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 Millie’s accident lead to a paternity twist and Harriet was shunned by her so-called friends.
Harriet Bites Back
Harriet had a bit of a tough week as she turned 50 and her relationship with Will came out in front of all the congregation. They’ve kinda wasted what could have been a delicious slowburn of love-turned-hate-turned-love between Harriet and Will (for a vicar and an ex drug lord they are actually very dull) but still, the hypocritical villagers decided to shun her for this relationship (baffling). Nevertheless a highlight this week was seeing a downtrodden Harriet confront Moira and ask her what we’ve all been wondering – what the hell is wrong with her? As Moira let rip, Harriet bit back, reminding her that she knew all about what had happened with Emma. It was less of a threat and more of a reminder of her double standards and it was good to see a Harriet that comes back fighting. Really, I’d have liked to have seen Harriet drag each and every villager for their hypocrisy, but this tense moment at Butler’s was the first time I’ve really thought “Yes Harriet! You tell her!”.
The kiss secret was out this week and Zak and Faith become enemy number one among the Dingles. Despite there being a complete overreaction to the kiss that meant nothing to either party, both Belle and Chas seemed to take the strongest objection to their betrayal. Thankfully the over the top outrage and bluster blew over quickly and Zak sought to repair the damage with Belle by explaining what really went on. Eventually Belle was won round by Zak’s honestly and his enduring love for Lisa. As the two shared a hug, united by missing Lisa, Zak apologised for upsetting Belle and asking for another chance. It was lovely to see the Dingles get some more screen time related to Lisa’s death as we haven’t seen much of how they are coping lately and Zak and Belle’s father-daughter relationship brings a lot of warmth to Wishing Well. It’s nice to see a family having a cuddle every now and then!
Doug’s drug storyline continues to be one of the strangest stories in Emmerdale but it has its entertaining moments too. As the story ran alongside the exposure of Will’s drug trafficking past (the tonal shifts were a little jarring if I’m honest), Doug began to panic that his new hobby had grown out of control – literally! Doug now has his very own farm, but as he sweated about the police catching up with him, Rodney did his best to reassure him to continue. Seeing straight laced Doug unravelling is pretty amusing, although I wonder how long this story can continue before the laughs dry out.
Just what is happening to Moira? Her behaviour has become so unlikeable and erratic that fans are even jokily speculating her personality change is down to a brain tumour or an evil twin. This week saw her repetitive affair with Nate get almost busted again and discover that Matty had been smoking weed. This hit hard on the anniversary of Holly’s death and was even worse when she discovered Harriet’s latest love interest is a former drug trafficker. As Moira‘s rage exploded, she outed their relationship to the entire Harvest Festival, and Harriet’s reputation was shattered. While I think the villagers’ reactions bordered on the ridiculous (they’ve all done bad things) it was Moira’s response that did the most damage to her character. Sure we can reason that the pressure of the affair is getting to her, but it’s still not clear her motives for cheating in the first place. She’s off with everyone who speaks to her at the moment and it was only in those scenes with Cain by Holly’s grave that we saw glimmers of the Moira we know and love but even that seemed fleeting. Can Moira ever regain her popularity – or at least feel recognisable – again?
Who’s the Daddy?
Andrea and Graham spent much of the week having the same conversation around Millie’s hospital bedside this week as they wrestled with their secret past and the question of Mille’s paternity. Viewers, however, might have been wrestling with a bigger question about the timeline of these characters and the baffling way it all ties together. Graham’s backstory is a muddle of different producers and cast changes so his engaging enigmatic early days seem a distant memory. Without an interest in Graham (and without Joe, Emmerdale are really trying their hardest to keep him relevant), all relies on newbie Andrea, who honestly feels too new to care too much about. It also requires us to see some sort of bristling tension between the pair, which until Monday didn’t really exist so the whole twist felt like an afterthought cobbled together plot based on fans’ speculation. This twist isn’t helped by Jamie, who has become a colourless drip and is unbelievable as a husband and a father, nor the painfully on-the-nose dialogue from Granny Kim who has now taken to her position as grandmother with aplomb. Had Andrea and Graham expressed sizzling chemistry or lingering looks throughout their time at Home Farm perhaps we could take an interest in this oncoming family explosion but the idea that Andrea was sleeping with both 17 year old Jamie and a drunken Graham at the same time is all a bit grim.
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 end of Marlon’s marriage to Jessie and Mandy made her return.
Marlon’s Marriage Breakdown
Unlucky in love Marlon can add another failed marriage to his list as this week his relationship with Jessie came to an end after discovering she’d cheated with Al. There’s always been something mismatched and ill-fitting about Marlon and Jessie as a couple, despite Emmerdale’s hard push to make them work, but ironically, it’s been the breakdown of their marriage that’s been the most watchable. From their disagreements about money, lack of communication and openness between them, the cracks had already begun to appear before Al stuck his nose in. Some couples can come back from a fling, but not Marlon and Jessie. As the pair hashed out their problems in a well written and well acted scene, Marlon acknowledged that he deserved better than being a consolation prize and Jessie deserved not to be tied down to a place and a marriage that didn’t fulfil her. There was a real rawness to Mark Charnock’s performance that made Marlon’s decision both heart breaking and somehow satisfying and their marriage troubles made a surprisingly engaging story throughout the week.
That Al is a nasty piece of work, isn’t he? But oh enjoyably so! This week Al continues to rile things up between Marlon and Jessie and undermine their marriage. And he managed it, with his smooth talking and suave confidence. He is already shaping up to be a villain we’ll love to hate. He had Jessie in the palm of his hand, wafting a job offer in her face and then landing her in it with Marlon, only to swoop in and seduce her. Al’s scenes with Jessie showed a long standing chemistry and the way he exposed Marlon’s insecurities so deftly was painful yet engaging to watch. What Al’s role will be like post-Jessie and without Ellis, it’s too soon to tell, but Al could easily be the new puppet master of the village and it’s about time we had a smart new villain like that.
Mandy’s only been back for two episodes so far but viewers have been promised a longer stint this time after her very very fleeting appearance earlier in the year. Mandy is exactly the spark of life Emmerdale needs at the moment to inject a bit of fun and mayhem into the Dingles and whatever secrets her and son Vinny are hiding could bring even more trouble to their door. Bringing back beloved characters is always a challenge, but with Emmerdale still Dingle central there should be plenty of familiar faces for Mandy to reacquaint herself with. Lisa Riley’s enthusiasm for Emmerdale really rubs off on her performance and she already feels right at home. Bring it on!
In the show that gives us endless scenes of the dire Moira and Nate affair, we need some light relief to save us from the tedium. That came in the form of Doug and his drugs again this week. Duncan Preston has some brilliantly comic facial expressions but Doug’s luck ran out when Pollard caught him lighting up this week. Rather than blackmail him into being his skivvy or similar, Eric wanted in on the action (for his dodgy hip of course) and had soon roped in Rodney to join in this new cannabis club. It’s nice to see the older villagers up to no good with a story that’s silly and fun.
Moping Harriet got right on my nerves this week after Dawn revealed to Tracy that “Taz” is actually Will, her dad and Harriet’s partner. Harriet and the rest of the family acted as if this was a grave secret akin to a murder and the vicar was distraught at the thought of their new relationship (and history) being public knowledge. But…why? This dilemma and Harriet’s stress over it made little sense. This is a village where almost everyone has got off with a murderer or ex-con, would they really care that Harriet has fallen back in love with the guy she had been in love with undercover? Sure, he stalked her, and squashed her with a coffin, but if Harriet’s moved on, why would the villagers have an issue? This is, after all, the same Harriet who used to be in a serious relationship with notorious bad guy Cain Dingle. As if anyone would care who she chooses to be with! It makes no logical sense to make a mountain out of this molehill.
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 the village gathered to say goodbye to Lisa, we also saw the arrival of new Tates, Jamie’s wife and daughter.
Weird and Wonderful Funeral
The village said their final goodbye to Lisa Dingle this week as her funeral took place. The first half of Thursday’s episode saw a more traditional service as the villagers gathered to pay their respects, but with Charity seeing out Lisa’s final requests, there was some Dingle craziness to be had in the form of a pig race. It was a lovely community moment and a bittersweet scene of outrageous fun which truly felt like classic Emmerdale. Of course, after the humour came the sorrow again as the family received their letters in an incredibly moving montage but the double episodes were a heartfelt tribute to the matriarch of the Dingles.
Victoria Shares Her Plight
Victoria returned home to the village with Robert this week but the reality of her trauma soon set in. Uncomfortable about returning to her own house, Vic stayed with Robert and Aaron but tensions soon arose when she revealed she was keeping her baby. Vic was adamant in her choice, but Robert struggled to cope feeling helpless and guilty, and tried pressuring Vic into a decision. However the intention, Emmerdale’s writing when it came to abortion felt clumsily pro-life and that’s something which continues to grate, but Isabel’s performances continued to impress. Despite their strained relationship and opposing coping strategies, it’s been good to see more of Vic and Robert as a family and the divisive issues between them felt authentic. Also this week Victoria told friends about her attack and her scenes with Marlon especially were appropriately tender and lovely. It was good too to see mentions of empathy from the village’s other rape survivors, adding again to Emmerdale’s renewed sense of community.
This week as Sam found comfort in Lisa’s final letter to him, both him and Lydia realised how important their relationship was and Sam wanted them to stop stalling and set a date for the wedding. It’s been years since Sam and Lydia got engaged but just as the touching moment seemed to indicate we might get a kooky and cute wedding, a look passed Lydia’s face. Is she hiding something? Back at the start of the year hinted there was more to come from Lydia but we’re only just seeing hints of it now. Lydia’s one of Emmerdale’s greatest recent creations and her Sam and Samson make the perfect quirky family. While on the one hand I’d love to see them settle down and be the new stable couple of Wishing Well, I’m also welcome to seeing more of them and that means drama. So what is going on in Lydia’s head? It can’t be a reluctance to marry Sam per se, maybe it’s related to her past. And if this means more Lydia – then I’m a happy viewer!
A New Era of Tates
This week two new arrivals upset Kim Tate and it was quickly revealed that Andrea and little Millie are in fact Jamie’s wife and daughter. Say what? If you can get over the fact that Jamie, who is meant to be 22, has a family already, why the hell didn’t he mention them to anyone, not even Rhona? Something seems suss there! Still, Millie’s adorable and Andrea, though it’s an ask to believe she’s married to Jamie, already has a fun and bitchy antagonism with Kim. There’s definite promise there, far more believable than the attempt to make Kim and Megan enemies. Filling Home Farm with family seems like the best way forward as it doesn’t work so empty and isolated. But is there really much longevity in Andrea and Jamie as a pairing? However things work out between the two, Kim’s miles better with these kinds of stories than the outlandish mafia style characterisation she was receiving previously.
Ugh. Really, David and Leyla? Again? If there are a worse parenting team in the village right now I’d be surprised because these two sure know how to make Jacob’s life a hundred times worse. Thank god for Eric who gave them a dressing down this week for shagging while Jacob’s head is wrecked. Really though, what are they playing at? I really thought this storyline might finally see David reach a turning point, that we might see some maturity and responsibility from him but nope, same old David. If his and Leyla irresponsible handling of the police wasn’t bad enough, this was peak selfishness. And why would Leyla even go there again, after everything? I could more understand if it had come from a place of grief but the pair’s self involvement was so tasteless and short sighted. If Jacob’s plight hasn’t made them grow up, what will?
Going in Circles?
Emmerdale’s most important and controversial storyline is in danger of losing all momentum, as the Maya and Jacob story seems to have been derailed in favour for more twists and turns. From Maya’s disappearance and the flashback reveals we were all on tenterhooks desperate to see Maya’s downfall, but as time has dragged on, we seem to have lost the main crux of the story. While troubled Jacob is stuck in repetitive scenes where he rages against the injustice of being kept away from Maya, all the progression the police enquiry is happening off screen. Jacob’s loved ones continue to stretch believable by doing stupid and desperate things in the name of protecting him, but this far along in the story it’s becoming tiresome and sluggish. Emmerdale were onto a winner in the immediate fallout of the abuse discovery but now the pacing seems to have been diverted into stalling tactics. Even more bizarrely, obvious routes for this story to take, to show us its impact, have been avoided. The other teens, Liv, Gabby, Noah and Leanna are all but absent, Jessie – who should be playing a key role is AWOL and Liam’s reaction to the news has barely been touched on. If this story only impacts on the Metcalfes when all is said and done it’ll be a complete waste.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Jamie Tate arrived this week and Harriet discovered Dawn’s dad Will is alive.
Twists and Revelations
After last week’s episodes left us with massive unanswered questions, we were given time to speculate and theorise about what really did happen to Maya on that fateful night out. As the three women were eaten up with guilt, they attempted to shut down any suspicion and tried to cover up the mystery of Maya’s swift exit from Emmerdale, by getting rid of her things and burning Priya’s bloodied scarf. In typical ‘whodunnit’ style, there are lots of meaningful looks and panicked expressions and double-meanings in the dialogue, but rather than drag out the suspense, it’s been a fun way to keep us guessing. Even better this week was the surprise move of getting Liv involved and watching the four of them deal with all these revelations tumbling out and the moral dilemmas involved. With Eric and David both caught up and distracted by the crash drama this week, there was less pressure on the women to lie about Maya’s whereabouts, but anticipation is high for next week’s flashbacks!
New Boy in Town
After much teasing James “Jamie” Tate arrived in the village this week, arriving smack bang in the middle of a crash that hospitalised Eric Pollard. Jamie’s card was already marked being the son of villainous Kim Tate, so the villagers weren’t prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt and David even went as far as punching him in the face! Not only was sweet natured sensitive Jamie a breath of fresh air in comparison to his cartoonish mother, and gave her character a dose of humanity, but he is a different sort of character for the village too. Jamie’s good and apologetic manner is pretty different from a village full of crooks and liars and it seems likely he won’t be clean cut forever, but so far impressions are good. I’m glad Emmerdale gave him an entrance that got him involved in multiple stories and fingers crossed this means he won’t struggle in the same isolated way Joe did and he lives up to the Tate name!
Faith and Eric’s communication breakdown was definitely a thumbs down to begin with this week. Their distance seemed to have sprung from nowhere and before long, Faith was ditching Eric to spend time with letchy Bear. When the two shared a kiss I was ready to riot, but then things changed. After the kiss Faith was adamant that Eric is the man for her and once she discovered his accident she was distraught and we really saw the depth of her feelings for Eric. Faith’s been pretty cold and unlikeable lately and this storyline was in danger of throwing away Faith and Eric’s lovely on screen relationship, but it swerved the predictable route of Faith throwing everything away on a new bit of attention. Sally Dexter’s performances this week answered all my fears and showed Faith’s vulnerable and huge heart which helped to soften her harsh selfishness. She didn’t just feel guilty, she was also terrified about losing the man she loves. Eric’s reveal that he’s losing his hearing helped explain what felt like contrived distance between them, but it did offer a chance for Faith’s secret kiss to come out at the wrong moment. I really hope they don’t go down the tired route of Faith getting tempted, or the kiss reveal ruining Eric and Faith for good.
It was a surprise election result victory for Nicola this week as she was elected as a new councillor in the village. Unfortunately for Nicola, this was straight after she’d decided she’d lost and slagged off all of her constituents! This was an enjoyable, light-hearted story in the week, one which has a lot of potential going forward as the power goes to Nicola’s head and she has to deal with complaining mere mortals like Doug and his potholes! The fun factor for the this story was that it felt like a classic soap story, bringing a community feel back to the village and utilising the brilliant comedic talents of the Kings, Bernice and Liam who were a fab part of the campaign team and also the adorably joyful King kids. I’m looking forward to seeing how much of a nightmare Nicola becomes for the local council!
Last Chance at Love
Perhaps it’s a bit unfair of me to stick Megan and Frank’s reunion in the ‘fail’ section of the blog, but of all the couples in Emmerdale, it’s them I struggle to have any enthusiasm for. If anything their biggest crime is just that they’re pretty dull and devoid of chemistry. This week Emmerdale threw every rom-com trope at them in the hopes of inspiring some sort of interest. They played a fake married couple for a wedding shoot and then in Megan’s hour of need, Frank was there as her white knight. On paper we should be thrilled they’re making another go of things, but after their on/off relationship fizzled into Megan hooking up with equally robotic Graham, both relationships leave me cold. Maybe if Megan and Frank’s relationship continues to play out in the background it won’t be too bad, they do seem quite well suited after all, but I can’t face the thought of either of them being tempted by residents of Home Farm – unless Frank miraculously becomes an interesting character overnight!
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Kim settled down and made new enemies in the village, and it was finally revealed that Joe Tate is alive and well.
Old School Vibes
Did you notice the sheep this week? The stables and horses? The beautiful countryside scenes? If Kim Tate’s return has triggered one thing then it’s a return to the feeling of ‘classic’ Emmerdale. That’s not just using its farming and country USP, it’s also about the dynamics of the village in the wider context. Home Farm and the classism in the village has been lost over the years but Kim being a villain might just claw that back and give the estate a purpose again. From owning and controlling businesses, to employing staff to hosting events, Home Farm should be much more than a villainous lair. Also with Kim’s return is an antagonism we had in Joe’s early days that we lost quickly – livelihoods, businesses and property should be under threat from Kim’s whims, not just because she enjoys being ruthless but because the estate actually means something. Think Frank Tate wanting to buy up farms and land to make a profit and build a tourist site. Add this to Nicola’s mentions of the local council and we might be returning back to some of the same vibes as classic Emmerdale, where the village had drama, but it also used the setting and some realities of country life to explore different stories. Next stop a village fete? Here’s hoping!
Outside of Emmerdale you might have heard enough about chaotic politics, but there’s if there’s something with comedic potential written all over it, then it’s Nicola running for local council. Much like my enthusiasm for the old school feeling of classic Emmerdale, Nicola getting involved in community politics seems like a great way to unite and divide the residents in a way that brings authenticity to the village feel. Putting someone as naturally funny and dangerously ambitious as Nicola in this role is asking for trouble, but for us as viewers it could be comedy gold. Anything that sees the Kings take centre stage again is fine by me.
If there’s one thing in recent years that Emmerdale hasn’t been mining for storyline potential as well as they could, then it’s the businesses of the village. Most of the time, work is the last thing on characters’ minds and it becomes something of a joke to see how little they actually go to work. Because of this, the work environments can often be used just as a set rather than have any baring on the day to day lives of the characters. With Kim back things might be changing on that front, with workplaces being put under extra pressure to fulfil contracts and make decisions on whether to get involved in Kim’s bidding. Even the lighter, comedic Sharma storyline this week was made better by a work crisis, rather than all the drama taking place separately from their work but using the office as its location. A factory crisis may not be soap’s biggest talking point but it does bring groups of characters together and make them feel more real.
Maya and Jacob’s storyline might be the biggest storyline Emmerdale has now, but with it featuring almost every week, there’s a chance it might start feeling like overkill. Now that the pair have slept together, confessed their love and contrived situations to sleep together right under David’s nose, we’ve reached a bit of a stalemate. We know Emmerdale intend this story to be long running, but with the early slow burn abandoned, now the only real jeopardy comes from Maya being caught out – and that doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon. Surely there’s only so many times we can see Jacob almost reveal all, or Maya get perilously close to having her lies rumbled before the frustration turns into annoyance? It might reflect real life, but it’s a tough story to maintain with this same dynamic. Something needs to happen soon to take this storyline somewhere, because at the moment, Jacob is well and truly under Maya’s spell and a sluggish progression isn’t giving the drama the momentum it needs.
Joe’s fate has been weighing heavily on the minds of viewers since his “death” in October, and the ambiguity of it all has made the storyline fallout feel sluggish and confusing. So this week’s reveal that Joe is alive should have been a huge climax, sending viewers reeling, but it was anything but thrilling! From cries that Joe’s fate was obvious and predictable, to it all feeling a bit half-arsed, is this really a story six months in the making – or was it hastily cobbled together last minute? The latter certainly feels most likely considering actor Ned Porteous didn’t even make a cameo and press reports reveal he’s got no plans to make a return on screen. Any viewer who was excited about Joe being alive is surely only going to be disappointed to realise he’s not actually returning. So in the end we were left with just a few photos of Joe and the whole pointlessness of it all. There are lots of questions unanswered (summarised perfectly in this article) but ultimately it completely undermines Graham once more. The menace of Kim’s threats were supposed to have lead him to almost killing the man that was a son to him, yet now he’s back at Home Farm barely bothered that she knows. What was the point? If Ned doesn’t come back then it’s time to recast and put this story to bed. It makes no sense and it’s dragging down all the characters involved.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Kim made her big return to the village this week as Maya dropped the L-word to entrap Jacob.
Right at Home
Admittedly when I read Amy Wyatt was making a return to Emmerdale I wasn’t that fussed, but a week in I already feel like her return was a good decision. She feels right at home. Unlike Kim, Amy feels very relevant to the current cast – she knows multiple characters in the village and her reappearance actually threw up story opportunities for several characters. Not only did Amy mean trouble for Cain and the Dingles in light of her eagerness to spend time with Kyle, but she’s breathed life into the Spencers’ household, given Eric back another daughter figure, caused friction with David and Maya and given Vic another friend. The custody battle for Kyle is a well worn story, but newbie Natalie Ann Jamieson has brought lots of warmth and sensitivity to Amy which helps to soften the harder edges that Kerry sometimes influences. I’m looking forward to seeing the future Emmerdale has in store for her and hope, unlike her last stint, it’s not all fixated around Kyle!
My favourite moments of Emmerdale show families coming together, remembering friendships and connections, and showing the far-reaching impact of storylines across the community. A good story is one that affects multiple relationships and characters, and Rhona’s accident is still having an impact now, weeks on. This week saw her have a hysterectomy (something Emmerdale have already revealed they’ll be exploring) but not only have we see its personal, emotional impact, we’ve also seen its effect on her relationship with Pete, her enduring friendship with Vanessa and this week its wider impact with the business and Moira’s farm. Unlike some soap accidents that have little follow up, Rhona’s debate over whether the vets should sue Moira and the farm will have consequences for both the future of the vets business (with opportunity for things to get messy if Kim gets involved), and even with Pete if his loyalties are tested. But perhaps the biggest strength of this story is down to the underrated talents of Zoe Henry who continues to be one of Emmerdale’s brightest stars. Any story that uses her at the forefront is going to be a hit!
Glimmers of Potential?
It’s always difficult to bring back a character who has since been dubbed an icon, especially when the character is famed and remembered for just one aspect of their personality and the soap landscape has changed in their absence. In Kim Tate’s case, she’s renowned for being the classic soap superbitch, but the danger in her returning to her old stomping ground is that she becomes more of a caricature than the woman we love to hate. Kim’s return rides on a fragile premise – they retconned the entire Graham and Joe history to give her relevance – and she knows next to know one still kicking around the village. Emmerdale have to work quickly to give her enemies and make it feel worthwhile, rather than her antagonism feeling petty and pointless. A great villain is always a treat, but balancing the classic campy Lady of the Manor can often give way to OTT performances and dialogue that tries too hard to be cutting. There are promising signs in her latest return that Emmerdale are aware of this tightrope, and the mixed reception to her cameo last October, but here’s hoping they remember less is more when it comes to Kim. Her scenes with Charity, and in the pub with others were far watchable than her posturing at Home Farm and smirking in every scene. We could well do with seeing Kim’s more human sides soon, before the writers get too carried away with the cartoon villain one-liners.
Perhaps the biggest issue with Kim’s return is that she’s stuck, trying to shake some life into cyborg Graham. Such is Graham’s rigid and monotonous ways, Emmerdale has even started to reference it in the script! But when their scenes hinge on a bloated and retconned history, relying on an absent, scorching chemistry – it’s a tough ask. Kim’s treatment of Graham is more like a dog than a lover, and unless Graham’s into a BDSM set up, it’s baffling why he’s under her spell. Friday’s episode seemed to reopen the Joe death mystery AGAIN, but it felt like the first real hint to him being alive. This ongoing saga is as much clunky as it is sluggish so by the time we find out the final final truth, it’s a wonder if anyone will care. If Emmerdale really want Kim to work this time around, then the situation at Home Farm needs a fast rethink.
Fed Up with Faith?
Oh Faith, there’s so much to love – the sharp tongue, the saucy humour, the outrageous behaviour, the wise straight-talking, the moments of fragility – and yet this week, none of that. We really saw the worst, most unlikeable aspects of her personality and it’s surprising how intolerable she became. Her vicious and hypocritical campaign against Amy might have been rooted in her own failings as a mother, but there was none of this nuance or depth and she seemed spitefully gleeful at the thought of sending Amy to prison. This combined with her strange and underwritten vendetta against Kim has brought out the worst in her character, and an aspect I hope doesn’t stick around – let’s have more of the fun Faith back please!
This scene might not have had any cutting one-liners or arch eyebrows, but there was something simply joyous about seeing Amy run towards Eric and throw her arms around him. Alongside the irreplaceable Val, these two were once family and despite Natalie Ann Jamieson taking over the role of Amy, the connection and warmth was there immediately. You could feel Eric’s heart swell to see her again and reminiscence about times with Val, and of course this set up immediate conflict with his partner Faith who wanted to see Amy gone from the village. I loved this scene for its heart and history, making Amy feel right at home and building a believable rift between Eric and Faith too.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a huge week for the Dingles as Charity and Vanessa got engaged, and Cain told Debbie he killed Joe.
For Better or Worse
After last week’s shock stabbing for Vanessa, Charity only had one thing on her mind this week as she sought to stage the best proposal of all time for her girlfriend. Feeling the pressure, especially when Tracy got involved, Charity was left to her own devices and hijacked a posh guy’s huge and OTT proposal at Home Farm. From Charity’s panic and scheming with Chas and Tracy to her hilarious attempts to steal the outlandish proposal, the Vanity proposal plot was full of laughs and a script of brilliant lines. It was only later when Vanessa returned to Home Farm, wanting to hear Charity out after the earlier disappointment, that the pair’s heart to heart lead to a real proposal. The laughs of the earlier scenes were Charity at her best, but the mixing of her dry and drunken humour in the love declarations really worked in showing her vulnerability. As we move towards the wedding here’s hoping the stories allow Vanessa’s character to become more fleshed out and not overwhelmed by Dingle drama.
Maya’s Mind Games
Maya’s grooming of Jacob continues to be Emmerdale’s biggest story, but it’s still not an easy watch. The fact the story is so excruciating is a sign that it’s working, particularly as Maya devised ways to keep Jacob quiet as well as pushing him to go further in their liaisons. Their school hook-up and meeting point in the kids’ den felt particularly sordid, but Louisa Clein’s delivery of Maya’s butter-wouldn’t-melt manipulations are perfect for the role. I did feel a concern this week that perhaps the subtly in the story had been dropped in favour of showing Maya enthusiastically twist and play Jacob for her own amusement – but perhaps she’s growing comfortable because she’s done this all before? I do wish however that Emmerdale had spent longer bedding Maya into the village, giving her friends or allies, before embarking on this story, because it inevitably means that David, Jacob and family aside, the impact is going to be minimal, even with ex Liam in the village, and that might make the resolution flatter.
Debbie Finds Out
Finally – finally – all that whispering can stop at Butler’s Farm because Cain’s secret was out, and he told Debbie that he killed Joe. Understandably Debbie was horrified and Charley Webb’s performances were some of her best as all her pain and horror at her Dad’s cover-up came pouring out. Both Charley and Jeff Hordley work so well together that even though I find the story a bit of a dud, their on-screen chemistry is compelling. Jeff somehow manages to make Cain’s lashing out and his downfall empathetic, even when you’re screaming at the screen begging him to stop hurting his loved ones. I think the writing in this story has been damaging for Moira, who has become less and less like the woman viewers liked and more of a ruthless mob wife. Naturally the Cain and Moira’s relationship has lost the warmth and heart too. Here’s hoping that in time both characters can move away from this story (if Graham ever owns up to the truth) and become more grounded again.
Dead or Alive
The biggest problem in the long running saga of Joe’s death is the biggest question of all – is he really dead? With Emmerdale seemingly unwilling to break any hearts and reveal whether he has actually carked it, and interviews with the cast hedging their bets, it’s removed any real tension. With half the audience expecting a “shock” last minute twist with Joe returning to Home Farm, it’s difficult to invest in the full fall-out of his absence. Had we seen Graham’s grisly dumping of the body then perhaps his meltdown and then Machiavellian plan to let Cain take the rap would have had more impact, but for now there’s the potential that all this gravel-voiced angst is for nothing. Admittedly it’s a plot that requires everyone to a) find Graham’s monotonous threats compelling b) to have invested in the Joe/Debbie love story and find her plight sympathetic and not at all hypocritical and c) believe Debbie’s hatred of Cain will last more than a few months – so it’s a bit of a losing battle for me. But if Emmerdale confirmed Joe’s status one way or the other then we’d get part that wishy-washy aspect at least.
We’ve just begun a shiny new year and it’s the perfect time to ponder what storylines or changes we’d like to see for Emmerdale in 2019. I had a good think, I asked on Twitter and here are my Top 9 wishes for Emmerdale in 2019.
Backstory for Vanessa
Since becoming Charity’s girlfriend, we’ve seen a lot more of Vanessa but it would be nice to see more of her in her own right. Besides dad Frank we know very little about Vanessa’s family and past. Isn’t it about time someone from Vanessa’s past was introduced, or why not meet her mum? If the rumours are true and a Vanity wedding is on the cards then this is the perfect time to explore more about Vanessa.
Show Some Success
Whether it’s a business going under, a plan going awry or exams being failed, we’ve seen a lot of failure over the years. Characters can’t always been happy and winning, but I think it’s about time someone had some good luck. 2018 saw Tracy start a new business and it would be great to see ambition pay off. Then there are characters like the Kings who haven’t been high-flying for years. Nicola is someone always looking for a bigger and better life – why not have her reach a level of success? And if the soap gods work their magic, maybe she and Jimmy realise that it isn’t what it’s cracked up to be!
Big Stories for Coira and Robron
Two of Emmerdale’s biggest and most beloved couples reunited last year but since then their storylines have been bitty. Cain and Moira had Matty, Debbie and Graham to contend with, while Robert and Aaron supported their sisters and Rebecca through their big stories. But what next for the two big couples? Cain and Moira spent a lot of the year apart on screen so something that unites them and repairs the distance of their time apart would be good. For Robert and Aaron in their first year of married life, a story that changes the dynamic between them would be interesting to see – it’d be good to see Aaron getting in on the schemes for once! Whatever the stories ahead for both couples, it seems obvious that viewers just want to see more of their favourite couples together in great stories!
More Village Gossip
Since losing characters like Betty and seeing less of comedic gems like Pearl, the village has been missing that key ingredient: gossip. Community is a huge part of village life and it was great to see more of that in 2018 but it’s not just parties and events that could tie characters and stories together – it’s also villagers having a natter about what else is going on the village! There’s plenty of scandal and drama along Main Street so there’s ample opportunity for big-mouthed characters to stick their oar in.
A Funny Feel Good Wedding
Happy weddings are a rare event for soap, but I’d love to see a wedding in 2019 for a fun loving couple. There’s Sam and Lydia, Faith and Eric or even new couple Liam and Bernice. These are genuinely funny, heart-warming couples who deserve a special day – and you just know the weddings would be full of laughs. It doesn’t all have to be disasters and slapstick, but imagine Lydia’s dance routine or Bernice going Bridezilla. And there’s always room for a classic soap twists and turns – let’s just see the villages having a good time.
No More Special Episodes
I’ve loved Emmerdale’s attempt to reinvigorate the soap genre with special episodes, flashbacks and episodes that really dig deep into a character’s psyche. But now I think it’s time to give those kinds of episodes a rest and stick to good quality, linear storytelling. The more special episodes are made the less unique they get. Save them for when they really matter, Emmerdale!
Keep Kim 3D
My biggest wish for 2019 is that Emmerdale make the most of Kim’s return and don’t turn her into a caricature. Kim is an iconic Emmerdale soap bitch, but she’s not just a campy villain and I hope that when she returns the writers won’t lose sight of that and tarnish the fond memories viewers have of her original tenure. Keep Kim grounded, with flaws and vulnerabilities and that way her one-liners and sharp attitude will keep Kim at her best.
Give Jai and Priya Something Gritty
2018 was a complete waste of the Sharmas. Priya briefly struggled with her mental health but that was glossed over quickly and Priya joined the rest of the family for silly sitcom subplots. Jai and Priya have a great sibling relationship and have been on the side-lines for ages so I think it’s about time they had a great, emotionally testing story.
Reinvent Debbie Dingle
Oh Debbie, where to begin? She might be seen as the leading lady of the Dales, but unfortunately Debbie’s stories (and her personality) need a rethink. We’ve explored the same old ground for her when it comes to her love life and there isn’t much that manages to raise a smile. Even when she does something dark and reckless (like the acid attack story) her family manage to treat Debbie as a victim. With Joe gone and the truth about to be revealed, it’s time to shake Debbie up and give her something to do that we’ve not seen before. Could Emmerdale explore her bisexuality again? Give her a new friendship? A new job?