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.
It’s a testament to the performances of actors Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley that they can still make a scene special and touching, even in the midst of a storyline almost universally hated like this cheating/baby plot is. Lets call it magic. Falling at the end of Thursday’s dramatic two-parter, this poignant moment was more like a patch of blue sky in between downpours rather than the calm after the storm, but the pair have a chemistry that means it’s just about worth suffering through this predictable plot for. After Robert’s disastrous one-night stand secret came to light, this final scene saw them reunited, trying to move on from their individual issues. It was a welcome change to see Robert as the vulnerable one, clinging onto Aaron who had made the difficult decision to forgive rather than fight his husband. It’s easy to see in scenes like this why they’re such a popular couple, but also why moments of tenderness are a nice reprieve in the never-ending misery fest of their lives in Emmerdale.
I know what you’re thinking, it’s only May and I’ve already had too much sun. Granted, this isn’t a conventional choice for Scene of the Week, usually I pick something with a beautiful performance or a heartfelt piece of writing, or one of those jaw-dropping dramatic scenes Emmerdale do so well. This week, it’s Rishi singing and stripping to Nelly’s Hot in Herre. Why? Because in what was a fairly mundane week of storylines Rishi’s enthusiasm and larger-than-life personality definitely raised a smile. And sure, sometimes his silliness is a little cringe-inducing but sometimes he’s exactly what you need on a weekday evening. Long live Rishi I say, and good on actor Bhasker Patel for being such a good sport. Go on, watch it again.
There was an unbearable amount of tension in scenes this week as Vanessa saw Rhona’s trashed house and confronted her about what had happened with Pierce. I wasn’t sure how the scenes or the story was going to play out so I braced ready for Rhona to shut her down or avoid telling her the truth, but when Rhona finally revealed to her best friend that Pierce had raped her, I got chills. Much of the reveal scene was silent from Rhona with us, the audience, silently begging her to say as Vanessa continued to push for answers. The characters’ friendship has been rocky of late but I was so glad Vanessa was the one for Rhona to confide in, particularly because she’s another woman but also because their onscreen dynamic is one that always feels believable. The performances from Zoe Henry and Michelle Hardwick gave me goosebumps as they delivered so much emotion in the understated scene, leaving the silence to play out between Rhona voicing what had happened to her.
Ever since Emma Barton revealed her deepest darkest killer secret to Ashley Thomas on video we’ve all been patiently waiting for it to make a reappearance. It’s Chekov’s gun, on tape. But it would be far too easy – and disappointing – for Emma’s downfall to happen so fast, so this week was an enjoyable tease of her comeuppance. Missing his dear dad, angel faced Arthur decided he wanted to rewatch the home videos Ashley had left to feel closer to him. We all know what’s lurking on the tapes and the day before we’d even got a glimpse of the incriminating clip playing out on mute to the oblivious family, but in this scene Arthur fast-forwarded to see his father in a very distressed state. Arthur was obviously clueless about the context for Ashley’s meltdown but the glimpse was enough to upset him, distraught to see his dad like that again – at his worst – and vowed not to watch the videos again. It was a thrilling moment, one we knew couldn’t lead to Emma being exposed but with the truth so tantalisingly close, the question is will anyone else see this tape?
My Scene of the Week choice was a haunting and chillingly realistic depiction of the aftermath of Rhona reporting her rape, as she was taken to be photographed and examined. The scene was almost completely wordless and Rhona had no dialogue at all, letting the scene play out in an extended and claustrophobic way with Zoe Henry’s exceptional performance taking us through every painful stage of the clinical and forensic process. Rhona had to remove her wedding dress, jewellery and finally her wedding ring before sobbing moments before her internal examination. This was a gripping yet horrible scene, one which really highlighted the continually violating and suffocating realities of coping with the aftermath of rape. Emmerdale should be commended for their honesty for this storyline as a whole, particularly scenes as affecting as this.
The Vic and Adam plot travelled a hundred miles an hour this week and the couple we could count on for being the cutest and most secure ended the week on a big break up! Nooo! A week of miscommunication lead to Adam deciding to end their marriage for Vic’s sake so that she could find a man who could give her the family she wants. We don’t often get to see Adam Thomas and Isabel Hodgins get the big emotional moments (in fact, they barely get a look in story wise) but this scene showed what they are both capable of. Adam Thomas could make the coldest of hearts melt and Isabel played Victoria’s desperate and confused pleading as especially heartbreaking. These two have felt like a real couple for a long time and this moment was beautifully performed. Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s something in my eye…