Fave or Fail? (10-14 Dec 2018)

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! Debbie’s trial began this week and Graham cleaned up his act.

Faves

Consequences of the Past

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h32m37s427Dawn is a great new addition to Emmerdale, whose troubled life is played sympathetically by newcomer Olivia Bromley but it looks even more promising now that she’s got a complex history with another villager, vicar Harriet. Dawn’s stunned reaction to Harriet, or “Michelle”, lead to the interesting revelations that Harriet worked undercover as Dawn’s dad’s girlfriend for a big drugs bust. His arrest had many consequences for Dawn, who struggled in care and has recently turned to drugs and prostitution to get by. Dawn’s arrival has thrown Harriet, who believed she was doing the right thing at the time but now faces a moral quandary. While this story has mostly been told in scenes that rehash the past, there’s potential to make Harriet reassess her life choices. This is a topical story too, for those whose lives have been rocked by undercover relationships. I’ve never found Harriet a particularly compelling character and Emmerdale have never given her much to do beyond the church, but this is the perfect chance to peel back the layers. It’s going to be good to watch Harriet and Dawn’s relationship change, but it’s a shame they killed off Dawn’s dad because his arrival could have really shaken Harriet to the core and given her more conflict in her current life rather than just her past.

Family Feels

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h40m49s891After recent dithering and dilemma, Jessie took a big step this week and decided to spring a surprise wedding on Marlon. I’m not totally sold on Marlon and Jessie as a couple, but I love their budding family unit and especially the big dose of fun Ellis brings to the household in his banter with April. I loved the scenes this week as they prepared fajitas and Jessie plucked up the courage to ask for April’s permission. With Billy’s arrival bound to cause big upsets in the family, I hope we continues to at least see Ellis bringing his happy-chappy charisma to the village!

Reclaiming the King-dom

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h35m11s709Jimmy returned to Emmerdale after a long haulage job took him away and much had changed on his arrival, not only Nicola’s hair do but her career too! Already Nicola’s efforts have been uncovered by Graham, whose giving her increasingly difficult tasks, but it’s been nice to see the Kings with a story again. There’s always something entertaining about these two, even though they do seem to fall into familiar tropes within their marriage as Nicola’s nagging and ambition always results in Jimmy’s weary cries. Nicola’s partnership with Robert is well matched good fun and her marriage to Jimmy is by far one of my favourite relationships in the show. When the rest of Emmerdale is a bit dull story-wise I don’t get tired watching these characters. For a change I’d love to see the Kings gain a little bit of power and I hope the fallout doesn’t damage their lives too much.

Fails

Dull Dates

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h39m06s932Megan might not be the most popular character in Emmerdale, but you’ve got to feel bad for the woman. She might have a taste for smooth-voiced men who think they’re sophisticated but they’re also complete bores. She’s been finished with Frank for all of five minutes but now she’s cosying up to Graham and curing his drinking problem. They might have their silver fox charms but their personalities don’t exactly set the relationships alight with chemistry. Rather than hanging off the arm of a schmoozer, I’d love to see Megan in a relationship with a bit more bite than bore. It’s about time her character was given a bit of a shake-up.

Forgotten Child

vlcsnap-2018-12-16-13h34m44s047Even though Noah’s back-chatting and misbehaviour has got him in trouble with the law, Charity’s parenting efforts keep missing him off her list of kids that need her. She might be pre-occupied moving in with Vanessa, but everyone seems far more concerned about Charity’s relationship with Ryan, than the son who needs her the most. Ryan’s an adult, but Noah’s in a precarious hormonal stage and has struggled losing his brother. And yet he’s rarely given a second thought by anyone. It made matters worse this week when Charity hit Marlon after he accused her of being a bad mother and he gave her some harsh home truths. He might have crossed the Dingle line, but didn’t he have a point? Charity’s parenting leaves a lot to be desired and she’d be the first to say it. Her flaws are why she’s such a great character, so why did Marlon have to apologise? Someone needs to give her a wake-up call about Noah before it’s too late.

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Fave or Fail? (3-7 Dec 2018)

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 great week of excitement in the Dales as the teens continued to run wild.

Faves

Manipulative Maya

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h42m54s416Maya’s grooming of Jacob has been subtly played so far by Emmerdale but this week saw her kiss him and try and afterwards persuade him to stay quiet. Sensitive Jacob has been overwhelmed by his feelings for Maya and she’s done very little to put a stop to it and has instead planted more seeds of hope in his mind. Not once has she highlighted his age or her profession as a reason for backing off, instead focusing on her role as David’s girlfriend. Knowing how close the father and son are, she’s well aware that Jacob doesn’t want to upset David and will keep it secret for his sake. It’s a deeply uncomfortable story to watch and keeping Maya as this doe-eyed indecisive woman is a clever move away from cartoonish stereotypes of grooming behaviour. Hopefully this story will enlighten viewers about how these dangerous relationships can occur in plain sight. This is the type of story Emmerdale should be telling. I’m not quite convinced that the performances are as strong as they need to be for the impact this story should have, but I’m glad Emmerdale are giving it a go. 

Brenda Bites Back

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h40m52s952One of the rare highlights in the Bob and Laurel debacle was seeing dark!Brenda as she rallied against the pair’s betrayal. This week we saw her biting back again as Bob tried to lean in for a kiss. Brenda had been softening to the idea of reuniting her family but the reality of Bob treating her like a plan b really got to her and she raged against him in the cafe. I had begun warming to Bob again but his smug belief he could turn back the clock and get his feet under the table again was maddening. Brenda isn’t a favourite of mine but it’s been enjoyable to see her with some fight left in her, standing up for herself and refusing to be a consolation prize. I really enjoyed the way she laid out exactly what Bob had done to her and the family and why she was still broken over it. I was fully Team Brenda throughout and I’m glad she got to stand up to Bob rather than let him have it easy. 

Neglected Noah

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h43m13s808You’ve got to feel bad for Noah. Not only did he lose his only ally in Joe, but mum Charity’s parenting and support is really lacking. With her planning a move with Vanessa, Noah was all but forgotten about and in frustration he began acting out. The teen rebellion isn’t exactly thrilling TV, but Jack Downham plays Noah with heaps of sensitivity that you can’t help but feel sympathy for him when he’s continuously left out in the cold. His scenes where he tried to reach out to Charity were some of his best but by the end of the week he faced an uncertain future as he handed himself into the police. Although I like his sweet and troubled side, there were hints of him living up to his Tate genes this week, complete with smirk, and I wonder if a adolescence of trouble awaits. 

Fails

Who is Doug?

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h41m43s888Doug’s going through a bit of a crisis at the moment and truth be told I’m struggling to recognise him. Fact is, I’m not even sure what Emmerdale are doing with him. Not so long ago Doug enjoyed a low-key romance with Diane and was content to support Laurel and tend his garden. This week Doug was almost a different bloke. Diane doesn’t get a mention these days and Doug is all about Brenda. I wasn’t even sure what their arrangement was. Friends? Lovers? Friends with benefits? It was unclear. But this week, Doug wanted more and he wasn’t going to sit there and watch Bob worm his way back in. I’m not exactly a Doug and Brenda shipper but surprisingly Doug’s sudden desperation to be with Brenda was quite a sweet watch this week. But his steamroller focus on fighting for her and hitting Bob came a bit left field and I’m not sure I believed it from mild-mannered Doug. It’s a wonder Doug wants to get involved in the Bob and Brenda situation considering Laurel’s recent dumping of Bob anyway, but I can’t help but feel Brenda is just settling rather than having genuine feelings for Doug. Who knows what’s next for Doug but I much prefer Doug giving guidance to the young uns than this week’s weird behaviour!

Teen Takeover

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h42m08s303We haven’t even got to the school holidays yet but the teens have taken over, with bratty Leanna leading the pack. While Leanna makes a great queen bee bitch type character and Noah’s acting out makes sense – their childish rebellions aren’t exactly the most riveting storylines. This is already the third time they’ve joyridden a car and unlike teens of Emmerdale past, these characters aren’t very engaging so their bad behaviour has been tedious to watch when it’s dominated screentime. While it’s good the stories are spread around this feels a bit like overload for the younger characters rather than exploring what the next generation are capable of. Considering their dangerous driving just lead to more stories for Daz and Graham – was it even worth it? Speculation on Twitter briefly explored the possibility that the hit and run victim might have been Joe and I can’t help but think, however unlikely, that would have been a better twist. 

Serious Spencers

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h41m18s617You’d think after Amelia’s kidnap they might give the Spencers some lighter storylines, after all this is where the family fit best. I’d much rather Kerry and Dan stick to TMI declarations about their sex life rather than being bogged down in misery. This week saw Daz commit a hit and run and let Amelia shoulder some of the blame. Not only is Daz one of the show’s most dreary and boring characters but now we face weeks of Daz looking guilty, Dan shouting and Amelia whining. Much like the kidnap plot, Kerry might be the saving grace but she alone will struggle to make this watchable. This really isn’t the big story that Emmerdale needs to keep viewers glued. On paper it might sound like the perfect plot to tear a family in two but we’ve been there done that with the Spencers and as a family unit they’re just not engaging enough to sustain this level of heavy drama. 

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Nov 2018)

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! After last week’s fail-free list, this week has three. Amongst the laughs this week, Noah rebelled and Vanessa and Charity decided to move in together.

Faves

Hopeless Romantic

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-22h11m01s121Bernice is one of my favourite Emmerdale characters by far, so to see her so crushed this week was heartbreaking. Samantha Giles is a really underrated actress, capable of both laugh out loud comedy as well as something far more poignant. Paired with dishy doc Liam Cavanagh, it seemed like Bernice had a real shot at happiness, if it weren’t for the meddling of Leanna and Gabby. Poor Bernice, desperate to impress Liam, was made a fool of by his daughter and then he had the audacity to side with his vicious daughter. Thankfully Gabby had a change of heart and saw how devastated her hopeless-in-love mother was and did her best to fix things. I really loved Emmerdale exploring their unconventional relationship and Gabby’s love for her mum was clear in scenes this week. I was glad to see that Bernice realised her worth too and didn’t rush to let Liam get away with his callous behaviour. She made him work for it – and too right. I’m a big fan of Bernice and Liam’s romance, but more than anything Bernice needs to be loved and appreciated for who she is. It’s time to shape up, Liam!

Childcare Chaos

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-21h52m15s956Who’d have thought that two weeks’ running chaotic childcare would be one of Emmerdale’s highlights? This week it was Charity’s turn, desperate to prove her mothering credentials to Vanessa, and enlisting advice from Mumsnet. Charity began the day with gusto, determined to be the hands on mother, the envy of all the forum posters. But naturally, mayhem ensued. Not only were we treated to some cracking dialogue as Charity marvelled at her discovery of the infamous mum’s forum, the adorable Moses and Johnny but also the winning formula of Marlon and Charity. Pairing up Charity and Marlon in the pub was a stroke of pure genius and since then the two have shared more comedy capers than ever. Mocking Marlon teased Charity with his wicked sense of humour and his amazing facial expressions were brilliant. The two of them trying to cover up Charity’s mistakes, as the kids locked themselves in the cellar was great fun. This is the type of everyday humour Emmerdale does best. 

Golden Oldies

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-22h09m38s462Rather than giving heartfelt advice this week, Eric was busy getting legless with Rodney and nursing the mother of all hangovers behind their Blues Brothers style sunglasses. There’s something endearingly brilliant about these two chaps getting drunk and suffering the next day, especially when they involved Faith. But Faith’s a smart cookie and she realised Rodney and Eric’s plans to keep Rodders in their household was all just a ruse, giving them both a knowing glance. Faith might think there’s a crowd but it’s brilliant dynamic. Still, much like Faith, I think it’s about time Eric grew up a bit and gave Faith some proper commitment. Isn’t it about time Faith made Eric a Dingle?

Fails

No Fireworks

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-22h12m55s173Sometimes you blink and miss a whole storyline. In Frank and Megan’s case, they were reunited and split before anyone much noticed. I’ve spoken before about this couple’s lack of spark and once again they split this week, even though we must be on double figures now. But far from the soap favourite trope of an on/off couple with a fiery and destructive love affair, Megan and Frank’s relationship is nothing more than a whimper. Considering Frank is an ex-con and Megan is a successful business woman, with a malevolent brother, you’d think their relationship could be electric. Sadly all it’s done is waste two decent actors in a soulless romance. Maybe this is the powers that be getting ready for a Kim and Frank romance, but I just hope they remember to make both Megan and Frank interesting in the meantime.

What Was the Point?

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-21h53m50s636All my favourite stories this week have been ones with warm belly laughs but when it came to the art con plot, this cringy conclusion felt more like a bad sitcom (complete with dodgy wigs and accents) rather than Emmerdale at its best. For all the screen time spent on Clive and his con, he buggered off almost as soon as he arrived making me wonder what his purpose was? Was it just to give Leyla something to do outside of David dramas – in which case, she can do much better than this unfunny story – or was it just to split Megan and Frank AGAIN? Sometimes Emmerdale comedy can hit the mark and make my affection swell, but other times it’s painful. The art con was the latter and had it not been for Leyla’s glamorous appearances, I might’ve skipped these scenes altogether. Not only does she deserve better, but we all do.

Stuck in a Limbo

vlcsnap-2018-11-30-22h13m35s334Although Emmerdale seem to think endless scenes of Graham’s drunken breakdown is worth watching, I can’t seem to muster any enthusiasm. Although self pitying drunks seem to be a prerequisite for Home Farm owners, Graham doesn’t even have the hammy comedic value of Lawrence and Graham’s disheveled growling isn’t much different from his monosyllabic butler schtick. Truth be told, Graham might be ex-SAS but he just isn’t all that interesting. We have seen the same scenes over and over and it just seems to be a way to kill time for Kim’s arrival. Not even the promise of Cain’s “involvement” in Joe’s death raises much enthusiasm because even that reveal has been dragged to a snail’s pace. Rather than have Cain and Debbie’s relationship implode and explore new ground, we’re stuck in limbo. Then there’s the biggest problem of all – we didn’t even see Joe’s death, so all this glowering and menace feels hollow when they’ve left Joe’s fate ambiguous.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Nov 2018)

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 Emmerdale – not a fail in sight. In the week that Robert and Aaron decided to have a baby, Leyla helped with Clive’s con. 

Faves

Devious Duo

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-20h56m27s544Emmerdale struck gold this week with a surprising and massively entertaining partnership between two of the village’s most ambitious residents. With Robert’s babysitting efforts making him broody and keen for some more cash to pay for surrogacy, Nicola set the cogs turning about how to make Home James Haulage into a money spinner and the pound signs lit up in their eyes. The next day it looked like Nicola had royally screwed him over but the clever two had double crossing in mind and smugly celebrated their duplicity at the Mill. With Aaron rightfully worried about the dangers of Kim Tate and Graham, and Robert’s tendency to go too far, there might be danger around the corner but in Robert and Nicola they’ve got a winning formula. Both ruthless and devious with sharp tongued wit – this is a business partnership made in heaven. These two and their barbed comments could keep me laughing for weeks. And I don’t know about anyone else but I’d love to see a despairing Jimmy and Aaron make their own team as their spouses blunder on.

Heart to Hearts

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h06m38s259I might have bemoaned a lack of juicy and gripping stories in the Dales at the moment but one thing it has had, and especially this week is some wonderful character led moments and especially heart to hearts. First in the week was Nicola and Rodney who still hadn’t patched things up after Misty left town. We don’t often get the time to explore rifts and familial upsets to that degree and it was nice to see their father daughter relationship given the space on screen. There were others this week like Tracy and Vanessa, Paddy and Marlon, Rhona and Dawn but perhaps the most emotionally effective was between Chas and Eric. When underrated Eric pours his heart out it really tugs at the heart strings and Chris Chittell did a superb job especially when you consider most of the scene was him retelling an aspect of his past that we never saw. Eric offered his sympathy to Chas and spoke about the destruction of his first marriage and his spirit at the loss of their son. Not only did the scene have a lot of poignancy it actually added a lot more to Eric that we’d never known before and helped to explain why he had been so crotchety and mean when he was younger. I have a real fondness when Emmerdale gives us powerful scenes of two characters talking but even more so when it’s characters together you wouldn’t expect. Great stuff.

Dawning of a New Era

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h10m23s592Pete and Rhona had a shock this week when they found Dawn squatting in Dale View. Even though Dawn was brought in for Ross’s drugs story it seems like show bosses recognised Olivia Bromley’s talent and now have a new purpose for her. Dawn’s arrival immediately added friction to Pete and Rhona’s blossoming romance and this gave us some really strong scenes between the pair. Their relationship has become a surprise hit with Emmerdale viewers, and the drama Dawn provoked came entirely from their personality differences. Pete’s lack of empathy clashed with Rhona’s history as a drug addict and while she wanted to support Dawn, Pete was far less trusting. This confrontation, the first real stumbling block in their relationship, was the perfect example of character led conflict, dipping into the show’s history and adding depth to their relationship. As Rhona tried to explain her past to Pete to make him understand, you could see it from all sides and it was another of those quite conversation scenes Emmerdale does so well. Who knows what’s in store for Dawn or Pete and Rhona, but I’m a fan of all so this can only be a good thing!

Good Giggles

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-20h57m15s005We’ve got used to seeing Vanessa in a more serious, supportive role, whether that’s for girlfriend, Charity, sister Tracy or best friend Rhona, but this week she relished a more humorous role again and it was very welcome. Even though Vanessa gave her usual cheerleading support for Tracy’s new business venture, she still had time to make vegetable puns and give a scene-stealing walk by interrupting Rhona and Pete’s make out session. It can’t always be laughs, especially living in a village as tumultuous as Emmerdale, but Vanessa’s dorky fun streak is something I’d definitely like to see more of!

Grief Explosion

vlcsnap-2018-11-23-21h16m25s098Grief in soap is something tricky to explore. In real life there’s no time limit and it can be a slow and difficult process, which is why soaps often speed up this recovery period and the dead can feel forgotten about. It’s been different for Chas and Paddy’s story. Emmerdale are still showing Chas and Paddy’s struggle since losing Grace and although this has led to fairly repetitive scenes of miscommunication between them, I was glad to see this finally explode this week. The performances of sheer frustration, anger and grief felt authentic and gave a different slant on the familiar scenes of their relationship distance. The public confrontation was ugly and painful but it was far more watchable to have it be aired in this raw way than the bristling tension it had been before.

Fave or Fail? (12-16 Nov 2018)

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! In a week of Debbie’s short lived pregnancy drama, Graham turned to drink again and Jacob kissed Maya.

Faves

The Ick Factor

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-21h15m01s991Emmerdale’s new and controversial story really got going this week as Jacob kissed Maya and she didn’t put much of a stop to it. Being a teacher Maya should be well equipped to deal with the crushes of hormonal teens, but with Jacob, her behaviour has become too close for comfort. Is she really that naïve, or is there something more deliberately manipulative at play? Maya’s motives don’t seem all that innocent, but the questions this story pose gives this story bags of potential. I hope that Emmerdale continue to play this in the same subtle way they have been, much like the early days of Pierce’s character, and let the storyline live up to all its complex potential.

Amy Appreciation

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-21h16m48s128When it comes to talented actors whose characters deserve a juicy story, then Amy Walsh is top of my list. Tracy has had quite a busy and miserable year, from her traumatic past coming back to haunt to her split with David, but these have been short and intense bursts of drama for her. Amy Walsh hasn’t been nominated for awards and is often overlooked when it comes to accolades. Surely it’s time that changed? With Tracy’s aunt dying this week, Amy did a lot with a relationship we’d never heard of and it seems like Emmerdale is lining up a new business story for her. I just hope this leads to something big for Tracy, she’s far too good for the background.

It’s No Joke

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-20h42m44s487Truth be told I wasn’t completely sold on Manpreet and Rishi as a pairing and I could see her being a much better fit for Jai, but this week gave me a new perspective. While the Sharmas often make me smile, it’s a shame their stories have been diminished to silly sweet factory farce, but when it comes to Rishi – Manpreet is deadly serious. Emmerdale could have gone down a predictable route with their relationship and made her embarrassed to be with Rishi’s larger than life personality, but instead she loves him for it. The scenes where Manpreet reassured Rishi and gave him a confidence boost were exactly what he needed after the trolling. And the fact Mapreet wants to take things slow and sensible is a good indication that Rishi’s zany ways isn’t going to make this crash and burn too fast!

Fails

Lost the Plots

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-21h18m11s634It wasn’t the strongest week for stories in Emmerdale and it left me feeling like there’s a real shortage of “must see” ongoing plots at the moment. There are always ups and downs in terms of excitement but I’m struggling to think of a story with any momentum.  Emmerdale has no shortage of great characters and it’s them, rather than the stories, that make it watchable right now. This week’s biggest stories involved the aftermath of Joe’s death but Graham and the Home Farm dramas seem to be killing time until Kim shows up and that feels like a risky move when her return lacked the oompfh it needed to shake the cobwebs from that group of characters. Debbie and Cain also seem in limbo while Joe’s fate is still a secret. There are a number of stories that seem to be just beginning, but where are the gripping plots taking shape or hurtling towards an exciting conclusion? We’ve had lots of teasers about returning characters in the New Year but I’d love to hear from the new producers what thrills await!

The Long Con

vlcsnap-2018-11-17-21h17m10s449You’d be forgiven for thinking you were watching a low budget version of the Thomas Crown Affair if you’d caught a glimpse of Friday’s episode, as Clive and Frank began an art-based con. It’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for any story that involves a smarmy new character conning a woman we don’t know and Frank, who’s been dull since day one. There was nothing to invest in here. All those scenes spent whispering and glaring in the art gallery held zero interest and even characters like Eric and Leyla, who could’ve provided some fun, were pushed out the way for more chat about forging art. It seemed endless! Clive and Frank are too similar and too flat to spark any interest together and since his arrival, Frank’s dark potential has been sidestepped for low-rent schemes. So why should we care about more of the same from Clive? One of Emmerdale’s most boring plots in a while and a terrible waste of Leyla and Megan.

Fave or Fail? (5-9 Nov 2018)

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! Another good week in the Dales, as Bob stripped, then got dumped and Aaron struggled after Seb’s departure.

Faves

Better Together

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h30m11s028Since their longed-for reunion, Aaron and Robert haven’t really had a storyline to get their teeth into as a couple. They’ve been constantly occupied with family dramas and Lachlan’s reign of terror, but it feels like a while since we had a story about the two of them. Now that they’re married it felt right this week to have a dilemma that challenged them both, as a team. This week’s drama offered just that, giving good character-led struggles that leaned heavily on their pasts and childhood issues, as well as testing their communication skills as a couple. After last week’s sudden decision from Robert to let Rebecca take Seb, Aaron was left heartbroken at the decision. Having recently lost Grace, he struggled to cope with losing another loved one so quickly especially as he had become a dad to Seb. Aaron’s pain lead him to making the reckless decision to keep Seb and not take him to Rebecca and this added friction to his relationship to Robert. This time though it didn’t feel like angst for angst’s sake. Their rows didn’t resort to shouting and fighting and we saw a calmer, more reasonable approach. Is this a more mature Robron we’re seeing? The end of the week saw Aaron shocking Robert with a surrogacy plan and reluctantly backing off from Seb despite his anguish, but the drama seems far from over. Thankfully this story feels like it will continue to provide the pair for some juicy drama together, it certainly warrants time and talking, rather than being on the sidelines of other people’s stories. 

Big Laughs

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h33m47s214Comedy in Emmerdale can be hit and miss at the best of times but I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s efforts as the gents of the village took centre stage and stripped off! With Bob desperate to prove his worth in the pub (LOVE having him back behind the bar, by the way) he set pulses racing by hiring the popular Uptown Hunks. I’ve always been a bit undecided about Charity as landlady but her saucy enthusiasm and rousing of the crowds before the hunks took the stage confirmed to me that she really is right at home. Unfortunately for Bob, his oiled up strippers pulled out and he was forced to rope in his friends. From the OAP audience, asking for complicated orders and having palpitations over Pete, to the ladies of the Woolie enjoying every minute – it was such a fun episode. Of course these episodes would have been nothing without the awkward dancing from the men involved – Rishi, Jimmy, Bob and Pete. With everyone enjoying themselves it was a really fun watch and rather feel like a cruel mocking of these guys and their moves, they were well loved by all. Except of course for Bob, who’s fun was cut short by a mortified Laurel…awkward…

Harsh Truth

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m34s707It seems ironic that some of the best scenes of the Bob and Laurel debacle, have been their break up. After Laurel’s embarrassing public dumping of Bob, he spent the rest of the episode greasy and half naked pleading for an explanation. Not really how you want to have a deep and meaningful, is it? Sadly for Bob (and truth be told, I have started to feel sorry for him) Laurel was adamant that their relationship was over. Laurel was frank with Bob that she was still grieving Ashley when they got together and this admission, that she used Bob as a crutch, seemed like a genuine explanation for this weird relationship rather than the whirlwind romance we’d been expected to buy into. For many fans, their affair came too soon after Ashley’s death and their feelings felt at odds with the characters. This break up seems a promising move from the new producers, recognising that the Bob and Laurel relationship didn’t work and wasn’t well received. But the benefit to exploring this split means promising future storylines. How will this affect the children? Brenda? Doug? Will Laurel struggle, feeling like she has upset so many people? Will Bob return to the loveable fool he once was? There are so many possibilities here as well as dealing with the reality of an affair that should have never progressed to a relationship. 

Tag-Team Trouble

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h31m51s034Who’d have thought the new dream team would be precocious little April and disenchanted Millennial Ellis? This week April was desperate to hang out with too-cool-for-school (literally) Ellis and even gave an Attenborough style commentary as he lazed on the couch. Her hero worship and his teasing is a fun dynamic and I enjoyed seeing them hang out when she bunked school. As Ellis taught her the art of ordering a customised coffee, April used her own sneaky powers to mend the relationship between Ellis and Jessie. I’m not totally sold on Jessie and Marlon as a partnership, but I already love April wanting to be as cool and adult as Ellis. This is a great dynamic and one I definitely don’t want to lose. 

Bonus Faves

  • Once again this week, Emmerdale had a really strong sense of community. From the firework celebrations at the Dingles’ and the memorial garden, to the Woolpack stripper shenanigans, it was great to see so many characters together in one place. More please!
  • Liv’s assessment of terrible maths questions as Rob helped her with probability was right. Anyone counting a thousand coloured beads does need to get a life. 
  • Despite his sadness, it was good to see Aaron and Seb’s bond on screen more this week – he really does make a great dad.  The Dingles throwing Seb an early birthday party was a sweet move from Chas, especially at such a difficult time for her. 
  • There seems to be a lot of heart-to-heart conversations lately and I’m a big fan of these, especially when stories cross in believable ways.

Fails

Debbie Downer

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m07s574Debbie’s relentless role as the tragic heroine has gotten stale. She’s not the only villager to have been overloaded with miserable stories (a certain other Dingle springs to mind) but perhaps it’s time for a personality tweak. Debbie has little levity in her stories and no one in her life to have a laugh with, even her relationship with her kids is bogged down in tragedy. No doubt soon she’ll discover her dear old dad Cain “killed” Joe and depressed Debbie will become shouty Debbie. Some viewers are pleased Debbie is facing some consequences for ordering a violent attack (okay, she didn’t want acid but she did want revenge) but I think some time in prison could actually offer the chance to refresh her character a bit. Rather than Debbie get away with her crime or fall into familiar patterns of behaviour, I’d just like to see something different from Debbie. She won’t be smiling any time soon, but the woe-is-me personality could do with a shake up. 

Fave or Fail? (29 Oct-2 Nov 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Cain told Moira he’d killed Joe and Ross and Rebecca left the village for good.

Faves

Custody Battles

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h52m49s025A good soap storyline is one that gets everyone talking and as Ross and Rebecca planned their exit from Emmerdale village alongside the kids – that’s all anyone could debate this week. Just who should Moses and Seb live with? There was harsh words and desperate pleading on both sides as the adults fought it out between themselves. As Ross and Rebecca hankered for a new start away from their miserable memories of the village, Charity, Robert and Aaron were furious that they wanted to up-root the kids from their homes and families. Viewers had plenty to say about this emotive decision, as did the characters, and I liked that Emmerdale didn’t shy away from making the characters fight selfishly and with emotion. The debate was well balanced, with all parties making a good case as to why the kids should live with them as well as history revisited to argue why they shouldn’t: Ross’s drug habit, Charity’s disinterested parenting, Rebecca’s dangerous behaviour, Robert’s revenge and Aaron’s convictions. Emotions ran high and both characters and viewers were torn and that’s why the story was easy to invest in. With Robert making the impossible decision to let Seb go (without consulting Aaron first) it seems like the aftermath will be just as fraught as the divide. 

The Farewell Tour

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h47m04s808When Ross’s exit was announced all those months ago, it seemed like for a long time the writers teased various options for his demise. Was he going to get involved in dodgy gangsters? A downward spiral of drugs and crime? Start a new life with Dawn? There seemed to be a lot of options hinted at but in the end, Ross’s ending was surprisingly low key. While it’s rare and a bit weird to see a happy ending in soap, after everything he and Rebecca had endured this year, there was something satisfying about them finding solace in each other. Perhaps a high octane ending of Ross going out all guns blazing or as a lone wolf might have felt more fitting for a character at the heart of so many stories these past five years, but his farewell tour of the village, complete with multiple goodbyes lead to a surprisingly effective exit. Ross has had a turbulent relationship with almost everyone in the village, so although certain goodbyes seemed to whitewash the past (his thank you to Moira seemed particularly jarring considering she killed his mum!) I liked that he came full circle, apologising to Laurel and reconnecting with April. I liked Ross best when we saw his more sensitive sides, so for me his final episode was an emotional reminder of Ross’s time on the show and a real end of an era. 

Cavastock Caught Out

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h48m28s854Thank god. Daz finally found out about Bernice and Liam’s relationship this week after he mistakenly followed Dr C’s elaborate romantic trail of rose petals. As Bernice and Liam (#Cavastock) shared a picnic by the cricket pavilion, they were interrupted by Daz’s arrival who fumed at their deception. Rather than sympathise with Daz’s anguish, I was too busy laughing at Bernice’s tactless response and the fact she had chocolate over her face. After the fall out, the loved up pair were forced to confess to their daughters that they’d been seeing each other. With spiteful Leanna and Gabby’s trouble-making past, I’m sure it won’t be long until the happiness shatters and mayhem ensues. I can’t wait!

Where is the Love?

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h46m22s501One of the year’s most unpopular storylines had to be Bob and Laurel’s affair  and subsequent relationship. While it’s provided us with some priceless moments of dark!Brenda, the idea that Bob and Laurel were in love has never really felt right. After all that upset and upheaval with the children it seems a bit of a mess to dismantle this pairing but hopefully this is a sign the showrunners have realised just what hasn’t worked on screen. As Laurel grew increasingly tired of Bob’s presence, Dotty mistakenly calling him “Dad” made her reconsider everything and she confessed to Harriet that the feelings weren’t there anymore. Could we finally be seeing the end of Bob and Laurel? I saw hope so! 

Bonus Fave:

  • Moira coming face to face in a showdown with Graham. I wouldn’t want to cross her either!

Fail

New Love

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h50m18s575It’s always difficult when characters we know and love return from some time away with a new love in tow. All their love story happened offscreen so despite wanting our favourite characters to be happy, it’s difficult to invest in their relationship. That’s the problem with dodgy Clive now that he’s in Leyla’s life. With ex-cellmate Frank trying to expose his history of bad behaviour and untrusting that he’s changed, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Clive’s innocent routine falters. I’m struggling to take any interest in this story. Clive and Leyla’s chemistry is lacking and I don’t believe in his nice guy routine. This feels like a story we’ve seen hundreds of times before and doesn’t seem to be showing us anything new from Leyla either. If Clive ends up playing the long con and Leyla ends up heartbroken, will anyone be surprised?

Fave or Fail? (22-26 Oct 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the sad week that saw the villagers mourn baby Grace, Bernice finally dumped Daz.

Faves

Difficult Decisions

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h25m46s395It might not be the storyline with the bells, whistles and plaudits, but my favourite plot at the moment is Rhona and Marlon’s story with Leo. Last week the troubled parents discovered their son was being bullied at school and although the fingers were first pointed at April, it was revealed she was just trying to protect her brother from the kids at school who were bullying him for getting “special treatment”. As Rhona and Marlon debated whether to send him to a specialist school, Rhona warred with the decision, turning to Pete for support (I’m still loving this surprising pairing) and found herself frustrated by Jessie’s influence too. This story resonates with so many parents having similar decisions to make, and feels like a very relevant modern story to tell, one we don’t usually hear about. This is Emmerdale making great use of character-led drama and using their actors in interesting and thought-provoking domestic drama. No sensationalism, just real life.

Unearthed Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h21m25s838Lydia really struggled this week as in the midst of Grace’s funeral, she didn’t attend and later broke down to Sam when he confronted her. She had spent the day keeping busy with cleaning and fixing a brave face, all to mask her secret pain. Later, showing Sam the boxes she’d kept of her babies’ things, she revealed she had suffered two miscarriages in her past and found the funeral too difficult to attend. Lydia’s repressed grief was beautifully played by Karen Blick and managed to be moving, even in just a few scenes. This moment was especially poignant when you remember how much Lydia wanted to be a family with Sam and Samson recently when she had her health scare, but it adds more layers to her character who once was nothing more than a comedy character. With this experience, Lydia was able to help Chas move forward the next day and although I wish they’d hinted at this backstory earlier during Chas’s story, it continues to flesh out Lydia’s grief counselling expertise instead of it just being for laughs.

Goodbye Grace

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h19m48s128The Dingles said their goodbyes to Grace this week in the tragedy filled funeral. While Chas’s grief showed itself in anger and distress, Paddy’s was a stark contrast in his empty feelings of numbness. This full spectrum of reactions was a good choice from Emmerdale, continuing to make this story relatable for those who have suffered a similar loss. I wish we’d be able to see all the Dingles there as the sad event felt strange without some key members, particularly Zak and Lisa. Aaron’s speech was a particularly moving moment, though watching Chas’s sorrow play out for all these months has been a difficult watch so perhaps a double episode for the funeral was a bit much to dwell on the tragedy.

Becoming Family

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h18m19s869One of my favourite couples in Emmerdale has got to be Eric and Faith. It was always going to be a tough act to follow Val, but Eric and Faith have that wonderful blend of fun and loving support. This week Faith tried to shut him out at Grace’s funeral, but after a slight wobble, Eric realised he needed to be there by her side. In a lovely moment between the two, he came up beside her and held her hand, later revealing it was important for him to be there for her. Aww! With the two communicating and realising their importance to each other, could there be wedding bells on the horizon? With show producers hinting that there’s a Christmas wedding on the cards, I would be more than happy to see these two have a big celebration!

Harsh Words

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h22m05s656Leyla seems to lurch from one bad decision to the next in the blink of an eye. Her whole history is full of dodgy men and flighty choices, and she hasn’t really learned much from any experience! This week Clive’s ex showed up and confronted Leyla about a load of stolen jewellery. All Leyla’s mistakes came tumbling out this week as she revealed the business abroad went under after Leyla slept with Clive (one of her clients, a groom to be – yikes!) and his fiancée posted bad reviews of the business on Twitter. It all seemed to dawn on hapless Leyla, but it was Vanessa who gave her a strict talking to, trying to make her grow up and take some responsibility for her stupidity. Vanessa gave Leyla a potted history of her faults in a very entertaining scene of tough love. With Clive showing up the next day, it all seemed to fall on deaf ears, but it was good to see Leyla brought down to reality with some firm words from her friends.

Bonus Faves:

  • What is it with Brook House? First there was the reveal of Doug and Brenda’s dalliance in full company and then this week Bernice dumped Daz in front of a room full of people. The awkwardness gave us brilliant reactions again from the guests but more importantly Bernice FINALLY dumped Daz. At last!
  • Cain’s return home and straight into Chas’s arms when she needed him most was a really satisfying moment. Their sibling relationship is one of the show’s best.
  • Speaking of strong relationships, those emotional scenes through the glass between Debbie and Sarah managed to get me in the gut, even though Debbie’s spell inside feels right.

Fail

Shady Cell Mates

vlcsnap-2018-10-27-12h20m44s147So the elusive Clive showed up this week to surprise Leyla but he’s got heartbreaker written all over him. When he met Frank it was like seeing double – two smooth silver foxes with that gravelly hint of darkness in their voices. It wasn’t long before they were having suspicious and mildly threatening chats outside the pub in that mysterious way that alludes to trouble without giving much away. I struggle to get excited about any of this, including any dodgy connections to Frank, because if Frank is anything to go by, Clive could turn into another wet weekend. Just like Frank, Clive has a slimy edge to him and no one is buying this “changed man” routine, but Frank hasn’t exactly done much since his arrival. Frank’s potential and charisma has been completely wasted by keeping him on the straight and narrow, and tying him down to a dull relationship with Megan. Could Clive change that? Could we see some of this much promise dark side? Clive feels very temporary, like he’ll screw Leyla over and then flee the village, so I haven’t got high hopes, but I think it’s about time for another villain – and not a serial killer!

Fave or Fail? (15-19 Oct 2018)

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 Cain did a bunk from the village and Sarah finally got a new heart.

Faves

Diane’s Dominance

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h02m40s981My absolute highlight this week had to be Diane. If it wasn’t her amazing face pulling, then it was her brilliant lines of dialogue and her sarcastic commentary on Bernice’s love life. Diane is a gem of a character and her relationship with her on screen kids (including her step kids) is a highlight. Not only was Diane there to give Vic a hug and express her concerns to Robert, but her onscreen relationship with love-life-disaster-zone Bernice was cracking with funny dialogue followed by some comfort and empathy. The two have a fantastic rapport and I’m glad we’ve seen a bit more of them lately as Bernice struggled to keep a lid on her blossoming feelings for Liam and push Daz onto Diane’s plate. I loved Diane’s outrage at being used as a scapegoat when Bernice was trying to get rid of Daz, but it wasn’t long before Diane got her own back by sending him to the BnB when she knew Bernice and Liam were there. My dream would be to get Diane back behind the bar but if that’s out of the question then just more of her would be a great start!

Vic Gets a Storyline

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h08m32s105Since Adam’s departure, Victoria’s main role besides her job in the pub, has been looking after Rebecca, but let’s face it, even when her husband was around Vic didn’t have much in the way of a storyline. Once Vic had discovered Moira was behind Emma’s death that all changed and this week, Vic took a central role in Emmerdale in her quest to find absent Adam. I was really glad to see Victoria’s feelings and pain got a real focus, rather than keeping her in the background supporting others. This week, feeling betrayed by Robert and Aaron, Vic did some digging and ended up in a perilous situation when she got scammed by a lowlife posing as a PI. When the truth about Adam’s location came out, devasted Victoria broke down when she learnt he’d moved on and found someone else. This was a horrible dose of reality for Victoria as she had still be pining for Adam and unable to move on herself. Actress Isabel Hodgins played these scenes with real heartbreak and despite Vic sometimes being like a bull in a china-shop, I found her really empathetic. After a pep talk with Diane, Vic was quick to get glammed up and try and move on with Ellis, but it’s clear even that might be a struggle.

The Beginnings of Something Darker?

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h03m28s238No one quite knows what newbie Maya Stepney is up to just yet, but with a casual disregard for her rules and responsibilities as a teacher, as well as blurting out cruel retorts to ex-stepdaughter Leanna, there’s a hint of a dark side there. Now that Jacob is crushing hard on her, his teacher and his dad’s girlfriend, there’s lots of speculation that this story is heading in a dark grooming storyline. This would be a really interesting and horrible to watch direction but one that would prove a challenging storyline for the characters involved. Done well I think this could be exactly the kind of gritty story Emmerdale would excel at.

Bonus Faves:

  • Matty, Ellis. Ellis, Matty. Vic’s got a tough choice on her hands and so have I! I love both guys and their charm and chemistry with Vic. It’s hard to decide who would make the better pairing
  • Another great scene with Jack Downham this week was the moment Graham gave him Chris Tate’s cufflinks – great bit of Tate family history too
  • Bernice and Liam’s cute but comic hook ups continue to be a massive highlight. With Liam using words like ‘beguiling’ you can see why Bernice fell hard and fast!

Fail

Feeling Distant

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h10m26s677We all know Cain Dingle isn’t a man to wear his heart on his sleeve and talk about his problems, but I’m a bit disappointed to see him go all cold and distant when it comes to Moira. If anyone knows about big dark secrets then it’s her and she’d easily be on his side if a war brewed with Debbie. This being soap, Moira’s bound to discover Cain’s guilty secret eventually but I can’t help but feel there’s been a disappointing lack of Cain and Moira content ever since they reunited. When Cain supported Moira during her Emma confessions, we saw the powerful onscreen chemistry that makes Coira so beloved but lately they’ve hardly been seen together and this is a real missed opportunity. If Cain and Moira don’t get some decent screentime when this all comes out in the open then I’ll be very disappointed!

Fave or Fail? (8-12 Oct 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week the villagers dressed up for the champers at Home Farm and stayed for the drama as Kim Tate returned.

Faves

A New Direction?

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

Justice at Last

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

The Bitch is Back

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

Bonus Faves:

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

Fails

Home Farm Flop

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

Wasted Potential

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