Fave or Fail? (23-27 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 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? (24-28 Feb 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! 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.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2019 – Part One (#20-11)

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In a year that saw big exits, shock deaths and the end of Emmerdale’s two biggest couples, 2019 had lots of surprising moments. Here is my own look back at Emmerdale’s Best Bits of the year, starting with numbers 20 to 11. Come back tomorrow to see my Top 10 and a countdown of the year’s lowlights too. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!

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20 – Nicola’s Rise and Fall

Way back at the beginning of 2019, Nicola and Robert put their efforts into scamming Home Farm out of shed loads of cash. After that backfired, Nicola had a lot of making up to do with both her husband and the villagers she’d betrayed. Nicola’s acid tongue doesn’t always earn her many friends or fans, but there were some fun comedy moments in this story (like when she took Bernice hostage) and touching family moments too. The year got better for her when she got selected for the council – in a role completely perfect for her character – and we got to see her back on top. Nicola and Jimmy continue to be one of Emmerdale’s best and most believable partnerships and here’s hoping they both get good material in 2020.

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19 – Old School Feel

If there’s one noticeable improvement to Emmerdale this year then it’s the return to an old school feeling. Emmerdale’s USP in the soap world has always been its rural setting but in recent years that’s faded into the background. This year however there’s been a return to its roots with more farming and outdoors shots, Kim on her horses, and community events like the village panto. There’s still so much potential in exploring the dramas of a country village that I hope next year continues to make the most of the show’s unique setting.

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18 – Cain Learns the Truth

In October, an explosive secret was revealed when Cain learnt Moira had been having an affair right under his nose with farm hand Nate. It had been a challenging year for Cain, who had been bogged down in the Joe dead-or-alive storyline for months but his reaction to the Moira/Nate reveal was satisfyingly explosive. The best thing about Cain though is not just his avenging efforts (which this year ended up on a boat, implausible and outlandish and arguably too contrived for a punch-happy bloke like Cain) but his range of emotions. Cain’s pain and fury played out below his seething surface and Jeff Hordley’s performances ultimately are the reason he’s so popular. However unpopular the Moira and Nate fling was, Cain’s immediate reaction was one of the most gripping of the year.

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17 – Mandy’s Return

One of Emmerdale’s most iconic characters returned this year in the form of Mandy Dingle. Never far from chaos, Mandy’s first reappearance was far too brief but teasing enough that made viewers hope for a longer return. Later in the year she was back, scamming money from her family and revealing her part in a big casino heist and with son Vinny holding secrets of her own, there’s clearly more to come. Mandy’s return has been an injection of fun and nostalgia and she feels right at home at Wishing Well, even forming a great new bond with Lydia. It’s unclear how long she’s sticking around but there’s something comforting about her presence in the Dingles that makes me wish she’d stay for good.

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16 – Liv’s Jacob Discovery

It’s fair to say it’s been a hellish year for Jacob as he was groomed by Maya but the story as a whole was patchy. However one of the best parts of the story involved the addition of Liv, and running the Jacob plot alongside her exploration of her identity was an interesting choice. While Emmerdale haven’t put the asexual label onto Liv’s identity yet, she progressed further in the vocalisation of her feelings this year, leaning on Aaron and Robert for support. Making her the first person to discover Jacob’s relationship with Maya was a great twist making an already complex story more layered and gripping as she blackmailed the evil teacher too. Isobel Steele continues to portray Liv with real vulnerability and I hope, given the big topics thrown at her – drinking problems, asexuality, seizures – Emmerdale chooses one and gives it the focus it deserves.

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15 – Kim Finds Her Place

After Kim’s brief and divisive return in October 2018, fans were nervous about her permanent role in Emmerdale. Would it work? Would Kim be too panto? Her initial months in Emmerdale were met with apprehension. At first, bogged down with the bloated and retconned history of Graham and Joe it seemed as if Kim had been reimagined as a soulless mob wife, sending out hits and grimly trying to  blackmail Cain to sleep with her. It was an uncomfortable watch, but there were glimmers of hope. As Kim started to integrate and they dropped the Joe storyline there were signs they had plans for her beyond a cartoon villain. Eventually Home Farm reformed, and Kim reunited with son Jamie and met her granddaughter Millie and through all of this – and a friendship with Rhona – she found a heart. While the Tate household has not always been engaging to watch, Emmerdale have finally got the balance right with Kim, she’s both a great foe for the villagers but she’s more than just a campy “soap bitch”.

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14 – Manpreet Settles In

This year Manpreet moved into the village and cemented herself as a regular character by marrying Rishi and giving the Sharma family a more serious focus. Manpreet is a breezy fun character and a nice dose of the ‘everyday’ rather than someone destined for extreme behaviour. She slotted in well to the village, both with the family and with her doctor role, which isn’t always easy for new characters to do. Rebecca Sarker is a really natural actress and her issues with money gave Manpreet a depth and even a little bit of a dark side. Manpreet helped lift the Sharmas out of their comedic rut and she’s been a little gem of a character with much more to her than meets the eye. Can’t wait to see what else they do with her in 2020.

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13 – Bob’s Homelessness

Cast your mind way back to January 2019 and you might remember that Bob was at the centre of one of Emmerdale’s most emotional stories. After the end of his disastrous romance with Laurel and struggling for money, it was a bleak Christmas for Bob. By January he was sleeping rough, struggling for food and so very isolated. After Harriet found him suffering from hypothermia, Bob was hospitalised and the truth came out to friends and family. Bob’s story was sensitively told and a timely reminder of how quickly a situation like his can escalate. Unfortunately Emmerdale skimmed over the aftermath and Bob is back, full of life, in the pub. It’s nice to have him back where he belongs but this was such a strong story that it feels like a missed opportunity.

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12 – Bernice’s exit

In a year of high profile exits, Bernice’s departure was one of the most poignant. Despite the unfortunate way it was squeezed into just two episodes, it was fitting and emotional that just as Bernice’s happy ending was within her clutches, she had to sacrifice it. Bernice’s exit story gave her that moment of growth and self-reflection. Her final episodes were the perfect blend of humour and serious emotion, giving her a great send off. She was a character like no other and she’ll be sorely missed – here’s hoping for a return one day!

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11 – Tracy after Frank’s death

Tracy was my stand-out star of 2018 with Amy Walsh delivering exceptional performances during the storyline that explored her past as a sex worker and split with David. This year Tracy was dealt a massive blow when her dad Frank died in the factory explosion and Amy Walsh continued to impress as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. As the question of the real culprit remained a mystery for a while and blame fell to Frank, Tracy’s determination to find the true thieves intensified leading her finally to the satisfying showdown with Kerry. As Tracy cycled through a range of emotions it was another masterclass from the brilliant Amy Walsh. What will the next year bring for Tracy?

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 and my worst moments of Emmerdale 2019.

Fave or Fail? (16-20 Dec 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! Aaron and Cain reached low points and Liv had another seizure.

Faves

Festive Fun

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h45m56s323The Emmerdale Christmas panto continued to be the gift that kept on giving this week as Leyla’s crush on Liam intensified and Kim stepped up to be the villain of the piece. There’s so much to enjoy about this story. It has a great sense of community, from director Manpreet’s heavy hand on the script editing much to the frustration of writer Bob, to Dan and Mandy teaming up to play Liam’s horse, to Rishi stepping up – of course – to play the dame. Rather than force the laughs by us seeing just the slapstick stage performances, we’re seeing the natural humour in the preparation and practice, the bickering and disagreements. It’s also fun seeing real life actors pretending to “act”, particularly Liam’s joyously camp murder-mystery inspired performances and of course Kim’s superb stepping up as the villain. Very meta and lots of fun. More community stories in the new year please!

Dingle Breakdown

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h47m52s569Since their marriages ended, Cain and Aaron have been united in sullen moods and angry behaviour, even turning back to crime. But there was something cold and guarded about these reactions suggesting there was a lot more pain under the surface. This week saw both characters break down and open up, with Aaron trying to swallow his grief and fail to move on, and Cain admitting to Charity that he didn’t think things would pass. Rather than seeing them explode with rage or make Wendy and Nate’s lives a misery, it was a welcome change to see them both human and empathetic again as they expressed how they really felt.

Noah’s Drug Dilemma

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h55m24s465Desperate to make Sarah see sense over Danny and the drugs, Noah was at breaking point this week. Stubborn and petulant Sarah continued to risk her life trying to impress slimy Danny, but a worried Noah was trying his best to look out for her and stop her making dangerous choices. By the end of the week feeling isolated and ignored, Noah sat alone and took the pills himself. Jack Downham’s a capable young actor and it’s good to see him get some emotional material again. Noah’s often felt pushed out and neglected in his family so it will be interesting to see if this is a turning point for those around him.

Liv’s Seizure

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h47m24s299Poor Liv had another seizure this week and could be facing an epilepsy diagnosis. Isobel Steele continues to be one of Emmerdale’s best young actors and her performance of the seizure and her fear and upset afterwards was really well done. Predictably it was Wendy that came to her rescue, but thankfully the focus was on Liv’s recovery and not Wendy’s heroics. The last time Liv had a seizure, the impact was brushed under the carpet fairly quickly, the collapse used in a plot device-y way, so fingers crossed it won’t be the same this time. Friday’s episode saw her worried about looking after Eve and hopefully this is a story that won’t just be used to inject a bit of Thursday jeopardy into the family. Given what a capable actress Isobel is, it’s about time she had a big ‘issue’ story with longevity.

Fails

Dawn’s Determination

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h52m30s910With Christmas approaching, Dawn’s mind has returned back to her son Lucas. It makes sense that she would think of him over the festive period, but there’s something about this determination of hers to get custody that doesn’t sit right. We’ve seen Dawn make a big recovery from her drug problems and create a stable life, but with her son settled and happy with a foster family – is it right he should be taken from that? It feels like we should be on Dawn’s side in this story but there’s an entitlement to her attitude that seems to paint a negative light on legal guardians. In the long run, I can’t see what stories a young son would offer to her character – I think she has more potential without him.

Nate’s Pity Party

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h54m52s098The violins were out for Nate this week as he sulked around the village wondering why he wasn’t welcome. Much like the Wendy story, it seems like Emmerdale are going out of their wait to paint Nate as the victim, when the reality is, he helped cause this friction. This week Cain decided to turn Kyle against Nate in the hopes of driving his estranged son from the village. The Dingles took pity on Nate and invited him to an Xmas movie night in a tone-deaf way that seemed designed to piss Cain off even more. But – is it any wonder? Cain might be a nasty piece of work at the best of times, but who can blame him for not wanting Nate around after everything he’s done? It seems by the end of the week the Dingles might have realised that Cain won’t be forced, not when his whole life has shattered, but the idea that they would take Nate’s side anyway feels convoluted. Nate came in with a mission to destroy Cain’s life – why are we supposed to feel sorry for him?

 

Fave or Fail? (14-18 Oct 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! 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.

Scene of the Week (14-18 Oct 2019)

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In a gripping week of stand-out scenes, one of the most memorable was the gut-wrenching moment Aaron witnessed Robert’s arrest. Aaron’s heart-breaking discovery that Robert had handed himself scene was made all the more powerful by the fact the audience was in on Robert’s plan before Aaron, so when the penny dropped, the sound of the scene did too and the direction of that moment, a close up on Aaron’s horror was the perfect choice. As Aaron and Robert stared at each other across the road, grieving the inevitable end of their future, Paddy had to grab onto Aaron to stop him running through traffic to reach his husband. Aaron and his family could only watch and pull him back as Aaron dealt with his unbearable loss and sense of betrayal. After the couple’s epic five year journey to get here, this scene was like a stab through the heart, sold completely by Danny Miller’s and Ryan Hawley’s performances of pure devastation.

Fave or Fail? (2-6 Sep 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! It was Robert’s plea hearing this week and he confessed to a guilty charge, and Tracy began to suspect Dawn of the factory theft and fire.

Faves

Robert Faces the Future

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h27m00s809Robert made a huge and heart-breaking decision this week as he decided to plead guilty to his charge of GBH with intent, going against the wishes of his family. Robert was dead against his solicitor’s advice to plead guilty until his fears of a long sentence and not wanting to pile pressure on Victoria, lead him to make a last minute decision, sealing his fate. As Aaron in particular struggled to cope with the news, with all the family having lived in denial, Robert had an emotional time trying to reassure him. As Robert’s panic set in about not only his own future but the future of his loved ones, you could see the worry taking its toll. Ryan Hawley’s always given a masterclass in facial acting and this week gave him another chance to shine as Robert ran the gamut of emotions from fear, to grief, to frustration and anger. Robert’s decision put a strain on his marriage, but with Ryan and Danny Miller’s talent for Robron’s angsty moments, it was another set of scenes that prove why they’re such a popular partnership.

Jacob Struggles to Move on

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h24m15s779Hopeful and deluded David still seems to think Jacob getting over Maya is within reach, believing Jacob’s assurances week after week that he’s over her, despite having a volatile temperament and secretive behaviour. This week Jacob decided to ditch his hospitality plans and return to college, with the support of Liv and his family. In these touching glimpses of “old” Jacob we’re reminded just what a lovely and bright boy he was before Maya came along, and perhaps despite his clinging to the past, there is hope he can move past her. We’re seeing him now make good decisions and be a lot calmer and kinder, however it’s clear she’s still on his mind. With Emmerdale returning to this story regularly, I hope it means Jacob will soon be in a place where he realises what damage she did to him.

Saucy Humour

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h22m03s743As filler stories go, I am endlessly entertained by Jimmy and Nicola, probably Emmerdale’s most stable marriage, and their kinky sex life. While some prudish viewers complained about the saucy scenes, it’s obvious Nick Miles and Nicola Wheeler are having the best time with the one liners and the filthy suggestions, like their goodie bag from Hotten Horny. Even better was their disgusted children’s reactions. Their scenes were a lot of fun and they continue to be one of Emmerdale’s most underappreciated gems.

Smitten New Lovers

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h27m43s972I’m not totally sold on the idea of Dawn and Billy yet (I preferred him with Tracy if I’m honest), but her smitten attempts to ask him on a date were pretty lovely. With Harriet and Will trying to steal a moment together in their nice but dull romance rekindling, Dawn must have been in the mood for love herself. This is a much better option for her than Ryan, whose attentions had become way too possessive, and I could see them making a nice couple. Perhaps this would also give the characters something else to do besides being hangers-on to their family’s dramas.

Bonus Faves:

  • The beautiful camera work this week (director Suri Krishnamma) was absolutely stunning, showing the village off at its best
  • Andrea and Leyla working together could be great fun and the break from her dull scenes playing Jamie’s wife
  • Jai and Arthur’s catch up this week (as Arthur avoided Nicola and Jimmy’s sexploits) was lovely. Can’t wait to see them bond properly

Fails

Unbelievable Choice

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h30m58s464This week saw Vic struggle with her conscience and flip-flop between testifying (and lie) to help Robert’s ‘Not Guilty’ plea, or withdraw from testifying all together. Eventually she shakily changed her mind, but the journey to get there was muddled and at times unfortunately unrelatable. The decision ate her up, even leading her to a lovely heart to heart with Marlon, but the problem is, her dilemma didn’t seem all that convincing. It’s possible we have to put these story decisions down to Ryan Hawley’s exit from Emmerdale, but there were moments in the writing this week where Vic’s struggle felt like she was choosing her rapist over her own brother. It was particularly jarring to tell Robert she couldn’t support him when he was having a nice scene with his marital family, who were visibly upset at the thought of losing him to a long prison sentence. Would Vic have really done that? Vic’s choice was one not many people watching would probably be able to relate to and while Vic may feel lying was wrong when all she had wanted from Lee was honesty, in the dialogue her decision at times felt like she was punishing Robert for his actions. For someone as family orientated as Vic, it didn’t seem right. Ultimately her choice made Robert admit to his crimes, but rather than this story make Vic feel empowered, it felt hollow and false.

Double Whammy

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h31m44s270Two of Emmerdale’s least popular storylines teamed up this week as Kerry discovered Nate’s affair with Moira and blackmailed him over his knowledge of the factory fire. Although these stories are still the two plots many viewers are tired of, Kerry having the upper hand did elevate things slightly, if only for her sarcastic digs at Moira. The crossover did mean an excess of screen time for the characters involved so those of us already feeling like it’s been Kerry and Nate-dale for a while, had a double dose. Seriously, it was like Nate popped up in every scene at the start of the week. On the plus side, Kerry and Amy took a welcome trip away from the drama so that at least means a little break from that story for a while. Sadly, Moira and Nate are still around and while Cain’s away, expect more boring bonking and on/off flippancy. Yawn. Hurry up and discover the truth please Cain.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Aug 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! Megan left the village after one final showdown with Charity and Robert confessed to his family that he’s facing a worse charge. 

Faves

Megan’s Last Stand

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h49m17s092It was Megan’s last week in Emmerdale (a decision she made on Monday and implemented on Tuesday, no less) but she made a big impression before she left. Grieving and guilty, Megan was given the engagement ring Frank had meant for her by Tracy and this changed her whole perspective. After a great scene in which she tore everyone to shreds for rushing to scapegoat Frank, Megan made the extreme decision that the village was no longer the place she wanted to call home. And who can blame her? Son dead, partner dead, villainous brother on the run. She hasn’t had a great old time of it. Megan’s been pretty wasted as a character but it was good to see Gaynor get to sink her teeth into some big performances before she left. Her show-down with Charity was a real highlight and I only wish they’d kept up their rivalry a little more in recent years. She might have had a disappointing exit, but at least her run ended on some great performances. Bye Megan!

Partners in Crime

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h49m45s340To the surprise of few, Al was revealed to be Kim Tate’s new business partner this week and that sets us up with all kinds of potential. Al has all the charm and underlying darkness of a great villain and I loved how sneakily condescending he was this week, particularly to Marlon. He seems like a cunning sort of bad guy, perfectly suited to subtle ways of getting under people’s skin. His partnership with Kim could be great – hey, he even managed to make Graham marginally interesting! It’s early days with the Sharma take over but I’m intrigued to see what ambitions the pair have – Kim’s been crying out for an equally ruthless partner in crime and it looks like she might finally have it!

Sister Setbacks

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h52m36s381In the week that saw Robert confess to his family that he could be facing a bigger sentence, they had other things to stress over. While the fall out of Robert’s revelation didn’t have the impact it needed (see below), both Liv and Vic had big moments of their own this week. With previous issues of alcoholism and struggles with her sexuality, you’d think the writers might chose to revisit one of those again rather than give Liv a new problem, nevertheless Isobel Steele’s performance of a seizure was well acted. Time will tell if this is just a device to draw her and Jacob back together and give Aaron a reason to stay in Emmerdale, but it would be a worthwhile issue to explore if dealt with properly. Similarly this week Vic’s PTSD was revisited in the hospital. Vic’s storyline has careered off the tracks lately and Vic’s perspective and trauma was lost, but revisiting her struggles this way was a good way to show the real lasting impacts of the assault. And it avoided any circular arguments with Robert, or a visit from Wendy or a threat from Lee – hooray. If only we could have more of these kinds of moments for Victoria, her story might be stronger. However it was good to see both Vic and Liv share a moment together this week, acknowledging their similarities and their protective brothers.

Bonus faves:

  • It does feel strange having The Woolpack in the village hall but it’s also given it a freshness. Not only has it been nice to see more outdoor scenes but it’s also seen a change in bar staff. Dawn made a great addition this week, getting on Charity’s nerves
  • Speaking of Charity, she was on top form this week. The pub wars with Brenda and “pot gate” has been a fun watch.

Fails

Bonus fails

  • Megan was in Emmerdale for seven years but hers was a really lacklustre ending for a character who had been around for so long. Not only did she pack up and leave within the space of one episode, giving Jai a rushed goodbye with Eliza (not quite believable) but she hardly had anyone to say goodbye to. Apart from Jai, Frank’s daughters and business partner Leyla (who had been an enemy for a while) it really highlighted how isolated Megan had become.
  • Robron was Robrushed this week as Robert’s life-changing revelation that he might face life in prison passed without much of a reaction. By Thursday Liv’s illness took precedent and that seemed like a real wasted opportunity when Emmerdale had made a big deal of how Robert was terrified of telling Aaron and pressing on with decisions about having a baby. They might be saving the big reactions for later, but in a week dominating by exhausting and repetitive plots, this story deserved more depth and prominence in the immediate aftermath.

I Feel Terrible

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h52m52s484If Amy says “I feel terrible” one more time, we might have to turn it into a drinking game. She might be the more guilty of the pair, but her and Kerry’s behaviour is wearing thin. Rather than be on tenterhooks about whether they’ll crack, the two’s guilt barely feels genuine and they seem to be conducting the same conversations over and over. It didn’t get much better as Amy turned to Nate this week (a character who does not need any more screentime!) in some snooze worthy scenes. Perhaps Emmerdale thinks the longer it spends focusing on Amy and Kerry, the more we’ll feel for them, but if anything it’s having the opposite effect the longer they keep up this charade. The only pair I feel sorry for is Tracy and Vanessa.

Character Assassination?

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h53m23s653Another storyline with far too much screentime this week was the sizzle-free zone of Nate and Moira’s affair. Perhaps the show was unaware of just how unpopular it would be with viewers, but it has been overkill with the amount of scenes dedicated to their so called passion. There was more cliched to-ing and fro-ing, but it felt like the final nail in the coffin for Moira’s likeability was well and truly hammered in. Some fans think Moira hasn’t been the same since Emma’s death, but her actions this week seemed like an even bigger way to ruin her. This week Moira decided she was well up for a full blown affair with Nate, as long as there were no strings. She purposefully missed calls from Cain, seemed unbothered about Isaac’s welfare and was snappy and jealous of Amy. All this for sex with Mr No Personality? Really? It’s a hard enough sell that Moira would throw away her marriage and family like this, but for Nate of all people – it is unbelievable. This week Moira came across as cold and heartless, not the character people loved. Nate seems sleazy and pushy, rather than sexy and alluring, and though it might almost be a repeat of Moira’s fling with Cain, it just doesn’t work in this situation. It’s not wonder Moira fans feel frustrated by this storyline and sadly it’s brought out the worst in social media commentators who have been quick to label her in awful misogynist terms.

Fave or Fail? (3-7 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! As the village gathered to say goodbye to Lisa, we also saw the arrival of new Tates, Jamie’s wife and daughter.

Faves

Weird and Wonderful Funeral

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h08m50s152The village said their final goodbye to Lisa Dingle this week as her funeral took place. The first half of Thursday’s episode saw a more traditional service as the villagers gathered to pay their respects, but with Charity seeing out Lisa’s final requests, there was some Dingle craziness to be had in the form of a pig race. It was a lovely community moment and a bittersweet scene of outrageous fun which truly felt like classic Emmerdale. Of course, after the humour came the sorrow again as the family received their letters in an incredibly moving montage but the double episodes were a heartfelt tribute to the matriarch of the Dingles.

Victoria Shares Her Plight

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h16m53s983Victoria returned home to the village with Robert this week but the reality of her trauma soon set in. Uncomfortable about returning to her own house, Vic stayed with Robert and Aaron but tensions soon arose when she revealed she was keeping her baby. Vic was adamant in her choice, but Robert struggled to cope feeling helpless and guilty, and tried pressuring Vic into a decision. However the intention, Emmerdale’s writing when it came to abortion felt clumsily pro-life and that’s something which continues to grate, but Isabel’s performances continued to impress. Despite their strained relationship and opposing coping strategies, it’s been good to see more of Vic and Robert as a family and the divisive issues between them felt authentic. Also this week Victoria told friends about her attack and her scenes with Marlon especially were appropriately tender and lovely. It was good too to see mentions of empathy from the village’s other rape survivors, adding again to Emmerdale’s renewed sense of community.

Hiding Something?

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h08m27s638This week as Sam found comfort in Lisa’s final letter to him, both him and Lydia realised how important their relationship was and Sam wanted them to stop stalling and set a date for the wedding. It’s been years since Sam and Lydia got engaged but just as the touching moment seemed to indicate we might get a kooky and cute wedding, a look passed Lydia’s face. Is she hiding something? Back at the start of the year hinted there was more to come from Lydia but we’re only just seeing hints of it now. Lydia’s one of Emmerdale’s greatest recent creations and her Sam and Samson make the perfect quirky family. While on the one hand I’d love to see them settle down and be the new stable couple of Wishing Well, I’m also welcome to seeing more of them and that means drama. So what is going on in Lydia’s head? It can’t be a reluctance to marry Sam per se, maybe it’s related to her past. And if this means more Lydia – then I’m a happy viewer!

A New Era of Tates

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h18m53s701This week two new arrivals upset Kim Tate and it was quickly revealed that Andrea and little Millie are in fact Jamie’s wife and daughter. Say what? If you can get over the fact that Jamie, who is meant to be 22, has a family already, why the hell didn’t he mention them to anyone, not even Rhona? Something seems suss there! Still, Millie’s adorable and Andrea, though it’s an ask to believe she’s married to Jamie, already has a fun and bitchy antagonism with Kim. There’s definite promise there, far more believable than the attempt to make Kim and Megan enemies. Filling Home Farm with family seems like the best way forward as it doesn’t work so empty and isolated. But is there really much longevity in Andrea and Jamie as a pairing? However things work out between the two, Kim’s miles better with these kinds of stories than the outlandish mafia style characterisation she was receiving previously.

Fails

Kiss Chase

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h10m19s849Ugh. Really, David and Leyla? Again? If there are a worse parenting team in the village right now I’d be surprised because these two sure know how to make Jacob’s life a hundred times worse. Thank god for Eric who gave them a dressing down this week for shagging while Jacob’s head is wrecked. Really though, what are they playing at? I really thought this storyline might finally see David reach a turning point, that we might see some maturity and responsibility from him but nope, same old David. If his and Leyla irresponsible handling of the police wasn’t bad enough, this was peak selfishness. And why would Leyla even go there again, after everything? I could more understand if it had come from a place of grief but the pair’s self involvement was so tasteless and short sighted. If Jacob’s plight hasn’t made them grow up, what will?

Going in Circles?

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h14m00s534Emmerdale’s most important and controversial storyline is in danger of losing all momentum, as the Maya and Jacob story seems to have been derailed in favour for more twists and turns. From Maya’s disappearance and the flashback reveals we were all on tenterhooks desperate to see Maya’s downfall, but as time has dragged on, we seem to have lost the main crux of the story. While troubled Jacob is stuck in repetitive scenes where he rages against the injustice of being kept away from Maya, all the progression the police enquiry is happening off screen. Jacob’s loved ones continue to stretch believable by doing stupid and desperate things in the name of protecting him, but this far along in the story it’s becoming tiresome and sluggish. Emmerdale were onto a winner in the immediate fallout of the abuse discovery but now the pacing seems to have been diverted into stalling tactics. Even more bizarrely, obvious routes for this story to take, to show us its impact, have been avoided. The other teens, Liv, Gabby, Noah and Leanna are all but absent, Jessie – who should be playing a key role is AWOL and Liam’s reaction to the news has barely been touched on. If this story only impacts on the Metcalfes when all is said and done it’ll be a complete waste.