Kudos to Emmerdale for creating a genuinely surprising reveal this week as the truth gradually unravelled when Harriet and Dawn came face to face. Their shared history had been teased in the press, but their past connection was something I doubt many viewers were expecting. It was surprising that their history was revealed in the first episode of their meeting, rather than leaving viewers in the dark for weeks but I liked that it took a few scenes for Harriet to reveal that Dawn didn’t have the full picture. This introductory scene revealed that Harriet was once “Michelle” and Dawn’s almost step-mother. Not only did this reveal show Harriet in a whole new light, but it left us all wondering if Dawn’s life could’ve been a whole lot better, had Harriet not lead a double life. Great scene!
It was great to see Ryan again this week, especially now that he can be established more than just Charity’s secret son. After a fairly conventional and quiet upbringing by Irene, Ryan doesn’t seem quite ready for the mayhem the Dingle fold ensues. After some gentle consoling of Noah, Ryan watched on as Noah handed himself into the police. Charity later exploded at Ryan, blaming him for Noah’s situation and citing the infamous Dingle code. We really get to see characters tick when they clash, so it was great to see Ryan and Charity with new friction between them. Charity is far from the perfect mother and with Ryan’s world very different from the Dingles’ moral code, it’ll be great to see how this causes more conflict in future.
Liam Cavanagh was high on my shit list this week after he sided with his cruel daughter Leanna and left Bernice humiliated. It was going to take a big gesture for him to be worthy of her again and that came in the form of this brilliant scene. Dressing up in that awful ball gown and wig, Liam made his entrance in the Woolie and begged Bernice for forgiveness. But it wasn’t just giggles Liam’a gesture produced, he wasted no time in telling Bernice what a successful woman she was and he wanted her just to be herself, no need for pretence. This was exactly what miserable Bernice needed to hear, having had her self esteem knocked many times by disastrous men. “Cavastock” are my new favourite couple and I really hope they last and Liam treats Bernice right!
Nicola had chaos this week when she was forced to juggle two jobs and three kids – four if you include big kid Robert Sugden, who was on a mission to wind her up. Mischievous Robert used the King kids to irritate their mum and distract her from business with the haulage firm. This scene was brilliant fun, and as Nicola got more irate, Robert shrugged off any interest in helping her out, teaching the kids to throw insults and paper balls instead. It got even funnier when Ellis stepped in and blew Nicola’s cover with Rishi. Robert was quite the dab hand with the babysitting, but his dead-pan refusal to help against Nicola’s raging desperation was a great mix. We’ve seen glimpses of Nicola and Robert’s comedy potential before but it’s always been fleeting – this was a true display of what a funny duo they could be. With the terrible twosome now on their own mission to take over Joe’s Waterhouse business, Emmerdale would be crazy to squander the humour they have in this pair.
I really felt for Victoria this week and Isabel Hodgins did a great job at showing Vic’s heartbreak and identity crisis. Vic might have two lovely guys after her, in the shape of Matty and Ellis, but after several bombshells about Adam, her broken marriage felt unresolved and sent her spiralling. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with having fun and dating useless blokes (and Leon was a right prick) but an emotional Victoria soon opened up that she wasn’t happy and was trying to find herself again. With Leon knocking her confidence and Vic feeling like her life was a car crash, Matty offered some great advice. He might be in the friendzone now, but maybe that’s exactly what Vic needs.
It’s been months since Gerry became one of Lachlan’s victims and I don’t know about you, but I still really miss him. A year ago, Gerry was right at home helping Doug with the fireworks and thought himself something of an expert. So this week’s tribute to Gerry felt a very fitting and moving way to remember him properly, especially after his lacklustre funeral. My Scene of the Week had to be Doug’s emotional speech as he conveyed what Gerry meant to the village (and likewise his fans) and revealed Gerry’s plaque in the community garden, now named after him. With Gerry’s epithet reading: Pyromaniac, Joker, Gardener and Beloved Friend – it couldn’t have summed him up better. Doug set off a rocket in his memory, with Duncan Preston’s emotional hitch in his voice giving the scene a surprising power. When Doug said he knew the firework wasn’t enough to get anyone arrested but he hoped it would put a cheeky smile on Gerry’s face, I had a real lump in my throat. Miss you Gerry lad!
When it came to farewells, Ross had a lot of villagers to say goodbye to but one of the most surprising and moving moments during his exit came from his final scene with little April. Viewers will remember Ross’s short-lived relationship with April’s mum Donna before her death, in what was probably one of Ross’s most loved storylines and relationships. After her death, Ross had a close relationship with April as he came to term with his grief for Donna and it was one of the first times, pre-fatherhood, that we saw his softer side. Fast forward four years and the days of April and Ross sharing scenes are long gone, and once Ross had Moses Emmerdale quickly forgot about his connection to April, but this final scene was a nice moment remembering the past. With April quickly growing up, old enough now for her to give Ross a pep talk, Ross reminded us all of his love for Donna by telling April she’d be so proud of her. Maybe I’m just a big softie, but this moment gave me a little lump in my throat. Ross at his best.
I really liked Emmerdale’s efforts this week to explore different reactions in grief and I thought Paddy’s scene with Marlon at the graveside was particularly strong. While Paddy appeared to show strength and calm, he opened up to Marlon, telling him that he was feeling numb and empty in the wake of Grace’s death. This is quite a different path for a soap to take, as reactions to death usually follow a path of destruction and despair, whereas Paddy’s is one that isn’t often shown but is common for many people struggling in the real word. The on screen partnership between actors Dominic Brunt and Mark Charnock is always strong, having a solid foundation after working alongside each other for so many years, but it was particularly emotional in this scene and I think it was one of the most moving, difficult scenes of the funeral.
I’ve been so impressed with Jack Downham’s performances in recent months, but the scenes between Noah and Graham this week were really stand-out. Noah’s love for his brother Joe had shone in their time together, it wasn’t just about the idolisation, but about having someone in his corner who put him as a priority. He’s always felt a bit lost in Charity’s chaos, so to have Joe was a chance for Noah to have that friend and hero big brother. With Joe gone, Noah crumbled and Graham tried to shake him into reason. Though Graham’s approach was on the tougher, colder side of tough-love, there was a bittersweet irony to the scene watching and knowing that Graham seems to have been the one to end Joe’s life himself. But this duplicity, with Graham fulfilling a fatherly role to Noah rather than Joe could be a purpose for Graham that he seems to be lacking. Hats off to Jack though, for making Noah’s frustration and pain so palpable.
It didn’t take long for Kim to slip back into old habits as she returned to Home Farm and she began picking off the villagers one by one. This camp scene full of bitchy put-downs made an entertaining Scene of the Week. Once the claws had been sharpened against Charity, Kim moved onto sloshed Brenda, revealing she never frequents cafes and wouldn’t make the exception here either. Kim revealed in the fun bitchiness, gleefully teasing that she might repossess Kerry’s home – in the cold way villains do best. Even though the party might’ve been full of strangers, this scene was a fun slice of pantomine and nicely sets up a wealth of antagonism for when Kim returns in the new year.