Scene of the Week (12-16 Aug 2019)

sceneoftheweek.pngs168.png

After losing her job as headteacher, Jessie was in no mood to hear any backlash about her (lack of) involvement in Maya’s inappropriate conduct. With a few drinks down her, Jessie was furious at the accusations and criticism coming from Nicola, especially after learning she was involved in parents complaining, and decided to let rip at the parents in the room and their angelic (or not so) children. This was one of those excruciatingly cringey scenes, and while she was out of line, Jessie also had a point – responsible parenting is not at home in Emmerdale. The criticisms pointed at Jessie could have come straight from social media so the whole scene was sort of meta, and felt like Emmerdale’s way of papering over the plot holes. Jessie’s meltdown caused one hell of a scene. Cringey – yes, but totally entertaining.

Advertisements

Fave or Fail? (24-28 June 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A bit of a lacklustre week that saw Jessie shot, a cameo from Chris Kamara and a misguided proposal from Pete to Rhona (end it already!).

Faves

Happiness in Hard Times

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h09m16s635Will Jai and Laurel’s budding romance be my favourite part of every week in Emmerdale from now on? Very possibly. In a week where several stories centred around new characters it was nice to take comfort in the joy of those familiar to us. Laurel and Jai’s smiles are infectious. This week as they tried to keep their new romance a secret they snuck around giggling like teenagers arranging secret dates and Jai putting on his stern voice in case anyone was listening. You can tell the actors are having a lot of fun with it and it’s endearing to watch, especially to see a happy, fun story in amongst the sadder tales.

A Little Star

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h11m32s537The best performance in the siege scenes came from young Amelia Flanagan, who made April’s fear so believable. As soon as the focus was on April, the scenes became a lot more intense, her bravery and terror so raw that we were drawn into the moment with her. Perhaps her stand out moment, besides her escape was the moment she confidently faced Max and told him she wasn’t afraid because her mummy was a police officer. That was a great moment and one that would have made Donna very proud.

Priya’s Problem?

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h09m45s802Friday’s episode gave us some very surprising and intriguing scenes as Priya struggled at both home and work with a secret. We’re in the dark about what this could be yet with her taking some deep breaths and looking far away in thought. Could this be the aftershocks of Jacob and Maya playing on her mind, a return to her struggles with food or something else? Priya is one of the show’s most underappreciated characters with Fiona Wade a great actress, especially when it comes to the serious stuff.

Shared Stories

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h07m12s223This week a hopeful Dawn took the first steps in seeing her son Lucas as she had a supervised visit through social services. It wasn’t as straightforward or as successful as she first hoped but after a surprising tough-love pep talk from Amy, Dawn’s mood was lifted. It always makes a good scene when unusual character pairings find common ground, sharing histories and experience through storylines past and present and this was no exception. It could be interesting to see what kind of friendship these two could forge!

Fails

Bear With It?

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h14m08s087I’m in a quandary when it comes to Bear. I think Joshua Richards does a good job and when the story has been more about him and Paddy finding common ground I’ve liked it. I also think there’s a place for older characters in Emmerdale, something which has become less of a focus in recent years. However, this week made me question his inclusion in the village in terms of what he brings out in other characters. Did anyone ever feel Paddy needed a father figure at this stage in his life – surely Zak could’ve done the job? I’ve made no secret of the fact Paddy’s at his most irritating and unlikeable for me when he’s the bumbling buffoon and rather than the endearing idiot, he’s a pain in the arse. So this week saw Paddy sulk about a bit and regress to a child seeking his estranged dad’s approval and I wasn’t a fan. Bear isn’t exactly charming or funny, he’s a bit of a letch and seems to act as if he’s been in the village for years. This week’s community football match which had potential to be fun but the focus on Bear was a bit of a bore. Then there’s his budding relationship with Faith (and to swap the wonderfully charming Faith/Eric relationship for Faith/Bear seems a real misstep) and he’s only brought out the worst in her personality too. The two of them together is an overload of selfishness and bratty entitlement and the plot with the baby scan seemed oddly meanspirited.

Sieges and Sympathy

vlcsnap-2019-06-29-21h13m44s278I tend to think Emmerdale should leave gun showdowns to big characters as a climax to long running storylines, rather than centring high octane moments to fairly one-dimensional characters like Max, so I can’t say I was ever particularly excited by a siege at Tall Trees. One of the problems with this story hinges on Billy and, again, Emmerdale’s habit of relying on heavy and convoluted backstory to carry their new characters (see Graham for more examples). Billy’s complex backstory is a worthy one but the execution has been muddled and frankly, a bit dull. Even his history was Aaron was dropped and ignored in a way that feels like Emmerdale regretted introducing him in such a way. So too has his relationship with Ellis and Jessie been muddled, both seeming to go in circles and never elevating into something fresh and engaging for the characters. Ellis and Billy’s rivalry began as something so intriguing and promising and has since devolved into a merry-go-round. It’s hard to invest. This week should have been pivotal for Billy’s character but beginning this change with Max, a rather soulless guest character, and an overblown situation with hostages and armed police was strangely devoid of any sort of tension or atmosphere. Then when Billy finally admitted to Jessie that he did in fact do the crime he was convicted of, the explanation was so overloaded with a history and characters we’ve never seen, that this pivotal moment lacked any sort of resonance. I don’t think Emmerdale needs to lose its complex intentions with Billy, he can still do the wrong thing for good reasons, but we need to see these actions to help us empathise.

The Woolie Weekly is taking a two week summer break. Blog posts will resume on Sunday 21st July.

 

Fave or Fail? (10-14 June 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Graham returned with a secret connection to Andrea and David had a meltdown and tried to kiss Priya.

Faves

Seething Scheme

vlcsnap-2019-06-15-18h23m24s699Tensions have been high between Robert and Victoria since they learned rapist Lee wasn’t going to be charged, with Robert feeling increasingly helpless with the situation. Although Vic has managed to pour her energies into her pregnancy, Robert’s got a one-track mind for vengeance, desperate to see Lee pay for what he did. With Aaron in tow, Robert hunted Lee down to his place of work and tried to get him to confess. But with Robert’s impatience and anger getting the better of him, Aaron was forced to calm his husband down and abandon plans before Lee reported them. However misguided and unwise there’s ultimately something satisfying watching Robert’s vigilante justice attempts, and it’s rare to see him as the rattled and violent one spoiling for a fight. With the sad news of Ryan Hawley’s departure from Emmerdale announced this week, all eyes will be on this story to see how far Robert’s revenge goes and if it will lead to his untimely downfall.

Panic Problems

vlcsnap-2019-06-15-18h27m38s872Keeping Ellis off screen after his stabbing incident probably wasn’t the strongest narrative choice if it was to be followed up with a PTSD storyline, however it was good to see Asan N’Jie in a different light this week. As Ellis started to believe he was seeing Max around the village he started having panic attacks and these were claustrophobic and well acted. Perhaps hitting Marlon with a rolling pin (verging on the slapstick) and keeping the lacklustre Max drama confined to the residents of Tall Trees isn’t the most engaging way to tell Ellis’s story, but Ellis is charming and sweet enough to keep us caring about him. I’m not convinced by the idea of a Belle romance, but it was good to see both her and Aaron bonding with Ellis over their coping strategies for their mental health issues and this story definitely could do with not being a rehash of more Billy and Ellis dramas.

A Serious Turn

vlcsnap-2019-06-15-18h20m02s553The drama for Liam and Bernice made up a small part of this week’s storylines but it gave us an interesting glimpse of a different type of plot for the couple. We’re used to fluff and carry-on capers for Bernice and her dishy doc, but this week there was tension between them after Bernice meddled trying to learn more about Liam’s dead ex. Bernice wanted Liam to be more open and this was a nice opportunity for us to learn more about Liam and his backstory – until now we’ve been in the dark as much as Bernice. As Liam opened up about his sad past, explaining how he really struggled after Lara’s death, even jumping into a relationship with Maya, he admitted he finally feels like he might be in a place to open up to Bernice. I hope these scenes were just the start of something more emotional for the couple as they could be perfect to go the distance.

Fails

Nosy Nate

vlcsnap-2019-06-15-18h26m06s272We’ve had quite a few new characters join Emmerdale lately but none more mysterious than newcomer Nate. It doesn’t seem clear at the moment if Nate has an agenda or a secret, but there’s definitely something about him that feels ‘off’. Since his snog with Rhona, Nate’s made himself quite cosy at Butler’s, trying to be a comfort to Moira during her struggles with Cain, but he’s already moving quickly round the women of the village! First it was Tracy he slept with, then we saw him get friendly with Amy and spoilers have hinted another villager sleeps with him soon too. So what’s his deal? He seems to be asking a lot of nosy questions and he might exude a charm that makes women confide – but is that all there is to it? I can’t quite work out why he’s become such a hit with the women folk but I’m hoping there’s more to him than just a bed hopper.

Secret Keeping

vlcsnap-2019-06-15-18h21m42s344This week we spent more time with the Home Farm contingent as Kim tried to redecorate in an attempt to keep Jamie and Andrea happy. Graham also returned this week and while this might have been the opportunity to carve out a more engaging personality for him, he instead returned with another convoluted backstory to add to the pile. While I was initial intrigued with the prospect of Andrea and Graham knowing each other and sharing a complicated past, the suspense was over in an instant as it was revealed that in between Graham’s looking after Joe, drinking problems, dead wife, romancing Kim, spying on Jamie, he’d also paid Andrea to cosy up to Jamie and keep an eye on him. Rather than trying to make Graham engaging in the present day stories Emmerdale just continue to give him more confusing baggage and backstories that weigh him down. They could have dragged out Andrea’s secret or we could have found out she was still playing a long game but within days Kim knew everything, and then so did Jamie. Lacklustre or what? As Jamie and Andrea had their first big angst moment, I was left wondering who cares this early on? They barely feel like a genuine couple and the secret seemed to explain why things were stilted, but if we’re really expected to believe Andrea’s got genuine love for him why are they both so cold and distant? I think there’s potential for both of them (unlikely together) but being bogged down in backstories is not what they need.

 

Scene of the Week (3-7 June 2019)

sceneoftheweek.png

s160.png

This week’s Scene of the Week choice was one of my easiest decisions in ages. An emotional montage full of beautiful performances and brimming with character and warmth? A big win all round. As Lisa Dingle’s funeral drew to a close, thankfully Lydia had rescued the personalised goodbye letters from the charity shop and handed them around to the gathered Dingles. What followed was a moving collection of scenes as each member of the family read their letter (with a lovely voice over from Jane Cox) with Lisa’s poignant advice and kind words ringing in their ears. From telling Charity to be happy, calling Sam her son, tricking Marlon with the rabbit stew recipe to helping to patch up Debbie and Cain’s relationship, this was a truly perfect scene. Each Dingle heard the words they most needed to hear and it was wonderful.

Scene of the Week (1-5 April 2019)

sceneoftheweek.png

s151.png

Chas and Paddy had the rare soap event this week – good news! After their tragic loss of Grace last year, their friends and family waited at home tentatively for news of the scan. Doug’s completion of a garden for Grace was a lovely way to symbolise her presence in the family and this fragile moment of Paddy and Chas arriving home was played well by their loved ones. As the pair came home they broke their happy news much to the delight of Marlon and Faith in particular who ran over for a hug. This moment would be difficult for any parents who had recently lost a child and it was handled with poignancy and care, an underlying caution in everyone. Overall it made a welcome change to see Chas and Paddy happy!

Scene of the Week (18-22 March 2019)

sceneoftheweek.png

s149.png

Rhona’s struggle to deal with her hysterectomy hasn’t been a bells and whistle plot with cliffhangers and silly twists, instead its been driven by understated yet powerful performances. This week again Zoe Henry’s underrated talents took centre stage as the pressure of dealing with life after her operation took its toll. In light of Paddy’s baby news, and anxieties that Pete would soon get fed up of looking after her, she confided in Marlon about the emptiness she felt. Not only has Rhona had to contend with the pain, especially considering her ongoing addiction to painkillers, but the surge in hormones has affected her emotions too. While Rhona had made the decision for no more kids, the hysterectomy took that decision from her and this emotional scene felt like fairly fresh ground for Emmerdale. Even though Nicola also faced a similar story about the menopause a few years ago, Rhona’s got even more on her plate and the scene was an affecting moment to explore Rhona’s sense of self. The chemistry and long term friendship between Marlon and Rhona gave the scene real poignancy and it was nice to see them paired up in this platonic way again.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 March 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a week of big episodes as Emmerdale took a trip to Belfast and celebrated International Women’s Day.

Faves

Who Run the World?

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h21m55s533Friday’s episode had a very female flavour as Emmerdale celebrated International Women’s Day with an all-women episode on screen, using mostly women off screen too. Not only was this an inspiring decision behind the scenes, but the episode itself was full of pathos, joy and warm fuzzy feelings. Emmerdale managed to use almost all of its female characters, with them intersecting in ways they don’t normally. It’s always a treat to see characters sharing scenes who never normally, like Diane and Rhona, Nicola and April, and despite there being no men involved, it was the most community feeling episode in a long time. Alongside Chas’s pregnancy reveal, April’s insecurities and Rhona’s hysterectomy worries, there was also the sad announcement that Lisa is dying. I really liked the slow surprise reveal of her appearance in the episode and was glad Emmerdale managed to keep it completely under wraps. Although Charity and Lisa’s sad discussions took a central role in the episode, it still managed to be warm and funny, with a firm feeling of strength and confidence among all these women. It’s episodes as successful as this, with big heart and ambition, that make me proud to be an Emmerdale fan.

Drunk Delight

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h23m14s224It was Vanessa’s birthday this week and never one to shy away from a good time, she decided to get absolutely wasted. Off her and Rhona headed to Ellis’s party, where she proceeded to party hard, even beside a stone cold sober Rhona. Actress Michelle Hardwick has brilliant comic timing and her drunk Vanessa was lots of fun, only bettered when an irate Charity showed up. Vanessa’s expressions, excitement at the thought of a puppy and insistence she say goodbye to everyone. Charity’s irritation contrasted perfectly with Vanessa’s attempts to squeeze in one last shot (and slut drop), but when they got back to the house, the shouting got far too much for poor pouty Vanessa. Hungover Ness the next day was just as entertaining and I think Emmerdale should definitely make more of Vanessa’s party girl habits and use Michelle’s comedic talents to their best!

Adventures in Belfast

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h24m11s671It’s always a fun novelty when Emmerdale goes on location and this week it was a one-day jaunt to Belfast for Marlon and Jessie’s mini-moon. While the circumstances to get Marlon, Jessie, Paddy and Kerry all in Belfast for the day was clunkily contrived, the unlikely foursome ended up being quite entertaining. Despite Paddy and Marlon being the best of buds, it was Paddy and Kerry, then Jessie and Kerry who made for the most fun duos. As the drama initially resulted in sitcom silliness over room provision, Kerry brought out a much warmer and funnier side to Jessie, and it was amusing to have Paddy’s patience tested by someone other than his nearest and dearest. Though the beautiful locations shot made for a nice change, I can’t help but feel a trip away deserved more than just a Thursday double for it to be really worth while.

Mother Daughter Reunion

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h22m30s570Amy and Kerry were reunited in Belfast this week, as newcomer Natalie Ann Jamieson took over the role. It was great to see Kerry given something to do outside of the Spencer dramas and their tumultuous relationship looks set to still cause friction even now as Amy has made a return to the village. Amy’s return nicely recapped her history in Emmerdale and explained too why she didn’t return for Val’s funeral. On Thursday’s episodes she was reluctant to step back into Kyle’s life, which seemed like fitting characterisation for someone who had a troubled relationship with motherhood, but by Friday’s episode she was already causing friction with the Dingles, saying she was going to fight for him. It’s a little disappointing that we’ve already rushed towards an all-out war with Cain, when really they could’ve spent longer growing her feelings towards her son. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing how Amy works in the village now.

Fails

Enough with the Wrestling!

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h25m10s761There were elements of the Belfast trip that definitely felt like a dodgy Dingle VHS spin off. A rowdy bar of stereotypical drunks, Marlon’s dodgy accent and a misunderstanding that lead Paddy to don a cape and get in the ring against a terrifying clown. When Bear Wolf turned up again in full wrestling gear, I dreaded a rehash of the cringeworthy scenes from the other week and the whole farce was almost unwatchable. On the bright side, once Paddy had got Bear on his own and spoke to him in a serious discussion about being his biological father, about Paddy’s loss of Grace, then there was real potential in both the character of Bear and the actor who played him. That just made the inclusion of the pathetic wrestling stuff even worse – if we’d have dropped that so-called comedy then perhaps by the time things got serious with Bear, we’d have been far more invested.

Pointless Plots

vlcsnap-2019-03-09-21h26m29s189On paper, Aaron and Robert’s foray into surrogacy should have been an interesting and emotional journey. Instead we had a plot that sent Aaron baby mad for a few episodes and get resolved in such a way as to wonder why they bothered in the first place. This unsatisfying resolution is nothing new for the pair and is actually becoming a disappointing trend. Back in November, after losing baby Seb, Aaron’s unresolved grief about Grace and losing Seb seemed to be tapping into a much larger storyline. Then…nothing. Fast forward to the beginning of the year and Billy’s arrival shook things up in the Robron household. Billy’s impact had Robert arrested and Aaron suffering poor mental health, all for it to be swept under the carpet and Aaron is seemingly back to normal. With the surrogacy storyline offering lots of potential to cover the struggles, pitfalls and joys of a same sex couples becoming parents, it’s no wonder that expectations were high when Aaron and Robert began their journey. After Robert’s plan backfired and the money disappeared, Aaron and Robert seemingly put a hold on their plans, then last week, after Chas’s encouragement, it was back on. Then, just one week later it was abandoned again. Whiplash, or what? Back to square one. Aaron’s desperate attempts to secure a surrogate, going as far as to steal from Robert, had no real follow up and what should have been a significant conflict between the two was glossed over, without even scratching the surface as to Aaron’s motivations. This on/off storytelling for the pair is destroying all momentum and any emotional investment in their storylines – and when you’ve got great actors and a popular couple, it’s a complete waste of their talents.