Fave or Fail? (2-6 Dec 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Andrea suffered a miscarriage this week, giving Kim a change of heart and Lydia tried to put the past to rest.

Faves

Well-rounded Kim

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h43m54s325Top of the highlights this week is Kim, who seems to have hit her stride, almost a year since she made her full return to the village. Early months indicated Emmerdale weren’t quite sure what to do with her and the brief panto stint last year didn’t help much – and nor did the Joe and Graham muddle. Now, with tangible motives and a family around her, Kim feels a lot more well rounded. I really enjoyed that she was a big part of the village this week, funding the lights and having a sense of power that is reminiscent of the Home Farm contingent of old Emmerdale. Rather than cartoonishly making people’s lives misery, it was welcome to see Kim’s ruthless attitude towards Wendy whilst being sympathetic towards Victoria’s plight. Similarly her war with Graham is more watchable now it’s about something relatable – her son and granddaughter. There was also an element of fun too, with Harriet scamming her to give the light fund to the homeless instead, and this has helped to make her more than just a outlandish soap bitch, but more of a believable character and that can only benefit the future of Home Farm.

Lydia Deals with the Past

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h41m26s341After another emotional week for Lydia, Emmerdale are surely paving the way to give Karen Blick some award nominations next year? This week Lydia struggled with the pressure of her newly found biological family and the news that she could lay her son to rest, now that she had his ashes. Feeling suffocated by her mother, Lydia opted to scatter the ashes with just the Dingles (or the few that turned up!) and later asked for space from her mother and sister, acknowledging there was no quick fix to her years of feeling isolated and abandoned. As much as I liked the casting for Lydia’s family and it gave her character new dimensions, I’m glad Emmerdale didn’t rush to make them close, with everything forgiven. However with the Huntington’s test still looming, I’m interested to see what happens next now that Lydia’s drawn a line under her new family – will they just be forgotten about? Stories lately have felt a little stop start and I hope Lydia’s doesn’t go the same way.

Upset Uncle

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h40m31s225Noah was in full protection mode this week as his concern for Sarah grew. Since her secret pill popping at the party, he’s been suspicious of her new friend Danny and the reckless way she’s been behaving. This week saw Noah spying on her and later confronting Danny about her health. Bratty Sarah was furious at Noah for damaging her street cred, despite Noah tearfully telling her how worried he was. I’ve always been a big fan of Noah and he’s been absent for some of this year so it’s been good to have him taking a prominent role in this storyline. I like his sensitivity and big heart, helped by Jack Downham’s vulnerability in the part. Spoilers indicate Noah’s got some gritty material ahead which is something to look forward to.

Jamie and Andrea’s Grief

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h43m06s819I was impressed and surprised by the performances this week as Jamie and Andrea came to the forefront of the show with their tragic miscarriage story. While this heartbreak was a way to trigger Kim’s change of heart for the first time it actually made me believe in their relationship, bonding them closer. Both characters have felt a bit flat since their early promise and the scenes this week suggest they are capable of much more, especially if it means delving more into their relationship in a more emotional way, separate from the convoluted history.

Fails

Losing Support?

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h45m57s005Moira continued her drunken spiralling this week, losing an ally in Pete and losing grip on herself when she repeatedly turned to the bottle. There was some friendly support from Vanessa, but with Matty away and Pete now working with Nate, Moira’s completely on her own and in this state losing work and access to the kids. Unfortunately though, this time round, Moira just isn’t very sympathetic. When she’s had drunken meltdowns before, when she lost Holly and after Emma’s death and the PND she experienced after having Isaac, Moira’s had our sympathies and support – but this time I’m not so sure. Moira’s cheating was clumsily handled and almost universally hated by viewers so it’s no real surprise her self-pitying meltdown isn’t quite hitting the mark. She might be on self-destruct, but what the scenes lack is a sense Moira is taking responsibility for what happened, instead what we’ve been seeing a rather cold and unsympathetic Moira and she’s difficult to root for.

Lost the Plot

vlcsnap-2019-12-08-10h42m19s643Wendy moved into Emmerdale village this week in another twisted turn to this continual torture of Victoria. As Wendy continues to blather on about her innocent son, it appears some villagers have completely lost the plot. Wendy’s support of Lee and harassment of Vic began long before Lee’s death, so to hand-wave her behaviour as grief or as a grandmother who just wants contact is sickening beyond belief. Even characters like Chas, who should be unflinching in support of Victoria, defended Wendy and bonded over the “bad behaviour” of their sons. Yes, that’s right, comparing the survivor of childhood rape to a rapist. What is Wendy’s narrative purpose in the village beyond more hell for Victoria and to plunge Aaron into a bigger meltdown? Are we supposed to feel sorry for her? To paint Wendy as a victim – her house vandalised and unwelcome – and putting empathetic words in the mouths of characters who should know better is completely tone deaf and unless she becomes the show’s next deranged nurse then these latest developments are a hard pill to swallow from a show that has had a strong history of empowering their rape survivors.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 Oct 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emmerdale pushed the boat out (literally) for its big stunt and Chas gave birth.

Faves

Cain’s Carnage

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h46m50s408If there’s one character who owned the week, it was Cain Dingle. There’s a reason why Cain is so popular among viewers and ultimately it comes down to the brilliance of Jeff Hordley’s portrayal. This week was a blockbuster week for Cain as he learnt Moira was cheating. First he pummelled the wrong target (oops, poor Pete) and then on learning the real culprit was Nate, staged an elaborate (and let’s face it a convoluted/ridiculous) revenge plot. With Cain’s pain, fury and below the surface seething playing out perfectly in Jeff’s face, I’m not convinced the week needed a random boat explosion, when the showdown was satisfying on its own but the underwater scenes were visually impression. It’s unclear what’s next for Cain and Moira, particularly when her motivation to cheat was unsatisfying and unsympathetic, but the pair have undeniable chemistry even at war. Whatever happens, Cain’s total breakdown will be worth watching for Jeff’s performances alone.

Prison Pain

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h47m34s909Robert faced his sentencing this week in a plot thread that felt a bit lost in the show’s stunt week after last week’s thrilling focus. However this didn’t deter from the emotional performances as both Robert and Aaron tried to put on a brave face. As Aaron suffered alone at home watching a video from his husband, his prison break out plan abandoned after some tough and quite uncompassionate berating from his family, Robert faced his own despair in a prison cell. This heartbreak was a nice juxtaposition of scenes and Aaron’s dark mood clouded the rest of the week in a way that was fitting to the tragedy of the situation. The performances and grief following last week have been spot on, but my only fear is after last week’s great scenes, the momentum has been lost a little.

Faith Says Farewell

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h49m51s449We said goodbye to Sally Dexter this week as Faith, in a way that felt surprisingly final. Since it was announced Faith would be leaving the Dales, there was hope it was just a break, but the framing of Friday’s scenes felt like we might not see Faith again for a long time – if ever again. Even though her exit itself seemed rushed, especially with only a handful of characters available to say goodbye, Sally Dexter had a final week of big dramatic performances and not just the barbed comments and comedy she’s often been used for. Faith’s been quite brash and divisive but she’s also been someone who’s felt right at home from the start and fit into the village perfectly. From her troubled role as a parent to Chas and Cain to the touching romance with Eric, it was good to see both of these explored in her final episode. Faith’s been one of those great morally grey characters who can inspire empathy even in the worst of her behaviour. She’ll be a real loss to the show.

Light and Shade

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h52m35s674In among all the high drama this week was Chas giving birth in the pub toilets with only Marlon to hand. Scenes of someone giving birth in the wrong place at the wrong time are done often in soap, but these were lifted by the reliably amusing Marlon and of course the drunken chaos of Mandy and Bob next door. In fact those two, plus Lydia, would be a great full time addition to the bar staff. Every big week needs a lighter story and this worked well, especially when Chas and Paddy’s joy felt earned after last year’s tragedy.

Fails

Bonus Fail

  • It seems like someone at Emmerdale had a short term memory this week! First Chas managed to learn Moira had cheated on Cain twice, once in the first Thursday episode, then again at the end of the second episode. Baby brain or a mistake slipping through the net? Then Chas chose the name “Eve” for her new baby, totally forgetting about Eve Jenson who was her mortal enemy and cheated with Carl. Would you really name your child after someone you hated? Seems like Emmerdale forgot all about that big story. Finally, the discovery Faith had been involved in preventing Cain from knowing about pregnant Cara was baffling as we’d already seen how Faith had abandoned her kids when they were very young – so how did her involvement work? Considering the special flashback episode dealing with Cain and Faith’s past was less than two years ago, this seems like a really clunky mistake. When the big twist doesn’t gel with established canon, it weakens the satisfying element of a twist!

More Torture for Victoria

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h49m27s269Some viewers had already predicted that cute hospital guy Luke would have some sort of dark connection to Lee, but I was naively hoping that Emmerdale wouldn’t go down such a convoluted and cruel route. Wrong. The glimmer of hope and happiness for Vic was not to be, which considering what she’s suffered through this year feels particularly mean spirited. This week she discovered Luke was Lee’s brother, another spawn of the vile Wendy’s and so Vic’s chance for a fresh start away from her trauma and her rapist is not to be. Isn’t this a bit needless? If Vic couldn’t have justice, then a clean break, empowered against Lee’s awful mother would have been a start. I fear Emmerdale will explore a relationship between the two and try and soften Wendy that way but Victoria deserves much better.

Twist Shock?

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h51m21s558So, Nate is Cain’s son, eh? Who’d have thought it? Well…quite a few viewers to be honest. Was there ever going to be a twist big and shocking enough to please every viewer? Probably not. But there was something uninspired about this predictable route and I’m not convinced it made trashing Moira and her marriage worth it. Perhaps if Emmerdale had worked harder to establish Nate as a character in his own right, or avoided the repetitive affair scenes by having his seduction more prolonged and subtle, perhaps if we as viewers had been in on Nate’s motivation and secret then the gut-punch for Moira and Cain might have meant more. Perhaps if we’d seen hints of Nate’s ulterior motive or even Cain growing to like him so his betrayal and hatred hit with more impact. As it was after the budget blowing stunt, the impact of the secret unravelled quickly in a series of confusing and dull exposition scenes about a character we’ve never met (Cara), that made the backstory of Cain and Faith’s relationship muddled (Faith WAS around in his life apparently and Shadrach was a racist) and wasn’t as exciting as it might have been if we’d been in on the shock all along. Not to mention the fact that Cain is interesting enough without another secret child being brought into the equation – we’ve only just had Ryan and Charity. What Emmerdale seems to have assumed is that Nate is automatically interesting because he’s Cain’s son, but if they want us to be interested in another father/son bonding journey, then they’re going to have to make a bit more effort to write Nate as more than just a plot device.

Fave or Fail? (14-18 Oct 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a life-changing week for Aaron and Robert as Victoria’s rapist died and Faith suspected Pete and Moira of having an affair.

Faves

Rob-run

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h02m18s069Robert’s rollercoaster exit storyline ramped up a gear this week as we draw ever closer to the end. This week saw Robert and Aaron attempting to flee the country when they learnt Lee had died in hospital and Robert faced a murder charge. Unwilling to be parted from each other, Robron made a desperate attempt to stay hidden, but that meant some painful goodbyes. Seeing how difficult the situation was for Aaron and knowing their future would forever be blighted by this chain of events Robert made the ultimate sacrifice and handed himself into the police. This was a brilliant bit of character growth after five years spent with this incarnation of Robert, but one that came at a huge price. Before Robert put his love for Aaron over everything else, the two hid in the woods, fantasising about their future in France, but as Robert kissed him goodbye, giving him the promise of loving him always and the best life, we could all see what was coming. All of us except Aaron. And the beauty of it was in the absolute tragedy. The storyline this week was Emmerdale at its best – an exciting, tense story with huge performances and an emotional core viewers are deeply invested in.

Painful Parting

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h02m43s293The aftermath of Robert’s arrest was just as compelling as the event itself with lonely Aaron and Robert torn apart. With their impossible situation pushing them both to breaking point, Aaron lashed out at those around him in satisfying scenes that felt fitting to the high stakes of the day before. When Aaron finally got to speak to his husband he was overcome with emotion and once again Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley managed to convey so much of their characters’ history and pain, even down a phone. Having watched their love story play out for years, their tragic separation carries a big emotional weight, and while it’s a painful resolution for the characters to suffer through, it’s one being executed so well it’s impossible not to be moved. Their relationship has been at the heart of Emmerdale for so long now that it’s going to be difficult to imagine it without them.

Twists and Turns

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-11h58m35s152One of the best parts of this exciting week was the element of surprise, with each episode in Robert’s storyline bringing a new twist. The only spoilers released for the week covered Aaron and Robert’s initial escape after Lee’s death, but after that, viewers were in the dark. This spoiler lockdown meant we had no idea what was in store, how or even if they’d be caught. Mandy’s involvement came out of the blue, moments after a siren sound had Robron panicking. Then there was Liv’s arrival, Paddy’s sat-nav landing them in it, and of course, Robert’s heartbreaking sacrifice. Then, just as you’d expect the aftermath to take a straight-forward direction, Friday’s episode ended with Aaron shocking us all, ringing a secret contact to help break Robert out of prison. It’s been a while since Emmerdale has had a story this compelling, where the next episode is must-see, but it’s really felt like that this week. Let’s hope they can carry on with this momentum!

A Bit of Happiness?

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h01m22s976Vic had another chance meeting with cute hospital café worker, Luke, this week. While there’s plenty of speculation that Luke might be super shady, I can’t be the only one hoping he’s the real deal? Luke seems like a sweet, relaxed guy and that kind of connection could be exactly what she needs. It’s understandable she wouldn’t be in any rush to take a chance on a relationship, but here’s hoping Emmerdale do something with them and this wasn’t just a way to keep her around the hospital. With Ellis gone, Adam gone and the Matty romance seemingly abandoned, Luke could have real potential for her happy ever after.

Bonus Fave:

  • In a shock twist – shout out to Pete Barton this week for being the most switched on and relatable character in this Moira/Nate travesty. His home truths to Moira were spot on.

Fails

Slow Down

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h03m40s992Hey Emmerdale, what’s the rush? Long-term couples might be thin on the ground right now, particularly with two big fan favourite couples about to end, but why do Emmerdale keep rushing to get new pairings together. Surely everyone loves to watch a beautiful slow burn love story unfold over months? When the chemistry works and there’s tension bubbling away, there’s nothing better than waiting (impatiently) for a couple to realise their feelings, but lately Emmerdale has skipped all this good stuff and often that means investment is low then. Recently we’ve had Will and Harriet whose lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers story could have sizzled for months, but instead they’re already settled and cosy before we care. Then Jai and Laurel who admittedly do have the cutest chemistry and had a little while to grow into their feelings, but have now almost become one big family already. Now we have Rhona and Graham who, after weeks of weird off screen flirting, have now escalated thanks to another shoe-horned Graham backstory addition about his brother. Fans seem to be on side with their connection so why not let it take time to blossom? Rhona’s barely out of a serious relationship and Graham’s still a bit of an empty vessel. What would be the harm in making the audience wait? Tension, pining, crossed wires – it’s about time we had a new romance to really root for.

Losing Laughs

vlcsnap-2019-10-19-12h04m36s153When the drug plot began and we saw unlikely pot smoker Doug get stoned, it was amusing. Seeing straight-laced characters do something a bit naughty has the capacity for humour, but now – hasn’t it just gone on too long? The pot plot didn’t need to be a long running mystery with various characters getting high, it would have been funnier to keep the joke short and sweet. Now it’s wearing thin. This week after Jimmy tucked into some hash cakes, he got high as a kite and then vomited while Nicola was trying to impress someone from the council. It might be the usual sort of Jimmy and Nicola story but by now, the drug story has pretty much run its course, unless we’re going to see everyone get in on the action. Jimmy and Nicola are regularly comedy gold, but they deserve something better than this.

Fave or Fail? (15-19 July 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! I’m back from my break in time for a great week of Emmerdale as Bernice thought Liam was a murderer and Pete and Rhona split.

Faves

Dying with Laughter

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h05m40s631Comedy in soap is a difficult element to master and something viewers can’t agree on. There will be Emmerdale fans who hated the Bernice and Liam plot this week, maybe just as much as I hated the Bear Wolf boxing plot! Admittedly I’m biased, being that Bernice is one of my favourite characters in the whole village and I don’t think anyone has mastered comic timing quite like Samantha Giles has, but this story was hysterical. This week Bernice and Nicola went snooping in Liam’s bag again and found a bloodied shirt and a photograph of a woman. Bernice and Nicola’s brains went into overdrive and Bernice soon decided Liam was a serial killer and she was going to be his next victim. Cue some hilarious set pieces in Friday’s episode and amazing use of music and props which Bernice read as “signs” all pointing towards Liam’s murdering ways. From Liam’s unfortunate and innocent suggestions of a day out, to Bernice’s wild-eyed panic and mouthing “help” at roadside workers, this was a genius comedy set up. It all reached fever pitch when bickering Nicola and Jimmy got involved, knocking out Liam with a pork pie and realising that the whole thing was entirely innocent. Liam is into murder mystery role play and now the Cavastock romance is shattered. But let’s face it, Bernice and Liam are perfect for each other, actors Samantha Giles and Jonny McPherson have great chemistry and play the outlandish comedy to a tee. Ridiculous and silly? Absolutely. But so much fun.

Showstopping Performance

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h06m36s183During the last few weeks Karen Blick has given her all in Lydia Hart’s biggest storyline to date and since this blog was on hiatus I haven’t had the chance to sing her praises. She’s been incredible. This week as the papers reported on the truth behind “Jenny Finn”, Lydia returned to the school where her baby’s remains were found and broke down in Sam’s arms. Sam and Lydia are the real jewels in Emmerdale’s crown at the moment, a touching and believable couple and in my eyes, a fitting new head of the Dingle household. This storyline has served to strengthen the beloved bond that already existed between them. Some characters can struggle when their past revolves around some heavy backstory, but this has given Lydia new depths and offers a believable explanation for her personality and in the scenes where Karen has had to deliver emotionally-fraught material, she’s proved she’s blown everyone away.

Amicable Split

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h07m32s039Pete and Rhona’s relationship reached the end of the road this week, just as their engagement party was in full swing. The writing has been on the wall for a long time and ever since it was revealed Pete wanted children of his own (and Rhona didn’t), we’ve all been wondering how they long they could last. Their romance was a surprise hit at first but since Rhona’s accident, this has all felt like a prolonged break up as their differences and expectations for the future diverged massively, and their connection struggled against Rhona’s menopause. It’s a shame we saw them force themselves back together because if had they split after Rhona’s hysterectomy (while they had huge audience support) I think the emotional impact would have resonated more than it did this week. However the scenes where they decided to go their separate ways this week were beautifully written and well performed. It was the right decision for the pair and a welcome change to see a split that came with civility and calm and a couple who were still very fond of each other.

It’s Lee or Me

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h18m12s753Aaron and Robert were divided this week as Robert couldn’t see past his revenge plan on Lee. With Robert getting increasingly hopeless about Vic’s situation, he took it upon himself again to master a revenge plan, paying a desperate Dawn as a honeytrap. Aaron was horrified and the pair set out to rescue Dawn, which they managed, just in time. After learning his husband had been secretly stalking Lee too, Aaron gave Robert an ultimatum, him or Lee. After Robert promised to leave things alone and to concentrate on their family, Aaron caught Robert borrowing money from Seb’s account to get legal help and he exploded, struggling to trust Robert’s promises to stay away from Lee. While we know the pair are doomed, following confirmation of Ryan Hawley’s departure, and the pair’s lacklustre “make up” scenes left everything feeling unresolved, there’s no question that the scenes exploring the highs and lows of Aaron and Robert’s relationship bring out the best in Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry. Their charged arguments were well performed and conflict was empathetic on both sides, especially when as viewers we know Aaron’s only going to be proved right and be left on his own. If anything these scenes prove how unmissable the pairings final scenes will be.

Fails

Rinse and Repeat

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h15m48s881The performances in the aftermath of Victoria’s traumatic rape cannot be faulted and it’s been great to see Isabel Hodgins get some meatier scenes of later. As Robert’s struggled too, Emmerdale have done a good balancing act making both his and Vic’s plight sympathetic, with viewers able to see both sides, but in the build up to Ryan Hawley’s exit scenes are starting to feel a little repetitive. How many scenes have the siblings reached an understanding, over the baby, moving away, revenge, only for Robert to make a massive misstep and the two bust up again? How many times can we expect Robert to pledge to listen to Vic and put her first before doing the exact opposite? It’s reaching Groundhog Day levels, not helped by Wendy and Lee reappearing like clockwork to plunge Victoria into a new despair – and the new summer trailer shows more of this is on the horizon. In the immediate aftermath Vic was central to the whole story but lately she’s felt more passive, her choices reduced to reacting to Lee and Wendy’s appearances or to Robert’s latest mistake, whereas it would be good to bring back her friendships and career – or even Moira again – so we can see her rebuild her life.

Same Old Story?

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h11m18s292Dawn’s a great character with a complex past, played with a lot of heart by Olivia Bromley, but does anyone else feel her story with Lucas is a bit dull? There are lot of mothers in Emmerdale who’ve had traumatic pasts and difficult relationship with their children, but Dawn’s story following hot on the heels of Amy’s desire to have a relationship with Kyle again, feels a little bit overdone. There’s still mileage in her rebuilding bridges with Harriet and Will and it would be good to see her more involved with existing members of the village rather than keeping her confined to the small group of characters she interacts with. I’m not convinced that taking on the responsibility of a young child would be a dynamic direction for her character, unless they were going to deal with the struggle between being a mother and battling addiction. It remains to be seen if she will gain access to Lucas, but I think I’d like to see a different story for another young female.

Fave or Fail? (20-24 May 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! We lost an Emmerdale legend this week as Lisa Dingle died. And we witnessed another big moment as Maya was arrested.

Faves

Lisa’s Death

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h47m51s914We’d only just got used to beloved matriarch Lisa Dingle being back in her rightful home and before we knew it, we’d lost her all over again – and this time, for good! After a fortnight of special “goodbye” scenes with individuals in the village we should have guessed Emmerdale were subtly hinting at her fast demise. But after the nostalgic and warm feeling of the Dingle wedding (see below) Lisa’s death was both understated and very fitting. When the time came Lisa was at home, with the doe eyed and expressive Monty, and one by one her family came to learn the sad news. These were impressive and heartfelt scenes. So much was done in the quiet, tender moments between the family members and Lydia also did a great job holding the family together. It feels like soon she and Sam will play a vital role in keeping the Dingles together, as others struggle to cope. The aftermath of Lisa’s death was particularly moving and the quiet scenes which panned over their homestead were a nice touch. Lisa will be a huge loss, but this was a fitting end to a treasured character.

The Big Dingle Wedding

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h50m34s696There’s nothing quite like a Dingle wedding! We’ve seen a few big do’s over the years but the nostalgic humour of pigs’ muck and a big Woolie knees up was the perfect calm before the sad storm of Lisa’s death. Emmerdale even reunited legendary show band The Woolpackers to perform their big hit (and yes, still singing it now). These episodes were fun, family filled and had a classic Emmerdale feel that was a truly warm-hearted send-off for Lisa. Even the central relationship of Zak and Lisa (though tainted by the stupid decision to split them in 2015) had a sentimental renaissance as the pair put the past behind them and celebrated their love. If I had only one niggle it would be that despite the family do, there were far too few village members at the reception and there are many who should have had a chance to say goodbye in their own way.

David’s Showdown

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h51m31s159David’s adamant refusal to call the police was getting to be teeth-grindingly frustrating but after days of waiting, he finally did the right thing. His delay this week was because he wanted to confront his wicked ex face to face and after tricking her to the cricket pavilion he got his wish. It was all a little convoluted getting to that point but the tension and the spiky dynamic between Maya and David was worth the wait. Louisa Clein continues to be brilliantly manipulative as Maya twists the truth and Matthew Wolfenden’s restrained fury and disgust was a satisfying watch. Just don’t leave us waiting for that all important justice, Emmerdale!

Diane’s Despair

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h49m55s582Since Victoria went away with Robert for a break, her sad plot has been put on hold for the time being but rather than lose momentum, I like that the story has continued through Diane and Aaron. This week saw Diane distant and struggling, coping alone with Vic’s secret tragedy and not knowing how to help her. Aaron, who had a nice turn this week as sage and comfort, did his best to reassure her. These were a surprisingly touching set of scenes and it’s nice to see two characters who rarely interact (despite being family) come together in comfort. It was a welcome change to see more of Diane too, who is one of Emmerdale’s most underused since she left the pub. More please!

Fails

Sacrificing Justice

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h53m37s328Maya’s arrest this week should have bought relief to Jacob’s loved ones but Leyla’s vigilante justice efforts threatened to jeopardise Maya’s conviction. Knowing she could get in serious trouble with the police, Leyla persuaded the other women to lie for her and they attempted to cover up the night of Maya’s kidnap. This posed a problem because Priya’s sighting of Maya and Jacob kissing should have been key evidence but of course, none of them spilled on that part, meaning Maya’s lies could very well see her go Scott free. We all know Leyla can be self serving at times but in this insistence it just didn’t sit right. How can the women that had helped to raise Jacob sit back and lie, knowing their words could seriously mean the difference between justice for their beloved family member and an abuser walking. I didn’t buy it and it lessened the emotional impact of their discovery. Perhaps they will realise their selfishness and confess but I was seriously disappointed to see them act so self-servingly instead of protecting a vulnerable child.

The End of the Line?

vlcsnap-2019-05-25-15h47m22s572I was once one of the biggest advocates for Pete and Rhona’s romance, from their sparky chemistry to Pete’s lovely relationship with Leo, but now the shine is starting to wear off. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve still got a nice chemistry and it’s good to see something different from Pete, but the strain on their relationship is starting to drain. After Rhona’s accident things haven’t been the same and while their differences of opinion on their future have always spelled trouble, the aftermath of Rhona’s hysterectomy should have been the bittersweet end of them. Let’s be honest, they’re doomed and they know it. Right now their struggle to stay together seems futile, the end is nigh and current scenes feel like a repetitive way to delay the inevitable. If there’s a way to rescue them and make them fun again I’m all for it but their prolonged break down is a chore to watch.

Fave or Fail? (22-26 April 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was a huge week in Emmerdale as Thursday night took a dark and mysterious turn…

Faves

Three is the Magic Number

vlcsnap-2019-04-26-22h13m14s633The big question on everyone’s lips this week is – what happened to Maya? At the heart of this story is a pact between three great women – Leyla, Tracy and Priya – who were the first to learn the terrible truth about Maya and Jacob and since that reveal it hasn’t disappointed. Priya was the surprise first witness to Maya and Jacob kissing and this crucial moment was jaw-droppingly brilliant. We’d all been waiting for things to kick off and the delicious tension was a fitting climax to Thursday’s episode as Leyla could barely conceal her disgust, but like with the other key stories, we’ve been left in the dark as to what happened next. As the three women met up, they warred with a mix of guilt, fear and disgust as they tried to process both what had happened and the consequences of both their behaviour and Maya’s. This story offers everything and speculation is rife. Did their vigilante justice go too far? Will one of them crack? These three women are unlikely friends but now common allies against Maya and the events of that fateful night. We’ve been promised the ‘right’ ending for victim Jacob, so presumably the focus will return to him in time. But for now, I am gripped and thrilled by this turn of events and the chance for these three brilliant women to take centre stage.

The Morning After

vlcsnap-2019-04-27-12h06m08s376Perhaps the best part of this week’s promoted episodes actually came in the aftermath. Not only did the tension hinge on the three women’s role in what happened with Maya, but it was also discovering and scratching our heads over what else happened that night. Much like your typical ‘Whodunnit’, characters were looking shifty and behaving oddly, holding back until later flashbacks reveal all. Press has already revealed Victoria was raped on the night out, and even though we haven’t seen the scenes yet, Isabel Hodgin’s vulnerable portrayal has been affecting from the off and she’s bound to be the star to watch over coming weeks. Billy and Ellis’s rocky relationship looks set to shatter even further as we learn more about the stabbing, particularly as Billy himself was the one carrying a knife. And then there’s Rhona who seems to be carrying secrets of her own. This week set the stage for the arrival of some unmissable, compelling stories which admittedly is the aspect Emmerdale has been lacking lately – aside from the Maya plot. It feels good to return to have that excitement back!

Baby Steps

vlcsnap-2019-04-27-12h01m59s141Aaron and Robert made progress on their baby dreams this week when after much to-ing and fro-ing, Natalie agreed to be their surrogate. After Faith’s disastrous attempts to sell the lads’ as dream candidates, Aaron and Robert were nervous about making a good impression. As they sat down for a frank chat, details about some of the more unappealing aspects of their pasts came out. After the lacklustre Billy drama and the previous stop-start surrogacy saga, it was a pleasure to have the pair front and centre of a storyline again. It’s always a bit surreal to have characters discuss their outlandish lives on screen and hearing just part (and thankfully for them it was only a tiny part!) of their lives relived, it was no wonder Natalie got scared off. Getting their extended family involved has been something of a poison chalice for the guys, but getting Faith, Paddy – and finally some input from the Sugdens – gave the story a wider impact and made it feel more real. While reports have suggested Natalie won’t be back, I for one hope they’re wrong, as actress Thea Beyleveld had great comic timing and already a nice rapport with the other actors involved.

It’s All Fun and Games

vlcsnap-2019-04-26-21h33m25s055By the end of their Big Night Out there wasn’t much fun to be had, but it was a welcome slice of entertainment to have Bernice and Kerry’s bold sense of humours on full display at the club. Earlier in the week too we’d also seen Robert celebrate a drama-free birthday and the Sugden-Dingles gathered to see in 33 with shots of Sambuca and Diane got right involved. Sometimes it’s nice to see odd moments of normality, of joy and happiness between the dark and the disastrous lives these village folk lead.

The Beginning of the End?

vlcsnap-2019-04-27-12h08m17s088No one expected Rhona and Pete to last as long as they have, least of all the characters themselves, but their surprising sparky relationship has been an unusually popular hit with viewers. Ever since Rhona’s accident and hysterectomy, however, we’ve seen them become more strained and it seems as if they’ve reached breaking point. While some viewers have found Rhona’s angry and paranoid outbursts frustrating and unlikeable, Emmerdale have done a good job at making her breakdown believable. There are multiple factors at work here – self doubt, insecurity about her age and her inability to have children, a lack of trust in Pete and that’s without her huge hormonal changes and challenges with her painkiller addiction. Pete is struggling to cope with her unpredictable moods and unreasonable reactions, and it’s hard to watch knowing how genuinely committed he is to her. With the Big Night Out episodes hinting Rhona may have cheated, this looks to be the beginning of the end for Pete and Rhona. It’s a real shame, but I can’t help but enjoy the layered way they’ve let this relationship collapse play out. Great performances and great writing.

Fails

Minor Fails

  • The much anticipated, much hyped (complete with glossy promos) Big Night Out episodes left us with a buzz of anticipation (though probably, the real fun begins in the aftermath) but the club scenes themselves lacked atmosphere. The character groups may as well have been in different locations considering how little they crossed over and despite Bernice and Kerry, the stilted behaviour of the other club goers seemed like they were waiting for the drama to happen rather than enjoying themselves. Even the fire alarm moment lacked panic. Can’t help but feel this was a waste of an exciting location.
  • It was another near-miss for Jacob and Maya this week and Emmerdale once again toyed with the idea of them being caught out in a web of lies. Predictably it didn’t happen, but Maya’s bullying fabrication really stretched the boundaries of believability! Thank god we’re reaching a climax of this story.
  • Can’t help but feel we should have seen a shot of a bloody Ellis to end Thursday’s episode – him already being in hospital on Friday skipped the most shocking part!

Never Go Back

vlcsnap-2019-04-27-12h01m05s932Anyone who reads this blog knows what a big Tracy fan I am and how much I enjoyed her realisation last year that she deserved better than hapless David Metcalfe, so it was unfortunate this week to see them kiss. This isn’t the first time Tracy and David have revisited their old relationship, but this time felt far more contrived, just to trigger Maya storming out of the club. While the kiss was understandable on David’s part as he licked his wounds after a failed proposal, Tracy is settled, strong and growing close again to Billy – so why regress her character with the kiss? It might have been a minor plot device but I just hope it doesn’t give Emmerdale any ideas. Tracy deserves better than that.

Fave or Fail? (8-12 April 2019)

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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! A fantastic week on Emmerdale as the Maya and Jacob storyline escalated – a week so good, it was without a single low point.

Faves

Heart-breaking Discovery

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h13m44s870Liv 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

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h15m55s154It 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!

Unlikely Alliance

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h10m16s476Moving 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!

Maybe Baby

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h15m08s169There 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

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h16m43s991You’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

vlcsnap-2019-04-13-14h12m32s620The 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.

Bonus Faves

  • It was all about the ex’s this week as Vic and Ellis contrived a situation to get Tracy and Billy talking again. Both couples are fun, bursting with chemistry and this week was a real reminder that both pairings are good together – time for some romance, Emmerdale!
  • Bear seems to be sticking around in the village now and after this week’s scenes I’m pretty glad about this. From annoying Aaron at the scrapyard to making arm-wrestling pals with Eric and Diane, he could be good comic relief.
  • Harriet’s stalker storyline has only just begun but it could be the most interesting she’s ever been. Bring it on!
  • It was a week of powerful and sometimes unusual partnerships on screen. Rhona shared her fears with Paddy in a well-acted scene showcasing their enduring chemistry, even as ex’s. Later on, Pete had his own confidante in Diane. Diane managed to be both blunt and completely brilliant, as she necked the champagne and dragged Pete for his inability to understand Rhona’s problems.

Scene of the Week (18-22 March 2019)

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

Fave or Fail? (11-15 March 2019)

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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! Kim made her big return to the village this week as Maya dropped the L-word to entrap Jacob.

Faves

Right at Home

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h21m39s127Admittedly when I read Amy Wyatt was making a return to Emmerdale I wasn’t that fussed, but a week in I already feel like her return was a good decision. She feels right at home. Unlike Kim, Amy feels very relevant to the current cast – she knows multiple characters in the village and her reappearance actually threw up story opportunities for several characters. Not only did Amy mean trouble for Cain and the Dingles in light of her eagerness to spend time with Kyle, but she’s breathed life into the Spencers’ household, given Eric back another daughter figure, caused friction with David and Maya and given Vic another friend. The custody battle for Kyle is a well worn story, but newbie Natalie Ann Jamieson has brought lots of warmth and sensitivity to Amy which helps to soften the harder edges that Kerry sometimes influences. I’m looking forward to seeing the future Emmerdale has in store for her and hope, unlike her last stint, it’s not all fixated around Kyle!

Support Network

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h27m19s794My favourite moments of Emmerdale show families coming together, remembering friendships and connections, and showing the far-reaching impact of storylines across the community. A good story is one that affects multiple relationships and characters, and Rhona’s accident is still having an impact now, weeks on. This week saw her have a hysterectomy (something Emmerdale have already revealed they’ll be exploring) but not only have we see its personal, emotional impact, we’ve also seen its effect on her relationship with Pete, her enduring friendship with Vanessa and this week its wider impact with the business and Moira’s farm. Unlike some soap accidents that have little follow up, Rhona’s debate over whether the vets should sue Moira and the farm will have consequences for both the future of the vets business (with opportunity for things to get messy if Kim gets involved), and even with Pete if his loyalties are tested. But perhaps the biggest strength of this story is down to the underrated talents of Zoe Henry who continues to be one of Emmerdale’s brightest stars. Any story that uses her at the forefront is going to be a hit!

Glimmers of Potential?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h23m37s930It’s always difficult to bring back a character who has since been dubbed an icon, especially when the character is famed and remembered for just one aspect of their personality and the soap landscape has changed in their absence. In Kim Tate’s case, she’s renowned for being the classic soap superbitch, but the danger in her returning to her old stomping ground is that she becomes more of a caricature than the woman we love to hate. Kim’s return rides on a fragile premise – they retconned the entire Graham and Joe history to give her relevance – and she knows next to know one still kicking around the village. Emmerdale have to work quickly to give her enemies and make it feel worthwhile, rather than her antagonism feeling petty and pointless. A great villain is always a treat, but balancing the classic campy Lady of the Manor can often give way to OTT performances and dialogue that tries too hard to be cutting. There are promising signs in her latest return that Emmerdale are aware of this tightrope, and the mixed reception to her cameo last October, but here’s hoping they remember less is more when it comes to Kim. Her scenes with Charity, and in the pub with others were far watchable than her posturing at Home Farm and smirking in every scene. We could well do with seeing Kim’s more human sides soon, before the writers get too carried away with the cartoon villain one-liners.

Fails

Robot Wars

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h25m40s419Perhaps the biggest issue with Kim’s return is that she’s stuck, trying to shake some life into cyborg Graham. Such is Graham’s rigid and monotonous ways, Emmerdale has even started to reference it in the script! But when their scenes hinge on a bloated and retconned history, relying on an absent, scorching chemistry – it’s a tough ask. Kim’s treatment of Graham is more like a dog than a lover, and unless Graham’s into a BDSM set up, it’s baffling why he’s under her spell. Friday’s episode seemed to reopen the Joe death mystery AGAIN, but it felt like the first real hint to him being alive. This ongoing saga is as much clunky as it is sluggish so by the time we find out the final final truth, it’s a wonder if anyone will care. If Emmerdale really want Kim to work this time around, then the situation at Home Farm needs a fast rethink.

Fed Up with Faith?

vlcsnap-2019-03-17-11h26m49s708Oh Faith, there’s so much to love – the sharp tongue, the saucy humour, the outrageous behaviour, the wise straight-talking, the moments of fragility – and yet this week, none of that. We really saw the worst, most unlikeable aspects of her personality and it’s surprising how intolerable she became. Her vicious and hypocritical campaign against Amy might have been rooted in her own failings as a mother, but there was none of this nuance or depth and she seemed spitefully gleeful at the thought of sending Amy to prison. This combined with her strange and underwritten vendetta against Kim has brought out the worst in her character, and an aspect I hope doesn’t stick around – let’s have more of the fun Faith back please!