Fave or Fail? (9-13 Oct 2017)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! We said goodbye to Finn this week and discovered that Emma’s death might have been murder.

Faves

Farewall Finn

vlcsnap-2017-10-15-12h56m01s905For a lad that spent most of the time in the village being unappreciated, Finn had a huge send off this week as Emmerdale gathered to mourn. It wasn’t just your usual church service and pub wake, but individual characters got to come and say their goodbyes to his coffin and there was a superhero themed get together in the Woolie too which was a really nice touch. All of the coffin-side mourners gave emotional and touching performances, especially Amy Walsh (Tracy) and Chris Chittell (Eric), making his death feel all the more impactful on the wider community outside his family members. Last week it felt like his death was overshadowed and bogged down under too many events happening at once, so I’m glad that this week gave enough time and space to letting the villagers grieve for him. RIP Finn, you’ll be missed.

Murder Mystery

Emmerdale - Ross and Pete's Suffering Is Far From Over - YouTubeEmmerdale went a little CSI this week as DS Benton began investigating Emma’s death as a murder rather than a suicide and kicking off an infamous soap Whodunnit. Whodunnits aren’t always my favourite plot as it often involves lots of characters doing unexplained shady things and looking suspicious all to ramp up the suspense, but so far it’s been pretty fun and it even included a suspect montage set to Kylie Minogue! I liked the twist of having the police conducting their enquires before the rest of the village knew, looking on at the Bartons as outsiders and making it seem like its own forensic spin off. There are lots of likely culprits but I hope Emmerdale doesn’t keep us hanging on for too long before we find out the truth of Emma’s death!

Baby Beginnings

Emmerdale - Moira Reads Out the Paternity Test Results - YouTubeIt seems early days for Moira’s baby storyline but the warning signs are there that she’s not bonding with him and his arrival has caused friction in the Charriet camp. The awkward tension of the paternity reveal was really worth watching this week as Pete got the news that he wasn’t the little one’s father and Cain had to deal with the consequences. Poor Harriet faced up to the inevitability that she’d always be second best while Cain and Moira remained their usual stubborn selves, insisting nothing will change. We’ve seen Cain’s reluctant father routine several times now so hopefully something new will emerge from this storyline in future and as for his future with Moira, the chemistry is there in spades, but it’s going to take a while for them both to soften up for the idea. Let’s hope for Harriet’s sake that Cain doesn’t drag out the inevitable and kid her – and himself – in the process.

Bonus favourites:

  • Gerry’s continued integration into the village – he was sweet and supportive of Liv, helping Doug with his gardening (wingman goals), the comedy torture scenes with Zak and Sam
  • Vanessa finally getting a storyline
  • Sam and Lydia getting engaged!
  • Belle being there as a mentor of sorts for Liv

Fails

Silly Filler

Emmerdale - Tuesday 10 Oct 7pm - The ITV HubWith the big Barton plots dominating the screen this week, it was disappointing that many of the other plots felt a bit pointless. While there were good aspects (Sam and Lydia getting engaged, Gerry being a rather entertaining addition to a scattering of stories), the teen plot and the factory story seemed to go nowhere. Both Lydia and Rishi add comic value to Emmerdale and regularly make me laugh, but this week’s story of the elusive Una was short on giggles. With Lydia unable to let go of her old home and memories of Steve, her fake alias of Una was exposed by the Sharmas. It wasn’t the worst plot ever – it just wasn’t funny enough. If they needed a mix up to get Sam to propose surely there was a better way. As for the teens – we’ve seen so many of their alcohol inspired antics now – surely it has to be leading to an actual story soon?

Shouty Man

Emmerdale - Pete Can't Accept the Truth About Finn's Killer - YouTubePete Barton is the human equivalent of nails down a blackboard. One shout from him and that’s my teeth set on edge for the day. And boy did he do a lot of shouting this week. I get it, okay? He’s grieving, he’s angry at the world and he was told he was a dad – and then he wasn’t. Pete’s got a lot of things to be upset and angry about, but there’s still something so unsympathetic about him. If you’re able to put aside his sleazy behaviour with Priya and forgive him that (miraculously Leyla managed to, while still spouting off at Priya), you’d recognise that he’s suffering a big loss right now. The world is against him. But still, his sadness turns from zero to “I’m gonna thump you” in thirty seconds and all the aggression and gurning doesn’t exactly lead to much sympathy, sorry mate. In fact, Dale View is a bit too heavy on the male posturing and aggro right now which isn’t helping. Also there is the knowledge that Pete’s moods vary between just two – aggressive and dull – and if we were picking Bartons to lose, I’d have picked him over Finn any day.

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Scene of the Week (9-13 Oct 2017)

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Of all the “goodbye Finn” moments that this week had, it was Eric’s that broke my heart the most. Eric took Finn’s death pretty hard, especially considering that he’s lost Val too, and his emotive speech to Finn’s coffin was beautifully played. Chris Chittell’s performance of Eric’s grief perfectly encapsulated the sense of devastation at losing someone taken too soon, especially someone who was also “like a son” to him. This moment felt so truthful to times of loss that it resonates with many of us watching and the light-hearted joke Eric made about Finn giving Valerie a hug from him was particularly moving. We all know Eric as rather cantankerous and cold at times, so when we see his emotions pouring out like this, it hits even harder and made for a show stealing scene.

Fave or Fail? (2-6 Oct 2017)

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! The Bartons lost two of their own this week as Super Soap Week returned with comeuppance for Emma.

Faves

Emma Barton’s Breakdown

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h39m19s450Gillian Kearney took centre stage in Emmerdale’s Super Soap Week as Emma Barton’s story came to an end and I am really going to miss her. As Emma battled with her conscience and ghosts in the form of James and Finn, Gillian gave incredible performances proving once and for all that Emma wasn’t just a villain but a deeply troubled and complex woman. Emma’s story this week veered into dark territories again, but I liked that her actions often echoed elements of past behaviour (such as keeping Finn captive like she did with James) and were never cartoonish or “bad” in the name of soap villainy. Her guilt, her desperation, her love for her family and her religious convictions made her into a fascinating, sometimes even sympathetic, character and while I wasn’t totally satisfied with the resolution, I’ve loved the journey of watching a character as multi-layered as Emma.

The Big Showdown

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h37m22s680Monday and Tuesday’s big episodes were my favourite of the week as two powerful women came to blows when Emma revealed the truth about James’s death to her nemesis, Moira. Both Natalie J Robb and Gillian Kearney gave stellar performances during the confrontation which made the fire in the barn scenes all the more thrilling and intense. The claustrophobia and lighting in the barn added to the scenes of peril and also made the whole event feel more cinematic, much last like year’s big motorway crash. I almost wished the barn scenes could have played out longer as the big set piece of the week, and end on a pyrotechnic high.

Baby Shock

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h40m45s788Okay, so it’s probably the plot twist we all saw coming, but Moira got a huge shock this week as she gave birth to a baby boy right in the middle of Emma’s carnage. We’ve been waiting since before Christmas for this revelation and it didn’t disappoint, made even more exciting by the fact Moira’s waters broke right in the middle of the huge barn fire with only killer Emma on-hand to help. With the birth being totally unexpected and the father in question (though, if you read spoilers you’ll know who the daddy is!) then the fallout is sure to be long-lasting, giving Natalie J Robb a chance for some really gritty drama again. Hooray! She’s been far too underused this year as they attempted to keep the pregnancy a secret and I’m looking forward to seeing how the shock of this new child impacts upon her relationships too.

Finn Fallout

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h40m31s441Poor Finn Barton lost his life this week after being caught in the crossfire of his mother’s unhinged actions. While the Bartons were preoccupied by Emma’s worrying behaviour and Moira’s pregnancy, it was left to Finn’s friends to really mourn him. In comparison to the rest of his family, aside from a spot of ill-advised stalking, Finn had a fairly tame and good-intentioned life (just don’t ask Kasim) so it’s obvious that his death would be the event to cause the most upset in Emmerdale. While I felt the death itself was a little rushed, Tracy and Eric’s emotional response gave his death the impact and heart it warranted, particularly as they talked about Finn and Val living it up in the afterlife together. Finn’s a loss to the village and the show as his nerdy comedy was a welcome relief amongst his brothers’ testosterone aggression and Joe Gill proved himself to be a great actor when faced with the more challenging material of late. It’s hard to say how the Barton boys will move on now that their family has become so fractured but it’s sure to be a lot less fun now that Finn’s gone.

Fails

The Final Fall

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h40m39s456Sure Emma’s death was soap karma and echoed a very similar fate to her husband, James, but overall it was a disappointment for me. While it’s true we’re all in the dark about how exactly she came to die (fall, pushed, suicide?) the final scenes of her fall were choppy and marred by some slightly dubious special effects. Emmerdale can do arty now and again but Emma’s fall just looked a little amateurish and took away from what had been a thrilling and well-acted week for her. Perhaps when we get the full story of Emma’s final moments I’ll change my mind but for such a significant character, her death seemed like a bit of a non-event.

Jam Packed

vlcsnap-2017-10-08-18h38m47s702Last week’s Super Soap Week saw two days in real time stretched out over six episodes so perhaps it was only natural that this week’s events would feel chaotic. While the fast pace was high octane and thrilling in the first few episodes, later in the week characters began flitting from place to place in record time and it left certain aspects of the drama feeling rushed. Of course, there’s still an element of secrecy surrounding what really happened to Emma so some of the awkward pacing has reason but I can’t help but feel they tried to cram too much into the week’s events. Aspects such as Emma’s kidnap of the baby, Moira fleeing hospital and grabbing her gun, Adam getting arrested, all seemed like too much in a short space of time, and left some of the drama unable to breathe. Finn’s death was overshadowed by Emma’s disappearing act and because of this it felt like his brothers weren’t given ample screentime to let it have any impact. When we were losing two big characters – two from the same family too – in such a short space of time, it needed a less is more approach. Perhaps next year we need to extend this Super Soap Week to a fortnight, just to fit everything in!

Scene of the Week (2-6 Oct 2017)

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In another of Emmerdale’s incredible Super Soap Weeks there was no shortage of standout moments, but it was this incredibly moving scene that stole the week for me. With Tracy wondering where Finn had got to, it was up to Victoria to break the tragic news. We all knew it was coming and as Tracy blathered on, making jokes and reacting to the goss about Pete and Moira, the tension grew as we waited for her to hear what had happened to poor Finn. It’s scenes like this, where shocking news travels slowly and grief sets in that brings the realism to these big soapy weeks and it was a testament to the emotional performances of Amy Walsh, Isabel Hodgins and Christopher Chittell that it was hugely affecting. You could feel the loss and the tragedy as it rocked the villagers and this made Finn’s death much more impactful and heart-breaking – perhaps more so than the death scene itself.

Fave or Fail? (28 Aug-1 Sep 2017)

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 Aaron walk away from a fight and Robert start a fight with some office stationery.

Faves

Friends with Benefits

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h12m13s840One of Emmerdale’s biggest assets right now is the relationship between Eric and Faith – an unlikely but brilliant couple. They have the all sparks and the moments of vulnerability that signal the formula for a couple you can really root for, even if they did have a few setbacks this week. After David suggested Faith might be a golddigger, Eric backed away from starting anything romantic with Faith and she was hurt, thinking her mastectomy was putting him off. Rodney jumped in to pick up the pieces and stir up trouble, but Faith’s heart was sold on Eric and the two kissed – yay! There’s a real warmth in their scenes but of course, good things never last and they split again because of a misunderstanding. It’s about time we had another couple we could all get behind and Eric and Faith are perfect antidote to all that soapy heartbreak.

Helping the Homeless

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h08m26s669Kerry and Amelia came up with a plan this week to host an event for the local homeless in the hopes it would encourage Dan’s brother, Daz to come to the village. Normally Kerry centred plots aren’t my favourite but in amongst the comedy I’m enjoying seeing her more compassionate side. Before we moved onto the repetitive “Dan shouts, him and Kerry argue” part of the story, the scenes in the village hall had a fun mix of characters and as I mentioned in my Scene of the Week, moved well from funny to heartfelt and serious. Bernice’s insensitivity and Nicola’s lack of enthusiasm stopped the story from being too dry and preachy but overall it’s been a welcome change to see Kerry being less selfish.

Dark Frank

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h11m28s543As far as ex-cons go, Frank’s been something of a wet weekend. We’ve heard the stories of his crimes but mostly he’s just been trying to get his girls on side and hang around David’s shop. Since being played by Megan and Charity for his cheating, he’s acted like the wounded party, but this week we saw a flash of something else. In the pub he threatened Charity and swore to her that if she ever crossed him again he’d hurt her more than she ever thought she could be! Yikes! This was quite a turn-around for Frank and suddenly made him all the more interesting. I feel like it’s about time actor Michael Praed had something to get his teeth into – something really nasty and juicy – and his veneer of charm would work well under real darkness. Might we see something much more dangerous from Frank in future? That would certainly be more gripping than what we have seen so far!

Fails

Panto Season

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h09m30s594No, don’t adjust your calendars, it’s still only September, but in the village panto season has started early. What is it with Robert Sugden and the White family? Like the cartoonish family themselves, it seems like whenever Robert’s within a foot of them he begins hiding round corners and smirking again. He’s one hair away from twirling his villainous moustache! It’s not to say he’s not charming enough to pull off the deception, but his masterplans are more sketchshow than foolproof and there’s little fun to be had when they make it so easy for him. At this rate they might as well be opening the safe for him with a “Help Yourself” sign. Only Lachlan’s smart enough to be wise to his real motives, now that Chrissie’s keeping away, but they’re being so gullible you almost want Robert to get away with it. Ryan Hawley has charisma by the bucketload, but if they’re determined to keep Robert treading this dark path then at least give him a worthy opponent to cross, someone that doesn’t turn all his scenes into nonsensical farce.

After School Special

vlcsnap-2017-09-03-12h12m50s062Don’t you just hate those scenes in movies where the villain stands around long enough to be defeated by the good guy? Well it was a classic case of good triumphing evil in the Aaron and Jason plot this week with a resolution that bordered on a cringey after school special about bullying. During Aaron’s time in prison, Jason was unrelenting and sickening in his torment of Aaron, to the extent that in parts it felt like Emmerdale had undermined Aaron’s character recovery after Gordon’s abuse trial. Jason’s return felt like an effort to answer those criticisms and readdress the power balance by having Aaron face up to him and come out on top. However the reality of the situation felt like a sticking point – could a man like Jason really change a lifetime of awful behaviour after some words of truth and a punch from Cain? Sure, it’s not like Jason was redeemed in the end but Aaron’s victory felt hollow in its lack of believability and his forgiving nature didn’t work for me after such extremes. Outside of a prison setting, Jason felt like a caricature and a story with such a gritty beginning had an almost fairytale and unsatisfying ending.

Fave or Fail? (14-18 August 2017)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A great week of big moments – Moira kissed Cain, Finn learnt some of the truth about James’s death, and Leyla and Pete jilted each other!

Faves

Emma’s Confession

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h53m07s699We’re one step closer to Emma’s world crumbling as this week saw Finn put 2 + 2 together to make 5 and got the almost truth about how his dad died. With thrillingly tense scenes, Finn confronted his mum and managed to dig away at her panicked and unravelling lies until he got her to confess that she was there on the bridge and that it was an argument which lead to James’s death. Joe Gill gave the performance of his time on Emmerdale so far as his emotions switched from disbelief and anger to confusion and upset. Finn’s relationship with Emma has always been an interesting one, especially as in some ways they’re so similar, so it was only right he was the first to expose the truth. Gillian Kearney plays Emma’s emotional turmoil so well that you can almost believe her fabrications to hide the real extent of her involvement in James’s death. The scenes of Finn’s suspicion and Emma’s confession spanned an hour long episode but it was a testament to the performances that it didn’t drag at all. With Finn now sitting on the big secret it doesn’t feel like long before more of the truth will come out but I worry for his safety if Emma’s irrational behaviour gets out of hand. Exciting stuff!

Marriage Mayhem

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h53m49s487Pete and Leyla’s wedding was never going to go smoothly, was it? But who could’ve guessed the Carry On escapades that transpired?! With Pete and Priya’s betrayal stinking up the air, I think most of us expected the liaison to come out in dramatic effect but what we didn’t expect was a double jilting with both bride and groom trying to escape through the toilet windows! This storyline has been something of a damp squib, but the wedding two-parter was full of genuinely funny moments. From Doug and Eric’s bickering to the wedding goer’s aghast at the crazy events following the window rescue, there were some great laughs. It was nice too to see Jacob in a sweet and supportive role, and even Ross managed to look like the mature and non-sleazey one compared to Pete! But perhaps nothing will top the brilliant moment of Leyla’s open-mouthed reaction to see her groom making the same escape she was. Priceless.

Lingering Feelings

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h49m23s082I’ve long been a fan of Cain and Moira’s relationship so to see all those unresolved feelings rise to the surface again this week was a joy. Their chemistry makes these sorts of moments seem effortless and you can fully believe the multitude of unsaid emotions. Despite a bit of a sexist trope being used when Cain came to Moira’s rescue (this is Moira who’s used to farm machinery and independence here!) it stirred up lingering tension and Moira went in for a kiss. Over the next few days, with Harriet feeling like a spare part, Cain and Moira cemented themselves as the couple destined to be together as Moira tried to set Cain free again to move on, even though we all know deep down they both still love each other. It’s pretty obvious how this one’s going to play out but all that embittered love and tension is the right kind of romance angst!

Fails

Tired Laughs

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h43m41s833It’s not the worst comedy story ever seen – and god, remember last year’s endless pirate ship summer filler?! But Emmerdale really need to come up with something new for the rivalry between Nicola + Jimmy vs Kerry + Dan. Separately both couples can offer quite a lot of laughs, when it’s done right, but the petty competition between Kerry and Nicola – while their exasperated and hen-pecked spouses watch on – is getting old. Kerry’s loud-mouthed outrage and Nicola’s screechy need to rule are fine in small doses but after last year’s Dan and Nicola kiss moment, the two pairs did enough warring and now it’s lost its shine.

Mood Killer

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h41m52s608Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the Pete and Leyla near-wedding daftness. That was until Emmerdale decided to spoil it by having Pete and Priya go at it in the honeymoon suite. Ew, grubby! Since Pete and Priya began their hook ups, it’s been an out-of-nowhere mess, really lacking that key affair ingredient – chemistry. I can just about buy Priya’s loneliness, the way she feels out of place now that Rakesh has gone, but her betrayal of Leyla has always been hard to stomach or believe, especially for someone as charisma free as Pete. Pete spent the latter half of his wedding day tearing into Priya and being generally vile but her confronting him and standing up to him didn’t last long, and soon we had to grimace through truly uncomfortable scenes. I’m sure Priya’s thumping of Pete’s chest and his shouty grabbing of her was meant to get us going but it was awkward and pretty revolting behaviour to say the least. And about as far from sexy as you can get. End this now, please!

Fave or Fail? (7-11 August 2017)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Not a golden week of episodes by any means!

Faves

The Sharmas

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-17h56m30s733Admittedly it’s an odd choice for the top spot this week but I’ve really enjoyed the Sharmas lately. Away from the dubious Nell plot we saw a more fun and relaxed side of Jai, a far cry from the cold and unengaging villain he was not so long ago. I like when we get to see the rarer sides to characters like this and Jai’s barbed exchanges with Nicola work well against his rigid businessman mode. Priya has her unlikeable moments in this Pete fling plot (and I still find it totally unbelievable that she could do this to Leyla for Mr Boring himself) but there were times this week when she recognised her own self-destruct and that her life was not the one she wanted. When she’s not hankering after Mr Dull, Priya’s adrift loneliness and self-awareness that she’s made big mistakes make her more sympathetic than she ought to be in this situation. Finally Rishi – always good for a cartoonish moment or two, especially when there’s face paint involved. I’m glad he’s back from Canada!

Eric and Faith

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-18h49m23s633Every time I see Eric and Faith on screen together, they just work. Faith brings out the fun in Eric, smoothing out his grumpier edges, but this week she showed she’s more than just comic relief to his miserly routine, as she knew how to support him and calm him down. She brought out his forgiving side, helping him to change tact and consider different opinions when it came to Josh but even through this she hasn’t mellowed or stopped her flirty ways. I’m not quite sure if they’re an official couple yet, but they gel well together and it feels like they’ve already been a couple for ages. Good call, Emmerdale!

Fails

Struggling to Care

Emmerdale - Josh Makes Jacob a Dangerous Offer - YouTube (1)Jacob was embroiled in police drama this week and while it was nice to see his loved ones rally round (albeit all stuck in that blasted shop set), the Josh element was a real weak point. The Josh story dominated screens this week but we barely know the guy, beyond a very brief attempt to give him a tragic backstory so Jacob’s misguided loyalty to him seemed to come out of nowhere. Why has he been forgiven so fast? Why is sensible Jacob so adamant in protecting him? Emmerdale’s own teens are pretty well rounded but guest characters like Josh ended up being cartoonish and wafer thin so it’s quite hard to care about his fate or understand why Jacob is so willing to throw away his future. Don’t get me started on his superfast redemption including bonding with Eric over music – cringe! What this story really needed was to see Josh’s hard home life for ourselves or to have his friendship with Jacob play out over a longer and more believable time period.

Gullible Fools

-914 Aaron amp; Robert 10th August 2017 Part 2 of 2 Robert Only - YouTubeThere must be something in the water in the Dales right now (that, or the return of panto villain Robert has been spiking the water supply) because so many characters are acting like complete idiots. Megan’s scamming of Frank seems to be far too straightforward (unless he’s tricking her too) with him barely questioning her wanting separate beds and she herself was foolish enough not to realise Charity had faked those incriminating texts – they weren’t even subtle! But this all pales in comparison to the mindnumbingly stupid and unbelievable idiocy of the White family, namely Lawrence and Rebecca. How many times does Robert have to screw them over, use them, smirk behind their backs before they realise he’s out to ruin them? Time and time again Rebecca’s fooled for his fakery and despite crying over how he’s hurt her, not once has she ever questioned his motives here. When has Robert ever been genuine and caring towards her out of the kindness of his heart? At least Lawrence, being ill and drugged, has an excuse for being so gullible, but he’s seen Robert’s puppet mastery first hand and we’re expected to believe that a few clever words makes Larry look past Robert’s colourful history of ruining the Whites? As if! They’re making it far too easy for him to screw them over, it’s almost as if they’ve had a lobotomy.

Yawn of the Dead

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-18h50m20s984Do you ever watch an episode of Emmerdale and wonder how it’s the same show that produces such award winning drama? Tuesday’s hour long was one of those. According to spoilers we were promised a zombie event at Home Farm with a horrifying car crash at the centre. Instead the hour dragged, and aside from a few made-up villagers it didn’t feel much like an event. The film-school trippy effects used on a very hammy Lawrence were embarrassing and the only damage it caused was Victoria to get a slightly twisted ankle. Hardly life or death. The whole event seemed a complete waste of time having hardly any repercussions – even Lawrence who was just out of hospital and faced with another boring near-death moment seemed unaffected. It didn’t damage the Home Farm business, Victoria is back to work already, Robert is back to drugging Lawrence’s drink and twirling his moustache – so what was the point to it?

Fave or Fail? (17-21 July 2017)

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! I’m back from my holiday, but unfortunately it wasn’t great week for stories!

Faves

Party Atmosphere

Emmerdale - Thursday 20 Jul 8pm - The ITV Hub (1)You know me, I love a good Emmerdale party, especially ones that bring multiple characters together in one place. This week we were treated to two – and no I’m not talking about the terrible teen party in the pub! Faith brought the tequila and karaoke to the back room and a fun selection of older characters enjoyed getting sozzled! From Jimmy’s bad singing, to Diane getting a thrill from Doug’s new dance moves – it was good fun to see these characters interacting all crammed into a room. At the end of the week Kerry’s 40th brought together more karaoke and funny characters, even if Dan did make zero effort by having the party in the local shop! With comments on Kerry’s outfit, minimal thought put into gifts and a highly critical Nicola, they were enjoyable community scenes. Like other couples in the show, Dan and Kerry’s material can be repetitive (him being useless, her being rude to him) but this week’s mishaps were genuinely amusing and their fall-out wasn’t unnecessarily long. By including their big comedy characters alongside other villagers, these gatherings were some of the better parties we’ve seen in a while and welcome in a week of pretty uninteresting plots.

Eric and Faith

Emmerdale - Tuesday 18 Jul 7pm - The ITV Hub (1)Even though we’ve lost the irreplaceable Val, Faith and Eric seem like the perfect match. Faith brings life and outrageousness to all her scenes but I love the genuine affection she seems to have for serious Eric. Having upset him Faith tried to soften him up this week and she seems to be pretty good at smoothing things over and getting him to loosen up. It might be too soon to see Faith settle down and tame her wild ways but she’s bringing out the best in Eric and I’m loving their new found partnership.

Loopy Leyla

Emmerdale - Tuesday 18 Jul 7pm - The ITV HubDespite poor Leyla being betrayed by both boyfriend (now fiancé) and best mate, she has a warmth and a comic timing which makes her current plot slightly more bearable. This week her plan to “play it cool” with Pete backfired as she got carried away and exposed herself as wanting a big white wedding and then ended up proposing in a disastrous fashion. Leyla has a good heart and we could do with seeing more of her vulnerability to make her less of a caricature. Saying that, she had some genuinely brilliant lines (“Great, even the dog’s left me!”) and her friendship with David is one I hope we never lose. I just wish they hadn’t made her wedding fixation so over the top because when she discovers that double betrayal it’s gonna hit her hard.

Fails

Will They Won’t They?

Emmerdale - Ross' Kiss Proves He Never Stopped Loving Debbie - YouTubeOh Ross and Debbie. Loves young dream…star crossed lovers…meant to be *dreamy sigh*. Well, that’s what we’re supposed to think, right? That’s what we were meant to think back in 2015 when their sizzle free affair was at the centre of Emmerdale’s big summer disaster and then imploded spectacularly when Debbie packed off to France on realising Ross took part in a murder pact with Andy. But here we are again, part two, part one all but forgotten and the heartbreak blamed on Debbie (of course). And you know, I actually enjoyed their flirty and light-hearted sparring – I could almost believe they fancied each other. It’s when they get all earnest, miscommunicate and share longing looks that I roll my eyes. Because, as the scripts reminded us, Ross has had an electric and star-crossed romance that worked – but that was with Donna, not Debbie. He’s even had more chemistry with Debbie’s mum than her! And Debbie herself has worked far better as an independent woman and mum since her return than she ever did under Ross’s spell. If they kept it light, playful, rather than ploughing on with the idea that they’re soulmates and expecting us to long for their reunion then it might be more watchable.

Affair Apathy

Emmerdale - Pete and Priya's Secret Affair Isn't So Secret Anymore - YouTubeMonths ago we were promised a funny and sizzling affair as a hapless male villager was caught between two women. The women get all the luck in Emmerdale(!) Needless to say for all its hype it’s as interesting as you’d expect an affair with Pete “boring” Barton to be! Pete’s betrayed the lovely Leyla, Priya’s lost sisterhood points for sleeping with her best mate’s fella and in the shock twist everyone saw coming, she now thinks she’s pregnant. Leaving aside how cartoonishly desperate they’ve made Leyla look, what an absolute bellend Pete is and how Priya should know better – it’s just not that interesting as a story! Sure it’s been nice to see Priya in a role that isn’t Rakesh’s lapdog, but this isn’t exploring new ground and every new development is a plot we’ve seen hundreds of times before. Where’s the summer thrill we were promised? Both women could do better than Pete, so really – what are we rooting for?

Something Missing

Emmerdale - Thursday 20 Jul 8pm - The ITV HubIt wasn’t a great week of stories in the Dales and perhaps it’s because they seemed to rely far too heavily on characters who just don’t quite have the oomph. One of the main plots of the week was Frank’s efforts to win back Megan and her rather curious acceptance of his proposal. Do we care enough about their romance either way? Do we even care enough about Megan these days? Frank isn’t anywhere near as charismatic or as interesting as he needs to be, certainly not enough to give Megan the lift she needs. She seems lifeless, directionless, in Emmerdale right now and this hasn’t been the story or the relationship to liven up her character. So if her forgiveness of Frank is all just a revenge plan, is that enough of a hook to keep this story interesting? Then there’s Jai and Nell. Jai has recovered from the OTT villainy of 2015 and Nell seems to be a lot devious than it first appeared. But if she really is lying, and that’s the big twist, then the pacing and the hints haven’t been as captivating as they need to be to dominate so much screen time. Not every story needs a big a bold character like a Dingle or a Barton to carry it, or the emotional weight of Rhona’s story, but these current plots are definitely missing a key element that makes them compelling viewing.

Fave or Fail? (15-19 May 2017)

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! Off screen Emmerdale bagged a BAFTA, sadly on screen this week was a lot less exciting!

Faves

Mates Before Dates

w58pmPaddy and Marlon’s friendship is the anecdote to any average week on Emmerdale so they were easily the highlight for me this week. Having been best mates for so long there’s a natural joy in their scenes which arises from the long-term working partnership between Dominic Brunt and Mark Charnock and that kind of fun is infectious. This week, as Marlon’s romance with Carly hit troubled waters, Paddy was there to coo, gasp and practise his proposal to her on (much to the mocking of Charity). The pair also had to cover up Marlon’s failed attempts to propose by inventing a story about their friendship anniversary – n’aww. And even though Paddy might be the worst at giving Marlon confidence in his status as Carly’s beloved, the pair of them and their friendship will outlive any romance and for that I’m truly grateful. Who needs a girlfriend when you have a best friend like these two?

Handsome Stranger

Emmerdale - Matt Has Just One Thing to Say to Carly - YouTubeRight at the end of last week, a tall, dark, handsome and bearded stranger arrived in the shape of Carly’s ex-Matt, and poor Billy’s father. It seems pretty much guaranteed that Matt won’t be around for long and that he and Carly are going to break Marlon’s little heart but in the meantime it’s been nice to have a charismatic new arrival in the village. Now you might say I’m swayed by his nice accent and good looks and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but if things were different I’d say Matt would make a good new addition to the Dales. He’s already proved he can carry a believable and exposition-heavy scene and make his emotions towards Carly and the loss of Billy complex and emotive, but up against Charity’s creepy OTT flirting, he’s proved his comedy worth too. So, while we might not have him for long and it’s a shame his role seems to be a facilitator for Carly’s exit, Matt seems like a pretty interesting character.

Different Direction

w58dSince my Emmerdale viewing habits became religious, Debbie seemed to be stuck in a cycle of two plots which never really endeared me to her as a character. I never bought into her Barton love triangle, nor her supposed love for Ross and the gangster/heist stories she got mixed up in left me cold too. For me, Debbie works best around her family, being a mother, running the garage rather than being at the centre of a money or love-triangle drama. Living with her kids, Faith and Moira has breathed life into her and this week I really enjoyed seeing her at the heart of the garage, back in her overalls and concerned with making a living rather than this just being an excuse to stir up old feelings with Ross. I enjoyed seeing her go up against Chrissie and her cutting one-liners to both White sisters were pretty satisfying too. I’m sure before long she’ll be back with Ross, trying to muster up some sexual tension, but for now Debbie seems assured and independent and I like that a lot.

Fails

Filling the Gap

Emmerdale - Jai Walks In On Nell Crying After Harming Herself - YouTubeRhona went to rehab on Monday this week meaning that most of my interest in village drama went with her. That’s not to say there are no characters I like in Emmerdale right now, but in terms of stories there just aren’t any plots holding my interest. I’m warmed massively to Jai, but his plot with the insipid Nell is odd and unengaging. Should we trust her, but more importantly why should we care? We’ve only known the girl five minutes and her budding and uneasy relationship with Jai has nothing on the short-but-sweet connection Holly and Jai had. Dan vs the bullies was the other main story of the week and even with a ‘whodunnit’ element, the teen gang were still as unthreatening as ever. Neither Dan or Jai are exactly leading man material with these uninspiring plots. Even with Amy Walsh’s great performance at the end of the week, the teen thug story is one that feels cold, lacking a ‘must-see’ factor. Other stories this week involved Zak Dingle being even more useless than ever and serving meat to vegans and the beginning of the end for Marlon and Carly. In isolation these plots might have made good B or C plots, bubbling in the background but front and centre they’re not the best – Emmerdale, we know you can do better.

Storyline Amnesia

w58wEmmerdale has never been afraid to have a wealthy, snobby family living in Home Farm, lording it over the other villagers and being generally antagonistic to everyone they meet. It’s a dynamic viewers are used to, but one the White family has always struggled with, leaving their role in the village a mess. I’ve never hid the fact I like the family best when they’re embracing their dark side with full self-awareness and that the weakness comes when Emmerdale tries to paint them as insincere victims rather than privileged villains. Stepping away from their tedious in-fighting this week, there was a puzzling turn of events as Victoria worked and grovelled at Chrissie’s feet as she catered for a vegan event. What’s the problem there you say? Well, the last time Vic interacted with Chrissie she called her a poisonous cow and didn’t hold back in light of Chrissie setting up Andy, meaning he was on the run and absent from his ill daughter’s life. Now Vic is working for her, BFFs with Rebecca and bending over backwards to please them with no explanation. It’s as if the whole (boring) Whites vs Sugdens plot never happened! Andy who? Then there’s the continuing problem with Lachlan, a character still defined by the fact his history of sexual assault was wiped from the history books rather than him having any sort of redemption. Sorry, but whether they were friends or not, whether he rescued Alfie the dog, I still find it hard to believe that Belle would ever talk to him let alone kiss him. In this middle ground, where their rivalries and devious pasts are forgiven and forgotten with no explanation, the Whites just don’t work as well as they should. Make them hated, make them powerful but stop with this wishy-washy middle ground.