Fave or Fail? (4-8 Dec 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! Faith and Pollard broke up this week and we said a sad goodbye to Emmerdale stalwart, Alfie the dog.

Faves

Bonnie and Clyde

Emmerdale - Pollard Faces the Music - YouTubeI know when it comes to Faith Dingle, I am a bit of a broken record, but I truly think she’s the best thing that’s happened to Emmerdale in 2017. She proved that even more this week when she and Eric went all Bonnie and Clyde on us in an attempt to bring down Morris from the council. I love the pairing of Eric and Faith, they go from funny to heartwarming to that special kind of delicious soap angst that I love. Eric’s face of terror when Faith was speeding was genius but it was only a matter of time before she uncovered his lies about the access road. The two of them broke up after Faith found out what Eric had done but their confrontational was beautifully painful, as both Sally Dexter and Christopher Chittell really sold Faith and Eric’s love for each other and her heartbreak at his betrayal. The two clash on their outlooks in life and the dodgy ways they deal with obstacles to what they want, but even still they are pretty well matched. Even if their future is a rocky one, you know they’re a couple that should be together. Fingers crossed!

Goodbye Alfie

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h54m12s818The Dingles and us, the humble viewers, had to say goodbye to scruffy-furred Emmerdale legend, Alfie the dog, this week in some really moving scenes. Alfie is as much a part of Wishing Well as the crocheted blankets so to see him look so sad and ill was a horrible thing and the decision fell to Zak to put their poor old dog down. Even someone like me who isn’t a dog lover (I know, I know) couldn’t fail to be moved as the Dingles said goodbye to their dear old mutt. Rest in peace, Alfie. You’ll be sorely missed.

Both Sides of the Story

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h58m10s779With actress Roxy Shahidi soon to leave for maternity, we knew it wouldn’t be long before Emmerdale needed to engineer an exit story for her. As Alicia lives in Portugal now you’d think Leyla could just jet there but it seems something a little more convoluted is in the pipeline. Don’t get me wrong, I love Leyla and I’m even slightly curious about how a David and Leyla romance attempt would work these days – but I’m just not sure it’s worth sacrificing their friendship. But despite this and Tracy’s OTT reaction, this story becomes a fave simply for the impressive scenes between Roxy and Amy Walsh. Amy always manages to give Tracy a lot of heart and soul in her stories and both actresses carried a lot of emotion in their scenes which actually made you empathise with both parties. With all these brilliant moments between the powerful females in the Dales, it does make you long for them to stop falling out over the lacklustre men though!

Fails

The Show Mustn’t Go On

Emmerdale - Thursday 7 Dec 8pm - The ITV Hub (1)At this festive time of year I do love to see all the traditions on screen and the Emmerdale nativity story began with gusto. Rhona went all Nativity-zilla on us, getting squeaky and irate as her plans struggled, roping in a reluctant Vanessa and getting Marlon dressed as a donkey. It wasn’t without its amusing moments and the kids of Emmerdale are always worth watching. Disappointingly though, so few villagers bothered to turn up meaning the community spirit was more than a bit lacking. Add to that some crippingly cringey comedy from Paddy and Chas (not to mention even more of their gross romance) and the whole thing was a bit of a flop. Bah humbug!

Pete’s Pity Party

vlcsnap-2017-12-10-14h56m26s322Ordinarily you’d feel sorry for someone like Pete Barton. Father and brother murdered by his mother, mother then murdered, son he thought was his wasn’t, thought he had a second chance with his girlfriend but turns out she was in love with someone else, knocked unconscious after a fall down some stairs. All in all, not a great time to be Pete Barton. The problem is, I still wish he was the one shot to death by Emma. On paper Pete should be sympathetic, but with all his aggression and shouty spitefulness it’s hard to feel sorry for him. He speaks to others, even those trying to help like Harriet, like he’s going to punch them in the face. And it was poor David this week that did actually get punched. But when Pete’s not raging around like some uncaged alpha male, he’s being colossally dull. What a shame that we lost two interesting Barton family members and got stuck with Pete!

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Fave or Fail? (27 Nov-1 Dec 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! Doug (eventually) got everyone in the village feeling festive just as Tom’s big secret was revealed.

Faves

Cold and Creepy

vlcsnap-2017-12-03-09h44m10s453Despite my complaints of Lachlan’s attic adventures being a disappointment and this week’s lacklustre reveal of Robert’s lies, there’s been one consistently watchable part of the story and that’s Thomas Atkinson’s performances. From his manic laughter watching Lawrence kick Robert, to his cold attitude to his mother’s suffering, Lachlan’s really becoming fully twisted. There’s always been a real darkness to him, but there have been times where they’ve tried to soften or redeem him and in light of what he did to Alicia, it’s never really worked. But seeing him play his gullible family and manipulate everyone, all while he gets colder and creepier, seems to suggest he’s going to play a big part in the family’s downfall.

Ray of Hope

vlcsnap-2017-12-03-15h17m18s129Bob Hope is like a ray of sunshine in Emmerdale and his enthusiasm for life and awkward jokes make the café a better place. This week, after forgetting Brenda’s birthday, Bob had to make a real effort to spoil her and win back her affections. After his cake and sparkler left her feeling flat, he treated her to a new outfit and a makeover, promising to take her to see a Tom Jones tribute act – Tom Bones. Never one to shy from the limelight, Bob happily stepped up to plate and sang a gyrating tribute for Brenda when Mr Bones was ill. Not only were these scenes brilliant fun but it also let us see more of Bob and Brenda’s cute love for each other. But we all know the rules of soapland and I fear that their happiness can only mean Bob has done the unthinkable and cheated. I hope not!

Unsaid Sizzle

vlcsnap-2017-12-03-15h18m03s260With two of Emmerdale’s most popular couples separated, we’ve had to make do with (a rather frosty) Debbie and Tom’s hotel hook-ups to add any sort of heat to episodes. But this week it was all about the lingering looks and simmering tension between Aaron and Robert, and Cain towards Moira. Sure neither couple is in the right place to rekindle things just yet (though I’m hoping it won’t be long to wait for them both to reunite) but there’s so much in the unsaid. Such is the power of these actors that you can feel everything in one look alone. We can hope and beg for more, but sometimes it’s still enjoyable to see everything bubbling under the surface of scenes like a big tease.

Bonus Faves:

  • Lisa trying to take on Morris herself and her rant at Zak at the end of Friday’s episode – you go, girl!
  • Tom’s awkward and funny meeting with Charity
  • Doug’s Christmas light disaster
  • Chrissie vs Robert – the pair seem to work best against each other in a bitter rivalry and Louise Marwood excels at showing Chrissie’s sharper, harsher sides

Fails

Out with a Whimper

vlcsnap-2017-12-03-15h20m44s920After months of enduring Robert’s revenge on the Whites, we were at least owed a huge and explosive fall-out, right? I mean, not only had Robert being stealing the business from under them, but had faked a murder, had Tim drive at Chrissie in the street, ostracised Lachlan and invented a whole romance with Lawrence. They’d all be horrified, devastated, right? I mean, it didn’t take much for Lucky to put a gun on Lawrence or for Chrissie to frame Andy. But no, sadly not. This week all of Robert’s lies came out, including the fake one night stand with Lawrence, and besides a kicking and an arrest, the Whites’ reactions were a complete anti-climax. The girls were mildly grossed out by their dad having sex with someone they’d also both been with, but none of them seemed that bothered when that lie – in light of Lawrence’s own intimacy struggles – was exposed. Nor was it that much of a big deal that Chrissie had almost been run over. Robert’s revenge reached such crazy heights that the stakes should have been so much higher. I can only assume they’ve saved any real explosions for the White family’s exit but by then will anyone even care?

There Must Be More?!

Emmerdale - Tom's Pursuit of Debbie Is Finally Explained! - YouTubeAfter last week’s reveal that Mr Highflyer, Tom Waterhouse, was up to no good, he spent most of the week in shady conversations with Graham and avoiding meeting Debbie’s full family. Knowing Tom was dodgy and mysterious has left every Emmerdale fan speculating over just who Tom is and what he’s up to. The fan favourite theory is that he’s Joseph Tate, all grown up and ready to get revenge on Charity and that would be a very satisfying twist in what’s been a pretty dull but dominating storyline. However this week we learnt that Tom is actually behind the golf course and the plans to demolish Wishing Well, leaving me with that sinking feeling of disappointment. Surely that’s not it? Would Tom really go to all those lengths of wooing Debbie just to help push through a golf course development? Especially when Debbie doesn’t live at Wishing Well and often has her own dramas away from the big Dingle brood. I’m holding out hope for a further reveal because if this is the only secret then it’s a huge let down!

Fave or Fail? (20-24 Nov 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! Tom’s true colours were revealed this week and Cain got to grips with a nappy!

Faves

More Money, More Problems

vlcsnap-2017-11-25-20h53m37s131In a week where the big serious plots were a little dry and unengaging, Bernice, Nicola and Jimmy took the limelight for me in their ill-gotten gains story. Last week Jimmy almost made my highlights simply for his glorious pimp coat and his love for it, but luckily it got another outing this week. I love the Kings and their oddball humour, Nicola’s ruthless streak and lust for the highlife and when you combine that with Bernice’s kooky panic and guilt you can’t beat it. It’s not an especially exciting plot and maybe not the funniest but with these characters it made a fun and silly distraction.

Tip Top

vlcsnap-2017-11-25-20h37m20s236Now don’t send me hate, but I’m not a dog lover, so a dog based plot isn’t one that would normally make my Faves list. And I was even less keen when cute little Tip was used as a way to reunite the snoozefest of Frank and Megan, and then Megan spent about three episodes sneezing. Not exactly award winning Emmerdale and surely a waste of Gaynor Faye’s talents. But then Jai got involved and grew attached and rather possessive of Tip, even letting her in the factory much to Rishi’s horror. Ever since Jai’s been softened I’ve really enjoyed him on screen and Chris Bisson’s great facial expressions made this comedy dog plot more fun to watch.

Dingle Mingle

vlcsnap-2017-11-25-21h02m44s678Even with so many Dingles in the village, we’re used to seeing the same partnerships of characters so it’s always a bit of a treat when we get to watch a different dynamic. This week Aaron reached out to Belle with her heartbreak over twisted Lachlan after he’d warned her over his dark behaviour. With Aaron’s history of neverending sadness he’s got a bit of a wise old soul so it was nice to see him comfort her and offer advice as Belle’s immaturity can often mean she makes questionable decisions. But then which Dingle hasn’t? There was an enjoyable rapport between the pair and it made me wish for more unusual Dingle partnerships. How about more Marlon and Cain? Or Charity and Zak?

Fail

Attic Adventures

vlcsnap-2017-11-25-20h55m20s780This week saw Lachlan step up his creep levels to critical as he let his family believe he’d committed suicide and climbed in the attic to spy on them. Yep, totally normally behaviour. Thomas Atkinson has been great at embracing Lachlan’s darkside and while there’s an enjoyable ridiculousness about it all, the nonsensical logistics of his attic hideaway distract from what should be an unnerving and twisted development. Despite the Whites living in a huge old mansion, Lucky appeared to be spying on them from the floor above, able to drill through a bit of MDF flooring and hear every word. Even if we can suspend disbelief and ignore that Home Farm has been morphed into a single storey bungalow, Lachlan was able to skulk around and have a full volume argument with Gerry with no one hearing a thing. Not even Hotten’s finest police force could find his secret attic, despite there being a window! Not to mention Lucky’s air vent meant he was in prime location to spy on the kitchen but as luck would have it he missed the entire Rebecca and Robert row which helpfully would have revealed all of Rob’s misdemeanours. Lachlan’s twisted plot could have been outlandish and fun but it’s hard to see past the stupidity and see the darkness intended.

 

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Nov 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! Isaac’s christening lead to a lot of heartache and soul searching this week.

Faves

Taking Risks

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h33m20s220Lately Emmerdale hasn’t been afraid to push the boundaries of the soap genre and the success of its efforts to tell stories in different and creative ways only confirm why it’s picking up awards regularly. Friday’s episode saw a tight focus on the story thread of Moira and Cain’s role in Isaac’s life and took us back in time to see the struggles Cain and Chas faced with their own parents, Faith and Shadrach. Like the Ashley special episode last year, the Emmerdale casting team were spectacular in their choice of perfect actors for the younger versions of Faith, Shadrach, Cain and Chas with the adults in particular bearing a striking and uncanny resemblance to their counterparts. Reflecting on Cain’s childhood, Jeff Hordley gave a hugely emotional performance, with Cain’s heartbreaking past helping to explain how much of a struggle he’s facing in the present day as a father to Isaac and Sally Dexter continues to be a brilliant on-screen presence, in both comedy and tragedy. Together they make a believable mother and son duo which made the scenes all the more poignant. Far from being gimmicky, the flashbacks helped to flesh out the backstories of characters we’ve known for a long time and gave more weight to the struggles they’ve suffered, which before now we’ve only known through being told rather than seeing it first-hand. When Emmerdale takes creative risks like this the quality feels heightened, like we’re watching something beyond the tag of ‘soap’ and makes the drama feel fresh and novel, showing that these new approaches really pay off.

Compassionate Love

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h35m54s669Eric and Faith’s relationship really became something special this week. For all their to-ing and fro-ing, with miscommunication and Rodney’s interference, the pair finally expressed the strength of their feelings for each other and slept together in some moving and beautiful scenes. The joy of Eric and Faith is that their connection feels real and their own private struggles – whether it’s a shared grief or Faith’s insecurities about her body – were told sensitively and poignantly. It feels like ages since we’ve seen a love story played out between an older couple, but the touching way Eric and Faith’s story has been told, it’s been almost impossible not to fall in love with them too. My heart melted with Faith said Eric made her feel special, and his calling her beautiful and saying she brought colour back to his existence was wonderful. Here’s hoping they go the distance – they deserve it.

Perfect Performance

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h33m39s784Almost every week I want to heap praise onto Natalie J Robb’s acting. As Moira continues to struggle with her post-natal depression Natalie plays the scenes with such an effective dazed disconnect. This week Moira’s difficulties became more apparent to her family as she even went as far as giving Isaac to Adam and Vic, telling them that she couldn’t keep him and couldn’t deal with being a mother again. Moira’s grief and guilt over Holly is tied so intensely to Isaac that Moira’s been unable to bond for fear that she might lose him too. Moira’s breakdown this week was a wake up call to her loved ones who’d been oblivious and almost dismissive of her distant behaviour and Natalie made that inner battle of Moira’s so vivid and raw. I’m glad they’re continuing to show the impact of Holly’s death on Moira’s life and that Isaac hasn’t been a quick fix to that grief or to her estranged marriage with Cain. It’s a difficult watch, but one Natalie sells so well.

Fails

Rhona’s Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h34m34s543It’s a testament to Zoe Henry’s acting that Rhona’s heartbreak was so effective this week, as she discovered Paddy had moved on and was with Chas. As if their slobbering PDAs weren’t bad enough! Granted, it was Rhona’s choice not to reunite with Paddy after the trial, but his and Chas’s sudden teenage fixation with each other does seem a little on the hasty side and is a bit of a hard watch – even more so for Rhona. So why the “Fail” category this week? Simply because it hurts to see Rhona crushed like that when she’s had a really tough year. Plus, it seems inevitable that the great Chas and Paddy love affair will crash and burn at some point (like it always does) so it seems even more unnecessary to put Rhona through this.

Baby Fever

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h37m09s905Victoria was right this week when she talked about cute baby overload in the village. But it’s not the squidgy little faces that are a problem, it’s that there feels like there are too many baby plots all at once. Moira’s post-natal depression has been wonderfully told so far, but it’s not just the parenting stories with Isaac we are watching – it’s Rebecca and Robert with Sebastian, Adam and Vic wanting to adopt too. Last week Robert had his moment of being a reluctant father and then this time it was Cain’s turn. And this heavy baby focus is without mentioning Jai and Megan’s concerns over Eliza. All the baby plots serve a purpose when it comes to explore issues with their parents, but did we really need so many baby plots all at once?

Fave or Fail? (6-10 Nov 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 Robert became a father and did some soul searching and Adam was arrested for Emma’s murder.

Faves

Classic Emmerdale

vlcsnap-2017-11-12-18h26m07s636With Eric Pollard at the front of the show this week, getting involved in local council schemes, it really felt like classic Emmerdale and I loved it. I really enjoyed getting to see some of the older characters in the village getting material and there was a nostalgic vibe to it all. Rodney and Eric were back wheeling and dealing with dodgy antiques and Faith continues to be the object of their affections. Even the little moments like her belittling Diane’s relationship with Doug had a classic and humorous feeling to it. Eric’s focus especially was a welcome return to the feel of older storylines and even though he has softened over the years it was fun to see his ruthless side up against the Dingles. With all the insular drama between families, it was a nice change to have a storyline about the wider community and council that Emmerdale is part of and I hope we get similar stories in future.

Robert’s Redemption?

vlcsnap-2017-11-12-18h30m59s259After months of scheming, schmoozing, smirking and sneaking, we might have seen the end of panto villain Robert Sugden as his more human side returned. At last! Well, for now at least. It’s been a bit of a chore the last few months to watch Robert stuck up at Home Farm, complexities diluted and a caricature in his place. This week gave us a chance to see again what was driving him and fully explained why he’d gone so far to ruin the Whites. His self-loathing at Jack’s graveside and to Aaron was a return to the multi-faceted character we know and love, the selfish and vengeful alongside the remorseful and lonely man. Along with the ridiculous comedy of the hotel scenes, Ryan Hawley took on every side of Robert’s personality this week with gusto and his performances help edge Robert back onto a redemptive path following his fast fatherhood epiphanies. Despite me having hated almost every part of this story since Robert’s one night stand with Rebecca, we’re now at least getting to explore Robert’s psyche a bit more and it seems like this will continue into the new year too.

Waif and Stray

vlcsnap-2017-11-12-18h34m37s993I feel like every week Gerry appears in Emmerdale it becomes an automatic highlight. Whether its riling up Doug or grating on Aaron, Gerry offers something weirdly endearing to existing dynamics in the show. He’s already managed to make a lot of connections in the village, showing us a softer side to Liv and even managing to make Aaron smile (which is no mean feat!). This week he sneaked back into the B&B, stole Doug’s cooked breakfast and then wandered away like a little lost puppy until Aaron was cornered and Gerry found himself with a place to stay and work. Now he’s at the scrapyard, I can’t help but think he’d be great value there permanently, or if he gets forgiveness from Doug, then someone he can take under his wing.

Saved By the Bell

vlcsnap-2017-11-12-18h29m12s151I can’t ever remember watching scenes as excruciating and hilariously cringeworthy as the ones this week as Lawrence took Robert to a hotel. Despite Robert’s manipulation of Lawrence’s feelings being a really cruel and cold hearted move, the story has been so outlandish and comedic that it was impossible not to find the hotel scenes hysterical. You have to commend Ryan Hawley for his facial expressions alone and wonder how Lawrence didn’t pick up on Rob’s sheer terror and horror at the thought of having to get intimate with Lawrence. They even worked their way through a whole plate of finger sandwiches! It was hide-behind-a-cushion viewing and the deed was thankfully thwarted by a phonecall about the baby’s arrival, but surely Robert’s discomfort, in his array of expressions, will live on in our memories for a long time.

Fails

Stop Start Suspense

Emmerdale - Adam's Interrogation Becomes a Shouting Match - YouTubeOn paper the Emma Whodunnit should be great, and when the story progresses – with flashbacks and mysteries like last week – it’s an engaging and intriguing storyline. But weeks like this, when it seems sluggish and stalled, and knowing we have another month or so before discovering the truth, it feels a bit of a drag. This week Adam was arrested (and if you’ve ever watched a murder mystery you’ll know the first few arrested are usually innocent) and it was a bit flat. Does he really have much of a motive compared to others? Most of the Whodunnit this week was Adam shouting, Victoria shouting back and plenty of the suspects openly chatting about alibis and motives right in the middle of the pub! Ross left town which stalls the story again and besides the odd exciting flashback, the story mostly consists of Pete accusing anyone he decides is guilty that week! Let’s hope it picks up again soon.

Fave or Fail? (30 Oct-3 Nov 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 Pete was busy accusing and Laurel returned with more secrets!

Faves

Murder Mysteries

Emmerdale - What Is Laurel and Bob's Secret - YouTubeWhodunnit plots in soapland aren’t often my favourite but the “Who Killed Emma?” story definitely became more interesting this week. With Gabby a prime suspect it gave Rosie Bentham a great chance to show off her talents under police questioning against the great DS Benton. I was also glad to see Laurel return to the village and bring with it new questions and mysteries such as – what’s going on with Bob? While the storyline does have his weak moments (namely fairly repetitive scenes of the brothers arguing and Pete accusing anyone he can) it’s gathered a good ensemble of cast and I’m genuinely clueless as to who the culprit is – it really could be any one of them! The final flashback scene lined up all the suspects nicely and it was made even more intriguing by the extra videos released on YouTube exploring motives!

Quirky Friends

Emmerdale - Friday 3 Nov 7pm - The ITV Hub (1)Sometimes it’s the strangest groups of characters that make some of the best scenes and that was the case this week at the B&B. We’ve already seen ex-con and cheeky trouble maker Gerry form an unlikely but kind of sweet friendship with Liv but having them work at the B&B with straight-laced Doug was a work of genius. It might be a very short lived working partnership – what with Gerry’s dangerous fireworks causing Doug to burn his hands – but their opposite natures worked well in giving us a fun and surprising group of characters. Doug’s serious and humourless personality clashes with Gerry’s slapdash troublesome ways but their shared enthusiasm for niche interests meant their strange relationship was a believable one.

It’s War

-995 Aaron amp; Robert 30th October 2017 Robert Only Part 3 of 3 - YouTubeRobert’s revenge might have dragged on for half a century but going up against Lachlan might be his dangerous and most interesting move yet. While Robert’s attempts to scheme, schmooze and seduce his way through the family to gain their wealth and status has been going well so far, Lachlan proved he’s Rob’s biggest threat this week. Thankfully for this endless story, Lachlan offers a more believable threat and a more worthy opponent than the other family members who seem to be hanging off Robert’s every word. It was enjoyable this week to see the conflict front and centre with Lucky being the only one to see straight through Rob and manage to unnerve him too. Lachlan has a history of being cold and twisted and is perhaps a bigger worry than Robert anticipated. Thomas Atkinson has proved himself a great little actor and his antagonistic relationship and chemistry with Ryan Hawley is the most watchable this storyline has been.

Fails

The Cringe Factor

Emmerdale - Lawrence Wants to Reveal His Fling With Robert! - YouTubeIt was Halloween this week but there were other reasons to hide behind a cushion when watching. If it wasn’t the sound of Lawrence gasping with lust as Robert played him again (oh Larry you poor fool) then it was Chas and Paddy playing doctor and patient. It’s not that both stories aren’t silly enough to be mildly entertaining it’s just that watching both pairings together in an episode is a bit much for my poor cringe glands. I’m going to go as far as to say Chas and Paddy is actually a bit worse as their OTT role play (which seems to have them gagging for it every five minutes) is the very opposite of sexy. At least with Lawrence and Robert, the carnage after his lies are exposed will be worth it, as for Chas and Paddy I’m not convinced they’re funny enough together and they certainly don’t seem like a great love match.

Fave or Fail? (23-27 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! This week baby Isaac was named and Chas returned from Ireland!

Faves

Glamourous Granny

vlcsnap-2017-10-29-11h02m41s905One of the best things to happen to Emmerdale this year has to be Faith Dingle. She wins hands down. Not an episode goes by without a killer outfit or a cracking line of dialogue. Most newbies seem to take a while to settle into the village but Faith feels like she’s been there forever, seamlessly integrating into every story and having great chemistry with everyone she works alongside. With the return of Chas this week, the pair had a touching moment and while Faith might often be used for witty one-liners, her relationship with her kids is gritty and complex. I hope she continues to play a big role up at Butlers and in her children’s lives – she’s been a revelation.

The Mother of Meltdowns

Emmerdale - Tuesday 24 Oct 7pm - The ITV HubMoira had another difficult week as she suspected her new baby (now named Isaac) was ill and she doubted her ability to protect him so soon after losing Holly. The pressure’s been piling on her since Isaac’s shock birth, so much so that she left him at the hospital this week believing herself to be a terrible mother and that he was better off without her. Throughout this story Natalie J Robb’s been giving powerful performances and this week was no exception. Her almost cold detachment and distancing from motherhood has been emotively told and your heart breaks seeing Moira freezing out help and hardening to protect herself from any more loss. Her fractured relationship with Cain is one that always provides deliciously angsty moments, but her dynamic with Faith is one I’ve enjoyed watching build through this story too.

Community Spirit

vlcsnap-2017-10-29-11h32m40s293A small aspect of the week’s events, but one I always enjoy, was a community feel to some of the scenes. Whether it was the Dingles’ knees up in the pub (with Paddy the clown) for Debbie’s birthday or Jimmy playing Eric’s bidding game during the auction – I loved seeing bigger groups and different characters interacting. I especially enjoyed the parallels of Jai’s struggle after Eliza’s fit compared with Cain’s moping in the shop and Vanessa getting dating advice from a surprisingly woke Jimmy and Robert, who was released from the panto shackles of Home Farm for a day. Sometimes character groups can feel a bit stale and locked-in so it’s always fun to see interactions of characters who rarely share screentime, particularly when experiences in the Dales can often overlap in interesting ways. Community scenes are an easy way of making the village feel more real and I welcome them at every opportunity.

Fails

Paddy Power

Emmerdale - Chas Returns and Instantly Kisses Paddy! - YouTubeChas was back this week and in her rightful position as pub landlady. Since her departure earlier this year (while Lucy Pargeter was on maternity leave) the pub has been missing that special something without her. But while I was thrilled to see Chas back and reunited with her family, her reintroduction was focused on her rather awkward romance with Paddy. Now, I love Chas and I love Paddy – and I even love their friendship – but when it comes a relationship it all feels a bit incestuous. The pair of them explored the possibility of reuniting earlier this year but after one too many doomed and funny dates realised they were better off as friends. And that’s where it should have ended! Sure, Chas could do with a reliable love and something to make her smile, but settling for Paddy feels like selling herself short – particularly when he was desperate to reunite with Rhona not so long ago. Emmerdale has had some odd pairings in the past and sometimes they work out but Chas and Paddy seem more like siblings than star-crossed lovers. Chas needs someone with a bit more impact than the village’s loveable fool. Sorry Paddy!

Muddled Message

Emmerdale - Debbie Won't Let Tom Control Her - YouTubeThere are a couple of things to like about Debbie’s new romance with Tom. One – he’s pretty easy on the eye; two – there seems some potential there for sparks; and three – it spares us from the sizzle-free Debbie/Ross pairing. But this week’s scenes left me wondering what we’re meant to make of this story and Tom in general. Is he meant to be a swoony fantasy – good looking, rich, powerful? Or is he meant to be a bit creepy and overbearing? It’s hard to tell what the message is here and because of that I’m struggling to suspend reality and enjoy Debbie’s escapades. Tom feels too good to be true and his seduction methods are old fashioned and stalkerish at times. He bought her a house and he barely knows her! And yet, despite her attempts to stand strong, Debbie returns to him and is repeatedly charmed back to bed. So is this some dated Cinderella fantasy or is something darker lurking under the surface? Are we meant to fear for Debbie or watch in envy? I can’t help but feel if Tom was a bit more of an original, believable character rather than Christian Grey lite then the intentions might be a bit less ambiguous.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 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! Some hard hitting and important stories told this week alongside the never-ending saga of Robert’s revenge.

Faves

Worthy Story

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h27m00s037In January, I complained that Megan’s worries about the difficulties of her daughter potentially being disabled was a story worthy of more than just one episode, particularly as Gaynor Faye’s talents are regularly wasted in lifeless plots – and being tied to boring Frank. Thankfully that seemed to change this week as a hugely important and interesting story surfaced when Eliza had a fit and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. While this is a sad and difficult story to tell, there are thousands of parents like Megan and Jai who are given similar news about their child’s future and it’s a story worth telling. Already both parents are dealing with Eliza’s disability differently, expressing different worries and finding it hard to cope. It’s a very human story, but with honest performances and effective writing it’s already been moving and well told.

Identity Issues

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h31m05s774Vanessa had a difficult week as she questioned her sexuality and faced questions from the gossipy village. After spending the night with and being cruelly outed in the pub by Charity, Vanessa was confused about how to label herself, knowing that she was now interested in women. Despite the cliché public Woolie outing, I’ve enjoyed this story so far for the refreshing way it’s letting Vanessa take a slow and unpressured journey towards discovering her identity. Not only has it been great to see Ness get a storyline of her own, but the key players in her life – Rhona, Tracy, Frank and even Paddy and Pearl – have offered her great support and advice, in a non-judgemental and encouraging way and these have made for some touching and rather sweet scenes.

A Bit of Humour

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h53m43s196One shining light in this frustratingly slow “Robert takes over Home Farm” plot this week was Kath – the woman Robert hired to play an investor. Much like when Robert teamed up with Bernice last year, his irritated “brains of the operation” roles needs a slightly maverick comedy sidekick to clash with, and in this he has Kath. Despite her playing the part well and securing the deal, it was fun seeing her test the waters with him and make him sweat with her off-the-wall suggestions for Kath’s backstory. It certainly gives the story a bit more of the “fun” element even if it’s a stretch to believe Robert wouldn’t have knocked up a fake LinkedIn page for Rug Tree Bonds in his spare time.

Fails

Scheme of the Week

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h52m45s737Robert Sugden seems to be reliving his villainy Greatest Hits at the moment as he cartoonishly seduces his way into Home Farm. Literally. Again. But it’s not the excruciating scenes of Lawrence falling for Robert’s charms (come on Larry, he’s played you exactly like this before!) that make my fails list, it’s the plodding pace of this revenge plot. Every week a new scheme of Robert pops up with no end in sight giving him no real set backs to speak of. Even Chrissie was lured into forgiveness and trust this week, thanks to an anti-climatic near-death experience orchestrated by Rob. Come on, Chrissie – we were counting on you! At this point Robert will have so many puppets to control he’ll need a spare hand. Chrissie’s uncle Tim returned from nowhere (angry about some baffling injustice) to aid Robert’s evil deeds for a reason that made zero sense, leaving this plot with more holes than Lisa Dingle’s crochet blankets. Robert might be doing the trick to win over the Whites but it’s making panto season feel like an eternity – isn’t it about time he had a real rival to come up against?

Falling Flat

vlcsnap-2017-10-22-12h51m55s027Perhaps it’s a bit meanspirited of me to say, especially as he’s not been in Emmerdale long but Dan’s brother Daz already feels a bit surplus to requirement. Sure, they seem to be lining up a story of PTSD for Daz, but I can’t help but think his character is a bit dull and pointless and I’m struggling to care. This week he integrated himself into village life a bit more, getting a date and a job, but he’s not exactly got the charisma or fun factor to add anything new to the Dales. A dodgy woman from his past showed up threatening him and the family but there wasn’t any real sense of jeopardy and Dan and co’s response came across as laughable rather than strong. I don’t feel like we know Daz enough to care about his struggles, especially when these tales are based on his retelling of events, and he just doesn’t have enough charm or personality to be engaging. We have Dan, did we really need another downtrodden Mr Average?

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.

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!