Fave or Fail? (27 April-8 May 2020)

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Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Andrea finally learnt what Jamie’s been getting up to and Rishi’s birthday had an explosive end.

Faves

Andrea Learns the Truth

vlcsnap-2020-05-09-10h35m26s467The scales fell from Andrea’s eyes this week as she discovered husband Jamie has been playing away with Belle and making plans to leave her. Having only recently reunited, Andrea was devastated by his betrayal and confided in Leyla who urged her to fight for her marriage. Anna Nightingale did a good job at showing Andrea’s pain and made her immediately sympathetic, even though her and Jamie’s marriage doesn’t seem worth saving. In later episodes it seems like Andrea’s plans to win Jamie’s affections back involved causing friction between him and Belle and despite her hurt she seemed almost gleeful in her plotting. Andrea showed she could be quite smart and devious, with barbed comments and sly plans she has potential to be the next big soap bitch. Could we see the next Kim Tate on our hands? Viewers have long felt Andrea has been a bit wasted and this felt like the start of something much more promising.

Chas Reaches Out to Paddy

vlcsnap-2020-05-09-10h34m16s364This fortnight was the culmination of Paddy’s struggles with baby Eve, after his unfortunate mistake of leaving her in the car alone. I’ve not been a fan of how Paddy is written in recent times, the bumbling and stuttering feeling more and more like a caricature, but when Chas finally found out what he was going through, the pair were able to sit and talk it through like grown-ups finally. It was a fitting call-back to their daughter Grace, to talk about why this might be impacting on his mental health and parenting, and it was a nicely scripted scene that dealt with those issues without being mawkish. Saying all this, I do hope now that they’ve reached a turning point, that Chas and Paddy’s characters have more to do than just be parents. It’s time, for Chas especially, to get her spark back and not just alternate between nappies and bar work.

More Manpreet – Please

vlcsnap-2020-05-09-10h34m53s907During this pandemic, with fewer episodes and Emmerdale not currently filming, now is the time when some viewers are reflecting on the stories they’re enjoying (and not) and the characters they’d like to see more of when filming resumes. If Emmerdale are taking stock then I’d like to see more of Manpreet. With current stories dominated by the Malone drug plot, Manpreet exemplifies the ‘everyday’ that works so successfully in soap. A “normal” relatable character with a naturalistic acting style and charisma. Manpreet has slotted successfully into the village as their GP and has added a bit of sanity to Rishi’s outlandish buffoonery. She wasn’t especially central to stories this week, though we did see her support Paddy, but she’s a reminder of how even the “mundane” characters are worth watching and utilising when filming resumes. Recently we’ve seen her be warm and caring to Vanessa’s plight, but she’s also fitted in well with the Sharmas – and I’d certainly much rather watch Manpreet than the two-bit gangster stories of late!

Fails

Wimpy Will

vlcsnap-2020-05-09-10h40m23s665According to Emmerdale history, Will Taylor was once the infamous drug lord. So shady and destructive were his dealings, Harriet was employed to infiltrate his life and go undercover as his girlfriend. Sounds like a character with depth and a real dark side. So where is that Will? What we have now is man unrecognisable from the bloke he was originally supposed to be. He’s such a sad sack that even when Malone’s cartoon goons beat him up this fortnight (to the sounds of Land of Make Believe in the world’s cringey-est montage) it was hard to even care. Do I care about his and Dawn’s relationship? Or even him and Harriet? No. I wouldn’t care if he left tomorrow leaving only a note behind. Gone is all the menace and intrigue of his early episodes, the interesting and complex background with him and Harriet and Dawn – all that conflict of betrayal and forbidden feelings with Harriet just erased. Their family with all its tragedy and dysfunction is as lifeless as they come. To sign a successful actor like Dean Andrews should have meant Emmerdale had exciting stories lined up, not to turn Will into a miserable loser under Malone’s thumb.

Dull and Dominating

vlcsnap-2020-05-09-10h43m09s412The Malone story continued to suck the life out of Emmerdale this week, in a plot that feels closer to a poor man’s rejected Line of Duty script than anything we can expect from our favourite soap. The concept of a charismatic bent cop pulling the strings of multiple characters, which in turn has consequences for multiple families has potential but the execution has been nothing short of dull, and when it dominates episodes it’s a real drag. I can’t help but picture the difference if Malone had been introduced slowly, had even had a family himself in the village, only to unravel his power and corruption slowly as he held his grip over the villagers. Instead he’s flat and feels so much like a guest character who will be easily despatched so where’s the investment. Add to this that most of his story is connected to Will – one of Emmerdale’s most bafflingly boring characters – would anyone care if he offed Will tomorrow? The stakes are low, the story is so far removed from the dramas of village life we’re used to, and Emmerdale’s a powerhouse when it centres on relatable stories and gripping tales of love, betrayal and revenge. But most of this story is blokes standing around discussing drugs and vague threats which bare no relation to anything we can care about. The sooner it’s over, the better.

Fave or Fail? (30 March-10 April 2020)

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Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This fortnight Moira and Rhona went into business together and Billy was set up by Malone.

Faves

New Partnerships

vlcsnap-2020-04-11-20h43m53s824This fortnight saw the formation of a new business partnership which is brimming with potential. Much to Kim’s disappointment Rhona discovered she was due to inherit a substantial sum of money from Graham’s will (baffling for a man who was basically a butler for years but we’ll go with it) and she pondered her future. At the same time Moira struggled with the farm, gearing up to make a decision whether to sell it or not. And then these two great women, after working together and talking about their pasts, decided to go into business together. We’re used to soap characters sticking to a select group of interactions and rarely breaking from that mould, so the prospect of a new friendship and business partnership forming brings change and freshness for both characters. Butlers Farm has long felt stale and since the Nate travesty, Moira has lacked direction. The two actresses have already shown an engaging relationship with real chemistry and this will hopefully give the writers plenty of fresh material to work with. Great move!

Forbidden Feelings

vlcsnap-2020-04-11-20h45m10s889There was awkwardness all round this fortnight as Belle found herself unable to avoid Andrea and was roped into attending her saucy lingerie party. As Belle winced her way through Andrea’s comments about her sex life with Jamie, things got worse when a panicked Jamie told her to stay away from Andrea and worried about the atmosphere at work. Jamie was a right dick this fortnight as he tried to get Belle fired but by the end of this week admitted she was all he wanted and he was struggling. Belle’s had her fair share of disastrous relationships but Eden Taylor Draper’s played Belle’s vulnerability and awkwardness well and her angst over her feelings for Jamie seem authentic. Belle and Jamie have the potential to be a cute couple but what this story really needs is to make the stakes seem higher. Jamie’s hardly spent any time with Millie and if his worries about custody is what’s holding him back from Belle, they need to make it more believable he would hold back on his true feelings.

Blaming Brenda

vlcsnap-2020-04-11-20h56m01s455It was one of the smaller plots this fortnight but as Brenda faced the guilt of her mistake, leading to Dan’s paralysis, there was no escaping the blame. This fortnight Mandy found the vital evidence that she needed, the label that proved Brenda’s culpability. As Brenda sweated, she gave Rodney control of the cafe and had surprising support from Eric. I’ve really enjoyed their scenes in particular as until now it wasn’t common for Eric and Brenda to share scenes and much like Rhona and Moira it is interesting to explore new character friendships. Interfering Brenda might not be everyone’s favourite character but Lesley Dunlop is a solid performer and so far her remorse and vulnerability has been well played but I could also see Eric leading her to make even more dubious decisions…

Fails

Posner Problem

vlcsnap-2020-04-11-20h52m00s628Whinging Wendy was back at it again this week, leaning on smitten Bob to help reunite Victoria and Luke. All very well and good if she was just an interfering granny wanting the best for Victoria, but with the Posner family history this is another misguided story. Victoria has repeatedly said she’s not ready to date again and has done what’s right for her, Luke might respect this but Wendy doesn’t seem to understand no means no. Maybe it runs in the family? Rather than respect Vic’s wishes, yet again Wendy was trying to manipulate the situation. Add that to her list of controlling and suffocating behaviour towards Vic. Enough is enough. If that wasn’t infuriating enough to watch, we then had to see Wendy robbed in the world’s most contrived theft all so she could cry over Lee again. It’s insulting enough we’re supposed to tolerate Wendy and accept her as a new mumsy gossip but the weepy reminders of her beloved Lee are sick making. If the Posners are going to be a permanent fixture then it’s time they were given space outside of Vic’s orbit.

The Wrong Fit?

vlcsnap-2020-04-11-20h49m26s780The Malone plot continued this fortnight and only a few weeks in, it’s already starting to drag. There’s no denying Mark Womack is a charismatic performer but it’s hard to find any real menace in Malone when he pops up in different locations at the perfect time like a cartoon villain. He makes threats and uses his wealth of corrupt cops to pull strings but as a character he’s very 2D. Had Malone been brought in with a family or his corrupt ways been introduced slowly with a strong motivation, we might have found him more ominous. As it is, he seems invented just to cause hell for Cain and co and there’s no real doubt that they won’t lose to Malone – so where are the stakes? Will continues to be lifeless and dull, a far cry from the big drugs lord who Harriet had to investigate undercover and Billy might be a nice guy but like Will, he’s also a bit lifeless in this story. What’s more, this story just doesn’t feel like a good fit for Emmerdale and in fact has the hallmarks of a weak EastEnders plot. A story about a bent cop manipulating vulnerable villagers could have worked if Malone himself had been written with more depth, a life of his own, but this story is far from engaging especially as it seems unlikely he’ll change anything significant in the village.

Fave or Fail? (23-27 March 2020)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week saw Jamie and Belle reignite their affair and Brenda’s mistake had terrible consequences for Dan.

Faves

A Triple Christening

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-10h01m01s706There was a lovely community feel to Monday’s episode, as three christenings took place at the church and with the current real-world situation, it had the warmth and family spirit we need right now. The scenes also saw a welcome return of Zak, Aaron and Liv and an amusing set of “The Godfather” impressions as the men tried to out-do each other. It’s not often we see so many villagers gathered in one place and with all of the babies having bittersweet arrivals, it was nice to see the happy occasion, and despite Chas and Paddy’s tensions and Wendy being her usual self, the feel-good event was a nice watch.

The New Love Affair

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-09h58m37s325Jamie and Belle got it on again this week as their simmering tensions lead to a row, and then a shag, in the middle of a veterinary call out. With longing looks and repressed feelings, Jamie and Belle’s affair is certainly one of the most watchable in recent times, helped by their natural chemistry. It also helps that while the stakes are high in terms of Kim’s involvement and Jamie’s custody problems, viewers on the whole aren’t that invested in Belle and Ellis or Jamie and Andrea as couples. It’s not a Nate and Moira situation where their affair ruins a beloved couple. This also comes as a bit of a drawback as it means it’s hard to believe Belle wouldn’t just ditch Ellis (whose been written as a wet weekend since the actor change) and Jamie come up with a long term custody plan, and end things with Andrea. However, a slow burn affair of forbidden feelings can be a good watch when you want to see the two together, and if it stops Jamie whining for five minutes then even better.

Brenda’s Big Mistake

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-09h59m40s620Brenda made a dangerous mistake this week by not labelling her ingredients correctly on her café food, leading to a horrific allergic reaction for Dan. This storyline already had subtle build up previously when Brenda gave Dan vegan food with nuts in unaware of his allergy and he suffered a minor reaction. This week however, Dan went into anaphylactic shock and now is experiencing paralysis, sending Brenda into turmoil. After initially trying to cover up her mistake, Brenda admitted what she’d done to Dan and his family after a prompting from Eric. While a story that centres on the Spencers might not be everyone’s favourite idea, this story has been really effective so far, showing how a tiny action can escalate into something so serious which impacts many characters. Not every soap story needs extreme behaviour or guns, a smaller story like this is like a classic soap story which can have just as many twists and turns. I’m glad it’s also given a focus to older characters like Eric and Brenda who are often underused and underrated.

Fail

Too Much Too Soon

vlcsnap-2020-03-29-10h01m47s193This week, after sleeping together, Victoria ended things with Luke again, telling him it was too soon to get into a relationship. As Luke begged for another go and Wendy tried to get involved, it felt like a serious case of déjà vu. I imagine the intention here is to make Luke and Victoria the couple you root for, and to give Victoria time and space to recover from her rape trauma, but with their reunion boringly inevitable, these efforts to drag it out seem pointless. Vic, Wendy, Luke and baby Harry are already participating in the world’s most unlikely and icky happy families but the fact Emmerdale have gone this route undermines any efforts to make Victoria’s aftermath believable. When she talks of her struggle to move on, to feel anything during sex, you can’t help but think had Luke (her rapist’s brother) not been her chosen partner, this story would have held the weight and emotion it deserves. Instead, this is too tacky to get involved with.

With Emmerdale now showing only three episodes a week rather than six, The Woolie Weekly will be posting fortnightly, to cover a “week’s worth” of episodes as they were originally intended to air. Next blog update will be Sunday 12th April.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 March 2020)

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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 Vanessa underwent surgery as part of her cancer treatment and Marlon suffered a heart attack.

Faves

Vanessa Starts Treatment

vlcsnap-2020-03-22-09h28m11s907Vanessa went under the knife this week in the first stage of her cancer treatment with her loved ones right by her side. While it’s difficult to watch a health storyline in current real world circumstances, so far Vanessa’s storyline has been handled really well showing the struggle with symptoms and the reality of life with bowel cancer. As Vanessa had to face the difficult reality of her future she wrote a will and visited a chemo ward. Her sisterly relationship with Tracy continues to be touching, but scenes with Charity this week were a real highlight as the writing found the perfect balance of humour and love in difficult times.

Marlon’s Health Terror

vlcsnap-2020-03-22-09h27m33s854Marlon suffered a shock heart attack this week as his trauma following prison has made both his mental and physical health reach breaking point. After taking a drive with Paddy, Marlon was rushed to hospital after experiencing pain in his arm and chest. Later, an emotional Marlon opened up to Rhona expressing how he felt his life was in tatters. With heartfelt dialogue and tender performances between Mark Charnock and Zoe Henry these were moving and authentic feeling moments between characters with a lot of history and who have suffered greatly in recent months. Even though the scenes were filmed before the world’s pandemic crisis, the dialogue felt very apt about a better future ahead meaning these scenes were even more poignant.

Arthur’s Bullying Continues

vlcsnap-2020-03-22-09h31m25s635The divisive Arthur and Archie plot continued this week after his cruel behaviour was revealed to everyone last week. Following from last week, Arthur was under the spotlight still, forced to apologise to Nicola and the Kings. But having been falsely accused last week when Archie hurt himself, he decided to get his own back and plant Sandy’s smashed ship in a bottle among Archie’s belongings. The family cottoned on quickly but despite an uneasy truce, Arthur still looks set on revenge for Archie’s lies. This plot has it flaws and while many are sad to see a sweet boy like Arthur turn into a bully, it’s a complicated family situation and the story benefits from some great performances at the heart of it. It’s unclear how this story will pan out but I hope soon the focus will shift to more attention on the psychology of Arthur’s problems and getting him help.

Fail

Vinny’s Backstory Secret

vlcsnap-2020-03-22-09h26m31s210This week we finally got to learn more about elusive Vinny, as he and Mandy opened up to the Dingles about his past. While it was very welcome to hear more about his backstory and give both him and Mandy some deeper, emotional material, the secrets of Vinny’s past fell a little flat. When he and Mandy first arrived it seemed like the writing was suggesting something much more intriguing about Vinny’s identity, with some viewers even speculating his parentage was linked to characters in the village. With both Vinny and Mandy desperate to keep it hush hush and not reveal that he wasn’t a “real” Dingle, surely there had to be some big reason? Well, this week with Mandy revealing Vinny’s sad backstory, they explained they felt they couldn’t admit Vinny wasn’t a Dingle by blood because he wouldn’t be accepted. Huh? This is the same family who gave Lachlan the Dingle welly to drink from and treated him as part of the family! This angst of his acceptance just didn’t ring true and was a disappointingly flat revelation and not the juicy secret that had been hinted at.

Andrea Confronts Kim

vlcsnap-2020-03-22-09h30m46s912Andrea seemed as if she’d lost a few brain cells this week as she trusted a complete stranger to help her bring down Kim. With Andrea desperate to prove Kim’s involvement in Graham’s death, thus ensuring she had custody of Millie, she was blinded in her futile mission, not realising Kim was scheming behind her back. Andrea’s grand plan was, of course, all a set up. Kim plotting could have been entertaining but Andrea and Jamie’s repetitive arguments, forgiveness and rejecting of Kim feels like a never ending story we’ve seen time and time again. The stakes are low in this story because we know Jamie and Kim will be back living as mother and son again soon enough (we’ve seen this fall out before!), and Andrea and Jamie are hardly the couple we care about when plenty of viewers prefer Jamie with Belle! Individually these characters have the potential to be part of engaging stories but the merry-go-round with and against Kim isn’t doing them any favours.

Fave or Fail? (2-6 March 2020)

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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! Kim incurred the wrath of several villagers over Graham’s funeral and DI Malone arrived and threatened Will.

Faves

Kim’s Many Layers

vlcsnap-2020-03-08-10h27m13s717It was another week where Kim shone, delivering both campy soap bitch antagonism in the village, as well as showing us her heart. Although I always struggled to buy into her bizarre relationship with Graham when he was alive, her grief this week, combined with her guilt about planning to have him killed, felt the most believable she had ever been about her complicated feelings for him. It’s this type of balance that was missing in her initial return in 2018 and it finally feels like the show has remembered that beyond the pantomime Kim enjoys, there’s a heart in there, however steely. There also continues to be something enjoyable about the way she insults, riles and antagonises various members of the village and does so without giving a f. Despite her fall out with Rhona, I’d still like to see them re-find a kinship because a war over who knew Graham more is tedious when he was a character who changed more than the weather.

DI Dodgy

vlcsnap-2020-03-08-10h29m44s728I’m going to be a little cautious about singing a newcomer’s praises so soon, because newbies have recently started strong and then petered out, but I was excited by DI Malone’s arrival week. He’s started on solid ground, charismatic and wicked, subtly making dangerous threats and being generally ominous. There’s also another intriguing side to him because he’s a crooked cop, meaning he knows how to put on a good performance and the stakes are high. He already knows Harriet and his police role means he has a frightening level of power and the ability to get involved with a number of villagers. Multiple connections means his character has potential to go in a number of directions and although Will might not be the most engaging character now, a strong antagonist could help. On paper Malone has everything to be the show’s next big villain, let’s hope he lives up to that potential!

Secret Struggle

vlcsnap-2020-03-08-10h26m09s660Vanessa’s story continued this week as she stayed firm in her wish to keep her cancer secret. Despite Charity trying to persuade her otherwise, finding it hard herself to maintain a facade of strength, Vanessa was adamant. There were some strong scenes as Vanessa reflected an attitude which I’m certain many cancer survivors could relate to – that she didn’t want the cancer to become her identity or be victimised. So far this story has done a great job at subtly showing both the physical symptoms but also the psychological and emotional. It’s only a matter of time before more people know about Vanessa’s situation, but I hope we continue to get this intimate focus on Vanessa’s feelings as it’s a refreshing change to see her central in a story.

Fails

Custody Battle

vlcsnap-2020-03-08-10h27m37s233It was another battle of words this week as Andrea and Jamie had another boring spat over Kim’s role in Graham’s death and Millie’s custody. Does anyone really care about their marriage? They’ve always been a weird match and when their arguments just result in the same circular row about Kim, with Jamie whinging for England and changing his mind about his mother every five minutes, it’s impossible to believe they were ever happy together. The stakes aren’t exactly high, especially when neither of them have had any meaningful scenes with Millie lately and most viewers seem to prefer Jamie’s chemistry with Belle far more than with Andrea. Andrea’s quest for truth also struggled with the same pointlessness of Marlon’s story this week. Pierce killed Graham, we all know it now and he’s been locked away. So why the angsting over what Kim planned when she actually had no involvement in his death? Andrea won’t get anywhere with proving the truth. Surely if Andrea wants real dirt on Kim, she’d be better off digging up the past!

Another Dingle War

vlcsnap-2020-03-08-10h30m40s460Did anyone else suffer from a headache this week with all that shouting? The aftermath of Graham’s murder rumbled on this week when Rhona, for contrived reasons, told Marlon about Charity and Ryan and the stolen money. With Marlon already in a bad place after prison and seeing the effect on April, this sent him over the edge and there was an all out war amongst the Dingles. Considering the efforts the family had put into the Free Marlon campaign, Marlon disowning everyone and ranting seemed disingenuous and overblown. Sure, he suffered inside and was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, but the story would have benefited more from showing the intensity of his suffering inside or even giving April a harder time with the bullying to show us how badly Marlon was damaged from his experience. The impact has been lost somewhat meaning his behaviour has felt over the top and hard to empathise with, even when we acknowledge the wrong behaviour of his loved ones. After all, the real enemy here was Pierce and even coming clean about the stolen money probably would have done little to help Marlon considering the evidence against him, so the time spent this week arguing about Graham’s murder felt overblown when the killer has been found and is back in prison. The reason for the blame seem pretty tenuous. Dingle wars also feel a little tiresome when they’re frequent and resolved with little consequence not long after. The whole family is hypocritical and full of dodgy behaviour, it’s about time they gave the “code” a rest. Perhaps Marlon will have an epiphany and acknowledge the real reason he is shutting everyone out is because he can’t unleash his fury at the real perpetrator Pierce, but Pierce seems to have been all but forgotten about so we live in hope…

The Woolie Weekly will be taking a week’s break. See you again for another week’s highlights on Sunday 22 March.

Scene of the Week (2-6 March 2020)

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A brilliantly camp moment this week as Kim decided to give Graham a send off in her own theatrical way. Kim later revealed to Rhona that Graham wanted a no fuss, no frills funeral but the service Kim hosted was far more about her. Dressed to the nines in dramatic black attire and commandeering an entire empty church, Kim laid a lily on Graham’s coffin and waited for the service to begin. It was a selfish act designed to hurt Rhona, but Kim did it with such OTT defiance that it was hard not to find enjoyment from her wickedness, as well as notice there’s still an edge of her vulnerability under her mask.

Fave or Fail? (24-28 Feb 2020)

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 bravely took down Pierce in their final showdown and Vanessa revealed her diagnosis to Charity.

Faves

The Big Showdown

vlcsnap-2020-02-29-13h57m28s473Rhona came face to face with Pierce this week in an hour long episode that didn’t disappoint. Read below for reasons why this episode was so gripping overall, but a special mention has to go to the incredible scenes between Rhona and Pierce themselves. From the moment Rhona stepped into Mulberry, nerves were shot, especially the chilling moment Pierce searched Rhona for any recording devices. Zoe Henry delivered exceptional performances as Rhona lived through her terror, conscious of Vanessa and Johnny’s plight too. Later, she was even more impressive as Rhona tried to play Pierce and pretend they just needed a good meal before leaving. As Rhona reminisced about their relationship, you could still sense her unease as she put on a good show. Rhona’s bravery was powerful to watch and the gripping dynamic between Zoe Henry and Jonathan Wrather meant it was hard to look away. Some of Emmerdale’s best work this year.

Vanessa’s New Agony

vlcsnap-2020-02-29-13h59m30s997There’s one story that we’re going to be talking about for months and has the potential to be huge come awards season and that’s the progress of Vanessa’s cancer. I’m thrilled Michelle Hardwick is getting the opportunity to showcase her stellar acting talents in this emotional storyline. This week, after finally being freed from Pierce’s clutches, Vanessa had to face her difficult journey ahead. There were tearful scenes as Vanessa hid her secret until finally she was able to tell Charity. Understandably Charity struggled with the news and her guilt at having not been concerned about Vanessa’s disappearance and she began to distance herself. Not only does this offer Emmerdale the chance to explore a serious real world health issue and all its realistic symptoms and side effects but it also brings a new challenge to test Vanity instead of the familiar stories of Charity messing up. This story has potential to explore Vanessa as a character in her own right, her fears of losing Johnny and step forward to be the lead in a storyline. It’s had a brilliant, emotional start and I’m sure it’ll be one of 2020’s highlights.

Gripping Climax

vlcsnap-2020-02-29-14h11m00s113I’ve already talked about how good the Rhona and Pierce showdown was, but overall, Tuesday’s hour long special had everything you could want in a soap. Vanessa’s continued kidnapped carried on being anxiety-inducing, especially when Pierce as good as admitted she’d had her use. Similarly the stakes were high when we saw that poor Johnny was in a bad way. There was no second guessing in this episode as after Kim interrupted and was tied up herself, the episode had us hooked. Outside armed police seemed frustratingly slow with their drones and thermal detection but it was all edge of your seat stuff. I loved the way Rhona’s cleverly live-streamed Pierce’s confession in a brilliantly unexpected move, and I also enjoyed the surprise use of tranquiliser to take Pierce down. Upstairs, we lived through the horror with Kim and Vanessa but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Kim in a new light and the way she tried to get Vanessa to concentrate and survive. All round this was a fantastic episode and even though it was double the length of a normal episode, I didn’t want it to end.

Marlon’s Freedom

vlcsnap-2020-02-29-13h58m28s948With Pierce’s arrest, finally came some good news for Marlon as it was revealed to him he’d be released from prison. When Marlon got the news, Mark Charnock’s acting was excellent as he slowly dealt with this life changing moment. It wasn’t all joy though as after his release it was a struggle to return to normality and Marlon broke down after the ill advised party. He also shouted at Mandy after she got the press involved and had some making up to April to do. It seems like Marlon’s return to the village might not be as straight forward as he first thought and although it would be good to see back the happier Marlon we love, I’m glad we’re seeing the aftermath of his traumatic time locked up for a crime he was innocent of.

Bonus Faves

  • There were so many stand out single scenes this week outside of the ones mentioned above it’s hard to mention them all in my faves. Marlon and April, April and Rhona, Chas and Charity, Vanessa and Rhona. All wonderful heart to hearts between characters with history together. Vulnerable, well acted and well performed – character focused drama at its best
  • If it weren’t for Nate, Cain and Cara would be really watchable. Their chemistry means when they reminisce, their history feels palpable
  • There was more progress on the Cain and Moira front this week as Moira bigged Cain up to Cara only for him to overhear. Later in a dialogue free scene Moira removed her wedding ring in a moment that was the first real tender moment where we saw Moira’s regret. It worked well and certainly made me pine for what they’ve lost
  • Okay, it would have never happened in real life but that moment Marlon was released and Pierce arrived at the prison and they locked eyes was brilliant. I got chills.
  • I felt for Mandy this week as she broke down feeling useless in Marlon’s campaign and it was nice to see Lisa Riley play something emotional and not just loud mouthed and comedic

Fails

Calm After the Storm?

vlcsnap-2020-02-29-14h04m19s745Life for a soap character moves fast. Just look at Nate. Shot one minute and out of hospital the next. However the aftermath for Rhona after Pierce’s return this week was a little lacking. The climax of his return was perfect, thrilling viewing but watching Rhona’s scenes a few days on you’d be hard pushed to believe she’d suffered any sort of trauma. Both Marlon and Vanessa are dealing with their new ordeals but mentions of Pierce are thin on the ground. The village barely blinked to hear he was out of prison and had caused so much misery. Rhona herself has now moved on to warring with Kim over Graham’s funeral and has hardly had a look in when it comes to her own trauma. I was cautious that this return might make Rhona suffer but so far it feels jarringly opposite – the man who raped her and made her life hell, returned, murdered her boyfriend and held her best friend hostage. Surely this should have sent Rhona back to a dark place? It feels a bit of a waste of Pierce’s return if there is no real immediate fall out for Rhona and she slots right back into petty squabbles with Kim over Graham (who cares?). It feels particularly disappointing when the original ending to the Pierce and Rhona story was so empowering and uplifting for Rhona’s character. This new conclusion in the end didn’t quite work as well.

Fast Farewell

vlcsnap-2020-02-29-14h00m16s674This week we saw another taxi exit as Doug made a hasty decision to uproot his whole life and move to Australia having only arrived home the day before. Was the jet lag messing with his head or what? Yes, Doug was a moany old so-and-so, interfering, grumpy and the rest but he was unique in the village with a distinct personality. There aren’t many older villagers left and Doug brought variety, working well with a range of characters and particularly troubled youngsters like Gerry and Liv. I can’t help but feel, even if Doug wasn’t a favourite, he was part of the furniture and it’s a shame to lose him from the fabric of the village. There isn’t anyone else quiet like Doug and it’s a shame his rushed exit was so lacklustre. Sure, no one expected explosions or dramatic hi-jinx but having been in the show for so long, Doug deserved a better send off. He didn’t even get a final pint in the Woolie.

Scene of the Week (24-28 Feb 2020)

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It was the scene and episode we’ve all been waiting for and ultimately it could only be Rhona who could take down Pierce in the end. As the situation at Laurel’s house reached its dire and deadly climax, quick-thinking Rhona stabbed Pierce with a needle, giving him enough tranquiliser to take down a bull. Outside the armed police edged closer in gripping, high-tension scenes. As Pierce collapsed, Rhona told him exactly what he didn’t want to hear – he wasn’t her hero, or her protector. Then when the police arrived, she told them about Vanessa, Johnny and Kim’s plight upstairs and told them to arrest Pierce for kidnap and the murder of Graham. This was a dramatic end to one of Emmerdale’s most exciting episodes in a while.