Fave or Fail? (9-13 Oct 2017)

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! We said goodbye to Finn this week and discovered that Emma’s death might have been murder.

Faves

Farewall Finn

vlcsnap-2017-10-15-12h56m01s905For a lad that spent most of the time in the village being unappreciated, Finn had a huge send off this week as Emmerdale gathered to mourn. It wasn’t just your usual church service and pub wake, but individual characters got to come and say their goodbyes to his coffin and there was a superhero themed get together in the Woolie too which was a really nice touch. All of the coffin-side mourners gave emotional and touching performances, especially Amy Walsh (Tracy) and Chris Chittell (Eric), making his death feel all the more impactful on the wider community outside his family members. Last week it felt like his death was overshadowed and bogged down under too many events happening at once, so I’m glad that this week gave enough time and space to letting the villagers grieve for him. RIP Finn, you’ll be missed.

Murder Mystery

Emmerdale - Ross and Pete's Suffering Is Far From Over - YouTubeEmmerdale went a little CSI this week as DS Benton began investigating Emma’s death as a murder rather than a suicide and kicking off an infamous soap Whodunnit. Whodunnits aren’t always my favourite plot as it often involves lots of characters doing unexplained shady things and looking suspicious all to ramp up the suspense, but so far it’s been pretty fun and it even included a suspect montage set to Kylie Minogue! I liked the twist of having the police conducting their enquires before the rest of the village knew, looking on at the Bartons as outsiders and making it seem like its own forensic spin off. There are lots of likely culprits but I hope Emmerdale doesn’t keep us hanging on for too long before we find out the truth of Emma’s death!

Baby Beginnings

Emmerdale - Moira Reads Out the Paternity Test Results - YouTubeIt seems early days for Moira’s baby storyline but the warning signs are there that she’s not bonding with him and his arrival has caused friction in the Charriet camp. The awkward tension of the paternity reveal was really worth watching this week as Pete got the news that he wasn’t the little one’s father and Cain had to deal with the consequences. Poor Harriet faced up to the inevitability that she’d always be second best while Cain and Moira remained their usual stubborn selves, insisting nothing will change. We’ve seen Cain’s reluctant father routine several times now so hopefully something new will emerge from this storyline in future and as for his future with Moira, the chemistry is there in spades, but it’s going to take a while for them both to soften up for the idea. Let’s hope for Harriet’s sake that Cain doesn’t drag out the inevitable and kid her – and himself – in the process.

Bonus favourites:

  • Gerry’s continued integration into the village – he was sweet and supportive of Liv, helping Doug with his gardening (wingman goals), the comedy torture scenes with Zak and Sam
  • Vanessa finally getting a storyline
  • Sam and Lydia getting engaged!
  • Belle being there as a mentor of sorts for Liv

Fails

Silly Filler

Emmerdale - Tuesday 10 Oct 7pm - The ITV HubWith the big Barton plots dominating the screen this week, it was disappointing that many of the other plots felt a bit pointless. While there were good aspects (Sam and Lydia getting engaged, Gerry being a rather entertaining addition to a scattering of stories), the teen plot and the factory story seemed to go nowhere. Both Lydia and Rishi add comic value to Emmerdale and regularly make me laugh, but this week’s story of the elusive Una was short on giggles. With Lydia unable to let go of her old home and memories of Steve, her fake alias of Una was exposed by the Sharmas. It wasn’t the worst plot ever – it just wasn’t funny enough. If they needed a mix up to get Sam to propose surely there was a better way. As for the teens – we’ve seen so many of their alcohol inspired antics now – surely it has to be leading to an actual story soon?

Shouty Man

Emmerdale - Pete Can't Accept the Truth About Finn's Killer - YouTubePete Barton is the human equivalent of nails down a blackboard. One shout from him and that’s my teeth set on edge for the day. And boy did he do a lot of shouting this week. I get it, okay? He’s grieving, he’s angry at the world and he was told he was a dad – and then he wasn’t. Pete’s got a lot of things to be upset and angry about, but there’s still something so unsympathetic about him. If you’re able to put aside his sleazy behaviour with Priya and forgive him that (miraculously Leyla managed to, while still spouting off at Priya), you’d recognise that he’s suffering a big loss right now. The world is against him. But still, his sadness turns from zero to “I’m gonna thump you” in thirty seconds and all the aggression and gurning doesn’t exactly lead to much sympathy, sorry mate. In fact, Dale View is a bit too heavy on the male posturing and aggro right now which isn’t helping. Also there is the knowledge that Pete’s moods vary between just two – aggressive and dull – and if we were picking Bartons to lose, I’d have picked him over Finn any day.

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Fave or Fail? (2-6 Oct 2017)

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! The Bartons lost two of their own this week as Super Soap Week returned with comeuppance for Emma.

Faves

Emma Barton’s Breakdown

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h39m19s450Gillian Kearney took centre stage in Emmerdale’s Super Soap Week as Emma Barton’s story came to an end and I am really going to miss her. As Emma battled with her conscience and ghosts in the form of James and Finn, Gillian gave incredible performances proving once and for all that Emma wasn’t just a villain but a deeply troubled and complex woman. Emma’s story this week veered into dark territories again, but I liked that her actions often echoed elements of past behaviour (such as keeping Finn captive like she did with James) and were never cartoonish or “bad” in the name of soap villainy. Her guilt, her desperation, her love for her family and her religious convictions made her into a fascinating, sometimes even sympathetic, character and while I wasn’t totally satisfied with the resolution, I’ve loved the journey of watching a character as multi-layered as Emma.

The Big Showdown

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h37m22s680Monday and Tuesday’s big episodes were my favourite of the week as two powerful women came to blows when Emma revealed the truth about James’s death to her nemesis, Moira. Both Natalie J Robb and Gillian Kearney gave stellar performances during the confrontation which made the fire in the barn scenes all the more thrilling and intense. The claustrophobia and lighting in the barn added to the scenes of peril and also made the whole event feel more cinematic, much last like year’s big motorway crash. I almost wished the barn scenes could have played out longer as the big set piece of the week, and end on a pyrotechnic high.

Baby Shock

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h40m45s788Okay, so it’s probably the plot twist we all saw coming, but Moira got a huge shock this week as she gave birth to a baby boy right in the middle of Emma’s carnage. We’ve been waiting since before Christmas for this revelation and it didn’t disappoint, made even more exciting by the fact Moira’s waters broke right in the middle of the huge barn fire with only killer Emma on-hand to help. With the birth being totally unexpected and the father in question (though, if you read spoilers you’ll know who the daddy is!) then the fallout is sure to be long-lasting, giving Natalie J Robb a chance for some really gritty drama again. Hooray! She’s been far too underused this year as they attempted to keep the pregnancy a secret and I’m looking forward to seeing how the shock of this new child impacts upon her relationships too.

Finn Fallout

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h40m31s441Poor Finn Barton lost his life this week after being caught in the crossfire of his mother’s unhinged actions. While the Bartons were preoccupied by Emma’s worrying behaviour and Moira’s pregnancy, it was left to Finn’s friends to really mourn him. In comparison to the rest of his family, aside from a spot of ill-advised stalking, Finn had a fairly tame and good-intentioned life (just don’t ask Kasim) so it’s obvious that his death would be the event to cause the most upset in Emmerdale. While I felt the death itself was a little rushed, Tracy and Eric’s emotional response gave his death the impact and heart it warranted, particularly as they talked about Finn and Val living it up in the afterlife together. Finn’s a loss to the village and the show as his nerdy comedy was a welcome relief amongst his brothers’ testosterone aggression and Joe Gill proved himself to be a great actor when faced with the more challenging material of late. It’s hard to say how the Barton boys will move on now that their family has become so fractured but it’s sure to be a lot less fun now that Finn’s gone.

Fails

The Final Fall

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h40m39s456Sure Emma’s death was soap karma and echoed a very similar fate to her husband, James, but overall it was a disappointment for me. While it’s true we’re all in the dark about how exactly she came to die (fall, pushed, suicide?) the final scenes of her fall were choppy and marred by some slightly dubious special effects. Emmerdale can do arty now and again but Emma’s fall just looked a little amateurish and took away from what had been a thrilling and well-acted week for her. Perhaps when we get the full story of Emma’s final moments I’ll change my mind but for such a significant character, her death seemed like a bit of a non-event.

Jam Packed

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h38m47s702Last week’s Super Soap Week saw two days in real time stretched out over six episodes so perhaps it was only natural that this week’s events would feel chaotic. While the fast pace was high octane and thrilling in the first few episodes, later in the week characters began flitting from place to place in record time and it left certain aspects of the drama feeling rushed. Of course, there’s still an element of secrecy surrounding what really happened to Emma so some of the awkward pacing has reason but I can’t help but feel they tried to cram too much into the week’s events. Aspects such as Emma’s kidnap of the baby, Moira fleeing hospital and grabbing her gun, Adam getting arrested, all seemed like too much in a short space of time, and left some of the drama unable to breathe. Finn’s death was overshadowed by Emma’s disappearing act and because of this it felt like his brothers weren’t given ample screentime to let it have any impact. When we were losing two big characters – two from the same family too – in such a short space of time, it needed a less is more approach. Perhaps next year we need to extend this Super Soap Week to a fortnight, just to fit everything in!

Fave or Fail? (25-29 Sep 2017)

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! Big stories for Emma and the Thomas kids and a week of no ‘Fails’ from me! 

Faves

Exposing Emma

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-12h38m43s348Thankfully with his sister Gabby back, little Arthur Thomas had someone else on his side this week and Gabby made it her mission to get payback. She began the week trying to “haunt” Emma with signs from above, wanting revenge on her cruelty to the family, but when she recovered the memory card and saw firsthand how Emma treated Ashley she wanted to expose Emma for her vile behaviour. I loved Gabby taking such a central role in this story alongside Arthur and the pair of them aren’t only adorable siblings but made gripping viewing as they attempted to take Emma down. Both Rosie and Alfie’s performances make us viewers want to reach into the TV and protect them as well as cheer them on for getting the evidence they needed to uncover Emma’s behaviour. They’ve done an amazing job with this story, putting everything in place for next week’s big showdown and Emma’s complete unravelling.

The End is Nigh

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-12h14m28s098If you haven’t seen the promotion of next week’s “Emmadale” then this week was the perfect build up for a huge week for Emma Barton. Gillian Kearney excelled once again as Emma lost her grip and ended up hallucinating James by the end of the week! With Gabby and Arthur on her case, Emma clung to her religious convictions to keep her feelings of guilt at bay but with the memory card uncovered, Finn saw through his mother’s earlier explanations for James’s death and warned her he’d have to tell Pete and Ross if she didn’t. It seems pretty likely that we haven’t got long left of Emma, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the way she can be really wicked one minute and still sympathetic at times too. Her moments of shocking behaviour hold even more impact when her motherly and pious front shatters, but she’s never been pantomime and her desperate behaviour feels like it comes from a place of unhinged heartbreak rather than pure villainy. I can’t wait for it all to explode next week!

Loner Laughs

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-11h56m01s353The exploits of Paddy Kirk are often laugh out loud funny and this week it was a particular highlight for me. Having been a bit of a loser in love, Paddy began the week on a surprise date – set up by Marlon – and with Bernice of all people. With their wires crossed, these two comedy heroes made for a winning scene, before eventually having a go at Marlon for his deception in getting them there. Paddy’s week picked up when he nicked Marlon’s internet date, though considering he ended up cuffed to a cage in the vets, making do with licking water from a bottle, it wasn’t a roaring success! Dominic Brunt is fantastic in the physical and bumbling comedy scenes and this got even better by the end of the week as he misunderstood Marlon’s hints about buying a puppy and ended up with Paddy as a houseguest instead. Even though Marlon might not be keen I think getting these two co-habiting will be a hilarious watch!

Cheeky Return

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-12h08m02s189This week saw the welcome return of Gerry Roberts, aka Lachlan’s grinning sidekick from young offenders. You have to commend actor Shaun Thomas for bringing so much cheeky-chappy charm to the role and making Gerry a fun character in amongst the fairly unlikeable Whites. Gerry’s puppy dog enthusiasm when it comes to flirting with Chrissie and trying to make a few hundred quid out of Robert means his oddball personality makes for entertaining viewing. Once the White family goes I’m not sure what place he’d have in the village, but I wouldn’t mind still seeing him every now and again!

Worthy Opponents

vlcsnap-2017-10-01-12h05m12s772Robert’s revenge against the Whites rumbled on for another week but the one silver lining is that finally his plans have faced real opposition, in the face of Lachlan and Chrissie. So far we’ve watched Robert make fools of embarrassingly easy targets Rebecca and Lawrence, but it’s Lachlan and Chrissie who are much wiser to his true colours and they’ve started to uncover his schemes. This week with the help of Gerry and a secret camera, Robert was able to blackmail Lachlan with his prostitute secret and it was fun to watch the two of them try and out-do each other. Let’s face it, Robert’s had it far too easy and it wasn’t just unbelievable but also a bit boring. And then there’s the return of Chrissie to the business, perhaps Robert’s biggest adversary and maybe the only member of that family to really unravel him. If mother and son work together that might be the only way to stop Robert from obtaining the keys to Home Farm.

Fave or Fail? (18-22 Sep 2017)

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! Liv ended up in hospital this week and Robert’s schemes took a twisted turn.

Faves

Sibling Solidarity

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h43m51s959Liv returned right into the middle of a storm and this week found herself caught up in the mess, and in hospital. Despite Liv’s trip to A&E seeming to be just to pile more angst onto Aaron and Robert, and give Aaron a brief love interest, the end of the week ended on a much more positive note for the siblings. On Thursday’s episodes Aaron and Liv had a touching heart to heart, bonding over their shared heartache and Aaron’s struggle to cope after the split and in prison. With Isobel Steele, superbly cast as Aaron’s sister, the two have a great rapport which works naturally in scenes like this of honesty and openness. I wasn’t sold on Aaron and Liv’s instant connection when they first met last year but this week in their quiet, difficult chats and teasing humour their relationship felt real. Is it too much to hope that they might one day get their unconventional little family back on track?

Going it Alone

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h20m06s590I’ve been really impressed by the subtle way Emmerdale have continued to tell Laurel’s story of grief and loneliness since Ashley’s death. It’s not been played as a big story of weeping and wailing, but something much more true to life. This week saw Laurel try and sort through Ashley’s things and there was a wonderful moment as Eric welled up as he bonded with her over their loss – of Ashley and of Val. Like others who have lost someone, Laurel is painting on a brave face as she tries to move on and keep busy, finding company wherever she can. It’s worked well as a slice of reality, even alongside the humour of Nicola and Jimmy’s desperate attempts to have sex and Bernice’s bulldozer behaviour, and gives Ashley’s death the long lasting impact it deserves.

Gamut of Emotions

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h42m43s923There are few characters that run through as many emotions in one week as Robert Sugden and this week he had the full spectrum. Trying desperately to cling on his scheme to win Home Farm as well as deal with the prospect of Aaron moving on, he spiralled through rage, panic, heartache, jealousy, before finally ending the week feeling pretty smug. Standard. While the charming schmoozer routine does work its Machiavellian magic, it’s always a welcome change to see that veneer shatter and Ryan Hawley’s pained expression manages to resonate in the heart, even when you think it’s only fair that Robert does suffer a bit. Even when stories have Robert awkwardly lurching between heartbroken man and twisted villain in the space of ten minutes (whiplash anyone?), Ryan manages to make Robert watchable, even when the plots do their best to make Robert unlikeable.

Early Sparks?

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h17m30s567This week Debbie got dressed up for a business meeting/date with Tom but the smooth businessman’s idea of lunch wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. We only briefly got to meet him last week and mostly in a stuffy setting, but Tom’s cheeky-charmer attitude seemed to work well up against Debbie’s frostiness. He might look like a pretty Apprentice candidate but his jokes about “Mayo-nose” warmed me to him quickly and even Debbie seemed to enjoy herself, despite being unsure about his intentions. Debbie’s last big romance plots have been a bit lacking, and I still prefer Debbie as a bit of a homegirl rather than a dodgy schemer, but there’s definitely potential there with Tom.

Bonus Faves:

  • Gabby’s return and lovely reunion with Arthur
  • Nicola and Jimmy’s choice of role play costume
  • Lydia’s insistence on historical accuracy, even in role play
  • The thought of Paddy and Pearl at the bingo!

Fails

A Step Too Far?

vlcsnap-2017-09-24-12h44m12s570By the end of the week Robert Sugden had deviously managed to secure 30% of the Home Farm estate and one step closer to being king of the castle, however his twisted plot might’ve gone too far. Having realised his future as a settled family man at the Mill with Aaron and Liv was long gone, Robert’s ruthless scheming ramped up a gear as he managed to convince a drunken Lawrence that they’d slept together. While many people would find the prospect of a naked Rob in their bed pretty appealing (Lawrence too if the truth be known) the whole plot twist was nothing short of gross. With Finn walking in on the scene and Robert’s comedic glances and coughing to stir a zoned out Lawrence, the incident was played mostly for laughs, but with Lawrence’s troubled history with his sexuality the whole thing seemed too sleazy and uncomfortable to be funny. This was pitched as a fun revenge story but Finn’s request for bleach seemed more apt. It seemed far more disturbing than it was fun. Robert’s schemes have lurched from improbable to ridiculously transparent and with the clueless Whites painfully unable to see through his plans the whole thing has become ludicrous. Not to mention – besides being heartbroken, does anyone really know why Robert is going to all this effort anyway?

Fave or Fail? (11-15 Sep 2017)

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 Nell’s story ended on a whimper, we met newbie Tom.

Faves

Girl Squads

Emmerdale - Wednesday 13 Sept 7pm - The ITV HubFemale friendship was at the forefront of Emmerdale this week and I loved it. From supporting Leyla, to Kerry and Bernice’s salon antics and encouragement of Daz, to the brilliant scenes of Nicola, Bernice and Laurel – it was great to see warmth and solidarity amongst friends. My personal highlights were the scenes between Laurel and pals as there were subtle reminders of other ongoing stories like her wariness of Emma and her coping alone as a single parent now that Ashley’s gone. These moments, like the dinner party and the date crashing, were funny and heartfelt and in amongst the big dramatic plots we could do with more quiet, relatable scenes like this of friends getting together to bond, gossip and open up over a bottle or two!

Getting Over It

Emmerdale - Monday 11 Sept 7pm - The ITV HubI really enjoyed Leyla’s storyline this week as she attempted to pick herself up after the Pete and Priya debacle, because after a betrayal and a jilting what could be better than putting on a glam wedding dress, getting drunk and moping in a puddle? Okay – maybe the puddle dwelling was a minor set-back to her recovery, but it did give her a touching heart to heart and muddy cuddle with BFF David. Their scenes always have a natural rapport and they seem to bring out the best in each other. Despite a brief consideration that she might still have feelings for him (no Emmerdale, don’t go there) Leyla eventually realised she just needed to find a better man. This week prompted a lot of soul searching from lonely and heartbroken Leyla but I was glad to see she had other friends ready to help her since Priya did the dirty. I also really liked Leyla’s new understanding with Megan, even in light of their history, and they finally feel like a solid team with Megan being a warm support for her through the week. I hope they don’t rush into a new relationship for Leyla because let’s face it – the next one needs to treat her good!

New Faces

Emmerdale - Mr Waterhouse Has Some Bad News for Debbie - YouTubeNewbie Tom seems to be Emmerdale’s answer to Christian Grey, but despite the slightly hokey introduction story (Cheese Factor 100), he already seems to have charm and potential alongside Graham too. Sure the business talk was a little stilted and Debbie seems awkward in these glamourous heist style stories, but there’s definitely more intrigue and spark there with Tom than there ever has been with Ross. All I ask of Emmerdale is that they ease off on another Debbie centred love triangle so soon after the last one. I’m all for letting her pick and choose her lovers but it’d be nice to see a bit more of Tom before he gets bogged down in falling for her.

Fails

Empty Gestures

Emmerdale - Is This the End of David and Tracy - YouTubeIt’s coming up to David and Tracy’s first wedding anniversary (and also a year since we had to watch David’s tedious and never-ending proposals) so by soap law the mostly happy couple were due a bit of turmoil. That came in the shape of money and miscommunication and it almost seemed like Tracy was ready to call it quits on their marriage. But watching them argue I couldn’t help but think they were both in the wrong and both acted unreasonably! David was insensitive and Tracy over-reacted – but this isn’t new ground for their relationship. Like the other couples in the Dales, the Metcalfes always end up digging over the same ground in their arguments – David underappreciates or fails to support Tracy, she overreacts, and he makes it up to her with an outlandish gesture. This week it was a Thai themed fake wedding (which did seem ill-timed in light of Leyla’s recent dramas) but has much changed? When they’re not stuck in that shop, their lowkey relationship drama often relies on David talking down to Tracy and her tendency to act first think later – wouldn’t this be better resolved by learning from their blips than papering over them with another big gesture?

Racing to the Finish Line

Emmerdale - Nell Proves She's Learned Absolutely Nothing - YouTubeLast week I was pumped with excitement over the Nell storyline. The events following the reveal were something of a thriller and it felt like just the beginning of Nell’s machinations, especially with her moving in with Moira and getting Jai arrested. But no sooner had it begun was it all over leaving me thinking: is that it?! By Tuesday Nell was already out of the village and tricking another vulnerable person into taking her in. What a waste! A character like Nell is obviously short term, but her months of deception didn’t seem to have that great an impact on anyone besides confusion and anger for a few episodes. As Nell’s state of mind pushed her to greater and more disturbing lies, the climax fizzled into nothing and honestly I was expecting a classic Emmerdale shock, putting a few lives at risk at least! Ultimately, unless there’s some consequences on the horizon, I can’t help but wonder what the point of it was?

Fave or Fail? (4-8 Sep 2017)

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 great week on and off screen as the Nell’s lies were uncovered AND Emmerdale cleaned up at the TV Choice awards.

Faves

Twists and Turns

vlcsnap-2017-09-09-20h34m57s790In the space of just one episode, the Nell and Jai plot went from being sluggish and a bit dull to completely gripping. I was hooked! Many suspected there was something not quite right about Nell the minute she arrived as Holly’s double and then created an increasingly tragic backstory for herself. This week the lies unravelled as Jai discovered her pregnancy, her addiction, her dead child were all inventions. Jai managed to uncover everything just like a twisty psychological thriller (complete with jump scares too!) but with Nell exposed, things were far too easy to end there. By the end of the week, implying Jai had hurt her to Moira, Nell managed to have Jai arrested and Moira completely fooled after staging a drug collapse just like Holly. In Nell Emmerdale have created a devious and frightening character, one who has terrifying potential. Now she has Moira fooled I seriously worry for Moira’s safety but at the same time – I can’t wait!

Leyla’s Showdown

Emmerdale - Leyla Confronts Pete About the Affair - YouTubeThursday’s epic 90 minutes of Emmerdale was well worth watching and not just for the Nell shocks. The Leyla/Pete/Priya story has been a bit of a let down, wedding episodes aside, in fact Leyla summed it up well when she called it the “world’s least funny sex comedy” but the big confrontation between Leyla and the two who betrayed her was fantastic. Roxy Shahidi gave a superb performance as she had it out with best friend Priya, saying everything we’d been dying for her to bring up. She was angry, unfiltered and devastated, but delivered key moments of this with her head held high. The writing too was effective in painting the women’s friendship as the biggest casualty of this betrayal and giving Leyla the strength and agency in this moment, rather than let her be the unfortunate ditz that she had been during other parts of the story. The scenes too also gave the opportunity for the characters to explain the often nonsensical developments between Pete and Priya and why they hurt Leyla so much. I hope the aftermath continues to be complex rather than falling into soapy catfights and with any luck Leyla might find some much deserved happiness!

Jai’s Turnaround

vlcsnap-2017-09-09-20h34m41s969I laughed out loud this week when Nell told Jai “Everyone likes you now and they couldn’t stand you before!” for its meta take on Jai Sharma’s redemption arc. It seemed to happen before Nell’s arrival, so she’s wrong about her impact on that, but I’m really impressed how Emmerdale transformed Jai from a cold and unlikeable villain to someone far more sympathetic and interesting. If this turnaround hadn’t happened then Jai’s discovery about Nell’s lies and his subsequent arrest on Friday wouldn’t have had the same devastating impact but I was right there with him this week – cheering him on and worried for him too. Chris Bisson did a great job in taking us through everything from Jai’s shock and horror to those quietly devastated scenes in the fallout, but with him only just having sorted his life out and Nell the expert liar, I wonder if enough people will believe his side of the story.

Fails

Out of Place?

vlcsnap-2017-09-09-20h35m35s466For me the two most tiresome aspects of Debbie’s plots are when she falls out with Charity (again) and when she gets herself mixed up in heist-style gangster stories – and unfortunately we had a bit of both this week. The new wealthy men soon to be village regulars have been well documented in the press and we met right-hand man Graham for the first time. First impressions are good, even if it did leave me wondering how Charity and Debbie have found themselves renting a car presumably to a man who could have whatever new car he wanted with the snap of his fingers! The problem, and probably one that’s always a sticking point with Debbie, is that I don’t really believe in her in this world. Charity has charm and wit – even when she can be full-on – and Debbie has brains, but she’s  serious and dour-faced, and feels out of place in these stories. I believe her as a mother struggling with what’s best for her kids, I believe her in those softer scenes with Moira. I can even buy her falling for a wrong un like Ross (even though their scenes are flat and lacking in spark). But these stories where she gets mixed up in a rich and dangerous underworld just don’t ring true. Some of Debbie’s stories and characteristics seem very real and believable but the moment she steps into this cartoon world of tycoons and gangsters it becomes more fantastical and far less enjoyable.

Fave or Fail? (28 Aug-1 Sep 2017)

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! This week saw Aaron walk away from a fight and Robert start a fight with some office stationery.

Faves

Friends with Benefits

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h12m13s840One of Emmerdale’s biggest assets right now is the relationship between Eric and Faith – an unlikely but brilliant couple. They have the all sparks and the moments of vulnerability that signal the formula for a couple you can really root for, even if they did have a few setbacks this week. After David suggested Faith might be a golddigger, Eric backed away from starting anything romantic with Faith and she was hurt, thinking her mastectomy was putting him off. Rodney jumped in to pick up the pieces and stir up trouble, but Faith’s heart was sold on Eric and the two kissed – yay! There’s a real warmth in their scenes but of course, good things never last and they split again because of a misunderstanding. It’s about time we had another couple we could all get behind and Eric and Faith are perfect antidote to all that soapy heartbreak.

Helping the Homeless

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h08m26s669Kerry and Amelia came up with a plan this week to host an event for the local homeless in the hopes it would encourage Dan’s brother, Daz to come to the village. Normally Kerry centred plots aren’t my favourite but in amongst the comedy I’m enjoying seeing her more compassionate side. Before we moved onto the repetitive “Dan shouts, him and Kerry argue” part of the story, the scenes in the village hall had a fun mix of characters and as I mentioned in my Scene of the Week, moved well from funny to heartfelt and serious. Bernice’s insensitivity and Nicola’s lack of enthusiasm stopped the story from being too dry and preachy but overall it’s been a welcome change to see Kerry being less selfish.

Dark Frank

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h11m28s543As far as ex-cons go, Frank’s been something of a wet weekend. We’ve heard the stories of his crimes but mostly he’s just been trying to get his girls on side and hang around David’s shop. Since being played by Megan and Charity for his cheating, he’s acted like the wounded party, but this week we saw a flash of something else. In the pub he threatened Charity and swore to her that if she ever crossed him again he’d hurt her more than she ever thought she could be! Yikes! This was quite a turn-around for Frank and suddenly made him all the more interesting. I feel like it’s about time actor Michael Praed had something to get his teeth into – something really nasty and juicy – and his veneer of charm would work well under real darkness. Might we see something much more dangerous from Frank in future? That would certainly be more gripping than what we have seen so far!

Fails

Panto Season

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h09m30s594No, don’t adjust your calendars, it’s still only September, but in the village panto season has started early. What is it with Robert Sugden and the White family? Like the cartoonish family themselves, it seems like whenever Robert’s within a foot of them he begins hiding round corners and smirking again. He’s one hair away from twirling his villainous moustache! It’s not to say he’s not charming enough to pull off the deception, but his masterplans are more sketchshow than foolproof and there’s little fun to be had when they make it so easy for him. At this rate they might as well be opening the safe for him with a “Help Yourself” sign. Only Lachlan’s smart enough to be wise to his real motives, now that Chrissie’s keeping away, but they’re being so gullible you almost want Robert to get away with it. Ryan Hawley has charisma by the bucketload, but if they’re determined to keep Robert treading this dark path then at least give him a worthy opponent to cross, someone that doesn’t turn all his scenes into nonsensical farce.

After School Special

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h12m50s062Don’t you just hate those scenes in movies where the villain stands around long enough to be defeated by the good guy? Well it was a classic case of good triumphing evil in the Aaron and Jason plot this week with a resolution that bordered on a cringey after school special about bullying. During Aaron’s time in prison, Jason was unrelenting and sickening in his torment of Aaron, to the extent that in parts it felt like Emmerdale had undermined Aaron’s character recovery after Gordon’s abuse trial. Jason’s return felt like an effort to answer those criticisms and readdress the power balance by having Aaron face up to him and come out on top. However the reality of the situation felt like a sticking point – could a man like Jason really change a lifetime of awful behaviour after some words of truth and a punch from Cain? Sure, it’s not like Jason was redeemed in the end but Aaron’s victory felt hollow in its lack of believability and his forgiving nature didn’t work for me after such extremes. Outside of a prison setting, Jason felt like a caricature and a story with such a gritty beginning had an almost fairytale and unsatisfying ending.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 August 2017)

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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 Megan’s revenge was foiled and Rhona took a brave step in moving on with her life.

Faves

Softer Side

Emmerdale - Kerry Tells Dan a Painful Secret About Her Past - YouTubeYou might be surprised to see Kerry at the top spot this week seeing as she’s one of my least favourite characters in The Dales, but it just shows what a change in material can do. We’re used to Kerry being loudmouthed, brash and selfish and there are times she’s difficult to like. This week though, on discovering Dan’s brother Daz was homeless, Kerry was shaken and withdrawn and we soon discovered that she too had experienced homelessness in the past. Laura Norton proved what a great actress she is as Kerry opened up and revealed her vulnerability to Dan. I’m tired of their silly spats but this was a lot more nuanced and heartfelt and it really had me rooting for the pair of them and certainly made me like Kerry a lot more. It’s nice to see a change in direction like this and helps balance out those characters, who are normally the loud and funny ones, into more empathetic and believable ones.

Moving On

Emmerdale - Rhona's Decision Brings Paddy to Tears - YouTubeI was really pleased with how Emmerdale handled Rhona’s storyline this week. While I’ll always feel fondly towards Paddy and Rhona – and expect their reunion is inevitable – their hook up this week was too much too soon and I worried they’d rush to reunite the pair. Thankfully after the great confrontation with Pierce, Rhona was empowered and courageous, recognising that reuniting with Paddy wasn’t the right choice for her to make at this time. There were emotional and moving scenes as Paddy and Rhona talked and accepted that it wasn’t right to get back together, but for now I think Rhona (and the writers) made the right choice for her.

Revenge Tactics

Emmerdale - Frank Is Arrested for Fraud - YouTubeI can’t say I’ve enjoyed Megan’s revenge plot on Frank and it makes the “Faves” list partly because I’m just glad it’s over and all out in the open! Megan and Frank’s naivety to make this story work has never been believable and Megan’s plan seemed extreme in light of how little revenge she took on Jai (who treated her much worse). In spite of this, Gaynor Faye is a great actress and when Megan finally spoke of her reasons why she wanted payback, I could believe it more. It’s a shame it didn’t happen sooner. With Frank scorned, Charity caught out and Megan isolated I’m interested to see what happens next. Preferably no reunion for Megan and Frank though – there’s always been something really insipid about that coupling.

Bonus Fave: Pearl – for being a wonderful support of Rhona this week and dressing up for her “date” with Paddy. Brilliantly funny.

Fails

Too Silly?

Emmerdale - Monday 21 Aug 7pm - The ITV Hub (1)Call me fickle, but early this year I questioned whether Emmerdale was a bit too dark, with its heavy focus on serious and difficult subject matters but now we seem to have the opposite problem. Okay so summer time does bring out the ‘silly season’ now and again (remember last year’s pirate ship?!) but I had a serious case of comedy fatigue this week. Monday saw Dan and Jimmy compete in their race, which despite a few funny moments (Angel calling Bernice a Judas being a particular highlight) took up far too much of the episode than it warranted. Then there’s Charity, naturally hilarious and offering up a needed dose of fun to the revenge plot – but I can’t help but feel, as amusing as it is in small doses, that Charity deserves much greater storylines and drama than singing to Little Mix.

Fave or Fail? (14-18 August 2017)

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 great week of big moments – Moira kissed Cain, Finn learnt some of the truth about James’s death, and Leyla and Pete jilted each other!

Faves

Emma’s Confession

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h53m07s699We’re one step closer to Emma’s world crumbling as this week saw Finn put 2 + 2 together to make 5 and got the almost truth about how his dad died. With thrillingly tense scenes, Finn confronted his mum and managed to dig away at her panicked and unravelling lies until he got her to confess that she was there on the bridge and that it was an argument which lead to James’s death. Joe Gill gave the performance of his time on Emmerdale so far as his emotions switched from disbelief and anger to confusion and upset. Finn’s relationship with Emma has always been an interesting one, especially as in some ways they’re so similar, so it was only right he was the first to expose the truth. Gillian Kearney plays Emma’s emotional turmoil so well that you can almost believe her fabrications to hide the real extent of her involvement in James’s death. The scenes of Finn’s suspicion and Emma’s confession spanned an hour long episode but it was a testament to the performances that it didn’t drag at all. With Finn now sitting on the big secret it doesn’t feel like long before more of the truth will come out but I worry for his safety if Emma’s irrational behaviour gets out of hand. Exciting stuff!

Marriage Mayhem

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h53m49s487Pete and Leyla’s wedding was never going to go smoothly, was it? But who could’ve guessed the Carry On escapades that transpired?! With Pete and Priya’s betrayal stinking up the air, I think most of us expected the liaison to come out in dramatic effect but what we didn’t expect was a double jilting with both bride and groom trying to escape through the toilet windows! This storyline has been something of a damp squib, but the wedding two-parter was full of genuinely funny moments. From Doug and Eric’s bickering to the wedding goer’s aghast at the crazy events following the window rescue, there were some great laughs. It was nice too to see Jacob in a sweet and supportive role, and even Ross managed to look like the mature and non-sleazey one compared to Pete! But perhaps nothing will top the brilliant moment of Leyla’s open-mouthed reaction to see her groom making the same escape she was. Priceless.

Lingering Feelings

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h49m23s082I’ve long been a fan of Cain and Moira’s relationship so to see all those unresolved feelings rise to the surface again this week was a joy. Their chemistry makes these sorts of moments seem effortless and you can fully believe the multitude of unsaid emotions. Despite a bit of a sexist trope being used when Cain came to Moira’s rescue (this is Moira who’s used to farm machinery and independence here!) it stirred up lingering tension and Moira went in for a kiss. Over the next few days, with Harriet feeling like a spare part, Cain and Moira cemented themselves as the couple destined to be together as Moira tried to set Cain free again to move on, even though we all know deep down they both still love each other. It’s pretty obvious how this one’s going to play out but all that embittered love and tension is the right kind of romance angst!

Fails

Tired Laughs

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h43m41s833It’s not the worst comedy story ever seen – and god, remember last year’s endless pirate ship summer filler?! But Emmerdale really need to come up with something new for the rivalry between Nicola + Jimmy vs Kerry + Dan. Separately both couples can offer quite a lot of laughs, when it’s done right, but the petty competition between Kerry and Nicola – while their exasperated and hen-pecked spouses watch on – is getting old. Kerry’s loud-mouthed outrage and Nicola’s screechy need to rule are fine in small doses but after last year’s Dan and Nicola kiss moment, the two pairs did enough warring and now it’s lost its shine.

Mood Killer

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h41m52s608Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the Pete and Leyla near-wedding daftness. That was until Emmerdale decided to spoil it by having Pete and Priya go at it in the honeymoon suite. Ew, grubby! Since Pete and Priya began their hook ups, it’s been an out-of-nowhere mess, really lacking that key affair ingredient – chemistry. I can just about buy Priya’s loneliness, the way she feels out of place now that Rakesh has gone, but her betrayal of Leyla has always been hard to stomach or believe, especially for someone as charisma free as Pete. Pete spent the latter half of his wedding day tearing into Priya and being generally vile but her confronting him and standing up to him didn’t last long, and soon we had to grimace through truly uncomfortable scenes. I’m sure Priya’s thumping of Pete’s chest and his shouty grabbing of her was meant to get us going but it was awkward and pretty revolting behaviour to say the least. And about as far from sexy as you can get. End this now, please!

Fave or Fail? (7-11 August 2017)

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! Not a golden week of episodes by any means!

Faves

The Sharmas

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-17h56m30s733Admittedly it’s an odd choice for the top spot this week but I’ve really enjoyed the Sharmas lately. Away from the dubious Nell plot we saw a more fun and relaxed side of Jai, a far cry from the cold and unengaging villain he was not so long ago. I like when we get to see the rarer sides to characters like this and Jai’s barbed exchanges with Nicola work well against his rigid businessman mode. Priya has her unlikeable moments in this Pete fling plot (and I still find it totally unbelievable that she could do this to Leyla for Mr Boring himself) but there were times this week when she recognised her own self-destruct and that her life was not the one she wanted. When she’s not hankering after Mr Dull, Priya’s adrift loneliness and self-awareness that she’s made big mistakes make her more sympathetic than she ought to be in this situation. Finally Rishi – always good for a cartoonish moment or two, especially when there’s face paint involved. I’m glad he’s back from Canada!

Eric and Faith

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-18h49m23s633Every time I see Eric and Faith on screen together, they just work. Faith brings out the fun in Eric, smoothing out his grumpier edges, but this week she showed she’s more than just comic relief to his miserly routine, as she knew how to support him and calm him down. She brought out his forgiving side, helping him to change tact and consider different opinions when it came to Josh but even through this she hasn’t mellowed or stopped her flirty ways. I’m not quite sure if they’re an official couple yet, but they gel well together and it feels like they’ve already been a couple for ages. Good call, Emmerdale!

Fails

Struggling to Care

Emmerdale - Josh Makes Jacob a Dangerous Offer - YouTube (1)Jacob was embroiled in police drama this week and while it was nice to see his loved ones rally round (albeit all stuck in that blasted shop set), the Josh element was a real weak point. The Josh story dominated screens this week but we barely know the guy, beyond a very brief attempt to give him a tragic backstory so Jacob’s misguided loyalty to him seemed to come out of nowhere. Why has he been forgiven so fast? Why is sensible Jacob so adamant in protecting him? Emmerdale’s own teens are pretty well rounded but guest characters like Josh ended up being cartoonish and wafer thin so it’s quite hard to care about his fate or understand why Jacob is so willing to throw away his future. Don’t get me started on his superfast redemption including bonding with Eric over music – cringe! What this story really needed was to see Josh’s hard home life for ourselves or to have his friendship with Jacob play out over a longer and more believable time period.

Gullible Fools

-914 Aaron amp; Robert 10th August 2017 Part 2 of 2 Robert Only - YouTubeThere must be something in the water in the Dales right now (that, or the return of panto villain Robert has been spiking the water supply) because so many characters are acting like complete idiots. Megan’s scamming of Frank seems to be far too straightforward (unless he’s tricking her too) with him barely questioning her wanting separate beds and she herself was foolish enough not to realise Charity had faked those incriminating texts – they weren’t even subtle! But this all pales in comparison to the mindnumbingly stupid and unbelievable idiocy of the White family, namely Lawrence and Rebecca. How many times does Robert have to screw them over, use them, smirk behind their backs before they realise he’s out to ruin them? Time and time again Rebecca’s fooled for his fakery and despite crying over how he’s hurt her, not once has she ever questioned his motives here. When has Robert ever been genuine and caring towards her out of the kindness of his heart? At least Lawrence, being ill and drugged, has an excuse for being so gullible, but he’s seen Robert’s puppet mastery first hand and we’re expected to believe that a few clever words makes Larry look past Robert’s colourful history of ruining the Whites? As if! They’re making it far too easy for him to screw them over, it’s almost as if they’ve had a lobotomy.

Yawn of the Dead

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-18h50m20s984Do you ever watch an episode of Emmerdale and wonder how it’s the same show that produces such award winning drama? Tuesday’s hour long was one of those. According to spoilers we were promised a zombie event at Home Farm with a horrifying car crash at the centre. Instead the hour dragged, and aside from a few made-up villagers it didn’t feel much like an event. The film-school trippy effects used on a very hammy Lawrence were embarrassing and the only damage it caused was Victoria to get a slightly twisted ankle. Hardly life or death. The whole event seemed a complete waste of time having hardly any repercussions – even Lawrence who was just out of hospital and faced with another boring near-death moment seemed unaffected. It didn’t damage the Home Farm business, Victoria is back to work already, Robert is back to drugging Lawrence’s drink and twirling his moustache – so what was the point to it?