This moment isn’t just my favourite scene of this week, but might just be one of my favourite scenes of Emmerdale this year. Between the high tension of Bails’ trial, Charity took a breather outside and was given a pep talk by Cain in a moment that was steeped in character and history and even managed to move me to tears. Although their days of being a couple are long gone, there’s a complicated history behind their interactions which is palpable in the actors’ chemistry and in this moment you could really grasp the journeys they’ve taken to get to this settled place. We’ve lived through it, just as the characters have, and this kind of reflection was a beautiful moment, quietly powerful. I found Cain’s reassurance that it wasn’t luck that Charity had a lot to be thankful for, but through her own progress, especially moving. His encouragement that she should be proud was an uplifting moment for her and the audience. Emmerdale at its finest.
Shock twists and surprises are hard to pull off in soaps these days where spoilers and savvy viewers can see them coming from miles off, but this moment holds my Scene of the Week title for its pure shock value. With Belle on the run from a gun-toting Lachlan (not too dissimilar from Rebecca’s recent escape) it was the glossy camera work that made the shots intense and adrenaline filled. But did anyone predict what followed? A bickering team of Robert and Ross had clearly learnt nothing from Emmerdale stories of recent years and took their eyes off the road, only for a fleeing Belle to walk straight out in front of the car and roll off Robert’s roof. This scene was brilliant in its unexpectedness and it was fun to have a genuine shock in this kind of episode.
I was so impressed by Jack Downham’s performance in this scene that I had to make it my Scene of the Week. With Ryan’s introduction to the Dingles not going as smoothly as Charity hoped, his was sprung on a confused and hurt Noah without warning. What followed was Noah packing his bags and taking out his pain on Charity and Ryan by saying they didn’t need or want Ryan in their lives as a reminder of what Bails had done. It was one of those really difficult to watch scenes, but one where your heart breaks for all those involved. Noah’s had a rocky relationship with Charity at best and now in his adolescence, with the arrival of Joe and the discovery of Charity’s traumatic childhood, his world has been rocked. Jack’s performances are getting better and better and his complex relationship with his mum is one of the most interesting parent/child dynamics in Emmerdale too.
This week’s choice for Scene of the Week is this surprisingly sweet moment with Rhona, Pete, Leo and Marlon. With Pete moving into Rhona’s, the pair were unsure about Leo’s reaction so they did their best to explain the situation to him using Makaton. It was really endearing to see Pete attempt to talk to Leo and try to sign “tractor” and even Marlon tried to reassure Pete when Leo seemed less keen to respond. Now that Pete’s out of the testosterone hot-house of Dale View, it’s been a welcome change to see him show a more sensitive and mature side. I loved this scene for its warm glimpse into a real-life situation of children adjusting to new partners and vice versa. Even more so I loved the use of the characters’ on-screen history to explain why they had both been hesitant, with Rhona mentioning her trust issues after Pierce and Pete wary to get attached to kids after his failed relationship with Debbie. This was such a casual, everyday scene but one which gives Emmerdale a feeling of normalcy and reality amongst some of the more outlandish stories. More of this please.
Sarah’s tragic storyline has been one of the strongest and a real highlight this week, but I particularly enjoyed this scene with her mum, Debbie, when she agreed to go ahead with the transplant. With Debbie battling to stay positive, the pair had a frank discussion with Sarah feeling like she caused her mum too much trouble in life. Charley Webb’s performance in this moment was a real tear-jerker as she struggled to imagine how painful life would be without her daughter and how powerless she felt. Young actress Katie Hill is so much like a young Debbie that their scenes together have a genuine charm, one which makes this storyline work even better.
Lachlan’s story might be going round in familiar circles, but Rebecca’s escape attempt and chase this week had all the thrills and tension of a horror movie. There was something pretty exciting about this scene and the way it was shot meant you were never quite sure just how close to freedom Rebecca was. With both her and Lucky tripping and falling, it was a perilous mission, one with a frustrating ending of course, with Lachlan capturing and dragging Rebecca off to meet her fate. Whether that’s a new cabin in the woods or a shallow grave (my money’s on the former) we’ll have to see, but I’m expecting more horror tropes before this story is out.
Love was in the air for Aaron and Robert this week as they both proposed to each other, at the same time, at the layby where their romance first began all those years ago. Shippers rejoice! After their messy break up, these hotly anticipated scenes of happiness and light relief really feel earned. This particular moment on the car bonnet, beautifully shot in the countryside, was full of call-backs to their past and gave Robert the chance to reflect on his complicated feelings at the start of their affair. I’m a sucker for these quiet, reflective scenes in Emmerdale and luckily for Robron, actors Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley play out the pair’s feelings in the silences with real longing and warmth. Could this proposal ever top the spectacle of their first in Super Soap Week 2016? For me, probably not – but the romance of seeing them return to the spot where it all began, with Robert finally at peace with his sexuality and self, was a winner.
It’s the classic moment where the panicking hostage tries to get the villain on side and he ends up confessing all his darkest deeds – and Lachlan did just that in my Scene of the Week choice. In this grim, darkly lit cabin in the woods, Lachlan managed to be both chilling and remorseful as his secrets poured out. After giving starving Rebecca an apple (how thoughtful!!) Lachlan opened up after she suggested they talk, so that she could understand what he was going through. As Lachlan talked about Chrissie, that maybe she’d have been better off not having him, his guilt resurfaced and he revealed the shocking truth that he caused the crash, killing Chrissie and Lawrence. He didn’t stop there either, telling her that he killed Gerry too and burying his face in his arm as he spoke. It’s difficult for any actor to handle long stretches of dialogue but it was a rewarding scene to see Thomas Atkinson’s performance shift between cold and unfeeling kidnapper, to making Lachlan’s lost-boy breakdown almost tragic, as he focused in on the catastrophic domino affect of his actions.
My groans could be heard nationwide as Emmerdale revealed Tracy was secretly pregnant with David’s kid this week, but thankfully they then pulled this moment out of the bag. Rather than have Tracy agonise over whether to get an abortion, only to be shamed and cajoled by everyone around her to keep the baby, Tracy took a firm ownership of her future and got a termination. Not only did this divert from the usual predictable narratives, Tracy faced an emotional and strong showdown with David where she told him the decision she’d made, later telling dad Frank that she would not feel guilty or regret it. We’re so used to soap stories that pigeon-hole women to be at the whims of men and whose sole purpose is motherhood no matter their circumstances or ambitions. With this story, her past as a sex worker and recognition that she’s better than David’s derision and shame, Tracy has fast become the feminist character 2018 deserves. Amy Walsh continues to deliver thrillingly good performances and it’s about time she got recognised for them.
In all honesty I could have picked any of Matty’s scenes for my Scene of the Week choice as his whole return was a stand-out moment, but I’ve picked the first moment that Matty reveals to Moira that he’s been living as a man. After realising that Cain had her child by the scruff of the neck, Butler’s kitchen bristled in silence as mother and son shared an awkward first hug. It wasn’t the reunion Matty had hoped for and Moira’s gut reaction was one of complete confusion, asking Matty why he looked like he did. Matty was left to tearfully explain that this is a good change and that he’s been living as a man now. This scene was just the start of a moving storyline and one which has already brought emotional and compelling character-led storytelling back to the forefront of Emmerdale. Ash Palmisciano’s performance made the moment tense and heartfelt, playing perfectly against the shock and confusion from Moira and Cain.