Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. This fortnight saw a return to regular episodes with social distancing measures in place as Jamie’s hunt for Andrea turned deadly.
Moira’s Mojo Returns
Emmerdale was back properly this fortnight and returning to the village was like sinking into a hot bath – lovely. While the timeline and the social distancing measures made things a bit weird, it was nice to revisit some of our favourite characters and see life cracking on in the village. One villager I was glad to see again and who I found a new appreciation for was Moira. She was victim to a terrible story last year but having not seen her on screen for a while and then her being a big part of the fortnight’s episodes I remembered what a great part of Emmerdale she is. From the farming story with Rhona, her chemistry with Cain, to getting her mojo back and giving Malone a feisty talking to, Moira’s an all round great character and it feels good to see all sides of her again, hopefully meaning whatever last year was about can be forgotten!
The Jamie Andrea saga is a bit of a mixed bag. Andrea’s revenge plan seems to have made her into a desperate simpering character rather someone who had the potential to be a bit more ruthless, and Jamie’s a bit pathetic full stop. Nevertheless things picked up in recent episodes as Jamie’s involvement in the hit and run could signal some interesting developments. Some of the most successful soap stories bring together multiple story threads and characters and this could be one of them. With Jamie vulnerable at rock bottom, Andrea’s already started using this to her advantage so it will be interesting to see how far she goes. This story could also see Cain and Moira growing closer after his distress at her state in hospital. And with Harriet thinking Malone’s involved, could this push that story to a conclusion too? Here’s hoping Jamie’s cowardly act might liven up these individual stories!
Leanna had a very sudden change of heart this week as she decided to make amends with Leyla and even match make her back with Liam. This was a strange direction considering pre-lockdown she was adamant that Leyla and Liam couldn’t be together. But this fortnight seemed to suggest a big part of that was her fondness for Jacob and it looks like the two of them are embarking on a tentative romance. Jacob deserves some happiness and the two seem rather sweet together, even if it has made Gabby a bit of a third wheel. The teen group (absent Liv included) are a watchable bunch these days and it was a welcome development to see them happier, matchmaking rather than meddling.
A Desperate Woman
One disappointment of our return to Emmerdale was Andrea. Having left us on lockdown with cliffhanger wondering what her plan was, Andrea’s plan just seemed to be faffing about at a hotel for a bit. Was it for the breakfast buffet?! When Leyla tracked her down she suggested to Andrea that it was still worth giving things a go with Jamie, but Andrea got back to the village only to find Jamie and Belle as smitten as ever. First of all, it seemed completely unbelievable for Leyla to encourage Andrea back with Jamie after his cheating but Andrea’s reaction herself was a complete let down. Her plan to expose the affair was fun and devious and while her begging Jamie back afterwards was desperate, her escape plan at least hinted she might turn the tables on him. But this fortnight she just came across weak willed and desperate – it would have been much better if her real motive was a desire to make Jamie suffer. I’m hoping that if she blackmails him over his hitting Moira with the car, her motives might have a more villainous edge rather than a pathetic and desperate woman who wants her husband back regardless of what he’s done.
A benefit of the new social distanced filming means that we’re spared seeing clinches we’re already tired of, so there was no kissing for the grating Bob and Wendy pairing and Harriet and Malone’s affair has been reduced to strops and loud conversations about her guilt. The Malone story as a whole seems to have gone down like a lead balloon, but it’s the Harriet affair element that is probably the most frustrating. For fans of Harriet it’s been maddening to see her compromise her strong sense of self and principles just for the sake of a vestry quickie. When she knows what Malone has done, her attraction to him seems completely unbelievable. It’s one thing to throw away her family but another to keep going back to a man so twisted. Despite the script telling us so, Harriet seems less conflicted and more repulsed, which makes her apparent desire for him even more unbelievable. Even when she was trying to justify it to Moira, it rang completely hollow. Does she even like him, let alone fancy him? It’s a hard sell, one that makes the whole Malone saga even harder to invest in.