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 great week on and off screen as the Nell’s lies were uncovered AND Emmerdale cleaned up at the TV Choice awards.
Twists and Turns
In the space of just one episode, the Nell and Jai plot went from being sluggish and a bit dull to completely gripping. I was hooked! Many suspected there was something not quite right about Nell the minute she arrived as Holly’s double and then created an increasingly tragic backstory for herself. This week the lies unravelled as Jai discovered her pregnancy, her addiction, her dead child were all inventions. Jai managed to uncover everything just like a twisty psychological thriller (complete with jump scares too!) but with Nell exposed, things were far too easy to end there. By the end of the week, implying Jai had hurt her to Moira, Nell managed to have Jai arrested and Moira completely fooled after staging a drug collapse just like Holly. In Nell Emmerdale have created a devious and frightening character, one who has terrifying potential. Now she has Moira fooled I seriously worry for Moira’s safety but at the same time – I can’t wait!
Thursday’s epic 90 minutes of Emmerdale was well worth watching and not just for the Nell shocks. The Leyla/Pete/Priya story has been a bit of a let down, wedding episodes aside, in fact Leyla summed it up well when she called it the “world’s least funny sex comedy” but the big confrontation between Leyla and the two who betrayed her was fantastic. Roxy Shahidi gave a superb performance as she had it out with best friend Priya, saying everything we’d been dying for her to bring up. She was angry, unfiltered and devastated, but delivered key moments of this with her head held high. The writing too was effective in painting the women’s friendship as the biggest casualty of this betrayal and giving Leyla the strength and agency in this moment, rather than let her be the unfortunate ditz that she had been during other parts of the story. The scenes too also gave the opportunity for the characters to explain the often nonsensical developments between Pete and Priya and why they hurt Leyla so much. I hope the aftermath continues to be complex rather than falling into soapy catfights and with any luck Leyla might find some much deserved happiness!
I laughed out loud this week when Nell told Jai “Everyone likes you now and they couldn’t stand you before!” for its meta take on Jai Sharma’s redemption arc. It seemed to happen before Nell’s arrival, so she’s wrong about her impact on that, but I’m really impressed how Emmerdale transformed Jai from a cold and unlikeable villain to someone far more sympathetic and interesting. If this turnaround hadn’t happened then Jai’s discovery about Nell’s lies and his subsequent arrest on Friday wouldn’t have had the same devastating impact but I was right there with him this week – cheering him on and worried for him too. Chris Bisson did a great job in taking us through everything from Jai’s shock and horror to those quietly devastated scenes in the fallout, but with him only just having sorted his life out and Nell the expert liar, I wonder if enough people will believe his side of the story.
Out of Place?
For me the two most tiresome aspects of Debbie’s plots are when she falls out with Charity (again) and when she gets herself mixed up in heist-style gangster stories – and unfortunately we had a bit of both this week. The new wealthy men soon to be village regulars have been well documented in the press and we met right-hand man Graham for the first time. First impressions are good, even if it did leave me wondering how Charity and Debbie have found themselves renting a car presumably to a man who could have whatever new car he wanted with the snap of his fingers! The problem, and probably one that’s always a sticking point with Debbie, is that I don’t really believe in her in this world. Charity has charm and wit – even when she can be full-on – and Debbie has brains, but she’s serious and dour-faced, and feels out of place in these stories. I believe her as a mother struggling with what’s best for her kids, I believe her in those softer scenes with Moira. I can even buy her falling for a wrong un like Ross (even though their scenes are flat and lacking in spark). But these stories where she gets mixed up in a rich and dangerous underworld just don’t ring true. Some of Debbie’s stories and characteristics seem very real and believable but the moment she steps into this cartoon world of tycoons and gangsters it becomes more fantastical and far less enjoyable.