Fave or Fail? (17-21 June 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 saw Maya face a year in prison and Pete cheated on Rhona.

Faves

Sweet Romance

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-11h55m14s996Between the dark and the sad plots, sometimes exactly what we need is something sweet and heart-warming and we had that in buckets this week as Jai and Laurel gave into their feelings. I’d have been happy to watch an even slower burn of this pair falling for each other, but their tension and unresolved feelings this week were really satisfying to watch, especially when they finally kissed. With Nicola trying to set Laurel up on a test date to up her game, we were treated to hilarious scenes with Jimmy and Laurel on a practice date after a case of mistaken identity, then in true rom-com style it was miscommunication after miscommunication as Jai and Laurel kept missing out on that elusive date. From stuttering doubts, to hints about a romantic date, all these two needed to do was talk! Even the day after their kiss things were weird between them, but thankfully their smitten smiles and Jai calling Laurel “amazing” seemed to seal a happy fate. Despite these two feeling very unexpected as a couple, it works, and the writing has kept it both awkward and endearing. Couples we can root for are the backbone of soap, so I hope Emmerdale know what a good thing they’ve got in Jai and Laurel and don’t rush it or ruin it anytime soon.

Sugden Split

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-11h56m20s214Siblings Victoria and Robert were at odds again this week after Victoria discovered that Robert and Aaron had gone to see Lee and had been fly-tipping with posters of his face, saying the word ‘rapist’. Once the police came knocking blaming her, Victoria wanted to wash her hands of Robert, furious that his revenge was making it harder for her move on. Struggling to cope with the thought of letting down his sister, Robert and Victoria eventually reconciled at their dad’s graveside. This week’s scenes were well balanced, giving time to explore both of the siblings’ emotions and showcased tender and believable moments between the pair. Actors Isabel Hodgins and Ryan Hawley continue to have a lovely rapport onscreen and in the run up to Ryan’s exit, it’s been fitting to explore their family relationship in this depth before we lose another Sugden.

Family Impact

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-12h01m08s369One of the strongest aspects of the Jacob and Maya storyline, besides Louisa Clein’s fantastic performances, has been Emmerdale showing the impact of her abuse on both Jacob and David, and their relationship. This week Emmerdale took the surprising decision to have David attend a counselling session to talk about his complex feelings about what Maya had done. Much like the immediate aftermath of David learning about what Maya did, David’s response has been one of conflicting emotions, guilt, blame, pain and all the rest and that feels like an authentic reaction in situations like this. Currently Jacob isn’t the position to believe counselling is right for him, but in time hopefully Emmerdale will show a multi-layered response to Jacob’s future, with family, friends, therapists and social workers involved.

Fails

Maya Meets Her Fate

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-12h02m05s682After months of their most controversial and important storyline playing out, Emmerdale’s Maya finally faced the courts and exited from the show. Due to Maya facing a lesser charge than the one she actually committed, Emmerdale had to walk a fine line between realism and a satisfying narrative conclusion. Unfortunately, while Maya’s charge rang true to her convicted crime, after watching her manipulations and twisted grooming of Jacob, a twelve month sentence felt like an unsatisfying conclusion to the story we watched. While Emmerdale’s focus on aftermath has concentrated on Jacob and Maya, there’s been an anti-climatic aftermath when it comes to the rest of the community. A local teacher grooming a pupil should be huge, but it’s lacked any wider impact and sadly that’s left the conclusion feeling not only a little flat but repetitive. Rather than extend the story by asking questions about how Maya’s behaviour has impacted Jessie, Liam, Leanna and the other teens, even Maya’s mum who has been mentioned, we’ve only seen the same cyclical rows between Jacob and David. There are only so many times Jacob can scream and shout “I love Maya!” before it becomes a bit tiresome to watch. Emmerdale has a long history of taking a really important story and handling it with care and elements of the Maya and Jacob story have been fantastic, but since the Big Night Out episodes, it’s loss its way, sadly leaving us with a rather flat conclusion.

Signs of Trouble?

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-12h03m26s743Nate continued his lothario ways this week and got a soaking in the pub, but eventually got on the right side of Amy when he rescued Kyle from danger. Foolishly Amy, Nate and Moira decided to keep Amy’s lax parenting a secret from Cain and we could all guess how he’d react when he found out! This turn of events, leading to a rift between Cain and Moira and turning Nate’s reputation around all felt a bit predictable and yet formed a significant part of this week’s storylines. Amy and Nate dominated scenes (still failing to see what his appeal is!) and not only is their romance low on chemistry, but it seems Nate actually has his sights on Moira instead. Whether his intentions are purely sexual, or if there’s something else at play here, remains to be seen but the idea of Cain and Moira splitting over this isn’t a pleasant prospect. Nate’s interest in Moira was delivered in heavy-handed and lingering shots of hands touching and despite Cain and Moira’s marriage being on rocky ground recently, does any Emmerdale fan have the appetite to watch them split for someone as charmless at Nate? Not only do Natalie Robb and Jeff Hordley have some of the best chemistry on the show, they’re beloved by viewers too. It doesn’t feel like that long ago since Coira were split for months and with Zak and Lisa gone, Robron on their way out, the last thing we need is another fan-favourite pair separated. If Nate does come between them, then let’s hope there’s a bigger story at play here and not just Moira getting down and dirty with the farmhand. Been there, done that.

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Scene of the Week (3-7 June 2019)

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This week’s Scene of the Week choice was one of my easiest decisions in ages. An emotional montage full of beautiful performances and brimming with character and warmth? A big win all round. As Lisa Dingle’s funeral drew to a close, thankfully Lydia had rescued the personalised goodbye letters from the charity shop and handed them around to the gathered Dingles. What followed was a moving collection of scenes as each member of the family read their letter (with a lovely voice over from Jane Cox) with Lisa’s poignant advice and kind words ringing in their ears. From telling Charity to be happy, calling Sam her son, tricking Marlon with the rabbit stew recipe to helping to patch up Debbie and Cain’s relationship, this was a truly perfect scene. Each Dingle heard the words they most needed to hear and it was wonderful.

Fave or Fail? (20-24 May 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! We lost an Emmerdale legend this week as Lisa Dingle died. And we witnessed another big moment as Maya was arrested.

Faves

Lisa’s Death

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h47m51s914We’d only just got used to beloved matriarch Lisa Dingle being back in her rightful home and before we knew it, we’d lost her all over again – and this time, for good! After a fortnight of special “goodbye” scenes with individuals in the village we should have guessed Emmerdale were subtly hinting at her fast demise. But after the nostalgic and warm feeling of the Dingle wedding (see below) Lisa’s death was both understated and very fitting. When the time came Lisa was at home, with the doe eyed and expressive Monty, and one by one her family came to learn the sad news. These were impressive and heartfelt scenes. So much was done in the quiet, tender moments between the family members and Lydia also did a great job holding the family together. It feels like soon she and Sam will play a vital role in keeping the Dingles together, as others struggle to cope. The aftermath of Lisa’s death was particularly moving and the quiet scenes which panned over their homestead were a nice touch. Lisa will be a huge loss, but this was a fitting end to a treasured character.

The Big Dingle Wedding

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h50m34s696There’s nothing quite like a Dingle wedding! We’ve seen a few big do’s over the years but the nostalgic humour of pigs’ muck and a big Woolie knees up was the perfect calm before the sad storm of Lisa’s death. Emmerdale even reunited legendary show band The Woolpackers to perform their big hit (and yes, still singing it now). These episodes were fun, family filled and had a classic Emmerdale feel that was a truly warm-hearted send-off for Lisa. Even the central relationship of Zak and Lisa (though tainted by the stupid decision to split them in 2015) had a sentimental renaissance as the pair put the past behind them and celebrated their love. If I had only one niggle it would be that despite the family do, there were far too few village members at the reception and there are many who should have had a chance to say goodbye in their own way.

David’s Showdown

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h51m31s159David’s adamant refusal to call the police was getting to be teeth-grindingly frustrating but after days of waiting, he finally did the right thing. His delay this week was because he wanted to confront his wicked ex face to face and after tricking her to the cricket pavilion he got his wish. It was all a little convoluted getting to that point but the tension and the spiky dynamic between Maya and David was worth the wait. Louisa Clein continues to be brilliantly manipulative as Maya twists the truth and Matthew Wolfenden’s restrained fury and disgust was a satisfying watch. Just don’t leave us waiting for that all important justice, Emmerdale!

Diane’s Despair

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h49m55s582Since Victoria went away with Robert for a break, her sad plot has been put on hold for the time being but rather than lose momentum, I like that the story has continued through Diane and Aaron. This week saw Diane distant and struggling, coping alone with Vic’s secret tragedy and not knowing how to help her. Aaron, who had a nice turn this week as sage and comfort, did his best to reassure her. These were a surprisingly touching set of scenes and it’s nice to see two characters who rarely interact (despite being family) come together in comfort. It was a welcome change to see more of Diane too, who is one of Emmerdale’s most underused since she left the pub. More please!

Fails

Sacrificing Justice

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h53m37s328Maya’s arrest this week should have bought relief to Jacob’s loved ones but Leyla’s vigilante justice efforts threatened to jeopardise Maya’s conviction. Knowing she could get in serious trouble with the police, Leyla persuaded the other women to lie for her and they attempted to cover up the night of Maya’s kidnap. This posed a problem because Priya’s sighting of Maya and Jacob kissing should have been key evidence but of course, none of them spilled on that part, meaning Maya’s lies could very well see her go Scott free. We all know Leyla can be self serving at times but in this insistence it just didn’t sit right. How can the women that had helped to raise Jacob sit back and lie, knowing their words could seriously mean the difference between justice for their beloved family member and an abuser walking. I didn’t buy it and it lessened the emotional impact of their discovery. Perhaps they will realise their selfishness and confess but I was seriously disappointed to see them act so self-servingly instead of protecting a vulnerable child.

The End of the Line?

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h47m22s572I was once one of the biggest advocates for Pete and Rhona’s romance, from their sparky chemistry to Pete’s lovely relationship with Leo, but now the shine is starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve still got a nice chemistry and it’s good to see something different from Pete, but the strain on their relationship is starting to drain. After Rhona’s accident things haven’t been the same and while their differences of opinion on their future have always spelled trouble, the aftermath of Rhona’s hysterectomy should have been the bittersweet end of them. Let’s be honest, they’re doomed and they know it. Right now their struggle to stay together seems futile, the end is nigh and current scenes feel like a repetitive way to delay the inevitable. If there’s a way to rescue them and make them fun again I’m all for it but their prolonged break down is a chore to watch.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 May 2019)

faveorfail

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 week of returning home – as both Lisa and Zak got a warm welcome, and Jacob reluctantly came back to the village.

Faves

Welcome Home

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h04m42s720Zak and Lisa returned to the village this week as Emmerdale gets ready to say goodbye to our beloved matriarch. For many, Lisa is the heart of Emmerdale and there’s a sense that even though she’s been gone a year, it’s almost as if she wasn’t gone at all. This week after revealing her heart-breaking news to the family, Lisa caught up with the rest of the goings on she’d missed. This gave us plenty of heart to hearts, such as Lisa’s lovely scene with Moira talking about Matty’s likeness to John and a scene at Grace’s grave with Chas. We were also treated to a number of emotional scenes with other members of the family, as Charity and Cain struggled together and Belle opened up to Sam. While this story is undoubtably moving, it’s brought a greater sense of community to the village as everyone knows how integral Lisa is to the village. Her death will affect everyone and the Dingles might never feel quite the same again without that motherly figurehead at Wishing Well Cottage. When the time comes, it’s probably going to be as powerful as Ashley’s death.

Sugden Struggles

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h04m23s041Victoria had another difficult week as she struggled in the wake of being raped. Isabel Hodgins continues to shine in this role and while Vic obviously needs a break from the village, I’m sad to see this story put on hold when she’s doing such a fantastic job. This week Diane and Robert rallied round to support her, although Robert struggled with anger and guilt and ended up making things worse. Although his reaction put a brief strain on the siblings’ relationship, it’s been a welcome sight to see the Sugden family (and there’s not many of them left!) united and supportive and the scenes between Rob and Vic were tenderly done. Much like how Lisa’s return had a wider impact in the village, even though Victoria’s story is so far quite self-contained, I liked that characters like Aaron, Moira and Cain also played their role in the wider repercussions.

First Sparks

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-17h03m09s068This week we had the first real indication that Jamie and Belle might become a couple in the near future. Finding love among the hamster cages might not be the most romantic of settings but with them bonding over their difficulties with their respective mothers, they struck up an understanding. A union between the Dingles and the Tates has obviously been done before but Jamie seems to be a very different sort of Tate to the ruthless ones we know. His sweet nature seems like it could be a nice fit for Belle, who hasn’t been short on troubled relationships seeing as her last boyfriend was a serial killer! So far it seems like they have a cute rapport – let’s just hope Emmerdale doesn’t rush to put them together.

Love Hate

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-16h58m25s892Will finally confronted Harriet this week and despite the hate between them, there was a long history of deeper feelings bristling under the surface. The story has been a bit sluggish since it was revealed to us that Will was alive, but the two met at last this week and Will’s anguish over their history proved his inability to let go of the past wasn’t just to do with revenge. The concept of an undercover cop falling for their target, and its long-term consequences, is ripe for story material and it’s a bit of a shame that this plot has fallen a bit flat, but with Harriet and Will discussing the past there was a glimmer of chemistry there and something that could be explored further. Emmerdale always struggles when their characters have pasts more interesting than their presents, but should Emmerdale want to keep exploring the repercussions of Harriet’s undercover past then I’m open to it. They just need to find a way to keep it interesting in the here and now.

Fail

Coffin Dodger

vlcsnap-2019-05-19-16h45m28s895Harriet’s stalker story started with promise but despite her coming face to face with the truth this week, it had all tailed off a bit. It’s true both her and Will had chemistry in their confrontation but the build up seemed to drag on too long, involving a cast of fairly new characters (Dawn, Ryan, Will) which is always a struggle to completely connect with. Had Harriet’s story involved more of the village, and perhaps had we felt her presence a bit more as the village vicar, then maybe the story might have had more impact. By the time Will and Harriet had their face off the church the story had lost its momentum and this wasn’t helped by the cringey and ridiculous “fight” with the coffin. “Murdered By My Own Coffin” might make a good headline on Take a Break but it made for a stupid, unintentionally funny scene, when actually the dynamic between the former lovers had an authenticity that didn’t need a silly prop involved.

Fave or Fail? (1-5 April 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! In the week that Debbie learnt Joe was alive, Chas and Paddy had good news.

Faves

Don’t Mess With Moira

vlcsnap-2019-04-07-15h03m38s923There’s something I find completely compelling about Moira and Cain’s relationship, and as they battled Kim’s grim blackmail plot, we saw their relationship put to the test. Actors Natalie and Jeff put everything into their scenes so that even the smallest, silent scene carries so much weight. Their chemistry is some of the show’s best. They might have spent the last few years coping with various accidental murders, but at the heart of it, these two are just really solid characters and their marriage is as angsty and tumultuous as all good soap couples. This week we got to see more of feisty Moira as she struggled to cope with the thought of Cain sleeping with Kim, even breaking down in tears at the thought of their sacrifice. When he didn’t go through with it (and his turning down of Kim was very satisfying) the doubt was a challenge for them both, but it was even more rewarding to see Moira go after Kim head on and shove her against the wall. Moira certainly isn’t someone Kim should mess with and I love her for that.

Mr Wolf

vlcsnap-2019-04-07-15h04m37s203Paddy’s birth father Bear Wolf crashed back into the village this week, wrecking Grace’s memorial garden in the process. But strip away the embarrassing Lycra and wrestling gimmick and Emmerdale might actually have a decent character on their hands. Yes he’s a sleazy chancer, lying about his injury to get sympathy and a place to stay, but Bear offers something a bit different to the village and to Paddy’s character. His scenes with Dr Cavanagh were amusing too, as Liam had to keep referring to him as Mr Wolf. Will he be everyone’s cup of tea? Unlikely, but I wouldn’t be opposed if Emmerdale had plans to make him long term.

Kim’s Softer Side

vlcsnap-2019-04-07-15h04m07s514The mention of Kim’s son’s name this week was like flicking a switch. Once the folk at Home Farm had stopped pontificating about Joe, it was time for Graham to play his trump card and mention the elusive Jamie (or James Tate to you and me). You’d think Graham might have used him as leverage earlier in trade for his precious Joe, but it seems Jamie is Kim’s true Achilles’ heel – and every good villain needs one of those. If Kim’s really going to live up to her potential then we need to see her become more fully rounded, not just making threats and cartoon one liners. She might have her horses, but we need to see more of Kim’s human side, her down time and Jamie could be the answer to that. Here’s hoping we’ll get to see this aspect of her personality soon!

Bonus Faves:

  • I’m on the fence about newbie Aiesha. She seems a hybrid of Leyla and early Priya, but toned down she could be good fun.
  • Another great scene with Jack Downham this week as Noah learnt Joe is still alive

Fails

Relationship Breakdown

vlcsnap-2019-04-07-15h03m04s454This week saw the end of Dan and Kerry’s relationship in what might be the world’s worst timing. Not only was it Dan’s birthday, but he was also dumped straight after proposing. Awkward! The signs have been there for some time, but I have mixed feelings about their separation. On the one hand, Kerry’s long been the best part of the Spencer family and has been a bit of a long-suffering spouse, but on the other hand, she’s had her fair share of unlikeable moments too. Dan and Kerry were something of a bit of an Emmerdale staple couple and as relationships don’t last that long, it was good to see a fairly happy relationship in the long term – they’re much-needed in a soap. With Dan not wanting to upset Amelia, he wants to play happy families, but Kerry’s already close to breaking point and I dread the thought of more rows in the Spencer household. Surely this family is one more suited to something a bit more comedic? It’s been all doom and gloom for them lately. Dan and Kerry might have out grown each other, but at the same time, they still seem suited? Who else will put up with them?

Nonsensical

vlcsnap-2019-04-07-15h02m35s269I feel like I’m complaining about Graham every week, but this week’s episodes were another reminder of his pointlessness. Since the reveal of Joe’s fate, Graham’s dramatic drunken spiral makes even less sense and recent attempts to explain it away haven’t helped the cause. Graham’s explanations don’t add up. What’s really stopping Graham from conducting secret phone calls or visiting Joe? There’s no reason to it. He’s got quite the cosy set up with Kim letting him live at Home Farm, so it’s hardly fear that’s holding him back from keeping contact with Joe. If it’s some enduring love for Kim, I’m not buying that either. This storytelling for Graham was once enigmatic and intriguing, now it’s an incoherent, inconsistent mess. Emmerdale might think they’ve got this stoic, ex-SAS mystery man on their hands, but with no real ties to the village, and confusing characterisation, Graham’s a real weak link in the village right now.

 

Fave or Fail? (25-29 March 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 Cain learnt Joe’s alive and Rishi and Manpreet revealed that they’re married!

Faves

The Fab Four

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h44m16s428They’re just one Dingle wedding away from all being one big family, but the power couple quartet of Robron and Vanity joined forces this week – first to finish a business deal and then to save it! The week begin with Charity using her womanly wiles to schmooze Robert’s client, after agreeing to take a cut of the profits herself. But once an unhappy Vanessa got involved, she realised Mike was up to no good and ended up stealing his car! The four made an unlikely dream team with Charity and Robert’s kindred spirits exhausting their other halves, but it was after Vanessa’s panicked efforts to thwart Mike’s backstabbing that the fun really began. While Robert, Aaron and Charity aren’t opposed to a bit of criminal behaviour to get what the want, clueless Vanessa was amusingly amateur. Once again Michelle Hardwick’s fun comedy performances made the rescue of the car a fun contrast against Aaron and Robert’s open-mouthed disbelief at her school boy errors. While this foursome are used to big emotionally dramatic plots, it was nice to see the couples have some fun in a comedy capers story, each of them all using their talents and funny mix of personalities. Here’s hoping Emmerdale makes the most of their popularity and gives the four another chance to cross paths for some fun in future.

Fresh and Contemporary

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h48m23s342Emmerdale’s story with Billy this week is definitely worth commending. So far Billy’s been shown as a complex and interesting character and this week, facing racism and a confrontation in the park, Emmerdale tried to take on a relevant and contemporary story. His muddled introduction, facing dramatic in the dark hostility from Ellis and the unresolved issue of Billy’s role in Aaron’s prison ordeal, has left some viewers struggling to connect, however Emmerdale’s attempts to create a multi-layered character have been worthwhile. Newbies often come in as a bit of a shapeless caricature but the impact of Billy’s upbringing, societal and cultural issues of race, the long-term impacts of prison and male violence show that Emmerdale have really tried to make an effort in shaping a well-rounded character. Its attempts might not always be successful, heavy handed to some, but a new character like Billy has a lot more potential as someone without the cliched introduction of “mysterious bad boy”!

New Lease of Life

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h46m14s593It’s been great to see more of the Sharmas lately, especially a character like Jai who was once so hateable and villainous that it was a waste of actor Chris Bisson’s warmth and humour. While within the family, it’s Jai and Priya’s sibling relationship that provides most of the good scenes, but in the factory Jai’s new friendship with colleague Laurel seems to be going down well with fans. Some viewers have ever noticed a chemistry between them that sets tongues wagging about a possible and unlikely romance. Whether that happens or not, the pair work surprisingly well together and it’s nice to see both characters finding their feet after Jai’s villainy and Laurel’s affair with Bob tarnished opinion of them for quite some time.

Fails

Grim Kim

vlcsnap-2019-03-29-21h45m35s245If there’s one word to sum up this week’s Kim plot, it’s grim. The lacklustre Joe reveal rumbled on this week and even Cain wasn’t told in a particularly dramatic way. For reasons unknown, Kim’s returned with a whole catalogue of gripes and vendettas and a long wish list of businesses she wants to own. Rather than let Kim bed into Emmerdale and grow new rivalries, Emmerdale seem to determined to give her enemies and motives that make little sense to anyone watching. Kim’s experience with the Dingles in her first stint was mainly through Sam and Zak, but on returning she’s decided to hate them all, except for Cain who for some nonsensical reason she wants to sleep with. Okay, so Cain does have his appeal to the opposite sex and soap affairs often happen with an impulsive attraction to the bad boy – but Kim’s desire to have the man she can’t have, toying and blackmailing him just feels completely baseless. There’s no chemistry between the actors and while Kim is better outside of the Graham bubble, she’s still far too cartoonish to take seriously. But the worst of it? Blackmailing someone for sex is just sleazy and horrid to watch. Alongside the attempts to tell the Maya and Jacob in an educational and responsible way, this plot feels sordid and grubby. We want Kim to be the villain we love to hate, not someone using money and power to essentially rape someone. Cain isn’t even remotely tempted so the whole storyline comes across as an ill-judged, misguided plot. Nasty.

Fave or Fail? (18-22 March 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! Kim settled down and made new enemies in the village, and it was finally revealed that Joe Tate is alive and well.

Faves

Old School Vibes

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-11h59m08s161Did you notice the sheep this week? The stables and horses? The beautiful countryside scenes? If Kim Tate’s return has triggered one thing then it’s a return to the feeling of ‘classic’ Emmerdale. That’s not just using its farming and country USP, it’s also about the dynamics of the village in the wider context. Home Farm and the classism in the village has been lost over the years but Kim being a villain might just claw that back and give the estate a purpose again. From owning and controlling businesses, to employing staff to hosting events, Home Farm should be much more than a villainous lair. Also with Kim’s return is an antagonism we had in Joe’s early days that we lost quickly – livelihoods, businesses and property should be under threat from Kim’s whims, not just because she enjoys being ruthless but because the estate actually means something. Think Frank Tate wanting to buy up farms and land to make a profit and build a tourist site. Add this to Nicola’s mentions of the local council and we might be returning back to some of the same vibes as classic Emmerdale, where the village had drama, but it also used the setting and some realities of country life to explore different stories. Next stop a village fete? Here’s hoping!

Councillor Chaos

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h03m06s387Outside of Emmerdale you might have heard enough about chaotic politics, but there’s if there’s something with comedic potential written all over it, then it’s Nicola running for local council. Much like my enthusiasm for the old school feeling of classic Emmerdale, Nicola getting involved in community politics seems like a great way to unite and divide the residents in a way that brings authenticity to the village feel. Putting someone as naturally funny and dangerously ambitious as Nicola in this role is asking for trouble, but for us as viewers it could be comedy gold. Anything that sees the Kings take centre stage again is fine by me.

Workplace Drama

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h00m35s755If there’s one thing in recent years that Emmerdale hasn’t been mining for storyline potential as well as they could, then it’s the businesses of the village. Most of the time, work is the last thing on characters’ minds and it becomes something of a joke to see how little they actually go to work. Because of this, the work environments can often be used just as a set rather than have any baring on the day to day lives of the characters. With Kim back things might be changing on that front, with workplaces being put under extra pressure to fulfil contracts and make decisions on whether to get involved in Kim’s bidding. Even the lighter, comedic Sharma storyline this week was made better by a work crisis, rather than all the drama taking place separately from their work but using the office as its location. A factory crisis may not be soap’s biggest talking point but it does bring groups of characters together and make them feel more real.

Fails

Near Misses

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-12h01m41s727Maya and Jacob’s storyline might be the biggest storyline Emmerdale has now, but with it featuring almost every week, there’s a chance it might start feeling like overkill. Now that the pair have slept together, confessed their love and contrived situations to sleep together right under David’s nose, we’ve reached a bit of a stalemate. We know Emmerdale intend this story to be long running, but with the early slow burn abandoned, now the only real jeopardy comes from Maya being caught out – and that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon. Surely there’s only so many times we can see Jacob almost reveal all, or Maya get perilously close to having her lies rumbled before the frustration turns into annoyance? It might reflect real life, but it’s a tough story to maintain with this same dynamic. Something needs to happen soon to take this storyline somewhere, because at the moment, Jacob is well and truly under Maya’s spell and a sluggish progression isn’t giving the drama the momentum it needs.

He’s Alive!!!

vlcsnap-2019-03-23-11h55m53s634Joe’s fate has been weighing heavily on the minds of viewers since his “death” in October, and the ambiguity of it all has made the storyline fallout feel sluggish and confusing. So this week’s reveal that Joe is alive should have been a huge climax, sending viewers reeling, but it was anything but thrilling! From cries that Joe’s fate was obvious and predictable, to it all feeling a bit half-arsed, is this really a story six months in the making – or was it hastily cobbled together last minute? The latter certainly feels most likely considering actor Ned Porteous didn’t even make a cameo and press reports reveal he’s got no plans to make a return on screen. Any viewer who was excited about Joe being alive is surely only going to be disappointed to realise he’s not actually returning. So in the end we were left with just a few photos of Joe and the whole pointlessness of it all. There are lots of questions unanswered (summarised perfectly in this article) but ultimately it completely undermines Graham once more. The menace of Kim’s threats were supposed to have lead him to almost killing the man that was a son to him, yet now he’s back at Home Farm barely bothered that she knows. What was the point? If Ned doesn’t come back then it’s time to recast and put this story to bed. It makes no sense and it’s dragging down all the characters involved.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 March 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Kim made her big return to the village this week as Maya dropped the L-word to entrap Jacob.

Faves

Right at Home

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h21m39s127Admittedly when I read Amy Wyatt was making a return to Emmerdale I wasn’t that fussed, but a week in I already feel like her return was a good decision. She feels right at home. Unlike Kim, Amy feels very relevant to the current cast – she knows multiple characters in the village and her reappearance actually threw up story opportunities for several characters. Not only did Amy mean trouble for Cain and the Dingles in light of her eagerness to spend time with Kyle, but she’s breathed life into the Spencers’ household, given Eric back another daughter figure, caused friction with David and Maya and given Vic another friend. The custody battle for Kyle is a well worn story, but newbie Natalie Ann Jamieson has brought lots of warmth and sensitivity to Amy which helps to soften the harder edges that Kerry sometimes influences. I’m looking forward to seeing the future Emmerdale has in store for her and hope, unlike her last stint, it’s not all fixated around Kyle!

Support Network

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h27m19s794My favourite moments of Emmerdale show families coming together, remembering friendships and connections, and showing the far-reaching impact of storylines across the community. A good story is one that affects multiple relationships and characters, and Rhona’s accident is still having an impact now, weeks on. This week saw her have a hysterectomy (something Emmerdale have already revealed they’ll be exploring) but not only have we see its personal, emotional impact, we’ve also seen its effect on her relationship with Pete, her enduring friendship with Vanessa and this week its wider impact with the business and Moira’s farm. Unlike some soap accidents that have little follow up, Rhona’s debate over whether the vets should sue Moira and the farm will have consequences for both the future of the vets business (with opportunity for things to get messy if Kim gets involved), and even with Pete if his loyalties are tested. But perhaps the biggest strength of this story is down to the underrated talents of Zoe Henry who continues to be one of Emmerdale’s brightest stars. Any story that uses her at the forefront is going to be a hit!

Glimmers of Potential?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h23m37s930It’s always difficult to bring back a character who has since been dubbed an icon, especially when the character is famed and remembered for just one aspect of their personality and the soap landscape has changed in their absence. In Kim Tate’s case, she’s renowned for being the classic soap superbitch, but the danger in her returning to her old stomping ground is that she becomes more of a caricature than the woman we love to hate. Kim’s return rides on a fragile premise – they retconned the entire Graham and Joe history to give her relevance – and she knows next to know one still kicking around the village. Emmerdale have to work quickly to give her enemies and make it feel worthwhile, rather than her antagonism feeling petty and pointless. A great villain is always a treat, but balancing the classic campy Lady of the Manor can often give way to OTT performances and dialogue that tries too hard to be cutting. There are promising signs in her latest return that Emmerdale are aware of this tightrope, and the mixed reception to her cameo last October, but here’s hoping they remember less is more when it comes to Kim. Her scenes with Charity, and in the pub with others were far watchable than her posturing at Home Farm and smirking in every scene. We could well do with seeing Kim’s more human sides soon, before the writers get too carried away with the cartoon villain one-liners.

Fails

Robot Wars

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h25m40s419Perhaps the biggest issue with Kim’s return is that she’s stuck, trying to shake some life into cyborg Graham. Such is Graham’s rigid and monotonous ways, Emmerdale has even started to reference it in the script! But when their scenes hinge on a bloated and retconned history, relying on an absent, scorching chemistry – it’s a tough ask. Kim’s treatment of Graham is more like a dog than a lover, and unless Graham’s into a BDSM set up, it’s baffling why he’s under her spell. Friday’s episode seemed to reopen the Joe death mystery AGAIN, but it felt like the first real hint to him being alive. This ongoing saga is as much clunky as it is sluggish so by the time we find out the final final truth, it’s a wonder if anyone will care. If Emmerdale really want Kim to work this time around, then the situation at Home Farm needs a fast rethink.

Fed Up with Faith?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h26m49s708Oh Faith, there’s so much to love – the sharp tongue, the saucy humour, the outrageous behaviour, the wise straight-talking, the moments of fragility – and yet this week, none of that. We really saw the worst, most unlikeable aspects of her personality and it’s surprising how intolerable she became. Her vicious and hypocritical campaign against Amy might have been rooted in her own failings as a mother, but there was none of this nuance or depth and she seemed spitefully gleeful at the thought of sending Amy to prison. This combined with her strange and underwritten vendetta against Kim has brought out the worst in her character, and an aspect I hope doesn’t stick around – let’s have more of the fun Faith back please!

Fave or Fail? (25 Feb-1 March 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Maya’s grooming of Jacob took more sickening turns, and Pete moved out of Rhona’s house.

Faves

Family Splits

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h15m28s306Once again it’s the fallout from Rhona’s accident which makes the top of my Emmerdale best bits. Since Emmerdale made the surprisingly magic decision to pair up Pete and Rhona, I’ve been impressed not only by the couple’s natural chemistry, but by the grown up and complex way they’ve explored their relationship. So often you see couples hook up with no thought for the impact on children or the longer term wishes of the individuals in the relationship and when characters have children, this just doesn’t feel very authentic. Pete and Rhona’s relationship has been different in that aspect as from early on, Pete’s relationship with Rhona’s son Leo has been important and well explored. The Pete and Leo relationship, which has seen Pete learn Makaton to bond with him and gain his trust, has been a big and heart-warming hit with viewers and this week we saw more of it as Pete and Rhona agreed to take a break. While both Rhona and Pete were reluctant to separate, Rhona knew they wanted different futures so the two of them made tough decisions while still making sad, longing looks at each other. There was plenty of awkwardness and Pete’s break with Rhona also meant a sad conversation with Leo. Emmerdale’s made this difficult situation feel believable and compelling – and that’s without even mentioning Rhona’s ongoing struggle with pain killer addiction. You can empathise with all parties and there’s a whole lot of tenderness involved. It’s a winner.

Crushed Hearts

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h24m24s506Watching Jacob and Liv’s budding relationship it hurts to know that without Maya messing with Jacob’s head, he and Liv could be a pretty sweet couple. Liv’s laid back personality fits with Jacob well, and his sensitivity means he’s attune to her feelings and understanding about her asexuality. Without Maya in the picture – they’d be good for each other. Therefore it’s heart breaking to watch them both trying, both liking each other, but with Jacob’s head all over the place. Maya’s grooming has a much wider impact than just on Jacob, she’s got everyone under the thumb and when her behaviour comes out, Jacob and Liv are going to be big casualties. This week’s scenes were tough watch, particularly seeing how Liv’s heart is on the line, and how much Jacob genuinely likes her and doesn’t want to hurt her, all the while trying to keep in Maya’s good books. Both young actors are giving vulnerable performances and you just know that the resolution to this story is going to crush them both.

Playing Hot and Cold

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h19m14s929With multiple stomach-churning developments this week, you can’t deny that Emmerdale are doing a successful job in showing just how twisted Maya is. This week was Jacob’s 16th Birthday and after an aborted attempt to sleep with him, Maya blew hot and cold in trying to keep him eager, while continuing to cover up their secret. Louisa Clein’s great performances make Maya maddening to watch, especially seeing how she manipulates everyone in Jacob’s life to keep them on side. Her innocent protestations show exactly how a predator like her operates and the authenticity of her part is what makes this story so horrifying to watch. It’s grim viewing to see her gleefully seduce a child and try and ignore reminders of his age, but if this story is prompting awareness of the hidden signs of grooming, then it can only be a good thing.

Fails

Custody of Kyle

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h22m30s647Kerry got dragged into the exhausting Dingle divide again this week as Debbie warned her Kyle wasn’t safe with Cain. On the surface we can all well believe Kerry would go gung-ho in protecting Kyle, but it’s a bit of a stretch when she’s barely interacted or mentioned him in a year. Of course, this is all just in preparation for Amy’s eventual return (another character forgotten until it’s convenient to remember her) but perhaps Emmerdale would have made it easier to invest had Kerry mentioned her family months ago, rather than this feeling like a rushed justification for Amy’s return. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Kerry’s going to have more to do than just be a hanger-on of the Spencers, but this story has felt a bit hollow.

Short on Sympathy

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As the Cain “killed” Joe saga drags on, it’s a struggle to have any sympathy for any parties involved. On paper, believing your dad killed your fiancé should make you the ultimate victim, but with the Dingles standing by Cain and protesting his innocence, and Debbie refusing to tell daughter Sarah the truth, Debbie’s anger and upset falls on deaf ears. But as both Cain and Sarah criticise Debbie’s parenting, it’s difficult not to see their point. No matter how many scenes Debbie cries in, she doesn’t have the sympathy she ought to. Is this because she’s quite a sullen, cold character who’s difficult to like, whose crimes have been overlooked, or is it because the tables have turned? Debbie’s usually priority number one when it comes to the Dingles, but now Cain’s the person they’re protecting. It’s a struggle to truly sympathise with Cain being shut out by her too, because the accident of Joe’s death – while not his fault – came with months of cover up. Cain’s not likely to face justice and wants them all to move on, yet at times it’s as if he’s expecting Debbie to shrug off his role in Joe’s death like it’s nothing. This storyline is such a repetitive, endless mess with no conclusion in sight. If Graham’s involvement doesn’t come out soon I fear we won’t ever see the back of this.