Fave or Fail? (4-8 June 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! This week Debbie was left reeling when her secret was exposed and we met Charity’s son Ryan for the first time.

Faves

Breath of Fresh Air

vlcsnap-2018-06-09-20h38m01s944This week saw the introduction of Charity’s lost son, Ryan and he was a complete breath of fresh air! Not only was he like his mother, smart, quick witted and full of warmth, it was a pleasure to have someone join that cast who wasn’t your predictable ‘bad boy with a secret’. Creating a prominent disabled character was a great decision by Emmerdale and actor James Moore has humour and charisma by the bucketload. It’s a welcome move to see a disabled actor in the role and Ryan injected some originality into Charity’s story, which was treading a familiar path and was relying too heavily on samey scenes between Charity and Vanessa. Alongside Ryan was his adoptive mother Irene, whose pivotal but small role was fleshed out and felt believable and I certainly wouldn’t object to seeing her again either. I really hope Ryan becomes a permanent member of the cast and he would certainly add a new dimension to Charity and the rest of the Dingles. Make it happen please!

Doug’s Daft Decisions

vlcsnap-2018-06-09-20h37m04s935I can’t say I’m really Team Doug this week as his guilt and overly trusting nature made him far too susceptible to Terry’s lies, but it’s been good to see Doug and the BnB crew actually have a story. In recent years the older cast have been relegated to bit-parts as the younger cast get all the juicy storylines, and even though we lost Gerry in the process, I’m glad this is giving Doug and Diane some much deserved screen-time, even if this means that one of Emmerdale’s most stable and long-term couples has hit the rocks.

Dawn’s Potential

vlcsnap-2018-06-09-20h42m26s944It’s well documented that actor Mike Parr is leaving the role of Ross Barton behind him this year, so naturally we’re all starting to wonder what his exit is going to be. With the acid plot becoming a bit of a flop and having tied himself up in gangster plots – is it all going to come back to bite him? In amongst this, Ross has built an interesting bond with Dawn, the vulnerable woman he found when hunting for Simon. This week they slept together and things went sour when he accused her of using him for money, but could there be potential there for a surprising side of Ross’s character to come out? I could get on board with the two of them together if it made Ross see the world in a less selfish, black and white way. Dawn seems like an interesting character with a difficult life, maybe they could have a fresh start together and add some depth to his caveman ways?

Fails

Flat Funeral

vlcsnap-2018-06-09-20h39m49s196Truthfully, I’ve been missing Gerry from the moment he died, but this week I questioned the reason for his death even more. Gerry was the perfect sunshine tonic to the doom and gloom of the village, but his death has barely been about him. Sure, Doug gave a nice eulogy and Lachlan’s getting increasingly paranoid about getting caught, but it was Gerry’s funeral this week and its soul and ceremony were non-existent. Gerry knew loads of villagers, embedded himself into the Dingles as an honorary member and was good pals with Gabby too. And yet the turn-out to say goodbye was minimal (glad Tip the Dog made it though!). Except for a few unsurprising tears from the usually emotional Aaron and Liv, Gerry’s funeral was more about Doug and the duplicitous Terry. No family, no real send off for the lad. Was that it? Surely Gerry deserved more than that. Even the Terry twist was so heavily sign-posted it came without any thrill of a twist. What a waste of a great character and actor.

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Fave or Fail? (30 April-4 May 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! A delayed round-up after a week off, this week saw Joe make a leap of faith and rekindle things with Debbie as Megan cheated with Graham.

Faves

Brotherly Bonding

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h01m05s653I’ve been enjoying seeing a lot more of Noah lately as he bonds with power hungry big brother Joe. Not only is the Tate brother bonding a chance to reflect on Emmerdale history but it has also allowed us to see more of Joe and explain his vicious behaviour. I can’t quite believe his self reflection will really last, especially as he works well as the village antagonist, but I always welcome scenes that allow us to see the vulnerable and honest moments of characters who often show us a front. Actors Ned Porteous and Jack Downham already have a great on screen bond and Noah’s idolisation works well as a way to humanise Joe too. I bet it won’t be long before Noah has his heart broken, but I could easily see him stepping into a more villainous role in a few years time! 

Starting Again

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h02m22s940There’s a fine line between love and hate which Joe and Debbie have been crossing this week as the pair gave into charged kisses. Ever since Joe revealed his nefarious ways, Debbie has struggled knowing she had fallen for him and hating herself for it. It’s not anything new or unusual for dour Debbie to angst over a bad boy but there’s a teasing boyishness in Joe that brings out something slightly more fun in Debbie. Debs probably shouldn’t be believing Joe’s insistence that he’s changed when there hasn’t been much evidence to it, especially its only a few months since he tried to destroy the Dingles, but I can’t blame the girl for giving into a bit of high life fun with him. The scene where they started again, with tongue in cheek reintroductions was a cute moment which I found immediately endearing. There’s a forbidden love/hate temptation there which is a soap trope I can’t resist. Trouble awaits!

Taking Things Seriously

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h06m24s836Despite being tied to a very familiar (read: repetitive) paternity retcon story, it’s been nice to see Kerry get a pivotal and more serious role. She’s grown in likeability lately and has seemed a lot more grounded and mature. Even though Laura Norton is great at comedy and Kerry is often at her best with warmth and humour, I’ve been enjoying seeing her more vulnerable and serious in these scenes with Daz. There’s obviously a nice chemistry between the actors (likely down to Laura’s off screen relationship with Mark Jordon) but I do hope things are kept strictly platonic as the last thing Dan needs is a second heartbreak if he learns Amelia isn’t his biological daughter. 

Harsh Words

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h00m41s183Aaron bore the brunt of Liv’s upset this week as she lashed out when confronted about her drinking problem. Although writers have made her and these prison scenes frustratingly (lazily?) similar to Aaron’s stories and personality, there was a welcome grit and reality to this moment. Liv and Aaron’s relationship is understandably a popular one, made more so by the actors likeness in performance and mannerisms but there are times I’ve felt the characters are too similar and get on too well for the relationship to be  as engaging as it should be. With Liv joining Aaron’s tempestuous life when she did, it was obvious he wasn’t in the mental space to be a guardian for someone as troubled as her. So this upset explosion from Liv seemed needed and gave an edge to their relationship that was always lacking for me. 

Fails

On Repeat

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h07m47s565Is it just me or has everything just got a little repetitive in Emmerdale at the moment, lacking something fresh and original? Daz revealing he might be Amelia’s bio dad (leading to another big bust up with Dan probably); Megan and Graham’s secret and rushed hook up which came from nowhere and which Tracy is now covering; Belle’s mental health struggles; Liv’s prison story which has been very similar to Aaron’s; Daz and Bernice having a brief split due to misunderstanding. Even Charity’s story which is brilliantly acted, struggles to cover new ground when it’s the third rape story Emmerdale have done in three years. Right now I’m really holding out for something fresh and engaging to grip me, and that’s something Emmerdale is lacking right now. 

Wasted Potential

vlcsnap-2018-05-07-17h03m39s720I can’t help but feel that pairing up Frank and Megan is a complete waste of both actors and characters. Megan could be ruthless and a real powerhouse; Frank has the potential for underhand darkness – but together they’re blander than bland. Why, when both actors have CVs that speak for themselves? They’ve got to be one of Emmerdale’s worst pairings. Not even a secret and a brief hook up could liven them up. This week they got engaged after a brief misunderstanding which lasted long enough to hook up with Graham – and there wasn’t much spark there either. Then Tracy found out quicker than Sherlock so now it’s only a matter of time before it comes out. All very predictable and dull but made worse because I’m not sure if anyone cares if they stay together or not. The Megan and Frank relationship is flat, lacking any real interest or investment from the writers. Isn’t it time to call it a day and give them both something better to do in the show?

Fave or Fail? (16-20 April 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! This week Liv got a four month sentence and Lisa left the village.

Faves

Arthur’s Discovery

4129b3d2-dfb0-4e7c-94fe-89cbac27efb9Just as the continuation of the unpopular Bob and Laurel storyline made us want to put our foot through the telly, Emmerdale took the story in an ingenious direction – getting Arthur involved! After the poor lad overheard an incriminating conversation between the pair, he was thrown into turmoil. With so many adultery stories in soap, we rarely get to see the damaging effect on the children but with a talented actor like Alfie Clarke at the helm this was the prime opportunity to explore that story. And let’s face it, it’s far more interesting to watch that turmoil than it is to keep watching Bob and Laurel pining! Now that Brenda knows, there’s no longer that kind of explosive energy but now a much more subtle and heartbreaking torture for lovely Arthur who is complicit and hurt by the lies and betrayal. A much better and more original direction for this story.

Lydia’s Kindness

vlcsnap-2018-04-22-16h08m34s408When Lydia Hart became a regular character in Emmerdale, she was the kooky grief counsellor-come-cleaner who loved a cockatoo (Steve, naturally). But thanks to her adorable relationship with Sam Dingle and her abundance of jobs and friends she’s integrated organically and wonderfully. This week Lydia moved into Wishing Well in the absence of Lisa. It felt like it had been ages since we’d seen her and I was grateful for the warmth and kindness she brings to the village. Her slightly unconventional ways still exist but she’s written with the empathy and compassion that’s much needed in the village and especially by Belle this week who began to suffer again with a deterioration in her mental health. Now that Lydia has moved in with the Dingles I can only hope that the wedding between her and Sam isn’t too far away! It’s going to be brilliant!

Fun Factor

vlcsnap-2018-04-22-16h06m26s897I’ve been a Jessie fan since the moment she appeared on screen and every time we edge closer to finding out more about her I get excited. We’re not quite there yet but there were more hints than ever this week as she continued to avoid Marlon’s attentions. I’m not opposed to the idea of them together but his persistence is starting to get to David levels of irritating. They do however make great friends and manage to inject a real fun factor into Emmerdale. Jessie is a bright presence at the school and making Marlon give a talk about honesty was entertaining. Emmerdale don’t always get comedy right but in Marlon and Jessie they’ve found the right balance of joy without becoming cringey. But I am even more eager to know what skeletons Jessie has in the past!

Fails

Dingle Division

vlcsnap-2018-04-22-16h07m16s997I’m massively conflicted by this Liv story right now. On the plus side, Isobel Steele is massively talented and she deserves a big story (even if elements of it are a bit too close to Aaron’s story last year and they could do with making the two of them a bit less similar). But on the other side this story has given us a huge division in the Dingles, damaging Zak and Lisa’s relationship AGAIN, and making Zak as insensitive and unlikeable as the Joanie days. I found Lisa’s actions uncharacteristic and hard to believe so her family’s ousting and anger at her seemed contrived especially knowing Lisa’s departure for the village won’t last. Poor Belle unfairly bore the brunt of Zak and Sam’s anger reintroducing her mental health struggles too. And it’s never fun to watch Zak’s woe is me attitude either. There are several aspects of this story that just don’t gel for me and I hope the fractures don’t dominate the story too long because we’ve been there done that with Zak and Lisa.

Bobbing Back and Forth

vlcsnap-2018-04-22-16h05m05s839I’ve liked Bob for a long time, enjoying his happy spirit in the café but this week might have just killed my love for him dead. Watching Bob and Laurel make eyes at each other is irritating enough but a guiltless Bob was more than ready to ditch everything for Laurel this week without any consideration for Brenda and his poor kids. This story has brought out the worst in Bob making his hundredth midlife crisis feel even more tacky and insincere than ever. I was glad that Laurel talked sense to him but even she still seemed to be holding a candle. WHY?! And his crawling back to Brenda was unbearable. Surely Brenda can’t really marry him after all this? He doesn’t deserve it.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 March 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! This week, Cain considered murdering Joe with a hammer and Liv turned back to booze.

Faves

Breaking the Enigma

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-22h01m25s396The biggest mystery in Emmerdale village is not how many bedrooms the Woolpack has, but – who is Graham Foster and what is his past? Graham achieved the near impossible this week and took down Cain Dingle before he had the chance to murder Joe, Dexter-style, and then we had a few more hints about his past. The Graham and Joe dynamic is captivating, leaving us with just enough secrets and mysteries about their past together to keep it interesting. Actor Andrew Scarborough keeps Graham quiet and unassuming until it really matters, using careful – sometimes menacing – words when actions aren’t enough. We’re set to learn more about Graham soon, but hopefully in future he will find a more present role in the village too.

Joyful Jessie

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-21h57m38s241It was great news this week as Jessie finally moved into Emmerdale village and it looks like we will soon meet her son too. Jessie brings a fun new energy to the village and I’m interested to see what storylines await her, whether she will continue to be such a good laugh or if something serious is round the corner. I think her and Marlon could be a lovely match but she seems adamantly against that – and I wonder too if it would break that nice dynamic between them if things progressed. There are lots of unanswered questions about Jessie and I’m looking forward to see her more fully integrated in the village.

Everyone Knows Dave!

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-21h59m09s761Comedy can be so hit and miss especially in soaps, but thank goodness for Marlon’s midweek and improvised party which brought so many laughs. We’re used to Marlon and Paddy providing most of the giggles in the village but this week it was a surprise stranger that was such a highlight. Paddy took Marlon’s desperate pleas very seriously and invited a complete random to Marlon’s house and his reaction was genuinely laugh-out-loud brilliant. Poor Dave looked a bit bewildered too and it was all the more funny considering we often see village unknowns in the background of parties, but here it was used for classic comic effect. Great scene.

Fails

Out of Character?

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-22h00m26s336Lisa, matriarch of the Dingles has seen as much crime and bad behaviour in her family as she has eaten rabbit pies. But after her near-death experience she became almost unrecognisable (for a few episodes at least). A health scare is bound to make someone reassess but it felt jarring for Lisa to take such a harsh un-Dingle stance after everything that family has done, covered up and protected – especially when she’s housing a convicted sex offender too! Surely the Lisa we know and love would have recognised how devastating prison would be and found a better method of punishment, one that teaches consequence rather than the heavy hand of the law?

The Cringe Factor

vlcsnap-2018-03-23-21h57m17s333Surprisingly there are elements I like about the Laurel/Bob/Brenda plot, but this week was a showcase of the aspects that are really letting the story down. These are all characters who should be sympathetic and in the midst of a painful situation, but each scenario at the moment feels childish and contrived. As Bob and Laurel tried to stay away from each other, this week they found themselves in a silly scenario where Laurel got glue down herself and needed help undressing. Bob was on hand and it all got awkward when she was stood there in a vest. A vest! It was meant to be highly charged but the reality was embarrassing to watch – surely there’s a better way to inject a bit of sexual tension? Meanwhile Brenda continues to privately seethe but surely now eyebrows would be raised? Her running commentary about morality is painfully unsubtle and I find it hard to believe everyone can be so oblivious.

Scene of the Week (19-23 March 2018)

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It’s another Scene of the Week winner for Isobel Steele this year as she continues to portray Liv’s struggles with raw and breathless emotion. Facing criminal charges and imprisonment, Liv again found escape in the bottle and hid out at The Dingles farm in tears. But having cut herself on glass, Lisa found her and saw how tormented the young teen was. It was a wake up call for both characters, softening Lisa’s harsh decisions and making Liv realise how devastating her actions had been on everyone. Despite this not being my favourite story of the week, it was hard not to feel empathy for Liv’s desperate upset and a testament to Isobel’s talent too.

Fave or Fail? (12-16 March 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! Lisa’s health suffered when Gabby and Liv’s actions backfired and Joe discovered Debbie’s dark secret.

Faves

Dingle Divide

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h51m53s334Poor Lisa Dingle faced a health scare this week after Gabby and Liv’s prank went wrong. With Gabby determined to teach Daz a lesson, Lisa got caught in the crossfire and ended up in hospital and now the family are hellbent on revenge. There is one slight issue and one big secret, however – Liv is the one that did the actual spiking. It’s a story helmed by two great young actresses that causes friction not only between the extended families but will now surely divide the Dingles too when they find out the truth. I love stories that get the whole village involved, especially when it’s someone as beloved by the community (and viewers) as Lisa. With regretful Liv sure to spiral, this will give great dramatic material for Isobel Steele and might be the big consequences that Gabby and Liv need to learn from their mistakes.

Wicked Games

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h52m54s476Joe Tate learnt the shocking truth about Ross’s acid attack this week and decided to play a vengeful game with Debbie in order to keep her dark secret by blackmailing her into playing his girlfriend. Twisted, much? Joe’s manipulative wickedness adds a cruel spin to the story which might otherwise just be a quite repetitive and depressing story of Ross’s suffering. Health stories by nature can be slow so I’m glad of other elements to keep it interesting while still showing enough sensitivity and education through Ross’s recovery. Joe’s turning up at the hospital and forcing Debbie to reveal their new “status” to an already hurting was an especially bastardy move. Joe’s definitely the boo-hiss villain that makes soap so entertaining. But there’s a fine line between love and hate and Joe’s feelings for Debbie seem to be walking that tightrope, will hers follow?

Happier Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h23m44s125Smiles never last long in Emmerdale, but how nice to see resident misery magnet Aaron with some happiness this week. With much of last year bogged down in an angsty hell, it’s been good that the character has been shown to have a bit more of an adult life, not just in parenting and responsibility, but with his relationship with Chas too. With Chas absent a lot of last year, the mother son scenes were thin on the ground, but I’m glad we’ve moved to a more mature, less dependent relationship between the two. It feels fresher and far more enjoyable to see him carving a life for himself too.

Through the Tough Times

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-09h54m59s362Hooray for Eric again this week as not only did he invite Faith to move into his lovely barn, but he was a great support to Tracy. With Val and Finn gone it’s sad that we’ve not seen much of the BnB lately – we really did take those days for granted. But after David’s awful behaviour and his daughter-in-law needing a break from the shop, Eric was quick to offer her a better position working for him. I think this is exactly the boost Tracy needs. Eric has faith in her (no pun intended) and I love their supportive relationship, on both sides.

Fails

Recipe for Disaster

vlcsnap-2018-03-18-12h25m55s685This week, despite all the warning signs, Chas and Paddy decided to go ahead with the pregnancy and bring a Chaddy child into this world. As nice as it was to see Chas get some focus again, the writing choices felt heavily pro-life and dated, leading us to the inevitable outcome where they chose not to terminate. Still, we all know happiness for anyone – especially Chas – is short lived so all this champagne popping seems a bit pre-emptive, particularly when you remember Paddy was torn between two women five minutes ago. This has disaster written all over it and while I’m not a fan of the ill-suited couple, I dread the likely drift back towards Paddy and Rhona. It seems clear he’s still in love with her so how long before Chas’s heart is broken and the Dingles have another enemy on their list?

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Feb 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 the week that saw Aaron and Robert finally reunite, Tracy was threatened with secrets from her past.

Faves

Make Your Dreams Come True

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m14s763If you heard the sound of happy crying on Thursday night then it was probably me. After months and months of agony and teasing, FINALLY Aaron and Robert were reunited and sought to face the future together, better than ever. It’s no secret that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry has earned them thousands of fans worldwide so the pressure was on for a satisfying and romantic reunion. We got it – and then some. It had all the classic tropes of a romantic movie, with heartbroken Robert struggling to move on and Aaron realising he couldn’t live without Robert. It wasn’t just the fact they’d patched up and declared their love, it was all the special details included that made it so poignant for fans. From the fun scenes in the club, to the meaningful conversations in the garage (a location pivotal in their love story) – there wasn’t a moment wasted with all cards on the table. There wasn’t any silly misunderstandings or finger pointing, it was rooted in their intense past and entirely faithful to their characters. After so much agony and angst, it was a surreal joy to see their family happily reunited. Aaron was grinning – and you don’t see that often! It felt important and truly memorable. Moving forward, we know it can’t be plain sailing but by god, Emmerdale, don’t ruin this. You’ve got something really special.

Amazing Amy

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m51s372On any other week, Tracy’s storyline would have been top of my Faves list because if there’s anyone who deserves ALL the awards then it’s Amy Walsh. She’s been an absolute revelation this week, as Tracy was blackmailed over her prostitute past by the vile Phil. Amy conveyed Tracy’s abject fear brilliantly and her heartbreak at David’s cold shoulder was especially moving. Tracy’s scenes with Frank saw a new and improved sensitive side to his character as he was able to comfort her without judgement, until David’s treatment of her. Amy’s performances have been powerful and empathetic in this dark storyline, cementing her as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. We all wanted to rush in and rescue her this week, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for her as she tries to get justice. I just hope Frank and Vanessa will be there for her when David inevitably lets her down.

Squad Goals

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h45m35s230How great was Thursday’s episode at the bar? Fans of Robert have been crying out for him to have some actual mates for ages and Emmerdale also relished the opportunity to revisit the brilliant double act he has with Bernice, as well as giving him an ally in Vanessa. Aside from the girls’ great attempts to cheer him up, the comedy between the girls was something special. This episode was chockfull of one-liners and each character added something to the group to make it warm and funny. It’s great seeing our favourites outside of the village so it felt like we were really spoilt and even better that we got to see a group of girls having a great time and getting along. No bitchiness, no falling out over men, just bad dancing and cheesy music requests. More of this. PLEASE!

Getting Serious?

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h48m42s367With Charity back from her holiday this meant the Vanity hook ups could resume much to both their delights, but as the week progressed it was clear they were after a bit more than no-strings fun. While I’ve criticised Emmerdale in the past for its slow and most off-screen portrayal of Vanessa and Charity’s relationship, I was glad to see it given a little more prominence this week. I loved seeing the women have flirty fun (with drunk Vanessa being an adorable bonus) and Charity soften to the idea of something more serious. When the writing is there, Vanity is sparky and fun, bringing out new sides to both characters. There’s still room for more though, and I want to see it!

Bonus Faves

  • Gerry and Jacob’s lovely attempts to cheer up Liv (ice cream Gerry, leave out the vodka) and talk sense into Gabby. Jacob continues to be wonderful and the Liv/Gabby drama continues to be believable and well done
  • Ross’s continued struggles
  • Aaron’s lovely attempts to help Liv with her sexuality
  • Bernice’s funny but very blunt relationship advice
  • Priya and Kerry’s badgering of the DJ for 90s classics leading to them being kicked out – TV gold!
  • Robert and Liv repairing their fractured relationship. They have always been one of my favourite relationships in Emmerdale so it was touching seeing them move on and become a family again – that hug!
  • Joe’s redecorated Home Farm and it looks amazing
  • Faith using the loo when Chas was in the room – they’ve got a brilliant mother/daughter dynamic
  • Jimmy’s sycophantic “Thank you, Mr Tate!” combined with Robert’s bristling fury at Joe calling him “Richard” – this new rivalry will be amazing

Fails

David is the Worst

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h49m11s488There is always stiff competition when it comes to “worst man in Emmerdale” but surely David Metcalfe wins this one hands down? As if his cheating on insecure Tracy wasn’t bad enough this week he behaved so hideously that I’m firmly Team Tracy Deserves Better. With predatory and disgusting Phil blackmailing Tracy, David caught them in a compromising position and then learnt the truth about Tracy’s past. Instead of being warm, loving and supportive of his wife he was cold and accusatory, unable to even look at her in the same way when he found out about her history. While it would understandably be a shock, David’s attitude towards her prostitution (and his selfish attitude in general) has soured my view of him completely and that’s without considering his recent lying and cheating. With Tracy’s other family members showing compassion and understanding, David is a far cry from the type of man Tracy needs. It’s going to take a lot for me to warm to him again.

Fave or Fail? (12-16 Feb 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! This week both Ross and Debbie struggled in the wake of the acid attack and Sandy waved goodbye to the village.

Faves

Friendship and Identity

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h02m55s276Emmerdale have really lucked out in their teenage performers as this week’s story with Liv, Gabby and Jacob proved, giving us a heartfelt, original and emotionally raw storyline. Liv tried to explore her feelings on Valentine’s Day, explaining to Gabby that she doesn’t feel attracted to anyone and kissed her in order to discover how she felt. It was sensitively done, introducing an interesting and important storyline which was supported by honest performances. Refreshingly Gabby’s reaction was touching and supportive, as was Jacob the next day when Liv tried to talk to him about her asexuality too. Things had turned sour by the end of the week with Gabby misinterpreting a hug and seeking revenge on Liv by outing her at her birthday party, but this cruel development feels acutely true to teenage life. Sometimes stories with younger characters get dismissed or lost among “grown up” plots, but Liv’s journey here is already emotional and engaging. Fantastic work by all involved.

Three’s a Crowd

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h03m17s884Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that next week sees the reunion between Aaron and Robert so this week’s episodes were all about the thrill of anticipation. This week saw Aaron spend a lot more time with Rob, even helping look after Seb in favour of seeing Alex, and this lead to the pair sharing an almost-kiss on Valentine’s Day. With Robron both in a better place these days and the old feelings resurfacing, it’s now only Alex and Aaron’s stubborn too-big heart that’s getting in the way. This week was the perfect mix of chemistry, rom-com style miscommunication and that third wheel you just want out the way. Soz Alex. It’s made excitement for next week all the more powerful, and with tense scenes like the breathless telephone call that ended Valentine’s Day – I can hardly wait!

Struggling to Cope

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h03m43s962After the life-changing events of last week, Ross struggled to cope with the fall-out in hospital as the extent of his injuries sunk in. It’s been unusual to see Ross so down and distant when he’s usually so full of snark and bravado and it’s giving actor Mike Parr a chance to show off his acting. A welcome change of direction for Ross. There were a number of emotionally charged and difficult to watch moments this week, especially in the scenes that saw Ross come face to face with a frightened Moses and confronting his own changed reflection. I hope going forward we get to see his battle to restore his confidence and sense of self, rather than too much focus on revenge.

Breaking Point

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h04m33s368Debbie is a divisive character at the best of times, but none more so than now as she battles with her guilt over Ross’s attack. The best part about this storyline is how messy and far reaching the consequences are. This week even saw Cain go to extremes to scare off Ross’s attacker so that Debbie would be protected, but this situation feels very precarious! And we all know soap secrets don’t stay secret for long! Whether you feel any sympathy for Debbie or not, Charley Webb gave some outstanding performances this week in a visceral mix of emotions. She could never have imagined that her revenge would have such devastating consequences. Here’s hoping that Debbie does the right thing and own up to her part in the attack and not hide behind her family.

Midlife Crisis

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h04m48s842Bob Hope is still on my shit list but I can’t help but enjoy this midlife crisis style storyline. It’s never popular to break up a marriage, especially one that is rather normal and mundane for a soap, but Bob’s gone all Zak Dingle on us and weirdly I’m quite enjoying it. It’s a complicated muddle of emotions and muddled by Laurel’s grief and Bob’s indecisive middle-aged meltdown, but I like how horrible and messy the whole thing is for all involved. Inappropriate feelings are flying all over the place, not helped by a heap of denial. My heart breaks for Brenda, but there’s no easy resolution to this story and the discovery is going to be intense. I can’t wait.

Fails

Fleeting Farewell

vlcsnap-2018-02-18-10h04m12s341The last thing I want to do is make Emmerdale legend Sandy Thomas a “fail” but I’m just so disappointed to see him leave the village like this! It’s always much harder to give villagers a happy ending to their time in Emmerdale, but Sandy’s goodbye came out of nowhere and so fast. He didn’t even get to do a big goodbye to everyone – not even granddaughter Gabby. Still, what we did see of Sandy’s exit was warm and sweet, it’s just a shame it felt so random and rushed. I think he deserved better.

Scene of the Week (12-16 Feb 2018)

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Scenes of teen bullying in soap can go one of two ways. Either they have that ‘after-school special’ cringey quality or are so effective they are excruciating to watch. Gabby’s betrayal of Liv was the latter and a very painful moment to witness. Having confided in her best friend about her asexuality, Liv’s birthday was shattered by Gabby’s jealous misunderstanding over Liv sharing a hug with Jacob. The tension leading to the horrible moment left me on edge, well aware that Gabby was about to do something awful and held all the cards to Liv’s most private feelings. The fact the scene played out in a very real, brutal way made it so effective. Isobel Steele is a true talent and her subtle, heart-breaking performance was incredibly emotive. I’m sure the fall-out is going to be just as emotional.