Fave or Fail? (16-20 Sep 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! In the week that saw Jessie leave the village, Aaron and Robert had a revenge mission in mind.

Faves

Jai’s New Challenge

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Jai had a big shock this week when Dan turned up on his doorstep with Jai’s estranged son Archie and learned Rachel had died suddenly. That family don’t have much luck with Ruby, Ali and now Ali’s sister Rachel all dying, the latter two off screen. Admittedly it’s a lazy move to kill off female characters to give male characters some angst, but no one is really going to be missing Rachel in a hurry and with Jai shaping up to be a great character since they ditched the villainy and made him more human, this seems like a good move story-wise. Jai opened up to Laurel about his absence in Archie’s life in exposition heavy but well written and performed scenes and Jai has since really struggled to connect to or talk to his son in any way. Laurel seems like she’ll be the perfect rock for him as she too struggled with addiction and her children experienced the loss of a parent. This also gave another opportunity to unite the families, as Arthur stepped in to try and make Archie feel at home. Who could believe Jai would become one of Emmerdale’s strongest characters at the moment, but it goes to show how a change in direction and a new relationship can do wonders. I hope Emmerdale doesn’t make Jai and Archie’s relationship too easy to fix but I’m looking forward to seeing more of Laurel becoming a key figure in Jai’s life. They could really go the distance.

Robron’s Revenge

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h07m52s318It made a surprising change for Aaron and Robert to have some fun this week in stories which actually gave them a win. First they helped Marlon against Al by stealing his vintage car and presenting it to Marlon as a gift – to smash! After this fun deviation from their intense and sad plot leading to Robert’s exit, they also got involved in Mandy’s shady behaviour. Mandy’s return so far hasn’t had the fun and vivacity her earlier stint gave, this time round we’re seeing a meaner, harder version, but she’s still managed to give a new kick to the Dingles. Having learnt she was scrounging off the family, despite having a load of stolen casino chips, Aaron decided to teach her a lesson, by stealing the money back from her and making her believe he’d burnt the cash. It was all a ploy, cooked up by Aaron and reminiscent of the time where Robert had burned a briefcase full of cash to prove his love. This time Robron were laughing, throwing money around before eventually, of course, having sex on it. Mandy was less than pleased to learn they were keeping the cash and using it to make their own family comfortable while Robert’s in prison, but Mandy isn’t keen on letting it lie and there seems much more to this money problem. While it would have been good to see slightly more build up to the rivalry between Mandy and Aaron the revenge stories this week were good fun and gave the actors a chance to do something besides wallow in the tense and devastating impact of Robert’s imprisonment.

Sarah Worries About the Future

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h08m42s873We saw Sarah’s rebellious streak this week as Charity’s chicken pox gave her an excuse to skip school again and hang around with new friend Danny. After being caught bunking, Charity and Vanessa attempted to ground her, but Sarah had bigger things to worry about. Slightly smitten by Danny, Sarah argued with Charity that her short life expectancy means she’s unlikely to live to have the full experiences of an average adult and she worried that she would miss out on things her peers take for granted. Sympathetic to this Charity found a way to reunite her with Danny and all was well. I hope this isn’t a short flash of a storyline because it’s an interesting and heart-breaking struggle other teens and young people go through. Actress Katie Hill also does a great job with this kind of material and even while Debbie’s away there’s still plenty of time for Emmerdale to explore this storyline with Sarah and Granny Charity.

Jessie’s Farewell

Emmerdale - Jessie Leaves Emmerdale to Teach in Dubai - YouTubeJessie left this week on a downbeat note with her life in tatters, her marriage over for good. On the bright side she did have a brand new job to start in Dubai! Nevertheless she left Emmerdale in tears, leaving Marlon and April behind in some really nicely written and acted scenes. Although Marlon and Jessie’s marriage never really became beloved by the audience, the breakdown of their relationship over the last fortnight has been well done with great performances from Sandra Marvin, Mark Charnock and Amelia Flanagan. Initially Jessie tried to fight for their relationship, but both her and Marlon knew it was truly over and had to break it to April, who of course had seen many a failed relationship with her dad. Al too has been a great thorn in the side of their relationship as well as making Marlon’s life a misery. He’s been an enjoyable manipulative antagonist to watch, without a pantomime edge that some soap villains have. Despite Jessie’s exit to Dubai being fairly swift, it actually made for an enjoyable storyline, with its emotional centre.

Fails

It Was Only a Kiss

vlcsnap-2019-09-22-14h08m53s000This week Bear and Faith seemed to be stuck in a storyline from weeks ago as Bear tried to get to the bottom of what was happening with Faith and Zak in the cellar – something that happened over a month ago. Of course this is because it’s building to the secret being revealed to Belle and hopefully some decent material for her (Belle’s screen time and grieving since Lisa’s death has been really lacking) but its focus this week seemed a little excessive. The kiss meant nothing, it didn’t go anywhere and Zak and Faith haven’t even been seen together since, so to revisit the story this many weeks later felt clunky. Add to this that Bear hasn’t quite been taken to the hearts of viewers and Faith isn’t at her most enjoyable at the moment, and it was a bit of a meh moment this week.

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Scene of the Week (16-20 Sep 2019)

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It’s another Marlon Scene of the Week, but let’s face it, it was another rough week for the poor man! With Al lording it over Marlon, Aaron and Robert decided a little Dingle revenge was in order and after stealing Al’s nice new vintage car they presented it to Marlon for him to smash up. After some hesitance, Marlon relished the opportunity to get pay back and the scenes of Marlon hammering the windscreen were positively gleeful. Mark Charnock played Marlon’s initial timid smacks with great physical comedy and the whole scene was really good fun. It was nice to see Marlon having the upper hand in his own way, however unexpected and it brought some lightness to an emotionally heavy story for him.

Fave or Fail? (2-6 Sep 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! It was Robert’s plea hearing this week and he confessed to a guilty charge, and Tracy began to suspect Dawn of the factory theft and fire.

Faves

Robert Faces the Future

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h27m00s809Robert made a huge and heart-breaking decision this week as he decided to plead guilty to his charge of GBH with intent, going against the wishes of his family. Robert was dead against his solicitor’s advice to plead guilty until his fears of a long sentence and not wanting to pile pressure on Victoria, lead him to make a last minute decision, sealing his fate. As Aaron in particular struggled to cope with the news, with all the family having lived in denial, Robert had an emotional time trying to reassure him. As Robert’s panic set in about not only his own future but the future of his loved ones, you could see the worry taking its toll. Ryan Hawley’s always given a masterclass in facial acting and this week gave him another chance to shine as Robert ran the gamut of emotions from fear, to grief, to frustration and anger. Robert’s decision put a strain on his marriage, but with Ryan and Danny Miller’s talent for Robron’s angsty moments, it was another set of scenes that prove why they’re such a popular partnership.

Jacob Struggles to Move on

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h24m15s779Hopeful and deluded David still seems to think Jacob getting over Maya is within reach, believing Jacob’s assurances week after week that he’s over her, despite having a volatile temperament and secretive behaviour. This week Jacob decided to ditch his hospitality plans and return to college, with the support of Liv and his family. In these touching glimpses of “old” Jacob we’re reminded just what a lovely and bright boy he was before Maya came along, and perhaps despite his clinging to the past, there is hope he can move past her. We’re seeing him now make good decisions and be a lot calmer and kinder, however it’s clear she’s still on his mind. With Emmerdale returning to this story regularly, I hope it means Jacob will soon be in a place where he realises what damage she did to him.

Saucy Humour

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h22m03s743As filler stories go, I am endlessly entertained by Jimmy and Nicola, probably Emmerdale’s most stable marriage, and their kinky sex life. While some prudish viewers complained about the saucy scenes, it’s obvious Nick Miles and Nicola Wheeler are having the best time with the one liners and the filthy suggestions, like their goodie bag from Hotten Horny. Even better was their disgusted children’s reactions. Their scenes were a lot of fun and they continue to be one of Emmerdale’s most underappreciated gems.

Smitten New Lovers

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h27m43s972I’m not totally sold on the idea of Dawn and Billy yet (I preferred him with Tracy if I’m honest), but her smitten attempts to ask him on a date were pretty lovely. With Harriet and Will trying to steal a moment together in their nice but dull romance rekindling, Dawn must have been in the mood for love herself. This is a much better option for her than Ryan, whose attentions had become way too possessive, and I could see them making a nice couple. Perhaps this would also give the characters something else to do besides being hangers-on to their family’s dramas.

Bonus Faves:

  • The beautiful camera work this week (director Suri Krishnamma) was absolutely stunning, showing the village off at its best
  • Andrea and Leyla working together could be great fun and the break from her dull scenes playing Jamie’s wife
  • Jai and Arthur’s catch up this week (as Arthur avoided Nicola and Jimmy’s sexploits) was lovely. Can’t wait to see them bond properly

Fails

Unbelievable Choice

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h30m58s464This week saw Vic struggle with her conscience and flip-flop between testifying (and lie) to help Robert’s ‘Not Guilty’ plea, or withdraw from testifying all together. Eventually she shakily changed her mind, but the journey to get there was muddled and at times unfortunately unrelatable. The decision ate her up, even leading her to a lovely heart to heart with Marlon, but the problem is, her dilemma didn’t seem all that convincing. It’s possible we have to put these story decisions down to Ryan Hawley’s exit from Emmerdale, but there were moments in the writing this week where Vic’s struggle felt like she was choosing her rapist over her own brother. It was particularly jarring to tell Robert she couldn’t support him when he was having a nice scene with his martial family, who were visibly upset at the thought of losing him to a long prison sentence. Would Vic have really done that? Vic’s choice was one not many people watching would probably be able to relate to and while Vic may feel lying was wrong when all she had wanted from Lee was honesty, in the dialogue her decision at times felt like she was punishing Robert for his actions. For someone as family orientated as Vic, it didn’t seem right. Ultimately her choice made Robert admit to his crimes, but rather than this story make Vic feel empowered, it felt hollow and false.

Double Whammy

vlcsnap-2019-09-07-13h31m44s270Two of Emmerdale’s least popular storylines teamed up this week as Kerry discovered Nate’s affair with Moira and blackmailed him over his knowledge of the factory fire. Although these stories are still the two plots many viewers are tired of, Kerry having the upper hand did elevate things slightly, if only for her sarcastic digs at Moira. The crossover did mean an excess of screen time for the characters involved so those of us already feeling like it’s been Kerry and Nate-dale for a while, had a double dose. Seriously, it was like Nate popped up in every scene at the start of the week. On the plus side, Kerry and Amy took a welcome trip away from the drama so that at least means a little break from that story for a while. Sadly, Moira and Nate are still around and while Cain’s away, expect more boring bonking and on/off flippancy. Yawn. Hurry up and discover the truth please Cain.

Scene of the Week (2-6 Sep 2019)

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It was the hug the characters needed (and let’s face it, the viewers too) as Robert and Aaron tried to come to terms with Robert’s future behind bars. With Aaron crushed and angry that Robert chose to plead guilty, it was down to his equally terrified husband to try and explain his decision. After the reveal of Robert’s lie previously there was a real lack of immediate emotional fall out for Robron when Aaron learnt Robert could be facing life, so this scene was a welcome inclusion. As Robert revealed his decision to plead guilty was impulsive, just like the first time he kissed Aaron, the emotional chemistry was as intense as ever between Ryan Hawley and Danny Miller. As the couple hugged, crying and clinging on tight, it was a gut punch reminder for the characters and fans that this enduring and beloved relationship will soon be coming to an end. Tissues please!

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Aug 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! Megan left the village after one final showdown with Charity and Robert confessed to his family that he’s facing a worse charge. 

Faves

Megan’s Last Stand

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h49m17s092It was Megan’s last week in Emmerdale (a decision she made on Monday and implemented on Tuesday, no less) but she made a big impression before she left. Grieving and guilty, Megan was given the engagement ring Frank had meant for her by Tracy and this changed her whole perspective. After a great scene in which she tore everyone to shreds for rushing to scapegoat Frank, Megan made the extreme decision that the village was no longer the place she wanted to call home. And who can blame her? Son dead, partner dead, villainous brother on the run. She hasn’t had a great old time of it. Megan’s been pretty wasted as a character but it was good to see Gaynor get to sink her teeth into some big performances before she left. Her show-down with Charity was a real highlight and I only wish they’d kept up their rivalry a little more in recent years. She might have had a disappointing exit, but at least her run ended on some great performances. Bye Megan!

Partners in Crime

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h49m45s340To the surprise of few, Al was revealed to be Kim Tate’s new business partner this week and that sets us up with all kinds of potential. Al has all the charm and underlying darkness of a great villain and I loved how sneakily condescending he was this week, particularly to Marlon. He seems like a cunning sort of bad guy, perfectly suited to subtle ways of getting under people’s skin. His partnership with Kim could be great – hey, he even managed to make Graham marginally interesting! It’s early days with the Sharma take over but I’m intrigued to see what ambitions the pair have – Kim’s been crying out for an equally ruthless partner in crime and it looks like she might finally have it!

Sister Setbacks

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h52m36s381In the week that saw Robert confess to his family that he could be facing a bigger sentence, they had other things to stress over. While the fall out of Robert’s revelation didn’t have the impact it needed (see below), both Liv and Vic had big moments of their own this week. With previous issues of alcoholism and struggles with her sexuality, you’d think the writers might chose to revisit one of those again rather than give Liv a new problem, nevertheless Isobel Steele’s performance of a seizure was well acted. Time will tell if this is just a device to draw her and Jacob back together and give Aaron a reason to stay in Emmerdale, but it would be a worthwhile issue to explore if dealt with properly. Similarly this week Vic’s PTSD was revisited in the hospital. Vic’s storyline has careered off the tracks lately and Vic’s perspective and trauma was lost, but revisiting her struggles this way was a good way to show the real lasting impacts of the assault. And it avoided any circular arguments with Robert, or a visit from Wendy or a threat from Lee – hooray. If only we could have more of these kinds of moments for Victoria, her story might be stronger. However it was good to see both Vic and Liv share a moment together this week, acknowledging their similarities and their protective brothers.

Bonus faves:

  • It does feel strange having The Woolpack in the village hall but it’s also given it a freshness. Not only has it been nice to see more outdoor scenes but it’s also seen a change in bar staff. Dawn made a great addition this week, getting on Charity’s nerves
  • Speaking of Charity, she was on top form this week. The pub wars with Brenda and “pot gate” has been a fun watch.

Fails

Bonus fails

  • Megan was in Emmerdale for seven years but hers was a really lacklustre ending for a character who had been around for so long. Not only did she pack up and leave within the space of one episode, giving Jai a rushed goodbye with Eliza (not quite believable) but she hardly had anyone to say goodbye to. Apart from Jai, Frank’s daughters and business partner Leyla (who had been an enemy for a while) it really highlighted how isolated Megan had become.
  • Robron was Robrushed this week as Robert’s life-changing revelation that he might face life in prison passed without much of a reaction. By Thursday Liv’s illness took precedent and that seemed like a real wasted opportunity when Emmerdale had made a big deal of how Robert was terrified of telling Aaron and pressing on with decisions about having a baby. They might be saving the big reactions for later, but in a week dominating by exhausting and repetitive plots, this story deserved more depth and prominence in the immediate aftermath.

I Feel Terrible

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h52m52s484If Amy says “I feel terrible” one more time, we might have to turn it into a drinking game. She might be the more guilty of the pair, but her and Kerry’s behaviour is wearing thin. Rather than be on tenterhooks about whether they’ll crack, the two’s guilt barely feels genuine and they seem to be conducting the same conversations over and over. It didn’t get much better as Amy turned to Nate this week (a character who does not need any more screentime!) in some snooze worthy scenes. Perhaps Emmerdale thinks the longer it spends focusing on Amy and Kerry, the more we’ll feel for them, but if anything it’s having the opposite effect the longer they keep up this charade. The only pair I feel sorry for is Tracy and Vanessa.

Character Assassination?

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h53m23s653Another storyline with far too much screentime this week was the sizzle-free zone of Nate and Moira’s affair. Perhaps the show was unaware of just how unpopular it would be with viewers, but it has been overkill with the amount of scenes dedicated to their so called passion. There was more cliched to-ing and fro-ing, but it felt like the final nail in the coffin for Moira’s likeability was well and truly hammered in. Some fans think Moira hasn’t been the same since Emma’s death, but her actions this week seemed like an even bigger way to ruin her. This week Moira decided she was well up for a full blown affair with Nate, as long as there were no strings. She purposefully missed calls from Cain, seemed unbothered about Isaac’s welfare and was snappy and jealous of Amy. All this for sex with Mr No Personality? Really? It’s a hard enough sell that Moira would throw away her marriage and family like this, but for Nate of all people – it is unbelievable. This week Moira came across as cold and heartless, not the character people loved. Nate seems sleazy and pushy, rather than sexy and alluring, and though it might almost be a repeat of Moira’s fling with Cain, it just doesn’t work in this situation. It’s not wonder Moira fans feel frustrated by this storyline and sadly it’s brought out the worst in social media commentators who have been quick to label her in awful misogynist terms.

Fave or Fail? (5-9 Aug 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! Robert learnt he might be facing life in prison and Kerry sunk to new depths.

Faves

Robert’s World Ends

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h43m54s596Robert’s life came crashing down around him this week as he was charged with GBH with intent. Just as he and husband Aaron had decided to get their surrogacy plans up and running again, the police came a’knocking, revealing Vic’s rapist Lee had woken from his coma. In tense scenes, the police interviewed Robert revealing the damning evidence against him and Robert unable to stick to his solicitor’s advice, tried to defend himself. All this lead to a charge and a warning that he could be looking at life imprisonment. Robert was floored by this news and Ryan Hawley’s already mastered Robert’s private devastation as he covered up the truth from Aaron and the rest of his family. As Robert tried to put on a brave face, his inevitable fate is a tough watch, especially knowing how much his loved ones will struggle. It’s both a gripping and heart-breaking storyline to watch unfold with impressive performances from Ryan as reality sunk in and it’s going to become even more gut-wrenching as Robert’s future becomes impossible to avoid.

The Fire Fall-out Continues

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h47m18s204The Sharmas were at rock bottom this week in the wake of the factory fire. With the dodgy alarm turned off by Rishi, the insurance company were reluctant to give them any sort of pay-out so once again they turned to resident moneybags – Kim Tate – to save the factory. It’s made a nice change to see the Sharmas given a serious storyline that has an impact on all family members and even Manpreet struggled with her guilt and attempted to leave because of it. It’s been a good story that doesn’t just affect a small bubble of characters or one family, but has spiralled out into other characters too. Besides Kerry and Amy’s involvement, Frank’s daughters, the workers are also impacted too and now Kim’s involved it’s helped widen her circle of interactions and given her purpose. Jai has shaped up to be a great character these days and his scenes with Kim were particularly watchable. Both him and Priya have become a lot more likeable lately so their downfall has more emotional investment and we could even see this effect Jai’s relationship with Laurel. Kim’s involvement also has potential, especially as we know she has big plans, and this story has allowed us to see her ruthless businesswoman side, and not the cartoonish gangster she had been written as before.

Grieving Girls

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h46m45s755Tracy and Vanessa struggled to cope with their grief in the aftermath of Frank’s shock death this week. At first the pair were divided and then their conflict continued when Tracy was sure of Frank’s innocence in the fire, with Vanessa being more suspicious. As Tracy’s grief manifested in gut-wrenching sobs and emptiness, her sister was more stoic, pained and unable to talk and both actresses did a good job in the spectrum of emotions. Both had believable breakdowns over the smallest things like Frank’s favourite song and Vanessa running out of petrol triggering a explosion of grief and it was a good choice to have them both react in different ways to the same tragedy.

Too Little Too Late

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h45m03s674This week Jessie was sent in front of an education board in scenes which looked like the dialogue had been taken straight from Twitter! Not only has Jessie’s job been seen as a bit of a joke (she’s never there!) but her role in the Maya/Jacob storyline was completely ignored. While Jessie should have been taken to task over safe-guarding and had some sort of emotional response to a member of her staff grooming a pupil, Jessie was noticeably absent through the whole story and community reactions were muted. This week Jessie was suspended and finally, finally, it seemed like there was an effort to give Maya’s actions more village-wide impact. It might be too little too late but at least it’s happening now and the scenes were still satisfying. Jacob’s lack of aftermath however is another aspect sorely missing and it’s a wonder if it’ll ever be revisited…

Bonus Faves:

  • Two stand-out scenes that almost made the cut for Scene of the Week was Vanessa’s overdue breakdown of grief with Rhona in her car. A great scene made even more impactful by one of Emmerdale’s most enduring and genuine friendships. And secondly, the unusual partnership of Robert and Jai (with bonus Tip), looking out over the Dales. This was a quiet and effective moment where both characters reflected on the impossible challenges ahead. Characters who rarely cross paths always feels like a treat and this was the same
  • Moses “I told you” in reference to Frank’s death to little Johnny was both hilariously cutting, but perfectly childlike. We need to see more of these two as they grow up together!

Fails

Sinking Lower and Lower

vlcsnap-2019-08-10-11h52m03s427Last week I questioned if Kerry could come back from her charity money theft, which lead to Frank’s death, but after her behaviour this week I’m even less sure. Can we really laugh along with Kerry’s antics knowing the lies she’s telling? It’s one thing to do something desperate to try and look after her family, but this week lying about Frank’s involvement and then going with Tracy to the mortuary was all just a bit too twisted. Even Amy pointed out that she seemed to enjoy the attention and at times it felt like she was right. Kerry’s remorse didn’t seem strong enough and I’m not sure a few tears can repair her likeability in the eyes of the audience. There are times though that I’ve almost felt she’s so unlikeable that perhaps they should go the whole way and make her a complete villain. Whatever the case, Amy needs to distance herself fast before she becomes Emmerdale’s second most hated.

Scene of the Week (5-9 Aug 2019)

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We knew it was bad as soon as Chas said “He’s innocent, he’s not going anywhere” and the scene cut to a very anxious looking Robert down at the police station, but the ground falling away under Robert’s feet was a stand-out moment of the week. Even after his optimistic solicitor gave him hope, Robert must have known his luck had run out, but the final blow came when the solicitor revealed the police wanted to charge him not with GBH, but with GBH with intent. As Rob scrambled to work out what this meant, the solicitor gave him the crushing news that this charge could mean a life sentence. Viewers know with Ryan Hawley leaving that Robert’s sentence would likely be a long once, but this didn’t lessen the impact of the scene. In a split second, Ryan’s impressive performance showed Robert’s complete devastation with his whole world changing in an instant and it was a great scene.