Fave or Fail? (11-15 Nov 2019)

faveorfail

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 row split the Dingles this week and Arthur’s bullying of Archie intensified.

Faves

Team Charity

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-19h11m49s300The Dingles are a big family of hypocrites and this week was proof enough that they change their family rules when it suits! Charity had a tough week, and while some of it might have been of her own making, I was firmly in the Team Charity camp when it came to the Dingle divide. Sure, Charity has a chequered past – which Dingle doesn’t? But I was cheering her own when she lashed out at Cain and Aaron when Moses got kidnapped. One of the reasons Charity is such a good character is that she’s multi-layered and flawed, meaning she’s empathetic even when she’s done wrong. Perhaps it was the feisty performance of Emma Atkins as Charity fought her corner, or her vulnerable fear at the thought of losing Moses, but my sympathies were with her all the way. Neither Cain or Chas are parents of the year so their arguments against Charity were weak and it was right that Charity got to call out Cain for his pathetic behaviour – she might be one of the few able to get through to him. It’s unclear how long this manufactured animosity with Chas will continue, but give me Charity’s “messy but trying” outlook over Chas’s “holier than thou” any day!

The Big Split

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-18h53m55s836It was all over for Charity and Vanessa this week and while their split didn’t get the focus it needed towards the end of the week, the story still had some great scenes. As Vanessa learnt the truth about Charity’s dealings, she gave her the opportunity to tell the truth, but when Charity didn’t own up to the stolen money, Vanessa called time on their relationship. As Charity tried to defend herself, Vanessa veered between anger and sadness, making comparisons to her mum’s relationship to Frank’s dodgy dealings. There was great fire in their row proving that a bit of juicy conflict can bring out the best in an onscreen partnership and with Charity and Vanessa’s different outlooks on life, keeping that contrast will give them plenty of potential in future. There were also some lovely follow up scenes as Vanessa tried to put on a brave face and was comforted by Noah and Sarah. We haven’t seen much of Noah lately but as he’s been through countless partners of his mum, it was touching to see his bond with Vanessa. More of that please!

Arthur Boils Over

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-18h53m16s103I’ve real mixed feelings about Arthur’s current storyline. On the one hand, exploring the psychology of a child who hasn’t coped with the loss of a parent is a worthy and unique story to tell. However, I can’t help but feel Friday’s episode pressed fast-forward and turned an interesting slow burn into Emmerdale’s next demon child. Saying that, Arthur Clarke is one great actor and despite Arthur’s bullying is still empathetic at times. Particularly during Ashley’s birthday picnic, Alfie did a fantastic job at showing Arthur’s struggle and his need for someone to spot what he’s going through. Some of the writing has me concerned this story will get sensationalised too much too soon, but fingers crossed the performances can hold it together.

Fail

Dingle Bad Boys

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-18h52m49s845With both Cain and Aaron’s marriages over and the pair of them struggling to cope, they teamed up for some dodgy business this week. This partnership had a lot of potential but in the end, it all felt a little flat. There was no real jeopardy when it came to Moses’ capture (we all knew he’d be safe and well) and as events escalated their shrugging reactions and poor excuses of an apology were cold and cruel. Things got even worse when Chas bent over backwards to defend the two, with the men resembling more sulking teenagers than heartbroken husbands. But the biggest gripe in this was a lack of emotion. They both might have faced a big loss in their lives but playing irresponsible hard men lacked warmth. Obviously both of them can be resistant to opening up, and no one wants to see endless blubbing scenes, but more cracks in their bad boy bombast would have given the plot a welcome heart.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 Nov 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As Lydia met her estranged sister, a spiralling Cain and Aaron started their own destructive team.

Faves

New Family Secrets

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h55m02s263With lots of big Emmerdale stories winding down, it was interesting to see a new story start this week with Lydia. After Karen Blick’s impressive performances during the summer, as the truth of Lydia’s past came to light, it’s welcome news to see her get a continuation of this story now. After Mandy’s identity theft story, the Dingles discovered Lydia’s benefactor was her mother, but when Lydia went to the house she came face to face with her estranged sister (amazing casting!). But it was soon revealed to the audience that Lydia’s mother was not dead, as the sister had said, but very much alive. This was a fantastic moment of intrigue and would be the perfect way to give Lydia more depth. Although she makes a great matriarch within the Dingles, bringing in her family would be a great new story for Lydia. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

Big Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h57m57s300Poor Aaron had one hell of a week Oblivious to Robert saying goodbye last week it was one shock after another when Aaron realised first that Robert had been moved to the Isle of Wight and blocked all contact and later, had filed for divorce. This brutal severing was inevitable being that Friday last week marked the end of Ryan Hawley’s tenure in Emmerdale, but in Robert wanting Aaron to have a life, meant heartbreak for him. Spiralling Aaron lashed out at Lee’s brother Luke, ranted at the insufferable Wendy (deeply cathartic) but most of all did what Danny Miller does so well – an absolute emotional breakdown. Viewers might be over the tears, but after a five year love story, he’s due a flood.

The End of Coira

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h59m21s595It was all over for another Emmerdale couple this week as Cain and Moira had a sit down chat about where it all went wrong. With the foundations of Moira’s affair weak and unsuccessfully told, sitting and hearing her explanation felt quite hollow and unconvincing, but at least Cain wasn’t having any of it either. Regardless of the story, Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb made the aftermath worth watching. With Cain’s car crash behaviour leading him to bed Kerry it looks like it really could be the end of the line for Coira. But what next? It’s hard to imagine them moving on to anyone else in the village!

Arthur’s Meltdown

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h56m25s757It’s only the beginning of what appears to be a big new story for young Arthur Thomas but I’m already intrigued. If you’ve read upcoming spoilers you’ll know Arthur’s jealousy and struggle to adapt to Laurel’s new relationship will start a dark story for him, but we saw more of its beginnings this week. Arthur has already tried to sabotage Laurel and Jai’s relationship and Friday’s episode saw him explode with rage, feeling ostracised from his own family and angry that Jai was trying to take his Dad’s place. This feels like a very real psychological and emotional trauma for a young boy who worries the world is forgetting the importance of his late father and I’m interested to see how this story goes. Alfie Clarke is one of Emmerdale’s best young actors so he’ll be able to handle what could be tough material.

Fails

The Wrong Message

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h59m55s056Whenever soaps do a rape or sexual assault storyline, there’s always a character brought in to defend the rapist. From Pierce’s mother to Bails’s wife, we’ve seen it before. But when justice occurs, the defender realises the truth, or is at least shut up. There’s no question that there are “Wendys” in the world, mothers who believe their rapist sons are innocent, especially vindicated when they get away with it. Where Emmerdale have gone disastrously wrong is an attempt to victimise Wendy, even going as far as having Victoria apologise and take pity on her. Wendy stalked her. Harassed her. Tormented her. Forced her way into Victoria’s life. Blamed her. Wendy is not a victim. She is not sympathetic. She has never seen Lee’s behaviour for what is was and has never apologised for what the family have put Victoria through. This framing is incredibly damaging to the message Emmerdale were trying to tell with the rape storyline. Wendy (and in turn Lee) should not be forgiven and it’s damaging to write Vic as being “the stronger person” because she can. The writing for Vic at times since this story began has sometimes seemed to mistake empowerment and courage for forgiveness and understanding. Finding closure should not mean accepting Wendy or empathising with her. The writing this week made Vic almost indifferent to her brother’s fate, like he’d gone away for the weekend, while she seemed more bothered about Wendy’s upset and Lee’s funeral. From a story with such a strong beginning, it’s veered completely off track.

Fave or Fail? (28 Oct-1 Nov 2019)

faveorfail

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’s sad final scenes aired this week as Mandy came clean about her scams.

Faves

The Last Goodbye

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h54m09s542Robert’s final scenes aired this week in what was a heart-breaking exit for the much-loved character. With Robert informed that he was being moved to the Isle of Wight, he made the painful decision not to tell Aaron, not wanting him to uproot his whole life while Robert served his 14 year sentence. Across the visiting room table, Robert and Aaron struggled with the lack of contact, expressing how much they missed each other. As Robert braced himself to reveal where he was being moved to, Aaron interrupted and Robert could no longer own up to the truth. With call backs and references to their love story, from “their” lay-by, a repeat of their phrase “You know/I know” and of course, the final, gut-wrenching play of their wedding song, this was a tribute to the couple and a love letter to fans. Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry continued to be powerful until the end, with Ryan delivering some of his best performances to date as Robert struggled to say his final goodbye. It was painful to see such a tragic ending to the show’s most popular couple and a character so memorable as Robert, but it felt fitting all the same. To also have Robert’s final act be one of selflessness, at a time where he was truly comfortable in himself, was the perfect end to his journey. His snark smugness, facial expressions and charm will be sorely missed.

The Aftermath Continues

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h57m41s553Following on from some huge weeks of drama, the fall out continued this week with engaging aftermath. After drinking himself numb, Cain escaped the village, surprisingly with Amy, throwing his wedding ring at Moira in the rain – ouch. When he returned he wanted her to pack her bags and the two had a face-off that showcased once more how naturally dynamic Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb are in scenes together. Bristling! Moira, despite defending herself to Cain’s supporters, still hasn’t been especially sympathetic but that’s mostly down to the affair taking place for nonsensical reasons in the first place! Then there was Chas and Paddy, coping with Faith’s exit and new baby Eve. Their moments have continued to be bittersweet as well as giving them some nice quieter moments to enjoy being new parents. That reprieve of happiness was much needed. Victoria saw Luke again, who admitted he believed her over Lee. These two have fantastic chemistry but it still doesn’t sit right that Emmerdale would tie Vic to her rapist’s family like this. Finally Aaron, whose week had a devastating end, but his wallowing and grief felt well done and believable but it was a lovely touch and a welcome change of pace to have him look after Seb and continue to explore his role as a parent. As the Cain and Moira dramas and Aaron’s heartbreak continue in the coming weeks we are bound to see more of these great performances soon.

Dingle Chaos

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h55m20s330Mandy was forced to come clean about her shady dealings this week as her and Vinny faced the infamous Dingle Court. Caught red-handed trying to steal Lydia’s money, Sam came down hard with the Dingle law and the family gathered to hear her case. Even if the whole Dingle Code stuff has been overdone, there’s always something entertaining about classic Dingle capers. It was a great twist to have Charity secretly involved (if only that had been left out of spoilers!) and fun to have her in the thick of a family scheme again. It’s still not completely clear the point of Vinny not being Mandy’s son (and why it matters) or if there are any more longer term plans for them, but her story is at least an amusing relief from the heavier stories in a way that feels classically Emmerdale.

Drug Bust-up

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h59m21s359The drugs story took a surprising turn this week, just as the comedy element had worn thin. After Archie had an accident, Laurel found Doug’s pot stash in the first aid box, but her first worry was that it belonged to Jai. She confronted him and the two had their first real argument, as he was horrified she would accuse him and then take it easy on the real culprit, Doug. It was still frosty between them the next day with Jai unwilling to forgive her, especially when she too had struggled to fight her addictions. This was a great way to give the pot plot more purpose and saw the relationship between Laurel and Jai truly tested. They’re a great couple but it seems only right that things aren’t too easy for them and the good thing about a fight is that we’re rooting for them to make things up. These were some nicely written scenes and it’ll be interesting to see if their pasts ever cause their relationship more problems.

Fails

Oceans Emmerdale

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h55m56s762Emmerdale aren’t afraid to try something new stylistically, be it flashbacks, time shifts or even the amazing special episode dealing with Ashley’s dementia. But this week’s flashbacks were somewhat divisive with viewers. As Mandy told the Dingles about her casino scheme, including the arrival of “Red” (aka the fabulously dressed Charity Dingle), the audience saw a glossy Hustle-style sequence of scenes. I’m on the fence about these scenes, they were fun and made the telling of the casino plot more interesting, but I’m not sure it felt very “Emmerdale”. To me, if felt more like those comedy spin-off VHS tapes Emmerdale used to make and the style of it jarred a little, but was it alright as a one off? This is one thing I’m undecided about…

Pantomime Posturing

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h58m09s196With Kim, we can all take a bit of the high-camp panto villain, but this week, as she and Graham snarled and gurned at each other, it struck me that their dynamic at the moment is tonally an odd fit with the rest of the show. There’s always a place for different types of characters and dynamics, but alongside the brutal break up between Cain and Moira, and the emotional end of Robron, Kim and Graham’s cartoonish dramatics felt almost like they belonged in a different show. There are only so many backstories and convoluted histories we can hold in our heads all at once but Kim and Graham’s “I will destroy you!!” speeches lacked the grounding and authenticity that other characters in the show have. It was only when Kim shed tears and we started to see her as more human again that the story gained interest. The problem with the Home Farm lot is the ever-shifting backstories and that confusing lack of consistency makes it hard to care what’s happening in the present. To really care about these big moments of camp villainy and revenge, we need a real grip on who these characters are and the first obstacle is making them feel like “real” people.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 Oct 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emmerdale pushed the boat out (literally) for its big stunt and Chas gave birth.

Faves

Cain’s Carnage

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h46m50s408If there’s one character who owned the week, it was Cain Dingle. There’s a reason why Cain is so popular among viewers and ultimately it comes down to the brilliance of Jeff Hordley’s portrayal. This week was a blockbuster week for Cain as he learnt Moira was cheating. First he pummelled the wrong target (oops, poor Pete) and then on learning the real culprit was Nate, staged an elaborate (and let’s face it a convoluted/ridiculous) revenge plot. With Cain’s pain, fury and below the surface seething playing out perfectly in Jeff’s face, I’m not convinced the week needed a random boat explosion, when the showdown was satisfying on its own but the underwater scenes were visually impression. It’s unclear what’s next for Cain and Moira, particularly when her motivation to cheat was unsatisfying and unsympathetic, but the pair have undeniable chemistry even at war. Whatever happens, Cain’s total breakdown will be worth watching for Jeff’s performances alone.

Prison Pain

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h47m34s909Robert faced his sentencing this week in a plot thread that felt a bit lost in the show’s stunt week after last week’s thrilling focus. However this didn’t deter from the emotional performances as both Robert and Aaron tried to put on a brave face. As Aaron suffered alone at home watching a video from his husband, his prison break out plan abandoned after some tough and quite uncompassionate berating from his family, Robert faced his own despair in a prison cell. This heartbreak was a nice juxtaposition of scenes and Aaron’s dark mood clouded the rest of the week in a way that was fitting to the tragedy of the situation. The performances and grief following last week have been spot on, but my only fear is after last week’s great scenes, the momentum has been lost a little.

Faith Says Farewell

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h49m51s449We said goodbye to Sally Dexter this week as Faith, in a way that felt surprisingly final. Since it was announced Faith would be leaving the Dales, there was hope it was just a break, but the framing of Friday’s scenes felt like we might not see Faith again for a long time – if ever again. Even though her exit itself seemed rushed, especially with only a handful of characters available to say goodbye, Sally Dexter had a final week of big dramatic performances and not just the barbed comments and comedy she’s often been used for. Faith’s been quite brash and divisive but she’s also been someone who’s felt right at home from the start and fit into the village perfectly. From her troubled role as a parent to Chas and Cain to the touching romance with Eric, it was good to see both of these explored in her final episode. Faith’s been one of those great morally grey characters who can inspire empathy even in the worst of her behaviour. She’ll be a real loss to the show.

Light and Shade

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h52m35s674In among all the high drama this week was Chas giving birth in the pub toilets with only Marlon to hand. Scenes of someone giving birth in the wrong place at the wrong time are done often in soap, but these were lifted by the reliably amusing Marlon and of course the drunken chaos of Mandy and Bob next door. In fact those two, plus Lydia, would be a great full time addition to the bar staff. Every big week needs a lighter story and this worked well, especially when Chas and Paddy’s joy felt earned after last year’s tragedy.

Fails

Bonus Fail

  • It seems like someone at Emmerdale had a short term memory this week! First Chas managed to learn Moira had cheated on Cain twice, once in the first Thursday episode, then again at the end of the second episode. Baby brain or a mistake slipping through the net? Then Chas chose the name “Eve” for her new baby, totally forgetting about Eve Jenson who was her mortal enemy and cheated with Carl. Would you really name your child after someone you hated? Seems like Emmerdale forgot all about that big story. Finally, the discovery Faith had been involved in preventing Cain from knowing about pregnant Cara was baffling as we’d already seen how Faith had abandoned her kids when they were very young – so how did her involvement work? Considering the special flashback episode dealing with Cain and Faith’s past was less than two years ago, this seems like a really clunky mistake. When the big twist doesn’t gel with established canon, it weakens the satisfying element of a twist!

More Torture for Victoria

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h49m27s269Some viewers had already predicted that cute hospital guy Luke would have some sort of dark connection to Lee, but I was naively hoping that Emmerdale wouldn’t go down such a convoluted and cruel route. Wrong. The glimmer of hope and happiness for Vic was not to be, which considering what she’s suffered through this year feels particularly mean spirited. This week she discovered Luke was Lee’s brother, another spawn of the vile Wendy’s and so Vic’s chance for a fresh start away from her trauma and her rapist is not to be. Isn’t this a bit needless? If Vic couldn’t have justice, then a clean break, empowered against Lee’s awful mother would have been a start. I fear Emmerdale will explore a relationship between the two and try and soften Wendy that way but Victoria deserves much better.

Twist Shock?

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h51m21s558So, Nate is Cain’s son, eh? Who’d have thought it? Well…quite a few viewers to be honest. Was there ever going to be a twist big and shocking enough to please every viewer? Probably not. But there was something uninspired about this predictable route and I’m not convinced it made trashing Moira and her marriage worth it. Perhaps if Emmerdale had worked harder to establish Nate as a character in his own right, or avoided the repetitive affair scenes by having his seduction more prolonged and subtle, perhaps if we as viewers had been in on Nate’s motivation and secret then the gut-punch for Moira and Cain might have meant more. Perhaps if we’d seen hints of Nate’s ulterior motive or even Cain growing to like him so his betrayal and hatred hit with more impact. As it was after the budget blowing stunt, the impact of the secret unravelled quickly in a series of confusing and dull exposition scenes about a character we’ve never met (Cara), that made the backstory of Cain and Faith’s relationship muddled (Faith WAS around in his life apparently and Shadrach was a racist) and wasn’t as exciting as it might have been if we’d been in on the shock all along. Not to mention the fact that Cain is interesting enough without another secret child being brought into the equation – we’ve only just had Ryan and Charity. What Emmerdale seems to have assumed is that Nate is automatically interesting because he’s Cain’s son, but if they want us to be interested in another father/son bonding journey, then they’re going to have to make a bit more effort to write Nate as more than just a plot device.

Fave or Fail? (14-18 Oct 2019)

faveorfail

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 life-changing week for Aaron and Robert as Victoria’s rapist died and Faith suspected Pete and Moira of having an affair.

Faves

Rob-run

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h02m18s069Robert’s rollercoaster exit storyline ramped up a gear this week as we draw ever closer to the end. This week saw Robert and Aaron attempting to flee the country when they learnt Lee had died in hospital and Robert faced a murder charge. Unwilling to be parted from each other, Robron made a desperate attempt to stay hidden, but that meant some painful goodbyes. Seeing how difficult the situation was for Aaron and knowing their future would forever be blighted by this chain of events Robert made the ultimate sacrifice and handed himself into the police. This was a brilliant bit of character growth after five years spent with this incarnation of Robert, but one that came at a huge price. Before Robert put his love for Aaron over everything else, the two hid in the woods, fantasising about their future in France, but as Robert kissed him goodbye, giving him the promise of loving him always and the best life, we could all see what was coming. All of us except Aaron. And the beauty of it was in the absolute tragedy. The storyline this week was Emmerdale at its best – an exciting, tense story with huge performances and an emotional core viewers are deeply invested in.

Painful Parting

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h02m43s293The aftermath of Robert’s arrest was just as compelling as the event itself with lonely Aaron and Robert torn apart. With their impossible situation pushing them both to breaking point, Aaron lashed out at those around him in satisfying scenes that felt fitting to the high stakes of the day before. When Aaron finally got to speak to his husband he was overcome with emotion and once again Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley managed to convey so much of their characters’ history and pain, even down a phone. Having watched their love story play out for years, their tragic separation carries a big emotional weight, and while it’s a painful resolution for the characters to suffer through, it’s one being executed so well it’s impossible not to be moved. Their relationship has been at the heart of Emmerdale for so long now that it’s going to be difficult to imagine it without them.

Twists and Turns

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-11h58m35s152One of the best parts of this exciting week was the element of surprise, with each episode in Robert’s storyline bringing a new twist. The only spoilers released for the week covered Aaron and Robert’s initial escape after Lee’s death, but after that, viewers were in the dark. This spoiler lockdown meant we had no idea what was in store, how or even if they’d be caught. Mandy’s involvement came out of the blue, moments after a siren sound had Robron panicking. Then there was Liv’s arrival, Paddy’s sat-nav landing them in it, and of course, Robert’s heartbreaking sacrifice. Then, just as you’d expect the aftermath to take a straight-forward direction, Friday’s episode ended with Aaron shocking us all, ringing a secret contact to help break Robert out of prison. It’s been a while since Emmerdale has had a story this compelling, where the next episode is must-see, but it’s really felt like that this week. Let’s hope they can carry on with this momentum!

A Bit of Happiness?

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h01m22s976Vic had another chance meeting with cute hospital café worker, Luke, this week. While there’s plenty of speculation that Luke might be super shady, I can’t be the only one hoping he’s the real deal? Luke seems like a sweet, relaxed guy and that kind of connection could be exactly what she needs. It’s understandable she wouldn’t be in any rush to take a chance on a relationship, but here’s hoping Emmerdale do something with them and this wasn’t just a way to keep her around the hospital. With Ellis gone, Adam gone and the Matty romance seemingly abandoned, Luke could have real potential for her happy ever after.

Bonus Fave:

  • In a shock twist – shout out to Pete Barton this week for being the most switched on and relatable character in this Moira/Nate travesty. His home truths to Moira were spot on.

Fails

Slow Down

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h03m40s992Hey Emmerdale, what’s the rush? Long-term couples might be thin on the ground right now, particularly with two big fan favourite couples about to end, but why do Emmerdale keep rushing to get new pairings together. Surely everyone loves to watch a beautiful slow burn love story unfold over months? When the chemistry works and there’s tension bubbling away, there’s nothing better than waiting (impatiently) for a couple to realise their feelings, but lately Emmerdale has skipped all this good stuff and often that means investment is low then. Recently we’ve had Will and Harriet whose lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers story could have sizzled for months, but instead they’re already settled and cosy before we care. Then Jai and Laurel who admittedly do have the cutest chemistry and had a little while to grow into their feelings, but have now almost become one big family already. Now we have Rhona and Graham who, after weeks of weird off screen flirting, have now escalated thanks to another shoe-horned Graham backstory addition about his brother. Fans seem to be on side with their connection so why not let it take time to blossom? Rhona’s barely out of a serious relationship and Graham’s still a bit of an empty vessel. What would be the harm in making the audience wait? Tension, pining, crossed wires – it’s about time we had a new romance to really root for.

Losing Laughs

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h04m36s153When the drug plot began and we saw unlikely pot smoker Doug get stoned, it was amusing. Seeing straight-laced characters do something a bit naughty has the capacity for humour, but now – hasn’t it just gone on too long? The pot plot didn’t need to be a long running mystery with various characters getting high, it would have been funnier to keep the joke short and sweet. Now it’s wearing thin. This week after Jimmy tucked into some hash cakes, he got high as a kite and then vomited while Nicola was trying to impress someone from the council. It might be the usual sort of Jimmy and Nicola story but by now, the drug story has pretty much run its course, unless we’re going to see everyone get in on the action. Jimmy and Nicola are regularly comedy gold, but they deserve something better than this.

Fave or Fail? (7-11 Oct 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Kerry’s health took a turn for the worst and Vanessa stayed in a prison cell overnight. 

Faves

War Against the Wyatts

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h44m49s870The fallout of Tracy and Vanessa’s discovery about their dad’s death continued this week, which was full of strong performances and satisfying, tense moments, even if it has had a somewhat divisive response from viewers. With Kerry hospitalised, Tracy and Vanessa spent much of the week switching scripts, one minute Tracy was guilt ridden and blamed herself, unwilling to turn Kerry and Amy in, then she was gung-ho about going straight to the police. Then it was Vanessa’s turn to flip-flop too. Perhaps this was an attempt to get viewers to question the big issues of blame, guilt and accidents, though some were left feeling like Kerry and Amy have got away with it. With soap being a fast moving genre, there’s a chance it won’t be long before they’re sharing a civilised drink in the Woolie, or perhaps Kerry and Amy will save the sisters’ lives in an attempt to redeem them. Whatever the long term outcome, the moments where Tracy and Vanessa were allowed be furious and indignant at the Wyatts were the most enjoyable and hopefully Kerry and Amy will face a little more justice than just a bump on the head!

Wedding Favours

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h37m16s860This week we had more comedy at Take a Vow as Bernice and Liam competed against Lydia and Sam with the type of humour Emmerdale does best. With the couples vying for the prize, they had to come up with a perfect theme for the wedding and decorate a table. Lydia and Sam opted for a Yorkshire theme while Bernice and Liam let their fantasies run away with them and went full Jane Austen, costumes the lot. As the horny pair got carried away, they ended up wrecking Sam and Lydia’s table in the process and winning by default. The antics of these two never fail to amuse (which makes Samantha Giles’s aka Bernice’s approaching exit even harder to take) and Jonny McPherson continues to be one of Emmerdale’s biggest comedic assets. With the guilt getting to them, they gave Sam and Lydia their prize instead, with Bernice still managing to be her tactless self, suggesting they were a bit of a charity case. Take a Vow is a business that we don’t see do much but with all the weddings in the village could easily be used more for fun stories like this. Next stop, Leyla and Andrea trying to rein in a village bridezilla?

Rhona and the Robot

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h35m44s863It’s early days for Rhona and her budding romance with Graham and while I’m not totally sold, I can see potential.  Before their relationship became exhausting doom and gloom, Rhona forged a surprising chemistry with Pete and now it looks like there are similar sparks with Graham. It hasn’t quite reached the same levels with Graham yet, but it looks like Rhona could be the one to break him out of the robotic mode. What Graham needs is something about him that is more believable, more human. Giving him a real relationship with someone grounded, in the heart of the village, could work – after all we’ve had years of Graham now and he still doesn’t feel like a living breathing person. There is of course the Kim factor which could spoil things but knowing how good her scenes with Rhona have been, seeing them head to head might not be such a bad thing.

Fails

Angry Amy

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h41m26s810One character who won’t be popular with many viewers after this week’s events is Amy. With Kerry critical in hospital, Amy had harsh words for Tracy, blaming her for her mum’s condition. But with Kerry making a fairly quick recovery (okay, slow in soap standards) Amy’s insistence that Tracy’s actions made them even didn’t really wash. There were plenty of times in this story where Amy was the remorseful one, but lately she’s almost been ruthless and cold-hearted in their fight to evade any police involvement. Perhaps if Emmerdale had spent more time showing Amy’s desperation for money, leading to the accident, then Amy’s excuses might have held more weight, but the way she treated grieving Tracy and Vanessa this week was hard to watch. It might take a while for Tracy and Vanessa to move on and forgive her, but I think the audience might take even longer…

Moira Merry-go-Round

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h47m00s062I can’t tolerate any more of this Nate and Moira storyline and I reckon not even seeing Cain’s murder eyes or an eleventh hour twist about Nate’s identity can save it any more. This week Moira’s shameless attitude about her affair pissed off Pete and once again she ended things with Nate, only for – you guessed it – her to snog his face off at the end of the week. How many times has this happened now? Moira’s plummeted from one of the show’s strongest characters to one I’m struggling to watch. Her motives make no sense and her lust for Nate is even harder to believe set against her genuine, palpable chemistry with Cain. Then there’s Nate, who lurches from predator to charmless bore who now claims to be in love with her. It’s impossible to tell whether he’s genuine (and a massive creep) or playing a game. But with the same repetitive story beats taking place week after week, it’s a struggle to care. Moira should be the character we connect with, that we’re empathising with, but even the most ardent Moira fans must be finding it hard to recognise her. To make matters worse, Emmerdale appear to be investing everything into this story, putting it front and centre almost every week, despite it baffling or putting off most viewers. Will the climax and Cain’s revenge be worth all these months of a terrible storyline?

Fave or Fail? (30 Sep-4 Oct 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! Kerry’s lies were uncovered this week and Pete learnt that Moira was cheating with Nate.

Faves

The Secret is Out

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h59m57s179It was the moment we were all waiting for this week as Tracy discovered that Kerry and Amy were behind her dad’s death. With Kerry’s guilt worsening, she was a mess trying to stay together, but as the pieces of the puzzle starting slotting together, Tracy’s suspicions were high. It was a really satisfying scene to see Tracy raid Kerry’s room for evidence and even more so when she’d worked out that the lies had been building for months. As the two had a showdown in Tug Ghyll, both Amy Walsh and Laura Norton played the bristling tension perfectly. When Amy arrived it was two against one as they tried to calm Tracy down, but if you were anything like me you were just screaming for Tracy to run out of the house and call the police. What actually transpired was something far messier, making the situation more complicated, as Tracy shoved Kerry who then hit her head and fell unconscious. While it does shift the “victim” of the story – somewhat frustrating when Kerry and Amy have been so unlikeable at times – the moral dilemmas it raised made the scenes take an interesting turn. Once again Amy Walsh in particular proves what a strong actress she is and this is sure to continue through the aftermath.

Countryside Dramas

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h58m36s771There was something really “Classic Emmerdale” about the salmonella plot that I really enjoyed. Granted we’d only seen Derek twice so his death was meaningless but I loved the way this story tied together so many characters in a different way and had an interesting farming angle. As David suffered with food poisoning, him and Jacob attempted to rebuild their relationship, meanwhile accusations were thrown at Rishi, who in the light of his factory troubles was even more desperate for things to be okay. Then of course there was Sam and his poor chickens! This storyline also gave us a new light on Manpreet, who stole from her deceased patient to make a significant sum and then tried to bribe the man from environmental health. These glimmers that there are much more to her than meets the eye are great! This storyline might not bring in award nominations but it’s the everyday community, countryside story that Emmerdale should be doing, playing up to its USP and giving us some surprising interactions as well as building on pre-existing tensions.

Wedding Wars

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m53s340This week saw the beginning of a new genius comedy storyline as Bernice and Liam competed against Sam and Lydia to win their dream wedding. With Andrea and Leyla now working together at Take A Vow we could be seeing the start of ambitious trouble between them and it was very welcome to see Andrea outside of the stifling Home Farm environment. But the main joy of this storyline is seeing the polar opposite couples of Bernice/Liam and Sam/Lydia try and out do each other. From their colourful marital histories, with Sam’s bluntness versus Bernice’s bitchiness, this is the perfect comedic story. It definitely helps that both couples are so right for each other and we’ve been waiting for them to get married for ages! Can’t wait to see how the competition escalates and how far Bernice (let’s face it, it’s going to be her!) goes to win!

Family Bonding

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h55m07s176Archie just might have stolen the top spot of cutest kid in Emmerdale this week as Jai had a breakthrough with his estranged son and Archie spoke for the first time. After seeking Lydia’s help with grief counselling – a nice reminder of Lydia’s origins in the show – it was adorable Arthur who managed to help get Archie talking again. It’s been nice to see Jai have a more emotional story lately and now he’s partnered up with Laurel they’ve become a lovely new family unit. Arthur and Archie’s budding friendship is heart-warming too and has really helped to make the Thomas-Sharma bonds even stronger. I hope this isn’t the end of Archie’s problems after his mother’s death because I think it’s helped to give Jai more to do than just factory drama and it looks like we’re seeing Arthur hanker after a father figure so that could be interesting to explore too.

Fail

Disbelief and Blame

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m36s579After the brilliant Tracy and Kerry reveal, Friday’s episode took a bit of a surprising turn. With Tracy almost numb with shock it felt pretty unbelievable that Vanessa and Charity would be so disbelieving of her. Sure, Tracy might have accused Dawn a few weeks ago, but this reaction from them felt harsh, especially when they too had witnessed Kerry’s weird behaviour. In fact Vanessa and Charity seemed far more concerned about Kerry’s accident than what Tracy was going through. It might be believable that they’d have little patience for Tracy after her grief made her react badly recently, but their anger and disbelief seemed really misplaced, especially from the usually cynical and switched on Charity. With Kerry in hospital and now looking more of a victim than Tracy, the balance felt a little unsatisfying – we needed people who were more Team Tracy! The accident twist makes the aftermath a lot messier but I hope it doesn’t make for an unsatisfying conclusion.

Fave or Fail? (23-27 Sep 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! This week Millie’s accident lead to a paternity twist and Harriet was shunned by her so-called friends.

Faves

Harriet Bites Back

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h14m54s375Harriet had a bit of a tough week as she turned 50 and her relationship with Will came out in front of all the congregation. They’ve kinda wasted what could have been a delicious slowburn of love-turned-hate-turned-love between Harriet and Will (for a vicar and an ex drug lord they are actually very dull) but still, the hypocritical villagers decided to shun her for this relationship (baffling). Nevertheless a highlight this week was seeing a downtrodden Harriet confront Moira and ask her what we’ve all been wondering – what the hell is wrong with her? As Moira let rip, Harriet bit back, reminding her that she knew all about what had happened with Emma. It was less of a threat and more of a reminder of her double standards and it was good to see a Harriet that comes back fighting. Really, I’d have liked to have seen Harriet drag each and every villager for their hypocrisy, but this tense moment at Butler’s was the first time I’ve really thought “Yes Harriet! You tell her!”.

Dingles Reunited

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h14m14s806The kiss secret was out this week and Zak and Faith become enemy number one among the Dingles. Despite there being a complete overreaction to the kiss that meant nothing to either party, both Belle and Chas seemed to take the strongest objection to their betrayal. Thankfully the over the top outrage and bluster blew over quickly and Zak sought to repair the damage with Belle by explaining what really went on. Eventually Belle was won round by Zak’s honestly and his enduring love for Lisa. As the two shared a hug, united by missing Lisa, Zak apologised for upsetting Belle and asking for another chance. It was lovely to see the Dingles get some more screen time related to Lisa’s death as we haven’t seen much of how they are coping lately and Zak and Belle’s father-daughter relationship brings a lot of warmth to Wishing Well. It’s nice to see a family having a cuddle every now and then!

Doug’s Drugs

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h16m29s776Doug’s drug storyline continues to be one of the strangest stories in Emmerdale but it has its entertaining moments too. As the story ran alongside the exposure of Will’s drug trafficking past (the tonal shifts were a little jarring if I’m honest), Doug began to panic that his new hobby had grown out of control – literally! Doug now has his very own farm, but as he sweated about the police catching up with him, Rodney did his best to reassure him to continue. Seeing straight laced Doug unravelling is pretty amusing, although I wonder how long this story can continue before the laughs dry out.

Fails

Moira’s Meltdown

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h15m45s370Just what is happening to Moira? Her behaviour has become so unlikeable and erratic that fans are even jokily speculating her personality change is down to a brain tumour or an evil twin. This week saw her repetitive affair with Nate get almost busted again and discover that Matty had been smoking weed. This hit hard on the anniversary of Holly’s death and was even worse when she discovered Harriet’s latest love interest is a former drug trafficker. As Moira‘s rage exploded, she outed their relationship to the entire Harvest Festival, and Harriet’s reputation was shattered. While I think the villagers’ reactions bordered on the ridiculous (they’ve all done bad things) it was Moira’s response that did the most damage to her character. Sure we can reason that the pressure of the affair is getting to her, but it’s still not clear her motives for cheating in the first place. She’s off with everyone who speaks to her at the moment and it was only in those scenes with Cain by Holly’s grave that we saw glimmers of the Moira we know and love but even that seemed fleeting. Can Moira ever regain her popularity – or at least feel recognisable – again?

Who’s the Daddy?

vlcsnap-2019-09-29-12h13m54s663Andrea and Graham spent much of the week having the same conversation around Millie’s hospital bedside this week as they wrestled with their secret past and the question of Mille’s paternity. Viewers, however, might have been wrestling with a bigger question about the timeline of these characters and the baffling way it all ties together. Graham’s backstory is a muddle of different producers and cast changes so his engaging enigmatic early days seem a distant memory. Without an interest in Graham (and without Joe, Emmerdale are really trying their hardest to keep him relevant), all relies on newbie Andrea, who honestly feels too new to care too much about. It also requires us to see some sort of bristling tension between the pair, which until Monday didn’t really exist so the whole twist felt like an afterthought cobbled together plot based on fans’ speculation. This twist isn’t helped by Jamie, who has become a colourless drip and is unbelievable as a husband and a father, nor the painfully on-the-nose dialogue from Granny Kim who has now taken to her position as grandmother with aplomb. Had Andrea and Graham expressed sizzling chemistry or lingering looks throughout their time at Home Farm perhaps we could take an interest in this oncoming family explosion but the idea that Andrea was sleeping with both 17 year old Jamie and a drunken Graham at the same time is all a bit grim.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 Sep 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! In the week that saw Jessie leave the village, Aaron and Robert had a revenge mission in mind.

Faves

Jai’s New Challenge

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h09m20s998

Jai had a big shock this week when Dan turned up on his doorstep with Jai’s estranged son Archie and learned Rachel had died suddenly. That family don’t have much luck with Ruby, Ali and now Ali’s sister Rachel all dying, the latter two off screen. Admittedly it’s a lazy move to kill off female characters to give male characters some angst, but no one is really going to be missing Rachel in a hurry and with Jai shaping up to be a great character since they ditched the villainy and made him more human, this seems like a good move story-wise. Jai opened up to Laurel about his absence in Archie’s life in exposition heavy but well written and performed scenes and Jai has since really struggled to connect to or talk to his son in any way. Laurel seems like she’ll be the perfect rock for him as she too struggled with addiction and her children experienced the loss of a parent. This also gave another opportunity to unite the families, as Arthur stepped in to try and make Archie feel at home. Who could believe Jai would become one of Emmerdale’s strongest characters at the moment, but it goes to show how a change in direction and a new relationship can do wonders. I hope Emmerdale doesn’t make Jai and Archie’s relationship too easy to fix but I’m looking forward to seeing more of Laurel becoming a key figure in Jai’s life. They could really go the distance.

Robron’s Revenge

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h07m52s318It made a surprising change for Aaron and Robert to have some fun this week in stories which actually gave them a win. First they helped Marlon against Al by stealing his vintage car and presenting it to Marlon as a gift – to smash! After this fun deviation from their intense and sad plot leading to Robert’s exit, they also got involved in Mandy’s shady behaviour. Mandy’s return so far hasn’t had the fun and vivacity her earlier stint gave, this time round we’re seeing a meaner, harder version, but she’s still managed to give a new kick to the Dingles. Having learnt she was scrounging off the family, despite having a load of stolen casino chips, Aaron decided to teach her a lesson, by stealing the money back from her and making her believe he’d burnt the cash. It was all a ploy, cooked up by Aaron and reminiscent of the time where Robert had burned a briefcase full of cash to prove his love. This time Robron were laughing, throwing money around before eventually, of course, having sex on it. Mandy was less than pleased to learn they were keeping the cash and using it to make their own family comfortable while Robert’s in prison, but Mandy isn’t keen on letting it lie and there seems much more to this money problem. While it would have been good to see slightly more build up to the rivalry between Mandy and Aaron the revenge stories this week were good fun and gave the actors a chance to do something besides wallow in the tense and devastating impact of Robert’s imprisonment.

Sarah Worries About the Future

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h08m42s873We saw Sarah’s rebellious streak this week as Charity’s chicken pox gave her an excuse to skip school again and hang around with new friend Danny. After being caught bunking, Charity and Vanessa attempted to ground her, but Sarah had bigger things to worry about. Slightly smitten by Danny, Sarah argued with Charity that her short life expectancy means she’s unlikely to live to have the full experiences of an average adult and she worried that she would miss out on things her peers take for granted. Sympathetic to this Charity found a way to reunite her with Danny and all was well. I hope this isn’t a short flash of a storyline because it’s an interesting and heart-breaking struggle other teens and young people go through. Actress Katie Hill also does a great job with this kind of material and even while Debbie’s away there’s still plenty of time for Emmerdale to explore this storyline with Sarah and Granny Charity.

Jessie’s Farewell

Emmerdale - Jessie Leaves Emmerdale to Teach in Dubai - YouTubeJessie left this week on a downbeat note with her life in tatters, her marriage over for good. On the bright side she did have a brand new job to start in Dubai! Nevertheless she left Emmerdale in tears, leaving Marlon and April behind in some really nicely written and acted scenes. Although Marlon and Jessie’s marriage never really became beloved by the audience, the breakdown of their relationship over the last fortnight has been well done with great performances from Sandra Marvin, Mark Charnock and Amelia Flanagan. Initially Jessie tried to fight for their relationship, but both her and Marlon knew it was truly over and had to break it to April, who of course had seen many a failed relationship with her dad. Al too has been a great thorn in the side of their relationship as well as making Marlon’s life a misery. He’s been an enjoyable manipulative antagonist to watch, without a pantomime edge that some soap villains have. Despite Jessie’s exit to Dubai being fairly swift, it actually made for an enjoyable storyline, with its emotional centre.

Fails

It Was Only a Kiss

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h08m53s000This week Bear and Faith seemed to be stuck in a storyline from weeks ago as Bear tried to get to the bottom of what was happening with Faith and Zak in the cellar – something that happened over a month ago. Of course this is because it’s building to the secret being revealed to Belle and hopefully some decent material for her (Belle’s screen time and grieving since Lisa’s death has been really lacking) but its focus this week seemed a little excessive. The kiss meant nothing, it didn’t go anywhere and Zak and Faith haven’t even been seen together since, so to revisit the story this many weeks later felt clunky. Add to this that Bear hasn’t quite been taken to the hearts of viewers and Faith isn’t at her most enjoyable at the moment, and it was a bit of a meh moment this week.

Fave or Fail? (9-13 Sep 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! This week saw the end of Marlon’s marriage to Jessie and Mandy made her return.

Faves

Marlon’s Marriage Breakdown

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h15m23s499Unlucky in love Marlon can add another failed marriage to his list as this week his relationship with Jessie came to an end after discovering she’d cheated with Al. There’s always been something mismatched and ill-fitting about Marlon and Jessie as a couple, despite Emmerdale’s hard push to make them work, but ironically, it’s been the breakdown of their marriage that’s been the most watchable. From their disagreements about money, lack of communication and openness between them, the cracks had already begun to appear before Al stuck his nose in. Some couples can come back from a fling, but not Marlon and Jessie. As the pair hashed out their problems in a well written and well acted scene, Marlon acknowledged that he deserved better than being a consolation prize and Jessie deserved not to be tied down to a place and a marriage that didn’t fulfil her. There was a real rawness to Mark Charnock’s performance that made Marlon’s decision both heart breaking and somehow satisfying and their marriage troubles made a surprisingly engaging story throughout the week.

Master Manipulator

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h19m53s817That Al is a nasty piece of work, isn’t he? But oh enjoyably so! This week Al continues to rile things up between Marlon and Jessie and undermine their marriage. And he managed it, with his smooth talking and suave confidence. He is already shaping up to be a villain we’ll love to hate. He had Jessie in the palm of his hand, wafting a job offer in her face and then landing her in it with Marlon, only to swoop in and seduce her. Al’s scenes with Jessie showed a long standing chemistry and the way he exposed Marlon’s insecurities so deftly was painful yet engaging to watch. What Al’s role will be like post-Jessie and without Ellis, it’s too soon to tell, but Al could easily be the new puppet master of the village and it’s about time we had a smart new villain like that.

She’s Back

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h13m36s202Mandy’s only been back for two episodes so far but viewers have been promised a longer stint this time after her very very fleeting appearance earlier in the year. Mandy is exactly the spark of life Emmerdale needs at the moment to inject a bit of fun and mayhem into the Dingles and whatever secrets her and son Vinny are hiding could bring even more trouble to their door. Bringing back beloved characters is always a challenge, but with Emmerdale still Dingle central there should be plenty of familiar faces for Mandy to reacquaint herself with. Lisa Riley’s enthusiasm for Emmerdale really rubs off on her performance and she already feels right at home. Bring it on!

Cannabis Club

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h13m54s681In the show that gives us endless scenes of the dire Moira and Nate affair, we need some light relief to save us from the tedium. That came in the form of Doug and his drugs again this week. Duncan Preston has some brilliantly comic facial expressions but Doug’s luck ran out when Pollard caught him lighting up this week. Rather than blackmail him into being his skivvy or similar, Eric wanted in on the action (for his dodgy hip of course) and had soon roped in Rodney to join in this new cannabis club. It’s nice to see the older villagers up to no good with a story that’s silly and fun.

Fails

Pointless Problem

vlcsnap-2019-09-14-11h11m32s253Moping Harriet got right on my nerves this week after Dawn revealed to Tracy that “Taz” is actually Will, her dad and Harriet’s partner. Harriet and the rest of the family acted as if this was a grave secret akin to a murder and the vicar was distraught at the thought of their new relationship (and history) being public knowledge. But…why? This dilemma and Harriet’s stress over it made little sense. This is a village where almost everyone has got off with a murderer or ex-con, would they really care that Harriet has fallen back in love with the guy she had been in love with undercover? Sure, he stalked her, and squashed her with a coffin, but if Harriet’s moved on, why would the villagers have an issue? This is, after all, the same Harriet who used to be in a serious relationship with notorious bad guy Cain Dingle. As if anyone would care who she chooses to be with! It makes no logical sense to make a mountain out of this molehill.