Fave or Fail? (9-13 Dec 2019)

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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 Archie ran away from home after further bullying from Arthur and the villagers decided to put on a panto.

Faves

Panto Fun

vlcsnap-2019-12-14-13h45m17s638Community stories can often be thin on the ground in current Emmerdale so this week’s Christmas panto story was a joy. In a small village where everyone knows each other, this season is the perfect time for lots of characters to get together, even those who aren’t usually involved. This story gave Manpreet a chance to embed herself more in the village, beside her GP role, and we could also forget that Bob was involved with the show’s most hated character while he relished in his creative role. It was also a lot of fun to see the actors pretending to act on stage, some even doing a bad job. We haven’t seen a panto in the village for a while and so far it’s been everything warm and fun and Christmassy. Unlike the village nativity from two years ago, centred around Chas and Paddy’s forced humour, it’s been much more fun to see the rehearsals and preparation and not just rush straight to a costumed performance. It has shades of the community spirit from classic Emmerdale and that can only be a good thing.

Archie’s Anguish

vlcsnap-2019-12-14-13h46m00s801Archie’s story escalated this week and really tugged at the heart strings. While the writing for this storyline feels rushed and extreme at times, little Kai Assi is doing a brilliant job at showing Archie’s absolute fear and hopelessness. It was impossible not to want to reach into the screens and hug him this week as he saw his only option was to run away. Feeling completely alone, Archie’s anguish was very emotive and is one of the reasons why this story is working.

Arthur’s Anger

vlcsnap-2019-12-14-13h44m46s540Apart from my Scene of the Week choice, there was another scene which really stood out and was one of the highlights of the Archie and Arthur story. It was clear that Arthur attached a lot of significance to Christmas when it came to remembering his late dad. With that in mind Laurel organised a special festive gathering to decorate the tree, with Arthur ready to place the final decoration on the tree – a special decoration he once made for his dad. Arthur’s world shattered when Archie ran in and broke the decoration in the scuffle. You could feel Arthur’s pain and hurt and so much of that was in the brilliant performance from Alfie Clarke. There are times when the writing over-simplifies Arthur’s bullying as reasonless cruelty, but when we see Arthur’s perspective and a young boy still struggling with grief, the story is so much better for it.

Jimmy and Nicola United

vlcsnap-2019-12-14-13h47m31s657The Archie plot isn’t perfect but it does have many elements that are successful. With the great performances from both the young children and the parents, it’s been great to see characters like Jai, Laurel, Jimmy and Nicola get something really meaty story-wise. There was a nice reminder this week about what a great couple Jimmy and Nicola are as Nicola was unflinching in her support of her husband. Solid couples are thin on the ground at the moment, but there’s something so genuine about Jimmy and Nicola that makes their scenes feel authentic.

Chemistry Calling

vlcsnap-2019-12-14-13h44m00s035When Jamie arrived it looked like Emmerdale were paving the pathway for another Dingle and Tate romance, as he and Belle flirted. All that changed with the arrival of Andrea and Millie and it was a struggle to buy into Jamie the family man. Even though that angle has improved in recent weeks with Andrea and Jamie’s loss and the Millie paternity saga giving us many scenes of doting dad Jamie, we saw the sparks return with Belle this week. Ellis is back on the scene with a new face and it’s too early to tell if he and Belle have chemistry – but does that even matter when Belle and Jamie’s chemistry is so palpable? With Jamie’s rather flustered comments at the Christmas party giving Belle something to smile about, there’s surely too much potential there to squander?

Fails

Escalating too Fast?

vlcsnap-2019-12-14-13h50m03s681Despite the Archie and Arthur storyline having many positives and being one of Emmerdale’s strongest stories of the moment, it has some flaws in its execution. Perhaps its down to impatient viewers or the way modern TV drama has to compete with boxsets, but something is lost in the sensitivity and nuance of a challenging story like this when it escalates so quickly. Maybe viewers don’t want months of Arthur’s troubling behaviour building to bullying, but the whiplash from the kind boy who has a conscience, to the tough bully needs to be told carefully. Likewise Jai and Laurel turning against Jimmy, a man they’ve known in years and, in Laurel’s case, a close friend borders on unbelievable and hollow when it happens so fast. When Emmerdale’s airing six, sometimes seven, episodes a week, they have the luxury to take their time telling this, but the speed the situation has escalated feels like they’re anxious about viewers interest. Sometimes these stories don’t need extreme behaviour shifts and twists, they just need to unravel more slowly.

Befriending the Enemy

vlcsnap-2019-12-14-13h50m29s748You have to feel for Bob. He’s just managed to shake off the memories of the hated Bob and Laurel affair and last year’s (all too brief) homelessness story did wonders in repairing fans’ love for Bob. But now, even in the midst of a fun panto plot, he’s taken Wendy’s side. Granted, he was telling her he couldn’t support her over Victoria, but surely even by empathising with her and comforting her, he was doing just that? The Wendy plot continues to be misguided and an unpleasant watch, but characters we know and like shouldn’t be dragged into it otherwise it means dragging them down with her.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 Oct 2019)

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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! Emmerdale pushed the boat out (literally) for its big stunt and Chas gave birth.

Faves

Cain’s Carnage

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h46m50s408If there’s one character who owned the week, it was Cain Dingle. There’s a reason why Cain is so popular among viewers and ultimately it comes down to the brilliance of Jeff Hordley’s portrayal. This week was a blockbuster week for Cain as he learnt Moira was cheating. First he pummelled the wrong target (oops, poor Pete) and then on learning the real culprit was Nate, staged an elaborate (and let’s face it a convoluted/ridiculous) revenge plot. With Cain’s pain, fury and below the surface seething playing out perfectly in Jeff’s face, I’m not convinced the week needed a random boat explosion, when the showdown was satisfying on its own but the underwater scenes were visually impression. It’s unclear what’s next for Cain and Moira, particularly when her motivation to cheat was unsatisfying and unsympathetic, but the pair have undeniable chemistry even at war. Whatever happens, Cain’s total breakdown will be worth watching for Jeff’s performances alone.

Prison Pain

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h47m34s909Robert faced his sentencing this week in a plot thread that felt a bit lost in the show’s stunt week after last week’s thrilling focus. However this didn’t deter from the emotional performances as both Robert and Aaron tried to put on a brave face. As Aaron suffered alone at home watching a video from his husband, his prison break out plan abandoned after some tough and quite uncompassionate berating from his family, Robert faced his own despair in a prison cell. This heartbreak was a nice juxtaposition of scenes and Aaron’s dark mood clouded the rest of the week in a way that was fitting to the tragedy of the situation. The performances and grief following last week have been spot on, but my only fear is after last week’s great scenes, the momentum has been lost a little.

Faith Says Farewell

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h49m51s449We said goodbye to Sally Dexter this week as Faith, in a way that felt surprisingly final. Since it was announced Faith would be leaving the Dales, there was hope it was just a break, but the framing of Friday’s scenes felt like we might not see Faith again for a long time – if ever again. Even though her exit itself seemed rushed, especially with only a handful of characters available to say goodbye, Sally Dexter had a final week of big dramatic performances and not just the barbed comments and comedy she’s often been used for. Faith’s been quite brash and divisive but she’s also been someone who’s felt right at home from the start and fit into the village perfectly. From her troubled role as a parent to Chas and Cain to the touching romance with Eric, it was good to see both of these explored in her final episode. Faith’s been one of those great morally grey characters who can inspire empathy even in the worst of her behaviour. She’ll be a real loss to the show.

Light and Shade

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h52m35s674In among all the high drama this week was Chas giving birth in the pub toilets with only Marlon to hand. Scenes of someone giving birth in the wrong place at the wrong time are done often in soap, but these were lifted by the reliably amusing Marlon and of course the drunken chaos of Mandy and Bob next door. In fact those two, plus Lydia, would be a great full time addition to the bar staff. Every big week needs a lighter story and this worked well, especially when Chas and Paddy’s joy felt earned after last year’s tragedy.

Fails

Bonus Fail

  • It seems like someone at Emmerdale had a short term memory this week! First Chas managed to learn Moira had cheated on Cain twice, once in the first Thursday episode, then again at the end of the second episode. Baby brain or a mistake slipping through the net? Then Chas chose the name “Eve” for her new baby, totally forgetting about Eve Jenson who was her mortal enemy and cheated with Carl. Would you really name your child after someone you hated? Seems like Emmerdale forgot all about that big story. Finally, the discovery Faith had been involved in preventing Cain from knowing about pregnant Cara was baffling as we’d already seen how Faith had abandoned her kids when they were very young – so how did her involvement work? Considering the special flashback episode dealing with Cain and Faith’s past was less than two years ago, this seems like a really clunky mistake. When the big twist doesn’t gel with established canon, it weakens the satisfying element of a twist!

More Torture for Victoria

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h49m27s269Some viewers had already predicted that cute hospital guy Luke would have some sort of dark connection to Lee, but I was naively hoping that Emmerdale wouldn’t go down such a convoluted and cruel route. Wrong. The glimmer of hope and happiness for Vic was not to be, which considering what she’s suffered through this year feels particularly mean spirited. This week she discovered Luke was Lee’s brother, another spawn of the vile Wendy’s and so Vic’s chance for a fresh start away from her trauma and her rapist is not to be. Isn’t this a bit needless? If Vic couldn’t have justice, then a clean break, empowered against Lee’s awful mother would have been a start. I fear Emmerdale will explore a relationship between the two and try and soften Wendy that way but Victoria deserves much better.

Twist Shock?

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h51m21s558So, Nate is Cain’s son, eh? Who’d have thought it? Well…quite a few viewers to be honest. Was there ever going to be a twist big and shocking enough to please every viewer? Probably not. But there was something uninspired about this predictable route and I’m not convinced it made trashing Moira and her marriage worth it. Perhaps if Emmerdale had worked harder to establish Nate as a character in his own right, or avoided the repetitive affair scenes by having his seduction more prolonged and subtle, perhaps if we as viewers had been in on Nate’s motivation and secret then the gut-punch for Moira and Cain might have meant more. Perhaps if we’d seen hints of Nate’s ulterior motive or even Cain growing to like him so his betrayal and hatred hit with more impact. As it was after the budget blowing stunt, the impact of the secret unravelled quickly in a series of confusing and dull exposition scenes about a character we’ve never met (Cara), that made the backstory of Cain and Faith’s relationship muddled (Faith WAS around in his life apparently and Shadrach was a racist) and wasn’t as exciting as it might have been if we’d been in on the shock all along. Not to mention the fact that Cain is interesting enough without another secret child being brought into the equation – we’ve only just had Ryan and Charity. What Emmerdale seems to have assumed is that Nate is automatically interesting because he’s Cain’s son, but if they want us to be interested in another father/son bonding journey, then they’re going to have to make a bit more effort to write Nate as more than just a plot device.

Scene of the Week (21-25 Jan 2019)

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This week’s gut-wrenching Scene of the Week saw Harriet discover an unconscious Bob who had found himself sleeping rough on a bench in the rain. We’d seen Bob nestle down for the night in the awful weather with the oblivious villagers leaving him with nowhere to go. Guilty Harriet suspected something was up and found him by the river, skin blue and suffering from hypothermia. Harriet’s complete shock and devastation was echoed in the thoughts of viewers watching and a great performance from Katherine Dow Blyton really made the moment hit home. Bob’s suffering had really hit rock bottom and this was a powerful moment to see.

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2018

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It hasn’t been the greatest year of Emmerdale stories and when the big plots drag, or have anti-climactic endings it’s even worse. There were some low points which didn’t make the list but need a mention – like Rodney and Misty’s horrendously cringy sex life and David Metcalfe being a scumbag – but those aside, here’s a look some of the worst parts of Emmerdale in 2018.

Come back later for my Top 10 Emmerdale Moments of 2018!

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7. Amelia’s Kidnap

When Amelia’s disappearance began it was genuinely interesting. At first we had no idea what had happened to her – was she dead? Was it an inside job? After a disappointing paternity twist, a shocking missing child plot could have been really exciting. But after the TV appeal and with Kerry the only watchable part of the story, the rest was left to more of Dan and Daz’s boggle-eyed fighting. Within a week all mystery was good and it was revealed Amelia was groomed by Beth, whose father had been killed in action by Daz. Beth’s threats were laughable, Amelia’s fixation with Beth was unbelievable when we’d seen none of its build-up. This just wasn’t the right story for the Spencers and unfortunately it went on and on.

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6. Lachlan’s Anti-climax

One of Emmerdale’s biggest stories in 2018 was Lachlan’s descent into serial killing. With Thomas Atkinson at the heart of the stories, many of the disappointments were saved with his chilling performances, but this story dragged on for far too long. For months Lachlan’s evil behaviour stalled and characters conveniently went on holiday just so he could get away with his crimes. When it came to the end, everyone expected a huge Cameron Murray-style climax, but his showdowns were staggered across a week, followed by a stint in jail and his eventual exit was a tame affair of some wise-cracking detectives telling him he’ll be in prison for a very long time. Spoilers tell us he’ll be making a return to terrorise Belle soon from behind bars, but I’m not convinced even a delayed climax can save story that stalled and swerved any real excitement.

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5. Ross’s Acid Attack

Ross’s acid attack story began as a contemporary story with some stellar scenes in the aftermath, but quickly the direction veered away from a sensitive handling of a modern day issue and got bogged down in guns, gangsters, drugs and Debbie Dingle. Making Debbie, a pivotal character in the village, the accidental mastermind behind the attack meant she could never really face justice for the action and Emmerdale did their very best to absolve her of blame. At times her guilt was empathetic but many viewers felt there was too much focus on her role rather than Ross’s recovery. While Ross’s identity and self esteem struggled, it was the regression to form that was so disappointing. Rather than the attack letting us see the more vulnerable, likable aspects of Ross, we saw him become a cocky thug, taking coke and destroying all his relationships. This might have been a prolonged reaction to his attack but it was ugly to watch and made Ross’s last months on Emmerdale unpalatable.

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4. Bob and Laurel

It seems like the new producers of Emmerdale have seen sense and ended the Bob and Laurel relationship and this was arguably one of 2018’s most hated plotlines. Last year in my rundown of 2017 I praised seeing more of Bob but this year I’ve eaten my words as we saw selfish Bob destroy his marriage for a midlife crisis affair with Laurel and become a really unlikeable man. There were elements of empathy and good viewing within this story, it just became difficult to buy into this apparent deep emotional love Laurel and Bob shared when there was no chemistry on screen. At one point during the year it seemed like Bob and Laurel spent every episode sucking face and when we knew how it was hurting Brenda, and later the kids, it became even more unwatchable. Much like how showrunners backtracked on Zak and Joanie, it seems everyone saw sense and Bob and Laurel’s romance is well and truly over now, thank god.

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3. Home Farm Flops

One of 2018’s biggest disappointments was how fast Emmerdale destroyed Joe and Graham. From the masterpiece of the Joseph Tate reveal, he was the perfect antagonist, held back from the edge by the mysterious Graham. But just months later, Joe turned lovesick puppy for Debbie, forgiven by all the villagers he’d wronged and eventually killed by right hand man Graham. Graham, who’s dark past was revealed in great scenes with Debbie early in the year, is stuck in the big house isolated and twiddling his thumbs until Kim’s return. Apart from Emmerdale sucking all life and interest from Joe during his short time on the show, my interest in Graham has quickly waned as Emmerdale have swerved any real depth to him by keeping him aloof and monotone. Not only have they given him a lifeless romance with Megan, but following on from the same mistakes as The White family, Graham’s only interesting feature is his exposition-heavy backstory. There’s only so long you can stay interested in a character as robotic as Graham and I’m afraid I’ve lost all patience.

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2. Rebecca and the Crazy Nurse

When Rebecca became Lachlan’s prisoner in the woods, we finally saw a side to her that had been missing in her previous storylines, she fought back, determined to survive and see Seb again. But after her many many near death experiences, Emmerdale revealed Lachlan had kept her locked up with a deranged nurse who kept her drugged and tied to the bed. Rebecca managed to escape and returned to the village in a nightie at the graveyard like a ghost. She then proceeded to retell her whole trauma to police, despite having severe memory problems due to her executive dysfunction. This ill-conceived story was like something from a terrible American soap opera, not just outlandish and implausible, but a laughably stupid turn of events from what had been an enjoyably grisly part of the Lachlan story.

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1. Killing Gerry

Emmerdale’s decision to kill off Gerry wasn’t just the worst thing they did in 2018, in fact I think it’s one of Emmerdale’s worst decisions in recent years. Gerry was the sacrificial lamb to Lachlan’s reign of terror, but what a waste it was. Gerry was a loveable cheeky chappy who had so many interactions in the village and unlike some “comedy characters” he was a genuinely funny guy. He had a lovely relationship with Doug, wound up Aaron, befriended Liv, walked Tip the dog for Jai and had a very keen interest in older ladies. His connection to Lachlan might’ve meant his death was inevitable but much like losing Val in 2015, I think it was a big mistake. It’s hard to replicate a character like Gerry and I think it’s a huge loss to the show. RIP Gerry lad, miss you.

Fave or Fail? (24-28 Dec 2018)

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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 Jessie and Marlon got married on Christmas Day and Bernice had a meltdown over turning 50.

Faves

Family Fall Out

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h38m47s054Billy’s arrival in Emmerdale this week gave a welcome injection of drama into the Grant/Dingle household, which until then had been rather pedestrian. In just four episodes Billy has given us a Dingle rift, challenged loyalties, tested Jessie and Marlon’s relationship and hinted at a long-term rivalry between brothers Ellis and Billy. Already Billy seems like a complex and charismatic individual, capable of trouble, but also able to fleece his mum where needed. His arrival has added some much needed depth to Jessie too, causing her to make questionable decisions but for believable reasons. Billy hasn’t done or said much yet but it’s clear there’s a lot more to him and that kind of intrigue is exactly what Emmerdale needs as we head into the new year. He’s really shaken things up and if that also means a lot more Ellis, then it’s really promising!

Bernice’s Birthday

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h34m32s196This week had episodes full of classic Bernice hilarity as her feud with Nicola continued and she despaired over turning 50. After another bust up with her sister on Christmas Day, Bernice spent the rest of the week feeling fragile about her impending birthday, especially now she’s with a younger man. When she found out Liam and Nicola had been talking about her birthday, she charged over to see her, crying “Snake!” and proceeding to get smashed on white wine with Matty. Samantha Giles delivers Bernice’s amazing one-liners and brilliantly bonkers behaviour with fantastic timing and the scenes got even funnier when she walked in on her surprise party and popped all the balloons. We’ve been treated to so many funny OTT Bernice moments over the years and these were up there with some of her best.

Made for Each Other

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h39m34s308As Marlon and Jessie made their vows during the Christmas Day episode, after Jessie had planned such a huge surprise wedding, I couldn’t help but wish it was Sam and Lydia in their place. Not only had Sam’s enthusiasm about marrying Lydia been so endearing, and his subsequent disappointment so crushing, but they’re a couple who we’ve known for much longer. If any Dingle wedding should have been a big feel-good bonanza, it should have been them. With young Samson realising how upset his dad was, he spoke to Lydia and got the pair of them to have their own sort of ceremony outside, complete with cracker ring. It was a short but sweet moment, but it carried a lot more emotional weight than the big wedding carrying on in the barn next door. Maybe next year, eh?

Christmas Celebrations

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h43m44s580Christmas was mostly centred on Jessie and Marlon’s, but we did get a nice glimpse into other Christmases in the village. The opening montage showed us all the traditional Christmas festivities, with present opening and the kids playing with their toys. I really enjoyed seeing all the dysfunctional family Christmas dinners and disasters as it’s these slices of real life that make Emmerdale feel like an authentic, real-world place. The wedding itself was a highlight if only to see Cain Dingle on the dancefloor, but it was Christmas in the midst of Nicola and Bernice’s war that was most fun for me. I could have done without vomiting Marlon and friends of Jessie who we’ve never heard of before!

Bother for Bob

vlcsnap-2018-12-29-13h38m12s127Emmerdale have managed to achieve the impossible with Bob – they’ve actually made him likeable again! After the disastrous Bobel affair, sympathy for Bob was low and we lost the cheeky café owner for someone far more cold and selfish. Now that Bob’s down on his luck, with nowhere to go and short of money, it’s hard not to feel sorry for him. You could argue Bob made his bed, but over Christmas week we really saw Bob struggle and feel unable to ask for help. Bob’s always trying to please and after letting the kids down, he did his best to give them the presents they wanted, resorting to degrading work, pawning the watch the kids gave him and only managing to buy them one gift, second-hand. With his disappointed kids and high living costs at the BnB, the pressure is piling on Bob, but I’m just glad he finally feels like the man we know and love again.

Fail

Anti-Climax

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Billy’s Christmas Day arrival didn’t just cause friction in the Jessie and Marlon household, but sent Aaron into turmoil when he recognised Billy as someone who helped torture him in prison. This was an unexpected plot twist and as well as splintering Marlon’s Dingle loyalty, it gave Aaron some horrible reminders of what he went through in prison. This was made even worse when Billy moved in next door and Aaron faced the prospect of seeing his abuser every day. Though we’re well used to Aaron-angst, the surprises continued when it was revealed Billy was attacked and Robert faced a GBH charge when he handed himself in. While audience speculation was rife that Rob was covering for someone else, the story’s conclusion fell flat as Billy dropped the charges just a day later. Surely Emmerdale could have milked the tension a bit longer? It all felt a bit stop-start after a gripping beginning. The Billy drama rumbles on in Marlon’s household and is brimming with potential, but considering Robert’s extreme act and potential life-changing consequences, the resolution for Robron felt far too abrupt and was a waste of potential.

 

Fave or Fail? (3-7 Dec 2018)

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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! Not a great week of excitement in the Dales as the teens continued to run wild.

Faves

Manipulative Maya

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h42m54s416Maya’s grooming of Jacob has been subtly played so far by Emmerdale but this week saw her kiss him and try and afterwards persuade him to stay quiet. Sensitive Jacob has been overwhelmed by his feelings for Maya and she’s done very little to put a stop to it and has instead planted more seeds of hope in his mind. Not once has she highlighted his age or her profession as a reason for backing off, instead focusing on her role as David’s girlfriend. Knowing how close the father and son are, she’s well aware that Jacob doesn’t want to upset David and will keep it secret for his sake. It’s a deeply uncomfortable story to watch and keeping Maya as this doe-eyed indecisive woman is a clever move away from cartoonish stereotypes of grooming behaviour. Hopefully this story will enlighten viewers about how these dangerous relationships can occur in plain sight. This is the type of story Emmerdale should be telling. I’m not quite convinced that the performances are as strong as they need to be for the impact this story should have, but I’m glad Emmerdale are giving it a go. 

Brenda Bites Back

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h40m52s952One of the rare highlights in the Bob and Laurel debacle was seeing dark!Brenda as she rallied against the pair’s betrayal. This week we saw her biting back again as Bob tried to lean in for a kiss. Brenda had been softening to the idea of reuniting her family but the reality of Bob treating her like a plan b really got to her and she raged against him in the cafe. I had begun warming to Bob again but his smug belief he could turn back the clock and get his feet under the table again was maddening. Brenda isn’t a favourite of mine but it’s been enjoyable to see her with some fight left in her, standing up for herself and refusing to be a consolation prize. I really enjoyed the way she laid out exactly what Bob had done to her and the family and why she was still broken over it. I was fully Team Brenda throughout and I’m glad she got to stand up to Bob rather than let him have it easy. 

Neglected Noah

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h43m13s808You’ve got to feel bad for Noah. Not only did he lose his only ally in Joe, but mum Charity’s parenting and support is really lacking. With her planning a move with Vanessa, Noah was all but forgotten about and in frustration he began acting out. The teen rebellion isn’t exactly thrilling TV, but Jack Downham plays Noah with heaps of sensitivity that you can’t help but feel sympathy for him when he’s continuously left out in the cold. His scenes where he tried to reach out to Charity were some of his best but by the end of the week he faced an uncertain future as he handed himself into the police. Although I like his sweet and troubled side, there were hints of him living up to his Tate genes this week, complete with smirk, and I wonder if a adolescence of trouble awaits. 

Fails

Who is Doug?

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h41m43s888Doug’s going through a bit of a crisis at the moment and truth be told I’m struggling to recognise him. Fact is, I’m not even sure what Emmerdale are doing with him. Not so long ago Doug enjoyed a low-key romance with Diane and was content to support Laurel and tend his garden. This week Doug was almost a different bloke. Diane doesn’t get a mention these days and Doug is all about Brenda. I wasn’t even sure what their arrangement was. Friends? Lovers? Friends with benefits? It was unclear. But this week, Doug wanted more and he wasn’t going to sit there and watch Bob worm his way back in. I’m not exactly a Doug and Brenda shipper but surprisingly Doug’s sudden desperation to be with Brenda was quite a sweet watch this week. But his steamroller focus on fighting for her and hitting Bob came a bit left field and I’m not sure I believed it from mild-mannered Doug. It’s a wonder Doug wants to get involved in the Bob and Brenda situation considering Laurel’s recent dumping of Bob anyway, but I can’t help but feel Brenda is just settling rather than having genuine feelings for Doug. Who knows what’s next for Doug but I much prefer Doug giving guidance to the young uns than this week’s weird behaviour!

Teen Takeover

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h42m08s303We haven’t even got to the school holidays yet but the teens have taken over, with bratty Leanna leading the pack. While Leanna makes a great queen bee bitch type character and Noah’s acting out makes sense – their childish rebellions aren’t exactly the most riveting storylines. This is already the third time they’ve joyridden a car and unlike teens of Emmerdale past, these characters aren’t very engaging so their bad behaviour has been tedious to watch when it’s dominated screentime. While it’s good the stories are spread around this feels a bit like overload for the younger characters rather than exploring what the next generation are capable of. Considering their dangerous driving just lead to more stories for Daz and Graham – was it even worth it? Speculation on Twitter briefly explored the possibility that the hit and run victim might have been Joe and I can’t help but think, however unlikely, that would have been a better twist. 

Serious Spencers

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h41m18s617You’d think after Amelia’s kidnap they might give the Spencers some lighter storylines, after all this is where the family fit best. I’d much rather Kerry and Dan stick to TMI declarations about their sex life rather than being bogged down in misery. This week saw Daz commit a hit and run and let Amelia shoulder some of the blame. Not only is Daz one of the show’s most dreary and boring characters but now we face weeks of Daz looking guilty, Dan shouting and Amelia whining. Much like the kidnap plot, Kerry might be the saving grace but she alone will struggle to make this watchable. This really isn’t the big story that Emmerdale needs to keep viewers glued. On paper it might sound like the perfect plot to tear a family in two but we’ve been there done that with the Spencers and as a family unit they’re just not engaging enough to sustain this level of heavy drama. 

Fave or Fail? (5-9 Nov 2018)

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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! Another good week in the Dales, as Bob stripped, then got dumped and Aaron struggled after Seb’s departure.

Faves

Better Together

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h30m11s028Since their longed-for reunion, Aaron and Robert haven’t really had a storyline to get their teeth into as a couple. They’ve been constantly occupied with family dramas and Lachlan’s reign of terror, but it feels like a while since we had a story about the two of them. Now that they’re married it felt right this week to have a dilemma that challenged them both, as a team. This week’s drama offered just that, giving good character-led struggles that leaned heavily on their pasts and childhood issues, as well as testing their communication skills as a couple. After last week’s sudden decision from Robert to let Rebecca take Seb, Aaron was left heartbroken at the decision. Having recently lost Grace, he struggled to cope with losing another loved one so quickly especially as he had become a dad to Seb. Aaron’s pain lead him to making the reckless decision to keep Seb and not take him to Rebecca and this added friction to his relationship to Robert. This time though it didn’t feel like angst for angst’s sake. Their rows didn’t resort to shouting and fighting and we saw a calmer, more reasonable approach. Is this a more mature Robron we’re seeing? The end of the week saw Aaron shocking Robert with a surrogacy plan and reluctantly backing off from Seb despite his anguish, but the drama seems far from over. Thankfully this story feels like it will continue to provide the pair for some juicy drama together, it certainly warrants time and talking, rather than being on the sidelines of other people’s stories. 

Big Laughs

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h33m47s214Comedy in Emmerdale can be hit and miss at the best of times but I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s efforts as the gents of the village took centre stage and stripped off! With Bob desperate to prove his worth in the pub (LOVE having him back behind the bar, by the way) he set pulses racing by hiring the popular Uptown Hunks. I’ve always been a bit undecided about Charity as landlady but her saucy enthusiasm and rousing of the crowds before the hunks took the stage confirmed to me that she really is right at home. Unfortunately for Bob, his oiled up strippers pulled out and he was forced to rope in his friends. From the OAP audience, asking for complicated orders and having palpitations over Pete, to the ladies of the Woolie enjoying every minute – it was such a fun episode. Of course these episodes would have been nothing without the awkward dancing from the men involved – Rishi, Jimmy, Bob and Pete. With everyone enjoying themselves it was a really fun watch and rather feel like a cruel mocking of these guys and their moves, they were well loved by all. Except of course for Bob, who’s fun was cut short by a mortified Laurel…awkward…

Harsh Truth

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m34s707It seems ironic that some of the best scenes of the Bob and Laurel debacle, have been their break up. After Laurel’s embarrassing public dumping of Bob, he spent the rest of the episode greasy and half naked pleading for an explanation. Not really how you want to have a deep and meaningful, is it? Sadly for Bob (and truth be told, I have started to feel sorry for him) Laurel was adamant that their relationship was over. Laurel was frank with Bob that she was still grieving Ashley when they got together and this admission, that she used Bob as a crutch, seemed like a genuine explanation for this weird relationship rather than the whirlwind romance we’d been expected to buy into. For many fans, their affair came too soon after Ashley’s death and their feelings felt at odds with the characters. This break up seems a promising move from the new producers, recognising that the Bob and Laurel relationship didn’t work and wasn’t well received. But the benefit to exploring this split means promising future storylines. How will this affect the children? Brenda? Doug? Will Laurel struggle, feeling like she has upset so many people? Will Bob return to the loveable fool he once was? There are so many possibilities here as well as dealing with the reality of an affair that should have never progressed to a relationship. 

Tag-Team Trouble

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h31m51s034Who’d have thought the new dream team would be precocious little April and disenchanted Millennial Ellis? This week April was desperate to hang out with too-cool-for-school (literally) Ellis and even gave an Attenborough style commentary as he lazed on the couch. Her hero worship and his teasing is a fun dynamic and I enjoyed seeing them hang out when she bunked school. As Ellis taught her the art of ordering a customised coffee, April used her own sneaky powers to mend the relationship between Ellis and Jessie. I’m not totally sold on Jessie and Marlon as a partnership, but I already love April wanting to be as cool and adult as Ellis. This is a great dynamic and one I definitely don’t want to lose. 

Bonus Faves

  • Once again this week, Emmerdale had a really strong sense of community. From the firework celebrations at the Dingles’ and the memorial garden, to the Woolpack stripper shenanigans, it was great to see so many characters together in one place. More please!
  • Liv’s assessment of terrible maths questions as Rob helped her with probability was right. Anyone counting a thousand coloured beads does need to get a life. 
  • Despite his sadness, it was good to see Aaron and Seb’s bond on screen more this week – he really does make a great dad.  The Dingles throwing Seb an early birthday party was a sweet move from Chas, especially at such a difficult time for her. 
  • There seems to be a lot of heart-to-heart conversations lately and I’m a big fan of these, especially when stories cross in believable ways.

Fails

Debbie Downer

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m07s574Debbie’s relentless role as the tragic heroine has gotten stale. She’s not the only villager to have been overloaded with miserable stories (a certain other Dingle springs to mind) but perhaps it’s time for a personality tweak. Debbie has little levity in her stories and no one in her life to have a laugh with, even her relationship with her kids is bogged down in tragedy. No doubt soon she’ll discover her dear old dad Cain “killed” Joe and depressed Debbie will become shouty Debbie. Some viewers are pleased Debbie is facing some consequences for ordering a violent attack (okay, she didn’t want acid but she did want revenge) but I think some time in prison could actually offer the chance to refresh her character a bit. Rather than Debbie get away with her crime or fall into familiar patterns of behaviour, I’d just like to see something different from Debbie. She won’t be smiling any time soon, but the woe-is-me personality could do with a shake up.