Of all the “goodbye Finn” moments that this week had, it was Eric’s that broke my heart the most. Eric took Finn’s death pretty hard, especially considering that he’s lost Val too, and his emotive speech to Finn’s coffin was beautifully played. Chris Chittell’s performance of Eric’s grief perfectly encapsulated the sense of devastation at losing someone taken too soon, especially someone who was also “like a son” to him. This moment felt so truthful to times of loss that it resonates with many of us watching and the light-hearted joke Eric made about Finn giving Valerie a hug from him was particularly moving. We all know Eric as rather cantankerous and cold at times, so when we see his emotions pouring out like this, it hits even harder and made for a show stealing scene.
In another of Emmerdale’s incredible Super Soap Weeks there was no shortage of standout moments, but it was this incredibly moving scene that stole the week for me. With Tracy wondering where Finn had got to, it was up to Victoria to break the tragic news. We all knew it was coming and as Tracy blathered on, making jokes and reacting to the goss about Pete and Moira, the tension grew as we waited for her to hear what had happened to poor Finn. It’s scenes like this, where shocking news travels slowly and grief sets in that brings the realism to these big soapy weeks and it was a testament to the emotional performances of Amy Walsh, Isabel Hodgins and Christopher Chittell that it was hugely affecting. You could feel the loss and the tragedy as it rocked the villagers and this made Finn’s death much more impactful and heart-breaking – perhaps more so than the death scene itself.
Superstar young actors Rosie Bentham and Alfie Clarke are in the centre of Emmerdale’s biggest storyline at the moment, having already given huge performances during Ashley’s dementia storyline. This week as the tension mounted for Emma and having retrieved the stolen memory card, Gabby finally saw the video that broke her little brother’s heart. In the scene prior to this one Gabby and Arthur were laughing and reminiscing along with their father’s image, but it was this scene, as the emotional youngsters saw again what Emma had done to their father, that earns my Scene of the Week. I was spoilt for choice for great moments as the drama ramps up for a huge week for Emmerdale, but as Gabby vowed for revenge in spite of Arthur’s fears I was impressed at how both young actors managed to handle such big material and carry scenes on their own. Fingers crossed these two will be duly recognised with awards.
In what might have been the world’s most awkward first date, Robert Sugden out-did himself as the ex from hell, but boy was it entertaining. With Aaron facing pressure from family and friends to move on with his life, he and Dr Alex shared a lunch date in the pub. But being that Emmerdale is a small and nosy village, anyone could have warned them that this was a bad idea. If staring at them menacingly from the bar wasn’t cringey enough, Robert went over to their table and after a dismissive introduction plonked himself down at their table, with Vic and Charity wincing as they watched. Weren’t we all! It was a classic dick move, but the kind of amusingly petty behaviour from Robert we’re used to, with his alpha male bravado masking the heartbreak we’d seen earlier. Surprisingly Alex wasn’t put off and a stung Robert left the pub, but only after a mic drop (“I hope my husband makes you very happy”). Awkward – yes, clutching your face in horror – of course. But fun – definitely.
Granted, the resolution of Nell’s storyline was something of a disappointment, but Moira’s furious reaction to her deception was a great scene this week. Having been taken in by Nell’s lies, Moira had gone as far as giving her a place to stay and even the use of her dead daughter’s clothes trusting her every word because she saw so many similarities between Nell and Holly. As Jai tried to make Nell own up in front of Moira, she was outraged that Nell lied about using drugs and as Nell stood there calling Holly a pathetic junkie, a fuming Moira threw her out. Considering how Nell’s whole story hinged on her assimilation of Holly’s character, it’s only right Moira’s discovery of the truth was a fiery one and as ever there are few others in Emmerdale who can deliver a verbal take down quite like Moira!
What a scene this was! So good you can almost feel Jai’s life crashing down around him. Having gone to the department store to buy an engagement ring for Nell, the last thing Jai expected was a whole wall of photo frames showing Nell’s apparently dead baby “Rosie”. Of course this was just the start of Nell’s lies unravelling, but this was a gasp-out-loud moment as we all realised alongside Jai that the cherished photo Nell carried with her was in fact a stock photo of a child model. Kudos to actor Chris Bisson who delivered that shock moment as Jai’s face changed from joy to horror. From this moment, the Jai and Nell story just got better and better.
This scene, between Kerry, Bernice and a homeless man they’d helped makes my surprising choice for Scene of the Week. I say surprising because it’s not often a scene can move so well between Bernice’s usual style of insensitive comedy to something genuinely moving and reflective. Kudos to the actor Adam Radcliffe, who played homeless man Jude, who managed to make the audience and our favourite beauty therapists think about the real impact of their work in the delivery of his few lines of dialogue. It was a reminder how a small act of kindness can make a huge impact on a person and moved this plot away from a cartoonish depiction of “hobos” and into something a bit more heartfelt.
Rhona’s final confrontation with Pierce, behind the glass in prison, was a really powerful and uplifting moment and is my choice for Scene of the Week. Pierce was a chilling character, played superbly by Jonathan Wrather so seeing him in action again wasn’t unwelcome, but I was apprehensive as to how Emmerdale would round off this story. Thankfully, despite Pierce trying to garner sympathy for his prison experiences, Rhona saw through this for what it was – another way to manipulate her and make it all about him. This was a turning point for Rhona as she stopped seeing Pierce as the monster and was able to take strength from the fact that she still had her life to live and would do so without him having any further control over her. The closing shot of the scene, Rhona walking away head held high and Pierce trapped behind the glass, was the perfect end of that chapter and a sign, hopefully, that she will move forward with life.
In what was a great week of Emmerdale, there were many moments that could have made my Scene of the Week choice but ultimately Emma experiencing flashbacks from James’s final hours stole the show. Cleverly using those memorable scenes from Super Soap Week, we were able to relive Emma’s haunting thoughts – first beginning with just the eerie sounds surrounding her at Wylies, to her standing on and watching those fatal moments play out. We’re not used to these effects on Emmerdale, but used sparingly like this was hugely effective, making it powerful and chilling. It works for someone as unhinged as Emma and we were right there with her in the past. Gillian Kearney’s performances are always multi-layered and captivating so perhaps we could have experienced this scene without the cameos from Super Soap Week, however their inclusion gave it a special dimension and worked well in the lead up to her confession.