Fave or Fail? (29 Oct-2 Nov 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! This week Cain told Moira he’d killed Joe and Ross and Rebecca left the village for good.

Faves

Custody Battles

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h52m49s025A good soap storyline is one that gets everyone talking and as Ross and Rebecca planned their exit from Emmerdale village alongside the kids – that’s all anyone could debate this week. Just who should Moses and Seb live with? There was harsh words and desperate pleading on both sides as the adults fought it out between themselves. As Ross and Rebecca hankered for a new start away from their miserable memories of the village, Charity, Robert and Aaron were furious that they wanted to up-root the kids from their homes and families. Viewers had plenty to say about this emotive decision, as did the characters, and I liked that Emmerdale didn’t shy away from making the characters fight selfishly and with emotion. The debate was well balanced, with all parties making a good case as to why the kids should live with them as well as history revisited to argue why they shouldn’t: Ross’s drug habit, Charity’s disinterested parenting, Rebecca’s dangerous behaviour, Robert’s revenge and Aaron’s convictions. Emotions ran high and both characters and viewers were torn and that’s why the story was easy to invest in. With Robert making the impossible decision to let Seb go (without consulting Aaron first) it seems like the aftermath will be just as fraught as the divide. 

The Farewell Tour

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h47m04s808When Ross’s exit was announced all those months ago, it seemed like for a long time the writers teased various options for his demise. Was he going to get involved in dodgy gangsters? A downward spiral of drugs and crime? Start a new life with Dawn? There seemed to be a lot of options hinted at but in the end, Ross’s ending was surprisingly low key. While it’s rare and a bit weird to see a happy ending in soap, after everything he and Rebecca had endured this year, there was something satisfying about them finding solace in each other. Perhaps a high octane ending of Ross going out all guns blazing or as a lone wolf might have felt more fitting for a character at the heart of so many stories these past five years, but his farewell tour of the village, complete with multiple goodbyes lead to a surprisingly effective exit. Ross has had a turbulent relationship with almost everyone in the village, so although certain goodbyes seemed to whitewash the past (his thank you to Moira seemed particularly jarring considering she killed his mum!) I liked that he came full circle, apologising to Laurel and reconnecting with April. I liked Ross best when we saw his more sensitive sides, so for me his final episode was an emotional reminder of Ross’s time on the show and a real end of an era. 

Cavastock Caught Out

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h48m28s854Thank god. Daz finally found out about Bernice and Liam’s relationship this week after he mistakenly followed Dr C’s elaborate romantic trail of rose petals. As Bernice and Liam (#Cavastock) shared a picnic by the cricket pavilion, they were interrupted by Daz’s arrival who fumed at their deception. Rather than sympathise with Daz’s anguish, I was too busy laughing at Bernice’s tactless response and the fact she had chocolate over her face. After the fall out, the loved up pair were forced to confess to their daughters that they’d been seeing each other. With spiteful Leanna and Gabby’s trouble-making past, I’m sure it won’t be long until the happiness shatters and mayhem ensues. I can’t wait!

Where is the Love?

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h46m22s501One of the year’s most unpopular storylines had to be Bob and Laurel’s affair  and subsequent relationship. While it’s provided us with some priceless moments of dark!Brenda, the idea that Bob and Laurel were in love has never really felt right. After all that upset and upheaval with the children it seems a bit of a mess to dismantle this pairing but hopefully this is a sign the showrunners have realised just what hasn’t worked on screen. As Laurel grew increasingly tired of Bob’s presence, Dotty mistakenly calling him “Dad” made her reconsider everything and she confessed to Harriet that the feelings weren’t there anymore. Could we finally be seeing the end of Bob and Laurel? I saw hope so! 

Bonus Fave:

  • Moira coming face to face in a showdown with Graham. I wouldn’t want to cross her either!

Fail

New Love

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-19h50m18s575It’s always difficult when characters we know and love return from some time away with a new love in tow. All their love story happened offscreen so despite wanting our favourite characters to be happy, it’s difficult to invest in their relationship. That’s the problem with dodgy Clive now that he’s in Leyla’s life. With ex-cellmate Frank trying to expose his history of bad behaviour and untrusting that he’s changed, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Clive’s innocent routine falters. I’m struggling to take any interest in this story. Clive and Leyla’s chemistry is lacking and I don’t believe in his nice guy routine. This feels like a story we’ve seen hundreds of times before and doesn’t seem to be showing us anything new from Leyla either. If Clive ends up playing the long con and Leyla ends up heartbroken, will anyone be surprised?

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Scene of the Week (29 Oct-2 Nov 2018)

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When it came to farewells, Ross had a lot of villagers to say goodbye to but one of the most surprising and moving moments during his exit came from his final scene with little April. Viewers will remember Ross’s short-lived relationship with April’s mum Donna before her death, in what was probably one of Ross’s most loved storylines and relationships. After her death, Ross had a close relationship with April as he came to term with his grief for Donna and it was one of the first times, pre-fatherhood, that we saw his softer side. Fast forward four years and the days of April and Ross sharing scenes are long gone, and once Ross had Moses Emmerdale quickly forgot about his connection to April, but this final scene was a nice moment remembering the past. With April quickly growing up, old enough now for her to give Ross a pep talk, Ross reminded us all of his love for Donna by telling April she’d be so proud of her. Maybe I’m just a big softie, but this moment gave me a little lump in my throat. Ross at his best.

Fave or Fail? (8-12 Oct 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! This week the villagers dressed up for the champers at Home Farm and stayed for the drama as Kim Tate returned.

Faves

A New Direction?

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h12m31s542After knocking out Joe Tate with one punch, Cain Dingle now believes he’s a killer. It’s unclear yet as to whether Joe is actually dead (though if he is, it seems like good pal Graham finished him off rather than Cain) but Cain’s guilt is already eating him up. This is a really interesting direction for hard man Cain as we have never seen him so shaken and paranoid by his actions. Sure he’s beaten and tortured people before, but murder? Especially when his beloved daughter believes he jilted her. What a complex web of guilt and lies! Even better is that it’s created a new and troubled dynamic between Cain and Graham, leaving the former unnerved at the new balance in power. This story has only just begun but I’m intrigued about the impact this is going to have on Cain moving forward, especially when it comes to his relationships with Debbie and Moira. Jeff Hordley and the Coira partnership hasn’t had anything meaty for a while so it’s about time they two took centre stage.

Justice at Last

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h10m15s891Another surprising turn of events this week was Debbie finally facing the police after Ross’s acid attack storyline reached a resolution. After the Ross and Simon fight dragged on for about 500 scenes and his confession taped, the future looked brighter for Ross (good timing for his exit, eh?). But the real sticking point in this story, which felt as if a satisfying end was never in sight, was that Debbie was behind the attack. We’re used to Debs avoiding the law so it was an unexpected turn of events to see her arrested this week. Though Emmerdale did their very best to make it clear Debbie had no intended an acid attack specifically, there was something uncomfortable about her seeming to get away with the attack when it had changed Ross’s life permanently. I can’t imagine Debbie will face a long prison spell but this new ground for the character might be the rejuvenation she needs.

The Bitch is Back

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h16m42s683The hotly anticipated return of Kim Tate sent shockwaves through the Home Farm ball this week, even if most of the villagers had never heard of her they were left in no doubt about her sharp tongue. This week served as a teaser for Kim’s permanent return in the new year (hopefully with son James) so perhaps it was never going to live up to expectations in such a rushed reintroduction. I could have done without the sluggish backstory scenes but Kim vs the village was the same campy villainy I enjoyed when Joe revealed his true colours. I hope when she comes back full time they make her a true antagonist and keep that cattiness fun rather than cartoonish. It’s always difficult to bring back an old character when they had become an icon, but Kim will definitely give life back to the big house next year.

Bonus Faves:

  • Bernice and Dr C’s saucy forest romping! I see she fancied a hook up after all?
  • Katie Hill (Sarah Sugden) gave a great performance in the aftermath of Joe’s disappearance as her anger and heartbreak manifested. Her scenes with Debbie were real highlights
  • The ball costumes certainly made the event sparkle and it was great to see everyone out of their civvys – I think the villagers need more posh parties to attend!

Fails

Home Farm Flop

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h14m41s668From the heavily trailed event week, to the hype around Kim Tate’s return, expectations were sky high. A masquerade ball interspersed with police tape and interviews – what could be better? It had a Big Little Lies vibe and the masks meant that surely mistaken identity, secrets and danger were only minutes away, right? Wrong. The ball might have been a vehicle for Kim to make her masked entrance but beyond that there was no atmosphere, no excitement or sense of dread at the event. Even Kim’s fall and the mystery surrounding the push held no tension and no intrigue as no one had a real motive and Kim came away with little more than a scratch. The reveal that Faith was behind the attack provoked little else but shrugs and probably won’t serve any lasting purpose until Kim returns next year. For all the hype, the Home Farm shenanigans were a dull disappointment. We spent several episodes watching a party where little else but village gossip occurred and certainly didn’t match the high drama promised. Kim’s return story might have held some camp fun, but the backstory retcons and ties to Graham were muddled and exposition heavy, not the thrilling return she should have had.

Wasted Potential

vlcsnap-2018-10-13-21h15m00s903Joe Tate’s demise came faster than his onscreen redemption leaving me wondering – just why Emmerdale had turned him into such a flop? Joe was a Tate! A legacy child! He arrived hell bent on revenge with great ties to Emmerdale past! But from Joe’s wickedly brilliant reveal in January it was downhill as Emmerdale struggled to find a place and purpose for him in the village. The villainy wasn’t sustainable and his threats became empty and soon he was rushed into an age old redemptive tale when he found love with Debbie in record time. Redemption takes time. Years even. After all that Joe had done to the Dingles, it was a hard task to believe he’d be so forgiven but as Joe’s evil deeds all but disappeared, he rattled around Home Farm and at the hospital aimlessly, being nice and rich and little else. Scenes with sidekick Graham offered glimmers of an interesting history, but much like the ill-fated White family, all the juicy stuff happened off screen and left for us to uncover in laborious conversations. But with Kim Tate returning, all the backstory we’d heard about was pushed aside for a flimsy rewrite and Joe was left for dead (killed or helped escape depending on your theory). To make matters worse, Kim’s loathing for Joe’s betrayal didn’t even lead us to a showdown onscreen – they never even met. Instead this week’s plot and Joe’s fate rested on robotic Graham’s shoulders who depth is hidden under dry and stoic performances. To this day I’m still baffled by the Joe/Graham set up, I don’t believe in any sort of Kim and Graham romance and after year of watching Graham play butler and statue, I’m craving performances that have something more than gravelly expressionless mechanics.

Fave or Fail? (1-5 Oct 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 a week of tragedy for the Dingles, everyone united for the happy event of Aaron and Robert’s wedding.

Faves

A Moment of Happiness

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h45m06s201A rare, happy event bringing the village together in celebration of the love between Emmerdale’s most talked about couple – what could be better? The long-hyped, long-awaited Robron legal wedding finally arrived and despite being tinged with tragedy, it didn’t disappoint. Not only was this episode a real fan pleaser, it had a warm community feeling and showcased just how far the characters had come to make their family official. It’s not often any more that the village gets its bunting out for a big old party outdoors, but this was it. It wasn’t just an episode of romance and a display of the chemistry which has made Robron so beloved, it was also the funny and sweet little details (Bernice’s insistence that she was behind the reunion; Doug’s little thumbs-up to Liv after her speech) that made it a great watch. Weddings in soap are often all explosions and affair reveals, so it was a welcome change to see a wedding be such a success. And while the day ended in a panic attack for grief stricken Chas, the event worked well as a happy interlude to the week’s tragic events.

Family Tragedy

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h41m07s776Chas and Paddy had an unbearable week as their daughter Grace was born and died very shortly afterwards. It’s a moving and important story which resonates with many parents watching who have shared a similar pain and Emmerdale have done a good job at showing its long-term impact on Chas and Paddy’s lives as they try to move forward. Emmerdale opted for an experimental fantasy sequence in the episode of Grace’s birth as her parents imagined what her life would be life. The idea behind those moments was touching, but perhaps the overshadowing stylistic choices should have been dropped in favour of the more intimate and raw family scenes. Both Chas and Paddy struggled in the days that followed, with both of them grieving and lashing out in different ways, but it’s when they united, in spite of their grief, that the performances really excelled. This storyline also gave Emmerdale a real sense of family and village life, as it wasn’t only immediate family who were heartbroken, but other parents in the village too. It’s strong stories like this, which impact upon the whole community, that are vital parts of Emmerdale’s success.

A Whole Lot of Faith

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h49m42s806Faith is often one of my favourite things about a week of Emmerdale. She’s brash and loud, dirty minded and full of humour (just check out her dancing with Rob at his own wedding!), but she’s so much more than that. She perfectly encapsulates the light and shade of great soap matriarchs by being there as a pillar of support for her family too. Faith doesn’t sugar coat, but she gives her loved ones exactly the words they need to hear. She was the friendly ear for Chas, Paddy and Aaron this week but perhaps her most moving moment was the scene in which she gave Chas a congratulations card for becoming a new mum. It was an emotional gesture and one which I thought was one of the most resonating moments of the whole tragic storyline, such a touching and understated thought. Faith’s a true gem of a character and one I now can’t imagine Emmerdale without.

Rom-Com Queen

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h42m24s566I feel like all I ever do on this blog is sing Bernice’s praises, but I’m at it again, after another week of classic Bernice moments. Back from her relaxation trip, Bernice grimaced and groaned her way through another encounter with Daz, practising her dumping routine right in the middle of the shop. Luckily dreamy Dr Cavanagh was on hand to lift her mood and the two had a flirtation and illicit make-out sesh in the salon. Naughty! Every interaction between these two (and yes, we’re opting for #Cavastock) is brimming with comedy and teenage crush levels of awkward with Liam filling the bumbling Hugh Grant role oh-so perfectly. They are smitten and utterly charming together, which happens to make all of Bernice’s attempts to get away from Daz even funnier. This was a brilliant, silly antidote to the tragedy of the week.

Leyla’s Return

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h43m17s352Leyla returned to the village this week after actress Roxy Shahidi’s maternity leave came to an end, and it was a real pleasure to have her back. Her showdown with Tracy wasn’t pleasant to watch as her lack of compassion preceded catty comments and escalated into full blown misogyny, but it didn’t take long for Leyla and Tracy to realise the real enemy was David. With the two bonding over common ground and clinking glasses to a future without him and rubbish men, it was a fun and satisfying watch. We certainly could do with more scenes exploring friendship these days. Despite a rocky start, I’m really glad Leyla’s back as her quirky comedy and facial expressions offer something different in the village. I’m very intrigued if Leyla’s mystery fiancé transpires and if so, what’s next on the cards for Miss Harding!

One Last Shot

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h53m13s131For many viewers, Ross Barton was at his best in the days of Donna Windsor, watching him soften through his feelings for someone else and lose that aggressive façade. Now, we might be nearing the end of actor Mike Parr’s time on the show, but it feels like the Ross and Rebecca relationship is bringing out the best in both characters as they try and rebuild their lives and showcasing the Ross Barton many viewers fell for all those years ago. Ross being Ross, Dawn’s appearance at the end of the week is sure to spell trouble in terms of his growth, but it’s been a welcome change to watch a more sensitive and caring Ross help Rebecca find faith in herself and confidence again. With his exit looming, it’s surely doom to fail, but for now their sweet and tentative scenes are a nice break from Ross’s cokehead, wannabe gangster efforts.

Fail

Not About That Thug Life

vlcsnap-2018-10-07-11h40m31s598Truth be told, I had to go back and rewatch all of Joe and Graham’s scenes with Connor the cardboard gangster this week, because I ended up zoning out. In a week of Emmerdale where we were treated to moving storylines and emotional character moments, we were also stuck watching this caricature terrorising Home Farm. Threatening he was not! For me, both Joe and Graham have lost that special something that once made them compelling newbies in the big house and unfortunately now their samey scenes are just cloak and dagger conversations that are at times impenetrably cold. With Connor desperate for revenge and Joe cowardly offering up Graham like the sacrificial lamb, this should have been a huge test and turning point of the pair’s unconventional bond, but with Connor cartoonish and the conversations between Joe and Graham stilted and mysterious it was a struggle to care. The rapport between the two is as bristling as ever and with Kim Tate’s arrival imminent, maybe all isn’t lost, but watching their scenes can feel like scrabbling in the dark to find something interesting to care about.

Fave or Fail? (24-28 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! A great week in the Dales as Vanity shared those three little words and Moira confessed to killing Emma to Matty and Vic.

Faves

Exposed Secrets

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h23m41s338It wasn’t long ago that Victoria was nominated on this blog as one of Emmerdale’s most underrated characters so it’s been fantastic this week to see her front and centre of the show. Not only was Vic battling with her feelings for BFF Matty this week, as the pair gave into a passionate snog (yay!) but she was also thrown into turmoil after learning that Adam took the rap for Emma’s death and Moira was the real culprit. Not only this, but she found out that her future brother in law Aaron knew about it this whole time. What I love about this story is that there’s no villain here, no black and white. I feel for both Moira AND Victoria, and that’s the beauty of a good story. My only wish is that Emmerdale hadn’t ruined Adam and Victoria’s marriage so close to his exit and had her not mention him for months following his departure, because that weakens the impact of her upset a little.

Consequences for Moira

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h21m05s161Recently I bemoaned Emmerdale’s lack of follow-up when it came to Moira’s PTSD and huge murder reveal, being that overall she’d been mostly unaffected. After a few months of misery, a reunion with Cain seemed to almost fix all her problems. It was a welcome relief for viewers and Moira alike but put a full stop to the conclusion of Emma’s storyline that never really seemed feasible. Though Emma’s death and the fall out lasted far longer than it should have, making Moira her killer was a massive decision that should have had far reaching ramifications. But it didn’t. It was a bold move, but one that never really materialised. Might we finally be getting the shockwaves the story deserved? I hope this gives Moira something juicy again as Natalie J Robb is far too good to spend another year around Butler’s table not doing much.

Rebecca’s Struggles

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h15m57s069It’s only taken two years but the writing for Rebecca has finally made her feel like a fully fleshed out, consistent character, vocalising her struggles rather than her brain injury only there to benefit other plots. Even though we all know Ross is due to exit from Emmerdale soon, his supportive and tender relationship with Rebecca has brought out the best in both characters. Rebecca’s pain at not being able to be a reliable mother for Seb and her loneliness feel like they’re being properly explored rather than her simply being used as either a plot device for Lachlan or Robert, or a comedy bit-part in the pub. Hopefully now Emmerdale have acknowledged that she’s an isolated character whose had six months from hell, they will continue to give her a consistent voice and agency in her own stories.

Everyone Loves Dr C

vlcsnap-2018-09-29-09h08m44s351Was it the stubble? The endearing sadness of a divorcee? Was it because Liam’s self-confessed highlight of the week was choosing his kitchen worktops? Whatever it was this week, everyone seemed to have fallen head over heels for Dr Cavanagh and Bernice wasn’t even in the village! There’s something oh-so charming and swoony about Liam that I was right there with Diane and Kerry in fawning all over him – and let’s face it, he’s far more of a catch than dull Daz. As Liam tried to fake reasons to call Bernice, this was exactly the kind of light-hearted watchable story in Emmerdale that I love and it made me even more glad he’s been made a regular character in the show. Hurry back Bernice before you get pipped to the post!

Meeting Obadiah

Charity amp; Vanessa 26th September 2018 Part 3 - YouTubeIt was great to meet Charity’s father this week, with the brilliant Paul Copley in the role. Both he and Emma Atkins had a short time to build up and on screen rapport but their conversations were compelling to watch, especially as we learnt about the suicide of Charity’s mum. Throughout the Bails story, despite the impressive performances, there’s been a lot of repetition and it hasn’t shone many new lights on Charity as a person. Bringing in more of her background in terms of her parents was new for us and gave her childhood an interesting dimension. However the introduction of Obadiah and meeting him seemed far too rushed and I wish these had been the scenes Emmerdale had spent longer on rather than the stop/start stalling with Ryan.

Fail

No Empathy

Charity amp; Vanessa 24th September 2018 Part 2 - YouTubeThank god for Vanessa this week, one of the few people in Charity’s life to offer any sort of empathy or compassion for her behaviour in the wake of Bails’s trial. The Dingles, on the other hand, had me raging. It wasn’t that long ago that Lisa and Aaron both went through similar hell after facing their rapist in court and the Dingles rallied round to support their loved ones. With Charity it’s been a different story. Sure, Charity’s struggling made her destructive and uncontrollable, but Zak and Chas’s bulldozing “Dingle Court” method was completely aggressive and tone deaf to what Charity needed. It is a difficult situation for a family to work through, but out of everyone you’d expect Chas to be a bit more understanding – you can’t imagine her taking such a hard line with Aaron, can you? Much like the Dingles not bothering to show up to court, I felt that this level of harshness from the family was hard to believe, designed to make Charity spiral than being something stemming naturally from their perception of Charity. They might think Charity’s strong and at times selfish, but I don’t buy that the family would be so lacking in empathy after something like this.

Fave or Fail? (10-14 Sep 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! 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.

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)

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! 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)

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! 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.