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.
Dying with Laughter
Comedy 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.
During 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.
Pete 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
Aaron 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.
Rinse and Repeat
The 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?
Dawn’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.