Fave or Fail? (25-29 June 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 Matty Barton returned to the Dales and Cain got beaten up by Simon.

Faves

Meeting Matty

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m55s366With Matty’s arrival onscreen this week, Emmerdale felt back to its very best. Great, character-led drama with a grounding in real life family situations is exactly what soap should be. Matty’s story is relatable and emotional, bringing a new dynamic to Butler’s Farm, new dramas to the Bartons and it had a great start. Actor Ash Palmisciano was thrown straight into emotive performances and carried the intense material well, also proving Matty is going to be a fun and cheeky character to have around once settled. While Cain’s attitude was surprisingly and refreshingly chilled, Moira’s reaction was one of shock, anger and confusion. Though her immediate response was hard to watch and upsetting, I’m hopeful that Emmerdale will use Moira’s journey of understanding to educate ignorant or bigoted viewers. Matty felt right at home in Emmerdale (which isn’t always a given when a recast happens) and I loved that they were able to give us canonical reasons that made sense as to why Matty hadn’t been home in all these years. I’m so looking forward to seeing what’s to come for him.

Forever Friends

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m46s441I was glad to see Vic in a role outside of babysitter and matchmaker this week as she was there for Matty, empathetic and understanding as he talked. Since Adam’s exit, hardly anyone’s had time for Vic and I’m hoping this might change with Matty in the village. There’s been a suggestion of a romance between them and while I wouldn’t be opposed at all, it’s nice to see their friendship in the meantime.

Brotherly Bonding

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m22s297It was nice to see the softer sides of Ross and Pete this week as they remembered Finn on his birthday and wallowed in their failing love lives. As ever Ross and Moses made an adorable dream team with Moses and his giggles, and that’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most in Ross’s exit. Pete hits a few bumps in his relationship with Rhona, but by the end of the week they were resolved and reunited which is great news for me. I think Pete and Rhona make a surprisingly sweet couple and I hope they continue to stay together. I much prefer seeing the brothers united and opening up rather than involving themselves in aggressive displays of their masculinity.

Fails

Sharma Sitcom

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m34s600Don’t the Sharmas deserve more than comedy side plots? Don’t get me wrong – I love the Sharma family. I have a real soft spot for Jai now that his days of being a panto villain are over, I love Priya’s ambition and attitude and I am often amused by Rishi’s hopeless antics. And that’s not to say Rishi and Jai didn’t make me smile during the Lycra debacle – but I just think Emmerdale could do more with them. Priya’s hard times and Jai’s angst about Eliza were so short lived that I can’t help but feel it’s a waste of the talents. When they thought Lachlan had attempted to assault Priya this week and confronted him, it made me realise what a solid family unit they are, capable of more than just larks in the sweet factory. More emotional Sharma drama please!

Brief Encounter

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h55m01s046With news of Dr Cavanagh becoming an Emmerdale regular (yay!) it was no surprise to see his wife Maya pop up this week. But had I avoided spoilers I’d have been scratching my head trying to remember who this woman in David’s shop was! If we were really meant to believe in their lustful eyes at each other and their deep and meaningfuls then surely it would have been more helpful to have seen a bit more of Maya before now. If my memory serves me correctly we’ve only seen her once and that was months ago! But after a thirty second scene this week we were meant to buy into their attraction and honest chats? I don’t buy it. Not only was it far too rushed, surely David has learnt better than messy hook-ups?

The Woolie Weekly is taking a two-week holiday. New blog posts on 22 July.

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Fave or Fail? (26-30 March 2018)

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! This week Ross’s recovery took a setback as Jimmy tried to get one over on Joe.

Faves

Graham’s Past

5dbb676d-df3d-4ad6-b11f-945ca76099acActor Andrew Scarborough delivered a show stealing monologue this week as we finally learnt more about Graham’s tragic past. There was a lot of pressure for the mysterious Graham to have an interesting backstory and it be linked with his dedication to Joe, but Emmerdale really delivered. It’s difficult to make an exposition heavy scene work and to make us truly care about a past we had no part in seeing or experiencing, but Andrew made Graham’s painful reflection come to life and truly made me eager to see a lot more from him in future.

Surprisingly Sweet

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h56m21s236If you’d told me six months ago that my new favourite couple in the village would be Pete and Rhona, I’d have never believed you. Even when their out of the blue date was in all the magazines I was sceptical, but seeing them on screen they’ve been surprisingly sweet to watch. There’s an easy and adorable chemistry between the too which has softened Pete and made Rhona much happier – that’s a winner in my eyes. Pete seems to have grown up a bit as their relationship has progressed and it looks like some real feelings are developing between them. Is it too much to hope for that their budding romance could go the distance?

Softer Side

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h56m42s533Another couple who have been a hit with fans is Charity and Vanessa, who finally seem to be getting a bit more depth to their relationship. This week saw Vanessa’s work mistake catch up with her and it was enjoyable to see Charity step up and support her girlfriend in a way that felt entirely true to her character – comedy tash and all. This relationship is bringing out a softer, warmer side in the usually cynical Charity and it was nice to see Debbie show her support too. I hope their relationship continues to get focus particularly as we move closer to Charity getting a big storyline of her own.

Nobody’s Fool

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h57m20s815There were plenty of times this week where we were all willing Jimmy King to open his eyes and be less oblivious to Joe Tate’s plotting, but thankfully by Friday he proved he’s a lot smarter than he seemed. Kidding us all that he was a gullible fool, Jimmy teamed up with scheme supreme Robert in a bid to take down Joe. Thank goodness Jimmy’s backbone wasn’t entirely removed, but keeping us in the dark to their clever plan right until the last minute made the reveal a lot more fun. Even better was bringing back Robert’s kooky actress pal Kath, to help screw over Joe. Now that the rivalry is heating up, it looks like the twisted games are going to get a lot more messy – and fun to watch.

Challenges and Setbacks

vlcsnap-2018-03-30-21h59m03s236Ross had another tough week after returning home from his skin graft op. Pete, who I’m growing more fond of in this supportive role, tried to get Ross back to his old self and out in public, but a humiliation saw his progress shattered. The progression of this story has worked really well so far, showing Ross grow in confidence only to meet defeat and cause his acceptance to suffer. His spiralling and struggle follows a believable trajectory of good moments and bad, and those quiet and sad moments between the two brothers where their openness battles against a masculine front are the strongest elements of this difficult story.

Fail

Easy Ride?

vlcsnap-2018-04-01-12h18m08s777Did anyone else think David got a bit of an easy ride this week after his cheating came to light? I wasn’t expecting flogging in the streets and sure Tracy’s epic speech told him exactly what we’d all been thinking but by the end of the week I hoped he’d get a bit more of a cold shoulder from those around him. He had a few choice words from Jacob who was understandably hurt and upset, but by the end of the week even Tracy had softened a bit as David and Jacob jetted off on holiday. It’s a good thing he’s out of Tracy’s face for a bit, but even Eric – who is usually good at giving David a good talking to – didn’t seem as angry and disappointed as I expected him too, especially knowing how David reacted to Tracy’s past. Will David return from his holidays hoping it’s all forgotten?

Scene of the Week (26-30 March 2018)

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“You know the worst thing in all of this? Is that, you let me think that I was the one who was dirty. That I somehow wasn’t good enough. That I had something to be ashamed of. That I wasn’t worthy of you. Truth is, you were never worthy of me. Bye David.”

This was Tracy’s killer final speech to David at the end of Tuesday night’s Emmerdale that put an end to his hopes that they might reconcile. With David tearfully pleading for another chance, telling her that he would make it right, she held her own in this empowered moment with an accurate character assassination that we’ve all been waiting for. Once more Amy Walsh delivered the moment in an impressive raw and empathetic performance and if she doesn’t get an award or two this year I’ll riot.

Fave or Fail? (12-16 March 2018)

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! Lisa’s health suffered when Gabby and Liv’s actions backfired and Joe discovered Debbie’s dark secret.

Faves

Dingle Divide

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h51m53s334Poor Lisa Dingle faced a health scare this week after Gabby and Liv’s prank went wrong. With Gabby determined to teach Daz a lesson, Lisa got caught in the crossfire and ended up in hospital and now the family are hellbent on revenge. There is one slight issue and one big secret, however – Liv is the one that did the actual spiking. It’s a story helmed by two great young actresses that causes friction not only between the extended families but will now surely divide the Dingles too when they find out the truth. I love stories that get the whole village involved, especially when it’s someone as beloved by the community (and viewers) as Lisa. With regretful Liv sure to spiral, this will give great dramatic material for Isobel Steele and might be the big consequences that Gabby and Liv need to learn from their mistakes.

Wicked Games

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h52m54s476Joe Tate learnt the shocking truth about Ross’s acid attack this week and decided to play a vengeful game with Debbie in order to keep her dark secret by blackmailing her into playing his girlfriend. Twisted, much? Joe’s manipulative wickedness adds a cruel spin to the story which might otherwise just be a quite repetitive and depressing story of Ross’s suffering. Health stories by nature can be slow so I’m glad of other elements to keep it interesting while still showing enough sensitivity and education through Ross’s recovery. Joe’s turning up at the hospital and forcing Debbie to reveal their new “status” to an already hurting was an especially bastardy move. Joe’s definitely the boo-hiss villain that makes soap so entertaining. But there’s a fine line between love and hate and Joe’s feelings for Debbie seem to be walking that tightrope, will hers follow?

Happier Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h23m44s125Smiles never last long in Emmerdale, but how nice to see resident misery magnet Aaron with some happiness this week. With much of last year bogged down in an angsty hell, it’s been good that the character has been shown to have a bit more of an adult life, not just in parenting and responsibility, but with his relationship with Chas too. With Chas absent a lot of last year, the mother son scenes were thin on the ground, but I’m glad we’ve moved to a more mature, less dependent relationship between the two. It feels fresher and far more enjoyable to see him carving a life for himself too.

Through the Tough Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h54m59s362Hooray for Eric again this week as not only did he invite Faith to move into his lovely barn, but he was a great support to Tracy. With Val and Finn gone it’s sad that we’ve not seen much of the BnB lately – we really did take those days for granted. But after David’s awful behaviour and his daughter-in-law needing a break from the shop, Eric was quick to offer her a better position working for him. I think this is exactly the boost Tracy needs. Eric has faith in her (no pun intended) and I love their supportive relationship, on both sides.

Fails

Recipe for Disaster

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h25m55s685This week, despite all the warning signs, Chas and Paddy decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and bring a Chaddy child into this world. As nice as it was to see Chas get some focus again, the writing choices felt heavily pro-life and dated, leading us to the inevitable outcome where they chose not to terminate. Still, we all know happiness for anyone – especially Chas – is short lived so all this champagne popping seems a bit pre-emptive, particularly when you remember Paddy was torn between two women five minutes ago. This has disaster written all over it and while I’m not a fan of the ill-suited couple, I dread the likely drift back towards Paddy and Rhona. It seems clear he’s still in love with her so how long before Chas’s heart is broken and the Dingles have another enemy on their list?

Fave or Fail? (5-9 March 2018)

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! Tracy stood up to David’s cruelty and hypocrisy this week as Ross tried to cope with his scarring.

Faves

Inner Strength

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h11m09s581Tracy was amazing this week and has fast become one of my favourite characters in Emmerdale. Buoyed by the knowledge that Phil had changed his plea to guilty thanks to another complaint and the piece in the local paper, Tracy was feeling much more positive about life. Until she discovered husband David was ashamed by her past and was trying to cover it up. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Tracy was helped by those around her to find the courage to stand up to David and confront his cruel and unempathetic treatment of her, as well as his hypocrisy for supporting other women in his life but not her. So far Tracy has stayed strong and resilient, telling him she can’t un-see the parts of him she doesn’t like, but I just hope she doesn’t backtrack because she deserves far better.

Cain’s Domestic Struggle

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h09m30s817Who’d have thought that Cain attempting to cook a meal and clean the house would have been such a huge hit this week? With Faith cramping his style, Cain wanted her out and attempted to impress Moira with his domestication. Of course, Cain being Cain it was a disaster and he roped in both Marlon and Lydia to help him out. Cain rarely gets the comedy scenes (see also: Robron’s scenes with Faith this week) but that’s why it was such an unexpected joy. From a great silly set up, to the clash of personalities and funny lines – it was a brilliantly cheerful and genuinely amusing set of scenes. And despite his uncovered deception, it clearly worked a treat on Moira too as she let him move back home.

Tracy’s Support Network

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h15m24s919How nice it was this week to see so many characters rally round in their support of Tracy. Even characters like Rhona who don’t know her as well, offered their empathy and the women of the Dales were able to use their previous negative experiences with men to help her find her strength. As mentioned in my Scene of the Week choice Charity’s speech was a particular highlight, even if Vanessa’s approach was far too forgiving of David’s attitude. Family members like Jacob and Eric were rightly horrified at David’s reaction and made up for his failings by saying the things he ought to have. All these scenes have made a welcome change from the usual way women in soapland turn against each other in action or judgement and I’m thankful that it’s only David who is this caveman anomaly.

Ross’s Recovery

Emmerdale - Cain Helps Ross to Finally Reconnect With Moses - YouTubeRoss’s road to acceptance and recovery had its ups and downs this week and it took some tough love and reverse psychology from Cain to help him move forward. After Ross’s violent outburst at Debbie at the start of the week (which was unfortunately horribly aggressive to watch and detracted a bit from the empathy I had towards Ross) Cain wanted words. But knowing Debbie’s role in the acid attack made Cain cautious and less vengeful and instead tried to help Ross bond again with son Moses. This is story is at its best when it lets Ross be vulnerable and scared and considering Moses might just be the cutest kid in Emmerdale, their scenes were especially touching and a real highlight of the week.

Sharma Drama

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h13m10s113I’ve had my ups and downs with the Sharmas over the years and think the family have suffered from dull factory stories or too much panto villainy from Jai. Thankfully those days are behind us and this week saw Priya come under suspicion for hurting Eliza after her breakdown last week. Despite initial finger pointing and doubt, what I liked about this story was its lack of sensationalism. Priya wasn’t kicked out of the family home and Jai didn’t refuse to speak to her – Priya took the decision herself to move out and even though the suspicion caused a rift in the family, there wasn’t any shouting and screaming, destroying that sibling bond. I like Jai and Priya’s relationship a lot so I hope this story doesn’t escalate into a war.

Fail

No Going Back?

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h10m23s643It’s hard to imagine how David will go back to being a likeable silly chap in the shop again after his continually awful behaviour towards Tracy. She’s always felt looked down on by him but this week proved he really does think less of her and is ashamed to be with her. Viewing his attitude towards her past, his mortification and the way he dismissed her struggle was uncomfortable to watch and made me hope she never takes him back. As if him cheating on her for no reason wasn’t bad enough, this disgusting treatment of the woman who’s meant to be his wife shows no obvious route of redemption. He’s been tactless and insensitive in the past but has this taken him too far?

Scene of the Week (5-9 March 2018)

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Charity’s incredible speech in support of Tracy blew me away this week, and it aired on International Women’s Day which couldn’t have been more apt. As Charity sat there with Vanessa and Tracy, the latter in tears, I think we all hoped Charity would be a support to Tracy knowing that she had experienced a similar past as a prostitute. Charity’s empowering speech wasn’t just reminding Tracy that she was an amazing woman, but that she deserves a whole lot more from her husband – not just love but compassion and empathy. Charity rightly reminded her that David is an adult and that it is his job to make her past easier to deal with and if he doesn’t then maybe he’s not worth it. It was hard for Tracy to hear but crucial that she did. Charity’s words were given confidently, but she’s taken a long time to reach this self-acceptance too and that’s why this moment was so resonating and inspiring. It’s a speech we all wish we could have given Tracy, a shame-free show of support and feminism that is vital in this story. Great story, Emmerdale. It’s what we should be seeing more of in our soaps.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Feb 2018)

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! In the week that saw Aaron and Robert finally reunite, Tracy was threatened with secrets from her past.

Faves

Make Your Dreams Come True

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m14s763If you heard the sound of happy crying on Thursday night then it was probably me. After months and months of agony and teasing, FINALLY Aaron and Robert were reunited and sought to face the future together, better than ever. It’s no secret that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry has earned them thousands of fans worldwide so the pressure was on for a satisfying and romantic reunion. We got it – and then some. It had all the classic tropes of a romantic movie, with heartbroken Robert struggling to move on and Aaron realising he couldn’t live without Robert. It wasn’t just the fact they’d patched up and declared their love, it was all the special details included that made it so poignant for fans. From the fun scenes in the club, to the meaningful conversations in the garage (a location pivotal in their love story) – there wasn’t a moment wasted with all cards on the table. There wasn’t any silly misunderstandings or finger pointing, it was rooted in their intense past and entirely faithful to their characters. After so much agony and angst, it was a surreal joy to see their family happily reunited. Aaron was grinning – and you don’t see that often! It felt important and truly memorable. Moving forward, we know it can’t be plain sailing but by god, Emmerdale, don’t ruin this. You’ve got something really special.

Amazing Amy

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m51s372On any other week, Tracy’s storyline would have been top of my Faves list because if there’s anyone who deserves ALL the awards then it’s Amy Walsh. She’s been an absolute revelation this week, as Tracy was blackmailed over her prostitute past by the vile Phil. Amy conveyed Tracy’s abject fear brilliantly and her heartbreak at David’s cold shoulder was especially moving. Tracy’s scenes with Frank saw a new and improved sensitive side to his character as he was able to comfort her without judgement, until David’s treatment of her. Amy’s performances have been powerful and empathetic in this dark storyline, cementing her as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. We all wanted to rush in and rescue her this week, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for her as she tries to get justice. I just hope Frank and Vanessa will be there for her when David inevitably lets her down.

Squad Goals

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h45m35s230How great was Thursday’s episode at the bar? Fans of Robert have been crying out for him to have some actual mates for ages and Emmerdale also relished the opportunity to revisit the brilliant double act he has with Bernice, as well as giving him an ally in Vanessa. Aside from the girls’ great attempts to cheer him up, the comedy between the girls was something special. This episode was chockfull of one-liners and each character added something to the group to make it warm and funny. It’s great seeing our favourites outside of the village so it felt like we were really spoilt and even better that we got to see a group of girls having a great time and getting along. No bitchiness, no falling out over men, just bad dancing and cheesy music requests. More of this. PLEASE!

Getting Serious?

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h48m42s367With Charity back from her holiday this meant the Vanity hook ups could resume much to both their delights, but as the week progressed it was clear they were after a bit more than no-strings fun. While I’ve criticised Emmerdale in the past for its slow and most off-screen portrayal of Vanessa and Charity’s relationship, I was glad to see it given a little more prominence this week. I loved seeing the women have flirty fun (with drunk Vanessa being an adorable bonus) and Charity soften to the idea of something more serious. When the writing is there, Vanity is sparky and fun, bringing out new sides to both characters. There’s still room for more though, and I want to see it!

Bonus Faves

  • Gerry and Jacob’s lovely attempts to cheer up Liv (ice cream Gerry, leave out the vodka) and talk sense into Gabby. Jacob continues to be wonderful and the Liv/Gabby drama continues to be believable and well done
  • Ross’s continued struggles
  • Aaron’s lovely attempts to help Liv with her sexuality
  • Bernice’s funny but very blunt relationship advice
  • Priya and Kerry’s badgering of the DJ for 90s classics leading to them being kicked out – TV gold!
  • Robert and Liv repairing their fractured relationship. They have always been one of my favourite relationships in Emmerdale so it was touching seeing them move on and become a family again – that hug!
  • Joe’s redecorated Home Farm and it looks amazing
  • Faith using the loo when Chas was in the room – they’ve got a brilliant mother/daughter dynamic
  • Jimmy’s sycophantic “Thank you, Mr Tate!” combined with Robert’s bristling fury at Joe calling him “Richard” – this new rivalry will be amazing

Fails

David is the Worst

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h49m11s488There is always stiff competition when it comes to “worst man in Emmerdale” but surely David Metcalfe wins this one hands down? As if his cheating on insecure Tracy wasn’t bad enough this week he behaved so hideously that I’m firmly Team Tracy Deserves Better. With predatory and disgusting Phil blackmailing Tracy, David caught them in a compromising position and then learnt the truth about Tracy’s past. Instead of being warm, loving and supportive of his wife he was cold and accusatory, unable to even look at her in the same way when he found out about her history. While it would understandably be a shock, David’s attitude towards her prostitution (and his selfish attitude in general) has soured my view of him completely and that’s without considering his recent lying and cheating. With Tracy’s other family members showing compassion and understanding, David is a far cry from the type of man Tracy needs. It’s going to take a lot for me to warm to him again.

Fave or Fail? (29 Jan-2 Feb 2018)

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! Romance was in the air this week as Charity and Vanessa kissed and made up, Rhona and Pete had some fun and there was a big reunion for Cain and Moira.

Faves

The Big Reunion

Emmerdale - Moira Gives Cain Her Answer - YouTube (1)This week was all about Cain and Moira reuniting and finally putting their ghosts to rest and it’s about time too! With Moira feeling pressured and grief stricken about Holly again, she decided to leave the village for good. We all know this rarely happens for real, but Cain was devastated at the prospect and gave her an ultimatum to meet him at the bridge – in true movie romance style. Reunions don’t come easy and it took some big conversations between Cain and Zak, and Moira and Charity to make the pair of them fight for their relationship. Emmerdale heart-to-hearts are some of my favourite moments, allowing for quiet and impressive performances and seeing Cain open and vulnerable is always welcome. Their final reunion on the bridge was perfect for their characters, full of humour and warmth and by Friday they were back kissing in the café as if they’d never been apart. An easy highlight of the week.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Emmerdale - Tuesday 30 Jan 7pm - The ITV HubHooray for besties Rhona and Vanessa this week who are definitely having fun in the dating department. After a hot and cold fling with Charity, Vanessa got her favourite pub landlady to own up to her feelings and the two shared a very nice kiss outside in the village, hopefully meaning we’ll start to see a bit more of their relationship from now on. Then there was a very unlikely but nicely sparky hook up between Pete and Rhona, giving her back the pep she’s been missing. Pete might not be future husband material but their interactions have given Rhona a big dose of fun and with a nice chemistry they’ve been a surprisingly enjoyable watch.

Darkness on the Horizon

Emmerdale - Someone From Tracy's Past Has Returned... - YouTubeThe new creepy handyman Phil is bad freaking news and I’m hating the way he’s wedged himself into the shop and buddied up with David, but what this does mean is a great big emotional story for Tracy in future. Amy Walsh plays vulnerable Tracy so well and this story looks like it could be dark and challenging – definitely something gritty for Amy to get her teeth into. I’m so worried for Tracy, especially with David being a dick, but I can’t wait to see how Amy pulls it out of the bag!

Fails

Just Grow Up

Emmerdale - Paddy Picks a Fight With Rhona's New Man Pete! - YouTubeUgh Paddy. After the whole Tess debacle, we finally regained some of the old fun Paddy we loved when he came back from Germany but with his messy feelings for Rhona and his jealousy in the mix, he was really unlikeable this week. Sure, he eventually redeemed himself by realising how selfish he’d been, but when Paddy’s childish like this it really puts me off him, especially when Rhona deserves something fun and uncomplicated. I still can’t stand the Chas and Paddy pairing, but maybe Rhona is better off without him after all? I can’t help but feel eventually he’s going to break Chas’s heart though…

Shifting the Blame

Emmerdale - Someone From Tracy's Past Has Returned... - YouTube (1)Another man for the dick list is David, once again. If the cheating and the lying wasn’t bad enough (like every other man in the Dales), it got worse as soon as Tracy confronted him about Priya’s incriminating text message. It might have been far too easy for David to fess up now (especially with Leyla not due back for ages) but lying again only served to make insecure Tracy feel a hundred times worse. Couldn’t he have thought of a way to lie without Tracy blaming herself? It’s horribly cruel of David and it feels even worse coming from someone who gives off the impression of being a nice guy and a dream husband. He better be there for her when things with Phil get dark otherwise I may end up hating him for a lot longer.

Fave or Fail? (15-19 Jan 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! Joe stepped up his revenge on the Dingles this week as he had Wishing Well demolished  but it was another great week for Emmerdale!

Faves

King of the Castle

vlcsnap-2018-01-20-20h58m52s817Now that the Whites have cleared out of the big house (RIP and all that), it’s been bliss to see Joe Tate take the mantel as the head of Home Farm. This week he deviously held a big house warming, including the Dingles, and ensured everyone was out of the way for the demolition crew to destroy Wishing Well. Evil genius! What’s so great about Joe’s take over, apart from him being charming and duplicitous, is that unlike the Whites he’s given new energy to the place and has integrated himself in the village already. He’s given new life to Debbie in revenge mode and it was a risky move for Emmerdale to partially demolish Wishing Well but exciting to see Joe shake things up. He’s already got under the skin of the Dingles as a real threat to their lives, made enemies and allies, and yet there’s still so much there to explore.

Mysterious Man

vlcsnap-2018-01-20-20h59m52s546The question on everyone’s lips right now has got to be: just who is Graham Foster? Part vigilante action hero helping and empathising with the Dingles and part ally and confidante to Joe. We learnt a tiny bit about how the two are linked this week, with Graham having a history of alcoholism, but there are still so many questions. Graham and Joe have a fascinating dynamic and now that Graham stepped in to secretly help the Dingle boys, we care about him as a character too. I’m very interested to see how he fits in with the rest of the village, if he has a dark side, and just how much of an influence he’ll be on Joe.

Lost Boy

vlcsnap-2018-01-20-21h02m16s288Lachlan’s remorse and recovery continued this week as he returned to spooky and desolate Home Farm. Once again Thomas Atkinson managed to make Lachlan sympathetic as he struggled to cope with seeing the last of his family’s belongings in the house and turned to Belle for support. His dark and troubled character has been compelling in the wake of the crash and now that Belle is so firmly on his side, the fallout from the truth is surely going to be devastating to her mental health. Definitely one to watch.

On/Off/On/Off

vlcsnap-2018-01-20-20h58m01s249Cain and Moira reunited, then broke up, again this week. I know – it’s hard to keep track! After the violence the other week, I was a bit perplexed that this was barely touched on before they shared heartfelt moments and slept together this week. Despite this confusing state of affairs there was a warm and funny morning scene and later when (having coldly dumped Harriet) Cain returned to see Moira for a new start, the chemistry between Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb was as intense and palpable as ever. But Moira put a stop to it. Maybe wise considering the circumstances but this on/off situation frustrating even when it sets sparks flying in their scenes and they’re clearly meant to be.

Fails

David’s Dalliance

vlcsnap-2018-01-20-21h00m24s396Just when you think Emmerdale won’t go down the predictable route…they did. Insert Tyra “we were all rooting for you” Banks GIF. After such a great start to 2018 for Emmerdale, did they really need to do this to poor Tracy. Sure, their marriage has been light on drama, but after all that insecurity, David did the thing she most feared and slept with ex Leyla (sound familiar anyone?). I’m not hugely invested in David and Tracy as a couple and I do like David and Leyla’s friendship a lot – but why ruin it? Tracy’s heartbreak is going to be horrible to watch – especially as Amy Walsh does vulnerability so well – but why put her through this lazy plot? What’s worse is that Leyla just experienced the betrayal of cheating first hand (would she really do that to Tracy so soon?!) and actress Roxy Shahidi is on maternity leave so won’t be able to resolve this plot for months! With the infidelity happening off screen we didn’t even get to see any build up so David cheating has come from nowhere and makes him look like a dick. Please no surprise baby when Leyla returns!

Killer Confrontation

vlcsnap-2018-01-20-21h03m14s684This week, pushed again to the brink (this is becoming a bit of a habit), tortured Moira confessed to Ross that she was the one to kill Emma. What followed was a really uncomfortable confrontation between the hyper-aggressive Ross and Pete versus the vulnerable Moira. I suppose herein lies the difficult of making someone like Moira, the everyday woman, into a killer – how do you believably move on from that? Despite everything Emma did, Ross and Pete were never going to calmly learn the truth but the violent outburst and snarly words really tipped the power balance when Moira’s guilt has made her into a wreck. It wasn’t nice to watch. By the next day the lads had almost had a change of heart after being so vehement towards her. It was a hard leap in the space of a few episodes and not one I think really worked. However, this story and Moira’s misery has felt a bit of a drag so if this means we can move on so be it.

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2017

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Emmerdale had another huge year full of great storylines and incredible performances, but it wasn’t all perfect. Here’s my look at where it went wrong in 2017.

Make sure you read my Top 10 Best Bits of 2017 later today!

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5. Anti Climaxes and Dragging Storylines

One of the biggest issues of 2017 was the pacing of storylines. Huge and long running stories that ended on a whimper, or stories that dragged on and on forever. There were notable exceptions of course, but sometimes stories ran on way past their sell by date. Even some of the best stories, like Emma’s downfall, could have benefitted from a faster, punchier conclusion. Smaller subplots like Tracy’s erotic novel ran for months, squeezing out every last second of humour until nothing was funny anymore; Rakesh took months to leave after his lies were exposed; I felt jaded by Vic and Adam’s lovely marriage ending several times in repetitive ways; similarly fatigued by Robron’s nine-month relationship breakdown (and Robert’s never ending revenge); Dan and the teen gang/Josh story lasted weeks and went nowhere having no impact on any of the families it involved; much like Jai’s drawn out relationship with Nell (which did benefit from some brilliant final moments) it’s had no long term effect on the characters, making any investment in the story pointless. So here’s hoping for 2018 that the fat is trimmed and stories aren’t stalled to delay shocks and twists, before they become anti-climatic.

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4. Sizzle Free Love Affairs

My biggest wish for 2017 was less cheating after the adultery-fest of 2016 and while that didn’t really happen, 2017 saw the rise of something just as disheartening: the sizzle free love affair. We had Cain and Harriet getting jiggy in the vestry – a combo of good and evil that should have been sinfully seductive viewing but fell flat in Cain and Moira’s shadow, especially when Harriet seems to be selling herself short. We had Megan and Frank – a dry and boring relationship which even Frank’s fling with Charity couldn’t liven up. Then there was Chas and Paddy – a strange and incompatible mismatch which requires strong cringe glands. And finally, the plot that soured our summers, Pete and Priya. Tipped as this big sexy affair for the summer, both characters suffered from horrible personalities and sub-zero chemistry levels. All the bum grabbing and clothes tearing in the world couldn’t save them.

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3. Finn the Stalker

It feels like forever ago now, particularly as poor Finn is now six feet under, but one of the worst plots of 2017 had to be Finn the stalker. Finn had been a fairly loveable, sweet geeky guy until this story saw him become clingy and crazy in his attempts to be with his boyfriend Kasim. Despite the unhinged behaviour being explained as Finn trying to cope with his dad’s death, Finn grew desperate and unlikeable in extreme ways (graffitiing the word “Yestergay” on Kasim’s wall for one) which made little sense and ruined what people loved about the character. Thankfully after a short trip to Australia, Finn’s personality went back to normal and we could all just forget about the bad plot. It’s just unfortunate that after all that, he ended up dead. Finn deserved better.

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2. The White Family

The White family were featured as one of my worst parts of 2016 and here they are again! Things didn’t improve from the previous year, as throughout 2017 the Whites continued to be isolated from the rest of the village and relied on exposition-heavy backstories to provide depth and create more inner-family conflict. Their entitled attitudes and unlikeable personalities meant their circular and tired arguments didn’t make for engaging viewing. Even Robert’s tedious and endless revenge panto plot didn’t improve things as it lobotomised the family making them look more gullible than ever before. Ultimately it felt like the confusion about what to do with the family ran on for another year as their limbo between victims and villains never settled. Another year of wasted potential. Their bad deeds (erm Andy, Alicia to name a few) were barely mentioned and their real points of interest (Lawrence’s sexuality, the family’s nastiness) ignored. If only they’d embraced the Whites as true, self-righteous villains (like they’ve just started to with Lachlan) then we might have seen something good.

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1. Robron Smashed to Bits

Oh boy. Where to begin.

After Aaron’s traumatic child abuse story of 2016, he was owed some happiness in 2017, right? Wrong. After a romantic and heartfelt wedding, Aaron was packed off to prison where he was tortured and abused in well-acted but nasty scenes that felt like a cruel step too far. At the time I questioned the darkness of these scenes after the hopeful future that was earned after Gordon’s trial. Once again throughout the year, Aaron might as well have been used as a voodoo doll. If people weren’t desensitised and sick of Aaron’s misery then 2017 might have pushed them over the edge.

On the outside, Robert was in bits and after learning that Aaron was taking Spice (a well meaning and educational drugs plot this wasn’t), Robert imploded their relationship by sleeping with continual thorn-in-Robron’s-side Rebecca. This was never going to be a popular move just three weeks after the wedding, but at every step the story became more wearing, more frustrating and more miserable. The handling of Robert’s bisexuality had already been praised in the LGBT community but the clumsy way his sexual identity had been inexplicably and repeatedly linked to being faithful in the dialogue meant his cheating was hard to not see as a huge backwards step and a muddled, dated message to the audience. Having spent so long redeeming Robert in the eyes of the viewers, Aaron and his loved ones it was depressing to see that destroyed.

It didn’t stop there, of course. We had the inevitable pregnancy, more drugs, more self harm, more arguments and finally a big split. Rebecca’s personality shifted when the story required, having been introduced as a flighty vixen in 2016 eager to get Robert for herself, Rebecca became the eternal martyr lurching through multiple personalities when the story required it. Rebecca’s point of view was barely featured, meaning her flip-flopping decisions never showed much more of a purpose than to cause more grief between the already fractured couple. Beyond frustrating.

Having once had soap’s hottest property in the palm of their hand, even the most ardent Robron fan was exhausted and despondent. So after all that and promises behind the scenes for a reunion in 2018, is it too much to hope for a less torturous 2018?