Fave or Fail? (13-24 April 2020)

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Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This fortnight Lydia and Sam finally got married and Vinny’s father arrived.

Faves

Lydia and Sam Get Married

vlcsnap-2020-04-25-17h06m00s039In these bleak times it was fortuitous timing to have the feel-good joy of Sam and Lydia’s wedding to watch. We really needed it! From the fun mishaps of the stag and hen dos where even Cain received a massage from the hunky masseur, to Lydia’s mum flirting up a storm with the whiskey expert. On the big day itself Lydia looked beautiful and after some emotional words with Samson, Sam was ready to marry his perfect match. Sam’s vows – comparing finding Lydia to rabbit catching – were amusingly apt and the big dance to Cotton Eye Joe was lots of fun. This was a fun and touching wedding and a satisfying special day for this couple that are now at the heart of the Dingle brood. This was perfect and heartwarming. A great tonic. 

Mandy’s Blast From the Past

vlcsnap-2020-04-25-17h05m22s843Mandy’s experience of the big wedding was less than happy though as she had bumped into Vinny’s dad Paul in the morning when hitching a lift. We’d already learnt a little about Paul (conveniently) just a few weeks before and as Mandy’s face fell it was clear she was dead against his reappearance in Vinny’s life. Having lied to him that Vinny had gone, it was only a matter of time before Paul learnt the truth and is now working alongside his son in secret. We don’t quite know the full story yet or what will happen when Vinny learns about Paul but this story has already given Mandy some meatier emotional material which Lisa Riley has delivered with real heart. Although the nostalgic comedy Mandy brings has been fun in small doses, it’s these vulnerable moments like the ones she shares with Lydia where Mandy really shines. Looking forward to seeing how this story progresses. 

Vanity Divided

vlcsnap-2020-04-25-17h09m27s516Vanessa’s chemotherapy treatment began this fortnight, triggering an intense mood within a family already struggling to cope with Vanessa’s illness this story so far has presented many of the ups and downs, the symptoms, hospital visits and emotional tolls that cancer can do to a family and Emmerdale have done a great job at touching on these issues. Having Vanessa get drunk and go viral was a clunky and silly way to show the division of coping methods her and Charity are taking but aside from this, their personal struggles and inability to communicate feels authentic. As Charity fights for the stable family life she’s finally found, it’s made sense she’s swung to full and sometimes smothering domestic protector mode. Equally, it’s completely believable that Vanessa doesn’t always want to be in the role of victim and ill person. This divide has made their conflict and relationship dramas successful and it’s a sign of how well written it is that you can empathise with both characters. There is no right or wrong way to behave or react in a crisis this difficult and I’m glad the writing is showing how cracks can appear and feel overwhelming before they are mended. 

Fails

Neanderthal Nate

vlcsnap-2020-04-25-17h03m04s545Before Jamie and Belle confessed their love for each other, things were strained between them as paranoid and guilty Jamie reacted badly to Belle dumping Ellis. Feeling threatened that their secrets would come tumbling out, he confronted her coldly in the street and treated her cruelly. Then, in comes Nate after his supersonic hearing and sixth sense in the cafe meant he was the one to join the dots and work out their secret and I groaned. Sure, Nate might be Belle’s family now that the Dingles have overlooked his scheme to break Cain’s family apart, but was he really needed in this story? His neanderthal reaction reduced Belle to a little woman who needed saving when the reality was she was doing a good enough job on her own without his interference. Not only did this seem like another effort from Emmerdale to make Nate the good guy by shoe-horning him in, but his aggressive reaction came across as hypocritical considering his affair not even six months ago. I think Emmerdale are attempting to draw parallels between Nate and Cain with their fists first attitude but Cain has the charisma and convincing vulnerability that Nate hasn’t achieved yet. Granted, Jamie was a dick, but Nate sweeping in to be Belle’s hero felt unpleasantly caveman and hypocritical. Surely this isn’t the way to make Nate a likeable part of the village?

Kerry’s Redemption

vlcsnap-2020-04-25-17h02m21s386Vanessa received support from an unlikely source this week as Kerry sat with her during her chemotherapy and after a frosty start, the two came to some sort of understanding. This was a strange turn of events, as since it was revealed that Kerry and Amy were the reason for Frank’s death last year, Emmerdale have swept it all under the carpet, with Tracy and Vanessa barely bothered and Kerry and Amy carrying on as normal. Tracy and Amy were even seen side by side in the pub with no reaction. But this week there seemed to be a half-hearted stab at a redemption for Kerry, as though Emmerdale have just twigged that viewers still aren’t happy that Kerry and Amy have got away with their involvement with Frank’s death scott free. However, the scenes this week all felt a little hollow and disingenuous considering it’s been months since they were caught by Tracy and we’ve seen not even a flicker of remorse since. As Charity raged at Kerry (and I was Team Charity on this one) for her two faced behaviour, a nurse revealed that Kerry’s been volunteering at the hospital. Sorry, what? This was a laughable way to make Saint Kerry seem like she’d had some off-screen remorse for her behaviour. Surely something like that would have landed as much more convincingly if we’d seen it, or it had even been hinted at in other scenes? Kerry has been likeable and kind in the past but if her and Amy are never going to receive proper punishment or backlash from the village about what they did (and it does feel like that time has passed) her redemption needed a lot more care than a throwaway comment and offscreen volunteer work. Even Vanessa’s forgiveness didn’t feel authentic, but a plot device to start a rift with Charity. Instead of its desired effect, this reminder of Kerry and Frank served not to redeem Kerry but remind the audience that this story thread was left with a fair from satisfying conclusion.

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2019

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It’s been a divisive and controversial year of Emmerdale stories where big plots have had their ups and downs. Kim had a dodgy first few months settling back into the village and we lost nice guys Matty and Ryan to some dodgy toxic masculinity which came as a big blow to their popularity. Then there were characters who started with real promise like Billy and Will and Jamie, who then turned out just to be a bit dull.

But those aside, what were the worst moments overall in 2019?

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6 – Joe – dead or alive?

It feels like a long time ago now, but for the first few months of 2019, everyone was still banging on about what happened to Joe Tate. Viewers were left wondering if he was alive or murdered by Graham, while Cain and Debbie were torn apart with Cain believing he killed Joe with a single punch. Come March it was revealed Joe is in fact alive, but after all that ambiguity the climax was as flat as a pancake. Ned Porteous made a cameo only in photographic form (which screamed hasty rewrite) and disappointed many who were begging for his return. This story also meant the torment Cain went through was for nothing, it meant Graham’s agony and spiral into drink about ending the life of his best friend came from just letting him free, and Kim’s murderous intent fizzled into nothing. The Joe, Graham and Kim business was a muddled mess anyway but as we continued to watch Kim and Graham interact, the confusing backstories and rivalries made even less sense. Thankfully since Joe was revealed to be alive, everything has been brushed under the carpet and it felt like a weight lifted – phew!

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5 – Kerry and Amy

Chances are if you were watching Emmerdale in the summer, two of your most hated characters would have been Kerry and Amy. After splitting with Dan and reuniting with Amy, there was promise for Kerry and after all, she was one of the few highlights of the Amelia story last year. Then came a sudden and contrived dilemma from Amy – she needed money and fast. Kerry cooked up a plan to break into the factory and steal the charity money. As if this wasn’t bad enough, they eventually started a fire which destroyed the factory and killed Frank. Not content with those crimes, Kerry implicated Frank and then cosied up to Tracy to assuage her guilt. For over a month they kept their crimes secret, with minimal guilt beyond Amy’s repetitive “I feel terrible” refrain. After a showdown with Tracy, Kerry hit her head and was hospitalised and there was an attempt to say that this was her payback rather than actually owning up to the truth. With neither character leaving its no surprise that there was no confession and now, months on, it’s all been glossed over. Frustratingly however, Kerry and Amy’s attitudes and behaviour were so unlikeable and manipulative it might have sullied them for good. They were downright unpleasant to watch and if we were meant to feel sorry for them, it failed. Can we really laugh along with Kerry when there was no comeback for what she did to Tracy and Vanessa?

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4 – Maya anti-climax

Maya’s grooming and abuse of Jacob was Emmerdale’s biggest and most controversial story of 2019. It benefitted from moments of great high tension and suspense – particularly during the reveal of her behaviour in the Big Night Out episodes – and some solid performances. Louisa Clein especially was wickedly manipulative and the character deserved to go out with a big finale. Unfortunately though, justice for Jacob and a comeuppance for Maya was sorely lacking. Rather than the abuse be treated in the same vein as say Charity and Bails or Aaron and Gordon, with a victory for the victim and a satisfying (albeit unrealistic) sentence, Maya wasn’t even tried for the actual crimes she committed, but a lesser charge. In the lead up to her exit, Emmerdale told a muddled story with lines of dialogue that sounded like she and Jacob were some forbidden love story and with-holding his realisation that she abused him for months. Granted, the sentencing and Jacob’s reaction might be more true to life, but it didn’t make for a satisfying conclusion. By the end of the story, it was going in circles without any sight of a police enquiry or anything resembling a shocked response from the villagers. The teens were absent, as was Jessie, who all should have been playing key roles. The impact was completely wasted and with only the Metcalfe clan effected, it suffered from repetitive scenes and a really flat ending.

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3 – Bear Wolf and the Wrestling

We all know when it comes to humour, it can be really hit and miss. But a real low of Emmerdale in 2019 was the character of Bear Wolf and his excruciating wrestling shenanigans. After Mandy’s brief return at the start of the year, Paddy’s paternity was in question and he went looking for his biological father, an infamous wrestling letch known as Bear Wolf. I’m not convinced Paddy needed any big family discovery story and certainly not one that involved such a loathsome and unfunny character, but his quest took him as far as Belfast. Anytime wrestling was involved, it was an embarrassment to watch, laboured and painful at times. On paper the hilarity of a grown man in a wig and a costume calling himself Bear Wolf might have sounded comedy gold but the reality was one of the worst moments of 2019. Since those scenes Bear has toned down and has all but slotted right into Paddy’s family and you can just about forget how woeful his introduction was.

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2 – Mishandled Rape Aftermath

The immediate aftermath to Victoria’s horrifying rape was Emmerdale at its best. However, what followed has been misjudged and uncomfortable viewing with poor Victoria used as a passive torture victim in her own storyline. Victoria has had barely any agency in this story beyond the odd line of empty dialogue and at times the writing for her has been horrible, even seeming to side with her rapist over her brother. Tying in this story with Robert’s exit meant repetitive scenes of the siblings reaching an understanding, only for Robert to interfere, and the constant harassment by Lee and Wendy without contacting the police meant Vic’s decisions often bowed to the cogs of the plot, rather than narrative choices which empowered her. Now with Wendy in the village acting like a victim, the framing of the story is all wrong and continues to force Vic to live in the constant hell of what Lee did to her. She didn’t get justice, and still she’s continuously punished. This story quickly derailed and given Emmerdale’s successful history of handling rape stories with sensitivity and care, it’s been an even bigger disappointment. It also felt an especially cruel choice to give a character who always wanted to be a mother a baby in such terrible circumstances. Victoria deserved better than this.

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1 – Nate and Moira affair

Without question the worst story of 2019 was Moira and Nate’s affair. Not just was this story loathed by fans but it dragged on for months and tarnished its main characters in the process. Cain and Moira had a rough start to the year, but even that couldn’t begin to explain why Moira’s head was turned by the new and creepy farmhand who had less personality than a stack of hay bales. Cain and Moira’s turbulent marriage might not have worked the same since their split and reunion in 2018, but they were loved by viewers and Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb’s chemistry was unmatched. So why trash it? Emmerdale followed a predictable path of Moira cheating with Mills and Boon style romps in the barn, but with sub-zero chemistry, all it did was remind viewers of Moira’s scorching fling with Cain way back when. With Moira’s weak motivation to cheat, the story threw her character under the bus, jeopardising her marriage and family for nothing, all the while viewers suffered through week upon week of supposedly sexy hook ups and on-off arguments. As for Nate, viewers long suspected he had ulterior motives but with no hints that he had a mission in mind, he came across as vapid and dull, but when he revealed himself as Cain’s son we were supposed to become suddenly interested just because he was Cain’s. Alas, it did not magic him an engaging personality. Even with a clunky backstory for his mother and Cain, sympathy was thin on the ground. In an attempt to make Nate likeable and fit in Emmerdale have now framed Nate as the lonely victim and he’s even won round the Dingles, as for the audience? Jury’s out.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2019 – Part One (#20-11)

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In a year that saw big exits, shock deaths and the end of Emmerdale’s two biggest couples, 2019 had lots of surprising moments. Here is my own look back at Emmerdale’s Best Bits of the year, starting with numbers 20 to 11. Come back tomorrow to see my Top 10 and a countdown of the year’s lowlights too. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!

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20 – Nicola’s Rise and Fall

Way back at the beginning of 2019, Nicola and Robert put their efforts into scamming Home Farm out of shed loads of cash. After that backfired, Nicola had a lot of making up to do with both her husband and the villagers she’d betrayed. Nicola’s acid tongue doesn’t always earn her many friends or fans, but there were some fun comedy moments in this story (like when she took Bernice hostage) and touching family moments too. The year got better for her when she got selected for the council – in a role completely perfect for her character – and we got to see her back on top. Nicola and Jimmy continue to be one of Emmerdale’s best and most believable partnerships and here’s hoping they both get good material in 2020.

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19 – Old School Feel

If there’s one noticeable improvement to Emmerdale this year then it’s the return to an old school feeling. Emmerdale’s USP in the soap world has always been its rural setting but in recent years that’s faded into the background. This year however there’s been a return to its roots with more farming and outdoors shots, Kim on her horses, and community events like the village panto. There’s still so much potential in exploring the dramas of a country village that I hope next year continues to make the most of the show’s unique setting.

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18 – Cain Learns the Truth

In October, an explosive secret was revealed when Cain learnt Moira had been having an affair right under his nose with farm hand Nate. It had been a challenging year for Cain, who had been bogged down in the Joe dead-or-alive storyline for months but his reaction to the Moira/Nate reveal was satisfyingly explosive. The best thing about Cain though is not just his avenging efforts (which this year ended up on a boat, implausible and outlandish and arguably too contrived for a punch-happy bloke like Cain) but his range of emotions. Cain’s pain and fury played out below his seething surface and Jeff Hordley’s performances ultimately are the reason he’s so popular. However unpopular the Moira and Nate fling was, Cain’s immediate reaction was one of the most gripping of the year.

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17 – Mandy’s Return

One of Emmerdale’s most iconic characters returned this year in the form of Mandy Dingle. Never far from chaos, Mandy’s first reappearance was far too brief but teasing enough that made viewers hope for a longer return. Later in the year she was back, scamming money from her family and revealing her part in a big casino heist and with son Vinny holding secrets of her own, there’s clearly more to come. Mandy’s return has been an injection of fun and nostalgia and she feels right at home at Wishing Well, even forming a great new bond with Lydia. It’s unclear how long she’s sticking around but there’s something comforting about her presence in the Dingles that makes me wish she’d stay for good.

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16 – Liv’s Jacob Discovery

It’s fair to say it’s been a hellish year for Jacob as he was groomed by Maya but the story as a whole was patchy. However one of the best parts of the story involved the addition of Liv, and running the Jacob plot alongside her exploration of her identity was an interesting choice. While Emmerdale haven’t put the asexual label onto Liv’s identity yet, she progressed further in the vocalisation of her feelings this year, leaning on Aaron and Robert for support. Making her the first person to discover Jacob’s relationship with Maya was a great twist making an already complex story more layered and gripping as she blackmailed the evil teacher too. Isobel Steele continues to portray Liv with real vulnerability and I hope, given the big topics thrown at her – drinking problems, asexuality, seizures – Emmerdale chooses one and gives it the focus it deserves.

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15 – Kim Finds Her Place

After Kim’s brief and divisive return in October 2018, fans were nervous about her permanent role in Emmerdale. Would it work? Would Kim be too panto? Her initial months in Emmerdale were met with apprehension. At first, bogged down with the bloated and retconned history of Graham and Joe it seemed as if Kim had been reimagined as a soulless mob wife, sending out hits and grimly trying to  blackmail Cain to sleep with her. It was an uncomfortable watch, but there were glimmers of hope. As Kim started to integrate and they dropped the Joe storyline there were signs they had plans for her beyond a cartoon villain. Eventually Home Farm reformed, and Kim reunited with son Jamie and met her granddaughter Millie and through all of this – and a friendship with Rhona – she found a heart. While the Tate household has not always been engaging to watch, Emmerdale have finally got the balance right with Kim, she’s both a great foe for the villagers but she’s more than just a campy “soap bitch”.

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14 – Manpreet Settles In

This year Manpreet moved into the village and cemented herself as a regular character by marrying Rishi and giving the Sharma family a more serious focus. Manpreet is a breezy fun character and a nice dose of the ‘everyday’ rather than someone destined for extreme behaviour. She slotted in well to the village, both with the family and with her doctor role, which isn’t always easy for new characters to do. Rebecca Sarker is a really natural actress and her issues with money gave Manpreet a depth and even a little bit of a dark side. Manpreet helped lift the Sharmas out of their comedic rut and she’s been a little gem of a character with much more to her than meets the eye. Can’t wait to see what else they do with her in 2020.

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13 – Bob’s Homelessness

Cast your mind way back to January 2019 and you might remember that Bob was at the centre of one of Emmerdale’s most emotional stories. After the end of his disastrous romance with Laurel and struggling for money, it was a bleak Christmas for Bob. By January he was sleeping rough, struggling for food and so very isolated. After Harriet found him suffering from hypothermia, Bob was hospitalised and the truth came out to friends and family. Bob’s story was sensitively told and a timely reminder of how quickly a situation like his can escalate. Unfortunately Emmerdale skimmed over the aftermath and Bob is back, full of life, in the pub. It’s nice to have him back where he belongs but this was such a strong story that it feels like a missed opportunity.

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12 – Bernice’s exit

In a year of high profile exits, Bernice’s departure was one of the most poignant. Despite the unfortunate way it was squeezed into just two episodes, it was fitting and emotional that just as Bernice’s happy ending was within her clutches, she had to sacrifice it. Bernice’s exit story gave her that moment of growth and self-reflection. Her final episodes were the perfect blend of humour and serious emotion, giving her a great send off. She was a character like no other and she’ll be sorely missed – here’s hoping for a return one day!

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11 – Tracy after Frank’s death

Tracy was my stand-out star of 2018 with Amy Walsh delivering exceptional performances during the storyline that explored her past as a sex worker and split with David. This year Tracy was dealt a massive blow when her dad Frank died in the factory explosion and Amy Walsh continued to impress as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. As the question of the real culprit remained a mystery for a while and blame fell to Frank, Tracy’s determination to find the true thieves intensified leading her finally to the satisfying showdown with Kerry. As Tracy cycled through a range of emotions it was another masterclass from the brilliant Amy Walsh. What will the next year bring for Tracy?

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 and my worst moments of Emmerdale 2019.

Scene of the Week (7-11 Oct 2019)

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Vanessa let rip on Kerry this week in a really satisfying scene. With Amy issuing threats and Kerry wanting the quiet life (with Dan and Amelia completely oblivious) Vanessa wasn’t going to let this go. Furious, Vanessa ranted about the injustice of it all, that Kerry pretended to be a friend and lied to their faces. Grieving and horrified, Vanessa’s outburst was completely in line with how many viewers felt watching so this scene was a real high point in the week. The “assault” on the nurse was a little clunky but Vanessa telling Kerry exactly how she felt was exactly what this story needed. Not quite justice for Frank, but cathartic all the same.

Scene of the Week (30 Sep-4 Oct 2019)

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There’s always something so satisfying about a big reveal in soap and Tracy’s showdown with Kerry did not disappoint. After putting together all the clues, Tracy approached her supposed friend with a restrained and calm demeanour, ready to catch her off guard. As her questioning increased, her fury was barely contained and Kerry crumbled and confessed confirming Tracy’s worst suspicions. As Tracy cycled through a range of emotions, from suspicion to anger to grief, it was another masterclass from the brilliant Amy Walsh. Laura Norton too, who had the difficult and significantly less sympathetic, role did a great job during the confession so that despite not feeling much sympathy for Kerry, the tension between the pair as everything unravelled was gripping.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Aug 2019)

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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! Megan left the village after one final showdown with Charity and Robert confessed to his family that he’s facing a worse charge. 

Faves

Megan’s Last Stand

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h49m17s092It was Megan’s last week in Emmerdale (a decision she made on Monday and implemented on Tuesday, no less) but she made a big impression before she left. Grieving and guilty, Megan was given the engagement ring Frank had meant for her by Tracy and this changed her whole perspective. After a great scene in which she tore everyone to shreds for rushing to scapegoat Frank, Megan made the extreme decision that the village was no longer the place she wanted to call home. And who can blame her? Son dead, partner dead, villainous brother on the run. She hasn’t had a great old time of it. Megan’s been pretty wasted as a character but it was good to see Gaynor get to sink her teeth into some big performances before she left. Her show-down with Charity was a real highlight and I only wish they’d kept up their rivalry a little more in recent years. She might have had a disappointing exit, but at least her run ended on some great performances. Bye Megan!

Partners in Crime

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h49m45s340To the surprise of few, Al was revealed to be Kim Tate’s new business partner this week and that sets us up with all kinds of potential. Al has all the charm and underlying darkness of a great villain and I loved how sneakily condescending he was this week, particularly to Marlon. He seems like a cunning sort of bad guy, perfectly suited to subtle ways of getting under people’s skin. His partnership with Kim could be great – hey, he even managed to make Graham marginally interesting! It’s early days with the Sharma take over but I’m intrigued to see what ambitions the pair have – Kim’s been crying out for an equally ruthless partner in crime and it looks like she might finally have it!

Sister Setbacks

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h52m36s381In the week that saw Robert confess to his family that he could be facing a bigger sentence, they had other things to stress over. While the fall out of Robert’s revelation didn’t have the impact it needed (see below), both Liv and Vic had big moments of their own this week. With previous issues of alcoholism and struggles with her sexuality, you’d think the writers might chose to revisit one of those again rather than give Liv a new problem, nevertheless Isobel Steele’s performance of a seizure was well acted. Time will tell if this is just a device to draw her and Jacob back together and give Aaron a reason to stay in Emmerdale, but it would be a worthwhile issue to explore if dealt with properly. Similarly this week Vic’s PTSD was revisited in the hospital. Vic’s storyline has careered off the tracks lately and Vic’s perspective and trauma was lost, but revisiting her struggles this way was a good way to show the real lasting impacts of the assault. And it avoided any circular arguments with Robert, or a visit from Wendy or a threat from Lee – hooray. If only we could have more of these kinds of moments for Victoria, her story might be stronger. However it was good to see both Vic and Liv share a moment together this week, acknowledging their similarities and their protective brothers.

Bonus faves:

  • It does feel strange having The Woolpack in the village hall but it’s also given it a freshness. Not only has it been nice to see more outdoor scenes but it’s also seen a change in bar staff. Dawn made a great addition this week, getting on Charity’s nerves
  • Speaking of Charity, she was on top form this week. The pub wars with Brenda and “pot gate” has been a fun watch.

Fails

Bonus fails

  • Megan was in Emmerdale for seven years but hers was a really lacklustre ending for a character who had been around for so long. Not only did she pack up and leave within the space of one episode, giving Jai a rushed goodbye with Eliza (not quite believable) but she hardly had anyone to say goodbye to. Apart from Jai, Frank’s daughters and business partner Leyla (who had been an enemy for a while) it really highlighted how isolated Megan had become.
  • Robron was Robrushed this week as Robert’s life-changing revelation that he might face life in prison passed without much of a reaction. By Thursday Liv’s illness took precedent and that seemed like a real wasted opportunity when Emmerdale had made a big deal of how Robert was terrified of telling Aaron and pressing on with decisions about having a baby. They might be saving the big reactions for later, but in a week dominating by exhausting and repetitive plots, this story deserved more depth and prominence in the immediate aftermath.

I Feel Terrible

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h52m52s484If Amy says “I feel terrible” one more time, we might have to turn it into a drinking game. She might be the more guilty of the pair, but her and Kerry’s behaviour is wearing thin. Rather than be on tenterhooks about whether they’ll crack, the two’s guilt barely feels genuine and they seem to be conducting the same conversations over and over. It didn’t get much better as Amy turned to Nate this week (a character who does not need any more screentime!) in some snooze worthy scenes. Perhaps Emmerdale thinks the longer it spends focusing on Amy and Kerry, the more we’ll feel for them, but if anything it’s having the opposite effect the longer they keep up this charade. The only pair I feel sorry for is Tracy and Vanessa.

Character Assassination?

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h53m23s653Another storyline with far too much screentime this week was the sizzle-free zone of Nate and Moira’s affair. Perhaps the show was unaware of just how unpopular it would be with viewers, but it has been overkill with the amount of scenes dedicated to their so called passion. There was more cliched to-ing and fro-ing, but it felt like the final nail in the coffin for Moira’s likeability was well and truly hammered in. Some fans think Moira hasn’t been the same since Emma’s death, but her actions this week seemed like an even bigger way to ruin her. This week Moira decided she was well up for a full blown affair with Nate, as long as there were no strings. She purposefully missed calls from Cain, seemed unbothered about Isaac’s welfare and was snappy and jealous of Amy. All this for sex with Mr No Personality? Really? It’s a hard enough sell that Moira would throw away her marriage and family like this, but for Nate of all people – it is unbelievable. This week Moira came across as cold and heartless, not the character people loved. Nate seems sleazy and pushy, rather than sexy and alluring, and though it might almost be a repeat of Moira’s fling with Cain, it just doesn’t work in this situation. It’s not wonder Moira fans feel frustrated by this storyline and sadly it’s brought out the worst in social media commentators who have been quick to label her in awful misogynist terms.

Scene of the Week (26-30 Aug 2019)

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It was an emotional outburst for Megan this week as Frank’s funeral arrived and a brilliant performance from Gaynor Faye. Hurting and angry at herself too for doubting Frank, Megan let rip on the villagers gathered for the service. Furious at the way Frank’s memory had been tarnished and how few friends were willing to pay their respects, Megan didn’t hold back, telling everyone they should be ashamed for condemning Frank so easily. This scene was cathartic for us viewers who know how unfairly Frank has been blamed, but also it was a satisfying final hurrah for Megan and Gaynor before she left the village.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Aug 2019)

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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 one of Emmerdale’s strongest weeks but the best bits came from surprising little storylines.

Faves

Funeral Fractures

MEGA - Emmerdale_2019-08-23_396p.HDTV.x264-SS.mp4The trying times continued at Tug Ghyll this week as Tracy, Vanessa and Megan tried to organise Frank’s funeral. With many of the village wrongly believing Frank stole the charity money, not many were willing to say they would attend, which devastated Tracy and put her relationship with Vanessa under even more strain. There were some great performances too from Gaynor Faye (Megan) this week as she remained conflicted over her feelings for Frank and struggled with the reminders of losing son Robbie. Frank’s death has provided great material for the three main actresses involved and the injustice of everyone believing Frank to be guilty will provide real satisfaction when the truth comes out. Will we ever be able to look at Kerry in the same way – that’s the question!

Unlikely Friends?

vlcsnap-2019-08-24-20h29m26s883Sometimes the best moments in Emmerdale come from the most unlikely places. This week it was strange yet endearing partnership of Cain and Liam, as Liam went to the garage to get his car fixed. Cain, who isn’t known for his gang of mates, offered Dr C a beer and a surprised Liam accepted (after almost spilling the whole thing). After Cain hurt his hand the two had a funny and awkward chat – the extreme of chalk and cheese. The comic timing was spot on and the scene was made even better when Liam reported back his macho activities to a baffled Bernice and Diane. Will their paths ever cross again? Lets hope so!

Pub Wars

vlcsnap-2019-08-24-20h26m04s328Disaster struck at the Woolpack this week as Charity learnt the pub has dry rot and will be out of action for six weeks. While this hopefully means we’ll get treated to a glossy new makeover inside (the pub hasn’t had a refurb since the Cameron siege), it brought chaos to Charity’s door. First she had to persuade Paddy and Bear to move out, but then the bigger problem was business. Crafty Brenda took advantage of Charity’s misfortune and used her license to sell booze after hours, but this started war and Charity retaliated with a big booze up in the garden. This plot was a whole lot of fun, bringing out Charity’s snark and entertaining personality alongside Brenda’s dry one-liners, as well as giving the scenes a big community feel. The village isn’t the same without the pub, but at least we got some good scenes out of it.

Jacob’s Wellbeing

vlcsnap-2019-08-24-20h27m35s919Jacob had a difficult time this week as his poor GCSE results brought it all home just how much Maya’s grooming had impacted upon his future. As David and his merry band of exes tried to give Jacob some relaxed time in the garden to take his mind off it, they realised Jacob had been trying to write to Maya in prison. Later in the week, Priya’s efforts to comfort Jacob got misconstrued and he was furious at her for being a hypocrite. Thankfully Jacob realised he was in the wrong and perhaps there are glimmers here that he’s noticing how Maya warped his mind. Jacob hasn’t yet had the support he needs to cope with the aftermath of what Maya did to him and after a lacklustre resolution, could this mean we’re moving towards Jacob eventually getting some help?

Fails

Bonus Fails:

  • Paddy’s a funny guy with a great script and good physical comedy with Marlon. The stuttering has got old fast. Combine that with Bear’s illiteracy plot and it’s not a winner
  • So Matty’s storyline is over already? Story resolutions have been a bit iffy lately but this takes the biscuit! All of Matty’s crucial moments happened off screen!

Private School Privilege

vlcsnap-2019-08-24-20h26m30s093There was some dry old posh drama at Home Farm this week as the biggest problem seemed to be the local state primary or a fancy private school. The dilemma! It’s still a hard task to believe Jamie’s really the dad of a five year old little girl and rather than Jamie’s reticence about Millie’s childhood being as privileged as his having nuance, it just feels petty and pathetic. While Kim the panto villain doesn’t work, I’m not sure interfering granny is the best use of her either. Andrea too seems charismatic and could be a great character if only we could see her get out of the mansion. Does anyone really care which school Millie goes to? Perhaps if this were a brief comedy story and not one with endless scenes of Jamie sulking around the house, but this week it just felt like the same old story for Jamie and Kim.

Summer Stinker

Emmerdale - Moira and Nate Sleep Together Whilst Cain Is Away - YouTubeNate and Moira finally gave into “temptation” this week in what has got to be one of Emmerdale’s worst affair storylines in a long time. Yes, worse than Bob and Laurel. Yes, worse than Pete and Priya. A naughty roll in the hay with an alpha male might have earned Emmerdale legions of fans with Cain and Moira doing the dirty, but that story was popular because the actors at the helm had smoking hot chemistry. Nate and Moira are just plain awkward together. This week Emmerdale did their very best to convince us of all that sexy chemistry, lots of close up shots of skin touching, the characters breathlessly staring at each other with gawping mouths, Nate chowing down on Moira’s shoulder, cheap Mills and Boon style barn romping. Laboured is not the word! It seems painfully obvious Nate has an agenda but this is ruining Moira’s character and isn’t convincing in the slightest. Granted, Moira’s got frisky on the farm before, but nothing has felt as forced and clunky as this. Nate’s lines seem purposefully cliché, and maybe we’re supposed to believe Moira would sacrifice her marriage for a personality-free hunk doing his best to recreate her previous farm flings, but nah, not buying it. Nate doesn’t have the charm to pull off this seduction lark, he’s coming across as a creep, and worst than that, Emmerdale has thrown one of their most popular couples (and characters) under a bus for this rubbish.

Scene of the Week (19-23 Aug 2019)

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As tension built in the run up to Frank’s funeral, Tracy made a shocking discovery in his wallet that makes my Scene of the Week as the sisters finally received a clue about Frank’s innocence. As an emotional Tracy started to doubt her belief in Frank, she discovered a receipt for an engagement ring. After collecting Frank’s stuff from Megan, Tracy was moved to discover he kept a photo of her as a young girl in his wallet, proving that even though he wasn’t there for her as a young girl, she was always in his thoughts. This was a beautiful performance by Amy Walsh that really makes you believe in Tracy’s troubled past with her dad. But the ring receipt made her realise Frank was due to propose to Megan and hadn’t jeopardised their future as Megan suspected. As Tracy decided this proved his innocent even more, the question remained – who was the guilty party? And who was lurking in the doorway listening? Kerry of course!

Fave or Fail? (5-9 Aug 2019)

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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! Robert learnt he might be facing life in prison and Kerry sunk to new depths.

Faves

Robert’s World Ends

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h43m54s596Robert’s life came crashing down around him this week as he was charged with GBH with intent. Just as he and husband Aaron had decided to get their surrogacy plans up and running again, the police came a’knocking, revealing Vic’s rapist Lee had woken from his coma. In tense scenes, the police interviewed Robert revealing the damning evidence against him and Robert unable to stick to his solicitor’s advice, tried to defend himself. All this lead to a charge and a warning that he could be looking at life imprisonment. Robert was floored by this news and Ryan Hawley’s already mastered Robert’s private devastation as he covered up the truth from Aaron and the rest of his family. As Robert tried to put on a brave face, his inevitable fate is a tough watch, especially knowing how much his loved ones will struggle. It’s both a gripping and heart-breaking storyline to watch unfold with impressive performances from Ryan as reality sunk in and it’s going to become even more gut-wrenching as Robert’s future becomes impossible to avoid.

The Fire Fall-out Continues

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h47m18s204The Sharmas were at rock bottom this week in the wake of the factory fire. With the dodgy alarm turned off by Rishi, the insurance company were reluctant to give them any sort of pay-out so once again they turned to resident moneybags – Kim Tate – to save the factory. It’s made a nice change to see the Sharmas given a serious storyline that has an impact on all family members and even Manpreet struggled with her guilt and attempted to leave because of it. It’s been a good story that doesn’t just affect a small bubble of characters or one family, but has spiralled out into other characters too. Besides Kerry and Amy’s involvement, Frank’s daughters, the workers are also impacted too and now Kim’s involved it’s helped widen her circle of interactions and given her purpose. Jai has shaped up to be a great character these days and his scenes with Kim were particularly watchable. Both him and Priya have become a lot more likeable lately so their downfall has more emotional investment and we could even see this effect Jai’s relationship with Laurel. Kim’s involvement also has potential, especially as we know she has big plans, and this story has allowed us to see her ruthless businesswoman side, and not the cartoonish gangster she had been written as before.

Grieving Girls

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h46m45s755Tracy and Vanessa struggled to cope with their grief in the aftermath of Frank’s shock death this week. At first the pair were divided and then their conflict continued when Tracy was sure of Frank’s innocence in the fire, with Vanessa being more suspicious. As Tracy’s grief manifested in gut-wrenching sobs and emptiness, her sister was more stoic, pained and unable to talk and both actresses did a good job in the spectrum of emotions. Both had believable breakdowns over the smallest things like Frank’s favourite song and Vanessa running out of petrol triggering a explosion of grief and it was a good choice to have them both react in different ways to the same tragedy.

Too Little Too Late

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h45m03s674This week Jessie was sent in front of an education board in scenes which looked like the dialogue had been taken straight from Twitter! Not only has Jessie’s job been seen as a bit of a joke (she’s never there!) but her role in the Maya/Jacob storyline was completely ignored. While Jessie should have been taken to task over safe-guarding and had some sort of emotional response to a member of her staff grooming a pupil, Jessie was noticeably absent through the whole story and community reactions were muted. This week Jessie was suspended and finally, finally, it seemed like there was an effort to give Maya’s actions more village-wide impact. It might be too little too late but at least it’s happening now and the scenes were still satisfying. Jacob’s lack of aftermath however is another aspect sorely missing and it’s a wonder if it’ll ever be revisited…

Bonus Faves:

  • Two stand-out scenes that almost made the cut for Scene of the Week was Vanessa’s overdue breakdown of grief with Rhona in her car. A great scene made even more impactful by one of Emmerdale’s most enduring and genuine friendships. And secondly, the unusual partnership of Robert and Jai (with bonus Tip), looking out over the Dales. This was a quiet and effective moment where both characters reflected on the impossible challenges ahead. Characters who rarely cross paths always feels like a treat and this was the same
  • Moses “I told you” in reference to Frank’s death to little Johnny was both hilariously cutting, but perfectly childlike. We need to see more of these two as they grow up together!

Fails

Sinking Lower and Lower

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h52m03s427Last week I questioned if Kerry could come back from her charity money theft, which lead to Frank’s death, but after her behaviour this week I’m even less sure. Can we really laugh along with Kerry’s antics knowing the lies she’s telling? It’s one thing to do something desperate to try and look after her family, but this week lying about Frank’s involvement and then going with Tracy to the mortuary was all just a bit too twisted. Even Amy pointed out that she seemed to enjoy the attention and at times it felt like she was right. Kerry’s remorse didn’t seem strong enough and I’m not sure a few tears can repair her likeability in the eyes of the audience. There are times though that I’ve almost felt she’s so unlikeable that perhaps they should go the whole way and make her a complete villain. Whatever the case, Amy needs to distance herself fast before she becomes Emmerdale’s second most hated.