Fave or Fail? (5-9 June 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As Rakesh was exposed as last year’s arsonist it was another fairly low-key week. 

Faves

Marlon Madness

w61mpIn the immediate aftermath of Carly’s exit, Marlon found himself in Lydia’s bedroom, dressed in her puntastic nightie. And who would you call in this nightmarish and confusing situation? Your trusty best friend of course! Marlon’s bizarre escape and Paddy’s distraction techniques was a strange start to the week and a bonkers comedy sequence that they only pulled off because Paddy and Marlon are the kings of physical comedy and it was alongside some brilliant visual gags in Lydia’s bedroom. Maybe from now on they should just leave the crazy slapstick stuff to Marlon and Paddy.

Brotherly Bond

Emmerdale - Ross and Finn Take Ownership of a Cannabis Farm! - YouTubeLooking past Finn’s questionable decision to become the world’s worst escort, we saw some great scenes between him and Ross this week. I’ve always thought the Barton brothers are actually at their best when they’re getting on, rather than at each other’s throats. There’s just something about all that testosterone and aggression that sets my teeth on edge. But this week saw Ross get all protective and fairly sweet towards his little brother and it’s a dynamic that just works. Later, the scenes turned comical when Finn managed to get rid of the dealers all with a handy toy police badge, prompting Ross to ask him how he learned that. His brilliant response? “Suranne Jones. Scott and Bailey.” I can’t help but think a bit more heart and a bit more fun for the Bartons could be a nice change before everything comes out about Emma and James!

Parents and Kids

w61ssIt wasn’t a major story of the week but there were some nice scenes between some of the parents and kids this week. There was a surprising and touching scene between Sam and Samson about his mother Alice (who longterm viewers of Emmerdale will know died tragically from cancer) and the books and diaries she kept. Scenes where characters remember their long histories on the show is the best thing about the soap genre – we’ve watched this history happen! And then there was Marlon and April who had a rocky week in the wake of Carly’s departure, but their emotional scene on the swings as Marlon read April Carly’s goodbye letter was a lovely moment between them.

Fails

Awkwardly Unfunny

Emmerdale - Nicola Chases A Beaver - YouTubeBritain’s Best Soap had a plot this week where a grown woman was tormented by beavers. Yes, this actually happened and it was as stupid and as unfunny as it sounds. Emmerdale’s comedy is hit and miss at the best of the times (and obviously depends on your taste!) but this really was a low point. Nicola King’s admirable ambition (something we rarely see in the writing of Emmerdale’s female characters) is often treated as the butt of the joke but this week saw that mockery taken even further with the revelation that she was terrified of beavers. Armed with this knowledge the factory girls, led by Kerry, decided to torment Nicola, even going so far as to dress up as one. There’s a good reason why we’ve never seen a woman in a mobility scooter chase a giant beaver down the street. It’s just not funny.

Sizzle? Cringe!

Emmerdale - Priya Proves Pete Wrong By Kissing Him! - YouTubeHaving listened to months of hype about Emmerdale’s sizzling new affair (a hapless man torn between too women – now there’s a surprise) it finally began this week. I’m not about to turn this post into another moan about Emmerdale reaching dismal lows in the faithfulness of its couples and yes, cheating and affairs are no new ground, but if you’re going to tease a hot new affair, then at least make it good. Alarm bells rang when it was revealed that “alpha male” Pete was going to be our cheating stud (yes, that is the sound of my eyes rolling) because really, apart from the charged passion with his Auntie Moira have we ever seen him smoulder? But still, okay silver linings, it would at least drag Priya from the life-sucking blackhole that is Rakesh. And then it arrived on screen and any tepid enthusiasm was squashed. Pete and Priya was a blank slate, they’d never had any significant interaction so this affair needed a little chemistry-infused build up, right? Wrong! Within minutes of a casual chat, Priya and Pete were talking openly about their lives and problems like old friends and then snogging faster than you can say we-threw-these-characters-into-a-hat-to-find-our-affair-candidates. Did Priya feel guilty for sleeping with her BFFs boyfriend? No chance. Did moral dullard Pete feel a tiny bit bad that one tiff with Leyla had him smirking post-coitus with Priya? Did he hell! They literally couldn’t give a sh*t. Who are these characters? They’re not ones I recognise. Leyla deserves better, we ALL deserve better. This is our big summer plot?

Fave or Fail? (22-26 May 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Robert confessed his betrayal to Aaron this week and we enter another stretch of Emmerdale’s Worse Storyline Ever™

Faves

Rollercoaster of Emotions

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h47m43s531Let’s not get into this Aaron/Robert/Rebecca baby plot, which has to be one of my most loathed soap plots of all time, but let’s talk about the one saving grace of this story and that’s Thursday’s reveal. It’s been a ticking time bomb for months but finally this week, torn apart by guilt, Robert confessed his betrayal to a devastated Aaron. The Robron relationship has had more ups and downs (and to be honest, more downs) than Space Mountain but if anything this set of episodes proved why they continue to drag Aaron and Robert from one torturous story to the next and that’s how well the actors sell the heartbreak and the passion in their character’s relationship. With a script that dug right into their deepest flaws and issues, the intense argument saw Aaron and Robert communicate like never before as they got to the heart of why Aaron’s prison spell and Robert’s huge mistake had caused such a colossal impact on both characters. It was an honest, intimate and powerful display of their complex relationship one that owes a great deal to the long-standing chemistry between Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley and a partnership which I hope doesn’t suffer too much in this unpopular storyline.

Light Touch

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h38m02s763Lydia continues to be an injection of fun into Emmerdale and her budding romance with Sam Dingle has been a joy to watch. In just a few weeks she’s managed to integrate with lots of different characters with her cleaning job, but her comedic role in the Thomas household has worked surprisingly well to lift them after the serious and rather bleak Ashley plot. Away from Lydia was the stained-glass window mix up on Friday which saw Kerry’s creative unicorn and Adonis Ashley contribution be installed instead of Arthur’s intended window, thanks to an email error by Sandy. Bernice arrived during the chaos and of course made my GIF of the week. Far from making light of Ashley’s passing, these lighter moments have shown that laughs are possible after a death and he definitely would have seen the funny side. I’m glad that Emmerdale are able to remember Ashley, that the Thomases are allowed to grieve and but that life goes on, with smiles and even with a stuffed cockatoo in tow.

Moira Mystery

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h29m58s379Maybe I’m reading into things with Moira this week but I definitely felt like there was more to her exhaustion collapse and jumpy behaviour around Faith. It might not be the pregnancy plot we all predicted would happen when she slept with Pete and then Cain back in December, but it does make you wonder. Still, mystery aside, I love seeing Moira in farming mode and her interactions with Faith (like berating her for flirting with Adam) are really good fun. But what was also nice this week was the reminder of Holly and the realism of her presence continuing to impact upon Moira when in soaps death is so quickly forgotten. The scenes between Adam and Moira as they came together again after their fallout was a touching moment and part of the family warmth I’ve come to expect from Emmerdale at its best.

Fails

Carry On Car Theft

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h30m52s257It was only last week Debbie made my ‘Faves’ list as I praised the new and more light-hearted direction her character was going through, but this week the fun turned farce as Charity got on board for some carry-on capers. The Charity and Debbie relationship is one which has a natural spark and their bickering in a crisis is much more enjoyable than when they’re feuding about Charity’s wrong doings, but this week’s scenes crossed the line into just plain stupid. Charity can be a great comedy character and she’s proved she can work well as pub landlady but surely there’s got to be a better story for her than an “oops we’ve knocked a man out cold let’s shove him in the boot” episode filler. I love the Debbie and Charity interactions but these scenes dragged on, thinning out the humour in them, but if it keeps Debbie away from mopey love-life stories then I won’t complain too much.

A Massive Failure

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h40m02s250Where to start? I hate this storyline and to be honest I don’t know any Emmerdale fan that doesn’t. Granted, throwing a one-night-stand into the mix a mere three weeks after your most popular couple get hitched was never going to be received with open arms but the progression of this story has only got worse from then on. Putting aside the repetitive and tired clichés of this story, the unrelenting torture of Aaron and the tiring on/off conflict between Aaron and Robert, which is testing even to the most ardent of fan, we come to the biggest problem of all in the writing of Rebecca White. Introduced as the “good” White sister willing to take down her family and seduce Robert in the process, we’ve seen her turn from independent go-getter and vixen to saintly victim throughout this storyline. Not a day goes by when she hasn’t had a dramatic change of heart and this week we had the full spectrum. From wanting Rob to not wanting him, from not wanting the baby to desperately wanting to be a mother, to staying out of Robron’s way to actively telling Aaron to leave Robert. Her motives are all over the place and I don’t think it’s hormones. Her character makes no sense and her flaky lack of coherency and agency screams of a character who is written on the spot, bowing slavishly to the plot and because of this she’s not a character I believe, let alone like. Her weepy protestations of her innocence are thin and insincere and not like any woman I know (thank god). Sorry Emmerdale, there’s no getting round this, this is a massive failure for all characters involved.

 

 

Fave or Fail? (8-12 May 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Rhona confided in Vanessa this week in outstanding scenes and the teen gang plot remained uninteresting.

Faves

Avoiding the Predictable

Emmerdale May 10 - YouTubeRhona’s story returned this week as she came back from her holiday with Leo and thankfully Pierce wasn’t anywhere to be seen. After Emmerdale’s fantastic and emotional portrayal of Rhona’s bravery in the aftermath of her rape I was concerned they might be tempted of going down a very soapy route of having her forgive him, or cope by being in denial over the attack and make her friends increasingly oblivious as Pierce continued to abuse her. After all he was very manipulative after the attack and warning her she had no chance in winning a trial against him. You could see how he’d chipped away at her and I worried that he might have destroyed all her resilience. But so far, and to my relief, this doesn’t seem to be the route they are taking this story. Rhona is being brave and strong, trying to cope with this alone despite the fear and the shame affecting her deeply. Even though she has returned to taking painkillers, Vanessa’s support is hugely important and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t gone down a cliched route of her keeping quiet – right now this is not about any further evil deeds Pierce can do, this is about Rhona and the long-term impact his behaviour the rape has had on her.

Friendship

w56rvI got a reminder this week about how the long-term friendships on Emmerdale are something I love watching. There was a return to the Victoria and Finn friendship, that we haven’t seen in forever, one which feels far more heartfelt than the other pals the two of them have made. The actors have a nice chemistry and if Vic’s going to stay single for a bit then I hope we can return to having more scenes of these two together. And of course the biggest friendship factor this week was “Team Rhona”. Paddy, Marlon and Vanessa were all worried on her return and while they all took different and cautious approaches as the week went on, it was Vanessa who eventually got through to Rhona and allowed her to open up fully. The scenes following Rhona’s confession were beautifully acted and written with Vanessa saying all the things Rhona, and every other woman suffering in the same way, needed to and should hear. I was moved to tears as Vanessa offered to be there for talks or even a cuddle and her strong response to Rhona’s relapse was another fantastic moment in this story. Emmerdale characters and stories work best when they have a network of loved ones around them – family, spouses but also friends – and I hope we continue to see these believable friendships in all the on-going stories.

The Little Things

w56cTwo little moments in the week struck me as the perfect example of how well Emmerdale can squeeze in some great comedy. Take the tragic passing of Lydia’s cockatoo Steve and how this affected her interview up at Home Farm. Not only was the anecdote of his death as bonkers as Lydia herself, but the next day a spot of confusion had Chrissie assume Steve was Lydia’s dead friend rather than a bird. We don’t often get to see Chrissie in humorous scenes but her reaction to Steve being stuffed really tickled me and made me wish for more scenes where we get to see Chrissie as a bit more human rather than stuck with the White contingent. Then there was Sandy, technophobe and only two clicks away from a dodgy video. Laurel had to quickly cover Arthur’s eyes and then uncover them so he could get rid of the offending porn video. It was a throwaway scene but one with such warmth, humour and one that was very welcome after all the sadness in the Thomas’s household.

Fails

Underwhelming

Emmerdale - Adam Has Broken Victoria's Heart for the Last Time - YouTubeAdam and Victoria broke up (for good?) this week and after their previous “split” a few weeks ago, which while convoluted had some great performances, this week’s developments just felt underwhelming. Adam was in full on Neanderthal mode, blaming everyone but himself for kissing Vanessa– including his own mother – and these sorts of situations never put him in the best light. Vic took a hard line on the cheating (although it’s not been all that long since she forgave him worse) but it’s hard to know whether her resistance to forgiving him will last, particularly seeing as Emmerdale’s commitment to exploring Adam and Victoria’s relationship (good or bad) seems half-hearted at best. But perhaps the impact of this storyline has been significantly lessened by the oversaturation of cheating/mistake-kiss plots in the recent year. I’m SO tired of it and it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Surely even the scriptwriters are bored writing the same apology and forgiveness scenes for their couples?

Teenage Terror

Emmerdale - The Robbers Return to Intimidate Eric - YouTubeWho wouldn’t be scared by a gang of teenage thugs, ones who use threats, intimidation, theft and knives to terrify their victims? Dan suffered that very ordeal this week and was faced with the dilemma of whether to go through with identifying them to police or not, a dilemma which was particularly troublesome when their threats included hurting his daughter, Amelia. Despite this, teenage gangs never really translate well on screen and while hypothetically I can believe these characters would be intimidated, there just doesn’t feel like there’s any real threat when we watch it on screen. Stories of intimidation and insecurity are ones which need a slow-burn build up to feel real, but these Waterloo Road rejects throwing a sandwich and circling round Kerry doesn’t really cut it. Unfortunately that hasn’t helped to served Dan’s repetitive story and it’s not keeping my interest.

Fave or Fail? (30 Jan-3 Feb 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emmerdale won another award this week and brought some fun to our screens as Doug, Tracy and even Moira brought the laughs.

Back to Badass

vlcsnap-2017-02-05-09h03m57s970It seemed like Moira finally had her mojo back this week and Natalie J Robb got to show us the full spectrum of who Moira is. In amongst the more heartbreaking and softer moments, such as the unexpected and lovely scene between her and Debbie and the scenes with Emma when she spoke about Holly, we saw Moira get her fire back. Moira seems to work effortlessly well with every character she interacts with – even the ashes scene with Victoria just about worked despite the bonkers sitcom nature of it. Her banter with Ross, the way she took none of Patrick-from-the-supermarket’s bullshit and was the perfect ballsy business woman. Although she’s on a bit of a breakdown and shouldn’t be facing things alone, it’s easy to fall in love with her fierce independence and ruthless, gutsy spirit. The car thieving definitely made me realise why her and Cain are so well suited and she doesn’t seem intimidated by anything. You keep fighting for your farm, Moira!

Harsh Words – Finally

emmerdale-thursday-2-feb-8pm-the-itv-hubThere was a scene this week which almost made my Scene of the Week choice, and that was the moment in the hospital between Lawrence and Chrissie where he finally confronted her about her vengeful behaviour. You might say too little too late considering his enabling of her dark side, but as he laid into her about her selfish behaviour, there was a sense of “Finally!” about the whole thing. For too long the Whites have acted without consequence and it seems like they might have some morals afterall. Some – okay, I said, some. Chrissie’s great when she’s unashamedly nasty but her bitterness and vulnerability in the scene was perfectly played by Louise Marwood, as she truly seemed like a broken woman, and it gave me hope that we might finally have a handle on who Chrissie really is.

Tracy’s Self Improvement Plan

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hub-2I’ve never minded Tracy but after the endless proposal stuff with David last year my interest nosedived, so thankfully she stepped forward with a fun story this week. Having decided she didn’t want to be seen as a bimbo and wanted to be taken seriously by people, Tracy decided to take steps to improve her vocab and read more. After David was slightly dismissive and confused by this new Tracy, she was even more determined to forge ahead, telling the kids in the shop how important school is. I loved seeing Tracy on a mission to educate herself, even with the setbacks and jokes at her expense. Even more so I love the idea of an Emmerdale book club, where Pearl is overeager and Doug bores everyone with non-fiction books he’s read. Community gatherings are my favourite!

The Torment of Doug

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hub-1I wouldn’t ever say I was a fan of Doug as such but his little comedy story battling the unknown enemy of Noah and Gabby was a simple and amusing subplot this week. Doug was his usual grumpy and earnest self, telling the kids to stop staring at their screens so they decided to get their revenge by writing some very cutting feedback and posting it into his honesty box, where he was selling veg. They left comments such as “this potato is more interesting than Doug” – and while Doug didn’t see the funny side, I did. Later in the week he tried a stake-out (but fell asleep) and then set up a CCTV camera. Sometimes it’s these simple comedy plots that work the best and I loved it.

Fails

Joanie Deserved Better

emmerdale-joanie-dies-youtubeAs is often the case when it comes to soap exits, the moment you warm to a character you previously were indifferent to, is usually the moment they leave the show. One last hurrah, as it were. That was the case for Joanie Wright, who had found her feet a little after ditching the spineless Zak Dingle – realising she deserved better, standing up to rotten men and forming a bond with Lisa. Having been unfairly imprisoned for punching the sleezy guy cracking onto Kerry (and then accidentally hitting a police officer) Joanie had almost been forgotten about by her allies in the village and then Lisa was given the job of collecting her and breaking the news about her reunion with Zak. Awkward. After an impassioned speech by Joanie (which was great, by the way) and a really frank conversation with Lisa, Joanie went silent and looked a little worse for wear, just as Lisa had decided to ditch Zak again. Then after the adverts we learnt that Joanie had croaked it. Just like that! No scene of the paramedics, no follow up. Gone. Joanie’s hardly a fan favourite, but even Kerry and Dan’s muted reaction left a lot to be desired. Maybe Emmerdale realised that breaking up Zak and Lisa was a bad decision and that there was no place for Joanie – but really, didn’t her death deserve a little more attention than this?

Zak Dingle: Human Trashcan

emmerdale-friday-3-feb-7pm-the-itv-hubSorry Zak, I do feel a bit bad considering this week you lost your wife – despite the fact you sent her a notice of divorce the day she was due out of prison – but you really are a bit of a dickhead. Not only has Zak flitted from Lisa to Joanie back to Lisa without little remorse or consequence, he admitted this week he hadn’t even written to Joanie as she suffered alone in prison. What a bastard, amiright?! I know it’s guilt, but so he should feel guilty! After giving Lisa an anniversary card she headed off to do his dirty work and confess to Joanie that her and Zak were back on, making Zak seem even more gutless. Unfortunately the damage has been done, and even his nice chat with Cain where he expressed his conflicting feels was too little too late. Too right you should feel guilty Zak, you treated Lisa and Joanie terribly and now Joanie’s dead! Bad form, Zak. Seriously.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 Jan 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the heartbreaking week that saw Aaron and Robert consider calling an end to their engagement, Nicola was top boss, DS Wise returned and Finn went way too far.

Faves

Marriage and Strife

vlcsnap-2017-01-21-22h14m43s200When it comes to “power couples” – a staple in the soap world – Emmerdale have really lucked out when it comes to Aaron and Robert. Not only are they a fan favourite and brimming with palpable chemistry in everything from their fights to make ups, but their personalities and histories make for believable and complex conflict. Aaron’s insecurities and lack of trust stem from his tragic past and Robert’s history of cheating mean he’s never been Mr Trustworthy, but together the pair have forged an unbreakable love for each other. But this week they reached crisis point. With Aaron’s jealousy growing over the past few months it came to a head when Robert was caught out lying about his whereabouts. Whilst Aaron’s paranoia was unfounded it didn’t take long for the argument about trust to escalate and Robert temporarily called off the engagement. Heart crushing and beautifully acted! Like the fiery spats Cain and Moira have, Aaron and Robert’s scenes have that same undercurrent of temper as they both lashed out, hitting each other where it hurt. What was most engaging about these scenes was the level of depth explored in their arguments as they dealt with all the complicated issues surrounding trust, jealousy, insecurity and sexuality. Bisexuality is very rarely talked about on mainstream TV and the scripts seeing Robert defend his attraction to men and women again and challenge Aaron’s ignorance and insecurities, as well as display signs that he isn’t completely comfortable either were compelling. Scenes this week really dug into the psychology of both characters, giving Robron some of their best scenes since Super Soap Week.

Creeping Darkness

vlcsnap-2017-01-21-22h07m30s965The slow build of Rhona and Pierce’s story about control and abuse is one created with nuance and an undercurrent of dread that’s really serving to make it a success. Their story wasn’t a huge focus in the week, but as it operates in the background we’ve already begun to see Rhona making changes to her behaviour based on Pierce’s subtle hand of control. He dropped in comments about “the state” of her after the night out, offered to answer her phone and got it out of her bag, accused her of ridiculing him, avoided her and freezed her out to lower her self-esteem. And this is just the start of it. It’s chilling. This week saw Rhona be made to feel guilty for going out with her friends (something she hasn’t done a great deal of anyway) and she vowed not to go out and get drunk with them again like she had done at the Hunk Night and played exactly into his hands by isolating herself. I have a feeling this storyline is going to get even darker and more uncomfortable as time goes on.

Touching Scenes

vlcsnap-2017-01-21-22h12m45s465Gabby and Ashley’s relationship, just like his relationship with Arthur, has been a real highlight of the dementia plot – even if Gabby has been a challenge at times. The tragedy that the Thomas family face is a heartbreaking one, especially for someone like Gabby who is old enough to recognise her father’s deterioration but wants to cling onto him and keep him in her life. As she looked after him this week, she was offered a small glimmer of his former self when he told her what a wonderful young woman she was becoming, but this was only a fleeting moment as she began to realise his illness was progressing and getting much worse. The harsh realities of this story are told in such a realistic and emotional way that it’s hard not be moved and it benefits greatly from not having too heavy a focus every week so that it isn’t too much of a hard watch.

Wise Guy

vlcsnap-2017-01-21-21h51m42s296Returning to our screens this week was dashing detective Jason Wise who we last saw being a dreamboat to Chas, after she struggled with her PTSD following their date. This week he was back to offer her another friendly ear and the support she needed as she broke down after Aaron’s arrest. Despite DS Wise’s suggestion that he help change Aaron’s statement, he was soon scared off by Pierce in an attempt to push Paddy and Chas closer. And while the sitcom silliness of Paddy and Chas has been fun at times, it would be nice for Chas to have someone as grown up and lovely as the handsome DS Wise. I’m rooting for them, and I’m petitioning right here to make Jason our regular resident detective.

Unbroken

vlcsnap-2017-01-21-22h08m13s159I mentioned last week how much I enjoyed seeing Nicola get her business mojo back as she kicked Home James back into shape but this week she took it to another level as she got revenge on Rakesh and the Sharmas. Instead of going to the police about Rakesh’s arson (*grumble grumble*) she decided she’d rather be managing director of the sweet factory, lording it over the Sharmas and banning Rakesh from the premises. It was fun seeing Nicola screw over Jai, making him fetch her lunch and coffee, belittle Rishi and kick the workers into shape – especially the useless slacker Kerry. Not only was it great to see Nicola fighting strong, refusing to have the “broken” label attached to her, but it brought some much needed fun and a change of regime in the factory.

Fails

Like Mother Like Son?

vlcsnap-2017-01-21-22h09m45s238Finn’s obsession with Kasim peaked to its most worrying level as this week he hired escort Nathan to make Kasim jealous and then really upped his clingy behaviour by stalking him to his house and confronting his dad. Yikes! You know it’s a worry when even his mother (who isn’t exactly known for her reasoned and rational behaviour when it comes to love) was worried about him. Smitten Finn is pinning so much on his relationship, when it helped him with his dad’s death, that he’s just not reading the signs, even when Kasim is telling him that he’s going overboard and looking crazy. Despite this plot making Finn’s unhinged behaviour get worse and worse, I’ve enjoyed the way it’s blurred into other plots and characters and it’s been interesting to see a bit more to Finn’s character rather than sitting on the sidelines of his brothers’ plots. Just how similar he is to his mother, time will tell, but I can’t help but wonder just how far Finn will go in his quest for Kasim’s love. Surely Kasim should be googling restraining orders right about now? He always seemed a bit too okay with Finn’s bedside vigil in the first place!

Rak Off

vlcsnap-2017-01-21-22h07m44s043Rakesh’s arson secrets were exposed this week to Nicola, the woman whose life it has affected so greatly and while I’ve already mentioned how thrilled I was to see her fighting back in full authoritative power, I was mostly excited about the prospect of getting rid of Rakesh. I’ve long lamented Rakesh’s place in Emmerdale, the dead weight he is around Priya and the Sharmas’ neck, the personality vacuum he is, the boredom he brings to a variety of storylines. He’s dull, unengaging and I’ve reached the limit of patience with him. Really, what does he bring to the show? We even have Pierce now, bringing to the table the shady lawyer character, so we just don’t need him. Yet, instead of reporting Rakesh to the police and freeing us from his mundanity, Nicola decided to punish him in a different way. Gone now is my hope of getting rid of him and we’re not left with a slightly anticlimactic resolution to the underwhelming summer fire plot. Oh well, here’s hoping he just fades into the background this year.

 

Fave or Fail? (2-6 Jan 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Caravan fire aside, a great start to a brand new year on Emmerdale featuring some big, emotionally complex plots.

Faves

Important Stories

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h49m34s794There’s always been something unsettling about Pierce and his relationship with Rhona and this week saw the start of what seems to be a big story for them. After his cheesy proposal backfired, Pierce’s ego took a hit but after making up, he seemed to assume they were on the right track. Rhona however wasn’t as quick to move on from the awkwardness and tried to rebuff his advances. What followed was an uncomfortable and powerful scene as Rhona repeatedly told Pierce no, only for him to force himself on her. Rape within a relationship is a story rarely covered in soap, but so far Emmerdale’s attempts have felt well told. After the event Rhona was withdrawn and confused and after listening to frank discussions about sex from her friends and neighbours started to believe she was the problem and that she’d overreacted. From the outside, Rhona’s anguish feels very intense and the mixed messages about sex, consent and “being up for it” seem well portrayed. It’s an important story, one that treads a similar path to the ground-breaking story in The Archers last year, and I can only hope it continues down this powerful and informative road.

The History of Us

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h46m45s905One of Emmerdale’s real strengths right now is creating stories that are grounded in character. Like any other plot, it has its soapy devices (aka teasing the audience that Robert might be cheating for the 473rd time) but this week Aaron and Robert’s story really got to the heart of their relationship. As Robert snuck around trying to surprise his fiancé with a romantic trip to Las Vegas, Aaron and his family began to believe Robert’s meetings with Rebecca weren’t as innocent as they seemed. Even when the surprise was revealed (in ridiculously lovely scenes) and Robert reassured Aaron of his love, Aaron still suffered under his secret insecurities, plagued by doubts that someone like him could be enough to keep a man with Robert’s history satisfied and he hastily booked a weekend away for them. Oh Aaron! Don’t you just want to cuddle him? This plot has all the best ingredients of a winning soap relationship – a couple who bring their own complex and clashing issues to the table but whose love is strong enough to survive.

Enduring Love

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-10h00m44s151On a similar note, are Emmerdale’s other power couple. Despite my love/hate relationship with Cain at times, the power of the Coira chemistry is undeniable and I’m a complete sucker for their big emotional scenes and this Friday’s scene was no exception. Although fans are frustrated that they keep getting close to a reunion, the slow burn is irresistible and they do it so well. Cain took Kyle round to Butler’s Farm and admitted he misses her but she tried to push him away again, telling him that Christmas was a mistake and that he can’t use Kyle to manipulate her. But the best thing about these scenes – and about Coira in general – is that you know they’re both pining, they’re both in love, no matter what has happened in the past. I get the feeling that the road to a reunion won’t be smooth, but it’ll be worth watching and waiting for.

Megan’s Motherhood Worries

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-12h06m43s397In case you blinked and missed it on Friday, Megan got a proper storyline. I know what you’re thinking, a storyline for Megan about her fears and worries about Eliza’s development and her comparison to other parents and children deserves more than one episode and you’re right – it does. But we got what we got and I’m glad we did. Gaynor Faye is a really talented actress and Megan has the potential to be a very engaging character. A story about a mother’s worries about her child’s future when she may have a disability is an interesting plot and one I wished we’d had more of, rather than what appears to be a way for Frank to make his move.

Fails

Too Soon

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h42m29s816Zak and Lisa were the bread and butter of Emmerdale. Everyone took their break up hard and while some fans would love to see them back together, others are a bit warier. After the breakdown of Zak and Joanie’s marriage at Christmas, we saw Lisa determined that she wouldn’t take him back and I was right behind her. Zak needed to know after the devastation he’d caused both women and his family that he couldn’t just swan in and revert to his old life. I wanted to see Zak really work for his place at the head of the family and prove to Lisa he was worthy of her love and trust. Unfortunately Lisa’s resolve crumbled this week and the thought of Zak’s fire-y death brought them back together. While they might not be ready to remarry, Lisa was far too forgiving and it feels WAY too soon, almost like Zak’s been given a free pass – all while Joanie’s in a prison cell. It makes Lisa look weak and foolish and certainly has done no favours for complacent Zak, so it’s a real thumbs down for the rushed reconciliation.

Caring about Kerry

vlcsnap-2017-01-08-09h50m38s641The main problem with this week’s Kerry material? I just don’t care about her anymore. For far too long we’ve seen nothing but a selfish and unlikeable person and even when her opposition (in this case, Cain) is just as rude and unlikeable, you can’t exactly root for her either. Perhaps her collapse was a wake up call, but it has come far too late after her unentertaining escapades and suing at the Sharma’s factory. She seems to treat people horribly and it’s unpleasant to watch, even when we knew a breaking point was approaching. There are softer moments of course, and Laura Norton’s portrayal of fragility, particularly in Kerry’s vulnerable scenes with Dan might stop Kerry being completely unsympathetic, but she just isn’t very likeable anymore.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Dec 2016)

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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 the best week to finish the year, but there were heartwarming scenes from the Kings to see out 2016!

Faves

King of the Kids

emmerdale-wednesday-28-dec-7pm-the-itv-hub-2Like me, you probably groaned at the start of the week with more on/off Jimmy and Nicola drama but thankfully those angelically meddlesome children got involved and rescued the Kings’ marriage! The week ended on a happy note, with a ‘honeymoon’ meal and sight of Jimmy and Nicola swaying in each other’s arms – aww! The real stars of the show had to be the kids, especially the cheekily grinning Elliot who has become a bit of a rising star since his scenes at Christmas. Luca Hoyle is a real young talent and there’s something about his line delivery that really makes him funny, especially his straight-faced digs at Jimmy telling him that Nicola deserves something nice, better than a kettle, or it’s his butter-wouldn’t-melt smile dressed in a mini chef’s outfit. Emmerdale really do have the best child actors.

Sisters Before Misters

emmerdale-wednesday-28-dec-7pm-the-itv-hub-3We saw far too many of the female characters making digs at each other in 2016 so it’s been really refreshing to see Lisa support Joanie against Zak. In the immediate aftermath of Zak’s Christmas Day revelation, Lisa felt desperately sorry for Joanie, who she could empathise with greatly, knowing exactly how it felt to be discarded by Zak Dingle. Thankfully Joanie felt similar and assured Lisa she knew that it wasn’t her involvement that caused Zak’s horrendous treatment. Yes ladies! Lisa seemed to hold no grudges when it came to her allegiances, much to the surprise of her family, and Zak seemed misguidedly hopeful that Lisa would have him back straight away. Lisa’s attitude throughout the whole of 2016 has been admirable and it’s been good to see Zak get the fair blame for the ruining of two women’s lives.

Best of the Rest

emmerdale-thursday-29-dec-8-30pm-the-itv-hubIt wasn’t the strongest week to end on for Emmerdale, but there were some enjoyable moments in the week I wanted to touch on. Charity’s state of hangover – the sunglasses, the silent head-tilt in response to questions – was funny and perfect for her character. I really enjoyed the unlikely trio of Pearl, Dan and Harriet going to feed the homeless – more of these unusual character groupings please! Bernice and Nicola’s making up was a touching scene as they swore never to fall out over men again and told each other they loved one another – lovely scenes. Speaking of Bernice, she looked very glam at the Singles’ event and her Mr Blobby safeword moment was a definite highlight.

Fails

Too Little Too Late

emmerdale-cain-beats-up-dan-to-find-out-where-joanie-is-youtubeThere are times where Cain Dingle can be a very unpleasant selfish character and this week was one of them. Panicked that Joanie was going to take Kyle away for good (and he’d lose out on any Father of the Year accolades) he used threats and violence to try and keep his son in the village. The biggest issue with this plot is that Cain and Kyle have rarely shared any significant screen time together and Cain’s big revelation about being a father to him after he was caught up in the helicopter crash never amounted to anything, so his sudden determination to be a real father is hollow. With this in mind, it’s too little too late to become invested and it’s difficult to be on Cain’s side when he’s using his usual force and intimidation to get his own way. Does he even deserve Kyle, really, when he’s showed so little interest so far?

Ringing in the New Year

emmerdale-friday-30-dec-7pm-the-itv-hubFor a soap that’s had an amazing 2016, the final episode of the year really let them down. For starters, even though it aired a day before NYE it really lacked that ‘occasion’ feeling that the Christmas episode excelled in with the only celebration occurring at a very stilted feeling party at Home Farm. Chrissie and Rebecca squabbled like immature brats in another rinse and repeat story. Plus, wealth and influence aside, it’s still hard to believe anyone would want to attend a party hosted by a family that have managed to make no friends in the village. Are their canapes really so good that David, whose wife was sexually assaulted by a member of that family, would happily attend? It just doesn’t ring true. The episode also featured the end of Finn and Kasim’s escalated romance with Finn’s behaviour coming across as unlikeable and creepy. Outside of the party you had Joanie in jail making things worse for herself and accidentally decking a police officer, with Kerry her only real champion in the village aside from Lisa and Zak’s guilty efforts. This year should have gone out in a bang – a big party in the pub maybe with fireworks or a bigger village celebration – but hey, here’s to a great 2017!

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2016

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Emmerdale had an INCREDIBLE 2016 winning awards left right and centre, but it can’t be flawless all the time. Later I’ll be continuing my countdown of the Top 20 Best Moments of the year, but here’s a brief look at the worst bits of Emmerdale in 2016.

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6. David’s never ending proposals

David and Tracy’s relationship had a really tender beginning and I was fully on board, but when David rushed into proposing and Tracy eventually said no, he wasn’t going to let that be her answer. What followed was months of David trying to wear her down and bulldoze over her feelings by proposing in increasingly outlandish ways. Perhaps the intention was to be seen as funny and sweet but instead David just seemed like a bit of a creep, without respecting that Tracy thought it was too soon. By the time they finally got married, I was sort of beyond the point of caring and David hadn’t just worn me down, he’d made me reach the point of irritation.

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5. Jermaine and Belle’s affair

Ugh. That’s Jermaine and Belle’s affair summarised in one word. It wasn’t just due to the icky age gap and his professional status as a doctor, but the way this plot went on and on. Their sudden uncontrollable passion for each other never felt very believable and when the affair came out, Dr Bailey was quick to let Belle take the fall and say it was all in her head. Bastard! Unfortunately that wasn’t the end, as Belle tried to hang onto him by claiming to be pregnant and what followed was a harrowing breakdown plot for Belle as she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. While Eden Taylor Draper’s performances were great, Belle’s visions of “Ellie” were just way too similar to last year’s story when Belle heard Gemma’s voice. Again we faced the oblivious Dingles and repetitive moments of Belle reacting to the voices and hiding this from everyone, which overshadowed the sensitive issues of the plot. Jermaine did stand by her and became more fun working behind the bar, but thankfully they’ve broken up now and we might get something different from Belle in the future.

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4. Kerry’s spiralling out of control

There’s been a noticeable shift in Kerry Wyatt this year and her goofy and loud comedy has been overtaken by a selfish nastiness, which has got worse in recent months since her relationship with Dan ended. Ever since Kerry sided with Joanie against the lovely Lisa, we’ve seen a colder and less loveable character meaning that when she is funnier, it doesn’t always have the right tone. Kerry can be sympathetic and she has had a rough time of it but her attitudes and behaviour in the workplace and towards others haven’t been a pleasure to watch. Instead of wanting to rescue Kerry from her bad decisions, there’s a greater feeling of wanting her to snap out of it and just stop this immature behaviour!

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3. The Whites vs everyone and each other

I have a very difficult relationship with the White family. I enjoyed Chrissie in camp bitch mode, I enjoyed Lawrence’s tragic backstory and I think Thomas Atkinson is a good performer, but as a family unit they’re still such a muddle with their motivations being unreadable or all over the place. Their position as antagonists in the village works to an extent but seems to go round in circles when it’s clear they will never be defeated. Watching the Whites vs the Sugdens is still as tedious as it was from the beginning when it looks obvious Andy won’t return and Lachlan won’t go down for Lawrence’s shooting. Lachlan as a character doesn’t work, since the lack of remorse and no real resolution to the sexual assault storyline makes his existence in the show uncomfortable and irredeemable; the Whites’ lack of any real connections in the village two years on from their arrival mean their interactions are limited and repetitive and often we’re left in an endless cycle of the same disputes, including the ones with each other.

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2. Rakesh’s money woes

Sorry Rakesh fans, but he has got to be the biggest soap bore of 2016. Okay, he might have had an eventful summer committing arson and insurance fraud in a bid to dig himself out of debt but that hasn’t made him any more interesting. Money plots rarely work on screen and watching Rakesh sweat as he lost it all just wasn’t dramatic or even emotional. Emmerdale even tried to go down the tragic backstory route but there’s just no intrigue or empathy to be found in Rakesh. He lacks any sort of charisma, he’s a dead weight around Priya’s neck and he’s dominated the show far too much this year. Now with Kirin gone there feels like even less of a purpose to him and I wouldn’t miss him if he had to leave the village forever.

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1. Cheating plots

If I could change two things from Emmerdale 2016, one would be less misogynistic writing (be it the way some female characters are written, how some female characters interact with each other or how men treat them without consequence) and two would be to cut down on the cheap cheating plots. Sure, cheating has been a soap trope since forever but this year has seen an unnecessary amount of “shock” kiss scenes used as a fast device for conflict and drama. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quick (and probably incomplete) list: Moira/Pete, Nicola/Dan, Chrissie/Rakesh, Moira/James, Kerry/Ross, Rebecca/Robert, Bernice/Jimmy, Lisa/Zak, Laurel attempting to kiss Marlon, Holly attempting to kiss Cain, Ross attempting to kiss Victoria… Not only is it repetitive and lazy it’s a miserable viewing experience when you can’t rely on any stability between your favourite soap couples. We expect drama and conflict in relationships but with so many of the Emmerdale couples in tatters, don’t keep ruining every other couple with these endless cheating plot devices!

Emmerdale’s Christmas episode: The Best Bits

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! That is, unless your name happens to be Joanie or Zak Dingle. This year’s Christmas episode was a fairly low-key and happy affair with even the Thomas family finding happiness despite Ashley’s illness, but there was a lot to enjoy about the episode so I thought I’d share my best bits!

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The music montages! The REAL snow!

The episode opened like the perfect Christmas movie, with Mariah in the background and Aaron’s happy little family of Robert and Liv enjoying the flurry (and throwing a few snowballs in Carly’s direction). We cut to Zak seeing signs to do with Lisa at every turn, and Lisa herself snuggling with Alfie and Moira woke alone. It was the most festive opening to an episode you could ever hope for. And it continued throughout the episode, with a Last Christmas montage of dinners and happiness and loneliness, to a final music moment at the end with Zak slinking away cold and alone.

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The little touches

What made this Christmas episode so good was the little moments we could all relate to. Things like: Sandy wanting a selection box breakfast, Dan being more interested in Kyle’s present than he was, Adam’s saucy present for Vic that he didn’t want her to open in front of his mum, Jimmy struggling with the little screws and a lack of batteries, Chas’s insistence that everyone wear a paper hat, drunken charades! These all made our beloved characters come to like in instantly relatable and believable scenes. They were great character moments that made these feel like real family Christmases.

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The humour

With Christmas comes alcohol and giggles and there was no shortage in this episode either. From Pete’s awkward mince pie judging competition, which Ross made fantastically uncomfortable (plus Emma is just as good at comedy as she is unnerving villainy!), to Jimmy’s kettle angst, to Harriet’s realisation Pearl is trying to turn her into a Mini Me, to Chas being drunkenly touchy feely with Aaron and Robert in their loathed Xmas jumpers. Thankfully all the humour came from a fun place and didn’t involve Kerry madness, but let’s face it the turkey/peacock plot thread was a weird one!

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The heart

There were a number of moments where my heart was sufficiently warmed like a big mug of mulled wine in the Christmas special. Ashley’s brief reprieve where he joined in with the carol and Gabby found the heartfelt gifts he’d prepared when his condition wasn’t so bad were particularly emotive moments that brought home the tragedy of their family situation. Little Elliot King also warmed hearts as he cuddled up to Nicola, wishing that she was his mother. Total Christmas fluff and exactly what this episode needed.

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The end of Zak and Joanie (and Lisa fighting back)

One of the big plot points for the episode was the dissolution of Zak and Joanie, exactly a year since the wishbone debacle and the reveal of their affair (to which this year’s episode had a lot of callbacks!). Denise Black gave an impressive performance in the subtle way she showed Joanie’s heartbreak and isolation amongst the Dingle clan as Zak obliviously slipped into old habits and shut her out. Their end of episode confrontation was charged and finally gave Joanie the backbone she deserved in the face of Zak’s uselessness. Lisa too came out of the episode looking strong and powerful as she rejected Zak and fumed as she told him it was too late for his regrets. Well executed and a nice symmetry to last year’s scenes.

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Hope for Cain and Moira

Another storyline in the episode which offered a feeling of warmth was the thawing atmosphere between Cain and Moira. Despite her claiming their night together was a mistake, Moira still listened to the mixtape he left her and there was definite chemistry between them when Cain bought Kyle to see the reindeers. She might not be ready to let on that she listened to the mixtape, or give him another chance, but the feelings between them are lingering and there was all the slow burn magic between them that makes for a winning soap couple.

Fave or Fail? (14-18 Nov 2016)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A weird week full of OTT and out of character behaviour, believe me, the highlights are thin on the ground – don’t even bother catching up!

Faves

Liv and Let Liv

emmerdale-18th-november-2016-video-dailymotion-2It seems like Emmerdale have finally got the balance right when it comes to Liv. Once it seemed like her tearaway troublemaking was only used to stir up trouble between Aaron and Robert and enable Gabby’s bad behaviour, but at last it finally feels like she has found her place in the village. Isobel Steele has been superb from day one and her likeness to onscreen brother Aaron is uncanny so it feels right that she has formed a close bond to Paddy and is trying to help him through his love woes. We’ve seen Liv get more involved in the lives of the Dingles (especially her almost mother/daughter relationship with Chas) and I love that she’s become the “go-to” girl for technology and advice for some of the villagers but still retains that snarky, sulky attitude that makes her Liv without some of the earlier brattishness that she was introduced with. I’m really looking forward to seeing Liv get a big storyline in the future!

We Need to Talk About Lachlan

684-aaron-amp-robert-16th-november-2016-part-2-of-2-youtubeDespite the continued dominance of the White family shooting saga (will it never end?!) I am still pretty interested in Chrissie and Lachlan’s dynamic. I can’t really work out if Chrissie is genuinely scared of him (she, like Lachlan can act her way out of any crisis), but the idea that she is, particularly when he seems worryingly cold and disturbed (and willing to use this to his advantage when it suits) makes for a fascinating mother and son relationship. I can’t help but feel the dynamic would be even more engaging if Chrissie was fully aware of and enabling of his disturbing behaviour in her protection, rather than believing him to be a precious victim. However, the same sticking points with the Whites that I mentioned last week (villains or victims? Remorseful or remorseless?) mean that I struggle to ever fully engage in their plots but there was something still interesting about Lachlan’s sociopathic lying and delusions that Chrissie could easily fix this for him. Thomas Atkinson’s performances under questioning and in his cell were particularly good. Ultimately though, I can’t help but feel Emmerdale are tying themselves in knots to keep the Whites in the show, when Lachlan’s sexual assault charge should have been the end of his character and this, combined with muddled motivations makes it near impossible to empathise with this family.

Other stray moments I liked:

  • DS Mudd! All Emmerdale coppers and detectives seem snarky and fun. I like him
  • Priya’s passionate defense of Kerry and ending the contract with gross sleaze George
  • The continuing tension between Pierce/Paddy/Rhona
  • Gabby’s been a fake vegan all along!
  • There’s a glimmer of promise with Frank’s dark past
  • Bob and Brenda injecting a bit of normalcy into a weird week

Fails

Kissed Off

682-aaron-amp-robert-15th-november-2016-part-2-of-2-youtubeRegular readers to this blog will already know my deep and unapologetic love for Robert Sugden and my unashamed passion for all things Robron and yet this week I was left feeling completely confused and bewildered by the bizarre twist in the #AvengeAndy plotline. After the glorious Super Soap Week, Robert’s motivations and point of view couldn’t be clearer, or so I thought. For one of the first times since Robert’s reintroduction in 2014 we finally got a peek into that messy head of his. He confirmed himself as bi, that he was fully committed to Aaron (apologies to all those girls and boys holding a candle for him) and that no one else came close. We also knew that he was hell bent on getting justice for his wronged brother Andy – okay, all good so far. Until now we’d watched him play Rebecca against her family and firmly reject her advantages so it jarred completely to see him get cosy with her and share a kiss, seemingly with his new priority to be steal back Home Farm. Huh, what?! Since when? Watching Robert this week felt like an imposter and certainly not the devoted man we’d seen most of 2016 and it didn’t make any real sense following on so close to his promises to insecure Aaron during their engagement. Not only did it leave a sour taste, rewriting Chrissie and Robert’s history and tainting Robert’s character development, but the fact it’s had no follow up since makes the whole thing even more bewildering. And memo to Emmerdale: can we give it a f*cking rest with these kissing/cheating plots? Is no couple safe?!

Compo Kerry

emmerdale-kerry-breaks-into-and-ransacks-the-factory-youtubeI’ve had a love/hate relationship with Kerry for a good while but this week’s plot might just be the final straw. Since her meltdown last week and inappropriate behaviour at work, things got worse when she decided to break into the factory at night. Farcical doesn’t even cover it. If this was Emmerdale’s attempt at comedy capers it failed, making Kerry’s fake injuries and embarrassing excuses just horrible to watch. At times I was even siding with Jai, JAI!!! The other week, when Kerry’s self-pity had a semblance of reality, I empathised. Now, her bad attitude and unprofessional behaviour makes me question why she wasn’t just fired last week. She’s not sympathetic and she’s not funny right now either. If this is all an attempt to make her reach breaking point and have an epiphany, then it might be too late – is there anything likeable about Kerry left?

Other Fails this week:

  • I know Bernice is lonely but for the love of GOD don’t let her fall for Jimmy. Please, I beg of you
  • The Chrissie and Diane scenes would have been a whole lot better without Diane’s ridiculous gun grabbing. OOC cringe! Is it really believable that Diane would actually sympathise with her when her vicious lies have left Andy on the run? I don’t buy it
  • Lawrence joking about attractive men seemed jarringly out of character considering his sexuality struggles
  • Once again Emmerdale diabetes confusion strikes again!