Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Helpless Laurel called the police to scare Archie and Leyla slapped Leanna as their feud escalated.
A Family Dilemma
As the fire blazed at Rishi’s birthday camp out, the Arthur and Archie situation continued to put a massive strain on Laurel’s life. Feeling scared about the escalation of Arthur’s behaviour, Laurel went to the extreme length of calling the police to help her make her boy see sense. With Archie aware that he’d made things worse by winding Arthur up, he confessed too, leading to even more frustration in the Thomas household. Arthur’s behaviour has been divisive among viewers, especially those missing him as a sweet little boy, however the performances and questions raised by this story have been well worth watching. It’s been great to see more of the consistently brilliant Charlotte Bellamy having something challenging to act and I’m sure there are parents watching who have faced similar struggles with their own kids and wondered helplessly how to make things right. It was also good to see Gabby get involved too as Rosie Bentham has been underused since Ashley died, and Kai Assi who plays Archie has been great too. But this story couldn’t be praised without mentioning Alfie Clarke who manages to make Arthur empathetic even when the writing doesn’t always paint him that way. Alfie’s done a great job of showing the psychological toll of Arthur’s behaviour, from the jealousy of Archie to the frustration and anger of not being believed. I hope we get to see more of Arthur’s journey moving forward.
A Glimmer of Hope?
This fortnight saw Cain and Moira meet to sign their divorce papers and for Cain to collect his stuff. Despite 2019’s great trashing of what was one of Emmerdale’s most loved couples, it’s hard not to pine for the way it was between them. Arguably, Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb have the best chemistry in the show so even when things are tense between them, you still see those feelings brimming under the surface. After a moment of levity about a mixed tape Cain made, there was a frisson in the air and it was impossible not to wish things had thawed a little more. Sure, straight after they launched into another row, but it became obvious that the reason for the bitterness was the lingering feelings underneath. After Cain left, Moira’s pain was obvious, even though she put on a brave face in front of Rhona and with pining performances it just made me crave for the Coira back in their prime. It might be a long wait, but if Emmerdale know their strengths, surely they’ll reunite them.
I was so glad to see Diane visit Vanessa this week and give her advice about dealing with chemotherapy. Newer viewers might not remember, but Diane also had bowel cancer in 2004 and then another cancer diagnosis in 2015, so it’s about time her paths crossed with Diane. It felt long overdue to involve these characters especially as Diane’s also Sarah’s gran (not that Emmerdale seems to remember that much either!) so it makes sense that Diane would be informed about Vanessa’s difficult time. Emmerdale’s at its very best when it remembers and uses character history in believable ways to contribute to current plots and with a new normal of filming episodes approaching where it seems likely episodes will be more character focused, we can only hope that we see more of these moments between characters who have shared ground.
I’ll openly admit I’ve never been a fan of Harriet’s character. Despite the ripped jeans and cool attitude, she’s been surprisingly boring for a woman who went from undercover cop to woman of the cloth. This fortnight she dumped boring Will, for his lies and putting their family in danger, but then almost immediately jumped into bed with the dodgiest man around – Malone. Sure, she took Will back, but then was spending the night in a hotel room with Malone but scowling about Will’s betrayal. You what, Harriet? I take no issue with Harriet being drawn to bad boys or even playing away in the vestry but with Malone? They might have history (another predictable turn of events) but this story is making Harriet look both stupid and hypocritical. Why dump Will and give him a hard time for his involvement in drugs and crooked cops when Malone is the ring leader? It makes no sense and it makes a mockery of Harriet’s principles. It was a hard enough stretch to believe Harriet could forgive the man who’d tried to crush her with a coffin, but we were told they had unresolved history. It seems lazy to do the same with Malone and frankly there isn’t enough chemistry in their scenes to believe she would be tempted enough to throw away so much for a man as dangerous as Malone. If there are any big Harriet fans left they might be wondering what just happened to the character they loved…