Fave or Fail? (10-14 Sep 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! Bails got sent down this week and Emmerdale revealed what happened to Rebecca.

Faves

Worthy Winner

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h17m41s438It was perfect timing for Emma Atkins to win an award for Best Soap Actress (at the TV Choice awards) the same week as she gave a string of outstanding performances during Bails’ trial. She’s without question one of Emmerdale’s finest performers and she really got to show that off, and prove her worthy win, as Charity stood for questioning and then had to deal with the emotional aftermath of the guilty verdict. I’ve had issues with the pacing of this story (from the dragged out Ryan reveal, repetitive conversations and then a very rushed trial) and felt that the narrative has been far too similar to Rhona and Aaron’s stories, taking place very recently for this story to feel fresh. But despite the story’s weaknesses, Emma’s been fantastic. Even when Charity is saying nothing, when she’s brooding, Emma performs the moment with a storm brewing inside of Charity so powerful that viewers can feel it too. With Charity really struggling and putting on an act, I’m sure this is just the start of impressive moments from Emma.

Support System

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h16m51s043Despite some of the AWOL Dingles, I was glad to see Charity had a group of people surrounding her and giving her love this week, even faces like Tracy and Harriet who have been there from the start. Noah and Ryan’s bonding was great to see, and it was a powerful and moving moment to see them arrive in court, and give Charity that boost she needed. Although at times her loved ones have struggled with the right words and knowing how to best support her, the unflinching support from Vanessa this week was touching, even when Charity tried to push her away and bottle up her real feelings. It’s a long road ahead for Charity and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t shown that a guilty verdict feels gratifying or like a relief for everyone, but hopefully the right people will be there for her when she needs it.

Three’s a Crowd

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h14m45s599It wasn’t a big story this week but I’ve been really entertained by the trio of Rodney, Eric and Faith as Eric realised he was enjoying having Rodney around, just as Faith was getting more and more fed up. As Eric and Rodders bonded over love for the same auction telly show, Faith was asked by Brenda if their set-up was polyamorous like she’d read in the magazines. But Faith’s hope for an end in sight seemed unlikely as Eric turned down the generous offer on his statue and pretended to want rid of Rodney. This story might not have the must-see tension of a trial or soapy disaster of a serial killer, but it’s everyday fun and we could do with more of that.

Tracy Unleashed

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h15m22s475I’m definitely not here for a Ross and Tracy romance, and Ross’s wild-eyed cocaine ravings aren’t a pleasure to watch either, but I loved the cathartic scenes of Tracy smashing up a car on Friday. Tracy’s become one of my absolute favourite characters and after her emotional and mature reaction to her split with David it was fun to see her let loose and have a bit of fun, releasing all that pent up anger. There was something childlike about Tracy’s joy in the scene that I loved and I hope there’s something brighter on the horizon for her.

Fails

Dingle No-Show

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h19m09s969They’re the first family to talk codes and rules, but when it comes to support, the Dingles can be flaky at best. Perhaps the lack of consistent family support for Charity can be blamed on real world production issues considering many of the main players in the Dingle family are involved in big stories of their own (be it Chas’s pregnancy, Sarah’s heart transplant or Lachlan’s chaos) but it feels like a massive oversight to not have them there by her side, especially when they’ve been missing in most of the story. Charity’s relationship with Chas has all but disappeared, Debs was too busy to be there for the trial and Aaron, who had been through similar himself two years ago, barely gave more than a passing comment. I don’t buy it. The idea that Charity is a strong woman who doesn’t need support might seem a believable perspective for them to take at times, but I didn’t believe that her loved ones would really behave in such an uninterested, nonplussed way knowing what she’d been through. It felt a contrived way to isolate Charity and exacerbate the aftermath of the trial. Take Marlon, for example, who is known for his huge heart, but spent the time he could’ve been with Charity, bonding with Ellis. It might be an actor availability issue but it didn’t ring true, not in this context.

Rebecca’s Fate

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h18m15s415In case you hadn’t already guessed the surprise twist, Emmerdale revealed that Rebecca is alive and well (ish) this week. Despite the fact Lachlan has no reason to keep her alive, especially considering he killed both his mother, grandfather and best mate and Rebecca knew all his secrets and conspired to lock him up in the first place, Rebecca’s been spared. This week we learnt that she’s been transferred from ramshackle shack to a bed in an unknown location where a creepy nurse is keeping her drugged and her hair well-conditioned. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds, like something from a horror B movie or American soap and while there’s always a level of outlandish soap stories, this exceeds that to stupidity. This latest development just feels like another way to extend the already stretched Lachlan plot, leaving viewers with more questions than answers. Who is the creepy nurse? Where did Lachlan find her? Why did she agreed to drug this distressed woman? Where is this random room located? How did Lachlan get her there? And so on. When Lachlan’s story should be hurtling towards a conclusion after last week’s climax, this just felt like filler. What makes the story even more tedious is that like the rest of her family, Rebecca was an isolated character with few meaningful connections in the village, meaning that when Rhona was mourning her this week, or Rishi talked about the girls in the factory being upset (characters she’s never interacted with) it just rings hollow.

Advertisements

7 Recent Storylines With Potential That Just Vanished

I’ve noticed a strange trend in 2018 – the disappearing storyline! While other plots drag on for months and months, some stories with potential just seem to vanish into thin air. Now, I’m not talking stories that took a disappointing turn (like Ross’s acid attack) but these are moments that were delivered with great performances, lots of excitement and press and then…vanished!

nowhere4

Moira and the impact of killing Emma

Making Moira a killer was a huge decision and one that sent a chill of terror into Moira fans, but they needn’t have worried because any impact on her was short lived. After a quiet year for Moira, mainly because they were trying to keep her shock pregnancy a secret, she had a traumatic end to 2017, suffering both post-natal depression and extreme guilt for her part in killing Emma. With Moira such a beloved and ordinary character in the village (ordinary as far as you can be for a soap character!) it was always going to be difficult to give her any long-term consequences for killing off another character. But within a matter of months, she’d reunited with love Cain and everything had been forgiven and forgotten when it came to the Barton boys. The aftermath Moira’s breakdown was intense and destructive, but although she lost son Adam, psychologically she seems happier than ever now! Perhaps making Moira a killer was too jarring and Emmerdale weren’t sure how to deal with it long-term, but if this was the case, maybe she was the wrong character for the role. I love Moira and I like seeing her happy and settled, but it does feel like everything was brushed too neatly under the carpet.

nowhere2

Joe Tate vs the world

Perhaps the worst offender on the list is the complete waste of Joe Tate since his wonderful reveal in January. Excitement was high when the Tom Waterhouse charade fell apart and he was revealed to be Chris Tate’s son, leading to a deliciously evil take over of the village next to stoic butler figure Graham. Every doubt we’d had about the “Tom” storyline was revealed to be deliberate, including the all-too-perfect romance with Debbie. But as Joe made enemies left right and centre, demolishing Wishing Well, taking Home James Haulage from Robert and pissing off everyone in sight, his position as top dog and loathed rich boy just couldn’t be sustained. Living in the big house and have no familial ties, it seemed like Emmerdale swiftly realised Joe needed more than just enemies and his redemption came in the shape of his new-found love for dour Debbie Dingle. While a slow love-hate romance might’ve worked, it’s now as if all of Joe’s Machiavellian behaviour has been dropped in favour of a bedside vigil for Sarah. Where is the village antagonist we were promised? Why isn’t he living up to the Tate name and has fallen into the trap of being a wet weekend who has the odd tantrum? With all his vendettas forgotten he’s an aimless character and a real waste of that Tate legacy.

nowhere7

Liv’s drinking and asexuality

Viewers had long been promised a gritty plot for talented Isobel Steele and it finally emerged onto screens this year. Or did it? Compared to issue-led plots for other characters Liv’s drinking problems have been vaguely handled and half-arsed. Don’t get me wrong, Isobel has given sensitive and emotional performances as Liv tried to navigate adolescence, but after a spell in youth offenders and a brief Lachlan-fuelled relapse, her problem with alcohol has almost been treated as “fixed”. Are we meant to believe she’s all fine now? That her time inside “fixed her” (a worrying implication if so)? It feels like this complex issue has been brushed under the carpet rather than giving it the treatment it deserves. Is this so they can make Liv start drinking again when the story needs it, or has it just been forgotten about? It’s a similar case with the hints about her asexuality. Liv has spent a little time questioning this, but it hasn’t been given the airtime that it deserves and that seems like another waste of Isobel’s talents to leave Liv’s interesting struggles untouched. Instead of piling on more angst (like her recent exam failures) can’t Emmerdale do a better job of resolving the stories they’ve already laid the foundations of?

nowhere3

The Kings – business and health problems

I’m a huge fan of the Kings so I was excited to see them get involved in the Tate take-over at the start of 2018. Jimmy had long been relegated to comedy buffoon with Nicola as his nagging wife, so it was great to see a bit of the powerhouse King family history remembered. But after teaming up with Robert to double-cross Joe, the story collapsed and disappeared. We haven’t heard anything about the new Home James Haulage work team or what a nightmare Joe is as a boss. It’s business as usual. All of Jimmy’s health issues and stress have disappeared (is he okay? Who knows!) so there was no emotional story there and so instead the Kings have been underused for another year which is a real shame as they’re one of Emmerdale’s biggest assets.

nowhere6

Priya’s struggling mental health

Before she took on a role at Home Farm (which seems like a great move!) Priya had a difficult start to the year. The first few months of 2018 we saw signs of Priya feeling lonely and exhausted and with Jai using her as a babysitter, it all got a bit much for her. This really seemed like it could be the beginning of a decent storyline for her. It isn’t the first time Priya’s had mental health struggles and with 2017 seeing the end to her marriage, and a disastrous affair with Pete, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her feel her life was in tatters. Priya’s an ambitious woman so to see her have a bit of a breakdown about her stalled life could have been a great story, but it just fizzled out instead. It’s about time the Sharmas had something a bit more serious and emotional to do and Fiona Wade would have done a great job with it.

nowhere1

Syd MacFarlane’s threat to Aaron

If you don’t remember Syd MacFarlane then I don’t blame you. Syd had a very brief appearance in January and was let free during Adam’s escape from his prison van, but he made another cameo in April, blackmailing Aaron and Robert for some hard cash in one of the most lacklustre plots of the Spring. Syd rocked up, threatened Aaron, then held him hostage for all of half an episode just so that Robert could sign away their flat and his business to Joe Tate for the ransom. As we know, that rivalry with Joe had no real long-term consequences and Syd’s random arrival was just as fleeting and insignificant as his exit. Syd and his threats had no impact, even though Aaron and the MacFarlanes had a long history that could’ve been explored, meaning Syd was a 2D “villain of the week” character. Gone and forgotten instantly. The MacFarlanes could have started real trouble for the Dingles, for Robert’s business or even given Joe some tips! Instead it turned into one of 2018’s most pointless and disappointing subplots, wasting both fan favourite couples, Robron and Coira, who briefly joined forces to take down Syd.

nowhere5

Eliza’s health problems

Instead of helping his dad with dating disasters, Jai could have had a much more emotionally engaging storyline had Emmerdale continued to be true to the drama of Eliza’s health concerns. Megan is wasted in wishy-washy romance plots with Frank and Jai spends too long in the factory – but when Eliza was taken ill, I thought this was the start of a relatable and engaging story about parents and their disabled infant. When Eliza was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in late 2017 I thought this was going to be the start of a great story for the parents, but that went nowhere. Then again at the start of the year when bruises appeared on her and they suspected Eliza, this looked to be like a dramatic and heartful family story, but nothing ever came from it. All the actors involved are capable of big performances, but this is another non-starter wasting their talents.

Fave or Fail? (3-7 Sep 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! Justice prevailed this week as Lachlan was finally arrested.

Faves

Perfect Performance

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h44m16s261Unquestionably the star of this week’s episodes was the flawless performance Thomas Atkinson as Lachlan White. Even when the story has creaked and been overstretched Thomas has given bone-chilling and sometimes comically-black performances that made him so watchable. There was always potential for Lachlan to embrace his dark side and Thomas’s performances have never disappointed. Whether it’s the creepy smiles or the deluded speeches, he makes Lachlan a great villain even when Lachlan’s not smart enough for his plans to be a success. This week had some brilliant episodes as Lachlan faced off against Sam, Robert, Belle and then finally the police. I only wish Emmerdale hadn’t killed Chrissie, because she is the one person who I think deserved to be there during his downfall to see the twisted individual he has become.

Belle Fights Back

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h54m56s492Belle had a horrifying week as the truth of Lachlan’s killings unravelled in front of her. She had to play a careful, cautious game to keep Lachlan on side and it was gripping viewing to watch her struggle against the voices in her head to outsmart Lachlan. The two characters had a great dynamic in these scenes, with Lachlan easily bought and tricked by his twisted love for Belle, and her managing to keep so calm in the face of his terror. I loved seeing Belle so active in her pursuit of escape, not only using her wits and running but also managing to start the car without a key. I hope the future of Belle’s mental health isn’t dependent on what Lachlan does next, because I think she deserves to out-do him after he gave her the illusion of a good future for so long.

Doctor Love

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h50m43s356I’m as smitten with the idea of Bernice and Dr Cavanagh as they are with each other. This week Bernice caused havock with Faith’s facial and Liam was on hand to soothe Faith’s skin and defend the hapless Bernice. There were coy sparks between the pair, especially when Liam stayed around for a taste of Bernice’s honey bush (a cracking innuendo as always from Ms Blackstock) and it all got a bit steamy when she gave him a shampoo. This is Bernice at her best and it was great to see more of Liam Cavanagh and in a more humorous role. I’m definitely ready for Bernice to ditch dead-weight Daz and have some fun with Dr C instead!

The New Boy

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h51m15s100He might not have been right for Vic, but there was something immediately charismatic about newcomer Ellis this week. It’s common that new characters can talk a while to settle on screen or are restricted by just a few interactions but Ellis seemed to fit in immediately, making small talk in the café, eyeing up Priya and that was all before reuniting with mum Jessie and meeting Marlon and April. There’s a natural warmth to him and he seems particularly skilled at comic timing so it bodes well. His arrival also seems to give more grounding to Jessie and I’m intrigued by the secret they’re hiding. Can’t wait to see more!

Bonus faves:

  • Noah’s recognition that his brother is marrying his sister – Emmerdale summed up in a sentence
  • Justice for Doug finally, poor love. Shame Diane wasn’t a bit more gracious!
  • As an honourary member it was good to see Robert got welly-deep in Dingle family drama this week, even getting thanked by Cain (it’ll all change next week but it was nice while it lasted)
  • Glad they didn’t rush to make Matty kiss Vic back – slow burns are worth a bit of patience!

Fail

Woe is Joe

vlcsnap-2018-09-08-20h43m36s266The weakest storyline this week had to be Joe’s spiral of self-pity at Home Farm after Debbie’s proposal rejection. He really showed his sulky immaturity, pushing away Noah who was the only one looking out for him and regressing to rudeness over a bottle of whiskey. I wouldn’t have minded this outburst if it had inspired something interesting like a return to form, like the nasty piece of work he was when he arrived, or had given us something with a bit more bite in his weird relationship with Graham. Instead it took all of five minutes for Debbie to change her mind and everything to return to normal. The only tremor of intrigue was Graham’s mysterious phone call about the proposed nuptials. Will this mysterious caller lift Joe and Graham from the doldrums or will they continue to waste that spark of potential they arrived with?

Fave or Fail? (27-31 Aug 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 Ryan finally met the Dingles and Joe planned a proposal.

Faves

Honest conversations

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h02m46s891I was so impressed with the writing for Pete and Rhona this week as they navigated the serious issues in their relationship. Perhaps they should have talked about this before moving in together, but love can do that to logical thought. After last year’s cheating debacle I never thought I’d ever like Pete Barton again. It wasn’t funny or sexy, it was sleezy and unpleasant and that did nothing for a character who most people had previously just written off as boring. But a year on and a mellowed Pete has grown up and thankfully the writing is putting a lot of effort into making his and Rhona’s relationship one of honest and frank conversations. Their conversations were an extension of last week’s chat about trust and the future and how Pierce has damaged Rhona’s self esteem. The pair of them also have great chemistry and Pete’s earnest attempts to make a real effort with Leo were heartwarming and the kind of character led writing that gives me hope for the quality of writing going forward. With Pete seemingly keen on kids and Rhona unsure, this gives them plenty of room to explore natural conflicts in their relationship and I really hope they keep this up!

Matters of the Heart

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h07m13s501Poor Rodney! After Misty left for Thailand last week, with some more than gentle nudging from Nicola and Bernice, Rodders learnt the truth about his daughters’ conspiring and took it very very badly. It wasn’t just heartbreak Rodney felt and he was quickly rushed to hospital after collapsing. Things were made even worse for him when he saw Misty had already moved on and into the arms of a young attractive traveller. What a bad week! It’s been years since actor Patrick Mower has been given any decent serious material so this was a welcome change from the norm and even though I hated the cringe-fest of his randy relationship, I really did feel for the guy. But with Misty gone, Rodney got back to familiar and more enjoyable ground by returning to his love/hate relationship with Eric.

Ditch Daz

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h06m14s413Thank goodness for Bernice finally seeing the light on dull Daz and realising she deserves a guy with a bit more life to him. There were hilarious scenes this week as Nicola expressed her continued dislike of Daz and her sister tried not to grimace when Daz made her cringe. Then there was Pearl, always a favourite of mine, distrusting and brilliantly cold to him. Bernice already has her eye on dishy Dr Cavanagh and I’m in full support. Daz is a drain and it’s about time we saw Bernice with someone special!

Dingle Welcome

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h03m45s468After what feels like years, Ryan Stocks finally got introduced the Dingles after an awkward showdown in the pub. Emmerdale have stalled this story more times than I can count and the back and forth hasn’t done the story any favours. Luckily the performances from actors Emma Atkins and James Moore in particular have been worth watching. Unsurprisingly Debbie reacted badly and the rest of the family were left open-mouthed with confusion at the start until they all came around, baring Noah. The next day a lot of other Dingles gave Ryan a warm welcome and Charity was made up. I can’t help but worry that after all that build up, they’ve rushed through his initiation into the Dingles and it really should have been given more than two episodes. Seeing as how many fans were eagerly awaiting the scenes of Ryan bonding with the rest of the clan, don’t say it’s be over before it’s begun.

Fail 

Love Changes Everything

vlcsnap-2018-09-02-14h04m04s709This week, sparked by lonely musings from Priya, Joe decided to propose to Debbie. Trying to do the right thing, Joe approached Sarah and asked her permission first and she was pretty thrilled for someone who hated Joe five minutes ago. But there sums up the entire problem with Joe and his whole existence. Sure, it’s not the first time love has changed someone and forgiveness has been found after evil deeds (a certain Robert Sugden anyone?) but the difference with Joe is that his brilliantly villainous intro was quickly abandoned, his many rivalries forgotten or forgiven and a rapid and all consuming love for Debbie changed him. I’m not a Joe/Debbie hater and in fact I think they have a good chemistry, but they’d have an even better chemistry if Joe’s whole personality and motives hadn’t been diluted to nothing. I’ve said before on the blog that slow burn romances are a big favourite of mine and someone like Joe who was so cruel and cold needed a long and slow redemption story if that was the intention. As it stands the proposal seems rushed and I can’t help but watch Joe now and see the complete waste of his potential as the biggest richest villain in the Dales.

Scene of the Week (27-31 Aug 2018)

sceneoftheweek

s120.png

I was so impressed by Jack Downham’s performance in this scene that I had to make it my Scene of the Week. With Ryan’s introduction to the Dingles not going as smoothly as Charity hoped, his was sprung on a confused and hurt Noah without warning. What followed was Noah packing his bags and taking out his pain on Charity and Ryan by saying they didn’t need or want Ryan in their lives as a reminder of what Bails had done. It was one of those really difficult to watch scenes, but one where your heart breaks for all those involved. Noah’s had a rocky relationship with Charity at best and now in his adolescence, with the arrival of Joe and the discovery of Charity’s traumatic childhood, his world has been rocked. Jack’s performances are getting better and better and his complex relationship with his mum is one of the most interesting parent/child dynamics in Emmerdale too.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Aug 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! As Ross threw a terrible drug-fuelled party, Sarah agreed to have a heart transplant.

Faves

Generations of Support

Emmerdale - Sarah Gets Some Life Lessons From Faith - YouTubeSarah has a big support network around her at the moment (if you discount her MIA dad and the other Sugdens, despite the odd cameo from Diane) but it was her scenes with Faith that were the big highlight of the week. Sure, a hospital escape and a pub visit at 9am might have been stretching the suspension of disbelief, but Faith and Sarah’s honest talks were an example of familial moments Emmerdale does so well. With Sarah set on dying, Faith tried to show her that she hadn’t even begun to live, reminding her of all the things she was giving up on. I loved that the script wove in Faith’s health history and Chas’s story too, making these interactions feel truthful and real, even in a family as big and dramatic as the Dingles.

The Return of Bad Boy Cain

Emmerdale - Cain Issues a Chilling Threat to Frank If He Calls the Police - YouTubeWe got a glimpse of mad, bad Cain this week after Frank tried to confront him over the most anti-climatic car crash in recent times. After the crash, Frank threatened to call the police on Cain and we saw a smidgen of the darker Frank lurking underneath. Frank’s been a bit of a bore since his arrival, but something more sinister would be a good route to go down, especially if it revives Cain with a bit of menace himself. I’m all for family man Cain, but there was something deeply satisfying about watching him put Frank in his place the next day by listing everything he’d do to Frank if he went ahead with his threats. You get the sense actor Jeff Hordley relishes these moments of a confident and threatening Cain and that comes across – it’s a joy to watch too. It’s about time he had another adversary.

Difficult Future Ahead

Emmerdale - Paddy and Chas Find Out What Lies Ahead for Their Child PREVIEW - YouTubeChas and Paddy’s emotional story was made sadder this week by the introduction of a woman named Joanne. Joanne told her story about the loss of her child as a way to give Chas and Paddy not only comfort and advice, but a slice of reality. I haven’t felt especially connected to this story (perhaps there’s just been too much bumbling from Paddy and bloodyminded-ness from Chas, I’m not sure) but using Joanne and a talented guest actress made the story feel very personal and real. I think opening up the story to other characters helps lift the situation from being too repetitive and insular and it’s a sign of a good script and actress that Joanne’s story resonated in such a short space of time.

Jacob’s Return

Emmerdale - Jacob Finds Out About Tracy's Abortion - YouTubeJacob came back from visiting mum Alicia this week (Alicia we miss you!) and reminded everyone – especially David – how to be a half-decent man. David being David had Maya semi-naked under the counter of the shop (health and safety nightmare surely?) and had to quickly explain to Jakey that he’d moved on in record speeds. I really loved the scenes between Jacob and Tracy this week as he reached out and tried to support her and I’ll always be glad of anyone giving David some home truths. Maya is an interesting one though, isn’t she? Overly earnest and way too keen – there’s got to be something darker lurking under the surface.

Fails

Ross the Cokehead

vlcsnap-2018-08-19-14h14m05s118When Emmerdale revealed they were giving Ross the head-hitting acid attack storyline, I don’t think anyone imagined that Ross becoming a cokehead would be the direction the story would take! This was a story that would change Ross, showing us a more vulnerable side to him and take the character in a new and refreshing direction. But if Ross’s alpha male status was brash and unlikeable when he first arrived, then this week it became a whole new level of arrogant and dickhead. As Ross got wasted, throwing a party and causing arguments with Pete and his only friend in Ryan, it feels like all the worst aspects of Ross turned up to eleven. When we know Ross is on his way out, it seems a real shame to leave the character on such a sour note – is this really how we want to remember him?

Scene of the Week (13-17 Aug 2018)

sceneoftheweek

s118.png

Sarah’s tragic storyline has been one of the strongest and a real highlight this week, but I particularly enjoyed this scene with her mum, Debbie, when she agreed to go ahead with the transplant. With Debbie battling to stay positive, the pair had a frank discussion with Sarah feeling like she caused her mum too much trouble in life. Charley Webb’s performance in this moment was a real tear-jerker as she struggled to imagine how painful life would be without her daughter and how powerless she felt. Young actress Katie Hill is so much like a young Debbie that their scenes together have a genuine charm, one which makes this storyline work even better.

Fave or Fail? (6-10 Aug 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 saw the kids get spooked with a trip to the woods and the Lachlan murder saga continued.

Faves

Lots of Nicola

vlcsnap-2018-08-11-22h01m16s233Every time Nicola King gets a more prominent role on screen I’m reminded why she’s one of my favourite characters. From her sharp one liners, dismissive put-downs and all round sarcastic attitude, I just love everything about Nicola. Amongst the stinging wit, Nicola has a huge heart when it comes to her beloved family and best mate Laurel. We haven’t seen much of their friendship in recent months so it was nice to see that again, especially as it included lots of eye-rolling over the Bob romance. We feel you, Nico. Nicola managed to liven up what was quite an unfunny and dull start to the week and it made me wish that we saw a lot more of her. Where have her and Jimmy’s stories disappeared to? I had high hopes at the start of the year with his health problems and the business being taken over by Joe but since then it’s fizzled out. Nicola is a huge asset to the village and it was about time she was used more.

Scooby Doo Gang

vlcsnap-2018-08-11-22h02m07s123The kids gave Stranger Things a run for its money this week as they ganged up to explore the woods. Feeling spooked out by Misty’s stories about energy never dying the kids played ghost hunters all to tease out the will they/won’t they discovery of Rebecca held captive in the cabin. The dialogue in Thursday’s two-parter was particularly funny as the kids wound each other up, bossing each other around and teasing each other’s fears. Particular highlights of the storyline were April’s team leading and subsequent cries of “Shut up April!”; Arthur’s mortification of Laurel turning up; and Angelica using the phrase “Grow a pair!” but none of them knowing what was meant to be grown. There are times when their dialogue was a little too self-consciously adult, but in Thursday’s double especially they felt like real kids on an adventure and Emmerdale’s child stars are great to watch.

Slow Burn Romance

vlcsnap-2018-08-12-14h14m45s692I’m a sucker for a slow burn romance with unrequited pining so this storyline of hidden and confusing feelings between Victoria and Matty is right up my street. Underused actress Isabel Hodgins has Vic’s butterflies down to a tea, playing the awkwardness of friendship-with-feelings perfectly against Ash Palmisciano’s charismatic Matty. The pair have a nice warm chemistry which works well as besties, but now that there’s a little romantic undercurrent I’m really invested. I think the potential here for drama is a goldmine and I hope Emmerdale doesn’t rush to something too perfect and smooth sailing. Let it grow.

Hospital Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2018-08-12-14h13m56s290Debbie and Sarah’s heart-breaking moment together before she was wheeled away for the transplant that never was really got me in the gut this week. The upbeat scenes in the hospital with Sarah being quite happy-go-lucky about it all and Debbie being the overprotective mum, soon got serious when reality hit. It was a contrast that worked well. It’s an unimaginable horror for any parent, and the onscreen relationship between the pair felt believable in its emotion. I’m glad Debbie’s got a story that is much more grounded in reality and separate from stilted love triangles too and actress Charley Webb is at her finest when she has the pain of these moments to play.

Fails

Hard to Believe

vlcsnap-2018-08-11-22h00m21s011Continuing the Amelia and Beth story just isn’t working for me on any level. Beth’s story as the misunderstood vulnerable teen reminds me of the Josh story from last year and I have the same question this time – why should I care? Surely Beth’s going to disappear just like Josh did, never to be mentioned again. The Amelia story was fun when it felt like we were invited to speculate on the mystery but as soon as her kidnapper was revealed, it lost any of the suspense. To buy into Amelia’s attachment to Beth we really needed to see how a lonely and lost Amelia got groomed and so attached to Beth, but all of this development and the foundation of this story happened off screen. Now we’re left to understand and believe that Amelia is so desperate to be with Beth that she’d lie, steal and run away from her home. Not only is it hard to believe, it just isn’t very interesting to watch.

Wince-Inducing

vlcsnap-2018-08-12-14h12m15s782It was a hard week of Emmerdale to watch if you’ve got a low cringe threshold for so-called comedy. If like me you think the Sharmas are being wasted on wince-inducing sitcom storylines, then Bob’s interview and Megan’s dress-up might have just pushed it too far. Comedy is a struggle to get right, and everyone has their own tastes, but instead of raising chuckles, situations of lack have made me want to reach for the mute button. It feels like a complete waste to put capable actors in these embarrassing set-ups when lighter characters, like the Spencers, are stuck in miserable stories. The cringe was just too much this week and that’s even without mentioning Misty and Rodney’s mortifying sexploits.

Fave or Fail? (30 July-3 Aug 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 Ross turn to drugs, Aaron and Robert got re-engaged.

Faves

Lydia’s Cancer Scare

Emmerdale - Lydia Asks Sam to Keep Her Biopsy a Secret - YouTubeBy far my favourite story of the week was Lydia and Sam’s story about their little family and Lydia’s cancer worries. It’s been great to see more of Lydia lately especially as she’s moved from kooky side character to someone far more serious and pivotal. This week saw Sam open up to Lydia and Samson about Alice’s death, but it wasn’t long before he was terrified about history repeating when Lydia’s mole needed investigation. Scared what the future might bring, Lydia distanced herself and Sam was torn and devastated by the thought of Samson losing another mother figure to cancer. These were emotive and touching scenes played beautifully between Karen Blick and James Hooton, with both of them relishing these sad and serious scenes compared to the comedy they usually play. In the end it was sensitive, compassionate Samson who reunited their little family and thank goodness, because they’re a heart-warming trio and I’d hate to see them parted. This week confirmed to me that Sam and Lydia are perfect together and need to be protected at all costs!

They Said Yes

vlcsnap-2018-08-03-20h46m20s041Robron fans have been promised a second and legal wedding ever since they tied the knot almost 18 months ago and this week the thrilled couple finally got re-engaged much to everyone’s delight, meaning that much anticipated wedding is around the corner. (Right in time for Lachlan to cause absolute destruction, surely?) Wanting to cement their family, Robert and Aaron took things right back to the beginning by proposing (in sync) at the very layby where they first kissed and their coy smiles at breaking down at this fateful spot were worth the wait. It was satisfying this time around to see their families celebrating the happy event, with the lads even picking their sisters as their “best people”. With Rebecca AWOL, talk also turned to Seb’s future and it was good to see Aaron voice his feelings about becoming his parent as discussions on that front, in light of last year’s emotional trauma, were severely lacking. But with this much heart-eyed bliss to enjoy, there’s bound to be carnage on the big day…

Rebecca Fights Back

vlcsnap-2018-08-03-20h48m35s137Since her arrival, Rebecca’s personality and characterisation has been changeable to say the least, but this week, with her still held hostage by Lachlan, it felt as if Emmerdale have finally settled on something that works – someone with a bit of fight! Even though Rebecca’s memory issues seem to fall by the wayside when the story needs it, they gave her enough power to try and outsmart Lachlan with emotional blackmail and reason. A for a little while it almost worked. But it was her tragic goodbye to Seb that was the most effective moment in its cruelty and really made the concept of her imprisonment feel more real.

Fails

A Life of Crime

Emmerdale - Ross Meets With His Drug Dealer - YouTubeAfter last week’s great scenes with Ryan, it was a shame to see Ross return to his role as a low-rent Cain, trying to swerve the police with the stolen cars. I’ve got no problem with Ross as a bad boy in the village, but regressing to a cocky thug is surely a waste of his development after the acid attack? If that wasn’t a step back enough, he then bought and used coke, seemingly having forgotten all about lovely little Mozza. Is this Emmerdale’s way of setting up an exit for Ross? If so, getting Ross involved in drugs and dodgy deals would be a really weak and superficial exit for his character and I hope there’s more to it than that.

Graham’s Ghost

vlcsnap-2018-08-03-20h49m53s995Emmerdale got experimental again this week, bringing in ghostly apparitions for Graham and flashbacks on the anniversary of his wife and daughter’s crash, the one he drunkenly caused. You’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this blog that I love Emmerdale’s recent spell of creativity and their interest in stretching the soap genre as we know it, however Graham’s special episode was a real let down. I’m a firm believer that these special episodes are best when used sparingly only when they serve to offer some new insight into the characters. We know very little about the guarded Graham, so this should have been a great opportunity to learn more about his backstory and perhaps plunge us straight into a gripping new story. But all the special episode did was rehash what Graham had told Debbie months ago and with unnecessarily cartoonish ghost scenes. Graham’s retelling of events to Debbie was powerful and simple – these flashbacks just weren’t needed. We’ve spent months with Graham and Joe now and I still feel none the wiser about their history and background together. Rather than being enigmatic it’s starting to feel a bit empty. If anything, a flashback about how they became so entwined might have been helpful. As it stands, Graham’s cold and stoic nature is making it hard for me to really connect, especially when he’s such a distant figure, separate part of the village.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 June 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 Chas tell Paddy the truth about the baby, Sarah learnt she is suffering heart failure.

Faves

Mother Daughter Divide

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-17h07m30s618It was a traumatic week for Debbie and Sarah as their strained relationship broke down in the middle of Sarah’s health crisis. After joyriding, Sarah couldn’t contain her anger any further and told the police that her mother was behind Ross’s acid attack. But when the police showed up, Sarah collapsed and after tests it was found that she has heart failure. An emotional and agonising time for any family, but it was made even harder because Sarah cannot forgive Debbie and feels betrayed by her. I like the layers in this story, the stubbornness of both characters and Debbie’s vulnerability on show. The elements related to the acid attack are still a weak point, and it would be nice if someone mentioned trying to get hold of Andy (even if he’s unlikely to return) just to make this more than just about Debbie, but it’s the complicated emotions here that make it worth watching.

Where is Amelia?

Emmerdale - Friday 15 Jun 7pm - ITV HubThis week the Spencers did a TV appeal for missing Ameila, on ITV News no less (loving the meta) and the thing I’m enjoying about this story is that I genuinely don’t know what’s happened to her. This week Daz was under fire but it almost feels like he’s been set up, possibly even by Dan. Could this be an inside job? I really hope this story triggers some real and surprising twists and keeps us well away from the tedious spats between the brothers. The other shining light of this story is Kerry again, who is staying positive and supportive. Who ever thought we’d see Kerry having such a calm and mature influence?

Everyone Needs a Marlon

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-17h07m04s696If you were picking Dingles to be in your corner, you’d definitely pick Marlon, wouldn’t you? If not for the cooking then definitely his hugs. This week Marlon was caught in a difficult position between supporting his best mate and hearing Chas desperately upset. Marlon’s relationship with Paddy is one I rarely get tired of, full of warmth and humour, but it’s his empathetic side that really shone this week as he comforted Chas. He could sense something was wrong with her and tried to be there without interfering simply by asking her if she was okay and offering an ear. Marlon was exactly the loved one you’d need in hard times, sympathetic and kind without judgement. He doesn’t get nearly enough appreciation so I thought I’d start right here!

The Next Generation

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-15h38m46s418Controversially I quite enjoyed Leanna Cavanagh’s role this week as the nasty teen leading the others astray. I can see her becoming a full-on bully in the village but sometimes we need an antagonist, someone who does and says awful things and who we love to hate, to shake things up. Bunking school and joyriding seems pretty soap standard, but Emmerdale’s young actors in this group (Jacob, Noah and Sarah) are a watchable bunch and usually pretty well behaved! It was good to see them take a bigger role and alone, away from the adults. With their parents’ drama-packed lives, there’s no doubt that this generation of kids are going to cause plenty of mayhem when they grow up and this is only the start.

Fail

Scraping the Barrel

Emmerdale - Doug Kisses Brenda! - YouTubeIt was whiskey-snog o’clock again in Emmerdale this week as Brenda and Doug succumbed not to secret passion but Emmerdale’s tired clichés. With this snog (and probably more off screen) this signals another stable couple left in tatters. Doug and Diane were the only long term couple who hadn’t been given a cheating plot and now they’re just another village statistic. And what’s worse is that he’s Laurel’s dad, meaning they’ve made the whole Brenda/Bob/Laurel fallout a whole lot more complicated. Won’t anybody think of the kids?! Cheating and drunken mistakes are soap bread and butter, but every soap needs stable and enduring relationships, even if they are gentle and drama free. Emmerdale put the bullet in this by destroying Zak and Lisa in 2015 and since then it’s been break up after break up. How can we be expected to care about these families and couples when Emmerdale doesn’t seem to? Doug and Diane might not have been groundbreaking or fan favourites, but it’s important to the fabric of the village to have some stable couples. This just feels lazy.