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!).
Happiness in Hard Times
Will 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
The 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.
Friday’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.
This 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!
Bear With It?
I’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
I 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.
April: Zak’s been married as many times as you now. Four!
April: What you on? Two?
Paddy: Two. No, three.
April: Do you two ever look at yourselves and, just like, feel amazed that seven women have married you?
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As Matty underwent his top surgery, Harriet was haunted by a threatening presence.
Bad, Mad and Dad
Back in December when Harriet and Dawn’s connection was first revealed, I criticised the decision to kill off Dawn’s dad, suggesting that sacrificing the juicy torment it would give Harriet all these years later was a wasted opportunity. I also felt a little short changed that after years of resentment and bitterness towards Harriet, Dawn had so quickly let her back into her life. So it was an absolute joy to have the rug pulled out from under us this week and reveal that not only is Dawn’s father still alive (played by the brilliant Dean Andrews) but that she’s been in on it all along! Stories of undercover police forming long term relationships with criminal suspects has made headlines recently and the long term impact on the people involved is ripe for exploring in Emmerdale so I’m really excited to see what’s ahead. While some viewers feel this turn-around from Dawn has made her instantly unlikeable and feel betrayed, I feel it’s far more realistic to have her conflicted. Harriet was once a mother to her, and her undercover status sent Dawn’s life into a dark and miserable trajectory so this twist makes her intentions interesting and begs a question of just how much of her is genuine, and how far will she get involved in her dad’s plans before her conscience takes hold? This is a gripping story with so much potential and I think Dean Andrews is going to make a cracking villain. Bring it on!
I’ll admit that I’ve never been keen on cool vicar Harriet, and even her much-hyped good versus evil bunk up with Cain didn’t do much to me, but times are changing. This week scenes in Emmerdale verged into horror movie territory as Harriet continued to be harassed by her secret stalker. Levels of creepiness escalated from minor meddling to full on terror as the church bells rang and Harriet found herself locked in. These were well shot scenes, letting us experience the unnerving sensations Harriet was suffering and allowing our empathy to increase. While viewers now know the culprit of this revenge, Harriet’s still in the dark and feeling as if she’s becoming a paranoid mess and there’s nothing more frightening than feeling you’re totally alone like this. Tension is high now to see how far this vendetta goes, and even more so to see Harriet discover the shocking truth behind whose responsible!
Fun For All
Thursdays’ episodes centred on the opening of a new beer garden at the Woolie which will also serve as a living memorial for Grace, but it wasn’t just the addition of a new set that was a highlight, but the community spirit the scenes granted. It was enjoyable to see a selection of characters in one place, especially when it comes to comedy moments like Charity’s puppet show, but it also helps to tie lots of plots all together. There have been times in Emmerdale’s past where stories have felt boxed in, but from gatherings like this, to Nicola’s campaigning, and even Harriet’s stalking nightmare, plots seem to be managing to cross over a lot at the moment. Thursday’s beer garden opening managed to feature Priya’s rivalry with Aiesha, Paddy’s relationship with Bear, Charity keeping the secret of Lisa’s illness, Dawn’s secret revenge, Aaron and Robert’s fall out with Faith – and these cross-over moments add cohesion to the village.
The burden of Maya and Jacob’s secret and her blackmail weighed heavily on Liv this week. There’s an aspect of naivety and desperation in her actions which feels true to her age, but she’s not without guilt and panic. Liv wars between an act of revenge for being hurt herself, and using the money to help her family, to battling this moral dilemma alone. Luckily for Liv she had the comfort of best friend Gabby to console her when she worried her attempts to extort money from Maya was a bad move – though of course, Liv’s still not owned up to why she’s so nervy. The Liv and Gabby friendship is one of Emmerdale’s finest friendships and I’m glad we’ve had more of it lately. When the full truth of Maya’s behaviour comes out, I have high hopes that Gabby will be the one to mend the fractures in this teen group.
Bothersome, lay-about Bear might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m finding his struggling relationship with Paddy worth a watch. This is new ground for Paddy, who’s keen but cautious to form a relationship with Bear. This week, as Paddy experienced a fresh wave of grief over Grace when opening her garden, he asked for Bear’s involvement in the day, hoping it would reassure him of Bear’s commitment to his new family. Unfortunately for Paddy, Bear shirked his responsibilities and Paddy was left angry and crushed. Actor Dominic Brunt is really proving himself with this different and complex material. It’s early days for Bear, but away from the ridiculous wrestling stuff, he has potential and I think will continue to help Paddy show undiscovered sides to his character.
The Spencer family might not be fan favourites, but there have been times where their lowkey stories have been easy viewing among some of the more intense plots in the village. However since Dan and Kerry’s split, their efforts to keep it secret from Amelia has felt unnecessarily tedious. It might have been Dan’s plan to keep Kerry close and win her back round but the failure of that was obvious, and should have been, even to him. They might have wanted to protect Amelia from the truth but her finding out showcased the family at their most unlikeable again. Kerry’s felt a little hard faced, Dan feckless and Amelia has just come across as a brat. Conflict within this family never seems to land right and I find myself wanting all the characters involved to grow up, or at least stick to the more light hearted material!
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 fantastic week on Emmerdale as the Maya and Jacob storyline escalated – a week so good, it was without a single low point.
Liv had her worst fears confirmed this week – and then some – when she discovered Jacob and Maya in bed together. Isobel Steele brings so much vulnerability to the role that hearts were already breaking when she thought Jacob was getting bored of her and got herself dressed up and prepared to have sex with him. Alongside her scenes with supportive Robert, it was Gabby that offered comfort and reassurance too, and it was a pleasure to have their friendship back in the spotlight. Making this move with Jacob was already a huge deal for Liv, as she considers herself on the asexual spectrum, so it came as an even bigger blow when Jacob turned her down then dumped her. Things got even messier when she discovered the ugly truth, but the mix of pain, betrayal and teenage heartbreak caused her to make a risky and naive move in blackmailing Maya. This was an unexpected twist (and kept nicely under wraps by Emmerdale) but it worked. We’ve already seen Liv struggling with the weight of this secret, knowing Maya is a master manipulator and that she stands no chance in being believed. Considering no one believed her over Lachlan, it’s no wonder she’s wary. Her battle of conscious is also impacted by a personal pain of having her heart crushed, so her empathising with Jacob’s situation is complicated too. Now that she has a recording, things are moving quickly, but I really like how many layers there are to this story and how many lives it will impact. It’s only a matter of time.
Sinking to New Depths
It goes without saying that Emmerdale viewers are united in their hatred of Maya Stepney, but we have to commend the great job Louisa Clein is doing in the role. This week saw Maya’s big secret blown, but she wasn’t going down without a fight and decided to employ some very dirty tactics to make sure Liv wouldn’t spill. Not only did Maya use Liv’s past and her issues with drink to prove her an unreliable witness, but she also manipulated Jacob to repeat the lie. But she stooped even lower after that, flipping deftly between emotional blackmail and crocodile tears to twisted threats. This week really ramped up the tension and it finally feels like the story is close to breaking point – I can’t wait for the fallout!
Moving on from the never-ending Joe plot has done Kim Tate wonders and now that she’s got her heart set on reuniting with son Jamie, she finally has a tangible motivation – and not just messing with people’s lives because it’s fun. This week was a welcome change as Kim showed her softer, human side when helping Rhona out after she collapsed. This was a very unlikely partnership but these two are relative strangers so they were able to talk candidly in ways they couldn’t with others. Besides dead weight Graham, Kim’s allies are thin on the ground so this heart to heart with Rhona gave us a fresh perspective on her character, making her more than just a panto villain. She had empathy and humour, without it feeling forced. Of course, Kim being Kim there was an ulterior motive in sidling up to Rhona, but at least it seems she genuinely likes her and there wasn’t any over-the-shoulder smirking going on!
There was a rare sighting of smiles at The Mill this week as Aaron and Robert’s surrogacy storyline was revisited. It wasn’t completely clear what triggered Robert’s change of heart to start pursuing their options in the UK but both lads were excited to get started. Although most of their plans have been off screen and hypothetical so far, it’s been a pleasure to see them united and in scenes again, having had a quiet year so far – particularly as it feels like it’s been a while since they had something really meaty. This week their family scenes nicely overlapped with Liv’s horrible time and it was good to see the three of them just hanging out and fully involved in supporting each other. As the surrogacy plot continues, let’s hope Emmerdale give them plenty of powerful scenes to get stuck into.
Carry On Vet
You’d be forgiven for thinking once Kim Tate involved herself in the vets’ business it would be full of earnest moments or evil threats, but this week’s scenes proved that Kim being a silent partner can actually be a lot of fun. After Paddy and Vanessa agreed to take the infamous Ms Tate on board, they were petrified of owning up to their slightly scary partners Chas and Charity. Both Dominic Brunt and Michelle Hardwick are natural at physical comedy so their panic wide-eyes didn’t go unnoticed in the pub by their other halves and even a covert phone call in the gents and ladies’ loos couldn’t stop the landladies finding out the truth. Thankfully for our hapless vets, their deal with the devil got the seal of approval from Chas and Charity, leaving Paddy and Vanessa stunned. We know all too well that Emmerdale comedy can be hit and miss, but these brilliant scenes were an effortless win on the laughs front. More please!
Expanding the Family
The Sharmas have been going from strength to strength lately, especially now that Manpreet has married Rishi added more drama to the fold. The family have felt a bit isolated in recent years with their sole focus either being comedy or factory scenes, but Manpreet’s money issues have given the family a bit of a rift, with Jai’s suspicions making things difficult with Rishi and Priya too. It’s an interesting dynamic as we as viewers aren’t even totally sure of Manpreet’s true intentions – though I’d prefer her feelings to be legit! I loved the family scenes this week at the wedding reception and the fall out afterwards, and there’s a good balance of drama and comedy. But with actress Shila Iqbal fired this week, I hope producers recast Aiesha so we can see what she can offer to this bigger and better family unit.
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 Debbie learnt Joe was alive, Chas and Paddy had good news.
Don’t Mess With Moira
There’s something I find completely compelling about Moira and Cain’s relationship, and as they battled Kim’s grim blackmail plot, we saw their relationship put to the test. Actors Natalie and Jeff put everything into their scenes so that even the smallest, silent scene carries so much weight. Their chemistry is some of the show’s best. They might have spent the last few years coping with various accidental murders, but at the heart of it, these two are just really solid characters and their marriage is as angsty and tumultuous as all good soap couples. This week we got to see more of feisty Moira as she struggled to cope with the thought of Cain sleeping with Kim, even breaking down in tears at the thought of their sacrifice. When he didn’t go through with it (and his turning down of Kim was very satisfying) the doubt was a challenge for them both, but it was even more rewarding to see Moira go after Kim head on and shove her against the wall. Moira certainly isn’t someone Kim should mess with and I love her for that.
Paddy’s birth father Bear Wolf crashed back into the village this week, wrecking Grace’s memorial garden in the process. But strip away the embarrassing Lycra and wrestling gimmick and Emmerdale might actually have a decent character on their hands. Yes he’s a sleazy chancer, lying about his injury to get sympathy and a place to stay, but Bear offers something a bit different to the village and to Paddy’s character. His scenes with Dr Cavanagh were amusing too, as Liam had to keep referring to him as Mr Wolf. Will he be everyone’s cup of tea? Unlikely, but I wouldn’t be opposed if Emmerdale had plans to make him long term.
Kim’s Softer Side
The mention of Kim’s son’s name this week was like flicking a switch. Once the folk at Home Farm had stopped pontificating about Joe, it was time for Graham to play his trump card and mention the elusive Jamie (or James Tate to you and me). You’d think Graham might have used him as leverage earlier in trade for his precious Joe, but it seems Jamie is Kim’s true Achilles’ heel – and every good villain needs one of those. If Kim’s really going to live up to her potential then we need to see her become more fully rounded, not just making threats and cartoon one liners. She might have her horses, but we need to see more of Kim’s human side, her down time and Jamie could be the answer to that. Here’s hoping we’ll get to see this aspect of her personality soon!
This week saw the end of Dan and Kerry’s relationship in what might be the world’s worst timing. Not only was it Dan’s birthday, but he was also dumped straight after proposing. Awkward! The signs have been there for some time, but I have mixed feelings about their separation. On the one hand, Kerry’s long been the best part of the Spencer family and has been a bit of a long-suffering spouse, but on the other hand, she’s had her fair share of unlikeable moments too. Dan and Kerry were something of a bit of an Emmerdale staple couple and as relationships don’t last that long, it was good to see a fairly happy relationship in the long term – they’re much-needed in a soap. With Dan not wanting to upset Amelia, he wants to play happy families, but Kerry’s already close to breaking point and I dread the thought of more rows in the Spencer household. Surely this family is one more suited to something a bit more comedic? It’s been all doom and gloom for them lately. Dan and Kerry might have out grown each other, but at the same time, they still seem suited? Who else will put up with them?
I feel like I’m complaining about Graham every week, but this week’s episodes were another reminder of his pointlessness. Since the reveal of Joe’s fate, Graham’s dramatic drunken spiral makes even less sense and recent attempts to explain it away haven’t helped the cause. Graham’s explanations don’t add up. What’s really stopping Graham from conducting secret phone calls or visiting Joe? There’s no reason to it. He’s got quite the cosy set up with Kim letting him live at Home Farm, so it’s hardly fear that’s holding him back from keeping contact with Joe. If it’s some enduring love for Kim, I’m not buying that either. This storytelling for Graham was once enigmatic and intriguing, now it’s an incoherent, inconsistent mess. Emmerdale might think they’ve got this stoic, ex-SAS mystery man on their hands, but with no real ties to the village, and confusing characterisation, Graham’s a real weak link in the village right now.
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!
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.