Fave or Fail? (4-8 Nov 2019)

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 Lydia met her estranged sister, a spiralling Cain and Aaron started their own destructive team.

Faves

New Family Secrets

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h55m02s263With lots of big Emmerdale stories winding down, it was interesting to see a new story start this week with Lydia. After Karen Blick’s impressive performances during the summer, as the truth of Lydia’s past came to light, it’s welcome news to see her get a continuation of this story now. After Mandy’s identity theft story, the Dingles discovered Lydia’s benefactor was her mother, but when Lydia went to the house she came face to face with her estranged sister (amazing casting!). But it was soon revealed to the audience that Lydia’s mother was not dead, as the sister had said, but very much alive. This was a fantastic moment of intrigue and would be the perfect way to give Lydia more depth. Although she makes a great matriarch within the Dingles, bringing in her family would be a great new story for Lydia. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

Big Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h57m57s300Poor Aaron had one hell of a week Oblivious to Robert saying goodbye last week it was one shock after another when Aaron realised first that Robert had been moved to the Isle of Wight and blocked all contact and later, had filed for divorce. This brutal severing was inevitable being that Friday last week marked the end of Ryan Hawley’s tenure in Emmerdale, but in Robert wanting Aaron to have a life, meant heartbreak for him. Spiralling Aaron lashed out at Lee’s brother Luke, ranted at the insufferable Wendy (deeply cathartic) but most of all did what Danny Miller does so well – an absolute emotional breakdown. Viewers might be over the tears, but after a five year love story, he’s due a flood.

The End of Coira

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h59m21s595It was all over for another Emmerdale couple this week as Cain and Moira had a sit down chat about where it all went wrong. With the foundations of Moira’s affair weak and unsuccessfully told, sitting and hearing her explanation felt quite hollow and unconvincing, but at least Cain wasn’t having any of it either. Regardless of the story, Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb made the aftermath worth watching. With Cain’s car crash behaviour leading him to bed Kerry it looks like it really could be the end of the line for Coira. But what next? It’s hard to imagine them moving on to anyone else in the village!

Arthur’s Meltdown

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h56m25s757It’s only the beginning of what appears to be a big new story for young Arthur Thomas but I’m already intrigued. If you’ve read upcoming spoilers you’ll know Arthur’s jealousy and struggle to adapt to Laurel’s new relationship will start a dark story for him, but we saw more of its beginnings this week. Arthur has already tried to sabotage Laurel and Jai’s relationship and Friday’s episode saw him explode with rage, feeling ostracised from his own family and angry that Jai was trying to take his Dad’s place. This feels like a very real psychological and emotional trauma for a young boy who worries the world is forgetting the importance of his late father and I’m interested to see how this story goes. Alfie Clarke is one of Emmerdale’s best young actors so he’ll be able to handle what could be tough material.

Fails

The Wrong Message

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h59m55s056Whenever soaps do a rape or sexual assault storyline, there’s always a character brought in to defend the rapist. From Pierce’s mother to Bails’s wife, we’ve seen it before. But when justice occurs, the defender realises the truth, or is at least shut up. There’s no question that there are “Wendys” in the world, mothers who believe their rapist sons are innocent, especially vindicated when they get away with it. Where Emmerdale have gone disastrously wrong is an attempt to victimise Wendy, even going as far as having Victoria apologise and take pity on her. Wendy stalked her. Harassed her. Tormented her. Forced her way into Victoria’s life. Blamed her. Wendy is not a victim. She is not sympathetic. She has never seen Lee’s behaviour for what is was and has never apologised for what the family have put Victoria through. This framing is incredibly damaging to the message Emmerdale were trying to tell with the rape storyline. Wendy (and in turn Lee) should not be forgiven and it’s damaging to write Vic as being “the stronger person” because she can. The writing for Vic at times since this story began has sometimes seemed to mistake empowerment and courage for forgiveness and understanding. Finding closure should not mean accepting Wendy or empathising with her. The writing this week made Vic almost indifferent to her brother’s fate, like he’d gone away for the weekend, while she seemed more bothered about Wendy’s upset and Lee’s funeral. From a story with such a strong beginning, it’s veered completely off track.

Fave or Fail? (28 Oct-1 Nov 2019)

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’s sad final scenes aired this week as Mandy came clean about her scams.

Faves

The Last Goodbye

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h54m09s542Robert’s final scenes aired this week in what was a heart-breaking exit for the much-loved character. With Robert informed that he was being moved to the Isle of Wight, he made the painful decision not to tell Aaron, not wanting him to uproot his whole life while Robert served his 14 year sentence. Across the visiting room table, Robert and Aaron struggled with the lack of contact, expressing how much they missed each other. As Robert braced himself to reveal where he was being moved to, Aaron interrupted and Robert could no longer own up to the truth. With call backs and references to their love story, from “their” lay-by, a repeat of their phrase “You know/I know” and of course, the final, gut-wrenching play of their wedding song, this was a tribute to the couple and a love letter to fans. Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry continued to be powerful until the end, with Ryan delivering some of his best performances to date as Robert struggled to say his final goodbye. It was painful to see such a tragic ending to the show’s most popular couple and a character so memorable as Robert, but it felt fitting all the same. To also have Robert’s final act be one of selflessness, at a time where he was truly comfortable in himself, was the perfect end to his journey. His snark smugness, facial expressions and charm will be sorely missed.

The Aftermath Continues

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h57m41s553Following on from some huge weeks of drama, the fall out continued this week with engaging aftermath. After drinking himself numb, Cain escaped the village, surprisingly with Amy, throwing his wedding ring at Moira in the rain – ouch. When he returned he wanted her to pack her bags and the two had a face-off that showcased once more how naturally dynamic Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb are in scenes together. Bristling! Moira, despite defending herself to Cain’s supporters, still hasn’t been especially sympathetic but that’s mostly down to the affair taking place for nonsensical reasons in the first place! Then there was Chas and Paddy, coping with Faith’s exit and new baby Eve. Their moments have continued to be bittersweet as well as giving them some nice quieter moments to enjoy being new parents. That reprieve of happiness was much needed. Victoria saw Luke again, who admitted he believed her over Lee. These two have fantastic chemistry but it still doesn’t sit right that Emmerdale would tie Vic to her rapist’s family like this. Finally Aaron, whose week had a devastating end, but his wallowing and grief felt well done and believable but it was a lovely touch and a welcome change of pace to have him look after Seb and continue to explore his role as a parent. As the Cain and Moira dramas and Aaron’s heartbreak continue in the coming weeks we are bound to see more of these great performances soon.

Dingle Chaos

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h55m20s330Mandy was forced to come clean about her shady dealings this week as her and Vinny faced the infamous Dingle Court. Caught red-handed trying to steal Lydia’s money, Sam came down hard with the Dingle law and the family gathered to hear her case. Even if the whole Dingle Code stuff has been overdone, there’s always something entertaining about classic Dingle capers. It was a great twist to have Charity secretly involved (if only that had been left out of spoilers!) and fun to have her in the thick of a family scheme again. It’s still not completely clear the point of Vinny not being Mandy’s son (and why it matters) or if there are any more longer term plans for them, but her story is at least an amusing relief from the heavier stories in a way that feels classically Emmerdale.

Drug Bust-up

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h59m21s359The drugs story took a surprising turn this week, just as the comedy element had worn thin. After Archie had an accident, Laurel found Doug’s pot stash in the first aid box, but her first worry was that it belonged to Jai. She confronted him and the two had their first real argument, as he was horrified she would accuse him and then take it easy on the real culprit, Doug. It was still frosty between them the next day with Jai unwilling to forgive her, especially when she too had struggled to fight her addictions. This was a great way to give the pot plot more purpose and saw the relationship between Laurel and Jai truly tested. They’re a great couple but it seems only right that things aren’t too easy for them and the good thing about a fight is that we’re rooting for them to make things up. These were some nicely written scenes and it’ll be interesting to see if their pasts ever cause their relationship more problems.

Fails

Oceans Emmerdale

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h55m56s762Emmerdale aren’t afraid to try something new stylistically, be it flashbacks, time shifts or even the amazing special episode dealing with Ashley’s dementia. But this week’s flashbacks were somewhat divisive with viewers. As Mandy told the Dingles about her casino scheme, including the arrival of “Red” (aka the fabulously dressed Charity Dingle), the audience saw a glossy Hustle-style sequence of scenes. I’m on the fence about these scenes, they were fun and made the telling of the casino plot more interesting, but I’m not sure it felt very “Emmerdale”. To me, if felt more like those comedy spin-off VHS tapes Emmerdale used to make and the style of it jarred a little, but was it alright as a one off? This is one thing I’m undecided about…

Pantomime Posturing

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h58m09s196With Kim, we can all take a bit of the high-camp panto villain, but this week, as she and Graham snarled and gurned at each other, it struck me that their dynamic at the moment is tonally an odd fit with the rest of the show. There’s always a place for different types of characters and dynamics, but alongside the brutal break up between Cain and Moira, and the emotional end of Robron, Kim and Graham’s cartoonish dramatics felt almost like they belonged in a different show. There are only so many backstories and convoluted histories we can hold in our heads all at once but Kim and Graham’s “I will destroy you!!” speeches lacked the grounding and authenticity that other characters in the show have. It was only when Kim shed tears and we started to see her as more human again that the story gained interest. The problem with the Home Farm lot is the ever-shifting backstories and that confusing lack of consistency makes it hard to care what’s happening in the present. To really care about these big moments of camp villainy and revenge, we need a real grip on who these characters are and the first obstacle is making them feel like “real” people.

Fave or Fail? (14-18 Oct 2019)

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! It was a life-changing week for Aaron and Robert as Victoria’s rapist died and Faith suspected Pete and Moira of having an affair.

Faves

Rob-run

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h02m18s069Robert’s rollercoaster exit storyline ramped up a gear this week as we draw ever closer to the end. This week saw Robert and Aaron attempting to flee the country when they learnt Lee had died in hospital and Robert faced a murder charge. Unwilling to be parted from each other, Robron made a desperate attempt to stay hidden, but that meant some painful goodbyes. Seeing how difficult the situation was for Aaron and knowing their future would forever be blighted by this chain of events Robert made the ultimate sacrifice and handed himself into the police. This was a brilliant bit of character growth after five years spent with this incarnation of Robert, but one that came at a huge price. Before Robert put his love for Aaron over everything else, the two hid in the woods, fantasising about their future in France, but as Robert kissed him goodbye, giving him the promise of loving him always and the best life, we could all see what was coming. All of us except Aaron. And the beauty of it was in the absolute tragedy. The storyline this week was Emmerdale at its best – an exciting, tense story with huge performances and an emotional core viewers are deeply invested in.

Painful Parting

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h02m43s293The aftermath of Robert’s arrest was just as compelling as the event itself with lonely Aaron and Robert torn apart. With their impossible situation pushing them both to breaking point, Aaron lashed out at those around him in satisfying scenes that felt fitting to the high stakes of the day before. When Aaron finally got to speak to his husband he was overcome with emotion and once again Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley managed to convey so much of their characters’ history and pain, even down a phone. Having watched their love story play out for years, their tragic separation carries a big emotional weight, and while it’s a painful resolution for the characters to suffer through, it’s one being executed so well it’s impossible not to be moved. Their relationship has been at the heart of Emmerdale for so long now that it’s going to be difficult to imagine it without them.

Twists and Turns

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-11h58m35s152One of the best parts of this exciting week was the element of surprise, with each episode in Robert’s storyline bringing a new twist. The only spoilers released for the week covered Aaron and Robert’s initial escape after Lee’s death, but after that, viewers were in the dark. This spoiler lockdown meant we had no idea what was in store, how or even if they’d be caught. Mandy’s involvement came out of the blue, moments after a siren sound had Robron panicking. Then there was Liv’s arrival, Paddy’s sat-nav landing them in it, and of course, Robert’s heartbreaking sacrifice. Then, just as you’d expect the aftermath to take a straight-forward direction, Friday’s episode ended with Aaron shocking us all, ringing a secret contact to help break Robert out of prison. It’s been a while since Emmerdale has had a story this compelling, where the next episode is must-see, but it’s really felt like that this week. Let’s hope they can carry on with this momentum!

A Bit of Happiness?

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h01m22s976Vic had another chance meeting with cute hospital café worker, Luke, this week. While there’s plenty of speculation that Luke might be super shady, I can’t be the only one hoping he’s the real deal? Luke seems like a sweet, relaxed guy and that kind of connection could be exactly what she needs. It’s understandable she wouldn’t be in any rush to take a chance on a relationship, but here’s hoping Emmerdale do something with them and this wasn’t just a way to keep her around the hospital. With Ellis gone, Adam gone and the Matty romance seemingly abandoned, Luke could have real potential for her happy ever after.

Bonus Fave:

  • In a shock twist – shout out to Pete Barton this week for being the most switched on and relatable character in this Moira/Nate travesty. His home truths to Moira were spot on.

Fails

Slow Down

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h03m40s992Hey Emmerdale, what’s the rush? Long-term couples might be thin on the ground right now, particularly with two big fan favourite couples about to end, but why do Emmerdale keep rushing to get new pairings together. Surely everyone loves to watch a beautiful slow burn love story unfold over months? When the chemistry works and there’s tension bubbling away, there’s nothing better than waiting (impatiently) for a couple to realise their feelings, but lately Emmerdale has skipped all this good stuff and often that means investment is low then. Recently we’ve had Will and Harriet whose lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers story could have sizzled for months, but instead they’re already settled and cosy before we care. Then Jai and Laurel who admittedly do have the cutest chemistry and had a little while to grow into their feelings, but have now almost become one big family already. Now we have Rhona and Graham who, after weeks of weird off screen flirting, have now escalated thanks to another shoe-horned Graham backstory addition about his brother. Fans seem to be on side with their connection so why not let it take time to blossom? Rhona’s barely out of a serious relationship and Graham’s still a bit of an empty vessel. What would be the harm in making the audience wait? Tension, pining, crossed wires – it’s about time we had a new romance to really root for.

Losing Laughs

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h04m36s153When the drug plot began and we saw unlikely pot smoker Doug get stoned, it was amusing. Seeing straight-laced characters do something a bit naughty has the capacity for humour, but now – hasn’t it just gone on too long? The pot plot didn’t need to be a long running mystery with various characters getting high, it would have been funnier to keep the joke short and sweet. Now it’s wearing thin. This week after Jimmy tucked into some hash cakes, he got high as a kite and then vomited while Nicola was trying to impress someone from the council. It might be the usual sort of Jimmy and Nicola story but by now, the drug story has pretty much run its course, unless we’re going to see everyone get in on the action. Jimmy and Nicola are regularly comedy gold, but they deserve something better than this.

Fave or Fail? (30 Sep-4 Oct 2019)

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! Kerry’s lies were uncovered this week and Pete learnt that Moira was cheating with Nate.

Faves

The Secret is Out

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h59m57s179It was the moment we were all waiting for this week as Tracy discovered that Kerry and Amy were behind her dad’s death. With Kerry’s guilt worsening, she was a mess trying to stay together, but as the pieces of the puzzle starting slotting together, Tracy’s suspicions were high. It was a really satisfying scene to see Tracy raid Kerry’s room for evidence and even more so when she’d worked out that the lies had been building for months. As the two had a showdown in Tug Ghyll, both Amy Walsh and Laura Norton played the bristling tension perfectly. When Amy arrived it was two against one as they tried to calm Tracy down, but if you were anything like me you were just screaming for Tracy to run out of the house and call the police. What actually transpired was something far messier, making the situation more complicated, as Tracy shoved Kerry who then hit her head and fell unconscious. While it does shift the “victim” of the story – somewhat frustrating when Kerry and Amy have been so unlikeable at times – the moral dilemmas it raised made the scenes take an interesting turn. Once again Amy Walsh in particular proves what a strong actress she is and this is sure to continue through the aftermath.

Countryside Dramas

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h58m36s771There was something really “Classic Emmerdale” about the salmonella plot that I really enjoyed. Granted we’d only seen Derek twice so his death was meaningless but I loved the way this story tied together so many characters in a different way and had an interesting farming angle. As David suffered with food poisoning, him and Jacob attempted to rebuild their relationship, meanwhile accusations were thrown at Rishi, who in the light of his factory troubles was even more desperate for things to be okay. Then of course there was Sam and his poor chickens! This storyline also gave us a new light on Manpreet, who stole from her deceased patient to make a significant sum and then tried to bribe the man from environmental health. These glimmers that there are much more to her than meets the eye are great! This storyline might not bring in award nominations but it’s the everyday community, countryside story that Emmerdale should be doing, playing up to its USP and giving us some surprising interactions as well as building on pre-existing tensions.

Wedding Wars

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m53s340This week saw the beginning of a new genius comedy storyline as Bernice and Liam competed against Sam and Lydia to win their dream wedding. With Andrea and Leyla now working together at Take A Vow we could be seeing the start of ambitious trouble between them and it was very welcome to see Andrea outside of the stifling Home Farm environment. But the main joy of this storyline is seeing the polar opposite couples of Bernice/Liam and Sam/Lydia try and out do each other. From their colourful marital histories, with Sam’s bluntness versus Bernice’s bitchiness, this is the perfect comedic story. It definitely helps that both couples are so right for each other and we’ve been waiting for them to get married for ages! Can’t wait to see how the competition escalates and how far Bernice (let’s face it, it’s going to be her!) goes to win!

Family Bonding

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h55m07s176Archie just might have stolen the top spot of cutest kid in Emmerdale this week as Jai had a breakthrough with his estranged son and Archie spoke for the first time. After seeking Lydia’s help with grief counselling – a nice reminder of Lydia’s origins in the show – it was adorable Arthur who managed to help get Archie talking again. It’s been nice to see Jai have a more emotional story lately and now he’s partnered up with Laurel they’ve become a lovely new family unit. Arthur and Archie’s budding friendship is heart-warming too and has really helped to make the Thomas-Sharma bonds even stronger. I hope this isn’t the end of Archie’s problems after his mother’s death because I think it’s helped to give Jai more to do than just factory drama and it looks like we’re seeing Arthur hanker after a father figure so that could be interesting to explore too.

Fail

Disbelief and Blame

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m36s579After the brilliant Tracy and Kerry reveal, Friday’s episode took a bit of a surprising turn. With Tracy almost numb with shock it felt pretty unbelievable that Vanessa and Charity would be so disbelieving of her. Sure, Tracy might have accused Dawn a few weeks ago, but this reaction from them felt harsh, especially when they too had witnessed Kerry’s weird behaviour. In fact Vanessa and Charity seemed far more concerned about Kerry’s accident than what Tracy was going through. It might be believable that they’d have little patience for Tracy after her grief made her react badly recently, but their anger and disbelief seemed really misplaced, especially from the usually cynical and switched on Charity. With Kerry in hospital and now looking more of a victim than Tracy, the balance felt a little unsatisfying – we needed people who were more Team Tracy! The accident twist makes the aftermath a lot messier but I hope it doesn’t make for an unsatisfying conclusion.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 Sep 2019)

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 Jessie leave the village, Aaron and Robert had a revenge mission in mind.

Faves

Jai’s New Challenge

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Jai had a big shock this week when Dan turned up on his doorstep with Jai’s estranged son Archie and learned Rachel had died suddenly. That family don’t have much luck with Ruby, Ali and now Ali’s sister Rachel all dying, the latter two off screen. Admittedly it’s a lazy move to kill off female characters to give male characters some angst, but no one is really going to be missing Rachel in a hurry and with Jai shaping up to be a great character since they ditched the villainy and made him more human, this seems like a good move story-wise. Jai opened up to Laurel about his absence in Archie’s life in exposition heavy but well written and performed scenes and Jai has since really struggled to connect to or talk to his son in any way. Laurel seems like she’ll be the perfect rock for him as she too struggled with addiction and her children experienced the loss of a parent. This also gave another opportunity to unite the families, as Arthur stepped in to try and make Archie feel at home. Who could believe Jai would become one of Emmerdale’s strongest characters at the moment, but it goes to show how a change in direction and a new relationship can do wonders. I hope Emmerdale doesn’t make Jai and Archie’s relationship too easy to fix but I’m looking forward to seeing more of Laurel becoming a key figure in Jai’s life. They could really go the distance.

Robron’s Revenge

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h07m52s318It made a surprising change for Aaron and Robert to have some fun this week in stories which actually gave them a win. First they helped Marlon against Al by stealing his vintage car and presenting it to Marlon as a gift – to smash! After this fun deviation from their intense and sad plot leading to Robert’s exit, they also got involved in Mandy’s shady behaviour. Mandy’s return so far hasn’t had the fun and vivacity her earlier stint gave, this time round we’re seeing a meaner, harder version, but she’s still managed to give a new kick to the Dingles. Having learnt she was scrounging off the family, despite having a load of stolen casino chips, Aaron decided to teach her a lesson, by stealing the money back from her and making her believe he’d burnt the cash. It was all a ploy, cooked up by Aaron and reminiscent of the time where Robert had burned a briefcase full of cash to prove his love. This time Robron were laughing, throwing money around before eventually, of course, having sex on it. Mandy was less than pleased to learn they were keeping the cash and using it to make their own family comfortable while Robert’s in prison, but Mandy isn’t keen on letting it lie and there seems much more to this money problem. While it would have been good to see slightly more build up to the rivalry between Mandy and Aaron the revenge stories this week were good fun and gave the actors a chance to do something besides wallow in the tense and devastating impact of Robert’s imprisonment.

Sarah Worries About the Future

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h08m42s873We saw Sarah’s rebellious streak this week as Charity’s chicken pox gave her an excuse to skip school again and hang around with new friend Danny. After being caught bunking, Charity and Vanessa attempted to ground her, but Sarah had bigger things to worry about. Slightly smitten by Danny, Sarah argued with Charity that her short life expectancy means she’s unlikely to live to have the full experiences of an average adult and she worried that she would miss out on things her peers take for granted. Sympathetic to this Charity found a way to reunite her with Danny and all was well. I hope this isn’t a short flash of a storyline because it’s an interesting and heart-breaking struggle other teens and young people go through. Actress Katie Hill also does a great job with this kind of material and even while Debbie’s away there’s still plenty of time for Emmerdale to explore this storyline with Sarah and Granny Charity.

Jessie’s Farewell

Emmerdale - Jessie Leaves Emmerdale to Teach in Dubai - YouTubeJessie left this week on a downbeat note with her life in tatters, her marriage over for good. On the bright side she did have a brand new job to start in Dubai! Nevertheless she left Emmerdale in tears, leaving Marlon and April behind in some really nicely written and acted scenes. Although Marlon and Jessie’s marriage never really became beloved by the audience, the breakdown of their relationship over the last fortnight has been well done with great performances from Sandra Marvin, Mark Charnock and Amelia Flanagan. Initially Jessie tried to fight for their relationship, but both her and Marlon knew it was truly over and had to break it to April, who of course had seen many a failed relationship with her dad. Al too has been a great thorn in the side of their relationship as well as making Marlon’s life a misery. He’s been an enjoyable manipulative antagonist to watch, without a pantomime edge that some soap villains have. Despite Jessie’s exit to Dubai being fairly swift, it actually made for an enjoyable storyline, with its emotional centre.

Fails

It Was Only a Kiss

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h08m53s000This week Bear and Faith seemed to be stuck in a storyline from weeks ago as Bear tried to get to the bottom of what was happening with Faith and Zak in the cellar – something that happened over a month ago. Of course this is because it’s building to the secret being revealed to Belle and hopefully some decent material for her (Belle’s screen time and grieving since Lisa’s death has been really lacking) but its focus this week seemed a little excessive. The kiss meant nothing, it didn’t go anywhere and Zak and Faith haven’t even been seen together since, so to revisit the story this many weeks later felt clunky. Add to this that Bear hasn’t quite been taken to the hearts of viewers and Faith isn’t at her most enjoyable at the moment, and it was a bit of a meh moment this week.

Scene of the Week (22-26 July 2019)

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This was an unexpectedly nice scene in the middle of the week as Arthur confronted Jai about his new relationship with Laurel. Sensitive Arthur hated the Bob and Laurel debacle almost as much as the rest of us so Laurel expressed how difficult it was to break the news about her new romance. Arthur then took himself off to Holdgate Farm to ask Jai some questions about his romantic history and warn Jai not to upset Laurel. Jai reassured Arthur and the pair reached an agreement – so long as Jai provided free chocolate to Arthur every time he saw Laurel! When relationship hopping and marriage breakdowns are commonplace in Emmerdale, the kids often get overlooked but it’s good Emmerdale are continuing to show the impact of these big changes on the children. Alfie Clarke is a great actor who we haven’t seen much of lately so it was nice to have a reminder of how good he is in these small scenes. During his marriage to Charity, Jai’s scenes with Noah were nicely portrayed so it will be interesting to see how much Jai will be involved in the lives of Laurel’s children.

Fave or Fail? (24-28 June 2019)

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! A bit of a lacklustre week that saw Jessie shot, a cameo from Chris Kamara and a misguided proposal from Pete to Rhona (end it already!).

Faves

Happiness in Hard Times

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h09m16s635Will Jai and Laurel’s budding romance be my favourite part of every week in Emmerdale from now on? Very possibly. In a week where several stories centred around new characters it was nice to take comfort in the joy of those familiar to us. Laurel and Jai’s smiles are infectious. This week as they tried to keep their new romance a secret they snuck around giggling like teenagers arranging secret dates and Jai putting on his stern voice in case anyone was listening. You can tell the actors are having a lot of fun with it and it’s endearing to watch, especially to see a happy, fun story in amongst the sadder tales.

A Little Star

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h11m32s537The best performance in the siege scenes came from young Amelia Flanagan, who made April’s fear so believable. As soon as the focus was on April, the scenes became a lot more intense, her bravery and terror so raw that we were drawn into the moment with her. Perhaps her stand out moment, besides her escape was the moment she confidently faced Max and told him she wasn’t afraid because her mummy was a police officer. That was a great moment and one that would have made Donna very proud.

Priya’s Problem?

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h09m45s802Friday’s episode gave us some very surprising and intriguing scenes as Priya struggled at both home and work with a secret. We’re in the dark about what this could be yet with her taking some deep breaths and looking far away in thought. Could this be the aftershocks of Jacob and Maya playing on her mind, a return to her struggles with food or something else? Priya is one of the show’s most underappreciated characters with Fiona Wade a great actress, especially when it comes to the serious stuff.

Shared Stories

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h07m12s223This week a hopeful Dawn took the first steps in seeing her son Lucas as she had a supervised visit through social services. It wasn’t as straightforward or as successful as she first hoped but after a surprising tough-love pep talk from Amy, Dawn’s mood was lifted. It always makes a good scene when unusual character pairings find common ground, sharing histories and experience through storylines past and present and this was no exception. It could be interesting to see what kind of friendship these two could forge!

Fails

Bear With It?

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h14m08s087I’m in a quandary when it comes to Bear. I think Joshua Richards does a good job and when the story has been more about him and Paddy finding common ground I’ve liked it. I also think there’s a place for older characters in Emmerdale, something which has become less of a focus in recent years. However, this week made me question his inclusion in the village in terms of what he brings out in other characters. Did anyone ever feel Paddy needed a father figure at this stage in his life – surely Zak could’ve done the job? I’ve made no secret of the fact Paddy’s at his most irritating and unlikeable for me when he’s the bumbling buffoon and rather than the endearing idiot, he’s a pain in the arse. So this week saw Paddy sulk about a bit and regress to a child seeking his estranged dad’s approval and I wasn’t a fan. Bear isn’t exactly charming or funny, he’s a bit of a letch and seems to act as if he’s been in the village for years. This week’s community football match which had potential to be fun but the focus on Bear was a bit of a bore. Then there’s his budding relationship with Faith (and to swap the wonderfully charming Faith/Eric relationship for Faith/Bear seems a real misstep) and he’s only brought out the worst in her personality too. The two of them together is an overload of selfishness and bratty entitlement and the plot with the baby scan seemed oddly meanspirited.

Sieges and Sympathy

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h13m44s278I tend to think Emmerdale should leave gun showdowns to big characters as a climax to long running storylines, rather than centring high octane moments to fairly one-dimensional characters like Max, so I can’t say I was ever particularly excited by a siege at Tall Trees. One of the problems with this story hinges on Billy and, again, Emmerdale’s habit of relying on heavy and convoluted backstory to carry their new characters (see Graham for more examples). Billy’s complex backstory is a worthy one but the execution has been muddled and frankly, a bit dull. Even his history was Aaron was dropped and ignored in a way that feels like Emmerdale regretted introducing him in such a way. So too has his relationship with Ellis and Jessie been muddled, both seeming to go in circles and never elevating into something fresh and engaging for the characters. Ellis and Billy’s rivalry began as something so intriguing and promising and has since devolved into a merry-go-round. It’s hard to invest. This week should have been pivotal for Billy’s character but beginning this change with Max, a rather soulless guest character, and an overblown situation with hostages and armed police was strangely devoid of any sort of tension or atmosphere. Then when Billy finally admitted to Jessie that he did in fact do the crime he was convicted of, the explanation was so overloaded with a history and characters we’ve never seen, that this pivotal moment lacked any sort of resonance. I don’t think Emmerdale needs to lose its complex intentions with Billy, he can still do the wrong thing for good reasons, but we need to see these actions to help us empathise.

The Woolie Weekly is taking a two week summer break. Blog posts will resume on Sunday 21st July.

 

Fave or Fail? (17-21 June 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week saw Maya face a year in prison and Pete cheated on Rhona.

Faves

Sweet Romance

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-11h55m14s996Between the dark and the sad plots, sometimes exactly what we need is something sweet and heart-warming and we had that in buckets this week as Jai and Laurel gave into their feelings. I’d have been happy to watch an even slower burn of this pair falling for each other, but their tension and unresolved feelings this week were really satisfying to watch, especially when they finally kissed. With Nicola trying to set Laurel up on a test date to up her game, we were treated to hilarious scenes with Jimmy and Laurel on a practice date after a case of mistaken identity, then in true rom-com style it was miscommunication after miscommunication as Jai and Laurel kept missing out on that elusive date. From stuttering doubts, to hints about a romantic date, all these two needed to do was talk! Even the day after their kiss things were weird between them, but thankfully their smitten smiles and Jai calling Laurel “amazing” seemed to seal a happy fate. Despite these two feeling very unexpected as a couple, it works, and the writing has kept it both awkward and endearing. Couples we can root for are the backbone of soap, so I hope Emmerdale know what a good thing they’ve got in Jai and Laurel and don’t rush it or ruin it anytime soon.

Sugden Split

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-11h56m20s214Siblings Victoria and Robert were at odds again this week after Victoria discovered that Robert and Aaron had gone to see Lee and had been fly-tipping with posters of his face, saying the word ‘rapist’. Once the police came knocking blaming her, Victoria wanted to wash her hands of Robert, furious that his revenge was making it harder for her move on. Struggling to cope with the thought of letting down his sister, Robert and Victoria eventually reconciled at their dad’s graveside. This week’s scenes were well balanced, giving time to explore both of the siblings’ emotions and showcased tender and believable moments between the pair. Actors Isabel Hodgins and Ryan Hawley continue to have a lovely rapport onscreen and in the run up to Ryan’s exit, it’s been fitting to explore their family relationship in this depth before we lose another Sugden.

Family Impact

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-12h01m08s369One of the strongest aspects of the Jacob and Maya storyline, besides Louisa Clein’s fantastic performances, has been Emmerdale showing the impact of her abuse on both Jacob and David, and their relationship. This week Emmerdale took the surprising decision to have David attend a counselling session to talk about his complex feelings about what Maya had done. Much like the immediate aftermath of David learning about what Maya did, David’s response has been one of conflicting emotions, guilt, blame, pain and all the rest and that feels like an authentic reaction in situations like this. Currently Jacob isn’t the position to believe counselling is right for him, but in time hopefully Emmerdale will show a multi-layered response to Jacob’s future, with family, friends, therapists and social workers involved.

Fails

Maya Meets Her Fate

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-12h02m05s682After months of their most controversial and important storyline playing out, Emmerdale’s Maya finally faced the courts and exited from the show. Due to Maya facing a lesser charge than the one she actually committed, Emmerdale had to walk a fine line between realism and a satisfying narrative conclusion. Unfortunately, while Maya’s charge rang true to her convicted crime, after watching her manipulations and twisted grooming of Jacob, a twelve month sentence felt like an unsatisfying conclusion to the story we watched. While Emmerdale’s focus on aftermath has concentrated on Jacob and Maya, there’s been an anti-climatic aftermath when it comes to the rest of the community. A local teacher grooming a pupil should be huge, but it’s lacked any wider impact and sadly that’s left the conclusion feeling not only a little flat but repetitive. Rather than extend the story by asking questions about how Maya’s behaviour has impacted Jessie, Liam, Leanna and the other teens, even Maya’s mum who has been mentioned, we’ve only seen the same cyclical rows between Jacob and David. There are only so many times Jacob can scream and shout “I love Maya!” before it becomes a bit tiresome to watch. Emmerdale has a long history of taking a really important story and handling it with care and elements of the Maya and Jacob story have been fantastic, but since the Big Night Out episodes, it’s loss its way, sadly leaving us with a rather flat conclusion.

Signs of Trouble?

vlcsnap-2019-06-23-12h03m26s743Nate continued his lothario ways this week and got a soaking in the pub, but eventually got on the right side of Amy when he rescued Kyle from danger. Foolishly Amy, Nate and Moira decided to keep Amy’s lax parenting a secret from Cain and we could all guess how he’d react when he found out! This turn of events, leading to a rift between Cain and Moira and turning Nate’s reputation around all felt a bit predictable and yet formed a significant part of this week’s storylines. Amy and Nate dominated scenes (still failing to see what his appeal is!) and not only is their romance low on chemistry, but it seems Nate actually has his sights on Moira instead. Whether his intentions are purely sexual, or if there’s something else at play here, remains to be seen but the idea of Cain and Moira splitting over this isn’t a pleasant prospect. Nate’s interest in Moira was delivered in heavy-handed and lingering shots of hands touching and despite Cain and Moira’s marriage being on rocky ground recently, does any Emmerdale fan have the appetite to watch them split for someone as charmless at Nate? Not only do Natalie Robb and Jeff Hordley have some of the best chemistry on the show, they’re beloved by viewers too. It doesn’t feel like that long ago since Coira were split for months and with Zak and Lisa gone, Robron on their way out, the last thing we need is another fan-favourite pair separated. If Nate does come between them, then let’s hope there’s a bigger story at play here and not just Moira getting down and dirty with the farmhand. Been there, done that.

Scene of the Week (17-21 June 2019)

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Who could predict that by the middle of 2019 we’d been championing Jai and Laurel as the next big couple of the Dales? This week saw them awkward around each other before finally giving into a big snog. Hurray! A flustered and frustrated Laurel went to find Jai in his office and well, pounced! After more uncertain awkwardness, Jai was all too glad to kiss her right back. This was an adorable rom-com moment that felt so earned after all that miscommunication and edging around each other in shy and hesitant signs of attraction. Who doesn’t love that big kiss moment? This was a great scene!