getting the munchies, I’m sure he’ll be sneaking off for another spliff when the opportunity arises!

Goodbye Debbie

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h04m59s066Debbie’s exit this week, to cover Charley Webb’s maternity leave, has to be one of the strangest. Her exit potential could have nicely tied into her feud with Cain or hints about Joe, but all that was left aside, as Debbie took over a random garage in Scotland. As you do. Surprisingly I’ve really come to enjoy Debbie lately, as she’s been used in light, comic relief moments or more low key storylines. Debbie’s actually been – dare I say it – sort of fun? Her exit scenes were muted this week, with a lovely scene from Sarah and a slightly OTT reaction from Charity. It was a little hard to care about any emotional response to her leaving when we know she’ll be back, but my only hope is that when they bring Debbie back, they remember to give her a bit more of that dry humour. Maybe she could even smile!

Fails

Slim on Sympathy

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-08h58m53s948When Matty’s toxic masculinity story started I questioned, given his divisive popularity, whether he was the right character to be plunged into a plot where he has to be a real arsehole. This week, I still have my reservations. Matty’s friends showed up again being characteristically vile and Matty laughed along with them. Sure, he looks sheepish from time to time, and eventually he’ll see them for what they are, but is it worth Matty being this smarmy and horrid in the meantime? Watching him swagger and jeer like his unlikeable “mates” just really isn’t very unenjoyable to watch.

The Trouble with Faith

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-08h57m56s682There’s something about Faith this year that’s making her far more irritating than she is entertaining. Perhaps it’s because she’s been overbearing and interfering, rather than the light and shade we’ve had from her in previous years. A character like Faith can be more than just brash and we’ve seen her earn our affections during her mastectomy struggles through her romance with Eric and her family past in the Cain flashback. We’ve also seen a good dose of humour too. This week however we’ve seen more of Faith’s abrasive side as she muscled in at Wishing Well, landed an ill advised kiss on Zak and then outed Bear’s illiteracy secret. The kiss plot seemed like a complete overreaction to what was a brief, grief fuelled peck – and actually her reminiscing scenes with Zak were nicely done – and the cellar debacle felt completely contrived. Was this all just a circus to get her to annoy Charity in her new home? Faith can be great when the balance is right but this week, she lost her warmth.

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Scene of the Week (12-16 Aug 2019)

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After losing her job as headteacher, Jessie was in no mood to hear any backlash about her (lack of) involvement in Maya’s inappropriate conduct. With a few drinks down her, Jessie was furious at the accusations and criticism coming from Nicola, especially after learning she was involved in parents complaining, and decided to let rip at the parents in the room and their angelic (or not so) children. This was one of those excruciatingly cringey scenes, and while she was out of line, Jessie also had a point – responsible parenting is not at home in Emmerdale. The criticisms pointed at Jessie could have come straight from social media so the whole scene was sort of meta, and felt like Emmerdale’s way of papering over the plot holes. Jessie’s meltdown caused one hell of a scene. Cringey – yes, but totally entertaining.

Fave or Fail? (5-9 Aug 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! Robert learnt he might be facing life in prison and Kerry sunk to new depths.

Faves

Robert’s World Ends

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h43m54s596Robert’s life came crashing down around him this week as he was charged with GBH with intent. Just as he and husband Aaron had decided to get their surrogacy plans up and running again, the police came a’knocking, revealing Vic’s rapist Lee had woken from his coma. In tense scenes, the police interviewed Robert revealing the damning evidence against him and Robert unable to stick to his solicitor’s advice, tried to defend himself. All this lead to a charge and a warning that he could be looking at life imprisonment. Robert was floored by this news and Ryan Hawley’s already mastered Robert’s private devastation as he covered up the truth from Aaron and the rest of his family. As Robert tried to put on a brave face, his inevitable fate is a tough watch, especially knowing how much his loved ones will struggle. It’s both a gripping and heart-breaking storyline to watch unfold with impressive performances from Ryan as reality sunk in and it’s going to become even more gut-wrenching as Robert’s future becomes impossible to avoid.

The Fire Fall-out Continues

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h47m18s204The Sharmas were at rock bottom this week in the wake of the factory fire. With the dodgy alarm turned off by Rishi, the insurance company were reluctant to give them any sort of pay-out so once again they turned to resident moneybags – Kim Tate – to save the factory. It’s made a nice change to see the Sharmas given a serious storyline that has an impact on all family members and even Manpreet struggled with her guilt and attempted to leave because of it. It’s been a good story that doesn’t just affect a small bubble of characters or one family, but has spiralled out into other characters too. Besides Kerry and Amy’s involvement, Frank’s daughters, the workers are also impacted too and now Kim’s involved it’s helped widen her circle of interactions and given her purpose. Jai has shaped up to be a great character these days and his scenes with Kim were particularly watchable. Both him and Priya have become a lot more likeable lately so their downfall has more emotional investment and we could even see this effect Jai’s relationship with Laurel. Kim’s involvement also has potential, especially as we know she has big plans, and this story has allowed us to see her ruthless businesswoman side, and not the cartoonish gangster she had been written as before.

Grieving Girls

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h46m45s755Tracy and Vanessa struggled to cope with their grief in the aftermath of Frank’s shock death this week. At first the pair were divided and then their conflict continued when Tracy was sure of Frank’s innocence in the fire, with Vanessa being more suspicious. As Tracy’s grief manifested in gut-wrenching sobs and emptiness, her sister was more stoic, pained and unable to talk and both actresses did a good job in the spectrum of emotions. Both had believable breakdowns over the smallest things like Frank’s favourite song and Vanessa running out of petrol triggering a explosion of grief and it was a good choice to have them both react in different ways to the same tragedy.

Too Little Too Late

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h45m03s674This week Jessie was sent in front of an education board in scenes which looked like the dialogue had been taken straight from Twitter! Not only has Jessie’s job been seen as a bit of a joke (she’s never there!) but her role in the Maya/Jacob storyline was completely ignored. While Jessie should have been taken to task over safe-guarding and had some sort of emotional response to a member of her staff grooming a pupil, Jessie was noticeably absent through the whole story and community reactions were muted. This week Jessie was suspended and finally, finally, it seemed like there was an effort to give Maya’s actions more village-wide impact. It might be too little too late but at least it’s happening now and the scenes were still satisfying. Jacob’s lack of aftermath however is another aspect sorely missing and it’s a wonder if it’ll ever be revisited…

Bonus Faves:

  • Two stand-out scenes that almost made the cut for Scene of the Week was Vanessa’s overdue breakdown of grief with Rhona in her car. A great scene made even more impactful by one of Emmerdale’s most enduring and genuine friendships. And secondly, the unusual partnership of Robert and Jai (with bonus Tip), looking out over the Dales. This was a quiet and effective moment where both characters reflected on the impossible challenges ahead. Characters who rarely cross paths always feels like a treat and this was the same
  • Moses “I told you” in reference to Frank’s death to little Johnny was both hilariously cutting, but perfectly childlike. We need to see more of these two as they grow up together!

Fails

Sinking Lower and Lower

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h52m03s427Last week I questioned if Kerry could come back from her charity money theft, which lead to Frank’s death, but after her behaviour this week I’m even less sure. Can we really laugh along with Kerry’s antics knowing the lies she’s telling? It’s one thing to do something desperate to try and look after her family, but this week lying about Frank’s involvement and then going with Tracy to the mortuary was all just a bit too twisted. Even Amy pointed out that she seemed to enjoy the attention and at times it felt like she was right. Kerry’s remorse didn’t seem strong enough and I’m not sure a few tears can repair her likeability in the eyes of the audience. There are times though that I’ve almost felt she’s so unlikeable that perhaps they should go the whole way and make her a complete villain. Whatever the case, Amy needs to distance herself fast before she becomes Emmerdale’s second most hated.

Scene of the Week (5-9 Aug 2019)

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We knew it was bad as soon as Chas said “He’s innocent, he’s not going anywhere” and the scene cut to a very anxious looking Robert down at the police station, but the ground falling away under Robert’s feet was a stand-out moment of the week. Even after his optimistic solicitor gave him hope, Robert must have known his luck had run out, but the final blow came when the solicitor revealed the police wanted to charge him not with GBH, but with GBH with intent. As Rob scrambled to work out what this meant, the solicitor gave him the crushing news that this charge could mean a life sentence. Viewers know with Ryan Hawley leaving that Robert’s sentence would likely be a long once, but this didn’t lessen the impact of the scene. In a split second, Ryan’s impressive performance showed Robert’s complete devastation with his whole world changing in an instant and it was a great scene.

Fave or Fail? (29 July-2 Aug 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! A big week which saw Robert put Lee in a coma and Frank meet his maker in the factory explosion.

Faves

Perfect Proposal

vlcsnap-2019-08-04-09h16m54s634As we knew from last week’s superb event planning, Bernice went all out to impress Liam and host the perfect Wild West murder mystery event, even making him sheriff of the village. Sadly for Bernice it all went a bit pear shaped and she found herself crying in the ladies’ toilets. With crossed wires, Liam sought her out and expressed to her that he loved her, mad as she is, and he proposed right on the spot. No it wasn’t full of flowers and fireworks, but it was unconventional and funny and oh-so heart-warming. There’s not a couple quite like these two and I love their quirky personalities and delivery of some of the best dialogue in the show. Maybe Bernice didn’t get her dream proposal but it was a moment absolutely fitting for this odd ball perfect match.

Life Changing Actions

vlcsnap-2019-08-04-09h15m40s093Robert took actions this week that could change his life forever after a moment of pure rage saw him whack Lee round the back of the head with a shovel in broad daylight. While viewers might have been cheering at his revenge, Robert and his family, realising the gravity of his actions were on edge for the rest of the week. This was an interesting route to take, with Robert’s actions being public knowledge, rather than as many predicted, a murder cover-up. Knowing Ryan Hawley will be exiting Emmerdale soon speculation is rife about how things will transpire from now on. While the aftermath of Victoria’s storyline has seen repetitive scenes of harassment from Lee and Wendy and fall outs with Robert, at least things are moving in a different direction. There were well acted scenes this week as Robert reeled, shell shocked, and those around him struggled in a daze about what might come next. Having Victoria in a situation where she apologised to Wendy and Lee became the victim feels like a real misstep, however the scenes in the aftermath of Robert’s actions continued to contain impressive performances.

The Fire Aftermath

vlcsnap-2019-08-04-09h16m26s377This week saw Frank’s shock death rock the village as the finger of blame travelled from person to person. This week could not pass without praise for Amy Walsh who continues to be one of Emmerdale’s best actresses and as yet has failed to be recognised for her efforts. Will the next soap awards rectify this? Hopefully! With Amy trapped in the factory and rescued by Frank at the last minute, it’s her grief that has been felt the most keenly. The good thing about this story is that it not only gives Amy Walsh something meaty again, but it also has a wider impact, not just on Megan and the real culprits, Kerry and Amy Wyatt, but on the whole of the Sharma family and their business. We’ve already seen Frank’s death cause a rift between his daughters and ruin Tracy and Billy’s budding relationship, so while this might just be another stunt to add to the pile and the loss of a bit of a non-entity character (sorry Frank), it provides a lot more stories in the aftermath and that can only be a good thing.

Fails

Off Balance?

vlcsnap-2019-08-04-09h21m17s297Emmerdale’s hotly anticipated and highly trailed Wild West/fire week gave us plenty of entertainment. From the amazing set dressing and props to the great costumes, dodgy accents aside it was a fun event. However soaps always have to tread a fine line between the serious and silly and there was something jarring about this weeks scenes which one minute had Victoria harassed by the vile words of rapist Lee, followed by the outlandish comedy capers with Bob and Bernice kissing in the village hall. One minute Robert might have killed someone, which for a critical moment should have been serious and tense, only for Rishi to whoop and cheer with excitement at the thought of another “crime” to solve. Don’t get me wrong, this was an unexpected move but at the same time it robbed the Lee scenes of their impact. The Wild West theme was a fun addition – though I think they could have made more of the game element than just the dressing up – but this time I don’t think the tonally balance hit the right mark.

Unlikeable? Irredeemable?

vlcsnap-2019-08-04-09h18m54s025Kerry and Amy took steps to become public enemy number one this week as their reckless actions lead to Frank’s tragic death in the factory fire. In some rather clunky exposition scenes we learnt  Amy owed a lot of money back in Belfast and desperate to keep clean in the hopes of getting custody of Kyle, Kerry took it upon herself to help out her daughter with her cash problem. As if breaking into the factory and stealing charity money wasn’t bad enough, destroying the evidence lead to an electrical fire in the factory and the pair watched on helplessly as Frank met his tragic end. Yikes. Last year Kerry was the shining light in the Spencer family and seemed to have left behind her unlikeable phase of raucous and rude behaviour behind, but this story has lead her back down an unlikeable path, dragging Amy with her. If these two don’t own up to the truth and instead let someone else take the blame, is there a way back for them? Or more importantly, can we grow to like them again?

 

Scene of the Week (29 July-2 Aug 2019)

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Thursday’s episode saw an explosion end to Frank as the Sharma sweet factory went up in flames, in a sequence that was arguably more thrilling than Frank’s entire tenure on the show. Sorry Frank, RIP, I know you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. Even the most spoiler oblivious fans could have guessed it was coming, but the way it happened left everyone shocked. Just as poor old Frank had rescued Tracy, he stumbled out of the smoke, smiling with relief. Those watching, including girlfriend Megan and his two girls, were thrilled, but a surprise explosion sent Frank careering into the side of the van and Tracy screamed in a blood-curdling way in horror. Frank was hardly a memorable character, but this was a good exit.