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.

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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.

Fave or Fail? (20-24 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 Gabby and Liv got their GCSEs, Pete moved in with Rhona and Lachlan had Priya spooked.

Faves

Complicated Crush

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h58m36s643Vic might be confused by her sudden rush of feelings towards Matty, but I’m absolutely smitten by the pair of them. She’s known him for years and her complicated jealousy is now starting to make her get flustered and frustrated. Crushes are painful consuming things and watching this play out feels so perfectly true to life. I like that there are lots of layers to the setbacks, their tumultuous friendship, Adam and I’m sure Matty’s confidence and identity about being trans will come into play too. Marlon was an angel this week, offering Vic advice even when she’d hurt Matty in a big way by outing him. Emmerdale isn’t rushing this, it’s taking weeks for the feelings to unfurl and I’m so glad about that. I love seeing characters pine, getting their heartbroken and eventually mended and I’m so looking forward to Vic and Matty’s future.

New Beginnings

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h56m33s691When the concept of a Rhona and Pete romance was suggested I spoilers I baulked at the idea. Really?! But it’s been one of those strange partnerships in soap that just works. They have a fun, sexy kind of chemistry that’s done wonders for both characters, lifting Pete from his overly macho, aggressive rut and it’s given Rhona a break from being either sad or middle-aged housewife-esque tied to bumbling Paddy. Pete and Rhona is a flirty and cute pairing, but it also comes with a lot of humour and warmth. I don’t want to rush ahead or anything but when they talked about Leo and the future I suddenly got the urge to see them settled with a whole brood of gorgeous kids in tow. Here’s hoping that Pete moving is the beginning of a long relationship.

Worries About the Future

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h54m03s807We learnt more about Lydia’s past this week, with Karen Blick proving once again she’s as good at the emotionally dramatic as she is at quirky, as she bumped into a woman at the doctor’s surgery. Turns out Lydia’s beloved Steve (husband not cockatoo) had an affair with this woman and things were never the same after that. As poor Lydia opened up to Sam she admitted trying to put on a brave front and took Steve back even though she could never really forgive him. Sam, with his massive heart, wanted to prove he would never hurt her by setting a date for their wedding but Lydia didn’t want that. I’m pretty gutted that Lydia turned him down, but I hope this doesn’t mean a wedding is ruled out completely because these two are one of the loveliest couples in the Dales. Together they are adorable with actors James Hooton and Karen Blick making it seem like Sam and Lydia are truly made for each other. Long live Sam and Lydia!

Fails

Can’t Catch a Break

Tvlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h54m50s305here must be a rain cloud following Liv Flaherty whenever she goes as this week it was revealed her bad luck continued and she failed all her GCSEs. She has had a pretty difficult year following her issues with alcohol and her stint inside – not to mention her confrontations with Lachlan and Gerry’s death (which almost everyone has forgotten). But is it just me or are all these stories just floating like lose threads without ever being resolved or given the care they need? Liv’s issues with alcohol surely haven’t been “fixed” but we’ve not seen her get any real help, and her difficulties inside young offenders had no wider impact, will her exam results be the same? I can’t help but feel they should either give her a break or give her a well-written mental health story with all these miserable times piling on top of her and leading to recovery. Right now all these bad things are happening in a disconnected, meaningless way. It just seems like they want to make Liv sullen and miserable for the sake of it and that’s a real waste of Isobel’s’ talent.

Stalling for Time

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h59m46s315Don’t get me wrong – there are moments about the Lachlan story that I still enjoy. I think Thomas Atkinson is fantastic and when he gives us a display of Lachlan’s chilling and defiant smile, I love the thrill of it. His stand-offs with Priya this week have been tension filled and brilliant. But lately these moments don’t make up for the stop/start nature of the story that seems to take us one step forward and seven steps back. This week when Priya discovered the message Rebecca left about Lachlan being a killer, Lucky burnt down the shack, evaded police suspicion and buggered off on holiday with Belle leaving Priya suspicious but looking mad. There’s no real sense of momentum or jeopardy and every time we seem to creep nearer to a climax, the characters disappear off screen. With everyone stupidly believing Rebecca’s gone to Wales for good and Lachlan becoming the Dingles’ new BFF, it’s stretching the resolution far beyond the point of excitement to tedium. Lets hope things escalate and conclude soon!

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?

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? (23-27 July 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the week that saw Lachlan keep Rebecca hostage, Victoria got confusing butterflies spending time with Matty.

Faves

Friends to Lovers?

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h27m05s228Vic and Matty got closer this week and had an awkward frisson by the cricket pavilion as they discussed relationships. With Victoria having married Matty’s brother, and feeling like she has to start again with Matty and refresh that friendship she once had with him when she knew him as Hannah, it’s a confusing time. I love a slow-burn romance when it’s done well and this has the makings of one. It’s true that more friendships are needed in the village but rather than be dismayed that we might lose a platonic relationship to a romantic one, I’m glad that the pair have chemistry and this could be an interesting route to explore for both characters. Victoria hasn’t had a decent story of her own in forever and it’ll be nice to see her softer side again after sharing a sweet romance with Adam. Lately Emmerdale has rushed the most interesting parts of its stories and dragged out others, but I’m hoping they get the pacing right with this one.

Drinking Buddies

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h31m29s171Ross found a new friend in Ryan this week as the latter came to the pub to see Charity. I love unlikely friendships in the Dales and this was another, one that was brimming with snark and chemistry. It was great to see Ryan interacting with more of the villagers (although please get him to meet the Dingles soon) and Ross was a good choice for a new friend. These scenes gave us a chance to see Ross in a slightly different dynamic to what we’re used to with someone who challenges his pre-conceptions and takes him away from self-pity. I enjoyed seeing Dawn in this story too as she’s another guest character with a lot of potential. Can we have some more of this dynamic before Ross goes please?

The Full Descent

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h32m46s596Lachlan’s progressed quickly through the villain ranks going from secret lairs to serial killing, but now he can add kidnapping his aunt to the list. Even though keeping Rebecca hostage was an obvious twist to the tale, it’s Lachlan’s stone cold, blunt reactions to her that succeed the most in being so watchable. He makes heartless a calculated art rather than resorting to anything too panto. Rebecca held her own though and for someone with variable memory problems she seemed quite clued up about quizzing him and keeping him on side. She’s bound to be the one to take him down in the end, but something tells me his evil ways won’t be exposed right away, even if she makes it out alive. Here’s hoping we don’t have months of memory blanks or gaslighting just to let him get away with it a bit longer. Lachlan’s a great villain, but I’d like to see him leave on a high, not when we’ve grown too frustrated with the story.

Popping the Question

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h36m23s239A smiling Aaron Dingle is a rare sight, but one which is never unwelcome, and that soft smile was in action this week as he shared with Liv his plans to propose to Robert. Naturally, being soulmates, Robert had exactly the same idea (in the same romantic spot obvs) and broke the news to a delighted Chas and a rather spluttery Paddy. The layby call backs are a clear fan favourite result, though I can’t help but wish the build-up had been a bit less left-field and less Rebecca heavy, considering she’s been a constant feature of their lives since her arrival. But with next week poised for the big question, let’s hope we get to see some of that special Robron chemistry, in the place where it all began, to remind us how we fell in love with them in the first place.

Fails

Around in Circles

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h44m31s088Charity’s ongoing storyline benefits from a host of charismatic actors and quality performances, but the storyline has stalled in a way that makes it feel as if its going around in circles. When the story began it seemed as if it was about Charity’s journey to justice and the corruption of police. This was familiar ground for Emmerdale coming off the back of two consecutive rape trials and I was glad for the introduction of Ryan to add a new angle to the story. Since Ryan’s arrival, however the story has often felt repetitive with a whole host of excuses and obstacles preventing Ryan from bonding with Charity and meeting the rest of the Dingles. All this just felt like a laboured way to extend the storyline, rather than moving forward with the characters and exploring new ground and I can’t help but feel lately it’s been a waste of these actors who have been given repetitive scripts for weeks. Surely it’s time for new challenges and directions?

Lost its Fun

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h41m30s458Don’t get me wrong: I love Jessie, I love Marlon and I love the idea of them together. I loved when they were friends and Marlon’s early pining was secret and reserved and I loved April this week being confident and threatening in the way only April can. But I felt their scenes together this week, culminating in them finally getting together, were a real let down. I was really excited that Jessie had this huge reluctance and I was hoping that her past was full of difficult dark secrets, but her unresolved grief over her ex-husband seemed a weak reason after months of stalling and in the end something that was so easily surmountable. Marlon had to contend with Daphne in some mortifyingly unfunny scenes (making me miss Gerry’s genuine humour even more) and I’m not even sure, in the end, whether Jessie and Marlon’s romantic chemistry was even worth all this dragged out build up. I think I prefer them as just friends.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 July 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Aaron returned in the nick of time to rescue Robert and Liv and Tracy took the future into her hands.

Faves

Matty Making His Mark

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h50m56s056With mum Moira fully supportive of her son now (thank god) she was more than ready to fight his corner this week when she suspected villagers gossiping. Moira might be overcompensating with him now, but Matty’s already slotted right back in at Butler’s and it’s been great to see a more positive vibe at Butler’s. I was glad to see Matty get a warm reception in the village, even if characters like Zak tried asking inappropriate questions. Emmerdale seem to have a good balance on educating bigoted characters (and in turn the audience) about being trans whilst also creating an engaging and entertaining character in Matty. The farm feels more homely and lively than it has in a while and it’s been great to get back to more of the farming talk too. With Matty having bitten off more than he can chew on the farming front, I’m looking forward to see where they take his character next.

Stone Cold Killer

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h52m33s572I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s grown a bit tired of this Lachlan story (especially having hoped way back in February that they wouldn’t drag it out) but it’s actor Thomas Atkinson who’s managing to still make Lachlan so watchable. It’s when he’s gaslighting and being particularly duplicitous – those frustrating moments where you want to ring his neck – that I love the most. This week as he tried to kill Liv and Rob, it was his confrontations with Liv, persuading her back on the booze that I thought were particularly chilling. Do we really buy that he’d look so innocent to the rest of the village, with his history? Maybe not. And maybe he’s skipped too readily from impulsive psychopath to pre-meditated mass murder – but at least Thomas has Lachlan’s smirk and twisted humour down to a fine art.

Liv’s Life

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h48m15s945With Aaron stuck abroad with chicken pox and Gabby MIA, Liv had Doug and Robert to hang out with this week, before she got involved in Lachlan’s murder plot. Although the carbon monoxide poisoning plan from Lachlan seemed to come from nowhere (how easy is it to block a flue?) the storyline did give us an opportunity to see Liv’s lovely relationships with Doug and Robert. Doug seems to have really taken her under his wing (just like he did with Gerry) and offered her advice as they did a spot of gardening. Similarly Liv’s relationship with Robert is one of my favourites in Emmerdale, having watched it develop over the years and blossom into something familial and believable. As the week progressed and Liv and Rob escaped death thanks to Aaron’s well-timed arrival home, Liv faced disbelief from her loved ones and after a confrontation with Lachlan, she turned back to the drink. This was a heartbreaking outcome but one which highlighted that Liv’s issues haven’t been magically fixed after a spell inside. Here’s hoping that once the Lachlan story is over they will revisit Liv’s drinking with the seriousness it deserves.

Living With Lydia

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h50m03s438It’s a shame that the week ended with Lydia getting a bit too close and trusting of Lachlan because there was some great comedy earlier in the week as she tried to redecorate Wishing Well. With Lydia wanting somewhere for her and Sam that feels like home, Zak let her make it a bit more homely by putting her own touches on the place (or so she thought). What followed was some amazing facial expressions from Zak as he discovered Lydia’s “tidying” was redecorating and rearranging the place. And of course Lydia’s redesign included an abundance of birds and kitsch, Steve included. Zak softened eventually and she toned it down, but it was a great injection of humour into the home of the resident serial killer.

Bonus Fave:

  • The brilliant, grinning Elliot King full of inappropriate questions and a really inappropriate crush on Amelia and morbid fascination with her kidnap – more of him please!
  • He might be one of the village’s most dull residents, but three cheers for Frank Clayton this week as he was wonderfully loving and supportive when it came to Tracy’s choices.
  • PC Swirling’s busy week – he might as well just move into the village at this rate. Love him.

Fails

Desperate David

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h53m02s856On the whole happy chappy David has always been a bit of a no-hoper when it comes to the ladies, lurching from one failure to the next, but mostly in a harmless inoffensive way. But ever since his dalliance with Leyla and reaction to Tracy’s past, David has come across as little more than a childish dickhead. If his incessant proposals in 2016 weren’t enough to irritate then, then surely his immaturity and selfishness this year has taken annoyance to a whole new level. That’s not to say that David’s comic potential has gone – on the contrary the scenes at the GP’s surgery screamed with awkward humour – but he’s become massively unlikeable in recent months. Maya (Dr Liam Cavanagh’s wife) has been on the scene five minutes and already he’s bedding her and then acting entitled when it comes to Tracy’s life. Granted, none of the Cavanaghs did themselves any favours this week either with Maya’s doe-eyed and need loitering and Liam’s unprofessional reveal of Tracy’s pregnancy, but David’s attitude stinks. Any sympathy with him is long gone and I’ve no doubt he’ll continue to behave like a man-child until the next relationship fuck-up. I’m so glad Tracy has washed her hands of him.

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

Faves

Meeting Matty

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

Forever Friends

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

Brotherly Bonding

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

Fails

Sharma Sitcom

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

Brief Encounter

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

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