Sometimes the best scenes are the most unexpected moments between two characters who rarely share screentime together and that was the case this week as Bob reached out to Moira. Loss and death of loved ones is something no villager has escaped, but with Moira still feeling desperately low, Bob did his best to make her see that Holly’s death wasn’t her fault. Bob’s emotional chat with Moira really triggered the tear ducts as he talked about losing his daughter Dawn and how he struggled to cope with the guilt of not being there. I love a good slice of Emmerdale history in scenes! Bob was also able to relate to Moira’s difficulties with Isaac, as his twins arrived very shortly after Dawn’s death and he echoed what some of Moira’s emotions have been. Ultimately the biggest positive about this scene and story is Emmerdale’s attitude towards Holly’s death and the way it’s been told. It’s very different from the usual quick pace of grieving in soap, and that’s been a real strength to Moira’s story, allowing her PND to be more complex and real.
Having spent about a week in the family attic, Lachlan timed his return perfectly, just as the Whites were in full meltdown. With Lawrence suggesting Chrissie turn to his usual choice of problem solver, alcohol, Lachlan walked back into their lives, casual as ever. As Chrissie launched herself at him, distraught and relieved, Lachlan remained nonchalant and smug in his own twisted way. Their relief and regret played right into his hands and Lucky hugged his mother right back, without a shred of remorse. I still think Lachlan could have caused much more drama from his secret attic lair but Thomas Atkinson’s performance of Lachlan’s cold-eyed triumph was a good watch.
“You don’t dig a grave and leave it empty.” Finally this week Tom Waterhouse got interesting. Newbie Ned Porteous has put in some charismatic and charming performances as Tom, but the Fifty Shades schtick was all a bit odd. But thankfully it all had a purpose as duplicitous Tom revealed the perfect man routine was all an act and there’s a much darker intention underneath. Who Tom is and what his plans are for Debbie we don’t know yet, though minds are whirring that Tom might be a Tate, come to seek revenge on Charity and Debbie. Whoever he is and what his motives are it certainly makes the story far more appealing and intriguing than Debbie’s Cinderella story. But will Tom stick to his plan forever, or might there be real feelings involved in the future? So many questions and this scene was just the start.
This brilliant flashback scene was part of the special and memorable episode on Friday as Faith and Cain revisited the past. Featuring some incredible casting, Fleur Keith gave a great performance as Faith’s younger self, bruised and beaten and leaving the abusive Shadrach behind. It was an event we’d heard of years before from both Cain and Chas but seeing this pivotal moment ourselves brought it to life in a heartbreaking way, making Cain’s lifelong agony over it feel more acute. I loved the way the present day melted away into the flashback and then later the voice overs brought us back to the present. Every scene from this innovative episode could have been my scene of the week, but I picked this moment for its creativity and emotion and the impressive performances from all involved.
In a (much loathed) pregnancy plot that brought us endless angst, self harm, the end of one of Emmerdale’s beloved couples and a tedious panto revenge plot – it was quite a surprise to see Rebecca’s labour played for laughs. Of course, it did come immediately after a scene of Danny Miller doing what he does best and conveying a thousand tragic emotions in mere seconds as Aaron held back the sobs to congratulate his estranged husband on the birth of his child. It was every bit as searingly painful as you’d imagine and bristling with that magic chemistry. In the next room, Rebecca screamed for drugs, Chrissie was uncomfortable and naturally funny (why haven’t we seen Louise Marwood do more comedy?) and Lawrence couldn’t seem to step away from his daughter’s vagina. Tonally jarring, sure, but on the plus side it was a strangely entertaining scene in what has been one slog of a storyline.
The “Who Killed Emma?” storyline stepped up a gear in Friday’s episode as the suspects gathered around the bonfire and we were treated to flashbacks of the fatal day. There’s something really atmospheric about Emmerdale scenes shot at night and the firework explosions certainly made everything feel more dramatic, helping to move the story away from constant scenes of Pete pointing the finger. The flashbacks of all those involved really added to the mystery making everyone feel like a real contender for the culprit status and had me itching for even more flashbacks and the answer to the whodunnit. It was a great scene to finish the week and one that really ramped up the anticipation levels.
Moira and Cain were back to doing their very best this week and that’s showcasing their bristling chemistry in an embittered row over their future. With Moira struggling after the birth of their son, Cain went to Butler’s in an attempt to support her and unearth some of his buried feelings, in the emotionally strained Cain-style we get a glimpse of every now and again. But if you thought a bit of belated emotional honesty would chip away at Moira’s defences you’d be wrong as she protected herself from more heartache, telling him that she hated him and wanted to parent Isaac alone. Behind closed doors both halves of Coira broke down in a classic case of yearning and miscommunication. It might be too little too late on Moira’s terms, but it’s obvious the love between them has never gone away. Actors Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley make it look effortless, every charged moment and hurtful word stinging, every look and silence meaningful – it’s an Emmerdale partnership that’s hard to beat and one that makes their scenes stand out.
It’s no wonder that Natalie J Robb is nominated for Serial Drama Performance at the National Television Awards again, when stand-out performances like this manage to steal the show. Since the shock arrival of her new son, Moira’s been distant and struggling to cope with the new addition to her life. She’s not been short of support but her family have been almost smothering at times with none of them quite able to understand the difficulties she’s having. The last scene on Friday – and my Scene of the Week choice – saw Moira cracking under the pressure and shouting at her baby to stop crying, before she could no longer take it and walked out on him, sobbing on the farm. Not only was Natalie’s amazing performance a heartbreaking display of agony but the beautiful rural scene, with the sun setting, made for a stunning moment. We’ve seen so little of Moira this year so it’s great to have her back at the centre of Emmerdale.
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.