Fave or Fail? (8-12 Oct 2018)

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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! This week the villagers dressed up for the champers at Home Farm and stayed for the drama as Kim Tate returned.

Faves

A New Direction?

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h12m31s542After knocking out Joe Tate with one punch, Cain Dingle now believes he’s a killer. It’s unclear yet as to whether Joe is actually dead (though if he is, it seems like good pal Graham finished him off rather than Cain) but Cain’s guilt is already eating him up. This is a really interesting direction for hard man Cain as we have never seen him so shaken and paranoid by his actions. Sure he’s beaten and tortured people before, but murder? Especially when his beloved daughter believes he jilted her. What a complex web of guilt and lies! Even better is that it’s created a new and troubled dynamic between Cain and Graham, leaving the former unnerved at the new balance in power. This story has only just begun but I’m intrigued about the impact this is going to have on Cain moving forward, especially when it comes to his relationships with Debbie and Moira. Jeff Hordley and the Coira partnership hasn’t had anything meaty for a while so it’s about time they two took centre stage.

Justice at Last

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h10m15s891Another surprising turn of events this week was Debbie finally facing the police after Ross’s acid attack storyline reached a resolution. After the Ross and Simon fight dragged on for about 500 scenes and his confession taped, the future looked brighter for Ross (good timing for his exit, eh?). But the real sticking point in this story, which felt as if a satisfying end was never in sight, was that Debbie was behind the attack. We’re used to Debs avoiding the law so it was an unexpected turn of events to see her arrested this week. Though Emmerdale did their very best to make it clear Debbie had no intended an acid attack specifically, there was something uncomfortable about her seeming to get away with the attack when it had changed Ross’s life permanently. I can’t imagine Debbie will face a long prison spell but this new ground for the character might be the rejuvenation she needs.

The Bitch is Back

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h16m42s683The hotly anticipated return of Kim Tate sent shockwaves through the Home Farm ball this week, even if most of the villagers had never heard of her they were left in no doubt about her sharp tongue. This week served as a teaser for Kim’s permanent return in the new year (hopefully with son James) so perhaps it was never going to live up to expectations in such a rushed reintroduction. I could have done without the sluggish backstory scenes but Kim vs the village was the same campy villainy I enjoyed when Joe revealed his true colours. I hope when she comes back full time they make her a true antagonist and keep that cattiness fun rather than cartoonish. It’s always difficult to bring back an old character when they had become an icon, but Kim will definitely give life back to the big house next year.

Bonus Faves:

  • Bernice and Dr C’s saucy forest romping! I see she fancied a hook up after all?
  • Katie Hill (Sarah Sugden) gave a great performance in the aftermath of Joe’s disappearance as her anger and heartbreak manifested. Her scenes with Debbie were real highlights
  • The ball costumes certainly made the event sparkle and it was great to see everyone out of their civvys – I think the villagers need more posh parties to attend!

Fails

Home Farm Flop

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h14m41s668From the heavily trailed event week, to the hype around Kim Tate’s return, expectations were sky high. A masquerade ball interspersed with police tape and interviews – what could be better? It had a Big Little Lies vibe and the masks meant that surely mistaken identity, secrets and danger were only minutes away, right? Wrong. The ball might have been a vehicle for Kim to make her masked entrance but beyond that there was no atmosphere, no excitement or sense of dread at the event. Even Kim’s fall and the mystery surrounding the push held no tension and no intrigue as no one had a real motive and Kim came away with little more than a scratch. The reveal that Faith was behind the attack provoked little else but shrugs and probably won’t serve any lasting purpose until Kim returns next year. For all the hype, the Home Farm shenanigans were a dull disappointment. We spent several episodes watching a party where little else but village gossip occurred and certainly didn’t match the high drama promised. Kim’s return story might have held some camp fun, but the backstory retcons and ties to Graham were muddled and exposition heavy, not the thrilling return she should have had.

Wasted Potential

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h15m00s903Joe Tate’s demise came faster than his onscreen redemption leaving me wondering – just why Emmerdale had turned him into such a flop? Joe was a Tate! A legacy child! He arrived hell bent on revenge with great ties to Emmerdale past! But from Joe’s wickedly brilliant reveal in January it was downhill as Emmerdale struggled to find a place and purpose for him in the village. The villainy wasn’t sustainable and his threats became empty and soon he was rushed into an age old redemptive tale when he found love with Debbie in record time. Redemption takes time. Years even. After all that Joe had done to the Dingles, it was a hard task to believe he’d be so forgiven but as Joe’s evil deeds all but disappeared, he rattled around Home Farm and at the hospital aimlessly, being nice and rich and little else. Scenes with sidekick Graham offered glimmers of an interesting history, but much like the ill-fated White family, all the juicy stuff happened off screen and left for us to uncover in laborious conversations. But with Kim Tate returning, all the backstory we’d heard about was pushed aside for a flimsy rewrite and Joe was left for dead (killed or helped escape depending on your theory). To make matters worse, Kim’s loathing for Joe’s betrayal didn’t even lead us to a showdown onscreen – they never even met. Instead this week’s plot and Joe’s fate rested on robotic Graham’s shoulders who depth is hidden under dry and stoic performances. To this day I’m still baffled by the Joe/Graham set up, I don’t believe in any sort of Kim and Graham romance and after year of watching Graham play butler and statue, I’m craving performances that have something more than gravelly expressionless mechanics.

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Scene of the Week (8-12 Oct 2018)

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It didn’t take long for Kim to slip back into old habits as she returned to Home Farm and she began picking off the villagers one by one. This camp scene full of bitchy put-downs made an entertaining Scene of the Week. Once the claws had been sharpened against Charity, Kim moved onto sloshed Brenda, revealing she never frequents cafes and wouldn’t make the exception here either. Kim revealed in the fun bitchiness, gleefully teasing that she might repossess Kerry’s home – in the cold way villains do best. Even though the party might’ve been full of strangers, this scene was a fun slice of pantomine and nicely sets up a wealth of antagonism for when Kim returns in the new year.

Fave or Fail? (1-5 Oct 2018)

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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! In a week of tragedy for the Dingles, everyone united for the happy event of Aaron and Robert’s wedding.

Faves

A Moment of Happiness

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h45m06s201A rare, happy event bringing the village together in celebration of the love between Emmerdale’s most talked about couple – what could be better? The long-hyped, long-awaited Robron legal wedding finally arrived and despite being tinged with tragedy, it didn’t disappoint. Not only was this episode a real fan pleaser, it had a warm community feeling and showcased just how far the characters had come to make their family official. It’s not often any more that the village gets its bunting out for a big old party outdoors, but this was it. It wasn’t just an episode of romance and a display of the chemistry which has made Robron so beloved, it was also the funny and sweet little details (Bernice’s insistence that she was behind the reunion; Doug’s little thumbs-up to Liv after her speech) that made it a great watch. Weddings in soap are often all explosions and affair reveals, so it was a welcome change to see a wedding be such a success. And while the day ended in a panic attack for grief stricken Chas, the event worked well as a happy interlude to the week’s tragic events.

Family Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h41m07s776Chas and Paddy had an unbearable week as their daughter Grace was born and died very shortly afterwards. It’s a moving and important story which resonates with many parents watching who have shared a similar pain and Emmerdale have done a good job at showing its long-term impact on Chas and Paddy’s lives as they try to move forward. Emmerdale opted for an experimental fantasy sequence in the episode of Grace’s birth as her parents imagined what her life would be life. The idea behind those moments was touching, but perhaps the overshadowing stylistic choices should have been dropped in favour of the more intimate and raw family scenes. Both Chas and Paddy struggled in the days that followed, with both of them grieving and lashing out in different ways, but it’s when they united, in spite of their grief, that the performances really excelled. This storyline also gave Emmerdale a real sense of family and village life, as it wasn’t only immediate family who were heartbroken, but other parents in the village too. It’s strong stories like this, which impact upon the whole community, that are vital parts of Emmerdale’s success.

A Whole Lot of Faith

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h49m42s806Faith is often one of my favourite things about a week of Emmerdale. She’s brash and loud, dirty minded and full of humour (just check out her dancing with Rob at his own wedding!), but she’s so much more than that. She perfectly encapsulates the light and shade of great soap matriarchs by being there as a pillar of support for her family too. Faith doesn’t sugar coat, but she gives her loved ones exactly the words they need to hear. She was the friendly ear for Chas, Paddy and Aaron this week but perhaps her most moving moment was the scene in which she gave Chas a congratulations card for becoming a new mum. It was an emotional gesture and one which I thought was one of the most resonating moments of the whole tragic storyline, such a touching and understated thought. Faith’s a true gem of a character and one I now can’t imagine Emmerdale without.

Rom-Com Queen

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h42m24s566I feel like all I ever do on this blog is sing Bernice’s praises, but I’m at it again, after another week of classic Bernice moments. Back from her relaxation trip, Bernice grimaced and groaned her way through another encounter with Daz, practising her dumping routine right in the middle of the shop. Luckily dreamy Dr Cavanagh was on hand to lift her mood and the two had a flirtation and illicit make-out sesh in the salon. Naughty! Every interaction between these two (and yes, we’re opting for #Cavastock) is brimming with comedy and teenage crush levels of awkward with Liam filling the bumbling Hugh Grant role oh-so perfectly. They are smitten and utterly charming together, which happens to make all of Bernice’s attempts to get away from Daz even funnier. This was a brilliant, silly antidote to the tragedy of the week.

Leyla’s Return

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h43m17s352Leyla returned to the village this week after actress Roxy Shahidi’s maternity leave came to an end, and it was a real pleasure to have her back. Her showdown with Tracy wasn’t pleasant to watch as her lack of compassion preceded catty comments and escalated into full blown misogyny, but it didn’t take long for Leyla and Tracy to realise the real enemy was David. With the two bonding over common ground and clinking glasses to a future without him and rubbish men, it was a fun and satisfying watch. We certainly could do with more scenes exploring friendship these days. Despite a rocky start, I’m really glad Leyla’s back as her quirky comedy and facial expressions offer something different in the village. I’m very intrigued if Leyla’s mystery fiancé transpires and if so, what’s next on the cards for Miss Harding!

One Last Shot

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h53m13s131For many viewers, Ross Barton was at his best in the days of Donna Windsor, watching him soften through his feelings for someone else and lose that aggressive façade. Now, we might be nearing the end of actor Mike Parr’s time on the show, but it feels like the Ross and Rebecca relationship is bringing out the best in both characters as they try and rebuild their lives and showcasing the Ross Barton many viewers fell for all those years ago. Ross being Ross, Dawn’s appearance at the end of the week is sure to spell trouble in terms of his growth, but it’s been a welcome change to watch a more sensitive and caring Ross help Rebecca find faith in herself and confidence again. With his exit looming, it’s surely doom to fail, but for now their sweet and tentative scenes are a nice break from Ross’s cokehead, wannabe gangster efforts.

Fail

Not About That Thug Life

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h40m31s598Truth be told, I had to go back and rewatch all of Joe and Graham’s scenes with Connor the cardboard gangster this week, because I ended up zoning out. In a week of Emmerdale where we were treated to moving storylines and emotional character moments, we were also stuck watching this caricature terrorising Home Farm. Threatening he was not! For me, both Joe and Graham have lost that special something that once made them compelling newbies in the big house and unfortunately now their samey scenes are just cloak and dagger conversations that are at times impenetrably cold. With Connor desperate for revenge and Joe cowardly offering up Graham like the sacrificial lamb, this should have been a huge test and turning point of the pair’s unconventional bond, but with Connor cartoonish and the conversations between Joe and Graham stilted and mysterious it was a struggle to care. The rapport between the two is as bristling as ever and with Kim Tate’s arrival imminent, maybe all isn’t lost, but watching their scenes can feel like scrabbling in the dark to find something interesting to care about.

Scene of the Week (1-5 Oct 2018)

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In a week that covered a whole spectrum of emotions – happy and sad – it was the wedding speeches scene which encompassed all of those feelings in such a moving way. With the grooms’ speeches sticking traditionally to heart-clutching love declarations, and little sister Liv’s telling of the trio’s first meeting, it was mainly a scene for Paddy and Chas to destroy us all and reach for the tissues. Paddy’s long and colourful history with Aaron was touched on in his speech, tearing up as he talked about how proud he was to call Aaron his son and how far Aaron had come to accept himself. Anyone who’s been watching Emmerdale in the last ten years will remember the agony Aaron went through at 18 so Paddy’s words held a real poignancy. It’s the beauty of the soap genre that we have seen this progress for ourselves. Then there was Chas, whose week had been tragic and deeply traumatic, but this was a beautiful moment for actress Lucy Pargeter in an understated show of Chas’s strength and resilience. For me, these two speeches, showing how difficult and courageous it was for Chas and Paddy to express their joy and also their grief in this celebratory moment, were a stand out of a very emotional week.

Fave or Fail? (24-28 Sep 2018)

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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 great week in the Dales as Vanity shared those three little words and Moira confessed to killing Emma to Matty and Vic.

Faves

Exposed Secrets

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h23m41s338It wasn’t long ago that Victoria was nominated on this blog as one of Emmerdale’s most underrated characters so it’s been fantastic this week to see her front and centre of the show. Not only was Vic battling with her feelings for BFF Matty this week, as the pair gave into a passionate snog (yay!) but she was also thrown into turmoil after learning that Adam took the rap for Emma’s death and Moira was the real culprit. Not only this, but she found out that her future brother in law Aaron knew about it this whole time. What I love about this story is that there’s no villain here, no black and white. I feel for both Moira AND Victoria, and that’s the beauty of a good story. My only wish is that Emmerdale hadn’t ruined Adam and Victoria’s marriage so close to his exit and had her not mention him for months following his departure, because that weakens the impact of her upset a little.

Consequences for Moira

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h21m05s161Recently I bemoaned Emmerdale’s lack of follow-up when it came to Moira’s PTSD and huge murder reveal, being that overall she’d been mostly unaffected. After a few months of misery, a reunion with Cain seemed to almost fix all her problems. It was a welcome relief for viewers and Moira alike but put a full stop to the conclusion of Emma’s storyline that never really seemed feasible. Though Emma’s death and the fall out lasted far longer than it should have, making Moira her killer was a massive decision that should have had far reaching ramifications. But it didn’t. It was a bold move, but one that never really materialised. Might we finally be getting the shockwaves the story deserved? I hope this gives Moira something juicy again as Natalie J Robb is far too good to spend another year around Butler’s table not doing much.

Rebecca’s Struggles

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h15m57s069It’s only taken two years but the writing for Rebecca has finally made her feel like a fully fleshed out, consistent character, vocalising her struggles rather than her brain injury only there to benefit other plots. Even though we all know Ross is due to exit from Emmerdale soon, his supportive and tender relationship with Rebecca has brought out the best in both characters. Rebecca’s pain at not being able to be a reliable mother for Seb and her loneliness feel like they’re being properly explored rather than her simply being used as either a plot device for Lachlan or Robert, or a comedy bit-part in the pub. Hopefully now Emmerdale have acknowledged that she’s an isolated character whose had six months from hell, they will continue to give her a consistent voice and agency in her own stories.

Everyone Loves Dr C

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h08m44s351Was it the stubble? The endearing sadness of a divorcee? Was it because Liam’s self-confessed highlight of the week was choosing his kitchen worktops? Whatever it was this week, everyone seemed to have fallen head over heels for Dr Cavanagh and Bernice wasn’t even in the village! There’s something oh-so charming and swoony about Liam that I was right there with Diane and Kerry in fawning all over him – and let’s face it, he’s far more of a catch than dull Daz. As Liam tried to fake reasons to call Bernice, this was exactly the kind of light-hearted watchable story in Emmerdale that I love and it made me even more glad he’s been made a regular character in the show. Hurry back Bernice before you get pipped to the post!

Meeting Obadiah

Charity amp; Vanessa 26th September 2018 Part 3 - YouTubeIt was great to meet Charity’s father this week, with the brilliant Paul Copley in the role. Both he and Emma Atkins had a short time to build up and on screen rapport but their conversations were compelling to watch, especially as we learnt about the suicide of Charity’s mum. Throughout the Bails story, despite the impressive performances, there’s been a lot of repetition and it hasn’t shone many new lights on Charity as a person. Bringing in more of her background in terms of her parents was new for us and gave her childhood an interesting dimension. However the introduction of Obadiah and meeting him seemed far too rushed and I wish these had been the scenes Emmerdale had spent longer on rather than the stop/start stalling with Ryan.

Fail

No Empathy

Charity amp; Vanessa 24th September 2018 Part 2 - YouTubeThank god for Vanessa this week, one of the few people in Charity’s life to offer any sort of empathy or compassion for her behaviour in the wake of Bails’s trial. The Dingles, on the other hand, had me raging. It wasn’t that long ago that Lisa and Aaron both went through similar hell after facing their rapist in court and the Dingles rallied round to support their loved ones. With Charity it’s been a different story. Sure, Charity’s struggling made her destructive and uncontrollable, but Zak and Chas’s bulldozing “Dingle Court” method was completely aggressive and tone deaf to what Charity needed. It is a difficult situation for a family to work through, but out of everyone you’d expect Chas to be a bit more understanding – you can’t imagine her taking such a hard line with Aaron, can you? Much like the Dingles not bothering to show up to court, I felt that this level of harshness from the family was hard to believe, designed to make Charity spiral than being something stemming naturally from their perception of Charity. They might think Charity’s strong and at times selfish, but I don’t buy that the family would be so lacking in empathy after something like this.

Scene of the Week (24-28 Sep 2018)

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Charity had an unlikely ally this week, in the shape of village regular PC Swirling and this surprise and tender moment makes my Scene of the Week. Poor Charity has been struggling in the wake of Bails’ sentencing and after a maddening lack of support from the Dingles she spiralled. Swirling picked Charity up after an altercation with a farmer, but when he dropped her off home he was sympathetic and sensitive to her plight which was an immediate relief to Charity. Swirling has been a regular copper in Emmerdale having multiple run-ins with the Dingles so it was nice to see him be one of the few actually perceptive to Charity’s struggles rather than dismissive. Emma Atkins gives so much to even the smallest scenes and you could tell how much of a relief it was for Charity, albeit briefly. Great unexpected scene.