Fave or Fail? (15-19 April 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 Matty underwent his top surgery, Harriet was haunted by a threatening presence.

Faves

Bad, Mad and Dad

vlcsnap-2019-04-19-17h22m43s297Back in December when Harriet and Dawn’s connection was first revealed, I criticised the decision to kill off Dawn’s dad, suggesting that sacrificing the juicy torment it would give Harriet all these years later was a wasted opportunity. I also felt a little short changed that after years of resentment and bitterness towards Harriet, Dawn had so quickly let her back into her life. So it was an absolute joy to have the rug pulled out from under us this week and reveal that not only is Dawn’s father still alive (played by the brilliant Dean Andrews) but that she’s been in on it all along! Stories of undercover police forming long term relationships with criminal suspects has made headlines recently and the long term impact on the people involved is ripe for exploring in Emmerdale so I’m really excited to see what’s ahead. While some viewers feel this turn-around from Dawn has made her instantly unlikeable and feel betrayed, I feel it’s far more realistic to have her conflicted. Harriet was once a mother to her, and her undercover status sent Dawn’s life into a dark and miserable trajectory so this twist makes her intentions interesting and begs a question of just how much of her is genuine, and how far will she get involved in her dad’s plans before her conscience takes hold? This is a gripping story with so much potential and I think Dean Andrews is going to make a cracking villain. Bring it on!

Harriet’s Horror

vlcsnap-2019-04-20-12h32m46s917I’ll admit that I’ve never been keen on cool vicar Harriet, and even her much-hyped good versus evil bunk up with Cain didn’t do much to me, but times are changing. This week scenes in Emmerdale verged into horror movie territory as Harriet continued to be harassed by her secret stalker. Levels of creepiness escalated from minor meddling to full on terror as the church bells rang and Harriet found herself locked in. These were well shot scenes, letting us experience the unnerving sensations Harriet was suffering and allowing our empathy to increase. While viewers now know the culprit of this revenge, Harriet’s still in the dark and feeling as if she’s becoming a paranoid mess and there’s nothing more frightening than feeling you’re totally alone like this. Tension is high now to see how far this vendetta goes, and even more so to see Harriet discover the shocking truth behind whose responsible!

Fun For All

vlcsnap-2019-04-19-17h23m13s136Thursdays’ episodes centred on the opening of a new beer garden at the Woolie which will also serve as a living memorial for Grace, but it wasn’t just the addition of a new set that was a highlight, but the community spirit the scenes granted. It was enjoyable to see a selection of characters in one place, especially when it comes to comedy moments like Charity’s puppet show, but it also helps to tie lots of plots all together. There have been times in Emmerdale’s past where stories have felt boxed in, but from gatherings like this, to Nicola’s campaigning, and even Harriet’s stalking nightmare, plots seem to be managing to cross over a lot at the moment. Thursday’s beer garden opening managed to feature Priya’s rivalry with Aiesha, Paddy’s relationship with Bear, Charity keeping the secret of Lisa’s illness, Dawn’s secret revenge, Aaron and Robert’s fall out with Faith – and these cross-over moments add cohesion to the village.

Teen Torment

vlcsnap-2019-04-20-12h31m23s242The burden of Maya and Jacob’s secret and her blackmail weighed heavily on Liv this week. There’s an aspect of naivety and desperation in her actions which feels true to her age, but she’s not without guilt and panic. Liv wars between an act of revenge for being hurt herself, and using the money to help her family, to battling this moral dilemma alone. Luckily for Liv she had the comfort of best friend Gabby to console her when she worried her attempts to extort money from Maya was a bad move – though of course, Liv’s still not owned up to why she’s so nervy. The Liv and Gabby friendship is one of Emmerdale’s finest friendships and I’m glad we’ve had more of it lately. When the full truth of Maya’s behaviour comes out, I have high hopes that Gabby will be the one to mend the fractures in this teen group.

Flaky Father

vlcsnap-2019-04-20-12h34m20s733Bothersome, lay-about Bear might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m finding his struggling relationship with Paddy worth a watch. This is new ground for Paddy, who’s keen but cautious to form a relationship with Bear. This week, as Paddy experienced a fresh wave of grief over Grace when opening her garden, he asked for Bear’s involvement in the day, hoping it would reassure him of Bear’s commitment to his new family. Unfortunately for Paddy, Bear shirked his responsibilities and Paddy was left angry and crushed. Actor Dominic Brunt is really proving himself with this different and complex material. It’s early days for Bear, but away from the ridiculous wrestling stuff, he has potential and I think will continue to help Paddy show undiscovered sides to his character.

Fail

Split Secret

vlcsnap-2019-04-20-12h38m37s761The Spencer family might not be fan favourites, but there have been times where their lowkey stories have been easy viewing among some of the more intense plots in the village. However since Dan and Kerry’s split, their efforts to keep it secret from Amelia has felt unnecessarily tedious. It might have been Dan’s plan to keep Kerry close and win her back round but the failure of that was obvious, and should have been, even to him. They might have wanted to protect Amelia from the truth but her finding out showcased the family at their most unlikeable again. Kerry’s felt a little hard faced, Dan feckless and Amelia has just come across as a brat. Conflict within this family never seems to land right and I find myself wanting all the characters involved to grow up, or at least stick to the more light hearted material!

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Fave or Fail? (8-12 April 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 fantastic week on Emmerdale as the Maya and Jacob storyline escalated – a week so good, it was without a single low point.

Faves

Heart-breaking Discovery

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h13m44s870Liv had her worst fears confirmed this week – and then some – when she discovered Jacob and Maya in bed together. Isobel Steele brings so much vulnerability to the role that hearts were already breaking when she thought Jacob was getting bored of her and got herself dressed up and prepared to have sex with him. Alongside her scenes with supportive Robert, it was Gabby that offered comfort and reassurance too, and it was a pleasure to have their friendship back in the spotlight. Making this move with Jacob was already a huge deal for Liv, as she considers herself on the asexual spectrum, so it came as an even bigger blow when Jacob turned her down then dumped her. Things got even messier when she discovered the ugly truth, but the mix of pain, betrayal and teenage heartbreak caused her to make a risky and naive move in blackmailing Maya. This was an unexpected twist (and kept nicely under wraps by Emmerdale) but it worked. We’ve already seen Liv struggling with the weight of this secret, knowing Maya is a master manipulator and that she stands no chance in being believed. Considering no one believed her over Lachlan, it’s no wonder she’s wary. Her battle of conscious is also impacted by a personal pain of having her heart crushed, so her empathising with Jacob’s situation is complicated too. Now that she has a recording, things are moving quickly, but I really like how many layers there are to this story and how many lives it will impact. It’s only a matter of time.

Sinking to New Depths

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h15m55s154It goes without saying that Emmerdale viewers are united in their hatred of Maya Stepney, but we have to commend the great job Louisa Clein is doing in the role. This week saw Maya’s big secret blown, but she wasn’t going down without a fight and decided to employ some very dirty tactics to make sure Liv wouldn’t spill. Not only did Maya use Liv’s past and her issues with drink to prove her an unreliable witness, but she also manipulated Jacob to repeat the lie. But she stooped even lower after that, flipping deftly between emotional blackmail and crocodile tears to twisted threats. This week really ramped up the tension and it finally feels like the story is close to breaking point – I can’t wait for the fallout!

Unlikely Alliance

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h10m16s476Moving on from the never-ending Joe plot has done Kim Tate wonders and now that she’s got her heart set on reuniting with son Jamie, she finally has a tangible motivation – and not just messing with people’s lives because it’s fun. This week was a welcome change as Kim showed her softer, human side when helping Rhona out after she collapsed. This was a very unlikely partnership but these two are relative strangers so they were able to talk candidly in ways they couldn’t with others. Besides dead weight Graham, Kim’s allies are thin on the ground so this heart to heart with Rhona gave us a fresh perspective on her character, making her more than just a panto villain. She had empathy and humour, without it feeling forced. Of course, Kim being Kim there was an ulterior motive in sidling up to Rhona, but at least it seems she genuinely likes her and there wasn’t any over-the-shoulder smirking going on!

Maybe Baby

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h15m08s169There was a rare sighting of smiles at The Mill this week as Aaron and Robert’s surrogacy storyline was revisited. It wasn’t completely clear what triggered Robert’s change of heart to start pursuing their options in the UK but both lads were excited to get started. Although most of their plans have been off screen and hypothetical so far, it’s been a pleasure to see them united and in scenes again, having had a quiet year so far – particularly as it feels like it’s been a while since they had something really meaty. This week their family scenes nicely overlapped with Liv’s horrible time and it was good to see the three of them just hanging out and fully involved in supporting each other. As the surrogacy plot continues, let’s hope Emmerdale give them plenty of powerful scenes to get stuck into.

Carry On Vet

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h16m43s991You’d be forgiven for thinking once Kim Tate involved herself in the vets’ business it would be full of earnest moments or evil threats, but this week’s scenes proved that Kim being a silent partner can actually be a lot of fun. After Paddy and Vanessa agreed to take the infamous Ms Tate on board, they were petrified of owning up to their slightly scary partners Chas and Charity. Both Dominic Brunt and Michelle Hardwick are natural at physical comedy so their panic wide-eyes didn’t go unnoticed in the pub by their other halves and even a covert phone call in the gents and ladies’ loos couldn’t stop the landladies finding out the truth. Thankfully for our hapless vets, their deal with the devil got the seal of approval from Chas and Charity, leaving Paddy and Vanessa stunned. We know all too well that Emmerdale comedy can be hit and miss, but these brilliant scenes were an effortless win on the laughs front. More please!

Expanding the Family

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h12m32s620The Sharmas have been going from strength to strength lately, especially now that Manpreet has married Rishi added more drama to the fold. The family have felt a bit isolated in recent years with their sole focus either being comedy or factory scenes, but Manpreet’s money issues have given the family a bit of a rift, with Jai’s suspicions making things difficult with Rishi and Priya too. It’s an interesting dynamic as we as viewers aren’t even totally sure of Manpreet’s true intentions – though I’d prefer her feelings to be legit! I loved the family scenes this week at the wedding reception and the fall out afterwards, and there’s a good balance of drama and comedy. But with actress Shila Iqbal fired this week, I hope producers recast Aiesha so we can see what she can offer to this bigger and better family unit.

Bonus Faves

  • It was all about the ex’s this week as Vic and Ellis contrived a situation to get Tracy and Billy talking again. Both couples are fun, bursting with chemistry and this week was a real reminder that both pairings are good together – time for some romance, Emmerdale!
  • Bear seems to be sticking around in the village now and after this week’s scenes I’m pretty glad about this. From annoying Aaron at the scrapyard to making arm-wrestling pals with Eric and Diane, he could be good comic relief.
  • Harriet’s stalker storyline has only just begun but it could be the most interesting she’s ever been. Bring it on!
  • It was a week of powerful and sometimes unusual partnerships on screen. Rhona shared her fears with Paddy in a well-acted scene showcasing their enduring chemistry, even as ex’s. Later on, Pete had his own confidante in Diane. Diane managed to be both blunt and completely brilliant, as she necked the champagne and dragged Pete for his inability to understand Rhona’s problems.

Scene of the Week (8-12 April 2019)

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In a gripping week where the Maya and Jacob storyline escalated, it was a difficult task to pick a stand out scene, but if you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll be familiar with my soft spot for heart-to-hearts on benches! This week it was a painful time for Liv, who got dumped by Jacob and caught him in bed with Maya. After revealing Jacob’s cheating to Aaron and Robert, it was the surprising choice to make Robert her comfort afterwards. With Aaron close to blowing a fuse, it was her brother-in-law who sought her out with some kind and calming words, telling her she shouldn’t feel pressured to change for anyone. Robert’s words were what every teen needs to hear in times of crisis and it was a welcome moment of softness for Robert’s character. It was a great choice to let the scene breathe, with plenty of difficult silences and moments to let the dust settle. As Liv tearfully asked Robert why she couldn’t just be “normal”, the pair shared a tender hug and we were reminded of what a heart-warming relationship the two have formed over the years. The magic in their on-screen dynamic has been the fact we’ve watched it grow from suspicion and hostility to genuine affection, which makes scenes like this extra special.

Fave or Fail? (25 Feb-1 March 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! Maya’s grooming of Jacob took more sickening turns, and Pete moved out of Rhona’s house.

Faves

Family Splits

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h15m28s306Once again it’s the fallout from Rhona’s accident which makes the top of my Emmerdale best bits. Since Emmerdale made the surprisingly magic decision to pair up Pete and Rhona, I’ve been impressed not only by the couple’s natural chemistry, but by the grown up and complex way they’ve explored their relationship. So often you see couples hook up with no thought for the impact on children or the longer term wishes of the individuals in the relationship and when characters have children, this just doesn’t feel very authentic. Pete and Rhona’s relationship has been different in that aspect as from early on, Pete’s relationship with Rhona’s son Leo has been important and well explored. The Pete and Leo relationship, which has seen Pete learn Makaton to bond with him and gain his trust, has been a big and heart-warming hit with viewers and this week we saw more of it as Pete and Rhona agreed to take a break. While both Rhona and Pete were reluctant to separate, Rhona knew they wanted different futures so the two of them made tough decisions while still making sad, longing looks at each other. There was plenty of awkwardness and Pete’s break with Rhona also meant a sad conversation with Leo. Emmerdale’s made this difficult situation feel believable and compelling – and that’s without even mentioning Rhona’s ongoing struggle with pain killer addiction. You can empathise with all parties and there’s a whole lot of tenderness involved. It’s a winner.

Crushed Hearts

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h24m24s506Watching Jacob and Liv’s budding relationship it hurts to know that without Maya messing with Jacob’s head, he and Liv could be a pretty sweet couple. Liv’s laid back personality fits with Jacob well, and his sensitivity means he’s attune to her feelings and understanding about her asexuality. Without Maya in the picture – they’d be good for each other. Therefore it’s heart breaking to watch them both trying, both liking each other, but with Jacob’s head all over the place. Maya’s grooming has a much wider impact than just on Jacob, she’s got everyone under the thumb and when her behaviour comes out, Jacob and Liv are going to be big casualties. This week’s scenes were tough watch, particularly seeing how Liv’s heart is on the line, and how much Jacob genuinely likes her and doesn’t want to hurt her, all the while trying to keep in Maya’s good books. Both young actors are giving vulnerable performances and you just know that the resolution to this story is going to crush them both.

Playing Hot and Cold

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h19m14s929With multiple stomach-churning developments this week, you can’t deny that Emmerdale are doing a successful job in showing just how twisted Maya is. This week was Jacob’s 16th Birthday and after an aborted attempt to sleep with him, Maya blew hot and cold in trying to keep him eager, while continuing to cover up their secret. Louisa Clein’s great performances make Maya maddening to watch, especially seeing how she manipulates everyone in Jacob’s life to keep them on side. Her innocent protestations show exactly how a predator like her operates and the authenticity of her part is what makes this story so horrifying to watch. It’s grim viewing to see her gleefully seduce a child and try and ignore reminders of his age, but if this story is prompting awareness of the hidden signs of grooming, then it can only be a good thing.

Fails

Custody of Kyle

vlcsnap-2019-03-03-14h22m30s647Kerry got dragged into the exhausting Dingle divide again this week as Debbie warned her Kyle wasn’t safe with Cain. On the surface we can all well believe Kerry would go gung-ho in protecting Kyle, but it’s a bit of a stretch when she’s barely interacted or mentioned him in a year. Of course, this is all just in preparation for Amy’s eventual return (another character forgotten until it’s convenient to remember her) but perhaps Emmerdale would have made it easier to invest had Kerry mentioned her family months ago, rather than this feeling like a rushed justification for Amy’s return. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Kerry’s going to have more to do than just be a hanger-on of the Spencers, but this story has felt a bit hollow.

Short on Sympathy

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As the Cain “killed” Joe saga drags on, it’s a struggle to have any sympathy for any parties involved. On paper, believing your dad killed your fiancé should make you the ultimate victim, but with the Dingles standing by Cain and protesting his innocence, and Debbie refusing to tell daughter Sarah the truth, Debbie’s anger and upset falls on deaf ears. But as both Cain and Sarah criticise Debbie’s parenting, it’s difficult not to see their point. No matter how many scenes Debbie cries in, she doesn’t have the sympathy she ought to. Is this because she’s quite a sullen, cold character who’s difficult to like, whose crimes have been overlooked, or is it because the tables have turned? Debbie’s usually priority number one when it comes to the Dingles, but now Cain’s the person they’re protecting. It’s a struggle to truly sympathise with Cain being shut out by her too, because the accident of Joe’s death – while not his fault – came with months of cover up. Cain’s not likely to face justice and wants them all to move on, yet at times it’s as if he’s expecting Debbie to shrug off his role in Joe’s death like it’s nothing. This storyline is such a repetitive, endless mess with no conclusion in sight. If Graham’s involvement doesn’t come out soon I fear we won’t ever see the back of this.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 Feb 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 Jacob tell Maya he loves her, Graham planted evidence in Cain’s garage.

Faves

Liv’s Asexuality

Emmerdale - Liv Tells Jacob She Likes Him - YouTubeEmmerdale and actress Isobel Steele did an impressive job in exploring Liv’s asexuality on screen this week, in scenes that have been highly praised by viewers who could relate to her identity. Liv’s asexuality had been hinted months ago but much like with her drinking, it was an aspect Emmerdale needed the time and dedication to explore with authenticity. This week was a solid start. Even though she hasn’t labelled herself, she was open and frank with both Jacob and Aaron about her feelings towards relationships and sex and even commenting that she’s been reading up on it too. It’s original ground for soap and something that needs to be handled with care and so far it seems like Emmerdale is attempting to talk about asexuality in an honest and enlightening way. Stories like this are great for informing viewers and dispelling myths. Sadly for Liv, she’s going to be dragged into Jacob’s heart-breaking story, but so far Liv’s growing confidence about who she is and how she feels has been refreshing to watch.

You, Me and the Cockroaches

vlcsnap-2019-02-10-13h57m20s147This week Nicola had to pick up the pieces after Graham’s scheme exposure and with Jimmy begrudgingly letting her move back in, but only for the kids’ sake, she had to rely on all the friends she could get. Friendship is a funny thing in Emmerdale, sometimes forgotten about or underused when storylines get in the way, but a vital part of lives in the village. Storylines often benefit from friends supporting each other. I was glad to see Nicola and Laurel’s firm friendship resumed this week when she briefly moved in. Laurel wasn’t there to offer her a pity party, she wanted her friend back with a fighting spirit. Nicola also had support from fellow conspirator Robert, as he empathised with her isolation and related to everyone hating her. Robert and Nicola work well together so I hope their enjoyable partnership continues too, perhaps like Robert said, even after the nuclear winter and it’s just them and the cockroaches. More friendship scenes like these are more than welcome!

Big Spender

vlcsnap-2019-02-10-13h55m31s761Jai started getting suspicious about Manpreet this week when she moved into the Sharma household. First it was the box of things she didn’t want Jai to touch, but then he caught her trying to reason with debt collectors as they seized her car. Jai wanted answers and eventually discovered Manpreet had a spending addiction. With Jai’s history of addiction he tried to reason with her, even attempting to get her to visit a support group. This story has given Manpreet some much needed depth and is a surprising route to take a character known for a professional role in the community. I was glad to see Emmerdale use Jai’s past to inform his response rather than a kneejerk attempt of kicking her out. Stories work best when characters’ histories shape their current behaviour and I was grateful to see more of underused Jai too. Both actors have a great chemistry, but will this lead down a slippery path of more lies and infidelity if Manpreet uses Jai as a crutch?

Heart-breaking Decisions

Emmerdale - Dawn Realises She Must Leave Lucas Behind - YouTubeLately Dawn’s pinned her hopes on getting back her son Lucas, but despite warnings and hesitations from Harriet, she ploughed on this week and met with a social worker. Still trying to come off drugs and sort her life out, Dawn was optimistic but not thinking clearly as she managed to steal a glance at her son’s new address. But once she’d arrived outside his house with a toy, she started to have reservations. The “struggling mother trying to clean up her act” plot feels like a well-trodden storyline, but Olivia Bromley brings so much warmth and pathos to the role that her struggles are engaging and feel fresh.

Bonus Faves

  • Elliot King was such a scene stealer this week, from his quick-smart schemes (too much like Nicola for his own good), brilliant lines of dialogue and his sweet concern for his family. He’s one to watch.
  • Emmerdale fans are united in their hatred of manipulative Maya, but three cheers for Louisa Clein who is making her so uncomfortably compelling to watch. It’s a story almost too unbearable to watch but her butter-wouldn’t-melt softness makes her the perfect villain

Fail

Silly Stunt

Emmerdale - Maya Has a Nasty Accident - YouTubeThere have always been some strange stunts and accidents in Emmerdale. Who can forget Sam being shot in the bum?! But this week saw Maya fall and hit her head, causing a swift trip to hospital. Of course, the whole accident was to send Jacob into turmoil and prompt a love confession, and once more Maya had him back under the thumb. But from the awkwardly staged stunt to the clunkily plotted accident, it all seemed a bit of a ham-fisted way to force development in the grooming plot. Maya panicking and wanting to make a quick getaway felt believable, but her wrangling with a stubborn suitcase, while standing on a wobbly chair came across as convoluted. When it came to Jacob’s hospital panic, his dramatic reveal was conveniently cut short thanks to an interrupting medic. This story is strong enough – even if we’re all watching through our fingers and horrified over the developments – that it doesn’t need cringy stunts and desperate trips to A&E.

Fave or Fail? (5-9 Nov 2018)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Another good week in the Dales, as Bob stripped, then got dumped and Aaron struggled after Seb’s departure.

Faves

Better Together

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h30m11s028Since their longed-for reunion, Aaron and Robert haven’t really had a storyline to get their teeth into as a couple. They’ve been constantly occupied with family dramas and Lachlan’s reign of terror, but it feels like a while since we had a story about the two of them. Now that they’re married it felt right this week to have a dilemma that challenged them both, as a team. This week’s drama offered just that, giving good character-led struggles that leaned heavily on their pasts and childhood issues, as well as testing their communication skills as a couple. After last week’s sudden decision from Robert to let Rebecca take Seb, Aaron was left heartbroken at the decision. Having recently lost Grace, he struggled to cope with losing another loved one so quickly especially as he had become a dad to Seb. Aaron’s pain lead him to making the reckless decision to keep Seb and not take him to Rebecca and this added friction to his relationship to Robert. This time though it didn’t feel like angst for angst’s sake. Their rows didn’t resort to shouting and fighting and we saw a calmer, more reasonable approach. Is this a more mature Robron we’re seeing? The end of the week saw Aaron shocking Robert with a surrogacy plan and reluctantly backing off from Seb despite his anguish, but the drama seems far from over. Thankfully this story feels like it will continue to provide the pair for some juicy drama together, it certainly warrants time and talking, rather than being on the sidelines of other people’s stories. 

Big Laughs

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h33m47s214Comedy in Emmerdale can be hit and miss at the best of times but I thoroughly enjoyed Thursday’s efforts as the gents of the village took centre stage and stripped off! With Bob desperate to prove his worth in the pub (LOVE having him back behind the bar, by the way) he set pulses racing by hiring the popular Uptown Hunks. I’ve always been a bit undecided about Charity as landlady but her saucy enthusiasm and rousing of the crowds before the hunks took the stage confirmed to me that she really is right at home. Unfortunately for Bob, his oiled up strippers pulled out and he was forced to rope in his friends. From the OAP audience, asking for complicated orders and having palpitations over Pete, to the ladies of the Woolie enjoying every minute – it was such a fun episode. Of course these episodes would have been nothing without the awkward dancing from the men involved – Rishi, Jimmy, Bob and Pete. With everyone enjoying themselves it was a really fun watch and rather feel like a cruel mocking of these guys and their moves, they were well loved by all. Except of course for Bob, who’s fun was cut short by a mortified Laurel…awkward…

Harsh Truth

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m34s707It seems ironic that some of the best scenes of the Bob and Laurel debacle, have been their break up. After Laurel’s embarrassing public dumping of Bob, he spent the rest of the episode greasy and half naked pleading for an explanation. Not really how you want to have a deep and meaningful, is it? Sadly for Bob (and truth be told, I have started to feel sorry for him) Laurel was adamant that their relationship was over. Laurel was frank with Bob that she was still grieving Ashley when they got together and this admission, that she used Bob as a crutch, seemed like a genuine explanation for this weird relationship rather than the whirlwind romance we’d been expected to buy into. For many fans, their affair came too soon after Ashley’s death and their feelings felt at odds with the characters. This break up seems a promising move from the new producers, recognising that the Bob and Laurel relationship didn’t work and wasn’t well received. But the benefit to exploring this split means promising future storylines. How will this affect the children? Brenda? Doug? Will Laurel struggle, feeling like she has upset so many people? Will Bob return to the loveable fool he once was? There are so many possibilities here as well as dealing with the reality of an affair that should have never progressed to a relationship. 

Tag-Team Trouble

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h31m51s034Who’d have thought the new dream team would be precocious little April and disenchanted Millennial Ellis? This week April was desperate to hang out with too-cool-for-school (literally) Ellis and even gave an Attenborough style commentary as he lazed on the couch. Her hero worship and his teasing is a fun dynamic and I enjoyed seeing them hang out when she bunked school. As Ellis taught her the art of ordering a customised coffee, April used her own sneaky powers to mend the relationship between Ellis and Jessie. I’m not totally sold on Jessie and Marlon as a partnership, but I already love April wanting to be as cool and adult as Ellis. This is a great dynamic and one I definitely don’t want to lose. 

Bonus Faves

  • Once again this week, Emmerdale had a really strong sense of community. From the firework celebrations at the Dingles’ and the memorial garden, to the Woolpack stripper shenanigans, it was great to see so many characters together in one place. More please!
  • Liv’s assessment of terrible maths questions as Rob helped her with probability was right. Anyone counting a thousand coloured beads does need to get a life. 
  • Despite his sadness, it was good to see Aaron and Seb’s bond on screen more this week – he really does make a great dad.  The Dingles throwing Seb an early birthday party was a sweet move from Chas, especially at such a difficult time for her. 
  • There seems to be a lot of heart-to-heart conversations lately and I’m a big fan of these, especially when stories cross in believable ways.

Fails

Debbie Downer

vlcsnap-2018-11-10-21h34m07s574Debbie’s relentless role as the tragic heroine has gotten stale. She’s not the only villager to have been overloaded with miserable stories (a certain other Dingle springs to mind) but perhaps it’s time for a personality tweak. Debbie has little levity in her stories and no one in her life to have a laugh with, even her relationship with her kids is bogged down in tragedy. No doubt soon she’ll discover her dear old dad Cain “killed” Joe and depressed Debbie will become shouty Debbie. Some viewers are pleased Debbie is facing some consequences for ordering a violent attack (okay, she didn’t want acid but she did want revenge) but I think some time in prison could actually offer the chance to refresh her character a bit. Rather than Debbie get away with her crime or fall into familiar patterns of behaviour, I’d just like to see something different from Debbie. She won’t be smiling any time soon, but the woe-is-me personality could do with a shake up. 

Fave or Fail? (1-5 Oct 2018)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In a week of tragedy for the Dingles, everyone united for the happy event of Aaron and Robert’s wedding.

Faves

A Moment of Happiness

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h45m06s201A rare, happy event bringing the village together in celebration of the love between Emmerdale’s most talked about couple – what could be better? The long-hyped, long-awaited Robron legal wedding finally arrived and despite being tinged with tragedy, it didn’t disappoint. Not only was this episode a real fan pleaser, it had a warm community feeling and showcased just how far the characters had come to make their family official. It’s not often any more that the village gets its bunting out for a big old party outdoors, but this was it. It wasn’t just an episode of romance and a display of the chemistry which has made Robron so beloved, it was also the funny and sweet little details (Bernice’s insistence that she was behind the reunion; Doug’s little thumbs-up to Liv after her speech) that made it a great watch. Weddings in soap are often all explosions and affair reveals, so it was a welcome change to see a wedding be such a success. And while the day ended in a panic attack for grief stricken Chas, the event worked well as a happy interlude to the week’s tragic events.

Family Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h41m07s776Chas and Paddy had an unbearable week as their daughter Grace was born and died very shortly afterwards. It’s a moving and important story which resonates with many parents watching who have shared a similar pain and Emmerdale have done a good job at showing its long-term impact on Chas and Paddy’s lives as they try to move forward. Emmerdale opted for an experimental fantasy sequence in the episode of Grace’s birth as her parents imagined what her life would be life. The idea behind those moments was touching, but perhaps the overshadowing stylistic choices should have been dropped in favour of the more intimate and raw family scenes. Both Chas and Paddy struggled in the days that followed, with both of them grieving and lashing out in different ways, but it’s when they united, in spite of their grief, that the performances really excelled. This storyline also gave Emmerdale a real sense of family and village life, as it wasn’t only immediate family who were heartbroken, but other parents in the village too. It’s strong stories like this, which impact upon the whole community, that are vital parts of Emmerdale’s success.

A Whole Lot of Faith

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h49m42s806Faith is often one of my favourite things about a week of Emmerdale. She’s brash and loud, dirty minded and full of humour (just check out her dancing with Rob at his own wedding!), but she’s so much more than that. She perfectly encapsulates the light and shade of great soap matriarchs by being there as a pillar of support for her family too. Faith doesn’t sugar coat, but she gives her loved ones exactly the words they need to hear. She was the friendly ear for Chas, Paddy and Aaron this week but perhaps her most moving moment was the scene in which she gave Chas a congratulations card for becoming a new mum. It was an emotional gesture and one which I thought was one of the most resonating moments of the whole tragic storyline, such a touching and understated thought. Faith’s a true gem of a character and one I now can’t imagine Emmerdale without.

Rom-Com Queen

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h42m24s566I feel like all I ever do on this blog is sing Bernice’s praises, but I’m at it again, after another week of classic Bernice moments. Back from her relaxation trip, Bernice grimaced and groaned her way through another encounter with Daz, practising her dumping routine right in the middle of the shop. Luckily dreamy Dr Cavanagh was on hand to lift her mood and the two had a flirtation and illicit make-out sesh in the salon. Naughty! Every interaction between these two (and yes, we’re opting for #Cavastock) is brimming with comedy and teenage crush levels of awkward with Liam filling the bumbling Hugh Grant role oh-so perfectly. They are smitten and utterly charming together, which happens to make all of Bernice’s attempts to get away from Daz even funnier. This was a brilliant, silly antidote to the tragedy of the week.

Leyla’s Return

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h43m17s352Leyla returned to the village this week after actress Roxy Shahidi’s maternity leave came to an end, and it was a real pleasure to have her back. Her showdown with Tracy wasn’t pleasant to watch as her lack of compassion preceded catty comments and escalated into full blown misogyny, but it didn’t take long for Leyla and Tracy to realise the real enemy was David. With the two bonding over common ground and clinking glasses to a future without him and rubbish men, it was a fun and satisfying watch. We certainly could do with more scenes exploring friendship these days. Despite a rocky start, I’m really glad Leyla’s back as her quirky comedy and facial expressions offer something different in the village. I’m very intrigued if Leyla’s mystery fiancé transpires and if so, what’s next on the cards for Miss Harding!

One Last Shot

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h53m13s131For many viewers, Ross Barton was at his best in the days of Donna Windsor, watching him soften through his feelings for someone else and lose that aggressive façade. Now, we might be nearing the end of actor Mike Parr’s time on the show, but it feels like the Ross and Rebecca relationship is bringing out the best in both characters as they try and rebuild their lives and showcasing the Ross Barton many viewers fell for all those years ago. Ross being Ross, Dawn’s appearance at the end of the week is sure to spell trouble in terms of his growth, but it’s been a welcome change to watch a more sensitive and caring Ross help Rebecca find faith in herself and confidence again. With his exit looming, it’s surely doom to fail, but for now their sweet and tentative scenes are a nice break from Ross’s cokehead, wannabe gangster efforts.

Fail

Not About That Thug Life

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h40m31s598Truth be told, I had to go back and rewatch all of Joe and Graham’s scenes with Connor the cardboard gangster this week, because I ended up zoning out. In a week of Emmerdale where we were treated to moving storylines and emotional character moments, we were also stuck watching this caricature terrorising Home Farm. Threatening he was not! For me, both Joe and Graham have lost that special something that once made them compelling newbies in the big house and unfortunately now their samey scenes are just cloak and dagger conversations that are at times impenetrably cold. With Connor desperate for revenge and Joe cowardly offering up Graham like the sacrificial lamb, this should have been a huge test and turning point of the pair’s unconventional bond, but with Connor cartoonish and the conversations between Joe and Graham stilted and mysterious it was a struggle to care. The rapport between the two is as bristling as ever and with Kim Tate’s arrival imminent, maybe all isn’t lost, but watching their scenes can feel like scrabbling in the dark to find something interesting to care about.

Scene of the Week (1-5 Oct 2018)

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In a week that covered a whole spectrum of emotions – happy and sad – it was the wedding speeches scene which encompassed all of those feelings in such a moving way. With the grooms’ speeches sticking traditionally to heart-clutching love declarations, and little sister Liv’s telling of the trio’s first meeting, it was mainly a scene for Paddy and Chas to destroy us all and reach for the tissues. Paddy’s long and colourful history with Aaron was touched on in his speech, tearing up as he talked about how proud he was to call Aaron his son and how far Aaron had come to accept himself. Anyone who’s been watching Emmerdale in the last ten years will remember the agony Aaron went through at 18 so Paddy’s words held a real poignancy. It’s the beauty of the soap genre that we have seen this progress for ourselves. Then there was Chas, whose week had been tragic and deeply traumatic, but this was a beautiful moment for actress Lucy Pargeter in an understated show of Chas’s strength and resilience. For me, these two speeches, showing how difficult and courageous it was for Chas and Paddy to express their joy and also their grief in this celebratory moment, were a stand out of a very emotional week.

7 Recent Storylines With Potential That Just Vanished

I’ve noticed a strange trend in 2018 – the disappearing storyline! While other plots drag on for months and months, some stories with potential just seem to vanish into thin air. Now, I’m not talking stories that took a disappointing turn (like Ross’s acid attack) but these are moments that were delivered with great performances, lots of excitement and press and then…vanished!

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Moira and the impact of killing Emma

Making Moira a killer was a huge decision and one that sent a chill of terror into Moira fans, but they needn’t have worried because any impact on her was short lived. After a quiet year for Moira, mainly because they were trying to keep her shock pregnancy a secret, she had a traumatic end to 2017, suffering both post-natal depression and extreme guilt for her part in killing Emma. With Moira such a beloved and ordinary character in the village (ordinary as far as you can be for a soap character!) it was always going to be difficult to give her any long-term consequences for killing off another character. But within a matter of months, she’d reunited with love Cain and everything had been forgiven and forgotten when it came to the Barton boys. The aftermath Moira’s breakdown was intense and destructive, but although she lost son Adam, psychologically she seems happier than ever now! Perhaps making Moira a killer was too jarring and Emmerdale weren’t sure how to deal with it long-term, but if this was the case, maybe she was the wrong character for the role. I love Moira and I like seeing her happy and settled, but it does feel like everything was brushed too neatly under the carpet.

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Joe Tate vs the world

Perhaps the worst offender on the list is the complete waste of Joe Tate since his wonderful reveal in January. Excitement was high when the Tom Waterhouse charade fell apart and he was revealed to be Chris Tate’s son, leading to a deliciously evil take over of the village next to stoic butler figure Graham. Every doubt we’d had about the “Tom” storyline was revealed to be deliberate, including the all-too-perfect romance with Debbie. But as Joe made enemies left right and centre, demolishing Wishing Well, taking Home James Haulage from Robert and pissing off everyone in sight, his position as top dog and loathed rich boy just couldn’t be sustained. Living in the big house and have no familial ties, it seemed like Emmerdale swiftly realised Joe needed more than just enemies and his redemption came in the shape of his new-found love for dour Debbie Dingle. While a slow love-hate romance might’ve worked, it’s now as if all of Joe’s Machiavellian behaviour has been dropped in favour of a bedside vigil for Sarah. Where is the village antagonist we were promised? Why isn’t he living up to the Tate name and has fallen into the trap of being a wet weekend who has the odd tantrum? With all his vendettas forgotten he’s an aimless character and a real waste of that Tate legacy.

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Liv’s drinking and asexuality

Viewers had long been promised a gritty plot for talented Isobel Steele and it finally emerged onto screens this year. Or did it? Compared to issue-led plots for other characters Liv’s drinking problems have been vaguely handled and half-arsed. Don’t get me wrong, Isobel has given sensitive and emotional performances as Liv tried to navigate adolescence, but after a spell in youth offenders and a brief Lachlan-fuelled relapse, her problem with alcohol has almost been treated as “fixed”. Are we meant to believe she’s all fine now? That her time inside “fixed her” (a worrying implication if so)? It feels like this complex issue has been brushed under the carpet rather than giving it the treatment it deserves. Is this so they can make Liv start drinking again when the story needs it, or has it just been forgotten about? It’s a similar case with the hints about her asexuality. Liv has spent a little time questioning this, but it hasn’t been given the airtime that it deserves and that seems like another waste of Isobel’s talents to leave Liv’s interesting struggles untouched. Instead of piling on more angst (like her recent exam failures) can’t Emmerdale do a better job of resolving the stories they’ve already laid the foundations of?

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The Kings – business and health problems

I’m a huge fan of the Kings so I was excited to see them get involved in the Tate take-over at the start of 2018. Jimmy had long been relegated to comedy buffoon with Nicola as his nagging wife, so it was great to see a bit of the powerhouse King family history remembered. But after teaming up with Robert to double-cross Joe, the story collapsed and disappeared. We haven’t heard anything about the new Home James Haulage work team or what a nightmare Joe is as a boss. It’s business as usual. All of Jimmy’s health issues and stress have disappeared (is he okay? Who knows!) so there was no emotional story there and so instead the Kings have been underused for another year which is a real shame as they’re one of Emmerdale’s biggest assets.

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Priya’s struggling mental health

Before she took on a role at Home Farm (which seems like a great move!) Priya had a difficult start to the year. The first few months of 2018 we saw signs of Priya feeling lonely and exhausted and with Jai using her as a babysitter, it all got a bit much for her. This really seemed like it could be the beginning of a decent storyline for her. It isn’t the first time Priya’s had mental health struggles and with 2017 seeing the end to her marriage, and a disastrous affair with Pete, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her feel her life was in tatters. Priya’s an ambitious woman so to see her have a bit of a breakdown about her stalled life could have been a great story, but it just fizzled out instead. It’s about time the Sharmas had something a bit more serious and emotional to do and Fiona Wade would have done a great job with it.

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Syd MacFarlane’s threat to Aaron

If you don’t remember Syd MacFarlane then I don’t blame you. Syd had a very brief appearance in January and was let free during Adam’s escape from his prison van, but he made another cameo in April, blackmailing Aaron and Robert for some hard cash in one of the most lacklustre plots of the Spring. Syd rocked up, threatened Aaron, then held him hostage for all of half an episode just so that Robert could sign away their flat and his business to Joe Tate for the ransom. As we know, that rivalry with Joe had no real long-term consequences and Syd’s random arrival was just as fleeting and insignificant as his exit. Syd and his threats had no impact, even though Aaron and the MacFarlanes had a long history that could’ve been explored, meaning Syd was a 2D “villain of the week” character. Gone and forgotten instantly. The MacFarlanes could have started real trouble for the Dingles, for Robert’s business or even given Joe some tips! Instead it turned into one of 2018’s most pointless and disappointing subplots, wasting both fan favourite couples, Robron and Coira, who briefly joined forces to take down Syd.

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Eliza’s health problems

Instead of helping his dad with dating disasters, Jai could have had a much more emotionally engaging storyline had Emmerdale continued to be true to the drama of Eliza’s health concerns. Megan is wasted in wishy-washy romance plots with Frank and Jai spends too long in the factory – but when Eliza was taken ill, I thought this was the start of a relatable and engaging story about parents and their disabled infant. When Eliza was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in late 2017 I thought this was going to be the start of a great story for the parents, but that went nowhere. Then again at the start of the year when bruises appeared on her and they suspected Eliza, this looked to be like a dramatic and heartful family story, but nothing ever came from it. All the actors involved are capable of big performances, but this is another non-starter wasting their talents.

Fave or Fail? (20-24 Aug 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the week Gabby and Liv got their GCSEs, Pete moved in with Rhona and Lachlan had Priya spooked.

Faves

Complicated Crush

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h58m36s643Vic might be confused by her sudden rush of feelings towards Matty, but I’m absolutely smitten by the pair of them. She’s known him for years and her complicated jealousy is now starting to make her get flustered and frustrated. Crushes are painful consuming things and watching this play out feels so perfectly true to life. I like that there are lots of layers to the setbacks, their tumultuous friendship, Adam and I’m sure Matty’s confidence and identity about being trans will come into play too. Marlon was an angel this week, offering Vic advice even when she’d hurt Matty in a big way by outing him. Emmerdale isn’t rushing this, it’s taking weeks for the feelings to unfurl and I’m so glad about that. I love seeing characters pine, getting their heartbroken and eventually mended and I’m so looking forward to Vic and Matty’s future.

New Beginnings

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h56m33s691When the concept of a Rhona and Pete romance was suggested I spoilers I baulked at the idea. Really?! But it’s been one of those strange partnerships in soap that just works. They have a fun, sexy kind of chemistry that’s done wonders for both characters, lifting Pete from his overly macho, aggressive rut and it’s given Rhona a break from being either sad or middle-aged housewife-esque tied to bumbling Paddy. Pete and Rhona is a flirty and cute pairing, but it also comes with a lot of humour and warmth. I don’t want to rush ahead or anything but when they talked about Leo and the future I suddenly got the urge to see them settled with a whole brood of gorgeous kids in tow. Here’s hoping that Pete moving is the beginning of a long relationship.

Worries About the Future

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h54m03s807We learnt more about Lydia’s past this week, with Karen Blick proving once again she’s as good at the emotionally dramatic as she is at quirky, as she bumped into a woman at the doctor’s surgery. Turns out Lydia’s beloved Steve (husband not cockatoo) had an affair with this woman and things were never the same after that. As poor Lydia opened up to Sam she admitted trying to put on a brave front and took Steve back even though she could never really forgive him. Sam, with his massive heart, wanted to prove he would never hurt her by setting a date for their wedding but Lydia didn’t want that. I’m pretty gutted that Lydia turned him down, but I hope this doesn’t mean a wedding is ruled out completely because these two are one of the loveliest couples in the Dales. Together they are adorable with actors James Hooton and Karen Blick making it seem like Sam and Lydia are truly made for each other. Long live Sam and Lydia!

Fails

Can’t Catch a Break

Tvlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h54m50s305here must be a rain cloud following Liv Flaherty whenever she goes as this week it was revealed her bad luck continued and she failed all her GCSEs. She has had a pretty difficult year following her issues with alcohol and her stint inside – not to mention her confrontations with Lachlan and Gerry’s death (which almost everyone has forgotten). But is it just me or are all these stories just floating like lose threads without ever being resolved or given the care they need? Liv’s issues with alcohol surely haven’t been “fixed” but we’ve not seen her get any real help, and her difficulties inside young offenders had no wider impact, will her exam results be the same? I can’t help but feel they should either give her a break or give her a well-written mental health story with all these miserable times piling on top of her and leading to recovery. Right now all these bad things are happening in a disconnected, meaningless way. It just seems like they want to make Liv sullen and miserable for the sake of it and that’s a real waste of Isobel’s’ talent.

Stalling for Time

vlcsnap-2018-08-25-19h59m46s315Don’t get me wrong – there are moments about the Lachlan story that I still enjoy. I think Thomas Atkinson is fantastic and when he gives us a display of Lachlan’s chilling and defiant smile, I love the thrill of it. His stand-offs with Priya this week have been tension filled and brilliant. But lately these moments don’t make up for the stop/start nature of the story that seems to take us one step forward and seven steps back. This week when Priya discovered the message Rebecca left about Lachlan being a killer, Lucky burnt down the shack, evaded police suspicion and buggered off on holiday with Belle leaving Priya suspicious but looking mad. There’s no real sense of momentum or jeopardy and every time we seem to creep nearer to a climax, the characters disappear off screen. With everyone stupidly believing Rebecca’s gone to Wales for good and Lachlan becoming the Dingles’ new BFF, it’s stretching the resolution far beyond the point of excitement to tedium. Lets hope things escalate and conclude soon!