Diane: [Pearl] can hear the clink clink of a bottle ten miles away. We haven’t been able to shake her off since she got the scent!
Diane: [Pearl] can hear the clink clink of a bottle ten miles away. We haven’t been able to shake her off since she got the scent!
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Some hard hitting and important stories told this week alongside the never-ending saga of Robert’s revenge.
In January, I complained that Megan’s worries about the difficulties of her daughter potentially being disabled was a story worthy of more than just one episode, particularly as Gaynor Faye’s talents are regularly wasted in lifeless plots – and being tied to boring Frank. Thankfully that seemed to change this week as a hugely important and interesting story surfaced when Eliza had a fit and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. While this is a sad and difficult story to tell, there are thousands of parents like Megan and Jai who are given similar news about their child’s future and it’s a story worth telling. Already both parents are dealing with Eliza’s disability differently, expressing different worries and finding it hard to cope. It’s a very human story, but with honest performances and effective writing it’s already been moving and well told.
Vanessa had a difficult week as she questioned her sexuality and faced questions from the gossipy village. After spending the night with and being cruelly outed in the pub by Charity, Vanessa was confused about how to label herself, knowing that she was now interested in women. Despite the cliché public Woolie outing, I’ve enjoyed this story so far for the refreshing way it’s letting Vanessa take a slow and unpressured journey towards discovering her identity. Not only has it been great to see Ness get a storyline of her own, but the key players in her life – Rhona, Tracy, Frank and even Paddy and Pearl – have offered her great support and advice, in a non-judgemental and encouraging way and these have made for some touching and rather sweet scenes.
A Bit of Humour
One shining light in this frustratingly slow “Robert takes over Home Farm” plot this week was Kath – the woman Robert hired to play an investor. Much like when Robert teamed up with Bernice last year, his irritated “brains of the operation” roles needs a slightly maverick comedy sidekick to clash with, and in this he has Kath. Despite her playing the part well and securing the deal, it was fun seeing her test the waters with him and make him sweat with her off-the-wall suggestions for Kath’s backstory. It certainly gives the story a bit more of the “fun” element even if it’s a stretch to believe Robert wouldn’t have knocked up a fake LinkedIn page for Rug Tree Bonds in his spare time.
Scheme of the Week
Robert Sugden seems to be reliving his villainy Greatest Hits at the moment as he cartoonishly seduces his way into Home Farm. Literally. Again. But it’s not the excruciating scenes of Lawrence falling for Robert’s charms (come on Larry, he’s played you exactly like this before!) that make my fails list, it’s the plodding pace of this revenge plot. Every week a new scheme of Robert pops up with no end in sight giving him no real set backs to speak of. Even Chrissie was lured into forgiveness and trust this week, thanks to an anti-climatic near-death experience orchestrated by Rob. Come on, Chrissie – we were counting on you! At this point Robert will have so many puppets to control he’ll need a spare hand. Chrissie’s uncle Tim returned from nowhere (angry about some baffling injustice) to aid Robert’s evil deeds for a reason that made zero sense, leaving this plot with more holes than Lisa Dingle’s crochet blankets. Robert might be doing the trick to win over the Whites but it’s making panto season feel like an eternity – isn’t it about time he had a real rival to come up against?
Perhaps it’s a bit meanspirited of me to say, especially as he’s not been in Emmerdale long but Dan’s brother Daz already feels a bit surplus to requirement. Sure, they seem to be lining up a story of PTSD for Daz, but I can’t help but think his character is a bit dull and pointless and I’m struggling to care. This week he integrated himself into village life a bit more, getting a date and a job, but he’s not exactly got the charisma or fun factor to add anything new to the Dales. A dodgy woman from his past showed up threatening him and the family but there wasn’t any real sense of jeopardy and Dan and co’s response came across as laughable rather than strong. I don’t feel like we know Daz enough to care about his struggles, especially when these tales are based on his retelling of events, and he just doesn’t have enough charm or personality to be engaging. We have Dan, did we really need another downtrodden Mr Average?
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 Megan’s revenge was foiled and Rhona took a brave step in moving on with her life.
You might be surprised to see Kerry at the top spot this week seeing as she’s one of my least favourite characters in The Dales, but it just shows what a change in material can do. We’re used to Kerry being loudmouthed, brash and selfish and there are times she’s difficult to like. This week though, on discovering Dan’s brother Daz was homeless, Kerry was shaken and withdrawn and we soon discovered that she too had experienced homelessness in the past. Laura Norton proved what a great actress she is as Kerry opened up and revealed her vulnerability to Dan. I’m tired of their silly spats but this was a lot more nuanced and heartfelt and it really had me rooting for the pair of them and certainly made me like Kerry a lot more. It’s nice to see a change in direction like this and helps balance out those characters, who are normally the loud and funny ones, into more empathetic and believable ones.
I was really pleased with how Emmerdale handled Rhona’s storyline this week. While I’ll always feel fondly towards Paddy and Rhona – and expect their reunion is inevitable – their hook up this week was too much too soon and I worried they’d rush to reunite the pair. Thankfully after the great confrontation with Pierce, Rhona was empowered and courageous, recognising that reuniting with Paddy wasn’t the right choice for her to make at this time. There were emotional and moving scenes as Paddy and Rhona talked and accepted that it wasn’t right to get back together, but for now I think Rhona (and the writers) made the right choice for her.
I can’t say I’ve enjoyed Megan’s revenge plot on Frank and it makes the “Faves” list partly because I’m just glad it’s over and all out in the open! Megan and Frank’s naivety to make this story work has never been believable and Megan’s plan seemed extreme in light of how little revenge she took on Jai (who treated her much worse). In spite of this, Gaynor Faye is a great actress and when Megan finally spoke of her reasons why she wanted payback, I could believe it more. It’s a shame it didn’t happen sooner. With Frank scorned, Charity caught out and Megan isolated I’m interested to see what happens next. Preferably no reunion for Megan and Frank though – there’s always been something really insipid about that coupling.
Bonus Fave: Pearl – for being a wonderful support of Rhona this week and dressing up for her “date” with Paddy. Brilliantly funny.
Call me fickle, but early this year I questioned whether Emmerdale was a bit too dark, with its heavy focus on serious and difficult subject matters but now we seem to have the opposite problem. Okay so summer time does bring out the ‘silly season’ now and again (remember last year’s pirate ship?!) but I had a serious case of comedy fatigue this week. Monday saw Dan and Jimmy compete in their race, which despite a few funny moments (Angel calling Bernice a Judas being a particular highlight) took up far too much of the episode than it warranted. Then there’s Charity, naturally hilarious and offering up a needed dose of fun to the revenge plot – but I can’t help but feel, as amusing as it is in small doses, that Charity deserves much greater storylines and drama than singing to Little Mix.
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 Vadam implode, we saw Pierce continue his twisted control over Rhona.
We’re used to sibling rivalry in Emmerdale. Sisters that hate each other and throw slaps, brothers who try and kill each other. So what a joy it is to have the lovely Arthur and Gabby relationship to showcase something touching among a grieving family and prove that siblings can love each other and get along. Poor Arthur was upset at the thought of losing his big sis Gabby to Australia and worried she wouldn’t come back and so tried to block out his pain in that classic kid combination of sulking and avoidance. But Gabby soon broke through his act and gave him her teddy Widget to look after and the pair had a heartwarming heart-to-heart. Honestly, it was like allergy season and my eyes were definitely leaking. The sadness and doubts soon turned into smiles as Arthur gave Gabby his best advice for dealing with sharks and they gave each other a goodbye hug. We’re so lucky to have these brilliant young actors and here’s hoping that when Gabby returns we’ll get to see more of these wonderful family moments.
Building the Mystery
As the build up to Rhona and Pierce’s wedding edges nearer, so does the intensity of his manipulation and darkness. Vanessa fell into a familiar pattern of meddling this week (just after she’d begun repairing her friendship with Rhoan, d’oh!) as she managed to get Pierce’s mother, Martha into the village. Since meeting Pierce last year we’ve actually learnt very little about him, and most of it comes from his own mouth which we know can be deceptive at best. We knew from his late wife Tess that their marriage wasn’t a happy one, but this week there was a big dollop of intrigue when it came to Pierce’s past and we were left pondering. Just how much did friend Gavin know and why was he okay to pop up to manipulate Rhona into moving? Just what was Martha like as a mother? And if everything Pierce has revealed about his childhood is a warped story, then what was his past really like? And what about Pierce’s previous behaviour does she know, was Tess just as much of a victim as Rhona? The mystery surrounding Pierce is an interesting one. He’s slippery, good at putting on a performance and twisting situations to his advantage and all of this in a subtle, underhand way. There are layers of darkness we’ve only scratched the surface of and if you’ve seen any of the press surrounding next week’s episodes, this seems to be only the beginning of his monstrous behaviour.
Crash and Burn
I’ve got to say I don’t like this Adam and Victoria story AT ALL but the reason it makes my Faves list is simply down to the performances from Adam Thomas and Isabel Hodgins. Adam and Vic might be on a collision course to destruction in record time but the actors have given the big emotional and challenging scenes their all, even as the plot creaks around them. Though rarely used, when we have seen Adam and Vic they’ve been strong, supportive and really loved up. They’ve been believable as a couple and out of everyone in Emmerdale, they’d be the ones you could imagine staying together for years to come, deserving of happiness and their own big brood. If the rumours are true and Adam is on his way out, something which seems ever more like the way this story is being hurtled through, then it’s a real shame. We’ve seen everything from Adam this week – the bravado and his nastiness, the comedic and the flirty, and the pain in his vulnerability. But both actors have shown they are great at the gritty stuff and getting more accomplished as the years have gone on, so why are we only seeing them get a big story now and why so clunky and rushed?
Same Old Stories
I’ll pin my colours to the mast right now and out myself as a huge Pearl fan, but ever since she was dropped from the sexy book plot, it’s lost a certain something. It’s no longer a best seller, no longer cheeky and fun, but at the bottom of the slush pile. I’ve flip-flopped when it comes to David and Tracy. They have their moments but they seem to be stuck in a rut of repetitive sitcom-style storylines which aren’t doing their relationship any favours. Tracy is dumbed down to squeeze out a forced (un)funny line, even if it stretches believability (sure, of course she has no idea who JK Rowling is or that it’s a novella not Nutella) but then is seen cleverly turning the tables on David to teach him a lesson. Tracy seems to have no belief in herself and yet David’s attempts to boost her always have the opposite effect and he comes across as patronising and insensitive. We’ve seen this story with them before and it’s getting tiresome, particularly when both actors can do more than silliness behind a shop counter.
Plot By Numbers
More of a general moan rather than plot specific, but a disappointing element to a few of the stories this week was how the plots seemed to be formulaic and rushed, following a dot-to-dot pattern. We have Cain and Harriet’s affair (a tepid stepping stone on the path back to Coira, surely?) which seems to be following an illicit liaison formula but lacking any real spark or originality – there’s push and pull, playing hard to get, sex in the garage – but even the on-the-nose dialogue about a vicar hooking up with the “local gangster” makes this ying and yang affair a bit too knowing and try-hard for me. Then there’s Vic and Adam’s struggles to find a solution to this baby making, with adoption and unconventional family set ups rejected despite the fact Vic’s brother is adopted and Adam was raised by a man who wasn’t his bio-dad. It just doesn’t ring true. Plus the fact that in the space of three days the whole thing exploded, ending a seemingly happy and secure marriage, when six months ago, babies weren’t even on the table. Not to mention Vanessa was rolled out to give Adam a supportive ear when they’ve barely spoken since the Johnny plot and all in time for him making a move next week. If these stories had been slowed down a little – if we’d had time to see Cain and Harriet’s sparking interactions play out for longer before giving in; if Vic and Adam’s fertility struggles had been developed over months rather than days, then these stories might have been stronger for it.
Emmerdale is fortunate to have such a brilliant cast of characters that picking favourites is always a challenge. In fact I can count the number of characters I actively dislike on just two fingers. But often it’s the biggest and most popular characters and actors who get all the attention, so here at The Woolie Weekly I thought I’d invite my blog readers to share their favourite “underrated” characters, alongside one of mine, and tell us why they love them.
If you follow me on Twitter you’ll probably have guessed that Vanessa is my choice for my ‘underrated’ fave. Vanessa isn’t as quiet storywise as other characters on this list, but she often plays a supportive role in storylines. Vanessa has such a fiesty spark and a great sense of fun, as well as being a loyal friend and a good mother. With Pierce on her case now I seriously worry for her safety!
Submitted by ‘robroninterest’: “Leyla is mostly used for comic relief, but I would like to see more of her serious side. It was a pity that the ‘romance’ with Pete was rushed, they could have been a more interesting couple and struggled more to get together. Leyla can be a fragile character, that can once in a while do without the comical streak. I want drama Leyla.”
Submitted by anonymous: “Pearl is amazing, funny, smart, but I also love her sensibility toward other characters, her jovial spirit and her curiosity about other villagers’ lives.
Submitted by chloakerz: “As if I’d pick anyone but Bernice! I hope she gets to shine in the conclusion of Ashley’s story but other reasons why she deserves more screen time are: 1) she can do serious AND comedy which is a winning combo 2) putting her in the mix with the Whites (before they sucked the joy out of everything was genius) – she was in her element as lady of the manor 3) her relationship with Andy is perfectly classic chalk and cheese (Katie who?) 4) she loves wine ) ‘I will make you bald!’ truly iconic: need I say more? 6) if Emmerdale made Bernice and Robert BFFs I can die happy – so much snobby potential!
Submitted by anonymous: “Marlon, every time! He’s the sweetest, most precious villager who doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. He’s so often overlooked and ridiculously funny. The kind of pure character we all need to keep storylines fun and bright. He has been through a lot as well and still manages to be upbeat and happy. A true village legend.”
Submitted by anonymous: “Victoria sees the good in most people but also doesn’t take any shit. Her and Adam seem to be two of the few ‘nice and normal’ characters remaining in Emmerdale. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t interesting. She’s grown up on the show but hasn’t been in the spotlight storyline wise for ages.
Submitted by anonymous: “Adam Thomas is one of those rare actors who can not only do brilliant, warm comedy that puts a smile on your face but he can do dark, angry or heartbroken to just as high a standard all while being effortless. He’s got a comfortable natural acting style and he’s so underused. He has so many connections in the village and could do so much. The writers don’t seem to realise that!”
[Debbie changes the music to ‘Could it be Magic? – Take That’]
Pearl: Ooh are we having strippers?
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 for the women of the village and the literary world as Tracy and Pearl’s book took the village by storm!
Filthy and Funny
By far my favourite story of the week was the Pearl and Tracy write a porno plot. It has all the right ingredients – funny dialogue, a new and golden partnership, a community feel and complete warmth. With Pearl deciding Tracy wasn’t so good on the plotting parts of her book, she offered her services – with Brenda getting carried away too – and Gustav’s Appetite was born. Is there anything better than Pearl sneakily writing at work (amazing password by the way: hong kong ding dong) and Tracy needing to write in an extra small font to keep David from prying? Once the other women of the village got a taste for Gustav they were enthralled and the fun spirit of the book club returned. It had characters mixing that don’t normally, Tracy wearing sexy writer specs, positive sex discussion and encouragement of Tracy and a good dose of David being mocked and jealous of a fictional character. This was Emmerdale gold.
Asking for Forgiveness
Continuing to be one of the most fascinating and complex villains in Emmerdale is Emma Barton. She admits herself that she does crazy things for love and for reasons she thinks are right but her justification and extreme actions are just part of what makes her so interesting. She doesn’t seem to have bad intentions and her remorse and guilt are the things keeping her so edgy and obsessive. Perhaps it’s her softer, anguished moments amongst the madness that makes her so interesting and her focus on wanting forgiveness and not knowing how to get it is a fascinating element to the story. We saw her go to church again this week and ask for a more active role in the community, needing to give something back, and this quest can only make for more complex developments and more chance for Gillian Kearney to shine.
You’ve Got a Friend
One of my favourite women in The Dales, Vanessa Woodfield, showcased exactly why you’d want her as a friend this week. With Rhona on edge and feeling guilty about Pierce’s erratic behaviour, Ness was quick to remind her that it’s the men in Rhona’s life that have screwed up and she’s not to blame. Like every good friend, she advised Rhona to take time off and not to give Pierce the satisfaction of feeling the guilt. Vanessa already seems to be slightly suss of Pierce’s motivations and changeable behaviour, but this hasn’t stopped her trying to support Rhona and be positive even with her reservations. It’s a difficult situation for any friend with concerns, but I think anyone would be grateful to have a friend like Vanessa.
Too Far Gone?
Finn Barton’s crazed stalker plot took it up a notch this week. Not content with following Kasim around like a puppy and stalking his social media, he loitered on his road with lame excuses about getting his stuff back. And then things went even further when he hid in the bushes and then broke into his room and trashed it, even spraying grafitti on the wall saying “Yestergay”. Yep, that’s right, Yestergay. Of course, after an attack of his conscious he went back with Tracy and tidied up – and even she thought he’d gone too far. Now, while later in the week he cracked and revealed his shock and upset about what he’d become (see my Scene of the Week) I can’t help wondering if the plot pushed Finn way too far because sympathies are shakey. How could we possibly be on Finn’s side, even knowing his grief? It all seemed a bit too much, even with his mother’s genes. Here’s hoping Finn can get back on track but will he recover from this plot misfire?
Give yourself a pat on the back, Zak. Once again you’ve found yourself at the bottom of the Fails list. Instead of being a rock for Lisa, sticking up for her under Faith’s barbed jibes, he says nothing, exposing himself time and time again as a weak willed coward. To make things worse this week, besides embarrassing Lisa, he failed to remember social services were coming and then managed to fuck up their visit by announcing selfishly that didn’t feel they were the right guardians for Kyle. Zero consideration for Lisa or the family, nope, Zak Dingle does what Zak Dingle wants. And by the time he figured he might as well look after Kyle, to win Lisa round again, he realised the final decision is now out of their hands. What a walking disaster. Seems like he only backtracked to win over Lisa again so really everything is once again all me me me. Ugh, be gone with you, Zak!
Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was Dingle mania this week as Cain and Chas’s mum rocked up in the village.
Thomas Family Heartbreak
If there’s one word to sum up the Thomas family story this week it would be this: crushing. Each week Ashley’s heartbreaking dementia storyline is featured, you think performances and the writing cannot possibly be bettered and yet it goes one further every week. The ensemble nature of the story means there are a range of emotions and reactions carrying the plot forward and fleshing it out with a devastating believability. From the whole family’s stilted conversation the night before Ashley was due to move into the care home, where Arthur’s agonised sobs that Ashley shouldn’t leave as he’d done nothing wrong were painful, to the moving sing-song, to Doug and Diane’s private despair – everything was pitched with the perfect tone. It’s a difficult watch and one that resonates so deeply with families watching. Laurel’s bravery and strained enthusiasm to keep going features endlessly superb performances from Charlotte Bellamy so much so, her portrayal feels less like a character and more like a real woman with every episode. Everyone is excellent in this storyline, and Laurel as the glue trying to hold everyone together, makes you ache watching – especially ending the week on that awful moment where she cried alone in bed after one of the worst days of her life.
Hair piled up high, sunglasses, cracking one-liners and a perchant for gin – okay, I think I’m gonna like Faith Dingle. Forget the drawn out way she was introduced this week (see below), I think Faith’s going to be exactly what the Dingles need for a bit of a shake-up. (I was already dying with laughter at her brutal assessment of Zak “only just buried your last wife and you’re digging up the next one”.) Chas and Cain already share great sibling scenes together so any more of this seems like a good thing, particularly considering they both have underlying issues with their mother – and that’ll be interesting to address. Not since Val have we had an older more outrageous woman in the village causing a stir and if she continues to be a pal for Diane and flirt with Eric, she might help to ease this Val-less pain.
The BnB Squad
Since Val’s death and Finn’s leaving of his job, we haven’t seen so much of the BnB even though Diane and Doug are working there too now. This week though really showed us what a dream team Diane, Doug and Eric could be. The honesty box subplot last week was just a little taster of this comedic magic and this week showed us more of their strange little relationship. Eric is a stickler for rules (breakfast isn’t allowed in the bar and definitely not at 3pm!), Doug is stuck in his ways and that grates on Eric and Diane is relaxed and loves a laugh. I loved their pettiness, like arguing over who’s cleaning the toilet as Doug hilariously mimed Eric’s encounter with Eric’s “girlfriend”, Faith – reminding me of squabbling school kids and I seriously hope we see more of them like this.
Scams and Schemes
I’m always in two minds when it comes to Charity’s dress up schemes. Sometimes they’re a good laugh and you’re able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the comedy and other times they fall a bit flat. Her diamond plot with Frank this week was on the fence. There were enjoyable elements to her scamming in the week – her and Frank work surprisingly well together and have a good deal of chemistry; Charity vs Chrissie seemed like a well-matched rivalry in terms of their verbal sparring; and the wealthy businessman + his henchman lover was a fun twist. But perhaps this dressing up, bonkers plan stuff is a bit much after the bank job the other week and the aggro between Charity and Debbie or Charity and the rest of the Dingles just feels like re-treading old ground.
You can see from above that I’m quite a fan of Faith already and the different dynamic she will add to the show but the road to finding out who she was seemed to drag on needlessly over four episodes. When a newbie arrives speculation is rife as to who they are, but Faith’s identity was just a bit too obvious from the get-go (especially when her arrival was teased almost a year ago), meaning there was little suspense in the reveal. It didn’t make a great deal of sense as to why she camped out so long in the barn, nor why Sarah latched onto her so fast and Sarah’s secretive and bad behaviour to keep her a secret was tedious to watch but now Faith’s been thrown into the family fold we should get some great scenes.