Bernice: [finds balaclava in Liam’s bag]
Nicola: Oh. Murderer or pervert. Not a happy choice.
Bernice: [finds balaclava in Liam’s bag]
Nicola: Oh. Murderer or pervert. Not a happy choice.
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 Graham returned with a secret connection to Andrea and David had a meltdown and tried to kiss Priya.
Tensions have been high between Robert and Victoria since they learned rapist Lee wasn’t going to be charged, with Robert feeling increasingly helpless with the situation. Although Vic has managed to pour her energies into her pregnancy, Robert’s got a one-track mind for vengeance, desperate to see Lee pay for what he did. With Aaron in tow, Robert hunted Lee down to his place of work and tried to get him to confess. But with Robert’s impatience and anger getting the better of him, Aaron was forced to calm his husband down and abandon plans before Lee reported them. However misguided and unwise there’s ultimately something satisfying watching Robert’s vigilante justice attempts, and it’s rare to see him as the rattled and violent one spoiling for a fight. With the sad news of Ryan Hawley’s departure from Emmerdale announced this week, all eyes will be on this story to see how far Robert’s revenge goes and if it will lead to his untimely downfall.
Keeping Ellis off screen after his stabbing incident probably wasn’t the strongest narrative choice if it was to be followed up with a PTSD storyline, however it was good to see Asan N’Jie in a different light this week. As Ellis started to believe he was seeing Max around the village he started having panic attacks and these were claustrophobic and well acted. Perhaps hitting Marlon with a rolling pin (verging on the slapstick) and keeping the lacklustre Max drama confined to the residents of Tall Trees isn’t the most engaging way to tell Ellis’s story, but Ellis is charming and sweet enough to keep us caring about him. I’m not convinced by the idea of a Belle romance, but it was good to see both her and Aaron bonding with Ellis over their coping strategies for their mental health issues and this story definitely could do with not being a rehash of more Billy and Ellis dramas.
A Serious Turn
The drama for Liam and Bernice made up a small part of this week’s storylines but it gave us an interesting glimpse of a different type of plot for the couple. We’re used to fluff and carry-on capers for Bernice and her dishy doc, but this week there was tension between them after Bernice meddled trying to learn more about Liam’s dead ex. Bernice wanted Liam to be more open and this was a nice opportunity for us to learn more about Liam and his backstory – until now we’ve been in the dark as much as Bernice. As Liam opened up about his sad past, explaining how he really struggled after Lara’s death, even jumping into a relationship with Maya, he admitted he finally feels like he might be in a place to open up to Bernice. I hope these scenes were just the start of something more emotional for the couple as they could be perfect to go the distance.
We’ve had quite a few new characters join Emmerdale lately but none more mysterious than newcomer Nate. It doesn’t seem clear at the moment if Nate has an agenda or a secret, but there’s definitely something about him that feels ‘off’. Since his snog with Rhona, Nate’s made himself quite cosy at Butler’s, trying to be a comfort to Moira during her struggles with Cain, but he’s already moving quickly round the women of the village! First it was Tracy he slept with, then we saw him get friendly with Amy and spoilers have hinted another villager sleeps with him soon too. So what’s his deal? He seems to be asking a lot of nosy questions and he might exude a charm that makes women confide – but is that all there is to it? I can’t quite work out why he’s become such a hit with the women folk but I’m hoping there’s more to him than just a bed hopper.
This week we spent more time with the Home Farm contingent as Kim tried to redecorate in an attempt to keep Jamie and Andrea happy. Graham also returned this week and while this might have been the opportunity to carve out a more engaging personality for him, he instead returned with another convoluted backstory to add to the pile. While I was initial intrigued with the prospect of Andrea and Graham knowing each other and sharing a complicated past, the suspense was over in an instant as it was revealed that in between Graham’s looking after Joe, drinking problems, dead wife, romancing Kim, spying on Jamie, he’d also paid Andrea to cosy up to Jamie and keep an eye on him. Rather than trying to make Graham engaging in the present day stories Emmerdale just continue to give him more confusing baggage and backstories that weigh him down. They could have dragged out Andrea’s secret or we could have found out she was still playing a long game but within days Kim knew everything, and then so did Jamie. Lacklustre or what? As Jamie and Andrea had their first big angst moment, I was left wondering who cares this early on? They barely feel like a genuine couple and the secret seemed to explain why things were stilted, but if we’re really expected to believe Andrea’s got genuine love for him why are they both so cold and distant? I think there’s potential for both of them (unlikely together) but being bogged down in backstories is not what they need.
Bernice: I learnt a long time ago, that when she’s like this she won’t listen. There’s no talking to her.
Liam: Oh, a natural politician then!
Nicola: Oh haha(!) Who says satire is dead?
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a huge week in Emmerdale as Thursday night took a dark and mysterious turn…
Three is the Magic Number
The big question on everyone’s lips this week is – what happened to Maya? At the heart of this story is a pact between three great women – Leyla, Tracy and Priya – who were the first to learn the terrible truth about Maya and Jacob and since that reveal it hasn’t disappointed. Priya was the surprise first witness to Maya and Jacob kissing and this crucial moment was jaw-droppingly brilliant. We’d all been waiting for things to kick off and the delicious tension was a fitting climax to Thursday’s episode as Leyla could barely conceal her disgust, but like with the other key stories, we’ve been left in the dark as to what happened next. As the three women met up, they warred with a mix of guilt, fear and disgust as they tried to process both what had happened and the consequences of both their behaviour and Maya’s. This story offers everything and speculation is rife. Did their vigilante justice go too far? Will one of them crack? These three women are unlikely friends but now common allies against Maya and the events of that fateful night. We’ve been promised the ‘right’ ending for victim Jacob, so presumably the focus will return to him in time. But for now, I am gripped and thrilled by this turn of events and the chance for these three brilliant women to take centre stage.
The Morning After
Perhaps the best part of this week’s promoted episodes actually came in the aftermath. Not only did the tension hinge on the three women’s role in what happened with Maya, but it was also discovering and scratching our heads over what else happened that night. Much like your typical ‘Whodunnit’, characters were looking shifty and behaving oddly, holding back until later flashbacks reveal all. Press has already revealed Victoria was raped on the night out, and even though we haven’t seen the scenes yet, Isabel Hodgin’s vulnerable portrayal has been affecting from the off and she’s bound to be the star to watch over coming weeks. Billy and Ellis’s rocky relationship looks set to shatter even further as we learn more about the stabbing, particularly as Billy himself was the one carrying a knife. And then there’s Rhona who seems to be carrying secrets of her own. This week set the stage for the arrival of some unmissable, compelling stories which admittedly is the aspect Emmerdale has been lacking lately – aside from the Maya plot. It feels good to return to have that excitement back!
Aaron and Robert made progress on their baby dreams this week when after much to-ing and fro-ing, Natalie agreed to be their surrogate. After Faith’s disastrous attempts to sell the lads’ as dream candidates, Aaron and Robert were nervous about making a good impression. As they sat down for a frank chat, details about some of the more unappealing aspects of their pasts came out. After the lacklustre Billy drama and the previous stop-start surrogacy saga, it was a pleasure to have the pair front and centre of a storyline again. It’s always a bit surreal to have characters discuss their outlandish lives on screen and hearing just part (and thankfully for them it was only a tiny part!) of their lives relived, it was no wonder Natalie got scared off. Getting their extended family involved has been something of a poison chalice for the guys, but getting Faith, Paddy – and finally some input from the Sugdens – gave the story a wider impact and made it feel more real. While reports have suggested Natalie won’t be back, I for one hope they’re wrong, as actress Thea Beyleveld had great comic timing and already a nice rapport with the other actors involved.
It’s All Fun and Games
By the end of their Big Night Out there wasn’t much fun to be had, but it was a welcome slice of entertainment to have Bernice and Kerry’s bold sense of humours on full display at the club. Earlier in the week too we’d also seen Robert celebrate a drama-free birthday and the Sugden-Dingles gathered to see in 33 with shots of Sambuca and Diane got right involved. Sometimes it’s nice to see odd moments of normality, of joy and happiness between the dark and the disastrous lives these village folk lead.
The Beginning of the End?
No one expected Rhona and Pete to last as long as they have, least of all the characters themselves, but their surprising sparky relationship has been an unusually popular hit with viewers. Ever since Rhona’s accident and hysterectomy, however, we’ve seen them become more strained and it seems as if they’ve reached breaking point. While some viewers have found Rhona’s angry and paranoid outbursts frustrating and unlikeable, Emmerdale have done a good job at making her breakdown believable. There are multiple factors at work here – self doubt, insecurity about her age and her inability to have children, a lack of trust in Pete and that’s without her huge hormonal changes and challenges with her painkiller addiction. Pete is struggling to cope with her unpredictable moods and unreasonable reactions, and it’s hard to watch knowing how genuinely committed he is to her. With the Big Night Out episodes hinting Rhona may have cheated, this looks to be the beginning of the end for Pete and Rhona. It’s a real shame, but I can’t help but enjoy the layered way they’ve let this relationship collapse play out. Great performances and great writing.
Never Go Back
Anyone who reads this blog knows what a big Tracy fan I am and how much I enjoyed her realisation last year that she deserved better than hapless David Metcalfe, so it was unfortunate this week to see them kiss. This isn’t the first time Tracy and David have revisited their old relationship, but this time felt far more contrived, just to trigger Maya storming out of the club. While the kiss was understandable on David’s part as he licked his wounds after a failed proposal, Tracy is settled, strong and growing close again to Billy – so why regress her character with the kiss? It might have been a minor plot device but I just hope it doesn’t give Emmerdale any ideas. Tracy deserves better than that.
Nicola: You’re not the only one that suggested [I should run for the local council]. Call it a mandate from the masses, if you like!
Bernice: If you’re referring to what I said yesterday, I was mostly being facetious and sarcastic.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emmerdale went back to its farming roots this week as a tractor accident had terrible consequences for Rhona.
Life Changing Accident
Rhona suffered a nasty injury this week after a faulty tractor, driven by a worse-for-wear Pete, smashed into a barn. Following the accident, things escalated and Rhona was told she had fibroids in her womb and would need a hysterectomy to remove them. This immediately threw Rhona and Pete’s relationship into turmoil as they’d been living a laid-back romance and brushed aside more serious talks of the future. Not only did this story have the tension of who was to blame for the accident, but this also created interesting dilemmas in Pete and Rhona’s popular romance. Emmerdale haven’t utilised their farming setting in ages so it was great to see this used to explore conflict within a relationship. This story has already got fans speculating if and how Rhona and Pete could move forward, or whether it’s the end of the road for them with the kids factor being an insurmountable obstacle, and talking points like this are the backbone of great stories. It was great to see Pete find common ground in an unlikely heart-to-heart with Paddy and a welcome return of Zoe Henry’s stand-out performances. With a relationship on the line, Rhona’s painkiller addiction revisited and a hysterectomy affecting Rhona’s hormones, I can’t wait to see how this story progresses.
Friendships and great partnerships can often be forgotten depending on the storyline, so I was thrilled to see so many Rhona and Vanessa scenes this week as their friendship is one of my favourites in Emmerdale. Although Rhona has support from Pete and her exes Paddy and Marlon, there’s nothing that quite matches the tenderness of her friendship with Vanessa. Emmerdale have dropped the ball in showing them together since they both became busy with their love lives, but I hope they don’t forget about them again. I loved their scenes before Rhona’s accident as they teased each other about their romances, but their emotional hospital scenes were a real highlight of the week. Going forward I hope Vanessa continues to be supportive of Rhona, especially now that her relationship with Pete has hit the rocks.
Manpreet’s story continued this week as she stole from the factory accounts and eventually came clean with Rishi. I’ve completely grown to love Manpreet’s role in the Sharma family, lifting them away from cartoonish stories and giving them grounded family drama. With suspicious Jai and Priya worried about her taking advantage of Rishi’s big heart, they took a tough love approach, but the writing for this storyline allow both sides their time to be understood. We can accept Manpreet’s struggle with her addiction and like her, but also empathise with Jai’s kids who are trying to look out for him. Involving Manpreet with the factory workers and seeing her socialise with colleague Liam also really helped to widen the Sharma’s circle as often their stories can feel isolated. I’m glad the Sharmas are getting to do more than mess around with fancy dress and Lycra, because they’re capable of the serious and heartfelt too.
Paternity drama is ten a penny in soaps, but Emmerdale fell into predictable and irritating tropes again this week as Chas and Marlon continued to badger Paddy about finding out if Bear Wolf was his “real dad”. Having been unable to take Paddy’s word for it, Chas secretly sent off for a DNA result and endlessly discussed it with Marlon this week. Chas’s insistence was tiresome and unlikeable, particularly when Paddy rightly pointed out that biology made no difference to him, his dad was the man who raised him and Bear Wolf didn’t want to know. Chas nagging about this issue of “real” was unnecessary. This story felt lazy, relying on dated concepts of biological ties being more significant, which coming from Chas didn’t work when she’s seen herself that Paddy’s been a far greater father to Aaron than his “real” dad Gordon. To make matters worse, after wearing Paddy down into reading the result, he found out Bear Wolf is his biological father meaning we’re destined to watch more of that awful character and this repetitive story. Oh boy.
No More Mr Nice Guy
Ryan’s introduction to Emmerdale last year was a big hit with viewers but the countryside air must have got to him as this week we saw a nasty side to his personality that didn’t seem like the character we’d liked so much. Being an outsider in the village meant Ryan didn’t come with all the baggage and petulance that most soap characters have. He seemed like a cool, mature bloke, open minded with a sarcastic sense of humour – a refreshing change. This week, however, he reverted to a selfish sulky teenager and went as low as offering Dawn money for sex when his jealousy and insecurity took over. After oafish drayman Leon, Ryan was supposed to look empathetic, like a guy who’d just made a mistake, but his relationship with Dawn until this point had been compassionate and nuanced so his reaction to throw money at her was a big misstep. Exploring Ryan’s issues with his own self-worth and feeling insecure against Leon’s macho act needed the care and depth to do it justice. This week’s scenes didn’t have that, and it was difficult to empathise with him. Instead Ryan looked petty and cold and when it all came out, it was impossible not to be on Dawn’s side as Ryan’s remorse was lacking and he just seemed sulky. Even Ryan’s relationship with Charity, which had once felt fresh and different, is now repetitive. Like she does with Debbie, Charity’s begun to enable Ryan’s behaviour, mothering and interfering, and Ryan was once more independent than to tolerate that. Emmerdale need a serious rethink before they ruin Ryan’s character for good.
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 pretty poor week in the Dales that saw wrestler Bear Wolf visit the Woolie (in scenes I’d rather forget) and a very loveless Valentine’s Day.
Marlon’s Wake-up Call
Marlon blew a fuse this week when discovering Jessie lied and left April alone in the house so she could break up the fight between Ellis and Billy. Marlon’s anger cut straight to the heart of the matter and shamed Jessie left to stay with a friend. These scenes were surprisingly well done, even if Marlon and Jessie’s relationship is a struggle to connect with. I still wish they’d stayed friends rather than rushing into an ill-suited marriage, however Mark Charnock gave these scenes his all and they added some much-needed depth to their marriage. The obstacles their family are facing are complex and interesting, it’s just a bit of a shame that the central Marlon/Jessie relationship is the real weak link.
She might have caused her own downfall by trying to steal money from Graham right under his nose, but with Valentine’s love in the air this week, I definitely felt pangs of sympathy for Nicola. Perhaps it was Nicola Wheeler’s touching performance of Nicola’s loneliness on Valentine’s Day night that won me over, or her crushed expression when best mate Laurel revealed she was becoming her boss, or maybe it was her brilliant display of determination and fighting spirit against Graham. By the end of the week (and after the hilarious “hostage” scenes) Nicola decided she needed to show some more honesty and admit her mistakes and she turned herself into the police. Her teary eyed love declaration to Jimmy was a heightened parody of the Princess Leia and Han Solo scene in Empire Strikes Back and a great end to the week. Whoever she’s in scenes with, from Jimmy to Laurel to Graham to Bernice, Nicola makes Emmerdale far more enjoyable.
Sharma Spark Back?
It was good to see Jai with a bit of life back in him this week. Chris Bisson’s been underused in Emmerdale in recent years but with a bit more focus on the factory workers this week, Jai was back lording it over them and he felt right at home. Though the Sharmas have recently been used as comedy D plots and Jai’s screentime has seriously lessened since his days as a cartoon baddie, his recent versatility between a support for Manpreet and a snarky boss shows he’s worth more than just being a background character. It’s about time he had more to do.
On paper, Jessie’s complicated relationship with her sons and her inability to cut the apron strings is a story worth watching, same too is Ellis and Billy’s tension and rivalry. Unfortunately the reality of these struggles haven’t been as gripping to watch. The brothers have great charisma and chemistry, but this week’s scenes which saw Ellis drive at Billy with a van escalated too quickly making their confrontation feel forced. Their background strife over Jessie’s favouritism feels believable, but to have Ellis’s rushed jealousy over Vic be his motivation to mow Billy down just didn’t ring true – and neither did Vic’s disinterest in his romantic plans and sudden dumping. While Jessie’s bad decision to leave April alone to resolve her sons’ war left Marlon fuming, it’s her own parenting decisions that are irritating to watch rather than relatable. She might have agreed to stay out of their fights, but something tells me she won’t be able to resist and her inference doesn’t do her character any favours.
UnBEARable and Unfunny
This week saw Paddy meet the man suspected to be his biological father, the wrestler Bear Wolf. If the story’s build up sounded ridiculous, nothing could quite prepare us for his scenes this week which saw Emmerdale reach new lows of cringeworthy comedy. It’s been uncomfortable enough watching Chas and Marlon repeatedly push Paddy into meeting Bear Wolf, even though he’d told them he wasn’t interested, but this week they forced his hand even further by orchestrating the meet. Comedy is a subjective thing, but having well-trodden “real” father mystery mission wasn’t made more entertaining by Bear Wolf being a sleazy wrestler, in fact it managed to remove all the heart and emotion from Paddy’s curiosity. The OTT costume, the wig and the fact that his take-over of the pub dominated scenes made the humour feel laboured and almost unwatchable. It only got worse when Paddy grappled with him on the floor and an attempt to steal Bear’s DNA left them wig snatching instead. This was played for a shock laugh, but it was obvious to anyone that Bear’s long locks weren’t his own. If this is supposed to be the uplifting story for Paddy after Grace’s death then this awful story was the wrong way to go about it. If any story is worse than this in 2019 I’d be very surprised (and horrified!).
Comedy can be hit and miss in Emmerdale, but Nicola’s determined fight against Graham’s house repossession in Friday’s episode was a chucklesome hit. After burying the key down her bra, Nicola held Diane and Bernice “hostage” as she ranted at Graham and tried to put off new residents by threatening that they’d have the villagers pooing on their lawn. Meanwhile Bernice and Liam took the hostage situation seriously with brilliantly funny love declarations and OTT claims of sacrifice. The sisters’ rivalry and clash of personalities is always entertaining, especially with Diane’s eye rolling along side it. It was great to see Nicola fight back and see Graham out of his dry lonely existence up at Home Farm – this was great entertainment at the end of the week.
Nicola: I know I’ve always been a bit…challenging.
Bernice: Huh! Understatement of the century!
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! New year but not so happy, as Matty faced a horrific attack and Dawn overdosed.
Matty’s New Year Hell
Showing Matty facing a transphobic attack, and his emotional and physical struggles in the fall-out, was original ground for Emmerdale this week, but a story worth telling. I love stories that dig deep into a character and this story did just that. Alongside Matty’s resilience, he leant on his support network and aired his pain in a series of emotive conversations. Enjoyable stories also use supportive characters in interesting ways and Cain was a welcome, refreshing presence in Matty’s life. It was also a smart move to link Matty’s desire for revenge with Cain’s PTSD over Joe’s death and use this as a bridge between stories. We’re used to seeing Matty as a happy, well-liked guy in the village so the attack really resonated and the fear in Ash Palmisciano’s performance was chill-inducing – hopefully an eye-opener for viewers ignorant to transphobia.
Tender Loving Care
Without question Bernice and Liam’s relationship is one of my Emmerdale favourites and this week was a perfect example as to why. After Bernice’s age obsession and amusing health kick (in which poor Liam faced a future of quinoa), she took things too far and got Kerry to inject her face. After hospitalisation her relationship with Liam was fragile after her stupid mistake but after a brief wobble he called her beautiful and perfect, wishing she would realise he loves her as she is. As the pair realised he’d said those three special words they shared a kiss. I’m a sucker for their sweet and funny romance and unlike other Dales couples, their love has blossomed into something that feels right for both characters. There’s enough personality and comedy in this partnership for it to last and last, and I would love to see them make a go of this troublesome big happy family!
I loved seeing Bernice’s family rally round her this week in the wake of her horrible allergic reaction. Not only did this give Samantha Giles something serious to get her teeth into, but I enjoyed all the conflicting personalities in the big family scenes. One of the week’s most surprising and touching moments was Nicola and Leanna bonding, as Nicola opened up to the meddling teen, in an effort to stop Leanna trying to split up Bernice and Liam, telling her how she’d devastated Rodney by trying to ruin his relationship. With Leanna’s own backstory making her more sympathetic this week, she shared a touching scene with Bernice as the two made progress in forming a bond. This week was full of great character moments and conversations and this story had plenty.
A Change in Cain
Several Emmerdale fans mentioned it this week – but it was a funny turn of events when viewers are sympathising with poor beaten-to-death Cain, because he was unable to use his trademark violence – and all because Cain thinks he killed Joe with one punch! We’re so used to seeing Cain pulping someone black and blue that seeing him be the target was shocking viewing. The change was quite a shock, and an interesting direction for him, but not one I hope will last. It’s not one of my favourite stories, particularly as the warmth from Cain and Moira’s marriage seems to have evaporated since she became a mob wife, but Jeff Hordley’s shaken performances have been well worth watching.
Not only has Dawn become an engaging and likeable new character in the village, she’s even brought Harriet to life. I don’t want Emmerdale to rush their almost mother-daughter reunion, and nor do I want it to be as on/off as Charity and Ryan’s is, but good scripts and poignant moments as the women shared their history have helped to flesh out Harriet’s character so she’s less of a cardboard vicar. Even as Harriet revealed their connection to others, I felt invested in her attachment to Dawn and her guilt and even though the box of memories has never been seen before, I could buy into Harriet’s recently written backstory as having always been an element of why she became a vicar. I’m surprised by how good this story is, but I don’t want a quick fix after years of resentment from Dawn.
Mums at War
Billy’s arrival has already caused quite a stir but the fall-out is really missing the mark. The root of the problems is the history between Aaron and Billy, but instead of letting those characters resolve their past or prolong their rift, Emmerdale has opted for the least interesting path of all and let their whiny mothers fight it out, acting as if their sons are helpless children. Both Jessie and Chas’s personalities grate when they’re looking out for their “boys” and it’s more like mums at war in the playground, both blindly raging on. Headache inducing. Emmerdale has a good story here for Jessie’s desperation for Billy not to become a statistic, but instead of this driving the story it’s her insistence that Billy has done nothing wrong and that Aaron is also a thug. Billy might be trying to change, but us viewers saw the impact of Aaron’s prison bullying and it’s not easy to watch it being dismissed so easily by those who are Team Billy. Marlon too is in a tough position, but asking us to invest in his support of Billy against the Dingles requires a firm belief in the “true love” he has with Jessie and I don’t think I’m there yet. Billy? Aaron? Ellis – does this affect his job or his relationship with Vic? Robert – who uncharacteristically beat Billy? Nowhere to be seen. The really gritty, interesting dynamics here are just being passed over.