Quote of the Week (20-24 Nov 2017)

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Diane: [Pearl] can hear the clink clink of a bottle ten miles away. We haven’t been able to shake her off since she got the scent!

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Fave or Fail? (13-17 Nov 2017)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! 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?

Scene of the Week (13-17 Nov 2017)

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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.

Fave or Fail? (6-10 Nov 2017)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week 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.

Scene of the Week (6-10 Nov 2017)

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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.