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.
Lydia and Sam Get Married
In 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
Mandy’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.
Vanessa’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.
Before 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?
Vanessa 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.