Fave or Fail? (29 Oct-2 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! This week Cain told Moira he’d killed Joe and Ross and Rebecca left the village for good.

Faves

Custody Battles

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h52m49s025A good soap storyline is one that gets everyone talking and as Ross and Rebecca planned their exit from Emmerdale village alongside the kids – that’s all anyone could debate this week. Just who should Moses and Seb live with? There was harsh words and desperate pleading on both sides as the adults fought it out between themselves. As Ross and Rebecca hankered for a new start away from their miserable memories of the village, Charity, Robert and Aaron were furious that they wanted to up-root the kids from their homes and families. Viewers had plenty to say about this emotive decision, as did the characters, and I liked that Emmerdale didn’t shy away from making the characters fight selfishly and with emotion. The debate was well balanced, with all parties making a good case as to why the kids should live with them as well as history revisited to argue why they shouldn’t: Ross’s drug habit, Charity’s disinterested parenting, Rebecca’s dangerous behaviour, Robert’s revenge and Aaron’s convictions. Emotions ran high and both characters and viewers were torn and that’s why the story was easy to invest in. With Robert making the impossible decision to let Seb go (without consulting Aaron first) it seems like the aftermath will be just as fraught as the divide. 

The Farewell Tour

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h47m04s808When Ross’s exit was announced all those months ago, it seemed like for a long time the writers teased various options for his demise. Was he going to get involved in dodgy gangsters? A downward spiral of drugs and crime? Start a new life with Dawn? There seemed to be a lot of options hinted at but in the end, Ross’s ending was surprisingly low key. While it’s rare and a bit weird to see a happy ending in soap, after everything he and Rebecca had endured this year, there was something satisfying about them finding solace in each other. Perhaps a high octane ending of Ross going out all guns blazing or as a lone wolf might have felt more fitting for a character at the heart of so many stories these past five years, but his farewell tour of the village, complete with multiple goodbyes lead to a surprisingly effective exit. Ross has had a turbulent relationship with almost everyone in the village, so although certain goodbyes seemed to whitewash the past (his thank you to Moira seemed particularly jarring considering she killed his mum!) I liked that he came full circle, apologising to Laurel and reconnecting with April. I liked Ross best when we saw his more sensitive sides, so for me his final episode was an emotional reminder of Ross’s time on the show and a real end of an era. 

Cavastock Caught Out

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h48m28s854Thank god. Daz finally found out about Bernice and Liam’s relationship this week after he mistakenly followed Dr C’s elaborate romantic trail of rose petals. As Bernice and Liam (#Cavastock) shared a picnic by the cricket pavilion, they were interrupted by Daz’s arrival who fumed at their deception. Rather than sympathise with Daz’s anguish, I was too busy laughing at Bernice’s tactless response and the fact she had chocolate over her face. After the fall out, the loved up pair were forced to confess to their daughters that they’d been seeing each other. With spiteful Leanna and Gabby’s trouble-making past, I’m sure it won’t be long until the happiness shatters and mayhem ensues. I can’t wait!

Where is the Love?

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h46m22s501One of the year’s most unpopular storylines had to be Bob and Laurel’s affair  and subsequent relationship. While it’s provided us with some priceless moments of dark!Brenda, the idea that Bob and Laurel were in love has never really felt right. After all that upset and upheaval with the children it seems a bit of a mess to dismantle this pairing but hopefully this is a sign the showrunners have realised just what hasn’t worked on screen. As Laurel grew increasingly tired of Bob’s presence, Dotty mistakenly calling him “Dad” made her reconsider everything and she confessed to Harriet that the feelings weren’t there anymore. Could we finally be seeing the end of Bob and Laurel? I saw hope so! 

Bonus Fave:

  • Moira coming face to face in a showdown with Graham. I wouldn’t want to cross her either!

Fail

New Love

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h50m18s575It’s always difficult when characters we know and love return from some time away with a new love in tow. All their love story happened offscreen so despite wanting our favourite characters to be happy, it’s difficult to invest in their relationship. That’s the problem with dodgy Clive now that he’s in Leyla’s life. With ex-cellmate Frank trying to expose his history of bad behaviour and untrusting that he’s changed, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Clive’s innocent routine falters. I’m struggling to take any interest in this story. Clive and Leyla’s chemistry is lacking and I don’t believe in his nice guy routine. This feels like a story we’ve seen hundreds of times before and doesn’t seem to be showing us anything new from Leyla either. If Clive ends up playing the long con and Leyla ends up heartbroken, will anyone be surprised?

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Fave or Fail? (15-19 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! This week Cain did a bunk from the village and Sarah finally got a new heart.

Faves

Diane’s Dominance

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h02m40s981My absolute highlight this week had to be Diane. If it wasn’t her amazing face pulling, then it was her brilliant lines of dialogue and her sarcastic commentary on Bernice’s love life. Diane is a gem of a character and her relationship with her on screen kids (including her step kids) is a highlight. Not only was Diane there to give Vic a hug and express her concerns to Robert, but her onscreen relationship with love-life-disaster-zone Bernice was cracking with funny dialogue followed by some comfort and empathy. The two have a fantastic rapport and I’m glad we’ve seen a bit more of them lately as Bernice struggled to keep a lid on her blossoming feelings for Liam and push Daz onto Diane’s plate. I loved Diane’s outrage at being used as a scapegoat when Bernice was trying to get rid of Daz, but it wasn’t long before Diane got her own back by sending him to the BnB when she knew Bernice and Liam were there. My dream would be to get Diane back behind the bar but if that’s out of the question then just more of her would be a great start!

Vic Gets a Storyline

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h08m32s105Since Adam’s departure, Victoria’s main role besides her job in the pub, has been looking after Rebecca, but let’s face it, even when her husband was around Vic didn’t have much in the way of a storyline. Once Vic had discovered Moira was behind Emma’s death that all changed and this week, Vic took a central role in Emmerdale in her quest to find absent Adam. I was really glad to see Victoria’s feelings and pain got a real focus, rather than keeping her in the background supporting others. This week, feeling betrayed by Robert and Aaron, Vic did some digging and ended up in a perilous situation when she got scammed by a lowlife posing as a PI. When the truth about Adam’s location came out, devasted Victoria broke down when she learnt he’d moved on and found someone else. This was a horrible dose of reality for Victoria as she had still be pining for Adam and unable to move on herself. Actress Isabel Hodgins played these scenes with real heartbreak and despite Vic sometimes being like a bull in a china-shop, I found her really empathetic. After a pep talk with Diane, Vic was quick to get glammed up and try and move on with Ellis, but it’s clear even that might be a struggle.

The Beginnings of Something Darker?

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h03m28s238No one quite knows what newbie Maya Stepney is up to just yet, but with a casual disregard for her rules and responsibilities as a teacher, as well as blurting out cruel retorts to ex-stepdaughter Leanna, there’s a hint of a dark side there. Now that Jacob is crushing hard on her, his teacher and his dad’s girlfriend, there’s lots of speculation that this story is heading in a dark grooming storyline. This would be a really interesting and horrible to watch direction but one that would prove a challenging storyline for the characters involved. Done well I think this could be exactly the kind of gritty story Emmerdale would excel at.

Bonus Faves:

  • Matty, Ellis. Ellis, Matty. Vic’s got a tough choice on her hands and so have I! I love both guys and their charm and chemistry with Vic. It’s hard to decide who would make the better pairing
  • Another great scene with Jack Downham this week was the moment Graham gave him Chris Tate’s cufflinks – great bit of Tate family history too
  • Bernice and Liam’s cute but comic hook ups continue to be a massive highlight. With Liam using words like ‘beguiling’ you can see why Bernice fell hard and fast!

Fail

Feeling Distant

vlcsnap-2018-10-21-18h10m26s677We all know Cain Dingle isn’t a man to wear his heart on his sleeve and talk about his problems, but I’m a bit disappointed to see him go all cold and distant when it comes to Moira. If anyone knows about big dark secrets then it’s her and she’d easily be on his side if a war brewed with Debbie. This being soap, Moira’s bound to discover Cain’s guilty secret eventually but I can’t help but feel there’s been a disappointing lack of Cain and Moira content ever since they reunited. When Cain supported Moira during her Emma confessions, we saw the powerful onscreen chemistry that makes Coira so beloved but lately they’ve hardly been seen together and this is a real missed opportunity. If Cain and Moira don’t get some decent screentime when this all comes out in the open then I’ll be very disappointed!

Fave or Fail? (8-12 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! This week the villagers dressed up for the champers at Home Farm and stayed for the drama as Kim Tate returned.

Faves

A New Direction?

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h12m31s542After knocking out Joe Tate with one punch, Cain Dingle now believes he’s a killer. It’s unclear yet as to whether Joe is actually dead (though if he is, it seems like good pal Graham finished him off rather than Cain) but Cain’s guilt is already eating him up. This is a really interesting direction for hard man Cain as we have never seen him so shaken and paranoid by his actions. Sure he’s beaten and tortured people before, but murder? Especially when his beloved daughter believes he jilted her. What a complex web of guilt and lies! Even better is that it’s created a new and troubled dynamic between Cain and Graham, leaving the former unnerved at the new balance in power. This story has only just begun but I’m intrigued about the impact this is going to have on Cain moving forward, especially when it comes to his relationships with Debbie and Moira. Jeff Hordley and the Coira partnership hasn’t had anything meaty for a while so it’s about time they two took centre stage.

Justice at Last

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h10m15s891Another surprising turn of events this week was Debbie finally facing the police after Ross’s acid attack storyline reached a resolution. After the Ross and Simon fight dragged on for about 500 scenes and his confession taped, the future looked brighter for Ross (good timing for his exit, eh?). But the real sticking point in this story, which felt as if a satisfying end was never in sight, was that Debbie was behind the attack. We’re used to Debs avoiding the law so it was an unexpected turn of events to see her arrested this week. Though Emmerdale did their very best to make it clear Debbie had no intended an acid attack specifically, there was something uncomfortable about her seeming to get away with the attack when it had changed Ross’s life permanently. I can’t imagine Debbie will face a long prison spell but this new ground for the character might be the rejuvenation she needs.

The Bitch is Back

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h16m42s683The hotly anticipated return of Kim Tate sent shockwaves through the Home Farm ball this week, even if most of the villagers had never heard of her they were left in no doubt about her sharp tongue. This week served as a teaser for Kim’s permanent return in the new year (hopefully with son James) so perhaps it was never going to live up to expectations in such a rushed reintroduction. I could have done without the sluggish backstory scenes but Kim vs the village was the same campy villainy I enjoyed when Joe revealed his true colours. I hope when she comes back full time they make her a true antagonist and keep that cattiness fun rather than cartoonish. It’s always difficult to bring back an old character when they had become an icon, but Kim will definitely give life back to the big house next year.

Bonus Faves:

  • Bernice and Dr C’s saucy forest romping! I see she fancied a hook up after all?
  • Katie Hill (Sarah Sugden) gave a great performance in the aftermath of Joe’s disappearance as her anger and heartbreak manifested. Her scenes with Debbie were real highlights
  • The ball costumes certainly made the event sparkle and it was great to see everyone out of their civvys – I think the villagers need more posh parties to attend!

Fails

Home Farm Flop

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h14m41s668From the heavily trailed event week, to the hype around Kim Tate’s return, expectations were sky high. A masquerade ball interspersed with police tape and interviews – what could be better? It had a Big Little Lies vibe and the masks meant that surely mistaken identity, secrets and danger were only minutes away, right? Wrong. The ball might have been a vehicle for Kim to make her masked entrance but beyond that there was no atmosphere, no excitement or sense of dread at the event. Even Kim’s fall and the mystery surrounding the push held no tension and no intrigue as no one had a real motive and Kim came away with little more than a scratch. The reveal that Faith was behind the attack provoked little else but shrugs and probably won’t serve any lasting purpose until Kim returns next year. For all the hype, the Home Farm shenanigans were a dull disappointment. We spent several episodes watching a party where little else but village gossip occurred and certainly didn’t match the high drama promised. Kim’s return story might have held some camp fun, but the backstory retcons and ties to Graham were muddled and exposition heavy, not the thrilling return she should have had.

Wasted Potential

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h15m00s903Joe Tate’s demise came faster than his onscreen redemption leaving me wondering – just why Emmerdale had turned him into such a flop? Joe was a Tate! A legacy child! He arrived hell bent on revenge with great ties to Emmerdale past! But from Joe’s wickedly brilliant reveal in January it was downhill as Emmerdale struggled to find a place and purpose for him in the village. The villainy wasn’t sustainable and his threats became empty and soon he was rushed into an age old redemptive tale when he found love with Debbie in record time. Redemption takes time. Years even. After all that Joe had done to the Dingles, it was a hard task to believe he’d be so forgiven but as Joe’s evil deeds all but disappeared, he rattled around Home Farm and at the hospital aimlessly, being nice and rich and little else. Scenes with sidekick Graham offered glimmers of an interesting history, but much like the ill-fated White family, all the juicy stuff happened off screen and left for us to uncover in laborious conversations. But with Kim Tate returning, all the backstory we’d heard about was pushed aside for a flimsy rewrite and Joe was left for dead (killed or helped escape depending on your theory). To make matters worse, Kim’s loathing for Joe’s betrayal didn’t even lead us to a showdown onscreen – they never even met. Instead this week’s plot and Joe’s fate rested on robotic Graham’s shoulders who depth is hidden under dry and stoic performances. To this day I’m still baffled by the Joe/Graham set up, I don’t believe in any sort of Kim and Graham romance and after year of watching Graham play butler and statue, I’m craving performances that have something more than gravelly expressionless mechanics.

Fave or Fail? (24-28 Sep 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 great week in the Dales as Vanity shared those three little words and Moira confessed to killing Emma to Matty and Vic.

Faves

Exposed Secrets

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h23m41s338It wasn’t long ago that Victoria was nominated on this blog as one of Emmerdale’s most underrated characters so it’s been fantastic this week to see her front and centre of the show. Not only was Vic battling with her feelings for BFF Matty this week, as the pair gave into a passionate snog (yay!) but she was also thrown into turmoil after learning that Adam took the rap for Emma’s death and Moira was the real culprit. Not only this, but she found out that her future brother in law Aaron knew about it this whole time. What I love about this story is that there’s no villain here, no black and white. I feel for both Moira AND Victoria, and that’s the beauty of a good story. My only wish is that Emmerdale hadn’t ruined Adam and Victoria’s marriage so close to his exit and had her not mention him for months following his departure, because that weakens the impact of her upset a little.

Consequences for Moira

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h21m05s161Recently I bemoaned Emmerdale’s lack of follow-up when it came to Moira’s PTSD and huge murder reveal, being that overall she’d been mostly unaffected. After a few months of misery, a reunion with Cain seemed to almost fix all her problems. It was a welcome relief for viewers and Moira alike but put a full stop to the conclusion of Emma’s storyline that never really seemed feasible. Though Emma’s death and the fall out lasted far longer than it should have, making Moira her killer was a massive decision that should have had far reaching ramifications. But it didn’t. It was a bold move, but one that never really materialised. Might we finally be getting the shockwaves the story deserved? I hope this gives Moira something juicy again as Natalie J Robb is far too good to spend another year around Butler’s table not doing much.

Rebecca’s Struggles

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h15m57s069It’s only taken two years but the writing for Rebecca has finally made her feel like a fully fleshed out, consistent character, vocalising her struggles rather than her brain injury only there to benefit other plots. Even though we all know Ross is due to exit from Emmerdale soon, his supportive and tender relationship with Rebecca has brought out the best in both characters. Rebecca’s pain at not being able to be a reliable mother for Seb and her loneliness feel like they’re being properly explored rather than her simply being used as either a plot device for Lachlan or Robert, or a comedy bit-part in the pub. Hopefully now Emmerdale have acknowledged that she’s an isolated character whose had six months from hell, they will continue to give her a consistent voice and agency in her own stories.

Everyone Loves Dr C

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h08m44s351Was it the stubble? The endearing sadness of a divorcee? Was it because Liam’s self-confessed highlight of the week was choosing his kitchen worktops? Whatever it was this week, everyone seemed to have fallen head over heels for Dr Cavanagh and Bernice wasn’t even in the village! There’s something oh-so charming and swoony about Liam that I was right there with Diane and Kerry in fawning all over him – and let’s face it, he’s far more of a catch than dull Daz. As Liam tried to fake reasons to call Bernice, this was exactly the kind of light-hearted watchable story in Emmerdale that I love and it made me even more glad he’s been made a regular character in the show. Hurry back Bernice before you get pipped to the post!

Meeting Obadiah

Charity amp; Vanessa 26th September 2018 Part 3 - YouTubeIt was great to meet Charity’s father this week, with the brilliant Paul Copley in the role. Both he and Emma Atkins had a short time to build up and on screen rapport but their conversations were compelling to watch, especially as we learnt about the suicide of Charity’s mum. Throughout the Bails story, despite the impressive performances, there’s been a lot of repetition and it hasn’t shone many new lights on Charity as a person. Bringing in more of her background in terms of her parents was new for us and gave her childhood an interesting dimension. However the introduction of Obadiah and meeting him seemed far too rushed and I wish these had been the scenes Emmerdale had spent longer on rather than the stop/start stalling with Ryan.

Fail

No Empathy

Charity amp; Vanessa 24th September 2018 Part 2 - YouTubeThank god for Vanessa this week, one of the few people in Charity’s life to offer any sort of empathy or compassion for her behaviour in the wake of Bails’s trial. The Dingles, on the other hand, had me raging. It wasn’t that long ago that Lisa and Aaron both went through similar hell after facing their rapist in court and the Dingles rallied round to support their loved ones. With Charity it’s been a different story. Sure, Charity’s struggling made her destructive and uncontrollable, but Zak and Chas’s bulldozing “Dingle Court” method was completely aggressive and tone deaf to what Charity needed. It is a difficult situation for a family to work through, but out of everyone you’d expect Chas to be a bit more understanding – you can’t imagine her taking such a hard line with Aaron, can you? Much like the Dingles not bothering to show up to court, I felt that this level of harshness from the family was hard to believe, designed to make Charity spiral than being something stemming naturally from their perception of Charity. They might think Charity’s strong and at times selfish, but I don’t buy that the family would be so lacking in empathy after something like this.

Fave or Fail? (17-21 Sep 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 saw Lachlan locked up for life as Matty overheard something suspicious from Moira and Cain.

Faves

Family Secrets Exposed

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h21m08s813Ellis has only been in the village five minutes but his believable rapport with mum Jessie makes him feel like he’s been around for a long time already. This week Marlon discovered the secret Jessie had been keeping, about her son in prison and we finally got the depth to Jessie that the character needed. This story gave Jessie’s character focus rather than just being the cheery headteacher, now Marlon’s girlfriend. It gave us a good chance to understand what makes Jessie tick and why she’s so determined to make a good impression. Pretty much all the village has had run ins with the law, but Jessie’s concern that their family would be labelled, that Billy would be another statistic about black young men felt like a believable concern and an interesting story to tell. I’m sure it won’t be long until Billy arrives in the village and creates more fractures between Ellis and Jessie, but right now I think these characters have a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to their future in Emmerdale.

Reopening Old Wounds

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h18m09s509Moira’s fury was unleashed this week during a school event celebrating past students’ achievements as she was confronted with a rude and transphobic parent. When the snooty woman criticised Moira’s parenting, badmouthing her children as she referenced Holly’s drug addiction, Adam’s murder charge and Matty’s transition, Moira grabbed the woman by the throat and told her how proud she was of her children. Not only was it great to see a ballsy return to form for Moira, but it was good to see her struggle and then resolve her awkwardness about how to talk about Matty’s transition. Her scenes with Matty have been good and I’m glad they haven’t glossed over the times where Moira might find it hard to know what to say. I’m also really happy that Emmerdale are revisiting Emma’s murder and Moira’s guilt as it seemed like that story was brushed under the carpet to facilitate Adam’s exit and keep Moira away from prison. This seems like a good way for the story to have a longer impact on the Barton family and more believable consequences.

Family Pep Talk

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h22m39s284It was a small aspect of the week’s events but I really enjoyed the scene of Aaron seeking advice about being a father from Chas and Paddy. Since Aaron’s been busy with his own family, there’s been a real lack of involvement of Aaron in Chas’s pregnancy, especially seeing as he’s been off screen for weird reasons a lot of the time (chickenpox anyone?). But as Paddy has been a surrogate father to Aaron, it seemed only right for Aaron to talk to him about being a dad to Seb, and I wish Emmerdale would make more of this parallel. Here’s hoping with Chas and Paddy’s tragedy around the corner, their stories can intersect a little more.

Fails

Never-ending Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h19m08s996After Rebecca’s outlandish and ridiculous captivity and cringy return to the village (the graveside appearance was far more laughable than it was dramatic), it’s been a pretty miserable return for her. After over a month sitting in her own muck and being tied, chained and gaslighted, things didn’t exactly improve when she got back to Emmerdale and struggled with the trauma. It’s been one miserable event after the next for Rebecca, having just learnt to cope with her brain injury Rebecca now has to cope with the fallout of her family’s murder, Lachlan’s true colours and all the associated PTSD. The only thing Rebecca had going for her was her son and now she can’t even be trusted to see him. Isn’t this unrelentingly cruel for one character? And it’s only a few months since we had very similar scenes of her realising Seb was safer with Robert, why are we getting such a miserable repeat? After months of this, shouldn’t Emmerdale give her a break, a bit of hope? It’s been pretty horrible to watch. She’s got no friends, no family and no real ties, except through Seb, isn’t it about time Emmerdale gave her a life?

Massive Anti-Climax

vlcsnap-2018-09-23-13h18m39s910I can’t say for sure that this really is the end for Lachlan. There is always time for a final hurrah in true soap style where he breaks free from prison and heads up an explosive showdown, but then that might just be stepping on the toes of superior supervillain Cameron Murray. But if this really is the end for Lachlan, then what a huge let down! After a few weeks of dragging out his time in prison (following the dragging months of him becoming a serial killer and covering it up), Emmerdale relied on the ludicrous Rebecca captivity story and the two wise-cracking coppers to create Lachlan’s exit. Why? The success of Lachlan’s story relied heavily on the chilling charisma of actor Thomas Atkinson and he deserved far more than this whimper of an exit. I can’t help but feel his last scenes should have been an arrest, or his cell door being bolted, not a half-hearted walk back down the prison corridor. It lacked all the thrills, complex emotions and excitement that were so pivotal to Lachlan’s best moments. As someone quite rightly pointed out on Twitter – Emmerdale sacrificed our beloved Gerry for this?! This damp squib of an ending? I feel cheated.

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!

nowhere4

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.

nowhere2

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.

nowhere7

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? (16-20 July 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week 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? (25-29 June 2018)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! This week Matty Barton returned to the Dales and Cain got beaten up by Simon.

Faves

Meeting Matty

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m55s366With Matty’s arrival onscreen this week, Emmerdale felt back to its very best. Great, character-led drama with a grounding in real life family situations is exactly what soap should be. Matty’s story is relatable and emotional, bringing a new dynamic to Butler’s Farm, new dramas to the Bartons and it had a great start. Actor Ash Palmisciano was thrown straight into emotive performances and carried the intense material well, also proving Matty is going to be a fun and cheeky character to have around once settled. While Cain’s attitude was surprisingly and refreshingly chilled, Moira’s reaction was one of shock, anger and confusion. Though her immediate response was hard to watch and upsetting, I’m hopeful that Emmerdale will use Moira’s journey of understanding to educate ignorant or bigoted viewers. Matty felt right at home in Emmerdale (which isn’t always a given when a recast happens) and I loved that they were able to give us canonical reasons that made sense as to why Matty hadn’t been home in all these years. I’m so looking forward to seeing what’s to come for him.

Forever Friends

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m46s441I was glad to see Vic in a role outside of babysitter and matchmaker this week as she was there for Matty, empathetic and understanding as he talked. Since Adam’s exit, hardly anyone’s had time for Vic and I’m hoping this might change with Matty in the village. There’s been a suggestion of a romance between them and while I wouldn’t be opposed at all, it’s nice to see their friendship in the meantime.

Brotherly Bonding

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m22s297It was nice to see the softer sides of Ross and Pete this week as they remembered Finn on his birthday and wallowed in their failing love lives. As ever Ross and Moses made an adorable dream team with Moses and his giggles, and that’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most in Ross’s exit. Pete hits a few bumps in his relationship with Rhona, but by the end of the week they were resolved and reunited which is great news for me. I think Pete and Rhona make a surprisingly sweet couple and I hope they continue to stay together. I much prefer seeing the brothers united and opening up rather than involving themselves in aggressive displays of their masculinity.

Fails

Sharma Sitcom

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m34s600Don’t the Sharmas deserve more than comedy side plots? Don’t get me wrong – I love the Sharma family. I have a real soft spot for Jai now that his days of being a panto villain are over, I love Priya’s ambition and attitude and I am often amused by Rishi’s hopeless antics. And that’s not to say Rishi and Jai didn’t make me smile during the Lycra debacle – but I just think Emmerdale could do more with them. Priya’s hard times and Jai’s angst about Eliza were so short lived that I can’t help but feel it’s a waste of the talents. When they thought Lachlan had attempted to assault Priya this week and confronted him, it made me realise what a solid family unit they are, capable of more than just larks in the sweet factory. More emotional Sharma drama please!

Brief Encounter

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h55m01s046With news of Dr Cavanagh becoming an Emmerdale regular (yay!) it was no surprise to see his wife Maya pop up this week. But had I avoided spoilers I’d have been scratching my head trying to remember who this woman in David’s shop was! If we were really meant to believe in their lustful eyes at each other and their deep and meaningfuls then surely it would have been more helpful to have seen a bit more of Maya before now. If my memory serves me correctly we’ve only seen her once and that was months ago! But after a thirty second scene this week we were meant to buy into their attraction and honest chats? I don’t buy it. Not only was it far too rushed, surely David has learnt better than messy hook-ups?

The Woolie Weekly is taking a two-week holiday. New blog posts on 22 July.

Scene of the Week (25-29 June 2018)

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In all honesty I could have picked any of Matty’s scenes for my Scene of the Week choice as his whole return was a stand-out moment, but I’ve picked the first moment that Matty reveals to Moira that he’s been living as a man. After realising that Cain had her child by the scruff of the neck, Butler’s kitchen bristled in silence as mother and son shared an awkward first hug. It wasn’t the reunion Matty had hoped for and Moira’s gut reaction was one of complete confusion, asking Matty why he looked like he did. Matty was left to tearfully explain that this is a good change and that he’s been living as a man now. This scene was just the start of a moving storyline and one which has already brought emotional and compelling character-led storytelling back to the forefront of Emmerdale. Ash Palmisciano’s performance made the moment tense and heartfelt, playing perfectly against the shock and confusion from Moira and Cain.