Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. This fortnight saw Cain confessing his feelings for Moira by her hospital bedside and Lydia taking a big decision to get the Huntington’s test done.
Lydia’s Big Decision
Lydia’s one of Emmerdale’s best characters and her Huntington’s storyline has real potential so I was happy to gain focus again this fortnight. Emmerdale’s in need of a big, emotional, real-life centred story at the moment, particularly with one of their strongest stories – Vanessa’s cancer – now happening offscreen for the foreseeable. Hopefully Lydia’s story will fill that gap and raise awareness. This fortnight Lydia worried about personality changes and although Lydia’s change seemed abrupt, it’s possible that scenes with her talking to Agatha may have been cut due to filming issues. However, her emotional scenes later in the week with Chas and Sam allowed us to hear Lydia’s fears and empathise with her dilemma in finding out what the future has in store. I wonder where this story will go in the long term, especially if she does get a positive diagnosis, but I’m glad to see more of Lydia and Sam united during these difficult times for the family.
Andrea the Puppet-master
Andrea’s transformation into power-hungry villain is another story development that seems controversial with viewers. Some find her change in personality too dramatic to believe, whereas others are enjoying the campy elements of her turning into a villain but question why she’s doing all this for a drip like Jamie. I tend to fall into the latter category. It’s been a welcome development to see Andrea with a bit of spark, a feistiness, to have the rest of the Tates on the backfoot. I found it enjoyable in a love-to-hate way to watch Andrea manipulate Jamie and control things with Belle, all the while seeming to enjoy her new found power. Sometimes it’s fun to see a character change like this and morph into a villain – it’s only her motives here which feel a bit weak. When Emma Barton (amazing character) played puppet master with the villagers all to have James, it felt believable, we had years of watching her twist into bitterness and possession, so by the time she donned the wedding dress and tied him up, it was a brilliant watch. As much as James was a dullard, you could still believe in her wanting him all for herself. With Andrea, she just isn’t there, her desperation for Jamie just isn’t quite believable. Nevertheless Andrea’s been sitting on this potential for evil for a while and I’m glad we’re getting to see it, even going as far as trapping Kim and finally dismantling the power structures at Home Farm. We need a love-to-hate villain and Andrea could be the one.
Emmerdale continued to pave the way for Cain and Moira to get closer this fortnight after Moira’s brush with death. If her tender smile at Cain admitting feelings at her bedside is anything to go by, Moira still holds a candle for him and there’s still hope. After Moira was discharged from hospital, Cain was back on the farm in his overalls ready to help out and knowing his secret, Moira had an air of lightness which was refreshing to see. Since her cheating last year, there’s been a black cloud over Moira and the farm, but now she knows Cain’s real feelings, that hostility has been smoothed over. It’s a testament to Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley’s chemistry than it doesn’t matter if one of them is playing unconscious or their scenes are socially distant, there’s a strong connection there. I only hope when they do reunite (and surely it has to be when rather than if) then it’s post-social distancing so they can do it properly – with a kiss!
We learnt in the lockdown episodes that Nicola was unsatisfied in life, felt as though her career had stalled and now it looks as if these suggestions were laying the groundwork for the Kings’ latest storyline. With Bob and Brenda struggling to give Dan his pay out, Nicola suggested her and Jimmy buy into the café. It might seem a little bit of a backwards step for Nicola, especially considering she’s now a local councillor, but the Kings revamping and being in charge of the café could be a nice change of pace. If it means we get to see more of them then it’s an added bonus. I wish, lockdown episode aside, we’d seen more build up to this story from the Kings point of view, perhaps Nicola struggling with her councillor role or Jimmy’s business crumbling after Robert left, because the reality of this change in management seems more that the show want to rejig things rather than it being motivated by something deeper within the characters. Nevertheless any chance to see more of Nicola and Jimmy, at the centre of village life, can only be a good thing!
Dan spent the fortnight feeling pretty sorry for himself as he faced a big adjustment period now that he’s out of hospital and using a wheelchair. July is Disability Pride month so it feels a little disheartening to spend scenes with Dan feeling so miserable about his situation. Granted, it’ll take him time to come to terms with his disability and he’s not suddenly going to snap into positivity mode, but this seems to be a very familiar storyline for Emmerdale. It wasn’t that long ago we had the same story with Nicola, and an even bleaker story for Jackson. It’s difficult to know what the focus is meant to be in this story, especially as it doesn’t feel like this is a permanent life change for Dan ala Chris Tate, so my investment is low. Disappointingly even Nicola, who lived with her paralysis for years got some miracle physio and now has a perfectly able arm. So what is the purpose of Dan’s story? It doesn’t feel like a genuine attempt at a story about disability, it feels overdone, a stop-gap to give Dan something to do and change direction at the café. Even if the story was to focus more on Dan’s adjustment, I’m not sure he’s the right character to be miserable for months, he’s much more suited to lighter, comedic plots. So far, his struggle is already a bit of a drain to watch.
Even Kim questioned Jamie’s lineage this week as she said what we are all thinking – how can Jamie possibly be the spawn of Frank and Kim? (And no, unless Emmerdale change history, Jamie isn’t Dave Glover’s – two DNA tests were done). Because really, considering he’s the son of two huge villainous characters, Jamie’s a bit pathetic and dull. He might have ruined some of his popularity by cheating on Andrea (although I still think, minus the whining, Jamie and Belle make a cute couple) but he’s a pretty weak leading character full stop. We might have guessed it way back when he and Kim had very circular arguments, but at the forefront of the show it’s hard to care about Andrea’s entrapment of him because he’s just so mopey and moany. Sure, for the story to work, he has to be weak-willed, dumping Belle at Andrea’s say-so, following her back and forth when she clicks her fingers, but even when he tries to show a bit of spine against Andrea, it falls flat. Spoilers indicate he stands up to Andrea soon, but come on Emmerdale – he’s a Tate! We know he’s meant to be a bit different to his mum and dad, but it doesn’t mean he has to be boring and insipid!