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? (16-20 Dec 2019)

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! Aaron and Cain reached low points and Liv had another seizure.

Faves

Festive Fun

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h45m56s323The Emmerdale Christmas panto continued to be the gift that kept on giving this week as Leyla’s crush on Liam intensified and Kim stepped up to be the villain of the piece. There’s so much to enjoy about this story. It has a great sense of community, from director Manpreet’s heavy hand on the script editing much to the frustration of writer Bob, to Dan and Mandy teaming up to play Liam’s horse, to Rishi stepping up – of course – to play the dame. Rather than force the laughs by us seeing just the slapstick stage performances, we’re seeing the natural humour in the preparation and practice, the bickering and disagreements. It’s also fun seeing real life actors pretending to “act”, particularly Liam’s joyously camp murder-mystery inspired performances and of course Kim’s superb stepping up as the villain. Very meta and lots of fun. More community stories in the new year please!

Dingle Breakdown

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h47m52s569Since their marriages ended, Cain and Aaron have been united in sullen moods and angry behaviour, even turning back to crime. But there was something cold and guarded about these reactions suggesting there was a lot more pain under the surface. This week saw both characters break down and open up, with Aaron trying to swallow his grief and fail to move on, and Cain admitting to Charity that he didn’t think things would pass. Rather than seeing them explode with rage or make Wendy and Nate’s lives a misery, it was a welcome change to see them both human and empathetic again as they expressed how they really felt.

Noah’s Drug Dilemma

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h55m24s465Desperate to make Sarah see sense over Danny and the drugs, Noah was at breaking point this week. Stubborn and petulant Sarah continued to risk her life trying to impress slimy Danny, but a worried Noah was trying his best to look out for her and stop her making dangerous choices. By the end of the week feeling isolated and ignored, Noah sat alone and took the pills himself. Jack Downham’s a capable young actor and it’s good to see him get some emotional material again. Noah’s often felt pushed out and neglected in his family so it will be interesting to see if this is a turning point for those around him.

Liv’s Seizure

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h47m24s299Poor Liv had another seizure this week and could be facing an epilepsy diagnosis. Isobel Steele continues to be one of Emmerdale’s best young actors and her performance of the seizure and her fear and upset afterwards was really well done. Predictably it was Wendy that came to her rescue, but thankfully the focus was on Liv’s recovery and not Wendy’s heroics. The last time Liv had a seizure, the impact was brushed under the carpet fairly quickly, the collapse used in a plot device-y way, so fingers crossed it won’t be the same this time. Friday’s episode saw her worried about looking after Eve and hopefully this is a story that won’t just be used to inject a bit of Thursday jeopardy into the family. Given what a capable actress Isobel is, it’s about time she had a big ‘issue’ story with longevity.

Fails

Dawn’s Determination

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h52m30s910With Christmas approaching, Dawn’s mind has returned back to her son Lucas. It makes sense that she would think of him over the festive period, but there’s something about this determination of hers to get custody that doesn’t sit right. We’ve seen Dawn make a big recovery from her drug problems and create a stable life, but with her son settled and happy with a foster family – is it right he should be taken from that? It feels like we should be on Dawn’s side in this story but there’s an entitlement to her attitude that seems to paint a negative light on legal guardians. In the long run, I can’t see what stories a young son would offer to her character – I think she has more potential without him.

Nate’s Pity Party

vlcsnap-2019-12-21-10h54m52s098The violins were out for Nate this week as he sulked around the village wondering why he wasn’t welcome. Much like the Wendy story, it seems like Emmerdale are going out of their wait to paint Nate as the victim, when the reality is, he helped cause this friction. This week Cain decided to turn Kyle against Nate in the hopes of driving his estranged son from the village. The Dingles took pity on Nate and invited him to an Xmas movie night in a tone-deaf way that seemed designed to piss Cain off even more. But – is it any wonder? Cain might be a nasty piece of work at the best of times, but who can blame him for not wanting Nate around after everything he’s done? It seems by the end of the week the Dingles might have realised that Cain won’t be forced, not when his whole life has shattered, but the idea that they would take Nate’s side anyway feels convoluted. Nate came in with a mission to destroy Cain’s life – why are we supposed to feel sorry for him?

 

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.

Fave or Fail? (7-11 Oct 2019)

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! Kerry’s health took a turn for the worst and Vanessa stayed in a prison cell overnight. 

Faves

War Against the Wyatts

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h44m49s870The fallout of Tracy and Vanessa’s discovery about their dad’s death continued this week, which was full of strong performances and satisfying, tense moments, even if it has had a somewhat divisive response from viewers. With Kerry hospitalised, Tracy and Vanessa spent much of the week switching scripts, one minute Tracy was guilt ridden and blamed herself, unwilling to turn Kerry and Amy in, then she was gung-ho about going straight to the police. Then it was Vanessa’s turn to flip-flop too. Perhaps this was an attempt to get viewers to question the big issues of blame, guilt and accidents, though some were left feeling like Kerry and Amy have got away with it. With soap being a fast moving genre, there’s a chance it won’t be long before they’re sharing a civilised drink in the Woolie, or perhaps Kerry and Amy will save the sisters’ lives in an attempt to redeem them. Whatever the long term outcome, the moments where Tracy and Vanessa were allowed be furious and indignant at the Wyatts were the most enjoyable and hopefully Kerry and Amy will face a little more justice than just a bump on the head!

Wedding Favours

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h37m16s860This week we had more comedy at Take a Vow as Bernice and Liam competed against Lydia and Sam with the type of humour Emmerdale does best. With the couples vying for the prize, they had to come up with a perfect theme for the wedding and decorate a table. Lydia and Sam opted for a Yorkshire theme while Bernice and Liam let their fantasies run away with them and went full Jane Austen, costumes the lot. As the horny pair got carried away, they ended up wrecking Sam and Lydia’s table in the process and winning by default. The antics of these two never fail to amuse (which makes Samantha Giles’s aka Bernice’s approaching exit even harder to take) and Jonny McPherson continues to be one of Emmerdale’s biggest comedic assets. With the guilt getting to them, they gave Sam and Lydia their prize instead, with Bernice still managing to be her tactless self, suggesting they were a bit of a charity case. Take a Vow is a business that we don’t see do much but with all the weddings in the village could easily be used more for fun stories like this. Next stop, Leyla and Andrea trying to rein in a village bridezilla?

Rhona and the Robot

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h35m44s863It’s early days for Rhona and her budding romance with Graham and while I’m not totally sold, I can see potential.  Before their relationship became exhausting doom and gloom, Rhona forged a surprising chemistry with Pete and now it looks like there are similar sparks with Graham. It hasn’t quite reached the same levels with Graham yet, but it looks like Rhona could be the one to break him out of the robotic mode. What Graham needs is something about him that is more believable, more human. Giving him a real relationship with someone grounded, in the heart of the village, could work – after all we’ve had years of Graham now and he still doesn’t feel like a living breathing person. There is of course the Kim factor which could spoil things but knowing how good her scenes with Rhona have been, seeing them head to head might not be such a bad thing.

Fails

Angry Amy

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h41m26s810One character who won’t be popular with many viewers after this week’s events is Amy. With Kerry critical in hospital, Amy had harsh words for Tracy, blaming her for her mum’s condition. But with Kerry making a fairly quick recovery (okay, slow in soap standards) Amy’s insistence that Tracy’s actions made them even didn’t really wash. There were plenty of times in this story where Amy was the remorseful one, but lately she’s almost been ruthless and cold-hearted in their fight to evade any police involvement. Perhaps if Emmerdale had spent more time showing Amy’s desperation for money, leading to the accident, then Amy’s excuses might have held more weight, but the way she treated grieving Tracy and Vanessa this week was hard to watch. It might take a while for Tracy and Vanessa to move on and forgive her, but I think the audience might take even longer…

Moira Merry-go-Round

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h47m00s062I can’t tolerate any more of this Nate and Moira storyline and I reckon not even seeing Cain’s murder eyes or an eleventh hour twist about Nate’s identity can save it any more. This week Moira’s shameless attitude about her affair pissed off Pete and once again she ended things with Nate, only for – you guessed it – her to snog his face off at the end of the week. How many times has this happened now? Moira’s plummeted from one of the show’s strongest characters to one I’m struggling to watch. Her motives make no sense and her lust for Nate is even harder to believe set against her genuine, palpable chemistry with Cain. Then there’s Nate, who lurches from predator to charmless bore who now claims to be in love with her. It’s impossible to tell whether he’s genuine (and a massive creep) or playing a game. But with the same repetitive story beats taking place week after week, it’s a struggle to care. Moira should be the character we connect with, that we’re empathising with, but even the most ardent Moira fans must be finding it hard to recognise her. To make matters worse, Emmerdale appear to be investing everything into this story, putting it front and centre almost every week, despite it baffling or putting off most viewers. Will the climax and Cain’s revenge be worth all these months of a terrible storyline?

Fave or Fail? (30 Sep-4 Oct 2019)

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! Kerry’s lies were uncovered this week and Pete learnt that Moira was cheating with Nate.

Faves

The Secret is Out

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h59m57s179It was the moment we were all waiting for this week as Tracy discovered that Kerry and Amy were behind her dad’s death. With Kerry’s guilt worsening, she was a mess trying to stay together, but as the pieces of the puzzle starting slotting together, Tracy’s suspicions were high. It was a really satisfying scene to see Tracy raid Kerry’s room for evidence and even more so when she’d worked out that the lies had been building for months. As the two had a showdown in Tug Ghyll, both Amy Walsh and Laura Norton played the bristling tension perfectly. When Amy arrived it was two against one as they tried to calm Tracy down, but if you were anything like me you were just screaming for Tracy to run out of the house and call the police. What actually transpired was something far messier, making the situation more complicated, as Tracy shoved Kerry who then hit her head and fell unconscious. While it does shift the “victim” of the story – somewhat frustrating when Kerry and Amy have been so unlikeable at times – the moral dilemmas it raised made the scenes take an interesting turn. Once again Amy Walsh in particular proves what a strong actress she is and this is sure to continue through the aftermath.

Countryside Dramas

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h58m36s771There was something really “Classic Emmerdale” about the salmonella plot that I really enjoyed. Granted we’d only seen Derek twice so his death was meaningless but I loved the way this story tied together so many characters in a different way and had an interesting farming angle. As David suffered with food poisoning, him and Jacob attempted to rebuild their relationship, meanwhile accusations were thrown at Rishi, who in the light of his factory troubles was even more desperate for things to be okay. Then of course there was Sam and his poor chickens! This storyline also gave us a new light on Manpreet, who stole from her deceased patient to make a significant sum and then tried to bribe the man from environmental health. These glimmers that there are much more to her than meets the eye are great! This storyline might not bring in award nominations but it’s the everyday community, countryside story that Emmerdale should be doing, playing up to its USP and giving us some surprising interactions as well as building on pre-existing tensions.

Wedding Wars

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m53s340This week saw the beginning of a new genius comedy storyline as Bernice and Liam competed against Sam and Lydia to win their dream wedding. With Andrea and Leyla now working together at Take A Vow we could be seeing the start of ambitious trouble between them and it was very welcome to see Andrea outside of the stifling Home Farm environment. But the main joy of this storyline is seeing the polar opposite couples of Bernice/Liam and Sam/Lydia try and out do each other. From their colourful marital histories, with Sam’s bluntness versus Bernice’s bitchiness, this is the perfect comedic story. It definitely helps that both couples are so right for each other and we’ve been waiting for them to get married for ages! Can’t wait to see how the competition escalates and how far Bernice (let’s face it, it’s going to be her!) goes to win!

Family Bonding

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h55m07s176Archie just might have stolen the top spot of cutest kid in Emmerdale this week as Jai had a breakthrough with his estranged son and Archie spoke for the first time. After seeking Lydia’s help with grief counselling – a nice reminder of Lydia’s origins in the show – it was adorable Arthur who managed to help get Archie talking again. It’s been nice to see Jai have a more emotional story lately and now he’s partnered up with Laurel they’ve become a lovely new family unit. Arthur and Archie’s budding friendship is heart-warming too and has really helped to make the Thomas-Sharma bonds even stronger. I hope this isn’t the end of Archie’s problems after his mother’s death because I think it’s helped to give Jai more to do than just factory drama and it looks like we’re seeing Arthur hanker after a father figure so that could be interesting to explore too.

Fail

Disbelief and Blame

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m36s579After the brilliant Tracy and Kerry reveal, Friday’s episode took a bit of a surprising turn. With Tracy almost numb with shock it felt pretty unbelievable that Vanessa and Charity would be so disbelieving of her. Sure, Tracy might have accused Dawn a few weeks ago, but this reaction from them felt harsh, especially when they too had witnessed Kerry’s weird behaviour. In fact Vanessa and Charity seemed far more concerned about Kerry’s accident than what Tracy was going through. It might be believable that they’d have little patience for Tracy after her grief made her react badly recently, but their anger and disbelief seemed really misplaced, especially from the usually cynical and switched on Charity. With Kerry in hospital and now looking more of a victim than Tracy, the balance felt a little unsatisfying – we needed people who were more Team Tracy! The accident twist makes the aftermath a lot messier but I hope it doesn’t make for an unsatisfying conclusion.

Quote of the Week (30 Sep-4 Oct 2019)

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Bernice: I’m not gonna walk down the aisle with any Tom, Dick or Harry.
Sam: You have before! She’s been wed three times already!
Liam: Actually it’s four.
Bernice: Strictly speaking, I don’t count Lawrence. It wasn’t consummated. […] They’ve both been married before!
Lydia: Yes, to Steve and Alice, who tragically died.
Bernice: Liam’s been widowed too.
Sam: Yeah and then he married a paedo!
Liam: Do you want a punch on the nose?

 

Fave or Fail? (12-16 Aug 2019)

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! Ellis’s dad Al arrived in the village and had a shady phonecall, and Debbie left for Scotland.

Faves

Call Me Al

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h00m52s495Jessie had one hell of a week as no sooner had she lost her job, but her household was rocked by the arrival of Al, Ellis’s father. Al didn’t make a great first impression on the family and Ellis didn’t seem all that keen to repair their bond either. There’s tension already, and Al is not a fan of Billy, but this is great news for the audience as a new character like Al, played charismatically by Michael Wildman, needs a great introduction. What’s even better is that Al seems a bit shady and all signs point to him being revealed as Kim Tate’s new business partner. Al could be just the new villain Emmerdale needs. Bring it on!

Sensitive Souls

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h04m14s417One of Emmerdale’s sweetest family units was rocked this week as Samson came home and learnt about Lydia’s tragic past. Sensitive Samson was horrified to learn Lydia had been keeping secrets, and worse, that they’d been kept from him. At the graveyard, Sam tried to talk Samson round in a lovely scene in the place where Alice is buried, and eventually Samson was able to empathise with Lydia’s plight. Realising that Lydia needs support, Samson listened to Sam as he said Alice would want them to be happy, and eventually the family were reunited, ready to plan a wedding. Fingers crossed things go smoothly from now on and we get to see Sam and Lydia made official!

Doug on Pot

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h01m33s577The most amusing and bizarre plot of the week was Doug, on pot. Straight laced, garden enthusiast would be the last person you’d expect to smoke a joint, but with Gerry’s stash playing on his mind – and his terrible back – Doug went to surprising measures to cure his pain. As we all know Duncan Preston has a long history of comedic acting so it was great to see this at play, even funnier when his oblivious loved ones have no idea and don’t notice the signs. High Doug was a lot of fun and seeing as he’s already getting the munchies, I’m sure he’ll be sneaking off for another spliff when the opportunity arises!

Goodbye Debbie

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-09h04m59s066Debbie’s exit this week, to cover Charley Webb’s maternity leave, has to be one of the strangest. Her exit potential could have nicely tied into her feud with Cain or hints about Joe, but all that was left aside, as Debbie took over a random garage in Scotland. As you do. Surprisingly I’ve really come to enjoy Debbie lately, as she’s been used in light, comic relief moments or more low key storylines. Debbie’s actually been – dare I say it – sort of fun? Her exit scenes were muted this week, with a lovely scene from Sarah and a slightly OTT reaction from Charity. It was a little hard to care about any emotional response to her leaving when we know she’ll be back, but my only hope is that when they bring Debbie back, they remember to give her a bit more of that dry humour. Maybe she could even smile!

Fails

Slim on Sympathy

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-08h58m53s948When Matty’s toxic masculinity story started I questioned, given his divisive popularity, whether he was the right character to be plunged into a plot where he has to be a real arsehole. This week, I still have my reservations. Matty’s friends showed up again being characteristically vile and Matty laughed along with them. Sure, he looks sheepish from time to time, and eventually he’ll see them for what they are, but is it worth Matty being this smarmy and horrid in the meantime? Watching him swagger and jeer like his unlikeable “mates” just really isn’t very unenjoyable to watch.

The Trouble with Faith

vlcsnap-2019-08-17-08h57m56s682There’s something about Faith this year that’s making her far more irritating than she is entertaining. Perhaps it’s because she’s been overbearing and interfering, rather than the light and shade we’ve had from her in previous years. A character like Faith can be more than just brash and we’ve seen her earn our affections during her mastectomy struggles through her romance with Eric and her family past in the Cain flashback. We’ve also seen a good dose of humour too. This week however we’ve seen more of Faith’s abrasive side as she muscled in at Wishing Well, landed an ill advised kiss on Zak and then outed Bear’s illiteracy secret. The kiss plot seemed like a complete overreaction to what was a brief, grief fuelled peck – and actually her reminiscing scenes with Zak were nicely done – and the cellar debacle felt completely contrived. Was this all just a circus to get her to annoy Charity in her new home? Faith can be great when the balance is right but this week, she lost her warmth.

Fave or Fail? (15-19 July 2019)

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! I’m back from my break in time for a great week of Emmerdale as Bernice thought Liam was a murderer and Pete and Rhona split.

Faves

Dying with Laughter

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h05m40s631Comedy in soap is a difficult element to master and something viewers can’t agree on. There will be Emmerdale fans who hated the Bernice and Liam plot this week, maybe just as much as I hated the Bear Wolf boxing plot! Admittedly I’m biased, being that Bernice is one of my favourite characters in the whole village and I don’t think anyone has mastered comic timing quite like Samantha Giles has, but this story was hysterical. This week Bernice and Nicola went snooping in Liam’s bag again and found a bloodied shirt and a photograph of a woman. Bernice and Nicola’s brains went into overdrive and Bernice soon decided Liam was a serial killer and she was going to be his next victim. Cue some hilarious set pieces in Friday’s episode and amazing use of music and props which Bernice read as “signs” all pointing towards Liam’s murdering ways. From Liam’s unfortunate and innocent suggestions of a day out, to Bernice’s wild-eyed panic and mouthing “help” at roadside workers, this was a genius comedy set up. It all reached fever pitch when bickering Nicola and Jimmy got involved, knocking out Liam with a pork pie and realising that the whole thing was entirely innocent. Liam is into murder mystery role play and now the Cavastock romance is shattered. But let’s face it, Bernice and Liam are perfect for each other, actors Samantha Giles and Jonny McPherson have great chemistry and play the outlandish comedy to a tee. Ridiculous and silly? Absolutely. But so much fun.

Showstopping Performance

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h06m36s183During the last few weeks Karen Blick has given her all in Lydia Hart’s biggest storyline to date and since this blog was on hiatus I haven’t had the chance to sing her praises. She’s been incredible. This week as the papers reported on the truth behind “Jenny Finn”, Lydia returned to the school where her baby’s remains were found and broke down in Sam’s arms. Sam and Lydia are the real jewels in Emmerdale’s crown at the moment, a touching and believable couple and in my eyes, a fitting new head of the Dingle household. This storyline has served to strengthen the beloved bond that already existed between them. Some characters can struggle when their past revolves around some heavy backstory, but this has given Lydia new depths and offers a believable explanation for her personality and in the scenes where Karen has had to deliver emotionally-fraught material, she’s proved she’s blown everyone away.

Amicable Split

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h07m32s039Pete and Rhona’s relationship reached the end of the road this week, just as their engagement party was in full swing. The writing has been on the wall for a long time and ever since it was revealed Pete wanted children of his own (and Rhona didn’t), we’ve all been wondering how they long they could last. Their romance was a surprise hit at first but since Rhona’s accident, this has all felt like a prolonged break up as their differences and expectations for the future diverged massively, and their connection struggled against Rhona’s menopause. It’s a shame we saw them force themselves back together because if had they split after Rhona’s hysterectomy (while they had huge audience support) I think the emotional impact would have resonated more than it did this week. However the scenes where they decided to go their separate ways this week were beautifully written and well performed. It was the right decision for the pair and a welcome change to see a split that came with civility and calm and a couple who were still very fond of each other.

It’s Lee or Me

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h18m12s753Aaron and Robert were divided this week as Robert couldn’t see past his revenge plan on Lee. With Robert getting increasingly hopeless about Vic’s situation, he took it upon himself again to master a revenge plan, paying a desperate Dawn as a honeytrap. Aaron was horrified and the pair set out to rescue Dawn, which they managed, just in time. After learning his husband had been secretly stalking Lee too, Aaron gave Robert an ultimatum, him or Lee. After Robert promised to leave things alone and to concentrate on their family, Aaron caught Robert borrowing money from Seb’s account to get legal help and he exploded, struggling to trust Robert’s promises to stay away from Lee. While we know the pair are doomed, following confirmation of Ryan Hawley’s departure, and the pair’s lacklustre “make up” scenes left everything feeling unresolved, there’s no question that the scenes exploring the highs and lows of Aaron and Robert’s relationship bring out the best in Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry. Their charged arguments were well performed and conflict was empathetic on both sides, especially when as viewers we know Aaron’s only going to be proved right and be left on his own. If anything these scenes prove how unmissable the pairings final scenes will be.

Fails

Rinse and Repeat

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h15m48s881The performances in the aftermath of Victoria’s traumatic rape cannot be faulted and it’s been great to see Isabel Hodgins get some meatier scenes of later. As Robert’s struggled too, Emmerdale have done a good balancing act making both his and Vic’s plight sympathetic, with viewers able to see both sides, but in the build up to Ryan Hawley’s exit scenes are starting to feel a little repetitive. How many scenes have the siblings reached an understanding, over the baby, moving away, revenge, only for Robert to make a massive misstep and the two bust up again? How many times can we expect Robert to pledge to listen to Vic and put her first before doing the exact opposite? It’s reaching Groundhog Day levels, not helped by Wendy and Lee reappearing like clockwork to plunge Victoria into a new despair – and the new summer trailer shows more of this is on the horizon. In the immediate aftermath Vic was central to the whole story but lately she’s felt more passive, her choices reduced to reacting to Lee and Wendy’s appearances or to Robert’s latest mistake, whereas it would be good to bring back her friendships and career – or even Moira again – so we can see her rebuild her life.

Same Old Story?

vlcsnap-2019-07-21-09h11m18s292Dawn’s a great character with a complex past, played with a lot of heart by Olivia Bromley, but does anyone else feel her story with Lucas is a bit dull? There are lot of mothers in Emmerdale who’ve had traumatic pasts and difficult relationship with their children, but Dawn’s story following hot on the heels of Amy’s desire to have a relationship with Kyle again, feels a little bit overdone. There’s still mileage in her rebuilding bridges with Harriet and Will and it would be good to see her more involved with existing members of the village rather than keeping her confined to the small group of characters she interacts with. I’m not convinced that taking on the responsibility of a young child would be a dynamic direction for her character, unless they were going to deal with the struggle between being a mother and battling addiction. It remains to be seen if she will gain access to Lucas, but I think I’d like to see a different story for another young female.

Fave or Fail? (3-7 June 2019)

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 the village gathered to say goodbye to Lisa, we also saw the arrival of new Tates, Jamie’s wife and daughter.

Faves

Weird and Wonderful Funeral

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h08m50s152The village said their final goodbye to Lisa Dingle this week as her funeral took place. The first half of Thursday’s episode saw a more traditional service as the villagers gathered to pay their respects, but with Charity seeing out Lisa’s final requests, there was some Dingle craziness to be had in the form of a pig race. It was a lovely community moment and a bittersweet scene of outrageous fun which truly felt like classic Emmerdale. Of course, after the humour came the sorrow again as the family received their letters in an incredibly moving montage but the double episodes were a heartfelt tribute to the matriarch of the Dingles.

Victoria Shares Her Plight

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h16m53s983Victoria returned home to the village with Robert this week but the reality of her trauma soon set in. Uncomfortable about returning to her own house, Vic stayed with Robert and Aaron but tensions soon arose when she revealed she was keeping her baby. Vic was adamant in her choice, but Robert struggled to cope feeling helpless and guilty, and tried pressuring Vic into a decision. However the intention, Emmerdale’s writing when it came to abortion felt clumsily pro-life and that’s something which continues to grate, but Isabel’s performances continued to impress. Despite their strained relationship and opposing coping strategies, it’s been good to see more of Vic and Robert as a family and the divisive issues between them felt authentic. Also this week Victoria told friends about her attack and her scenes with Marlon especially were appropriately tender and lovely. It was good too to see mentions of empathy from the village’s other rape survivors, adding again to Emmerdale’s renewed sense of community.

Hiding Something?

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h08m27s638This week as Sam found comfort in Lisa’s final letter to him, both him and Lydia realised how important their relationship was and Sam wanted them to stop stalling and set a date for the wedding. It’s been years since Sam and Lydia got engaged but just as the touching moment seemed to indicate we might get a kooky and cute wedding, a look passed Lydia’s face. Is she hiding something? Back at the start of the year hinted there was more to come from Lydia but we’re only just seeing hints of it now. Lydia’s one of Emmerdale’s greatest recent creations and her Sam and Samson make the perfect quirky family. While on the one hand I’d love to see them settle down and be the new stable couple of Wishing Well, I’m also welcome to seeing more of them and that means drama. So what is going on in Lydia’s head? It can’t be a reluctance to marry Sam per se, maybe it’s related to her past. And if this means more Lydia – then I’m a happy viewer!

A New Era of Tates

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h18m53s701This week two new arrivals upset Kim Tate and it was quickly revealed that Andrea and little Millie are in fact Jamie’s wife and daughter. Say what? If you can get over the fact that Jamie, who is meant to be 22, has a family already, why the hell didn’t he mention them to anyone, not even Rhona? Something seems suss there! Still, Millie’s adorable and Andrea, though it’s an ask to believe she’s married to Jamie, already has a fun and bitchy antagonism with Kim. There’s definite promise there, far more believable than the attempt to make Kim and Megan enemies. Filling Home Farm with family seems like the best way forward as it doesn’t work so empty and isolated. But is there really much longevity in Andrea and Jamie as a pairing? However things work out between the two, Kim’s miles better with these kinds of stories than the outlandish mafia style characterisation she was receiving previously.

Fails

Kiss Chase

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h10m19s849Ugh. Really, David and Leyla? Again? If there are a worse parenting team in the village right now I’d be surprised because these two sure know how to make Jacob’s life a hundred times worse. Thank god for Eric who gave them a dressing down this week for shagging while Jacob’s head is wrecked. Really though, what are they playing at? I really thought this storyline might finally see David reach a turning point, that we might see some maturity and responsibility from him but nope, same old David. If his and Leyla irresponsible handling of the police wasn’t bad enough, this was peak selfishness. And why would Leyla even go there again, after everything? I could more understand if it had come from a place of grief but the pair’s self involvement was so tasteless and short sighted. If Jacob’s plight hasn’t made them grow up, what will?

Going in Circles?

vlcsnap-2019-06-08-21h14m00s534Emmerdale’s most important and controversial storyline is in danger of losing all momentum, as the Maya and Jacob story seems to have been derailed in favour for more twists and turns. From Maya’s disappearance and the flashback reveals we were all on tenterhooks desperate to see Maya’s downfall, but as time has dragged on, we seem to have lost the main crux of the story. While troubled Jacob is stuck in repetitive scenes where he rages against the injustice of being kept away from Maya, all the progression the police enquiry is happening off screen. Jacob’s loved ones continue to stretch believable by doing stupid and desperate things in the name of protecting him, but this far along in the story it’s becoming tiresome and sluggish. Emmerdale were onto a winner in the immediate fallout of the abuse discovery but now the pacing seems to have been diverted into stalling tactics. Even more bizarrely, obvious routes for this story to take, to show us its impact, have been avoided. The other teens, Liv, Gabby, Noah and Leanna are all but absent, Jessie – who should be playing a key role is AWOL and Liam’s reaction to the news has barely been touched on. If this story only impacts on the Metcalfes when all is said and done it’ll be a complete waste.

Fave or Fail? (27-31 May 2019)

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! Fewer episodes this week as Emmerdale made way for Britain’s Got Talent, but the Dingles reeled in the wake of Lisa’s death.

Faves

Unsung Hero

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h51m37s679The aftermath of Lisa’s death continued this week as the Dingles all struggled to cope in individual ways. Surprisingly it was Sam who seemed to take it the hardest, acting out of character and hiding away to cry alone. Sam is often used as comic relief in the family, on the sidelines as the ‘nice but dim’ member of the family, but this week Sam – and actor James Hooton were the unsung heroes of Emmerdale. To see Sam taking Lisa’s death so badly and worrying that he had to hold it together and keep the farm running, scared that both Zak and Belle’s vulnerable mental health would suffer, was a poignant and affecting choice. Because we don’t often see Sam so emotionally raw the scenes had a greater impact and it was a reminder just how good James Hooton is as an actor. If there’s anyone Emmerdale should be lining up for their next big emotional story, then they should consider Sam.

Fake Dating

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h50m22s542Fans have long been speculating there’s romance on the horizon for Laurel and Jai and Friday’s episode this week was a mightily satisfying tease of that. Jai spent the week venturing into online dating (which was a pretty charming and fun story between the sadness of Lisa’s death) and thought his luck was in when he ended up with a gorgeous date. As his employees came in the pub for an ogle, Jai realised he had in fact hired an escort instead (oops) and Laurel stepped in to help scare her off. Laurel’s technique involved everyone’s favourite rom-com/fanfic trope – fake dating – and Laurel and Jai were soon forced into sharing a pretend kiss to prove their romance. But a funny and awkward scene soon had sparks flying at the pair found themselves caught up in the moment and shared a much steamier snog. This looks like it might be the start of a big new romance and I can’t wait to see it develop!

The Fun Side

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h53m05s990When Kim returned there was anxiety from Emmerdale viewers that her ruthless personality would veer into pantomime and we’d be left with less of a character and more of a cartoon. Certainly her brief stint last October was divisive and when her immediate plans were to shag Cain and put a hit out on Joe, there was more concerns. But lately we’ve seen a much more well-rounded Kim, trying to rebuild her relationship with Jamie, employing Lydia and Sam, and forging an almost-friendship with Rhona. She almost seemed pleased of the company when Rhona popped round Home Farm, even giving her the hard sell on some biscuits – but then if you’re stuck with Graham all day every day you’d be grateful of a friendly face too! This side of Kim is much more like the woman we can see in the weekday repeats of classic Emmerdale on ITV3 and gives her a greater chance of longevity. Of course Kim’s always going to be the “soap bitch” but that doesn’t mean she needs to be an ice queen. Friends and smiles are welcome from time to time.

Fails

A Slow Goodbye?

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h49m27s223It was a struggle to invest in Megan’s storyline this week as she fretted over her future after causing Eric’s accident. Not only is her relationship with Frank dull and chemistry free, her connection with stoic Graham isn’t much better. Even Megan’s rivalry with Kim feels tired and uninspiring, doing no favours to either character. Emmerdale have had plenty of opportunity in the past to do something emotionally engaging with Megan and her daughter Eliza, and yet even this story, with so much at stake for Megan, it treads a boring and dry path with these uninspiring men. It feels like this is leading to Megan having a lacklustre exit, but the pace is glacial. With actress Gaynor Faye exiting the Dales, is Megan’s storyline really the start of her long goodbye?

Fast Turn Around

vlcsnap-2019-06-01-08h48m31s444Despite the whole coffin incident, I was curious about Will and Harriet’s chemistry from the off. We’ve been here before with Harriet, she might be BFFs with God, but it’s the bad boy she really likes. But just like her fling with Cain, there’s just something not quite clicking with Will. It’s not as electric as it could be on paper. Part of this problem was the ridiculous speed this week’s events took. Will’s epiphany over his terrorising and stalking of Harriet, prompted by seeing the impact of his actions on vulnerable Dawn, felt far too soon. Had Dawn been hospitalised or close to death, then perhaps his complete turn around might have been more believable but this week’s escalation seemed a rushed way to force the Harriet hook up. Likewise, I fully believe in the pairs lingering and complicated feelings but it just didn’t feel believable that Harriet could forgive Will so fast and end up in bed with him. I can never put my finger on what’s missing with Harriet’s stories but this one just isn’t hitting the mark anymore. Like other fans commented on Twitter, I could see this trio making a good family unit, but I had hopes this was going to be a slow-burn of enemies to lovers, but skipping to lovers before it’s earned squandered that. Shame.