The emotional core of the clunky siege drama this week was undoubtedly the plight of little April Windsor. April’s escape from the house and Max’s gun waving, with the help of Billy, was the strongest moment of the episode. But even better was her running straight into Ellis’s arms. His and April’s relationship is one of the show’s best sibling partnerships and it was fitting that she had a safe pair of arms to comfort her after the ordeal. Amelia Flanagan does great stuff with April’s funny one liners but she excelled at this intense moment too and gave the gun showdown some much-needed heart.
Who could predict that by the middle of 2019 we’d been championing Jai and Laurel as the next big couple of the Dales? This week saw them awkward around each other before finally giving into a big snog. Hurray! A flustered and frustrated Laurel went to find Jai in his office and well, pounced! After more uncertain awkwardness, Jai was all too glad to kiss her right back. This was an adorable rom-com moment that felt so earned after all that miscommunication and edging around each other in shy and hesitant signs of attraction. Who doesn’t love that big kiss moment? This was a great scene!
Tensions were high in this gripping scene in Friday’s episode. Robert tracked down Vic’s rapist, Lee, with exposing him in mind and he and Aaron took a test drive with Lee. Not only was there the possibility that this ride could end with a crash, considering Robert’s reckless driving, but us viewers were in on the plan and Lee wasn’t. As Aaron recorded their conversation in the back, Robert tried grilling Lee about his private life and what he does for kicks. But as things grew uncomfortable and Lee dodged Robert’s questions and laid traps, Robert snapped and braked hard on the car, revealing Lee had raped his sister. Robert always manages a cool and calm performance when he needs to lay on a good act, but with Lee his anger was barely under the surface. A great scene.
This week’s Scene of the Week choice was one of my easiest decisions in ages. An emotional montage full of beautiful performances and brimming with character and warmth? A big win all round. As Lisa Dingle’s funeral drew to a close, thankfully Lydia had rescued the personalised goodbye letters from the charity shop and handed them around to the gathered Dingles. What followed was a moving collection of scenes as each member of the family read their letter (with a lovely voice over from Jane Cox) with Lisa’s poignant advice and kind words ringing in their ears. From telling Charity to be happy, calling Sam her son, tricking Marlon with the rabbit stew recipe to helping to patch up Debbie and Cain’s relationship, this was a truly perfect scene. Each Dingle heard the words they most needed to hear and it was wonderful.
This scene was the perfect showcase of James Hooton’s under-appreciated acting talents and was a stand-out moment of the week. As Sam struggled with his grief, the scene began in silence as he sat alone on the sofa where Lisa last sat. After a moment’s contemplation Sam was interrupted by Lydia who expressed her concern for his well-being. Sam could barely look at her or voice his struggles, but as he expressed his confusion over the situation and how he hadn’t been able to come to terms with things. Sam cried over not being able to say goodbye to Lisa, feeling as if he wasn’t permitted to grief in the same way as Belle, not being Lisa’s biological son. This was a poignant moment, particularly as Sam’s grief was almost naive and childlike and this was a welcome moment to witness what James is capable of.
It was a shattering moment when Zak discovered Lisa had died this week, but even more impactful was when Belle learnt her mum had passed. Just moments earlier they had been celebrating and unsurprisingly Belle couldn’t believe she had gone so soon. Belle spoke for all of us when she said she thought she had time left with Lisa and Eden Taylor Draper’s performance, from shock and disbelief to the injustice of it, was beautifully played. It was even harder to watch as oblivious Sam and Lydia came in full of high spirits, and broke seeing the distraught look on Belle’s face. This was just the start of an impressive episode and a tragic moment that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
In a week of sad, hard-hitting storylines, it was this brief moment of joy at Wishing Well cottage that makes my Scene of the Week. For many viewers Zak and Lisa are the backbone of Emmerdale and after Lisa’s terminal diagnosis, it seems only right the pair marry again (shush, nobody mention the disaster that was Zak and Joanie). It’s rare to have scenes of joy and laughter so this scene felt like a cosy hug. They haven’t had the easiest of years and their marriage hasn’t been the same since their split, but it was lovely to see Zak make an effort for a change and to see Lisa’s lovely smile. Sometimes it’s nice to end an episode in a way that makes us feel warm and fuzzy and this was certainly it.
After a stellar week of episodes, choosing a single Scene of the Week was an impossible task. So impossible that I even asked for suggestions on Twitter. Would it be the blackly comic scenes of Tracy and Priya in the woods? Leyla’s showdown with Maya? David’s hellish discovery? The horrific and shocking moment of Victoria’s attack? Emmerdale delivered this week – and then some! After some deliberation I chose a scene from the aftermath of Victoria’s rape, as Moira tried to help her realise she wasn’t at fault in any way. This scene wasn’t just a stunning performance from the criminally underrated Isabel Hodgins, but it also managed to dispel every myth and misconception surrounding the assault. The writing was fantastic in this scene. As Moira quite rightly pointed out, Victoria was entirely blameless and inviting Lee in was not an invitation for him to ignore her consent. Discussion overnight after Vic’s episode was rife, with fans on social media talking at length about the episode and how Lee had gone from a seemingly nice guy and potential boyfriend to raping Victoria in a brutal and disturbing scene. My Scene of the Week choice was almost an immediate response to these discussions, challenging any viewers who might have thought Vic’s behaviour was at fault. A powerful scene and in a tough storyline like this, essential dialogue.
The fate of Maya took an unexpected twist this week as Liv discovered that Leyla and friends were covering up something. Leyla then caught Liv at Tug Ghyll and confronted her, with eventually both women realising each other knew about Maya’s grooming of Jacob. Conflicted Liv was already feeling pressured and torn over her blackmail plot but when Leyla exploded at her for keeping her discovery secret, Liv broke down in tears. As Liv explained, revealing her naive attempts to get something good out of the situation which had broken her heart and give Aaron and Robert their baby money, Leyla was incredulous. This was a stunning scene between the two actresses, as Leyla’s guilt and fury manifested in a cold reaction to Liv’s sobbing wreck, whose guilt poured out too. It’s always a pleasure to have these powerful moments between characters who don’t often interact and even more so when it’s a powerful moment like this, giving us the great dramatic pay-off now that secrets are revealed.
There’s nothing like a killer line to get us all excited and it was the turn of Leyla to deliver it as she grit her teeth and told Maya that Tracy “is the least of your worries, darlin'”. From that line alone we know we’re in for a delicious revenge twist, as Maya’s lies and grooming of Jacob have been exposed. This moment was what it’s all been building to and as oblivious Maya thought she was getting a lift home, the new power trio of Leyla, Tracy and Priya lay in wait. Leyla could barely contain her rage, as she seethed through a tight jaw and ominous lines of dialogue, us viewers were enraptured dying to know what comes next. This felt like a juicy tease of what’s to come, and if this moment is anything to go by then it’s going to be worth the wait!