Fave or Fail? (28 Jan-1 Feb)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Graham rumbled the Waterhouse takeover and Dawn attempted to go cold turkey.

Faves

Brothers at War

vlcsnap-2019-02-03-09h20m04s293Warring brothers is Emmerdale bread and butter and it looks as if Ellis vs Billy is the new generation. Though we’ve seen our fair share of these rivalries over the years, thankfully both actors, Asan N’jie and Jay Kontzle, have bags of charisma meaning their long-standing feud is completely believable and works to make both sides empathetic. After some careful (and amusing) twisting of history, Robert planted the seed in Ellis’s head to make him suspect Billy was after Victoria, but Ellis’s near-the-knuckle goading of his brother made him more like sneaky Rob than anticipated! Jessie walked in on the violence and had to make an impossible choice between lying to the police, or sending Billy straight back inside. While you can’t envy Jessie’s decision, you could certainly see why Ellis’s resentment has escalated over the years. I love stories of complicated families dynamics where the conflict in the family feels genuine and long-running, and these two certainly have that. Even though Ellis has moved out and the war is briefly on hold, Billy’s morally grey complexities are still worth exploring and it feels like a lost opportunity that Aaron’s significant issues with him have been brushed under the carpet instead of giving the two of them some sort of resolution.

Fall of the Kingdom

vlcsnap-2019-02-03-09h22m16s109They are Emmerdale’s most long-standing married couple, but the Kings were on the rocks this week as Nicola’s scheme meant they had lost everything to Graham. Admittedly I’m biased on this front because I love both characters and would be on their side even if they burnt the village to the ground, but I did feel a bit sorry for them this week. With Nicola and Robert’s ambition and greed getting the better of them they made foolish mistakes that were easily foiled by Graham, who then made Nicola sign over Home James Haulage to Home Farm. Jimmy’s dreams of passing down the family business to his kids were shattered and this point his marriage at breaking point. It wasn’t just the pair’s fraught tension that I enjoyed though, both characters are warm and funny (drunk and happy Jimmy was a real treat) so I can’t help but be on their side. With ambitious Nicola and Rob having great plans for a takeover, I can’t help but wish that one day they’d have a win, and start up another business, if only to rock the status quo.

Factory Friends

vlcsnap-2019-02-03-09h20m24s028Dawn’s already become the perfect newcomer to Emmerdale, making instant connections with other villagers and a fight against adversity making her empathetic to watch. Dawn’s a likeable character who we’re willing to succeed, even if setbacks are inevitable as she battles addiction. This week Dawn bit the bullet and went for a trial at the sweet factory, but her drug withdrawal saw her really struggle on her first day. Although at first critical, Kerry soon lent Dawn an understanding ear and the pair quickly bonded and when Jai came checking up on her productivity, Laurel and Kerry snuck her a few extra boxes to make her look good. Dawn’s optimism was lifted and the scene gave me a huge swell of warmth, as this is the kind of neighbourly spirit of kindness we could all do with now and again. I can see Dawn fitting into the factory really well and am glad Emmerdale are making a big effort to wider her circle of interactions away from just Harriet and Ryan.

Bones Faves

  • Laura Norton’s really come into her own over this past year and made Kerry extra likeable to boot. Even her big bust up with Dan was really watchable. Emmerdale couldn’t shoe in any more Amy mentions if they tried but it seems like there could be some promising scenes on the horizon when [spoiler] mother and daughter are reunited.
  • After so many threats to leave and last stands at the bus stop – dull Daz finally left this week. His inclusion in the Spencer family didn’t add anything, so besides that whole Amelia paternity retcon, you’ve got to wonder – why bring him back in the first place?
  • In amongst Aaron and Robert’s repetitive fall-outs about Robert’s doomed-to-fail schemes this week, they at least had chance for some smiles and a celebratory shag in the portacabin. Is it too much to hope for that Emmerdale might think outside the box and have Aaron take a driving seat in securing his future happiness? If only so that Rob’s continual failures aren’t always making the atmosphere at the Mill frosty.

Fail

Personality Transplant

vlcsnap-2019-02-03-09h21m08s090There must be something in the water over at Home Farm. If it wasn’t bad enough that Moira’s turned into Emmerdale’s next mob wife at Butler’s, Megan’s trying to pre-empt Kim’s return by turning into a soap superbitch. We’ve always known Megan had a bit of a ruthless streak but since pairing up with Graham, she seemed to take pantomime villain pleasure in Nicola’s downfall, openly gloating and maliciously revealing her crimes to her family. Has the power gone to her head? Or has Graham’s attachment to Kim made Megan step up her game? Megan’s been an odd anchor-less character for years now, moving from a failed relationship with Jai to a lacklustre one with boring Frank, but she’s at least been someone with a bit of moral standing. Sure, Graham’s the one that’s been conned, but Megan gleefully anticipating the destruction of Nicola and Robert’s lives just doesn’t feel in character, particularly when she’s known Graham all of five minutes. If she’d had a long standing feud with Nicola then this turn-around might have at least made sense. Is this all just a clunky set up to have Megan and Kim catfighting it out when she returns? It’s bad enough having one personality transplant, now that Graham’s morphed into vengeful villain to rival Joe, but two?

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Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2018

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It hasn’t been the greatest year of Emmerdale stories and when the big plots drag, or have anti-climactic endings it’s even worse. There were some low points which didn’t make the list but need a mention – like Rodney and Misty’s horrendously cringy sex life and David Metcalfe being a scumbag – but those aside, here’s a look some of the worst parts of Emmerdale in 2018.

Come back later for my Top 10 Emmerdale Moments of 2018!

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7. Amelia’s Kidnap

When Amelia’s disappearance began it was genuinely interesting. At first we had no idea what had happened to her – was she dead? Was it an inside job? After a disappointing paternity twist, a shocking missing child plot could have been really exciting. But after the TV appeal and with Kerry the only watchable part of the story, the rest was left to more of Dan and Daz’s boggle-eyed fighting. Within a week all mystery was good and it was revealed Amelia was groomed by Beth, whose father had been killed in action by Daz. Beth’s threats were laughable, Amelia’s fixation with Beth was unbelievable when we’d seen none of its build-up. This just wasn’t the right story for the Spencers and unfortunately it went on and on.

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6. Lachlan’s Anti-climax

One of Emmerdale’s biggest stories in 2018 was Lachlan’s descent into serial killing. With Thomas Atkinson at the heart of the stories, many of the disappointments were saved with his chilling performances, but this story dragged on for far too long. For months Lachlan’s evil behaviour stalled and characters conveniently went on holiday just so he could get away with his crimes. When it came to the end, everyone expected a huge Cameron Murray-style climax, but his showdowns were staggered across a week, followed by a stint in jail and his eventual exit was a tame affair of some wise-cracking detectives telling him he’ll be in prison for a very long time. Spoilers tell us he’ll be making a return to terrorise Belle soon from behind bars, but I’m not convinced even a delayed climax can save story that stalled and swerved any real excitement.

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5. Ross’s Acid Attack

Ross’s acid attack story began as a contemporary story with some stellar scenes in the aftermath, but quickly the direction veered away from a sensitive handling of a modern day issue and got bogged down in guns, gangsters, drugs and Debbie Dingle. Making Debbie, a pivotal character in the village, the accidental mastermind behind the attack meant she could never really face justice for the action and Emmerdale did their very best to absolve her of blame. At times her guilt was empathetic but many viewers felt there was too much focus on her role rather than Ross’s recovery. While Ross’s identity and self esteem struggled, it was the regression to form that was so disappointing. Rather than the attack letting us see the more vulnerable, likable aspects of Ross, we saw him become a cocky thug, taking coke and destroying all his relationships. This might have been a prolonged reaction to his attack but it was ugly to watch and made Ross’s last months on Emmerdale unpalatable.

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4. Bob and Laurel

It seems like the new producers of Emmerdale have seen sense and ended the Bob and Laurel relationship and this was arguably one of 2018’s most hated plotlines. Last year in my rundown of 2017 I praised seeing more of Bob but this year I’ve eaten my words as we saw selfish Bob destroy his marriage for a midlife crisis affair with Laurel and become a really unlikeable man. There were elements of empathy and good viewing within this story, it just became difficult to buy into this apparent deep emotional love Laurel and Bob shared when there was no chemistry on screen. At one point during the year it seemed like Bob and Laurel spent every episode sucking face and when we knew how it was hurting Brenda, and later the kids, it became even more unwatchable. Much like how showrunners backtracked on Zak and Joanie, it seems everyone saw sense and Bob and Laurel’s romance is well and truly over now, thank god.

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3. Home Farm Flops

One of 2018’s biggest disappointments was how fast Emmerdale destroyed Joe and Graham. From the masterpiece of the Joseph Tate reveal, he was the perfect antagonist, held back from the edge by the mysterious Graham. But just months later, Joe turned lovesick puppy for Debbie, forgiven by all the villagers he’d wronged and eventually killed by right hand man Graham. Graham, who’s dark past was revealed in great scenes with Debbie early in the year, is stuck in the big house isolated and twiddling his thumbs until Kim’s return. Apart from Emmerdale sucking all life and interest from Joe during his short time on the show, my interest in Graham has quickly waned as Emmerdale have swerved any real depth to him by keeping him aloof and monotone. Not only have they given him a lifeless romance with Megan, but following on from the same mistakes as The White family, Graham’s only interesting feature is his exposition-heavy backstory. There’s only so long you can stay interested in a character as robotic as Graham and I’m afraid I’ve lost all patience.

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2. Rebecca and the Crazy Nurse

When Rebecca became Lachlan’s prisoner in the woods, we finally saw a side to her that had been missing in her previous storylines, she fought back, determined to survive and see Seb again. But after her many many near death experiences, Emmerdale revealed Lachlan had kept her locked up with a deranged nurse who kept her drugged and tied to the bed. Rebecca managed to escape and returned to the village in a nightie at the graveyard like a ghost. She then proceeded to retell her whole trauma to police, despite having severe memory problems due to her executive dysfunction. This ill-conceived story was like something from a terrible American soap opera, not just outlandish and implausible, but a laughably stupid turn of events from what had been an enjoyably grisly part of the Lachlan story.

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1. Killing Gerry

Emmerdale’s decision to kill off Gerry wasn’t just the worst thing they did in 2018, in fact I think it’s one of Emmerdale’s worst decisions in recent years. Gerry was the sacrificial lamb to Lachlan’s reign of terror, but what a waste it was. Gerry was a loveable cheeky chappy who had so many interactions in the village and unlike some “comedy characters” he was a genuinely funny guy. He had a lovely relationship with Doug, wound up Aaron, befriended Liv, walked Tip the dog for Jai and had a very keen interest in older ladies. His connection to Lachlan might’ve meant his death was inevitable but much like losing Val in 2015, I think it was a big mistake. It’s hard to replicate a character like Gerry and I think it’s a huge loss to the show. RIP Gerry lad, miss you.

Fave or Fail? (17-21 Dec 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As the villagers prepared for Christmas, Sarah trashed Home Farm and Bernice slapped Nicola.

Faves

The Perfect Couple

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h39m37s680Eric and Faith are one of Emmerdale’s finest assets. Both actors are capable of intense emotional drama (as we also saw when they first got together and Faith worried about her scars) but their comedy has warmth and big belly laughs. With Rodney hanging around like a bad smell, Faith was getting seriously fed up with their bromance and set out to cause friction between Pollard and Rodders. After her interrupted seduction plan with Eric (see my Scene of the Week) failed, she tried to bribe Eric to do the job for her. But when Rodney believed he was being invited for Xmas dinner, the only trick Faith had was a rouse with Eric on board. Knowing the awkwardness would cause Rodney to leave, Faith set to work pretending to seduce Rodney (as his escort alter-ego Hunter) only to be rumbled by Eric. The plan worked perfectly and the saucy couple had the house to themselves again. Eric and Faith have great chemistry and their wickedly fun scenes gave Emmerdale a huge source of fun this week. This pair are a dream to watch and I hope they last and last. Emmerdale is a poorer show without them.

Gripping Story

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h40m34s782The Maya and Jacob story really stepped up a gear this week as we continued to see Maya’s manipulations at play in her efforts to groom Jacob. The writers are mastering Maya’s subtle techniques as she piled on the pressure to keep Jacob quiet and guilt him into feeling bad. She’s belittling him, as well as keeping the other adults at bay, ensuring Jacob feels isolated and gaslighted. Poor Jacob is already heartbroken by her behaviour but as he tried to make Maya jealous, things got even messier as he involved both Liv and Gabby. With Liv struggling with her asexuality, and Gabby always holding a torch for Jacob, the fall out looks like it’ll be ugly and complicated. Now that Maya’s moved in with all of David’s exes, I worry that Maya’s smart enough to turn the whole situation around on Jacob and act like Little Miss Innocent. It’s an uncomfortable, difficult watch but increasingly gripping. Emmerdale needs more stories like this.

Christmas Spirit

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h37m57s803The village certainly wasn’t lacking a festive feeling this year as we saw Christmas jumpers a-plenty, beautiful decorations and a lovely community spirit. I’m glad my funny favourites Sam and Lydia are playing a big role over the Christmas period as Sam chasing round “Chrimbo” the turkey was typical Dingle silliness and Christmas is a good time to see as many of the villagers as possible having a good time. I loved seeing the Christmas choir and all the everyday preparations, as it’s these elements that give the village that authentic feeling. Jessie and Marlon might not be my favourite pairing, but I’m looking forward to all the Christmas clichés and traditions among the unconventional surprise wedding.

Sisters at War

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h41m56s769After Nicola’s determination to be in Graham’s good books (to further her and Robert’s scheme), she’s ended up falling out with her sister Bernice after she handed her an eviction notice. Nicola and Bernice are two of my favourite Emmerdale characters and their barbed bitterness has already been entertaining as they grumbled over the prospect of spending Christmas together. This week’s scenes produced some hilarious singing rivalry in the church Christmas choir as well as using Laurel as a go between when they refused to speak to each other. I loved Diane getting involved too, threatening to give Nicola a fat lip in the funny way only Diane can. Christmas Day around the turkey is bound to be good fun!

Fails

New Lows

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h35m32s328Daz’s attempts to leave the village must have reached double figures now, but once again he stuck around after Amelia begged for him to stay. The question here should be: why? Daz’s biggest fault thus far has mostly being criminally dull, but he sunk to a new low this week as he let Amelia confessed to his hit and run crime. Why has she forgiven him so easily? Sure he might be her bio dad but he’s not been a constant presence in her life. Why would she go so far to protect him and then beg him to stick around? This was a really flimsy story. Luckily for her Graham lied to the police so the kids could go free and Daz was saved any consequences, but Dan’s anger was minimal at best. Were the producers just rescuing us from another big Spencer brotherly split? It seemed like Kerry was the only one rightly outraged as Daz shrugged off his behaviour, but the way the rest of the family acted, you’d be forgiven for thinking Kerry was in the wrong. I can’t understand all these second chances for Daz. He offers little to the Spencers, and he offers even less to Emmerdale. Who knows, maybe there will be another bus ticket with his name on soon…

Getting Away With It All

vlcsnap-2018-12-22-11h35m45s801If there’s any character who needed a change of pace it’s Debbie Dingle. It was always going to be difficult to punish Debbie after the acid attack and it seems like Emmerdale tied themselves in knots to try and make her seem as guilty and remorseful as possible. But since Joe’s exit, feeling betrayed, Debbie’s chip on her shoulder has got even bigger. She might not have meant for acid, but her and the family’s indignant response to her facing the consequences have been a bitter pill to swallow. Even young Sarah has taken on her mother’s most unlikeable traits. This week Debbie walked free and many viewers felt frustrated at the lack of justice, made worse by the face the trial happened completely off screen. Were we meant to be relieved she got off? Debbie seems to have learnt nothing from her selfish actions and this is making her character stagnant and unlikeable. If anything I’d have liked to see Debbie face community service, just to shake her up and set her on a different path. All this woe-is-me bitterness is only going to get worse when she finds out about Joe. Debbie’s personality needs an overhaul and it’s a shame Emmerdale wasted the opportunity.

Fave or Fail? (3-7 Dec 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Not a great week of excitement in the Dales as the teens continued to run wild.

Faves

Manipulative Maya

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h42m54s416Maya’s grooming of Jacob has been subtly played so far by Emmerdale but this week saw her kiss him and try and afterwards persuade him to stay quiet. Sensitive Jacob has been overwhelmed by his feelings for Maya and she’s done very little to put a stop to it and has instead planted more seeds of hope in his mind. Not once has she highlighted his age or her profession as a reason for backing off, instead focusing on her role as David’s girlfriend. Knowing how close the father and son are, she’s well aware that Jacob doesn’t want to upset David and will keep it secret for his sake. It’s a deeply uncomfortable story to watch and keeping Maya as this doe-eyed indecisive woman is a clever move away from cartoonish stereotypes of grooming behaviour. Hopefully this story will enlighten viewers about how these dangerous relationships can occur in plain sight. This is the type of story Emmerdale should be telling. I’m not quite convinced that the performances are as strong as they need to be for the impact this story should have, but I’m glad Emmerdale are giving it a go. 

Brenda Bites Back

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h40m52s952One of the rare highlights in the Bob and Laurel debacle was seeing dark!Brenda as she rallied against the pair’s betrayal. This week we saw her biting back again as Bob tried to lean in for a kiss. Brenda had been softening to the idea of reuniting her family but the reality of Bob treating her like a plan b really got to her and she raged against him in the cafe. I had begun warming to Bob again but his smug belief he could turn back the clock and get his feet under the table again was maddening. Brenda isn’t a favourite of mine but it’s been enjoyable to see her with some fight left in her, standing up for herself and refusing to be a consolation prize. I really enjoyed the way she laid out exactly what Bob had done to her and the family and why she was still broken over it. I was fully Team Brenda throughout and I’m glad she got to stand up to Bob rather than let him have it easy. 

Neglected Noah

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h43m13s808You’ve got to feel bad for Noah. Not only did he lose his only ally in Joe, but mum Charity’s parenting and support is really lacking. With her planning a move with Vanessa, Noah was all but forgotten about and in frustration he began acting out. The teen rebellion isn’t exactly thrilling TV, but Jack Downham plays Noah with heaps of sensitivity that you can’t help but feel sympathy for him when he’s continuously left out in the cold. His scenes where he tried to reach out to Charity were some of his best but by the end of the week he faced an uncertain future as he handed himself into the police. Although I like his sweet and troubled side, there were hints of him living up to his Tate genes this week, complete with smirk, and I wonder if a adolescence of trouble awaits. 

Fails

Who is Doug?

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h41m43s888Doug’s going through a bit of a crisis at the moment and truth be told I’m struggling to recognise him. Fact is, I’m not even sure what Emmerdale are doing with him. Not so long ago Doug enjoyed a low-key romance with Diane and was content to support Laurel and tend his garden. This week Doug was almost a different bloke. Diane doesn’t get a mention these days and Doug is all about Brenda. I wasn’t even sure what their arrangement was. Friends? Lovers? Friends with benefits? It was unclear. But this week, Doug wanted more and he wasn’t going to sit there and watch Bob worm his way back in. I’m not exactly a Doug and Brenda shipper but surprisingly Doug’s sudden desperation to be with Brenda was quite a sweet watch this week. But his steamroller focus on fighting for her and hitting Bob came a bit left field and I’m not sure I believed it from mild-mannered Doug. It’s a wonder Doug wants to get involved in the Bob and Brenda situation considering Laurel’s recent dumping of Bob anyway, but I can’t help but feel Brenda is just settling rather than having genuine feelings for Doug. Who knows what’s next for Doug but I much prefer Doug giving guidance to the young uns than this week’s weird behaviour!

Teen Takeover

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h42m08s303We haven’t even got to the school holidays yet but the teens have taken over, with bratty Leanna leading the pack. While Leanna makes a great queen bee bitch type character and Noah’s acting out makes sense – their childish rebellions aren’t exactly the most riveting storylines. This is already the third time they’ve joyridden a car and unlike teens of Emmerdale past, these characters aren’t very engaging so their bad behaviour has been tedious to watch when it’s dominated screentime. While it’s good the stories are spread around this feels a bit like overload for the younger characters rather than exploring what the next generation are capable of. Considering their dangerous driving just lead to more stories for Daz and Graham – was it even worth it? Speculation on Twitter briefly explored the possibility that the hit and run victim might have been Joe and I can’t help but think, however unlikely, that would have been a better twist. 

Serious Spencers

vlcsnap-2018-12-09-09h41m18s617You’d think after Amelia’s kidnap they might give the Spencers some lighter storylines, after all this is where the family fit best. I’d much rather Kerry and Dan stick to TMI declarations about their sex life rather than being bogged down in misery. This week saw Daz commit a hit and run and let Amelia shoulder some of the blame. Not only is Daz one of the show’s most dreary and boring characters but now we face weeks of Daz looking guilty, Dan shouting and Amelia whining. Much like the kidnap plot, Kerry might be the saving grace but she alone will struggle to make this watchable. This really isn’t the big story that Emmerdale needs to keep viewers glued. On paper it might sound like the perfect plot to tear a family in two but we’ve been there done that with the Spencers and as a family unit they’re just not engaging enough to sustain this level of heavy drama. 

Scene of the Week (8-12 Oct 2018)

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It didn’t take long for Kim to slip back into old habits as she returned to Home Farm and she began picking off the villagers one by one. This camp scene full of bitchy put-downs made an entertaining Scene of the Week. Once the claws had been sharpened against Charity, Kim moved onto sloshed Brenda, revealing she never frequents cafes and wouldn’t make the exception here either. Kim revealed in the fun bitchiness, gleefully teasing that she might repossess Kerry’s home – in the cold way villains do best. Even though the party might’ve been full of strangers, this scene was a fun slice of pantomine and nicely sets up a wealth of antagonism for when Kim returns in the new year.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 June 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the week that saw Chas tell Paddy the truth about the baby, Sarah learnt she is suffering heart failure.

Faves

Mother Daughter Divide

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-17h07m30s618It was a traumatic week for Debbie and Sarah as their strained relationship broke down in the middle of Sarah’s health crisis. After joyriding, Sarah couldn’t contain her anger any further and told the police that her mother was behind Ross’s acid attack. But when the police showed up, Sarah collapsed and after tests it was found that she has heart failure. An emotional and agonising time for any family, but it was made even harder because Sarah cannot forgive Debbie and feels betrayed by her. I like the layers in this story, the stubbornness of both characters and Debbie’s vulnerability on show. The elements related to the acid attack are still a weak point, and it would be nice if someone mentioned trying to get hold of Andy (even if he’s unlikely to return) just to make this more than just about Debbie, but it’s the complicated emotions here that make it worth watching.

Where is Amelia?

Emmerdale - Friday 15 Jun 7pm - ITV HubThis week the Spencers did a TV appeal for missing Ameila, on ITV News no less (loving the meta) and the thing I’m enjoying about this story is that I genuinely don’t know what’s happened to her. This week Daz was under fire but it almost feels like he’s been set up, possibly even by Dan. Could this be an inside job? I really hope this story triggers some real and surprising twists and keeps us well away from the tedious spats between the brothers. The other shining light of this story is Kerry again, who is staying positive and supportive. Who ever thought we’d see Kerry having such a calm and mature influence?

Everyone Needs a Marlon

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-17h07m04s696If you were picking Dingles to be in your corner, you’d definitely pick Marlon, wouldn’t you? If not for the cooking then definitely his hugs. This week Marlon was caught in a difficult position between supporting his best mate and hearing Chas desperately upset. Marlon’s relationship with Paddy is one I rarely get tired of, full of warmth and humour, but it’s his empathetic side that really shone this week as he comforted Chas. He could sense something was wrong with her and tried to be there without interfering simply by asking her if she was okay and offering an ear. Marlon was exactly the loved one you’d need in hard times, sympathetic and kind without judgement. He doesn’t get nearly enough appreciation so I thought I’d start right here!

The Next Generation

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-15h38m46s418Controversially I quite enjoyed Leanna Cavanagh’s role this week as the nasty teen leading the others astray. I can see her becoming a full-on bully in the village but sometimes we need an antagonist, someone who does and says awful things and who we love to hate, to shake things up. Bunking school and joyriding seems pretty soap standard, but Emmerdale’s young actors in this group (Jacob, Noah and Sarah) are a watchable bunch and usually pretty well behaved! It was good to see them take a bigger role and alone, away from the adults. With their parents’ drama-packed lives, there’s no doubt that this generation of kids are going to cause plenty of mayhem when they grow up and this is only the start.

Fail

Scraping the Barrel

Emmerdale - Doug Kisses Brenda! - YouTubeIt was whiskey-snog o’clock again in Emmerdale this week as Brenda and Doug succumbed not to secret passion but Emmerdale’s tired clichés. With this snog (and probably more off screen) this signals another stable couple left in tatters. Doug and Diane were the only long term couple who hadn’t been given a cheating plot and now they’re just another village statistic. And what’s worse is that he’s Laurel’s dad, meaning they’ve made the whole Brenda/Bob/Laurel fallout a whole lot more complicated. Won’t anybody think of the kids?! Cheating and drunken mistakes are soap bread and butter, but every soap needs stable and enduring relationships, even if they are gentle and drama free. Emmerdale put the bullet in this by destroying Zak and Lisa in 2015 and since then it’s been break up after break up. How can we be expected to care about these families and couples when Emmerdale doesn’t seem to? Doug and Diane might not have been groundbreaking or fan favourites, but it’s important to the fabric of the village to have some stable couples. This just feels lazy.

Fave or Fail? (30 April-4 May 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A delayed round-up after a week off, this week saw Joe make a leap of faith and rekindle things with Debbie as Megan cheated with Graham.

Faves

Brotherly Bonding

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h01m05s653I’ve been enjoying seeing a lot more of Noah lately as he bonds with power hungry big brother Joe. Not only is the Tate brother bonding a chance to reflect on Emmerdale history but it has also allowed us to see more of Joe and explain his vicious behaviour. I can’t quite believe his self reflection will really last, especially as he works well as the village antagonist, but I always welcome scenes that allow us to see the vulnerable and honest moments of characters who often show us a front. Actors Ned Porteous and Jack Downham already have a great on screen bond and Noah’s idolisation works well as a way to humanise Joe too. I bet it won’t be long before Noah has his heart broken, but I could easily see him stepping into a more villainous role in a few years time! 

Starting Again

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h02m22s940There’s a fine line between love and hate which Joe and Debbie have been crossing this week as the pair gave into charged kisses. Ever since Joe revealed his nefarious ways, Debbie has struggled knowing she had fallen for him and hating herself for it. It’s not anything new or unusual for dour Debbie to angst over a bad boy but there’s a teasing boyishness in Joe that brings out something slightly more fun in Debbie. Debs probably shouldn’t be believing Joe’s insistence that he’s changed when there hasn’t been much evidence to it, especially its only a few months since he tried to destroy the Dingles, but I can’t blame the girl for giving into a bit of high life fun with him. The scene where they started again, with tongue in cheek reintroductions was a cute moment which I found immediately endearing. There’s a forbidden love/hate temptation there which is a soap trope I can’t resist. Trouble awaits!

Taking Things Seriously

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h06m24s836Despite being tied to a very familiar (read: repetitive) paternity retcon story, it’s been nice to see Kerry get a pivotal and more serious role. She’s grown in likeability lately and has seemed a lot more grounded and mature. Even though Laura Norton is great at comedy and Kerry is often at her best with warmth and humour, I’ve been enjoying seeing her more vulnerable and serious in these scenes with Daz. There’s obviously a nice chemistry between the actors (likely down to Laura’s off screen relationship with Mark Jordon) but I do hope things are kept strictly platonic as the last thing Dan needs is a second heartbreak if he learns Amelia isn’t his biological daughter. 

Harsh Words

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h00m41s183Aaron bore the brunt of Liv’s upset this week as she lashed out when confronted about her drinking problem. Although writers have made her and these prison scenes frustratingly (lazily?) similar to Aaron’s stories and personality, there was a welcome grit and reality to this moment. Liv and Aaron’s relationship is understandably a popular one, made more so by the actors likeness in performance and mannerisms but there are times I’ve felt the characters are too similar and get on too well for the relationship to be  as engaging as it should be. With Liv joining Aaron’s tempestuous life when she did, it was obvious he wasn’t in the mental space to be a guardian for someone as troubled as her. So this upset explosion from Liv seemed needed and gave an edge to their relationship that was always lacking for me. 

Fails

On Repeat

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h07m47s565Is it just me or has everything just got a little repetitive in Emmerdale at the moment, lacking something fresh and original? Daz revealing he might be Amelia’s bio dad (leading to another big bust up with Dan probably); Megan and Graham’s secret and rushed hook up which came from nowhere and which Tracy is now covering; Belle’s mental health struggles; Liv’s prison story which has been very similar to Aaron’s; Daz and Bernice having a brief split due to misunderstanding. Even Charity’s story which is brilliantly acted, struggles to cover new ground when it’s the third rape story Emmerdale have done in three years. Right now I’m really holding out for something fresh and engaging to grip me, and that’s something Emmerdale is lacking right now. 

Wasted Potential

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h03m39s720I can’t help but feel that pairing up Frank and Megan is a complete waste of both actors and characters. Megan could be ruthless and a real powerhouse; Frank has the potential for underhand darkness – but together they’re blander than bland. Why, when both actors have CVs that speak for themselves? They’ve got to be one of Emmerdale’s worst pairings. Not even a secret and a brief hook up could liven them up. This week they got engaged after a brief misunderstanding which lasted long enough to hook up with Graham – and there wasn’t much spark there either. Then Tracy found out quicker than Sherlock so now it’s only a matter of time before it comes out. All very predictable and dull but made worse because I’m not sure if anyone cares if they stay together or not. The Megan and Frank relationship is flat, lacking any real interest or investment from the writers. Isn’t it time to call it a day and give them both something better to do in the show?

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Feb 2018)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the week that saw Aaron and Robert finally reunite, Tracy was threatened with secrets from her past.

Faves

Make Your Dreams Come True

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m14s763If you heard the sound of happy crying on Thursday night then it was probably me. After months and months of agony and teasing, FINALLY Aaron and Robert were reunited and sought to face the future together, better than ever. It’s no secret that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry has earned them thousands of fans worldwide so the pressure was on for a satisfying and romantic reunion. We got it – and then some. It had all the classic tropes of a romantic movie, with heartbroken Robert struggling to move on and Aaron realising he couldn’t live without Robert. It wasn’t just the fact they’d patched up and declared their love, it was all the special details included that made it so poignant for fans. From the fun scenes in the club, to the meaningful conversations in the garage (a location pivotal in their love story) – there wasn’t a moment wasted with all cards on the table. There wasn’t any silly misunderstandings or finger pointing, it was rooted in their intense past and entirely faithful to their characters. After so much agony and angst, it was a surreal joy to see their family happily reunited. Aaron was grinning – and you don’t see that often! It felt important and truly memorable. Moving forward, we know it can’t be plain sailing but by god, Emmerdale, don’t ruin this. You’ve got something really special.

Amazing Amy

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m51s372On any other week, Tracy’s storyline would have been top of my Faves list because if there’s anyone who deserves ALL the awards then it’s Amy Walsh. She’s been an absolute revelation this week, as Tracy was blackmailed over her prostitute past by the vile Phil. Amy conveyed Tracy’s abject fear brilliantly and her heartbreak at David’s cold shoulder was especially moving. Tracy’s scenes with Frank saw a new and improved sensitive side to his character as he was able to comfort her without judgement, until David’s treatment of her. Amy’s performances have been powerful and empathetic in this dark storyline, cementing her as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. We all wanted to rush in and rescue her this week, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for her as she tries to get justice. I just hope Frank and Vanessa will be there for her when David inevitably lets her down.

Squad Goals

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h45m35s230How great was Thursday’s episode at the bar? Fans of Robert have been crying out for him to have some actual mates for ages and Emmerdale also relished the opportunity to revisit the brilliant double act he has with Bernice, as well as giving him an ally in Vanessa. Aside from the girls’ great attempts to cheer him up, the comedy between the girls was something special. This episode was chockfull of one-liners and each character added something to the group to make it warm and funny. It’s great seeing our favourites outside of the village so it felt like we were really spoilt and even better that we got to see a group of girls having a great time and getting along. No bitchiness, no falling out over men, just bad dancing and cheesy music requests. More of this. PLEASE!

Getting Serious?

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h48m42s367With Charity back from her holiday this meant the Vanity hook ups could resume much to both their delights, but as the week progressed it was clear they were after a bit more than no-strings fun. While I’ve criticised Emmerdale in the past for its slow and most off-screen portrayal of Vanessa and Charity’s relationship, I was glad to see it given a little more prominence this week. I loved seeing the women have flirty fun (with drunk Vanessa being an adorable bonus) and Charity soften to the idea of something more serious. When the writing is there, Vanity is sparky and fun, bringing out new sides to both characters. There’s still room for more though, and I want to see it!

Bonus Faves

  • Gerry and Jacob’s lovely attempts to cheer up Liv (ice cream Gerry, leave out the vodka) and talk sense into Gabby. Jacob continues to be wonderful and the Liv/Gabby drama continues to be believable and well done
  • Ross’s continued struggles
  • Aaron’s lovely attempts to help Liv with her sexuality
  • Bernice’s funny but very blunt relationship advice
  • Priya and Kerry’s badgering of the DJ for 90s classics leading to them being kicked out – TV gold!
  • Robert and Liv repairing their fractured relationship. They have always been one of my favourite relationships in Emmerdale so it was touching seeing them move on and become a family again – that hug!
  • Joe’s redecorated Home Farm and it looks amazing
  • Faith using the loo when Chas was in the room – they’ve got a brilliant mother/daughter dynamic
  • Jimmy’s sycophantic “Thank you, Mr Tate!” combined with Robert’s bristling fury at Joe calling him “Richard” – this new rivalry will be amazing

Fails

David is the Worst

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h49m11s488There is always stiff competition when it comes to “worst man in Emmerdale” but surely David Metcalfe wins this one hands down? As if his cheating on insecure Tracy wasn’t bad enough this week he behaved so hideously that I’m firmly Team Tracy Deserves Better. With predatory and disgusting Phil blackmailing Tracy, David caught them in a compromising position and then learnt the truth about Tracy’s past. Instead of being warm, loving and supportive of his wife he was cold and accusatory, unable to even look at her in the same way when he found out about her history. While it would understandably be a shock, David’s attitude towards her prostitution (and his selfish attitude in general) has soured my view of him completely and that’s without considering his recent lying and cheating. With Tracy’s other family members showing compassion and understanding, David is a far cry from the type of man Tracy needs. It’s going to take a lot for me to warm to him again.