In what was a great week of Emmerdale, there were many moments that could have made my Scene of the Week choice but ultimately Emma experiencing flashbacks from James’s final hours stole the show. Cleverly using those memorable scenes from Super Soap Week, we were able to relive Emma’s haunting thoughts – first beginning with just the eerie sounds surrounding her at Wylies, to her standing on and watching those fatal moments play out. We’re not used to these effects on Emmerdale, but used sparingly like this was hugely effective, making it powerful and chilling. It works for someone as unhinged as Emma and we were right there with her in the past. Gillian Kearney’s performances are always multi-layered and captivating so perhaps we could have experienced this scene without the cameos from Super Soap Week, however their inclusion gave it a special dimension and worked well in the lead up to her confession.
David and Jacob’s relationship is always one of the most touching familial relationships in Emmerdale so this moment at the end of the week was a nice resolution to their falling out. Having pledged loyalty to best mate of five minutes, Josh, Jacob risked criminal charges and fell out with his family, who were trying to look out for his future rather than the wayward newcomer. After rowing with David, this scene showed us Jacob’s good hearted n and David’s unflinching love for his surrogate son as he promised to support him, if Jacob did the right thing and report Josh. This is one of those well developed onscreen relationships that feels genuine and benefits from the years spent developing their bond, meaning scenes like this are full of warmth.
If dark political times in the real world haven’t convinced you already, then this week’s Emmerdale would have done the job: the apocalypse is coming. That’s right, this week Debbie and Aaron Dingle actually smiled. I know right? Miracles can happen. As a brief reprieve from their respective miseries, this paintballing scene was so welcome. “Debbie Death Stare”, as her daughter named her, isn’t the happiest of villagers and after ill advised snooping in her daughter’s diary wanted to prove she could lighten up and show Sarah a good time – which she did, albeit with difficulty at first! It was nice to see Charley Webb get to play something a little less serious and her family scenes are always a highlight. After the breakdown of his marriage Aaron too has had a hellish few months in the tragic saga that is his life, but Cain offered him support in a loving but very Cain way. Sure, Aaron might be in a better place if his family had given him this kind of concern months ago, but at least they’re there now. This scene was a fun surprise, full of warmth and humour and exactly the sort of family scenes we need in Emmerdale.
“The only thing that matters is that I said no and that he raped me!” Those were Rhona’s passionate words during the rape trial this week, a speech of courage that easily made my Scene of the Week and possibly swung the jury when it came to making a decision. From day one of this storyline, Zoe Henry’s performances have been superb, evoking so much admiration for Rhona’s bravery and strength. Scenes in a court room can be a bit lacking in soap – whether too long or too tedious – but Zoe’s performances lifted these moments into something dramatic and compelling. Rhona finding her voice against the hideous lines of questioning regarding her sex life – a reality faced by many women – was an emotional and inspiring moment that really stood out in this week’s episodes.
A weird choice for Scene of the Week, I’ll give you that. But with a week full of pretty unengaging stories, a rare moment of levity from Debbie made me smile. And that is almost a miracle. Having decided to put her and Ross on the backburner (sure, yep, we’ll see), Debbie’s eye was caught by a handsome stranger in the pub. But it took her a little while to see what we all saw and yep, Debbie had her very own Ross/Russ moment as it dawned on her she’d been flirting with Mr Barton’s doppelganger. By some small miracle this guy managed to be even more of a sexist pig than Ross – Debbie sure can pick ’em – and when they were rutting like two cavemen she realised the error of her ways. The Debbie and Ross Saga Part 2 has only just begun and it ain’t no “Ross and Rachel” but when they let the characters have a bit of fun, it’s better for it.
We were deprived of our full quota of Emmerdale episodes this week (boo football) but that didn’t mean we were short of stellar scenes and this is just one of them. After Rhona revealed to the whole pub that Pierce had raped her she was at a real low point, feeling like she needed to start afresh in a place that didn’t know her. Thankfully for her, village matriarch Lisa was a great comfort to her, especially as a fellow rape survivor. The women had a number of scenes together in Tuesday’s episode but I wanted to make these lake side scenes as my Scene of the Week choice for several reasons. These scenes tackled Rhona’s insecurities and with Lisa’s support she was able to express openly how she had felt immediately after the attack. Lisa was there as a figure of hope and reason for her, wisely telling her that their relationship status didn’t excuse Pierce’s actions. Rhona too was able to highlight her fears about the reality of the jury’s judgement on her private life and it was a stark reminder of the scrutiny other rape survivors face in court. Shot in the beautiful and luscious green outdoors these were wonderful scenes tackling sensitive issues in a delicate and honest way. Great job, Emmerdale.
Different stories colliding is one of my favourite aspects of soap and that happened in a big way this week when Harriet got caught in the crossfire. I’ll preface this by saying I’m not really feeling Cain and Harriet’s lust or buying Cain’s sudden feelings for the unconventional vicar, but this was a good scene. Scenes prior to this were brimming with tension over Cain’s secret, made even worse by Moira’s presence – awkward! Moira had her suspicions but when Cain kissed Harriet’s hand at her bedside, Moira and Emma watched on with a mixture of shock, jealousy and disgust on Emma’s behalf. While this ying and yang hook up leaves me cold, if this development of stronger feelings prompts more Emma madness and Moira reassessing her feelings then I’m all for it.
There were some superb scenes in the Rhona storyline this week, but I picked this showdown between Priya and Chrissie as my unexpected choice for Scene of the Week. With Rakesh gone, Priya finally felt like the shackles were off and with that her true strong and gutsy self re-emerged as she gave Chrissie a few home truths. Chrissie too seems to have now found the perfect balance in the village – no longer a simpering victim nor the camp soap bitch with the clunky one-liners, she now has the nastiness and snobbery that comes with power as she tries to lord it over others. She’s far more believable and enjoyable, in a love-to-hate sort of way, like this. It’s how she always should have been written. Priya too, no longer weak willed under Rakesh’s shadow, stood up to Chrissie, pointing out her shameful mistakes and holding her head high in the face of Chrissie’s finger pointing. It was a real punch-in-the-air moment for Priya, name dropping Chrissie’s victims like that on the factory floor, and it’s always satisfying to see that over-privileged family taken down a peg or two!
Lydia Hart has been something of a Marmite character in Emmerdale, who – just like the British classic – I love. But having started as an oddball guest character, built around her quirky ownership of cockatoo Steve (now stuffed, RIP) and niche interests, there was a question mark over how well she would integrate in the village full time. Well after this week’s surprisingly moving scene with Laurel it’s safe to say Lydia has been humanised, made more real and yet retaining the quirkiness that secured her a full time spot in the Dales. After interfering in Laurel’s grief process in a way that was a bit full on, even for me a card-carrying Lydia champion, the pair sat down for a proper chat. In this scene which left me feeling a little choked, Lydia revealed that her references about grief were not about Steve the cockatoo, but Steve her late husband. Suddenly a believable and touching backstory opened up in front of us, making Lydia fleshed out and letting us know the grieving woman under all that kookiness. Karen Blick too proved she is more than capable of bonkers humour alongside emotional performances – she’s brilliant.
It wasn’t the most compelling weeks of Emmerdale and even my Scene of the Week choice is admittedly iffy, but go with it. Carly’s exit was an odd one. Rushed on the one hand (Marlon’s insistence she should leave immediately and be with One True Love Matt felt hokey to say the least) but on the other hand she’s had so many almost-exits it feels like this has been dragged on a bit. It’s more of a loss to say goodbye to actress Gemma Atkinson, who managed to give Carly a lot of heart when she was given so little plot to work with, and even in her final moments I felt like Gemma brought more to Carly’s exit than was on the page. It’s rare for an upbeat exit for a character but leaving Marlon sobbing and running away without a goodbye to Bob and her friends was a bit of a kick in the teeth for Carly’s character development. Still, there was a bittersweet element to it, that while Carly did have smiles, there was an uncertainty and sadness in her expression too which made it feel marginally less contrived.