Fave or Fail? (10-14 Sep 2018)

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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! Bails got sent down this week and Emmerdale revealed what happened to Rebecca.

Faves

Worthy Winner

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h17m41s438It was perfect timing for Emma Atkins to win an award for Best Soap Actress (at the TV Choice awards) the same week as she gave a string of outstanding performances during Bails’ trial. She’s without question one of Emmerdale’s finest performers and she really got to show that off, and prove her worthy win, as Charity stood for questioning and then had to deal with the emotional aftermath of the guilty verdict. I’ve had issues with the pacing of this story (from the dragged out Ryan reveal, repetitive conversations and then a very rushed trial) and felt that the narrative has been far too similar to Rhona and Aaron’s stories, taking place very recently for this story to feel fresh. But despite the story’s weaknesses, Emma’s been fantastic. Even when Charity is saying nothing, when she’s brooding, Emma performs the moment with a storm brewing inside of Charity so powerful that viewers can feel it too. With Charity really struggling and putting on an act, I’m sure this is just the start of impressive moments from Emma.

Support System

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h16m51s043Despite some of the AWOL Dingles, I was glad to see Charity had a group of people surrounding her and giving her love this week, even faces like Tracy and Harriet who have been there from the start. Noah and Ryan’s bonding was great to see, and it was a powerful and moving moment to see them arrive in court, and give Charity that boost she needed. Although at times her loved ones have struggled with the right words and knowing how to best support her, the unflinching support from Vanessa this week was touching, even when Charity tried to push her away and bottle up her real feelings. It’s a long road ahead for Charity and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t shown that a guilty verdict feels gratifying or like a relief for everyone, but hopefully the right people will be there for her when she needs it.

Three’s a Crowd

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h14m45s599It wasn’t a big story this week but I’ve been really entertained by the trio of Rodney, Eric and Faith as Eric realised he was enjoying having Rodney around, just as Faith was getting more and more fed up. As Eric and Rodders bonded over love for the same auction telly show, Faith was asked by Brenda if their set-up was polyamorous like she’d read in the magazines. But Faith’s hope for an end in sight seemed unlikely as Eric turned down the generous offer on his statue and pretended to want rid of Rodney. This story might not have the must-see tension of a trial or soapy disaster of a serial killer, but it’s everyday fun and we could do with more of that.

Tracy Unleashed

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h15m22s475I’m definitely not here for a Ross and Tracy romance, and Ross’s wild-eyed cocaine ravings aren’t a pleasure to watch either, but I loved the cathartic scenes of Tracy smashing up a car on Friday. Tracy’s become one of my absolute favourite characters and after her emotional and mature reaction to her split with David it was fun to see her let loose and have a bit of fun, releasing all that pent up anger. There was something childlike about Tracy’s joy in the scene that I loved and I hope there’s something brighter on the horizon for her.

Fails

Dingle No-Show

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h19m09s969They’re the first family to talk codes and rules, but when it comes to support, the Dingles can be flaky at best. Perhaps the lack of consistent family support for Charity can be blamed on real world production issues considering many of the main players in the Dingle family are involved in big stories of their own (be it Chas’s pregnancy, Sarah’s heart transplant or Lachlan’s chaos) but it feels like a massive oversight to not have them there by her side, especially when they’ve been missing in most of the story. Charity’s relationship with Chas has all but disappeared, Debs was too busy to be there for the trial and Aaron, who had been through similar himself two years ago, barely gave more than a passing comment. I don’t buy it. The idea that Charity is a strong woman who doesn’t need support might seem a believable perspective for them to take at times, but I didn’t believe that her loved ones would really behave in such an uninterested, nonplussed way knowing what she’d been through. It felt a contrived way to isolate Charity and exacerbate the aftermath of the trial. Take Marlon, for example, who is known for his huge heart, but spent the time he could’ve been with Charity, bonding with Ellis. It might be an actor availability issue but it didn’t ring true, not in this context.

Rebecca’s Fate

vlcsnap-2018-09-16-14h18m15s415In case you hadn’t already guessed the surprise twist, Emmerdale revealed that Rebecca is alive and well (ish) this week. Despite the fact Lachlan has no reason to keep her alive, especially considering he killed both his mother, grandfather and best mate and Rebecca knew all his secrets and conspired to lock him up in the first place, Rebecca’s been spared. This week we learnt that she’s been transferred from ramshackle shack to a bed in an unknown location where a creepy nurse is keeping her drugged and her hair well-conditioned. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds, like something from a horror B movie or American soap and while there’s always a level of outlandish soap stories, this exceeds that to stupidity. This latest development just feels like another way to extend the already stretched Lachlan plot, leaving viewers with more questions than answers. Who is the creepy nurse? Where did Lachlan find her? Why did she agreed to drug this distressed woman? Where is this random room located? How did Lachlan get her there? And so on. When Lachlan’s story should be hurtling towards a conclusion after last week’s climax, this just felt like filler. What makes the story even more tedious is that like the rest of her family, Rebecca was an isolated character with few meaningful connections in the village, meaning that when Rhona was mourning her this week, or Rishi talked about the girls in the factory being upset (characters she’s never interacted with) it just rings hollow.

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Scene of the Week (3-7 Sep 2018)

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Shock twists and surprises are hard to pull off in soaps these days where spoilers and savvy viewers can see them coming from miles off, but this moment holds my Scene of the Week title for its pure shock value. With Belle on the run from a gun-toting Lachlan (not too dissimilar from Rebecca’s recent escape) it was the glossy camera work that made the shots intense and adrenaline filled. But did anyone predict what followed? A bickering team of Robert and Ross had clearly learnt nothing from Emmerdale stories of recent years and took their eyes off the road, only for a fleeing Belle to walk straight out in front of the car and roll off Robert’s roof. This scene was brilliant in its unexpectedness and it was fun to have a genuine shock in this kind of episode.

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Aug 2018)

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! As Ross threw a terrible drug-fuelled party, Sarah agreed to have a heart transplant.

Faves

Generations of Support

Emmerdale - Sarah Gets Some Life Lessons From Faith - YouTubeSarah has a big support network around her at the moment (if you discount her MIA dad and the other Sugdens, despite the odd cameo from Diane) but it was her scenes with Faith that were the big highlight of the week. Sure, a hospital escape and a pub visit at 9am might have been stretching the suspension of disbelief, but Faith and Sarah’s honest talks were an example of familial moments Emmerdale does so well. With Sarah set on dying, Faith tried to show her that she hadn’t even begun to live, reminding her of all the things she was giving up on. I loved that the script wove in Faith’s health history and Chas’s story too, making these interactions feel truthful and real, even in a family as big and dramatic as the Dingles.

The Return of Bad Boy Cain

Emmerdale - Cain Issues a Chilling Threat to Frank If He Calls the Police - YouTubeWe got a glimpse of mad, bad Cain this week after Frank tried to confront him over the most anti-climatic car crash in recent times. After the crash, Frank threatened to call the police on Cain and we saw a smidgen of the darker Frank lurking underneath. Frank’s been a bit of a bore since his arrival, but something more sinister would be a good route to go down, especially if it revives Cain with a bit of menace himself. I’m all for family man Cain, but there was something deeply satisfying about watching him put Frank in his place the next day by listing everything he’d do to Frank if he went ahead with his threats. You get the sense actor Jeff Hordley relishes these moments of a confident and threatening Cain and that comes across – it’s a joy to watch too. It’s about time he had another adversary.

Difficult Future Ahead

Emmerdale - Paddy and Chas Find Out What Lies Ahead for Their Child PREVIEW - YouTubeChas and Paddy’s emotional story was made sadder this week by the introduction of a woman named Joanne. Joanne told her story about the loss of her child as a way to give Chas and Paddy not only comfort and advice, but a slice of reality. I haven’t felt especially connected to this story (perhaps there’s just been too much bumbling from Paddy and bloodyminded-ness from Chas, I’m not sure) but using Joanne and a talented guest actress made the story feel very personal and real. I think opening up the story to other characters helps lift the situation from being too repetitive and insular and it’s a sign of a good script and actress that Joanne’s story resonated in such a short space of time.

Jacob’s Return

Emmerdale - Jacob Finds Out About Tracy's Abortion - YouTubeJacob came back from visiting mum Alicia this week (Alicia we miss you!) and reminded everyone – especially David – how to be a half-decent man. David being David had Maya semi-naked under the counter of the shop (health and safety nightmare surely?) and had to quickly explain to Jakey that he’d moved on in record speeds. I really loved the scenes between Jacob and Tracy this week as he reached out and tried to support her and I’ll always be glad of anyone giving David some home truths. Maya is an interesting one though, isn’t she? Overly earnest and way too keen – there’s got to be something darker lurking under the surface.

Fails

Ross the Cokehead

vlcsnap-2018-08-19-14h14m05s118When Emmerdale revealed they were giving Ross the head-hitting acid attack storyline, I don’t think anyone imagined that Ross becoming a cokehead would be the direction the story would take! This was a story that would change Ross, showing us a more vulnerable side to him and take the character in a new and refreshing direction. But if Ross’s alpha male status was brash and unlikeable when he first arrived, then this week it became a whole new level of arrogant and dickhead. As Ross got wasted, throwing a party and causing arguments with Pete and his only friend in Ryan, it feels like all the worst aspects of Ross turned up to eleven. When we know Ross is on his way out, it seems a real shame to leave the character on such a sour note – is this really how we want to remember him?

Fave or Fail? (30 July-3 Aug 2018)

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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 Ross turn to drugs, Aaron and Robert got re-engaged.

Faves

Lydia’s Cancer Scare

Emmerdale - Lydia Asks Sam to Keep Her Biopsy a Secret - YouTubeBy far my favourite story of the week was Lydia and Sam’s story about their little family and Lydia’s cancer worries. It’s been great to see more of Lydia lately especially as she’s moved from kooky side character to someone far more serious and pivotal. This week saw Sam open up to Lydia and Samson about Alice’s death, but it wasn’t long before he was terrified about history repeating when Lydia’s mole needed investigation. Scared what the future might bring, Lydia distanced herself and Sam was torn and devastated by the thought of Samson losing another mother figure to cancer. These were emotive and touching scenes played beautifully between Karen Blick and James Hooton, with both of them relishing these sad and serious scenes compared to the comedy they usually play. In the end it was sensitive, compassionate Samson who reunited their little family and thank goodness, because they’re a heart-warming trio and I’d hate to see them parted. This week confirmed to me that Sam and Lydia are perfect together and need to be protected at all costs!

They Said Yes

vlcsnap-2018-08-03-20h46m20s041Robron fans have been promised a second and legal wedding ever since they tied the knot almost 18 months ago and this week the thrilled couple finally got re-engaged much to everyone’s delight, meaning that much anticipated wedding is around the corner. (Right in time for Lachlan to cause absolute destruction, surely?) Wanting to cement their family, Robert and Aaron took things right back to the beginning by proposing (in sync) at the very layby where they first kissed and their coy smiles at breaking down at this fateful spot were worth the wait. It was satisfying this time around to see their families celebrating the happy event, with the lads even picking their sisters as their “best people”. With Rebecca AWOL, talk also turned to Seb’s future and it was good to see Aaron voice his feelings about becoming his parent as discussions on that front, in light of last year’s emotional trauma, were severely lacking. But with this much heart-eyed bliss to enjoy, there’s bound to be carnage on the big day…

Rebecca Fights Back

vlcsnap-2018-08-03-20h48m35s137Since her arrival, Rebecca’s personality and characterisation has been changeable to say the least, but this week, with her still held hostage by Lachlan, it felt as if Emmerdale have finally settled on something that works – someone with a bit of fight! Even though Rebecca’s memory issues seem to fall by the wayside when the story needs it, they gave her enough power to try and outsmart Lachlan with emotional blackmail and reason. A for a little while it almost worked. But it was her tragic goodbye to Seb that was the most effective moment in its cruelty and really made the concept of her imprisonment feel more real.

Fails

A Life of Crime

Emmerdale - Ross Meets With His Drug Dealer - YouTubeAfter last week’s great scenes with Ryan, it was a shame to see Ross return to his role as a low-rent Cain, trying to swerve the police with the stolen cars. I’ve got no problem with Ross as a bad boy in the village, but regressing to a cocky thug is surely a waste of his development after the acid attack? If that wasn’t a step back enough, he then bought and used coke, seemingly having forgotten all about lovely little Mozza. Is this Emmerdale’s way of setting up an exit for Ross? If so, getting Ross involved in drugs and dodgy deals would be a really weak and superficial exit for his character and I hope there’s more to it than that.

Graham’s Ghost

vlcsnap-2018-08-03-20h49m53s995Emmerdale got experimental again this week, bringing in ghostly apparitions for Graham and flashbacks on the anniversary of his wife and daughter’s crash, the one he drunkenly caused. You’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this blog that I love Emmerdale’s recent spell of creativity and their interest in stretching the soap genre as we know it, however Graham’s special episode was a real let down. I’m a firm believer that these special episodes are best when used sparingly only when they serve to offer some new insight into the characters. We know very little about the guarded Graham, so this should have been a great opportunity to learn more about his backstory and perhaps plunge us straight into a gripping new story. But all the special episode did was rehash what Graham had told Debbie months ago and with unnecessarily cartoonish ghost scenes. Graham’s retelling of events to Debbie was powerful and simple – these flashbacks just weren’t needed. We’ve spent months with Graham and Joe now and I still feel none the wiser about their history and background together. Rather than being enigmatic it’s starting to feel a bit empty. If anything, a flashback about how they became so entwined might have been helpful. As it stands, Graham’s cold and stoic nature is making it hard for me to really connect, especially when he’s such a distant figure, separate part of the village.

Fave or Fail? (23-27 July 2018)

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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 Lachlan keep Rebecca hostage, Victoria got confusing butterflies spending time with Matty.

Faves

Friends to Lovers?

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h27m05s228Vic and Matty got closer this week and had an awkward frisson by the cricket pavilion as they discussed relationships. With Victoria having married Matty’s brother, and feeling like she has to start again with Matty and refresh that friendship she once had with him when she knew him as Hannah, it’s a confusing time. I love a slow-burn romance when it’s done well and this has the makings of one. It’s true that more friendships are needed in the village but rather than be dismayed that we might lose a platonic relationship to a romantic one, I’m glad that the pair have chemistry and this could be an interesting route to explore for both characters. Victoria hasn’t had a decent story of her own in forever and it’ll be nice to see her softer side again after sharing a sweet romance with Adam. Lately Emmerdale has rushed the most interesting parts of its stories and dragged out others, but I’m hoping they get the pacing right with this one.

Drinking Buddies

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h31m29s171Ross found a new friend in Ryan this week as the latter came to the pub to see Charity. I love unlikely friendships in the Dales and this was another, one that was brimming with snark and chemistry. It was great to see Ryan interacting with more of the villagers (although please get him to meet the Dingles soon) and Ross was a good choice for a new friend. These scenes gave us a chance to see Ross in a slightly different dynamic to what we’re used to with someone who challenges his pre-conceptions and takes him away from self-pity. I enjoyed seeing Dawn in this story too as she’s another guest character with a lot of potential. Can we have some more of this dynamic before Ross goes please?

The Full Descent

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h32m46s596Lachlan’s progressed quickly through the villain ranks going from secret lairs to serial killing, but now he can add kidnapping his aunt to the list. Even though keeping Rebecca hostage was an obvious twist to the tale, it’s Lachlan’s stone cold, blunt reactions to her that succeed the most in being so watchable. He makes heartless a calculated art rather than resorting to anything too panto. Rebecca held her own though and for someone with variable memory problems she seemed quite clued up about quizzing him and keeping him on side. She’s bound to be the one to take him down in the end, but something tells me his evil ways won’t be exposed right away, even if she makes it out alive. Here’s hoping we don’t have months of memory blanks or gaslighting just to let him get away with it a bit longer. Lachlan’s a great villain, but I’d like to see him leave on a high, not when we’ve grown too frustrated with the story.

Popping the Question

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h36m23s239A smiling Aaron Dingle is a rare sight, but one which is never unwelcome, and that soft smile was in action this week as he shared with Liv his plans to propose to Robert. Naturally, being soulmates, Robert had exactly the same idea (in the same romantic spot obvs) and broke the news to a delighted Chas and a rather spluttery Paddy. The layby call backs are a clear fan favourite result, though I can’t help but wish the build-up had been a bit less left-field and less Rebecca heavy, considering she’s been a constant feature of their lives since her arrival. But with next week poised for the big question, let’s hope we get to see some of that special Robron chemistry, in the place where it all began, to remind us how we fell in love with them in the first place.

Fails

Around in Circles

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h44m31s088Charity’s ongoing storyline benefits from a host of charismatic actors and quality performances, but the storyline has stalled in a way that makes it feel as if its going around in circles. When the story began it seemed as if it was about Charity’s journey to justice and the corruption of police. This was familiar ground for Emmerdale coming off the back of two consecutive rape trials and I was glad for the introduction of Ryan to add a new angle to the story. Since Ryan’s arrival, however the story has often felt repetitive with a whole host of excuses and obstacles preventing Ryan from bonding with Charity and meeting the rest of the Dingles. All this just felt like a laboured way to extend the storyline, rather than moving forward with the characters and exploring new ground and I can’t help but feel lately it’s been a waste of these actors who have been given repetitive scripts for weeks. Surely it’s time for new challenges and directions?

Lost its Fun

vlcsnap-2018-07-29-13h41m30s458Don’t get me wrong: I love Jessie, I love Marlon and I love the idea of them together. I loved when they were friends and Marlon’s early pining was secret and reserved and I loved April this week being confident and threatening in the way only April can. But I felt their scenes together this week, culminating in them finally getting together, were a real let down. I was really excited that Jessie had this huge reluctance and I was hoping that her past was full of difficult dark secrets, but her unresolved grief over her ex-husband seemed a weak reason after months of stalling and in the end something that was so easily surmountable. Marlon had to contend with Daphne in some mortifyingly unfunny scenes (making me miss Gerry’s genuine humour even more) and I’m not even sure, in the end, whether Jessie and Marlon’s romantic chemistry was even worth all this dragged out build up. I think I prefer them as just friends.

Fave or Fail? (25-29 June 2018)

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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! This week Matty Barton returned to the Dales and Cain got beaten up by Simon.

Faves

Meeting Matty

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m55s366With Matty’s arrival onscreen this week, Emmerdale felt back to its very best. Great, character-led drama with a grounding in real life family situations is exactly what soap should be. Matty’s story is relatable and emotional, bringing a new dynamic to Butler’s Farm, new dramas to the Bartons and it had a great start. Actor Ash Palmisciano was thrown straight into emotive performances and carried the intense material well, also proving Matty is going to be a fun and cheeky character to have around once settled. While Cain’s attitude was surprisingly and refreshingly chilled, Moira’s reaction was one of shock, anger and confusion. Though her immediate response was hard to watch and upsetting, I’m hopeful that Emmerdale will use Moira’s journey of understanding to educate ignorant or bigoted viewers. Matty felt right at home in Emmerdale (which isn’t always a given when a recast happens) and I loved that they were able to give us canonical reasons that made sense as to why Matty hadn’t been home in all these years. I’m so looking forward to seeing what’s to come for him.

Forever Friends

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m46s441I was glad to see Vic in a role outside of babysitter and matchmaker this week as she was there for Matty, empathetic and understanding as he talked. Since Adam’s exit, hardly anyone’s had time for Vic and I’m hoping this might change with Matty in the village. There’s been a suggestion of a romance between them and while I wouldn’t be opposed at all, it’s nice to see their friendship in the meantime.

Brotherly Bonding

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m22s297It was nice to see the softer sides of Ross and Pete this week as they remembered Finn on his birthday and wallowed in their failing love lives. As ever Ross and Moses made an adorable dream team with Moses and his giggles, and that’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most in Ross’s exit. Pete hits a few bumps in his relationship with Rhona, but by the end of the week they were resolved and reunited which is great news for me. I think Pete and Rhona make a surprisingly sweet couple and I hope they continue to stay together. I much prefer seeing the brothers united and opening up rather than involving themselves in aggressive displays of their masculinity.

Fails

Sharma Sitcom

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m34s600Don’t the Sharmas deserve more than comedy side plots? Don’t get me wrong – I love the Sharma family. I have a real soft spot for Jai now that his days of being a panto villain are over, I love Priya’s ambition and attitude and I am often amused by Rishi’s hopeless antics. And that’s not to say Rishi and Jai didn’t make me smile during the Lycra debacle – but I just think Emmerdale could do more with them. Priya’s hard times and Jai’s angst about Eliza were so short lived that I can’t help but feel it’s a waste of the talents. When they thought Lachlan had attempted to assault Priya this week and confronted him, it made me realise what a solid family unit they are, capable of more than just larks in the sweet factory. More emotional Sharma drama please!

Brief Encounter

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h55m01s046With news of Dr Cavanagh becoming an Emmerdale regular (yay!) it was no surprise to see his wife Maya pop up this week. But had I avoided spoilers I’d have been scratching my head trying to remember who this woman in David’s shop was! If we were really meant to believe in their lustful eyes at each other and their deep and meaningfuls then surely it would have been more helpful to have seen a bit more of Maya before now. If my memory serves me correctly we’ve only seen her once and that was months ago! But after a thirty second scene this week we were meant to buy into their attraction and honest chats? I don’t buy it. Not only was it far too rushed, surely David has learnt better than messy hook-ups?

The Woolie Weekly is taking a two-week holiday. New blog posts on 22 July.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 June 2018)

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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 Chas tell Paddy the truth about the baby, Sarah learnt she is suffering heart failure.

Faves

Mother Daughter Divide

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-17h07m30s618It was a traumatic week for Debbie and Sarah as their strained relationship broke down in the middle of Sarah’s health crisis. After joyriding, Sarah couldn’t contain her anger any further and told the police that her mother was behind Ross’s acid attack. But when the police showed up, Sarah collapsed and after tests it was found that she has heart failure. An emotional and agonising time for any family, but it was made even harder because Sarah cannot forgive Debbie and feels betrayed by her. I like the layers in this story, the stubbornness of both characters and Debbie’s vulnerability on show. The elements related to the acid attack are still a weak point, and it would be nice if someone mentioned trying to get hold of Andy (even if he’s unlikely to return) just to make this more than just about Debbie, but it’s the complicated emotions here that make it worth watching.

Where is Amelia?

Emmerdale - Friday 15 Jun 7pm - ITV HubThis week the Spencers did a TV appeal for missing Ameila, on ITV News no less (loving the meta) and the thing I’m enjoying about this story is that I genuinely don’t know what’s happened to her. This week Daz was under fire but it almost feels like he’s been set up, possibly even by Dan. Could this be an inside job? I really hope this story triggers some real and surprising twists and keeps us well away from the tedious spats between the brothers. The other shining light of this story is Kerry again, who is staying positive and supportive. Who ever thought we’d see Kerry having such a calm and mature influence?

Everyone Needs a Marlon

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-17h07m04s696If you were picking Dingles to be in your corner, you’d definitely pick Marlon, wouldn’t you? If not for the cooking then definitely his hugs. This week Marlon was caught in a difficult position between supporting his best mate and hearing Chas desperately upset. Marlon’s relationship with Paddy is one I rarely get tired of, full of warmth and humour, but it’s his empathetic side that really shone this week as he comforted Chas. He could sense something was wrong with her and tried to be there without interfering simply by asking her if she was okay and offering an ear. Marlon was exactly the loved one you’d need in hard times, sympathetic and kind without judgement. He doesn’t get nearly enough appreciation so I thought I’d start right here!

The Next Generation

vlcsnap-2018-06-16-15h38m46s418Controversially I quite enjoyed Leanna Cavanagh’s role this week as the nasty teen leading the others astray. I can see her becoming a full-on bully in the village but sometimes we need an antagonist, someone who does and says awful things and who we love to hate, to shake things up. Bunking school and joyriding seems pretty soap standard, but Emmerdale’s young actors in this group (Jacob, Noah and Sarah) are a watchable bunch and usually pretty well behaved! It was good to see them take a bigger role and alone, away from the adults. With their parents’ drama-packed lives, there’s no doubt that this generation of kids are going to cause plenty of mayhem when they grow up and this is only the start.

Fail

Scraping the Barrel

Emmerdale - Doug Kisses Brenda! - YouTubeIt was whiskey-snog o’clock again in Emmerdale this week as Brenda and Doug succumbed not to secret passion but Emmerdale’s tired clichés. With this snog (and probably more off screen) this signals another stable couple left in tatters. Doug and Diane were the only long term couple who hadn’t been given a cheating plot and now they’re just another village statistic. And what’s worse is that he’s Laurel’s dad, meaning they’ve made the whole Brenda/Bob/Laurel fallout a whole lot more complicated. Won’t anybody think of the kids?! Cheating and drunken mistakes are soap bread and butter, but every soap needs stable and enduring relationships, even if they are gentle and drama free. Emmerdale put the bullet in this by destroying Zak and Lisa in 2015 and since then it’s been break up after break up. How can we be expected to care about these families and couples when Emmerdale doesn’t seem to? Doug and Diane might not have been groundbreaking or fan favourites, but it’s important to the fabric of the village to have some stable couples. This just feels lazy.

Fave or Fail? (4-8 June 2018)

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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! This week Debbie was left reeling when her secret was exposed and we met Charity’s son Ryan for the first time.

Faves

Breath of Fresh Air

vlcsnap-2018-06-09-20h38m01s944This week saw the introduction of Charity’s lost son, Ryan and he was a complete breath of fresh air! Not only was he like his mother, smart, quick witted and full of warmth, it was a pleasure to have someone join that cast who wasn’t your predictable ‘bad boy with a secret’. Creating a prominent disabled character was a great decision by Emmerdale and actor James Moore has humour and charisma by the bucketload. It’s a welcome move to see a disabled actor in the role and Ryan injected some originality into Charity’s story, which was treading a familiar path and was relying too heavily on samey scenes between Charity and Vanessa. Alongside Ryan was his adoptive mother Irene, whose pivotal but small role was fleshed out and felt believable and I certainly wouldn’t object to seeing her again either. I really hope Ryan becomes a permanent member of the cast and he would certainly add a new dimension to Charity and the rest of the Dingles. Make it happen please!

Doug’s Daft Decisions

vlcsnap-2018-06-09-20h37m04s935I can’t say I’m really Team Doug this week as his guilt and overly trusting nature made him far too susceptible to Terry’s lies, but it’s been good to see Doug and the BnB crew actually have a story. In recent years the older cast have been relegated to bit-parts as the younger cast get all the juicy storylines, and even though we lost Gerry in the process, I’m glad this is giving Doug and Diane some much deserved screen-time, even if this means that one of Emmerdale’s most stable and long-term couples has hit the rocks.

Dawn’s Potential

vlcsnap-2018-06-09-20h42m26s944It’s well documented that actor Mike Parr is leaving the role of Ross Barton behind him this year, so naturally we’re all starting to wonder what his exit is going to be. With the acid plot becoming a bit of a flop and having tied himself up in gangster plots – is it all going to come back to bite him? In amongst this, Ross has built an interesting bond with Dawn, the vulnerable woman he found when hunting for Simon. This week they slept together and things went sour when he accused her of using him for money, but could there be potential there for a surprising side of Ross’s character to come out? I could get on board with the two of them together if it made Ross see the world in a less selfish, black and white way. Dawn seems like an interesting character with a difficult life, maybe they could have a fresh start together and add some depth to his caveman ways?

Fails

Flat Funeral

vlcsnap-2018-06-09-20h39m49s196Truthfully, I’ve been missing Gerry from the moment he died, but this week I questioned the reason for his death even more. Gerry was the perfect sunshine tonic to the doom and gloom of the village, but his death has barely been about him. Sure, Doug gave a nice eulogy and Lachlan’s getting increasingly paranoid about getting caught, but it was Gerry’s funeral this week and its soul and ceremony were non-existent. Gerry knew loads of villagers, embedded himself into the Dingles as an honorary member and was good pals with Gabby too. And yet the turn-out to say goodbye was minimal (glad Tip the Dog made it though!). Except for a few unsurprising tears from the usually emotional Aaron and Liv, Gerry’s funeral was more about Doug and the duplicitous Terry. No family, no real send off for the lad. Was that it? Surely Gerry deserved more than that. Even the Terry twist was so heavily sign-posted it came without any thrill of a twist. What a waste of a great character and actor.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 May 2018)

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! Belle discovered she wasn’t pregnant after all this week and Ross learnt Debbie was the one behind the acid attack.

Faves

The Hope Twins

vlcsnap-2018-05-27-17h31m34s158This week has done it. I’m now a superfan of the Hope twins. If their mouthy reaction to Laurel wasn’t enough, then this week they remorselessly set fire to dad Bob’s clothes and were Team Brenda all the way. It’s what he deserves, frankly. I feel so sorry for them being dragged into this horrible mess and they deserved a cuddle, not a telling off. One thing I have enjoyed about the Bob and Laurel affair, apart from seeing a vengeful Brenda is the focus on how this is affecting the kids and the Hope twins are certainly bearing the brunt of it. It’s nice that they’ve been let out of the story cupboard too!

Remembering Gerry

vlcsnap-2018-05-27-18h31m35s706Until the end of the week I was pretty disappointed that the aftermath of Gerry’s death was really lacklustre. The main focus in the week after the tragedy seemed to be Doug’s self pity and the BnB’s insurance – hardly the emotional remembrance it should have been. However things had picked up a little on Thursday as Gerry’s relative came to town and it was a chance for the villagers to reflect on the things we knew and loved about the cheeky chap, like his interest in older ladies. Sam and Lydia brought some much needed light to the story too. It’s been nice to see Doug get a storyline but I can’t help but think it’s been a waste not to have him a bit more upset and why they aren’t using Danny Miller’s award winning tears? Surely Gerry deserves a bit more emotion!

Dangerous Decisions

vlcsnap-2018-05-27-18h34m18s040As I keep saying, I need Lachlan’s evilness to peak before this story drags any longer but in the meantime I think we all need to be wary of what might happen with Belle. With Lachlan pouring all his hopes on fatherhood saving him and Belle not keen (nice twist on the false positive), I can see this getting really nasty for her in future. If Emmerdale explores their relationship turning dark then this could be a good, dramatic way to reach a climax in the Lachlan storyline.

Fails

Damsel in Distress

vlcsnap-2018-05-27-18h26m45s757Debbie is a divisive character, especially considering she was behind Ross’s acid attack, but I think it’s fair to say she deserves more than just being the damsel between warring men. It might have been a set up to get Debbie pushed to confessed to Ross but everything felt exhaustingly familiar this week as Debbie was shot and was fought over at the hospital by Joe and Ross. I happen to quite like the Joe and Debbie relationship – at least because he manages to lighten up her dour personality – but the love triangle angst over Debbie felt far too repetitive. And it goes without saying that there was zero jeopardy considering Debbie’s like a cat with nine lives. I often like her scenes best when she’s with her family or she’s being active in a story – good or bad. But the scenes this week felt very passive and old fashioned to further man-pain rather than anything worthy of her own. Female characters should be much more than this.

Losing Heart

vlcsnap-2018-05-27-18h30m26s716Back when Ross’s harrowing acid attack story started, who would have thought we’d be here watching scenes of cardboard gangsters and toy-looking guns? Emmerdale can do informative and entertaining well, covering huge and important issues with sensitivity AND drama but unfortunately Ross’s acid attack has become a farce. Instead of sticking to a story exploring Ross’s pain and recovery, his identity and masculinity, Emmerdale have thrown the kitchen sink of clichés at it making Ross a wannabe gun-waving action hero and chucking in cartoonish guest characters. This story should have shown us Ross’s struggle, giving Mike Parr big challenges and changing Ross’s character somewhat, instead these recent scenes have shown us the worst aggressive sides of him and leaned heavily on guest characters we don’t care about. After Ross’s tiresome showdown with the caricature pimp Connor, his confrontation with Joe involved stretching believability to its breaking point (as Ross could overpower Graham) and the scenes were oddly devoid of any real tension. Even the actors seemed to struggle with the ropey material and the police raid on Home Farm was laughably bad. All these guns and pimps and outlandish showdowns have removed all heart and sensitivity from this storyline, making me wonder why they didn’t just stick to telling an emotive story about recovery.