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. 

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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)

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 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!

Fave or Fail? (16-20 July 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 Aaron returned in the nick of time to rescue Robert and Liv and Tracy took the future into her hands.

Faves

Matty Making His Mark

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h50m56s056With mum Moira fully supportive of her son now (thank god) she was more than ready to fight his corner this week when she suspected villagers gossiping. Moira might be overcompensating with him now, but Matty’s already slotted right back in at Butler’s and it’s been great to see a more positive vibe at Butler’s. I was glad to see Matty get a warm reception in the village, even if characters like Zak tried asking inappropriate questions. Emmerdale seem to have a good balance on educating bigoted characters (and in turn the audience) about being trans whilst also creating an engaging and entertaining character in Matty. The farm feels more homely and lively than it has in a while and it’s been great to get back to more of the farming talk too. With Matty having bitten off more than he can chew on the farming front, I’m looking forward to see where they take his character next.

Stone Cold Killer

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h52m33s572I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s grown a bit tired of this Lachlan story (especially having hoped way back in February that they wouldn’t drag it out) but it’s actor Thomas Atkinson who’s managing to still make Lachlan so watchable. It’s when he’s gaslighting and being particularly duplicitous – those frustrating moments where you want to ring his neck – that I love the most. This week as he tried to kill Liv and Rob, it was his confrontations with Liv, persuading her back on the booze that I thought were particularly chilling. Do we really buy that he’d look so innocent to the rest of the village, with his history? Maybe not. And maybe he’s skipped too readily from impulsive psychopath to pre-meditated mass murder – but at least Thomas has Lachlan’s smirk and twisted humour down to a fine art.

Liv’s Life

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h48m15s945With Aaron stuck abroad with chicken pox and Gabby MIA, Liv had Doug and Robert to hang out with this week, before she got involved in Lachlan’s murder plot. Although the carbon monoxide poisoning plan from Lachlan seemed to come from nowhere (how easy is it to block a flue?) the storyline did give us an opportunity to see Liv’s lovely relationships with Doug and Robert. Doug seems to have really taken her under his wing (just like he did with Gerry) and offered her advice as they did a spot of gardening. Similarly Liv’s relationship with Robert is one of my favourites in Emmerdale, having watched it develop over the years and blossom into something familial and believable. As the week progressed and Liv and Rob escaped death thanks to Aaron’s well-timed arrival home, Liv faced disbelief from her loved ones and after a confrontation with Lachlan, she turned back to the drink. This was a heartbreaking outcome but one which highlighted that Liv’s issues haven’t been magically fixed after a spell inside. Here’s hoping that once the Lachlan story is over they will revisit Liv’s drinking with the seriousness it deserves.

Living With Lydia

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h50m03s438It’s a shame that the week ended with Lydia getting a bit too close and trusting of Lachlan because there was some great comedy earlier in the week as she tried to redecorate Wishing Well. With Lydia wanting somewhere for her and Sam that feels like home, Zak let her make it a bit more homely by putting her own touches on the place (or so she thought). What followed was some amazing facial expressions from Zak as he discovered Lydia’s “tidying” was redecorating and rearranging the place. And of course Lydia’s redesign included an abundance of birds and kitsch, Steve included. Zak softened eventually and she toned it down, but it was a great injection of humour into the home of the resident serial killer.

Bonus Fave:

  • The brilliant, grinning Elliot King full of inappropriate questions and a really inappropriate crush on Amelia and morbid fascination with her kidnap – more of him please!
  • He might be one of the village’s most dull residents, but three cheers for Frank Clayton this week as he was wonderfully loving and supportive when it came to Tracy’s choices.
  • PC Swirling’s busy week – he might as well just move into the village at this rate. Love him.

Fails

Desperate David

vlcsnap-2018-07-22-18h53m02s856On the whole happy chappy David has always been a bit of a no-hoper when it comes to the ladies, lurching from one failure to the next, but mostly in a harmless inoffensive way. But ever since his dalliance with Leyla and reaction to Tracy’s past, David has come across as little more than a childish dickhead. If his incessant proposals in 2016 weren’t enough to irritate then, then surely his immaturity and selfishness this year has taken annoyance to a whole new level. That’s not to say that David’s comic potential has gone – on the contrary the scenes at the GP’s surgery screamed with awkward humour – but he’s become massively unlikeable in recent months. Maya (Dr Liam Cavanagh’s wife) has been on the scene five minutes and already he’s bedding her and then acting entitled when it comes to Tracy’s life. Granted, none of the Cavanaghs did themselves any favours this week either with Maya’s doe-eyed and need loitering and Liam’s unprofessional reveal of Tracy’s pregnancy, but David’s attitude stinks. Any sympathy with him is long gone and I’ve no doubt he’ll continue to behave like a man-child until the next relationship fuck-up. I’m so glad Tracy has washed her hands of him.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 June 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 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.

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.