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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Ryan finally met the Dingles and Joe planned a proposal.
I was so impressed with the writing for Pete and Rhona this week as they navigated the serious issues in their relationship. Perhaps they should have talked about this before moving in together, but love can do that to logical thought. After last year’s cheating debacle I never thought I’d ever like Pete Barton again. It wasn’t funny or sexy, it was sleezy and unpleasant and that did nothing for a character who most people had previously just written off as boring. But a year on and a mellowed Pete has grown up and thankfully the writing is putting a lot of effort into making his and Rhona’s relationship one of honest and frank conversations. Their conversations were an extension of last week’s chat about trust and the future and how Pierce has damaged Rhona’s self esteem. The pair of them also have great chemistry and Pete’s earnest attempts to make a real effort with Leo were heartwarming and the kind of character led writing that gives me hope for the quality of writing going forward. With Pete seemingly keen on kids and Rhona unsure, this gives them plenty of room to explore natural conflicts in their relationship and I really hope they keep this up!
Matters of the Heart
Poor Rodney! After Misty left for Thailand last week, with some more than gentle nudging from Nicola and Bernice, Rodders learnt the truth about his daughters’ conspiring and took it very very badly. It wasn’t just heartbreak Rodney felt and he was quickly rushed to hospital after collapsing. Things were made even worse for him when he saw Misty had already moved on and into the arms of a young attractive traveller. What a bad week! It’s been years since actor Patrick Mower has been given any decent serious material so this was a welcome change from the norm and even though I hated the cringe-fest of his randy relationship, I really did feel for the guy. But with Misty gone, Rodney got back to familiar and more enjoyable ground by returning to his love/hate relationship with Eric.
Thank goodness for Bernice finally seeing the light on dull Daz and realising she deserves a guy with a bit more life to him. There were hilarious scenes this week as Nicola expressed her continued dislike of Daz and her sister tried not to grimace when Daz made her cringe. Then there was Pearl, always a favourite of mine, distrusting and brilliantly cold to him. Bernice already has her eye on dishy Dr Cavanagh and I’m in full support. Daz is a drain and it’s about time we saw Bernice with someone special!
After what feels like years, Ryan Stocks finally got introduced the Dingles after an awkward showdown in the pub. Emmerdale have stalled this story more times than I can count and the back and forth hasn’t done the story any favours. Luckily the performances from actors Emma Atkins and James Moore in particular have been worth watching. Unsurprisingly Debbie reacted badly and the rest of the family were left open-mouthed with confusion at the start until they all came around, baring Noah. The next day a lot of other Dingles gave Ryan a warm welcome and Charity was made up. I can’t help but worry that after all that build up, they’ve rushed through his initiation into the Dingles and it really should have been given more than two episodes. Seeing as how many fans were eagerly awaiting the scenes of Ryan bonding with the rest of the clan, don’t say it’s be over before it’s begun.
Love Changes Everything
This week, sparked by lonely musings from Priya, Joe decided to propose to Debbie. Trying to do the right thing, Joe approached Sarah and asked her permission first and she was pretty thrilled for someone who hated Joe five minutes ago. But there sums up the entire problem with Joe and his whole existence. Sure, it’s not the first time love has changed someone and forgiveness has been found after evil deeds (a certain Robert Sugden anyone?) but the difference with Joe is that his brilliantly villainous intro was quickly abandoned, his many rivalries forgotten or forgiven and a rapid and all consuming love for Debbie changed him. I’m not a Joe/Debbie hater and in fact I think they have a good chemistry, but they’d have an even better chemistry if Joe’s whole personality and motives hadn’t been diluted to nothing. I’ve said before on the blog that slow burn romances are a big favourite of mine and someone like Joe who was so cruel and cold needed a long and slow redemption story if that was the intention. As it stands the proposal seems rushed and I can’t help but watch Joe now and see the complete waste of his potential as the biggest richest villain in the Dales.
Nicola: Ugh, flipping heck it’s Worzel and Aunt Sally.
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 the kids get spooked with a trip to the woods and the Lachlan murder saga continued.
Lots of Nicola
Every time Nicola King gets a more prominent role on screen I’m reminded why she’s one of my favourite characters. From her sharp one liners, dismissive put-downs and all round sarcastic attitude, I just love everything about Nicola. Amongst the stinging wit, Nicola has a huge heart when it comes to her beloved family and best mate Laurel. We haven’t seen much of their friendship in recent months so it was nice to see that again, especially as it included lots of eye-rolling over the Bob romance. We feel you, Nico. Nicola managed to liven up what was quite an unfunny and dull start to the week and it made me wish that we saw a lot more of her. Where have her and Jimmy’s stories disappeared to? I had high hopes at the start of the year with his health problems and the business being taken over by Joe but since then it’s fizzled out. Nicola is a huge asset to the village and it was about time she was used more.
Scooby Doo Gang
The kids gave Stranger Things a run for its money this week as they ganged up to explore the woods. Feeling spooked out by Misty’s stories about energy never dying the kids played ghost hunters all to tease out the will they/won’t they discovery of Rebecca held captive in the cabin. The dialogue in Thursday’s two-parter was particularly funny as the kids wound each other up, bossing each other around and teasing each other’s fears. Particular highlights of the storyline were April’s team leading and subsequent cries of “Shut up April!”; Arthur’s mortification of Laurel turning up; and Angelica using the phrase “Grow a pair!” but none of them knowing what was meant to be grown. There are times when their dialogue was a little too self-consciously adult, but in Thursday’s double especially they felt like real kids on an adventure and Emmerdale’s child stars are great to watch.
Slow Burn Romance
I’m a sucker for a slow burn romance with unrequited pining so this storyline of hidden and confusing feelings between Victoria and Matty is right up my street. Underused actress Isabel Hodgins has Vic’s butterflies down to a tea, playing the awkwardness of friendship-with-feelings perfectly against Ash Palmisciano’s charismatic Matty. The pair have a nice warm chemistry which works well as besties, but now that there’s a little romantic undercurrent I’m really invested. I think the potential here for drama is a goldmine and I hope Emmerdale doesn’t rush to something too perfect and smooth sailing. Let it grow.
Debbie and Sarah’s heart-breaking moment together before she was wheeled away for the transplant that never was really got me in the gut this week. The upbeat scenes in the hospital with Sarah being quite happy-go-lucky about it all and Debbie being the overprotective mum, soon got serious when reality hit. It was a contrast that worked well. It’s an unimaginable horror for any parent, and the onscreen relationship between the pair felt believable in its emotion. I’m glad Debbie’s got a story that is much more grounded in reality and separate from stilted love triangles too and actress Charley Webb is at her finest when she has the pain of these moments to play.
Hard to Believe
Continuing the Amelia and Beth story just isn’t working for me on any level. Beth’s story as the misunderstood vulnerable teen reminds me of the Josh story from last year and I have the same question this time – why should I care? Surely Beth’s going to disappear just like Josh did, never to be mentioned again. The Amelia story was fun when it felt like we were invited to speculate on the mystery but as soon as her kidnapper was revealed, it lost any of the suspense. To buy into Amelia’s attachment to Beth we really needed to see how a lonely and lost Amelia got groomed and so attached to Beth, but all of this development and the foundation of this story happened off screen. Now we’re left to understand and believe that Amelia is so desperate to be with Beth that she’d lie, steal and run away from her home. Not only is it hard to believe, it just isn’t very interesting to watch.
It was a hard week of Emmerdale to watch if you’ve got a low cringe threshold for so-called comedy. If like me you think the Sharmas are being wasted on wince-inducing sitcom storylines, then Bob’s interview and Megan’s dress-up might have just pushed it too far. Comedy is a struggle to get right, and everyone has their own tastes, but instead of raising chuckles, situations of lack have made me want to reach for the mute button. It feels like a complete waste to put capable actors in these embarrassing set-ups when lighter characters, like the Spencers, are stuck in miserable stories. The cringe was just too much this week and that’s even without mentioning Misty and Rodney’s mortifying sexploits.
Nicola: No graffiting! And no defiling the altar! Is it a sign of having bad kids when you feel you have to shout that?
Laurel: No, of course not. It’s a sign of being a bad parent.
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 Diane’s birthday surprise was one hell of a shock and Laurel and Brenda sort of made amends.
It was nice to see the Dingles get a bit of downtime this week after Sarah’s health drama of last week and Charity’s ongoing heartache. Cain is always lovely to see in sensitive “Grumpy” mode (even if they’ve disappointing removed all antagonism from Joe Tate’s feud with the Dingles) and I reckon Charity’s cushions were one of the week’s biggest highlights! Even though Cain and Moira’s storyline begins next week it was refreshing to see them hanging out on the swings with the kids enjoying the summer. I say bring on next week though – as the person watching them from the farm reveals himself!
News Travels Fast
You’d think the villagers of Emmerdale would be used to an illicit bunk up but that didn’t stop tongues wagging this week when Doug and Brenda’s night together became common knowledge. After that disastrous surprise party, news spread quickly in the pub and even made its way to the Dingle girls’ group chat (I LOVE that they have a group chat by the way). From Nicola’s disappointment to miss out on the drama to the giggles around the bar, this gave the story a fun injection of village life and I always love moments where everyone feels a bit more connected in each other’s stories.
Sometimes it’s the guest characters in Emmerdale that are the heroes of the week and this time it was another smart mouthed copper who stole the show in Friday’s episode. Like the rest of us he was sick of the childish spats between Brenda and Laurel as they got detained for the night and then things escalated when Bob and Doug arrived. The frustrated cop was officially Done as the blokes bickered too. As Emmerdale takes its yearly summer dip in storyline quality, I’m grateful that we at least have some guest characters to liven things up in the village.
Within a week Amelia’s story has gone from intriguing to downright disappointing. We don’t know the full story yet, but all the mystery seems to have been removed regardless. Amelia is now holed up in a flat with a girl who has been grooming her online. In order to increase the mystery element, all the grooming happened off screen but now it’s quite a leap to expect us to believe Amelia would be so enamoured and obedient to her captor, giving up all access to the outside world. It looks like this girl is the daughter of the man Daz killed in the army and if that’s the case then it’s going to be a reveal with zero shock factor. Now that Beth has added a ridiculous Dalek voice changer, her threats to Daz have even less impact. There’s no fun in guessing what’s’ happened to Amelia anymore when the truth seems so obvious. What are we left with apart from the tiresome Spencer brother feud that got old last year?
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! We lost Gerry this week after he was brutally murdered by Lachlan White. Miss you already Gerry!
Gerry’s Tragic Ending
Oh Gerry, sweet Gerry! I’m sure I speak for most people when I say: I miss you already! What a cruel and horrible way to go, especially when he seemed to have such a big heart and a happy-go-lucky personality. His final scenes, despite a build up that was a bit too heavy handed and obvious, were unbearably tense and uncomfortable to watch. Both actors did an incredible job in creating a huge feeling of dread throughout in scenes which were claustrophobic to watch. It was a memorable and heart-breaking moment which gave Emmerdale the bit of ‘oompf’ that it’s been missing since the start of the year and it gave Lachlan’s story sudden momentum, making the desire for justice more significant. Was one good moment and a boost for the soap’s resident villain enough to warrant losing such a popular and versatile character though?
Once again I’m so impressed by Thomas Atkinson’s performances as the psychopathic Lachlan White, easily making this a highlight of the week. Not only does he manage to be cold and remorseless, he’s so compelling to watch that you’re almost willing him to get away with his crimes just to see him commit more! He’s at his best when he’s in this heightened state of dark and conflicted but I can’t help but feel if they let this story rumble on too long, he’ll lose his edge and that would be a real waste. He shouldn’t fade into the background, this should be the start of his descent.
Ain’t No Party Like a Woolpack Party
In between Lachlan’s murderous deeds this week, in true light and shade soap balance, Chas and Paddy threw an engagement party. Sure the whole “curse” thing was a bit stupid but it did provide a setting for a huge gathering of cast and that’s always fun. From Faith and Lydia starting the karaoke (nice lungs from the Kings too), to Paddy’s awkward attempts to separate Brenda from Bob n’ Laurel, to his and Robert funny yet badly communicated cover story for Aaron’s absence. I loved that this one setting managed to have so many story cross-overs all happening at once and added to that awful sense of dread knowing it wouldn’t be long before someone discovered Gerry. More parties and community cross-overs please!
Put a Ring on it
It’s been three months since the romantic Cain and Moira reunion and I really feel like we haven’t seen enough of them lately – even more surprising considering Moira outed herself as Emma’s killer and they now have baby Isaac to look after! So it was enjoyable to see a bit of fun and romance this week from Coira as they celebrated their wedding anniversary. It’s always good to see Cain get a bit soft and misty eyed around Moira and the sparks were firing as ever when they exchanged their rings. But cute scenes like this often indicate hard times are approaching – does this mean there’s heartache headed their way? I hope not!
Ugh retconned paternity twists – who cares? Dan and Daz’s brotherly rivalry flared up again for Round 400 meaning more tedious shouting and hastily fleshed out backstory that we don’t care about. Whoever thought this story, one that’s been told countless times more successfully, needed telling again? Can we skip to the part where Amelia finds out so we can be done with this and get the Spencers back doing what they do best with some light hearted easy drama?
A Big Mistake
It seems clear that Emmerdale needed Lachlan to kill someone we all really cared about so that we become engaged in his rather meandering descent into true villainy, but did it really have to be Gerry? This feature from Digital Spy summed up the travesty in killing such a likeable, funny guy and I’m already feeling the loss of Gerry (and Shaun Thomas from the show). Comedy can be so hit and miss but with Gerry Emmerdale had a natural. He was cheeky and endearing, fitting in seamlessly with so many stories and characters. We knew so little about him too, meaning there were years of untapped stories just waiting for Emmerdale to explore there. Not only does this seem like a really short sighted decision, but when Lachlan’s story climaxes – is it really going to be worth losing such a beloved character like Gerry? Gerry was the obvious and predictable target and if this story is going to drag onto the point of apathy it’ll feel like even more of a waste. Gerry could have been saved with a more original approach to this story and I bet the powers that be will come to regret this move in months to come.
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the week that saw Aaron get kidnapped, Bob and Laurel just couldn’t keep their hands off each other – again, and again.
Okay sure, the kidnap was a bit flat and the confusion over contracts was a bit of a muddle, but the continually turning tables between Joe and Robert has real potential. The White family were never a match for Robert’s cunning, making it painfully easy for him in their obliviousness, but Joe’s got the cash and the ruthlessness to use Robert’s weak spot for his advantage. Seeing Robert sign a deal with the devil takes us to new territory for him – he’s used to control and victory and working for himself. Being under Joe’s thumb is going to drive him crazy, it’s a pressure cooker waiting to happen, but it could easily escalate on both sides. Neither man wants to lose but the one-upmanship has already had its moments of arrogant fun on both sides so bring it on.
It was Ashley’s memorial this week and I can hardly believe a whole year has passed since he died. In between all of the Bob and Laurel grief shagging, we did get to see a touching service on a very wintery looking day. These scenes were another chance to see the Thomas kids shine with both Gabby and Arthur reminding us of how impressive their performances were and continue to be in relation to Ashley’s story. I particularly liked the parallel to Ashley’s funeral, only this time it was Arthur stepping up to read the speech when Gabby’s emotions got the better of her. These two are the big stars in the Emmerdale future.
King and Queen
For all the chaos and upset Joe Tate has brought to the village, he’s done one good thing and that’s allowed us to see more of Jimmy and Nicola King. This week they got to be smug and smart as they stood up to Joe and helped Robert sort of get back on track. They’re absolutely two of my favourite characters in the village and it’s been great to see them keep their kookiness but still get a small victory. More please!
The Bob and Laurel affair story has reached almost unbearable levels of snogging and teenage frolicking, however if there’s one shining light in this plot then it’s been the rise of Dark Brenda. I think by this point, with sympathy very much on Team Brenda, we’d all be cheering her on to fire up a chainsaw in the direction of Bob’s balls. Her menacing and pointed asides are comically unsubtle, but her little acts of revenge and copious wine drinking is a real Mood (as the kids say). By this point I’m all for Brenda to embrace the dark side fully and start dressing as a goth.
Granted Emmerdale’s delaying tactics when it comes to the Lachlan car crash reveal are getting almost as frustrating as the dragging out of the Emma saga, but there’s no question that Lachlan is at his most engaging when he’s playing puppet master. This week he managed to convince Rebecca that she encouraged Chrissie to drive faster so was therefore responsible for the crash. A particularly clever and wicked move considering her brain damage but a role that actor Thomas Atkinson seems to relish.
For a silly comedy plot, Daz’s unicorn hair got a lot of screentime this Thursday as multiple crossed wires and misunderstandings meant his relationship with Bernice was briefly on the rocks. Followers of this blog will know that Bernice is one of my absolute favourite characters from her brilliant comic timing to her surprisingly emotional moments too, but even she struggles to lift Daz from the doldrums. I’ve nothing really against the man, he just seems a bit of a drip, especially when Bernice is such a lively, scene stealing character. She deserves a better story than this? And if they can’t find someone with enough spark to pair her off with then I’d happily watch more of her in the salon or being a pretty dodgy mother to Gabby.
No Real Danger
Perhaps one of the problems with this week’s lacklustre kidnap plot was that barely a week goes by without someone being tossed into a car boot. Considering it’s usually Cain doing the kidnapping, it seemed ironic that he was on the opposite side this week trying to rescue Aaron from the clutches of panto villain, Syd. Robert and Aaron have faced so much angst in their quest to be together that even their reactions to Aaron’s life being at stake felt a bit muted in comparison to their usual emotionally-intense peril. But it wasn’t just Syd springing up from nowhere and disappearing almost as quick that was the problem, it was that the stakes didn’t seem very high or very real when it was all done and dusted in about ten minutes on screen. When the story was sprinkled between Daz’s unicorn hair and Bob and Laurel sucking face for the hundredth time it lost all sense of urgency. Still, getting Cain and Moira involved in a Robron story was a great move – fingers crossed for more of that.
Nicola: Jesus died on the cross for you.
Elliot: And I never asked him to!