Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2019 – Part Two (#10-1)

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Here it is, my run down of the Top 10 Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2019. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale this year.

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10 – Jai and Laurel

Who could predict that one of Emmerdale’s latest favourite couples would be Jai and Laurel? This time last year we were finally free of the massively unpopular Laurel and Bob romance, but her new love with Jai has been a surprise hit. Early days for the pair was something of a sweet slow burn of crossed wires and a pretend kiss to get Jai out of a dodgy date, but now they’re finally together it just works. The actors have a good chemistry and their cuteness has been pretty sweet. Lately their merged family is under threat as Arthur cruelly bullies Archie – could this destroy Laurel and Jai’s relationship so soon? Hopefully not!

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9 – Vanity’s Engagement

2019 started in a hugely dramatic way for Vanessa and Charity when Vanessa was stabbed outside the pub by Lachlan’s dad Donny. After her brush with death, Charity was more convinced than ever of her love and decided to pop the question. What followed was a brilliantly humorous attempt by Charity to hijack an unsuspecting groom’s outlandish proposal at Home Farm to surprise Vanessa. Although it was classic Charity madness, Vanessa was less than impressed when she realised what Charity had done. Nevertheless Vanessa returned to Home Farm to hear Charity out and after some drunken rambling, the couple’s heart to heart lead to a real proposal. This moment had everything – laughs, vulnerability and a great script. Will their wedding be as similarly funny and romantic when it happens?

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8 – The Immediate Aftermath of Victoria’s Rape

I have some serious problems with how Vic’s rape story ultimately transpired but there’s no denying that the initial scenes in which Victoria revealed she’d been raped to Moira were outstanding. In the aftermath of Vic’s rape, Moira tried to help her understand she wasn’t at fault in any way with writing that deftly dispelled every myth and misconception surrounding the assault. Emmerdale made interesting choices in the beginning of the story, with Lee seemingly like the nice guy helping to walk Vic home before attacking her in her own home in brutal but effective scenes. The aftermath also featured stunning performances from the underused Isabel Hodgins and it’s a shame the story derailed so quickly.

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7 – Truth about Maya

It was the moment viewers were eagerly waiting for and when the truth about Maya came out, it was worth the wait. For months Maya had been grooming and seducing Jacob right under his family’s nose and after Liv’s discovery it was only a matter of time before the truth came out. The reveal took the centre stage of the Big Night Out episodes as Priya was the surprise witness to a kiss between the pair. The tension was delicious as Maya accepted a lift from Leyla, Tracy and Priya – although we had to wait a few weeks to find out what they’d actually done to her, suspecting she might be dead. The beginning of the end came with a gripping confrontation in the woods, but David learning the truth was equally compelling with a strong performance from Matthew Wolfenden and an uncomfortable but authentic range of emotions on display. With Maya and Jacob hiding out, there were some must-see twists and turns as the truth emerged, but disappointingly, the dramatic climax fizzled out and the conclusion of this story just didn’t live up to the gripping revelation.

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6 – Robert’s Exit

The end of 2019 also marked the end of Emmerdale’s most-shipped couple as Robron were torn apart due to the departure of Robert from the show. After his sister’s rape, Robert was unable to move past his need for revenge and when Lee’s torment of her continued, Robert saw red and hit Lee over the head with a shovel. For a while it looked like Robert’s charges would be minimal but things changed when Lee woke up and later died from his injuries. Facing the prospect of life behind bars, Robert went on the run, with Aaron by his side. With the desperate couple willing to sacrifice everything for their love, the reality of their future weighed heavily on Robert’s mind and he selflessly turned himself in, breaking Aaron’s heart in the process. Robert was sentenced to fourteen years inside and scheduled to be moved to the Isle of Wight and while Aaron was determined to hang onto their marriage, Robert made the crushing decision to cut all ties and allow Aaron to live his life. While Robert is a big loss to the show, Ryan Hawley gave some of his best performances throughout his exit and his exit managed to be both gripping and heart-breaking. Despite this story meaning the end of Robron, their epic love story was honoured in Robert’s final episode and the plot stayed true to their depth of feeling until the very end.

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5 – Flashback episodes

There was a real buzz around Emmerdale’s much promoted Big Night Out episodes, but the real excitement began just a few weeks later as we got to see what really happened during that fateful night. Flashbacks have been overdone in Emmerdale lately but withholding what really went down for two weeks was just the right time to keep things gripping and keep us all guessing. Of all the flashbacks Billy’s was the weakest but even that managed its own twists and give us glimpses of the other storylines in the background. The thrilling showdown between Maya and the trio of Leyla, Tracy and Priya let to a brilliant blackly comic confrontation in a horror movie pursuit in the woods. Victoria’s strand was unsurprisingly the hardest to watch as what could have been a rom-com style episode had a horrific end, and knowing what was coming gave the episode an unbearable dread. Overall this was an exciting dose of episodes, giving Emmerdale back its must-see bite while these big stories played out.

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4 – Women’s Day Special Episode

Emmerdale celebrated International Women’s Day this year with an episode dedicated to the women of the Dales using a mostly all women crew too. Not only was this an inspiring decision behind the scenes, but the episode itself was full of pathos, joy and warmth. Emmerdale managed to use almost its entire female cast, interacting in surprising ways and having a wonderful community, character driven feel. There was also a surprise inclusion of Lisa with the sad reveal she was dying, but despite this the episode still managed to be funny and full of heart, instilling a sense of confidence and strength in being a woman. An episode with ambitions like this made me even prouder to be an Emmerdale fan. And hey, if it pisses off the backwards likes of Piers Morgan and co then it’s doing something right!

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3 – The Mere Existence of Liam Cavanagh

If there’s one character who’s made Emmerdale 2019 a joy to watch then it’s Dr Liam Cavanagh. Not only has he shared a sweet and funny romance with Bernice (a relationship so right for their characters I was sad to see end), but in his own right he’s managed to be both charming and laugh out loud funny. This year highlights have included his painfully awkward encounter with Cain, the discovery that he loves murder mystery roleplay – leading to a hilarious misunderstanding where Bernice thought he was a murderer – and of course his adventures in costume from the sheriff to the panto’s Farmer Christmas. Although Liam has lost his love, there’s potential with Leyla, but also his relationship with daughter Leanna and colleague Manpreet to explore. Liam’s the sort of character that easily feels at home in the village (he even made Bear briefly watchable) and Jonny McPherson’s natural charisma and comedic timing, he’s a character who consistently puts a smile on your face. If I could only make one wish for 2020, it would be more Liam!

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2 – Lydia’s past

There was one stand-out star of 2019 and that was Karen Blick as Lydia, effortlessly taking Lydia from kooky oddball with a big heart from tragic matriarch of the Dingles. This year we learnt more about Lydia’s tragic past, revealing that she had taken on a false identity and was really named Jenny Finn. As the remains of a baby were found by the school, Lydia turned herself into the police revealing she had buried her stillborn child there and kept it a secret all this time. Karen Blick’s performances were nothing short of incredible and together with Sam, they were the real jewels in Emmerdale’s crown this year. This story not only made Lydia more loved, but it also strengthened the bond between the couple. Giving Lydia this fleshed out backstory offered a believable explanation for her personality and the material, never short of gut-wrenching, proved what an incredible performer Karen Blick is. With the question of Huntingdon’s disease playing on her mind, I hope 2020 continues to give Karen the material she deserves.

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1 – Lisa’s death

We lost a real Emmerdale legend this year as Lisa Dingle passed away suddenly. We had only just seen her back in the village and in her rightful home when we lost her for good, after a warm and nostalgic big Dingle celebration. Lisa’s death was understated and fitting, following a sentimental wedding for her and Zak, which even featured classic Emmerdale band The Woolpackers. Despite Lisa’s death being a surprise to many viewers, we should have guessed Lisa’s time back in Wishing Well was limited considering her return almost felt like a goodbye tour. When her family came home to find her dead, there were impressive scenes as they grieved and supported each other. The aftermath was moving as it panned over their homestead and the funeral was a fun and quirky affair with pig races. Lisa also left behind letters for her family which told them what they needed to hear and was a fitting end for the matriarch of the family. The Dingles haven’t quite felt the same without her, but her final episodes were a beautiful tribute to her treasured character.

Thank you for all your support of The Woolie Weekly in 2019 and Happy New Year!

Fave or Fail? (28 Oct-1 Nov 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’s sad final scenes aired this week as Mandy came clean about her scams.

Faves

The Last Goodbye

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h54m09s542Robert’s final scenes aired this week in what was a heart-breaking exit for the much-loved character. With Robert informed that he was being moved to the Isle of Wight, he made the painful decision not to tell Aaron, not wanting him to uproot his whole life while Robert served his 14 year sentence. Across the visiting room table, Robert and Aaron struggled with the lack of contact, expressing how much they missed each other. As Robert braced himself to reveal where he was being moved to, Aaron interrupted and Robert could no longer own up to the truth. With call backs and references to their love story, from “their” lay-by, a repeat of their phrase “You know/I know” and of course, the final, gut-wrenching play of their wedding song, this was a tribute to the couple and a love letter to fans. Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry continued to be powerful until the end, with Ryan delivering some of his best performances to date as Robert struggled to say his final goodbye. It was painful to see such a tragic ending to the show’s most popular couple and a character so memorable as Robert, but it felt fitting all the same. To also have Robert’s final act be one of selflessness, at a time where he was truly comfortable in himself, was the perfect end to his journey. His snark smugness, facial expressions and charm will be sorely missed.

The Aftermath Continues

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h57m41s553Following on from some huge weeks of drama, the fall out continued this week with engaging aftermath. After drinking himself numb, Cain escaped the village, surprisingly with Amy, throwing his wedding ring at Moira in the rain – ouch. When he returned he wanted her to pack her bags and the two had a face-off that showcased once more how naturally dynamic Jeff Hordley and Natalie J Robb are in scenes together. Bristling! Moira, despite defending herself to Cain’s supporters, still hasn’t been especially sympathetic but that’s mostly down to the affair taking place for nonsensical reasons in the first place! Then there was Chas and Paddy, coping with Faith’s exit and new baby Eve. Their moments have continued to be bittersweet as well as giving them some nice quieter moments to enjoy being new parents. That reprieve of happiness was much needed. Victoria saw Luke again, who admitted he believed her over Lee. These two have fantastic chemistry but it still doesn’t sit right that Emmerdale would tie Vic to her rapist’s family like this. Finally Aaron, whose week had a devastating end, but his wallowing and grief felt well done and believable but it was a lovely touch and a welcome change of pace to have him look after Seb and continue to explore his role as a parent. As the Cain and Moira dramas and Aaron’s heartbreak continue in the coming weeks we are bound to see more of these great performances soon.

Dingle Chaos

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h55m20s330Mandy was forced to come clean about her shady dealings this week as her and Vinny faced the infamous Dingle Court. Caught red-handed trying to steal Lydia’s money, Sam came down hard with the Dingle law and the family gathered to hear her case. Even if the whole Dingle Code stuff has been overdone, there’s always something entertaining about classic Dingle capers. It was a great twist to have Charity secretly involved (if only that had been left out of spoilers!) and fun to have her in the thick of a family scheme again. It’s still not completely clear the point of Vinny not being Mandy’s son (and why it matters) or if there are any more longer term plans for them, but her story is at least an amusing relief from the heavier stories in a way that feels classically Emmerdale.

Drug Bust-up

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h59m21s359The drugs story took a surprising turn this week, just as the comedy element had worn thin. After Archie had an accident, Laurel found Doug’s pot stash in the first aid box, but her first worry was that it belonged to Jai. She confronted him and the two had their first real argument, as he was horrified she would accuse him and then take it easy on the real culprit, Doug. It was still frosty between them the next day with Jai unwilling to forgive her, especially when she too had struggled to fight her addictions. This was a great way to give the pot plot more purpose and saw the relationship between Laurel and Jai truly tested. They’re a great couple but it seems only right that things aren’t too easy for them and the good thing about a fight is that we’re rooting for them to make things up. These were some nicely written scenes and it’ll be interesting to see if their pasts ever cause their relationship more problems.

Fails

Oceans Emmerdale

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h55m56s762Emmerdale aren’t afraid to try something new stylistically, be it flashbacks, time shifts or even the amazing special episode dealing with Ashley’s dementia. But this week’s flashbacks were somewhat divisive with viewers. As Mandy told the Dingles about her casino scheme, including the arrival of “Red” (aka the fabulously dressed Charity Dingle), the audience saw a glossy Hustle-style sequence of scenes. I’m on the fence about these scenes, they were fun and made the telling of the casino plot more interesting, but I’m not sure it felt very “Emmerdale”. To me, if felt more like those comedy spin-off VHS tapes Emmerdale used to make and the style of it jarred a little, but was it alright as a one off? This is one thing I’m undecided about…

Pantomime Posturing

vlcsnap-2019-11-03-08h58m09s196With Kim, we can all take a bit of the high-camp panto villain, but this week, as she and Graham snarled and gurned at each other, it struck me that their dynamic at the moment is tonally an odd fit with the rest of the show. There’s always a place for different types of characters and dynamics, but alongside the brutal break up between Cain and Moira, and the emotional end of Robron, Kim and Graham’s cartoonish dramatics felt almost like they belonged in a different show. There are only so many backstories and convoluted histories we can hold in our heads all at once but Kim and Graham’s “I will destroy you!!” speeches lacked the grounding and authenticity that other characters in the show have. It was only when Kim shed tears and we started to see her as more human again that the story gained interest. The problem with the Home Farm lot is the ever-shifting backstories and that confusing lack of consistency makes it hard to care what’s happening in the present. To really care about these big moments of camp villainy and revenge, we need a real grip on who these characters are and the first obstacle is making them feel like “real” people.

Scene of the Week (28 Oct-1 Nov 2019)

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It was the moment all Robert and Robron fans had been dreading, as Ryan Hawley’s final scenes aired this week. But as Aaron and Robert faced the end of the prison visit, Robert’s secret – that he was being transferred to the Isle of Wight – meant Robert’s goodbye to an oblivious Aaron was his final farewell. As a distraught Robert teared up, swearing his love for Aaron and making him promise he would remember always, the pair shared their last heartbreaking hug. With Aaron unnerved and Robert clinging for dear life like a desperate boy, the performances from Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley were agonisingly good. Separating the behemoth couple Robron was never going to be easy but this was a beautiful and tragic ending for the love story that has dominated viewers’ hearts for five years. And as Robert’s final minutes came to a close, he reminisced over happier times, with viewers getting a montage of romantic moments to the soundtrack of their wedding (The Love We Stole – Bear’s Den). Both a tear-duct triggering treat for diehard fans and a love letter to their story. A fitting end with beautiful performances – a scene to treasure.

Fave or Fail? (21-25 Oct 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! Emmerdale pushed the boat out (literally) for its big stunt and Chas gave birth.

Faves

Cain’s Carnage

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

Prison Pain

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

Faith Says Farewell

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

Light and Shade

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

Fails

Bonus Fail

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

More Torture for Victoria

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

Twist Shock?

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

Fave or Fail? (14-18 Oct 2019)

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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 a life-changing week for Aaron and Robert as Victoria’s rapist died and Faith suspected Pete and Moira of having an affair.

Faves

Rob-run

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

Painful Parting

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

Twists and Turns

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

A Bit of Happiness?

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

Bonus Fave:

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

Fails

Slow Down

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

Losing Laughs

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

Scene of the Week (14-18 Oct 2019)

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In a gripping week of stand-out scenes, one of the most memorable was the gut-wrenching moment Aaron witnessed Robert’s arrest. Aaron’s heart-breaking discovery that Robert had handed himself scene was made all the more powerful by the fact the audience was in on Robert’s plan before Aaron, so when the penny dropped, the sound of the scene did too and the direction of that moment, a close up on Aaron’s horror was the perfect choice. As Aaron and Robert stared at each other across the road, grieving the inevitable end of their future, Paddy had to grab onto Aaron to stop him running through traffic to reach his husband. Aaron and his family could only watch and pull him back as Aaron dealt with his unbearable loss and sense of betrayal. After the couple’s epic five year journey to get here, this scene was like a stab through the heart, sold completely by Danny Miller’s and Ryan Hawley’s performances of pure devastation.

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 marital 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? (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.