Quote of the Week (27-31 Jan 2020)

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Andrea: Vodka Coke please. Large one.
Lydia: *coughs* Five-past eleven. Just saying!

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2019 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my run down of the Top 10 Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2019. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale this year.

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10 – Jai and Laurel

Who could predict that one of Emmerdale’s latest favourite couples would be Jai and Laurel? This time last year we were finally free of the massively unpopular Laurel and Bob romance, but her new love with Jai has been a surprise hit. Early days for the pair was something of a sweet slow burn of crossed wires and a pretend kiss to get Jai out of a dodgy date, but now they’re finally together it just works. The actors have a good chemistry and their cuteness has been pretty sweet. Lately their merged family is under threat as Arthur cruelly bullies Archie – could this destroy Laurel and Jai’s relationship so soon? Hopefully not!

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9 – Vanity’s Engagement

2019 started in a hugely dramatic way for Vanessa and Charity when Vanessa was stabbed outside the pub by Lachlan’s dad Donny. After her brush with death, Charity was more convinced than ever of her love and decided to pop the question. What followed was a brilliantly humorous attempt by Charity to hijack an unsuspecting groom’s outlandish proposal at Home Farm to surprise Vanessa. Although it was classic Charity madness, Vanessa was less than impressed when she realised what Charity had done. Nevertheless Vanessa returned to Home Farm to hear Charity out and after some drunken rambling, the couple’s heart to heart lead to a real proposal. This moment had everything – laughs, vulnerability and a great script. Will their wedding be as similarly funny and romantic when it happens?

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8 – The Immediate Aftermath of Victoria’s Rape

I have some serious problems with how Vic’s rape story ultimately transpired but there’s no denying that the initial scenes in which Victoria revealed she’d been raped to Moira were outstanding. In the aftermath of Vic’s rape, Moira tried to help her understand she wasn’t at fault in any way with writing that deftly dispelled every myth and misconception surrounding the assault. Emmerdale made interesting choices in the beginning of the story, with Lee seemingly like the nice guy helping to walk Vic home before attacking her in her own home in brutal but effective scenes. The aftermath also featured stunning performances from the underused Isabel Hodgins and it’s a shame the story derailed so quickly.

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7 – Truth about Maya

It was the moment viewers were eagerly waiting for and when the truth about Maya came out, it was worth the wait. For months Maya had been grooming and seducing Jacob right under his family’s nose and after Liv’s discovery it was only a matter of time before the truth came out. The reveal took the centre stage of the Big Night Out episodes as Priya was the surprise witness to a kiss between the pair. The tension was delicious as Maya accepted a lift from Leyla, Tracy and Priya – although we had to wait a few weeks to find out what they’d actually done to her, suspecting she might be dead. The beginning of the end came with a gripping confrontation in the woods, but David learning the truth was equally compelling with a strong performance from Matthew Wolfenden and an uncomfortable but authentic range of emotions on display. With Maya and Jacob hiding out, there were some must-see twists and turns as the truth emerged, but disappointingly, the dramatic climax fizzled out and the conclusion of this story just didn’t live up to the gripping revelation.

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6 – Robert’s Exit

The end of 2019 also marked the end of Emmerdale’s most-shipped couple as Robron were torn apart due to the departure of Robert from the show. After his sister’s rape, Robert was unable to move past his need for revenge and when Lee’s torment of her continued, Robert saw red and hit Lee over the head with a shovel. For a while it looked like Robert’s charges would be minimal but things changed when Lee woke up and later died from his injuries. Facing the prospect of life behind bars, Robert went on the run, with Aaron by his side. With the desperate couple willing to sacrifice everything for their love, the reality of their future weighed heavily on Robert’s mind and he selflessly turned himself in, breaking Aaron’s heart in the process. Robert was sentenced to fourteen years inside and scheduled to be moved to the Isle of Wight and while Aaron was determined to hang onto their marriage, Robert made the crushing decision to cut all ties and allow Aaron to live his life. While Robert is a big loss to the show, Ryan Hawley gave some of his best performances throughout his exit and his exit managed to be both gripping and heart-breaking. Despite this story meaning the end of Robron, their epic love story was honoured in Robert’s final episode and the plot stayed true to their depth of feeling until the very end.

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5 – Flashback episodes

There was a real buzz around Emmerdale’s much promoted Big Night Out episodes, but the real excitement began just a few weeks later as we got to see what really happened during that fateful night. Flashbacks have been overdone in Emmerdale lately but withholding what really went down for two weeks was just the right time to keep things gripping and keep us all guessing. Of all the flashbacks Billy’s was the weakest but even that managed its own twists and give us glimpses of the other storylines in the background. The thrilling showdown between Maya and the trio of Leyla, Tracy and Priya let to a brilliant blackly comic confrontation in a horror movie pursuit in the woods. Victoria’s strand was unsurprisingly the hardest to watch as what could have been a rom-com style episode had a horrific end, and knowing what was coming gave the episode an unbearable dread. Overall this was an exciting dose of episodes, giving Emmerdale back its must-see bite while these big stories played out.

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4 – Women’s Day Special Episode

Emmerdale celebrated International Women’s Day this year with an episode dedicated to the women of the Dales using a mostly all women crew too. Not only was this an inspiring decision behind the scenes, but the episode itself was full of pathos, joy and warmth. Emmerdale managed to use almost its entire female cast, interacting in surprising ways and having a wonderful community, character driven feel. There was also a surprise inclusion of Lisa with the sad reveal she was dying, but despite this the episode still managed to be funny and full of heart, instilling a sense of confidence and strength in being a woman. An episode with ambitions like this made me even prouder to be an Emmerdale fan. And hey, if it pisses off the backwards likes of Piers Morgan and co then it’s doing something right!

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3 – The Mere Existence of Liam Cavanagh

If there’s one character who’s made Emmerdale 2019 a joy to watch then it’s Dr Liam Cavanagh. Not only has he shared a sweet and funny romance with Bernice (a relationship so right for their characters I was sad to see end), but in his own right he’s managed to be both charming and laugh out loud funny. This year highlights have included his painfully awkward encounter with Cain, the discovery that he loves murder mystery roleplay – leading to a hilarious misunderstanding where Bernice thought he was a murderer – and of course his adventures in costume from the sheriff to the panto’s Farmer Christmas. Although Liam has lost his love, there’s potential with Leyla, but also his relationship with daughter Leanna and colleague Manpreet to explore. Liam’s the sort of character that easily feels at home in the village (he even made Bear briefly watchable) and Jonny McPherson’s natural charisma and comedic timing, he’s a character who consistently puts a smile on your face. If I could only make one wish for 2020, it would be more Liam!

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2 – Lydia’s past

There was one stand-out star of 2019 and that was Karen Blick as Lydia, effortlessly taking Lydia from kooky oddball with a big heart from tragic matriarch of the Dingles. This year we learnt more about Lydia’s tragic past, revealing that she had taken on a false identity and was really named Jenny Finn. As the remains of a baby were found by the school, Lydia turned herself into the police revealing she had buried her stillborn child there and kept it a secret all this time. Karen Blick’s performances were nothing short of incredible and together with Sam, they were the real jewels in Emmerdale’s crown this year. This story not only made Lydia more loved, but it also strengthened the bond between the couple. Giving Lydia this fleshed out backstory offered a believable explanation for her personality and the material, never short of gut-wrenching, proved what an incredible performer Karen Blick is. With the question of Huntingdon’s disease playing on her mind, I hope 2020 continues to give Karen the material she deserves.

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1 – Lisa’s death

We lost a real Emmerdale legend this year as Lisa Dingle passed away suddenly. We had only just seen her back in the village and in her rightful home when we lost her for good, after a warm and nostalgic big Dingle celebration. Lisa’s death was understated and fitting, following a sentimental wedding for her and Zak, which even featured classic Emmerdale band The Woolpackers. Despite Lisa’s death being a surprise to many viewers, we should have guessed Lisa’s time back in Wishing Well was limited considering her return almost felt like a goodbye tour. When her family came home to find her dead, there were impressive scenes as they grieved and supported each other. The aftermath was moving as it panned over their homestead and the funeral was a fun and quirky affair with pig races. Lisa also left behind letters for her family which told them what they needed to hear and was a fitting end for the matriarch of the family. The Dingles haven’t quite felt the same without her, but her final episodes were a beautiful tribute to her treasured character.

Thank you for all your support of The Woolie Weekly in 2019 and Happy New Year!

Fave or Fail? (2-6 Dec 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Andrea suffered a miscarriage this week, giving Kim a change of heart and Lydia tried to put the past to rest.

Faves

Well-rounded Kim

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h43m54s325Top of the highlights this week is Kim, who seems to have hit her stride, almost a year since she made her full return to the village. Early months indicated Emmerdale weren’t quite sure what to do with her and the brief panto stint last year didn’t help much – and nor did the Joe and Graham muddle. Now, with tangible motives and a family around her, Kim feels a lot more well rounded. I really enjoyed that she was a big part of the village this week, funding the lights and having a sense of power that is reminiscent of the Home Farm contingent of old Emmerdale. Rather than cartoonishly making people’s lives misery, it was welcome to see Kim’s ruthless attitude towards Wendy whilst being sympathetic towards Victoria’s plight. Similarly her war with Graham is more watchable now it’s about something relatable – her son and granddaughter. There was also an element of fun too, with Harriet scamming her to give the light fund to the homeless instead, and this has helped to make her more than just a outlandish soap bitch, but more of a believable character and that can only benefit the future of Home Farm.

Lydia Deals with the Past

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h41m26s341After another emotional week for Lydia, Emmerdale are surely paving the way to give Karen Blick some award nominations next year? This week Lydia struggled with the pressure of her newly found biological family and the news that she could lay her son to rest, now that she had his ashes. Feeling suffocated by her mother, Lydia opted to scatter the ashes with just the Dingles (or the few that turned up!) and later asked for space from her mother and sister, acknowledging there was no quick fix to her years of feeling isolated and abandoned. As much as I liked the casting for Lydia’s family and it gave her character new dimensions, I’m glad Emmerdale didn’t rush to make them close, with everything forgiven. However with the Huntington’s test still looming, I’m interested to see what happens next now that Lydia’s drawn a line under her new family – will they just be forgotten about? Stories lately have felt a little stop start and I hope Lydia’s doesn’t go the same way.

Upset Uncle

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h40m31s225Noah was in full protection mode this week as his concern for Sarah grew. Since her secret pill popping at the party, he’s been suspicious of her new friend Danny and the reckless way she’s been behaving. This week saw Noah spying on her and later confronting Danny about her health. Bratty Sarah was furious at Noah for damaging her street cred, despite Noah tearfully telling her how worried he was. I’ve always been a big fan of Noah and he’s been absent for some of this year so it’s been good to have him taking a prominent role in this storyline. I like his sensitivity and big heart, helped by Jack Downham’s vulnerability in the part. Spoilers indicate Noah’s got some gritty material ahead which is something to look forward to.

Jamie and Andrea’s Grief

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h43m06s819I was impressed and surprised by the performances this week as Jamie and Andrea came to the forefront of the show with their tragic miscarriage story. While this heartbreak was a way to trigger Kim’s change of heart for the first time it actually made me believe in their relationship, bonding them closer. Both characters have felt a bit flat since their early promise and the scenes this week suggest they are capable of much more, especially if it means delving more into their relationship in a more emotional way, separate from the convoluted history.

Fails

Losing Support?

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h45m57s005Moira continued her drunken spiralling this week, losing an ally in Pete and losing grip on herself when she repeatedly turned to the bottle. There was some friendly support from Vanessa, but with Matty away and Pete now working with Nate, Moira’s completely on her own and in this state losing work and access to the kids. Unfortunately though, this time round, Moira just isn’t very sympathetic. When she’s had drunken meltdowns before, when she lost Holly and after Emma’s death and the PND she experienced after having Isaac, Moira’s had our sympathies and support – but this time I’m not so sure. Moira’s cheating was clumsily handled and almost universally hated by viewers so it’s no real surprise her self-pitying meltdown isn’t quite hitting the mark. She might be on self-destruct, but what the scenes lack is a sense Moira is taking responsibility for what happened, instead what we’ve been seeing a rather cold and unsympathetic Moira and she’s difficult to root for.

Lost the Plot

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h42m19s643Wendy moved into Emmerdale village this week in another twisted turn to this continual torture of Victoria. As Wendy continues to blather on about her innocent son, it appears some villagers have completely lost the plot. Wendy’s support of Lee and harassment of Vic began long before Lee’s death, so to hand-wave her behaviour as grief or as a grandmother who just wants contact is sickening beyond belief. Even characters like Chas, who should be unflinching in support of Victoria, defended Wendy and bonded over the “bad behaviour” of their sons. Yes, that’s right, comparing the survivor of childhood rape to a rapist. What is Wendy’s narrative purpose in the village beyond more hell for Victoria and to plunge Aaron into a bigger meltdown? Are we supposed to feel sorry for her? To paint Wendy as a victim – her house vandalised and unwelcome – and putting empathetic words in the mouths of characters who should know better is completely tone deaf and unless she becomes the show’s next deranged nurse then these latest developments are a hard pill to swallow from a show that has had a strong history of empowering their rape survivors.

Fave or Fail? (18-22 Nov 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a big week for the teens as Sarah took a pill and Jacob struggled knowing Maya had been released from prison, and Vanity were reunited.

Faves

Lydia’s Life Gets Harder

vlcsnap-2019-11-23-20h15m14s886If one thing proved that Lydia Hart is one of THE best Emmerdale characters, then it was this week’s episodes. When we first met Lydia, Karen Blick delivered comedy with aplomb and soon made quirky odd ball Lydia a fun part of the Dingle household. But as we’ve heard more and more of Lydia’s tragic past, she’s become one of the warmest and most loveable characters in the show. I’d probably go as far to say Lydia doesn’t have a bad bone in her body. This week she learnt her sister Beth had been lying and her mum was actually alive. As the pair got to know each other, both Karen Blick and Judith Barker did a superb job, particularly as two characters talking about the past we haven’t seen can be cold and unengaging (see any Graham backstory, Cain, and Nate’s mother). Their emotional conversations felt authentic but with the focus on Lydia’s heart breaking, made the scenes all the more emotive. And then the bombshells continued as Lydia learnt she might be a carrier of Huntington’s. At the moment on screen there’s a lack of emotive “issue” based storylines but Lydia’s long lost family and the dilemma about getting a life changing test is the closest to their best type of story. If Karen’s performances don’t earn her some awards recognition it’ll be a travesty.

Teen Focus

vlcsnap-2019-11-23-20h19m02s131The teens had a surprisingly big focus this week as both Sarah and Jacob had their own stories, while Gabby, Dee Dee and Leanna had their parents’ wedding to contend with. Sarah was in true brat mode this week as FOMO lead her to host a secret boozy party at Jacob’s Fold, incurring the wrath of Granny Charity. As Noah and Samson watched with horror (I love how both of these lads have a real ‘old before their time’ quality about them) Sarah took a pill offered by shady newcomer Danny. So far, despite a lecturing from Noah, Sarah’s covered up her drug taking but it looks like this is only the start in an effort to impress Danny. This week also saw a lot more from Leanna who has been mellowed in recent writing and had great onscreen report with the other teens and also Bernice (shame that’ll be over soon). Her mini story with Jacob really helped to soften her and shed the cold and bitchy demeanour she’d had previously. Teen stories might not be to everyone’s taste, but now and again it’s a good change, especially with watchable actors like this. Though let’s just hope Sarah doesn’t stay too whiny and bratty though otherwise we’ll have a mini Debbie on our hands!

David and Jacob’s breakthrough

vlcsnap-2019-11-23-20h17m28s792Jacob had one hell of a difficult week and that’s without him knowing about Maya’s baby bombshell! Just as life was looking up, more teenage and more normal – with cinema dates with Leanna – David and Leyla received news Maya was to be released from prison. Eventually they broke the news, sending Jacob spiralling. He took a bus at night to try and see Maya, but David hunted him down and the pair talked in the rain, with David desperately trying to get Jacob to see sense. These scenes on location made a nice change and it felt fresh, rather than rehashing conversations they’d already had. When later in the week Jacob reacted terribly after sleeping with Leanna and was cruel and heartless, the disgust on all sides from family and friends seemed to give him a big setback. Later David and Leyla managed a breakthrough, but it took some cold reverse psychology to do it. I was much more convinced by Jacob and David’s scenes at the start of the week and felt the tough love approach sent out a confusing message to the audience and was an irresponsible way for David and Leyla to treat Jacob given his vulnerable state of mind and trust issues. It might have worked, it might have been difficult to make him see sense, but there are aspects to this big, sensitive and challenging storyline that needed a little more care and the end of the week didn’t work as well for me.

Sweet Start

vlcsnap-2019-11-23-20h18m00s311Billy and Dawn’s budding relationship is the epitome of sweet. Somehow their new romance awkwardness has softened both characters and made them feel more than just pawns in their family’s drama. Around Billy, Dawn has an endearing innocence about her and Billy’s efforts to impress with an apron and a pretend home made meal were adorable. His encouragement of her job is a big improvement on the slimy way Ryan treated her and in turn it’s been a welcome change to see Billy in a more upbeat story rather than his dour moans about his past. Time will tell if these two manage to be one of those couples we really root for, but whatever happens I’ve got a feeling that Al may become a big thorn in their side.

Fail

Wendy’s Redemption

vlcsnap-2019-11-23-20h19m32s696If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen I’ve been trying and failing to shut up about Wendy Posner and her recurring role in Emmerdale. Rumours seem to be true that Wendy is being made into a regular character and it’s already posing a problem on screen. Don’t get me wrong, Susan Cookson is a great actress and had she had any other introduction to Emmerdale, she’d be welcomed with open arms, the problem is the way Wendy was written when we first met her cannot be glossed over. It seems inevitable that Wendy will have a redemption of sorts. She will (hopefully) realise her son was a vile rapist and struggle with the revelation – which would be an interesting story to tell. However, there’s an issue with the way Emmerdale have already started Wendy’s change of status without her having this realisation. We’ve already seen Wendy victimised and gaining Vic’s sympathises purely because Lee died and this week Emmerdale attempted to manipulatively have Wendy portrayed as the hero, helping Chas and baby Eve. Cynics like me might say, what’s heroic about Wendy doing her job? It doesn’t make her a nice person. It doesn’t make her worthy of forgiveness yet. Neither does a dead son. Not, and this is the crucial factor, when she repeatedly stalked, harassed and accused Victoria of being a liar. She has shown no remorse for this, no compassion for Vic and she still thinks the sun shone out of Lee and that she has some form of ownership over Vic’s unborn baby. Had Emmerdale tackled Wendy’s horrendous victim blaming first and given us time to see her remorse, then we might have been able to accept her into the village. As it stands, Wendy is being made a victim and a false hero, all while Vic is written to pity her. Terrible choices all round a really unpleasant watch.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 Nov 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As Lydia met her estranged sister, a spiralling Cain and Aaron started their own destructive team.

Faves

New Family Secrets

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h55m02s263With lots of big Emmerdale stories winding down, it was interesting to see a new story start this week with Lydia. After Karen Blick’s impressive performances during the summer, as the truth of Lydia’s past came to light, it’s welcome news to see her get a continuation of this story now. After Mandy’s identity theft story, the Dingles discovered Lydia’s benefactor was her mother, but when Lydia went to the house she came face to face with her estranged sister (amazing casting!). But it was soon revealed to the audience that Lydia’s mother was not dead, as the sister had said, but very much alive. This was a fantastic moment of intrigue and would be the perfect way to give Lydia more depth. Although she makes a great matriarch within the Dingles, bringing in her family would be a great new story for Lydia. Can’t wait to see where this goes!

Big Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h57m57s300Poor Aaron had one hell of a week Oblivious to Robert saying goodbye last week it was one shock after another when Aaron realised first that Robert had been moved to the Isle of Wight and blocked all contact and later, had filed for divorce. This brutal severing was inevitable being that Friday last week marked the end of Ryan Hawley’s tenure in Emmerdale, but in Robert wanting Aaron to have a life, meant heartbreak for him. Spiralling Aaron lashed out at Lee’s brother Luke, ranted at the insufferable Wendy (deeply cathartic) but most of all did what Danny Miller does so well – an absolute emotional breakdown. Viewers might be over the tears, but after a five year love story, he’s due a flood.

The End of Coira

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h59m21s595It was all over for another Emmerdale couple this week as Cain and Moira had a sit down chat about where it all went wrong. With the foundations of Moira’s affair weak and unsuccessfully told, sitting and hearing her explanation felt quite hollow and unconvincing, but at least Cain wasn’t having any of it either. Regardless of the story, Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb made the aftermath worth watching. With Cain’s car crash behaviour leading him to bed Kerry it looks like it really could be the end of the line for Coira. But what next? It’s hard to imagine them moving on to anyone else in the village!

Arthur’s Meltdown

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h56m25s757It’s only the beginning of what appears to be a big new story for young Arthur Thomas but I’m already intrigued. If you’ve read upcoming spoilers you’ll know Arthur’s jealousy and struggle to adapt to Laurel’s new relationship will start a dark story for him, but we saw more of its beginnings this week. Arthur has already tried to sabotage Laurel and Jai’s relationship and Friday’s episode saw him explode with rage, feeling ostracised from his own family and angry that Jai was trying to take his Dad’s place. This feels like a very real psychological and emotional trauma for a young boy who worries the world is forgetting the importance of his late father and I’m interested to see how this story goes. Alfie Clarke is one of Emmerdale’s best young actors so he’ll be able to handle what could be tough material.

Fails

The Wrong Message

vlcsnap-2019-11-10-08h59m55s056Whenever soaps do a rape or sexual assault storyline, there’s always a character brought in to defend the rapist. From Pierce’s mother to Bails’s wife, we’ve seen it before. But when justice occurs, the defender realises the truth, or is at least shut up. There’s no question that there are “Wendys” in the world, mothers who believe their rapist sons are innocent, especially vindicated when they get away with it. Where Emmerdale have gone disastrously wrong is an attempt to victimise Wendy, even going as far as having Victoria apologise and take pity on her. Wendy stalked her. Harassed her. Tormented her. Forced her way into Victoria’s life. Blamed her. Wendy is not a victim. She is not sympathetic. She has never seen Lee’s behaviour for what is was and has never apologised for what the family have put Victoria through. This framing is incredibly damaging to the message Emmerdale were trying to tell with the rape storyline. Wendy (and in turn Lee) should not be forgiven and it’s damaging to write Vic as being “the stronger person” because she can. The writing for Vic at times since this story began has sometimes seemed to mistake empowerment and courage for forgiveness and understanding. Finding closure should not mean accepting Wendy or empathising with her. The writing this week made Vic almost indifferent to her brother’s fate, like he’d gone away for the weekend, while she seemed more bothered about Wendy’s upset and Lee’s funeral. From a story with such a strong beginning, it’s veered completely off track.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 Oct 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emmerdale pushed the boat out (literally) for its big stunt and Chas gave birth.

Faves

Cain’s Carnage

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h46m50s408If there’s one character who owned the week, it was Cain Dingle. There’s a reason why Cain is so popular among viewers and ultimately it comes down to the brilliance of Jeff Hordley’s portrayal. This week was a blockbuster week for Cain as he learnt Moira was cheating. First he pummelled the wrong target (oops, poor Pete) and then on learning the real culprit was Nate, staged an elaborate (and let’s face it a convoluted/ridiculous) revenge plot. With Cain’s pain, fury and below the surface seething playing out perfectly in Jeff’s face, I’m not convinced the week needed a random boat explosion, when the showdown was satisfying on its own but the underwater scenes were visually impression. It’s unclear what’s next for Cain and Moira, particularly when her motivation to cheat was unsatisfying and unsympathetic, but the pair have undeniable chemistry even at war. Whatever happens, Cain’s total breakdown will be worth watching for Jeff’s performances alone.

Prison Pain

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h47m34s909Robert faced his sentencing this week in a plot thread that felt a bit lost in the show’s stunt week after last week’s thrilling focus. However this didn’t deter from the emotional performances as both Robert and Aaron tried to put on a brave face. As Aaron suffered alone at home watching a video from his husband, his prison break out plan abandoned after some tough and quite uncompassionate berating from his family, Robert faced his own despair in a prison cell. This heartbreak was a nice juxtaposition of scenes and Aaron’s dark mood clouded the rest of the week in a way that was fitting to the tragedy of the situation. The performances and grief following last week have been spot on, but my only fear is after last week’s great scenes, the momentum has been lost a little.

Faith Says Farewell

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h49m51s449We said goodbye to Sally Dexter this week as Faith, in a way that felt surprisingly final. Since it was announced Faith would be leaving the Dales, there was hope it was just a break, but the framing of Friday’s scenes felt like we might not see Faith again for a long time – if ever again. Even though her exit itself seemed rushed, especially with only a handful of characters available to say goodbye, Sally Dexter had a final week of big dramatic performances and not just the barbed comments and comedy she’s often been used for. Faith’s been quite brash and divisive but she’s also been someone who’s felt right at home from the start and fit into the village perfectly. From her troubled role as a parent to Chas and Cain to the touching romance with Eric, it was good to see both of these explored in her final episode. Faith’s been one of those great morally grey characters who can inspire empathy even in the worst of her behaviour. She’ll be a real loss to the show.

Light and Shade

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h52m35s674In among all the high drama this week was Chas giving birth in the pub toilets with only Marlon to hand. Scenes of someone giving birth in the wrong place at the wrong time are done often in soap, but these were lifted by the reliably amusing Marlon and of course the drunken chaos of Mandy and Bob next door. In fact those two, plus Lydia, would be a great full time addition to the bar staff. Every big week needs a lighter story and this worked well, especially when Chas and Paddy’s joy felt earned after last year’s tragedy.

Fails

Bonus Fail

  • It seems like someone at Emmerdale had a short term memory this week! First Chas managed to learn Moira had cheated on Cain twice, once in the first Thursday episode, then again at the end of the second episode. Baby brain or a mistake slipping through the net? Then Chas chose the name “Eve” for her new baby, totally forgetting about Eve Jenson who was her mortal enemy and cheated with Carl. Would you really name your child after someone you hated? Seems like Emmerdale forgot all about that big story. Finally, the discovery Faith had been involved in preventing Cain from knowing about pregnant Cara was baffling as we’d already seen how Faith had abandoned her kids when they were very young – so how did her involvement work? Considering the special flashback episode dealing with Cain and Faith’s past was less than two years ago, this seems like a really clunky mistake. When the big twist doesn’t gel with established canon, it weakens the satisfying element of a twist!

More Torture for Victoria

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h49m27s269Some viewers had already predicted that cute hospital guy Luke would have some sort of dark connection to Lee, but I was naively hoping that Emmerdale wouldn’t go down such a convoluted and cruel route. Wrong. The glimmer of hope and happiness for Vic was not to be, which considering what she’s suffered through this year feels particularly mean spirited. This week she discovered Luke was Lee’s brother, another spawn of the vile Wendy’s and so Vic’s chance for a fresh start away from her trauma and her rapist is not to be. Isn’t this a bit needless? If Vic couldn’t have justice, then a clean break, empowered against Lee’s awful mother would have been a start. I fear Emmerdale will explore a relationship between the two and try and soften Wendy that way but Victoria deserves much better.

Twist Shock?

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h51m21s558So, Nate is Cain’s son, eh? Who’d have thought it? Well…quite a few viewers to be honest. Was there ever going to be a twist big and shocking enough to please every viewer? Probably not. But there was something uninspired about this predictable route and I’m not convinced it made trashing Moira and her marriage worth it. Perhaps if Emmerdale had worked harder to establish Nate as a character in his own right, or avoided the repetitive affair scenes by having his seduction more prolonged and subtle, perhaps if we as viewers had been in on Nate’s motivation and secret then the gut-punch for Moira and Cain might have meant more. Perhaps if we’d seen hints of Nate’s ulterior motive or even Cain growing to like him so his betrayal and hatred hit with more impact. As it was after the budget blowing stunt, the impact of the secret unravelled quickly in a series of confusing and dull exposition scenes about a character we’ve never met (Cara), that made the backstory of Cain and Faith’s relationship muddled (Faith WAS around in his life apparently and Shadrach was a racist) and wasn’t as exciting as it might have been if we’d been in on the shock all along. Not to mention the fact that Cain is interesting enough without another secret child being brought into the equation – we’ve only just had Ryan and Charity. What Emmerdale seems to have assumed is that Nate is automatically interesting because he’s Cain’s son, but if they want us to be interested in another father/son bonding journey, then they’re going to have to make a bit more effort to write Nate as more than just a plot device.

Scene of the Week (21-25 Oct 2019)

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This scene might not have had a twist, or blown the budget, but it was full of heart. After Chas and Paddy’s tragedy last year it was good to see this quietly happy moment for them and the family. It was played with tenderness as their family shared their love and relief in light of last year. It was a nice touch too for Lydia to be moved, after we learnt of her tragedy this year. Marlon and Paddy had a moment, and even Bear managed not to be a pillock. It worked too for Chas to check in with Aaron and to wonder about Cain, in a way that tied all the big stories together.

Fave or Fail? (7-11 Oct 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Kerry’s health took a turn for the worst and Vanessa stayed in a prison cell overnight. 

Faves

War Against the Wyatts

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h44m49s870The fallout of Tracy and Vanessa’s discovery about their dad’s death continued this week, which was full of strong performances and satisfying, tense moments, even if it has had a somewhat divisive response from viewers. With Kerry hospitalised, Tracy and Vanessa spent much of the week switching scripts, one minute Tracy was guilt ridden and blamed herself, unwilling to turn Kerry and Amy in, then she was gung-ho about going straight to the police. Then it was Vanessa’s turn to flip-flop too. Perhaps this was an attempt to get viewers to question the big issues of blame, guilt and accidents, though some were left feeling like Kerry and Amy have got away with it. With soap being a fast moving genre, there’s a chance it won’t be long before they’re sharing a civilised drink in the Woolie, or perhaps Kerry and Amy will save the sisters’ lives in an attempt to redeem them. Whatever the long term outcome, the moments where Tracy and Vanessa were allowed be furious and indignant at the Wyatts were the most enjoyable and hopefully Kerry and Amy will face a little more justice than just a bump on the head!

Wedding Favours

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h37m16s860This week we had more comedy at Take a Vow as Bernice and Liam competed against Lydia and Sam with the type of humour Emmerdale does best. With the couples vying for the prize, they had to come up with a perfect theme for the wedding and decorate a table. Lydia and Sam opted for a Yorkshire theme while Bernice and Liam let their fantasies run away with them and went full Jane Austen, costumes the lot. As the horny pair got carried away, they ended up wrecking Sam and Lydia’s table in the process and winning by default. The antics of these two never fail to amuse (which makes Samantha Giles’s aka Bernice’s approaching exit even harder to take) and Jonny McPherson continues to be one of Emmerdale’s biggest comedic assets. With the guilt getting to them, they gave Sam and Lydia their prize instead, with Bernice still managing to be her tactless self, suggesting they were a bit of a charity case. Take a Vow is a business that we don’t see do much but with all the weddings in the village could easily be used more for fun stories like this. Next stop, Leyla and Andrea trying to rein in a village bridezilla?

Rhona and the Robot

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h35m44s863It’s early days for Rhona and her budding romance with Graham and while I’m not totally sold, I can see potential.  Before their relationship became exhausting doom and gloom, Rhona forged a surprising chemistry with Pete and now it looks like there are similar sparks with Graham. It hasn’t quite reached the same levels with Graham yet, but it looks like Rhona could be the one to break him out of the robotic mode. What Graham needs is something about him that is more believable, more human. Giving him a real relationship with someone grounded, in the heart of the village, could work – after all we’ve had years of Graham now and he still doesn’t feel like a living breathing person. There is of course the Kim factor which could spoil things but knowing how good her scenes with Rhona have been, seeing them head to head might not be such a bad thing.

Fails

Angry Amy

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h41m26s810One character who won’t be popular with many viewers after this week’s events is Amy. With Kerry critical in hospital, Amy had harsh words for Tracy, blaming her for her mum’s condition. But with Kerry making a fairly quick recovery (okay, slow in soap standards) Amy’s insistence that Tracy’s actions made them even didn’t really wash. There were plenty of times in this story where Amy was the remorseful one, but lately she’s almost been ruthless and cold-hearted in their fight to evade any police involvement. Perhaps if Emmerdale had spent more time showing Amy’s desperation for money, leading to the accident, then Amy’s excuses might have held more weight, but the way she treated grieving Tracy and Vanessa this week was hard to watch. It might take a while for Tracy and Vanessa to move on and forgive her, but I think the audience might take even longer…

Moira Merry-go-Round

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h47m00s062I can’t tolerate any more of this Nate and Moira storyline and I reckon not even seeing Cain’s murder eyes or an eleventh hour twist about Nate’s identity can save it any more. This week Moira’s shameless attitude about her affair pissed off Pete and once again she ended things with Nate, only for – you guessed it – her to snog his face off at the end of the week. How many times has this happened now? Moira’s plummeted from one of the show’s strongest characters to one I’m struggling to watch. Her motives make no sense and her lust for Nate is even harder to believe set against her genuine, palpable chemistry with Cain. Then there’s Nate, who lurches from predator to charmless bore who now claims to be in love with her. It’s impossible to tell whether he’s genuine (and a massive creep) or playing a game. But with the same repetitive story beats taking place week after week, it’s a struggle to care. Moira should be the character we connect with, that we’re empathising with, but even the most ardent Moira fans must be finding it hard to recognise her. To make matters worse, Emmerdale appear to be investing everything into this story, putting it front and centre almost every week, despite it baffling or putting off most viewers. Will the climax and Cain’s revenge be worth all these months of a terrible storyline?

Fave or Fail? (30 Sep-4 Oct 2019)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Kerry’s lies were uncovered this week and Pete learnt that Moira was cheating with Nate.

Faves

The Secret is Out

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h59m57s179It was the moment we were all waiting for this week as Tracy discovered that Kerry and Amy were behind her dad’s death. With Kerry’s guilt worsening, she was a mess trying to stay together, but as the pieces of the puzzle starting slotting together, Tracy’s suspicions were high. It was a really satisfying scene to see Tracy raid Kerry’s room for evidence and even more so when she’d worked out that the lies had been building for months. As the two had a showdown in Tug Ghyll, both Amy Walsh and Laura Norton played the bristling tension perfectly. When Amy arrived it was two against one as they tried to calm Tracy down, but if you were anything like me you were just screaming for Tracy to run out of the house and call the police. What actually transpired was something far messier, making the situation more complicated, as Tracy shoved Kerry who then hit her head and fell unconscious. While it does shift the “victim” of the story – somewhat frustrating when Kerry and Amy have been so unlikeable at times – the moral dilemmas it raised made the scenes take an interesting turn. Once again Amy Walsh in particular proves what a strong actress she is and this is sure to continue through the aftermath.

Countryside Dramas

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h58m36s771There was something really “Classic Emmerdale” about the salmonella plot that I really enjoyed. Granted we’d only seen Derek twice so his death was meaningless but I loved the way this story tied together so many characters in a different way and had an interesting farming angle. As David suffered with food poisoning, him and Jacob attempted to rebuild their relationship, meanwhile accusations were thrown at Rishi, who in the light of his factory troubles was even more desperate for things to be okay. Then of course there was Sam and his poor chickens! This storyline also gave us a new light on Manpreet, who stole from her deceased patient to make a significant sum and then tried to bribe the man from environmental health. These glimmers that there are much more to her than meets the eye are great! This storyline might not bring in award nominations but it’s the everyday community, countryside story that Emmerdale should be doing, playing up to its USP and giving us some surprising interactions as well as building on pre-existing tensions.

Wedding Wars

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m53s340This week saw the beginning of a new genius comedy storyline as Bernice and Liam competed against Sam and Lydia to win their dream wedding. With Andrea and Leyla now working together at Take A Vow we could be seeing the start of ambitious trouble between them and it was very welcome to see Andrea outside of the stifling Home Farm environment. But the main joy of this storyline is seeing the polar opposite couples of Bernice/Liam and Sam/Lydia try and out do each other. From their colourful marital histories, with Sam’s bluntness versus Bernice’s bitchiness, this is the perfect comedic story. It definitely helps that both couples are so right for each other and we’ve been waiting for them to get married for ages! Can’t wait to see how the competition escalates and how far Bernice (let’s face it, it’s going to be her!) goes to win!

Family Bonding

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h55m07s176Archie just might have stolen the top spot of cutest kid in Emmerdale this week as Jai had a breakthrough with his estranged son and Archie spoke for the first time. After seeking Lydia’s help with grief counselling – a nice reminder of Lydia’s origins in the show – it was adorable Arthur who managed to help get Archie talking again. It’s been nice to see Jai have a more emotional story lately and now he’s partnered up with Laurel they’ve become a lovely new family unit. Arthur and Archie’s budding friendship is heart-warming too and has really helped to make the Thomas-Sharma bonds even stronger. I hope this isn’t the end of Archie’s problems after his mother’s death because I think it’s helped to give Jai more to do than just factory drama and it looks like we’re seeing Arthur hanker after a father figure so that could be interesting to explore too.

Fail

Disbelief and Blame

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m36s579After the brilliant Tracy and Kerry reveal, Friday’s episode took a bit of a surprising turn. With Tracy almost numb with shock it felt pretty unbelievable that Vanessa and Charity would be so disbelieving of her. Sure, Tracy might have accused Dawn a few weeks ago, but this reaction from them felt harsh, especially when they too had witnessed Kerry’s weird behaviour. In fact Vanessa and Charity seemed far more concerned about Kerry’s accident than what Tracy was going through. It might be believable that they’d have little patience for Tracy after her grief made her react badly recently, but their anger and disbelief seemed really misplaced, especially from the usually cynical and switched on Charity. With Kerry in hospital and now looking more of a victim than Tracy, the balance felt a little unsatisfying – we needed people who were more Team Tracy! The accident twist makes the aftermath a lot messier but I hope it doesn’t make for an unsatisfying conclusion.

Quote of the Week (30 Sep-4 Oct 2019)

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Bernice: I’m not gonna walk down the aisle with any Tom, Dick or Harry.
Sam: You have before! She’s been wed three times already!
Liam: Actually it’s four.
Bernice: Strictly speaking, I don’t count Lawrence. It wasn’t consummated. […] They’ve both been married before!
Lydia: Yes, to Steve and Alice, who tragically died.
Bernice: Liam’s been widowed too.
Sam: Yeah and then he married a paedo!
Liam: Do you want a punch on the nose?