Fave or Fail? (13-24 July 2020)

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Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. This fortnight saw Cain confessing his feelings for Moira by her hospital bedside and Lydia taking a big decision to get the Huntington’s test done.

Faves

Lydia’s Big Decision

vlcsnap-2020-07-25-12h29m26s294Lydia’s one of Emmerdale’s best characters and her Huntington’s storyline has real potential so I was happy to gain focus again this fortnight. Emmerdale’s in need of a big, emotional, real-life centred story at the moment, particularly with one of their strongest stories – Vanessa’s cancer – now happening offscreen for the foreseeable. Hopefully Lydia’s story will fill that gap and raise awareness. This fortnight Lydia worried about personality changes and although Lydia’s change seemed abrupt, it’s possible that scenes with her talking to Agatha may have been cut due to filming issues. However, her emotional scenes later in the week with Chas and Sam allowed us to hear Lydia’s fears and empathise with her dilemma in finding out what the future has in store. I wonder where this story will go in the long term, especially if she does get a positive diagnosis, but I’m glad to see more of Lydia and Sam united during these difficult times for the family.

Andrea the Puppet-master

vlcsnap-2020-07-25-12h29m38s548Andrea’s transformation into power-hungry villain is another story development that seems controversial with viewers. Some find her change in personality too dramatic to believe, whereas others are enjoying the campy elements of her turning into a villain but question why she’s doing all this for a drip like Jamie. I tend to fall into the latter category. It’s been a welcome development to see Andrea with a bit of spark, a feistiness, to have the rest of the Tates on the backfoot. I found it enjoyable in a love-to-hate way to watch Andrea manipulate Jamie and control things with Belle, all the while seeming to enjoy her new found power. Sometimes it’s fun to see a character change like this and morph into a villain – it’s only her motives here which feel a bit weak. When Emma Barton (amazing character) played puppet master with the villagers all to have James, it felt believable, we had years of watching her twist into bitterness and possession, so by the time she donned the wedding dress and tied him up, it was a brilliant watch. As much as James was a dullard, you could still believe in her wanting him all for herself. With Andrea, she just isn’t there, her desperation for Jamie just isn’t quite believable. Nevertheless Andrea’s been sitting on this potential for evil for a while and I’m glad we’re getting to see it, even going as far as trapping Kim and finally dismantling the power structures at Home Farm. We need a love-to-hate villain and Andrea could be the one.

Feelings Reignited?

vlcsnap-2020-07-25-12h28m08s046Emmerdale continued to pave the way for Cain and Moira to get closer this fortnight after Moira’s brush with death. If her tender smile at Cain admitting feelings at her bedside is anything to go by, Moira still holds a candle for him and there’s still hope. After Moira was discharged from hospital, Cain was back on the farm in his overalls ready to help out and knowing his secret, Moira had an air of lightness which was refreshing to see. Since her cheating last year, there’s been a black cloud over Moira and the farm, but now she knows Cain’s real feelings, that hostility has been smoothed over. It’s a testament to Natalie J Robb and Jeff Hordley’s chemistry than it doesn’t matter if one of them is playing unconscious or their scenes are socially distant, there’s a strong connection there. I only hope when they do reunite (and surely it has to be when rather than if) then it’s post-social distancing so they can do it properly – with a kiss!

Café Kings

vlcsnap-2020-07-25-12h32m58s464We learnt in the lockdown episodes that Nicola was unsatisfied in life, felt as though her career had stalled and now it looks as if these suggestions were laying the groundwork for the Kings’ latest storyline. With Bob and Brenda struggling to give Dan his pay out, Nicola suggested her and Jimmy buy into the café. It might seem a little bit of a backwards step for Nicola, especially considering she’s now a local councillor, but the Kings revamping and being in charge of the café could be a nice change of pace. If it means we get to see more of them then it’s an added bonus. I wish, lockdown episode aside, we’d seen more build up to this story from the Kings point of view, perhaps Nicola struggling with her councillor role or Jimmy’s business crumbling after Robert left, because the reality of this change in management seems more that the show want to rejig things rather than it being motivated by something deeper within the characters. Nevertheless any chance to see more of Nicola and Jimmy, at the centre of village life, can only be a good thing!

Fails

Dan’s Disability

vlcsnap-2020-07-25-12h30m04s265Dan spent the fortnight feeling pretty sorry for himself as he faced a big adjustment period now that he’s out of hospital and using a wheelchair. July is Disability Pride month so it feels a little disheartening to spend scenes with Dan feeling so miserable about his situation. Granted, it’ll take him time to come to terms with his disability and he’s not suddenly going to snap into positivity mode, but this seems to be a very familiar storyline for Emmerdale. It wasn’t that long ago we had the same story with Nicola, and an even bleaker story for Jackson. It’s difficult to know what the focus is meant to be in this story, especially as it doesn’t feel like this is a permanent life change for Dan ala Chris Tate, so my investment is low. Disappointingly even Nicola, who lived with her paralysis for years got some miracle physio and now has a perfectly able arm. So what is the purpose of Dan’s story? It doesn’t feel like a genuine attempt at a story about disability, it feels overdone, a stop-gap to give Dan something to do and change direction at the café.  Even if the story was to focus more on Dan’s adjustment, I’m not sure he’s the right character to be miserable for months, he’s much more suited to lighter, comedic plots. So far, his struggle is already a bit of a drain to watch.

Timid Tate

vlcsnap-2020-07-25-12h31m21s457Even Kim questioned Jamie’s lineage this week as she said what we are all thinking – how can Jamie possibly be the spawn of Frank and Kim? (And no, unless Emmerdale change history, Jamie isn’t Dave Glover’s – two DNA tests were done). Because really, considering he’s the son of two huge villainous characters, Jamie’s a bit pathetic and dull. He might have ruined some of his popularity by cheating on Andrea (although I still think, minus the whining, Jamie and Belle make a cute couple) but he’s a pretty weak leading character full stop. We might have guessed it way back when he and Kim had very circular arguments, but at the forefront of the show it’s hard to care about Andrea’s entrapment of him because he’s just so mopey and moany. Sure, for the story to work, he has to be weak-willed, dumping Belle at Andrea’s say-so, following her back and forth when she clicks her fingers, but even when he tries to show a bit of spine against Andrea, it falls flat. Spoilers indicate he stands up to Andrea soon, but come on Emmerdale – he’s a Tate! We know he’s meant to be a bit different to his mum and dad, but it doesn’t mean he has to be boring and insipid!

 

Scene of the Week (13-24 July 2020)

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As Moira remained unconscious in her hospital bed after her hit and run, Cain’s worst fears came to the foreground – a life without his estranged wife was unthinkable. Stoic Cain is a tough man to get to open up, but we all know how deep his feelings still run for Moira, even after her betrayal (lets just pretend that terrible story didn’t happen!), so by her beside Cain begged her to recover. As Cain opened up (well, as much as Cain does) Moira’s eyes flickered and when he left we saw her eyes open and a tearful smile emerge. The feelings are still there and it gives us hope that the reunion many viewers still want has a chance.

Fave or Fail? (29 June-10 July 2020)

faveorfail

Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. This fortnight saw a return to regular episodes with social distancing measures in place as Jamie’s hunt for Andrea turned deadly.

Faves

Moira’s Mojo Returns

vlcsnap-2020-07-11-21h23m01s404Emmerdale was back properly this fortnight and returning to the village was like sinking into a hot bath – lovely. While the timeline and the social distancing measures made things a bit weird, it was nice to revisit some of our favourite characters and see life cracking on in the village. One villager I was glad to see again and who I found a new appreciation for was Moira. She was victim to a terrible story last year but having not seen her on screen for a while and then her being a big part of the fortnight’s episodes I remembered what a great part of Emmerdale she is. From the farming story with Rhona, her chemistry with Cain, to getting her mojo back and giving Malone a feisty talking to, Moira’s an all round great character and it feels good to see all sides of her again, hopefully meaning whatever last year was about can be forgotten!

Storylines Combined

vlcsnap-2020-07-11-21h24m54s888The Jamie Andrea saga is a bit of a mixed bag. Andrea’s revenge plan seems to have made her into a desperate simpering character rather someone who had the potential to be a bit more ruthless, and Jamie’s a bit pathetic full stop. Nevertheless things picked up in recent episodes as Jamie’s involvement in the hit and run could signal some interesting developments. Some of the most successful soap stories bring together multiple story threads and characters and this could be one of them. With Jamie vulnerable at rock bottom, Andrea’s already started using this to her advantage so it will be interesting to see how far she goes. This story could also see Cain and Moira growing closer after his distress at her state in hospital. And with Harriet thinking Malone’s involved, could this push that story to a conclusion too? Here’s hoping Jamie’s cowardly act might liven up these individual stories!

Teen Perspective

vlcsnap-2020-07-11-21h23m40s330Leanna had a very sudden change of heart this week as she decided to make amends with Leyla and even match make her back with Liam. This was a strange direction considering pre-lockdown she was adamant that Leyla and Liam couldn’t be together. But this fortnight seemed to suggest a big part of that was her fondness for Jacob and it looks like the two of them are embarking on a tentative romance. Jacob deserves some happiness and the two seem rather sweet together, even if it has made Gabby a bit of a third wheel. The teen group (absent Liv included) are a watchable bunch these days and it was a welcome development to see them happier, matchmaking rather than meddling.

Fails

A Desperate Woman

vlcsnap-2020-07-11-21h21m41s239One disappointment of our return to Emmerdale was Andrea. Having left us on lockdown with cliffhanger wondering what her plan was, Andrea’s plan just seemed to be faffing about at a hotel for a bit. Was it for the breakfast buffet?! When Leyla tracked her down she suggested to Andrea that it was still worth giving things a go with Jamie, but Andrea got back to the village only to find Jamie and Belle as smitten as ever. First of all, it seemed completely unbelievable for Leyla to encourage Andrea back with Jamie after his cheating but Andrea’s reaction herself was a complete let down. Her plan to expose the affair was fun and devious and while her begging Jamie back afterwards was desperate, her escape plan at least hinted she might turn the tables on him. But this fortnight she just came across weak willed and desperate – it would have been much better if her real motive was a desire to make Jamie suffer. I’m hoping that if she blackmails him over his hitting Moira with the car, her motives might have a more villainous edge rather than a pathetic and desperate woman who wants her husband back regardless of what he’s done.

Harriet’s Conflict

vlcsnap-2020-07-11-21h22m31s219A benefit of the new social distanced filming means that we’re spared seeing clinches we’re already tired of, so there was no kissing for the grating Bob and Wendy pairing and Harriet and Malone’s affair has been reduced to strops and loud conversations about her guilt. The Malone story as a whole seems to have gone down like a lead balloon, but it’s the Harriet affair element that is probably the most frustrating. For fans of Harriet it’s been maddening to see her compromise her strong sense of self and principles just for the sake of a vestry quickie. When she knows what Malone has done, her attraction to him seems completely unbelievable. It’s one thing to throw away her family but another to keep going back to a man so twisted. Despite the script telling us so, Harriet seems less conflicted and more repulsed, which makes her apparent desire for him even more unbelievable. Even when she was trying to justify it to Moira, it rang completely hollow. Does she even like him, let alone fancy him? It’s a hard sell, one that makes the whole Malone saga even harder to invest in.

Scene of the Week (29 June-10 July 2020)

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On the quest to find AWOL Andrea, Jamie’s erratic driving in the dark caused him to hit someone and then flee the scene. We later discovered the victim of his hit and run was Moira meaning Jamie’s act of cowardliness will have far reaching consequences. Admittedly Jamie isn’t the most interesting character with some fans arguing he’s a bit too weak-willed to really be a Tate, but this act shows he’s darker than we first thought. Could we see a darker side to him, especially if Andrea and Kim pull the strings? Surely it’s only a matter of time before he has enough? This incident also nicely ties together many other characters and stories – from Moira and the farm, to Cain and the Malone story – as well as Jamie’s dilemma and pushes things into a new direction.

Emmerdale Lockdown Episodes in June 2020

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To ensure viewers didn’t miss out when Emmerdale episodes ran out, the production team made a bold decision to make a special set of six episodes. These special ‘lockdown episodes’, featuring very reduced cast and crew, had strict measures in place and tried to reflect the strange times we are experiencing during COVID19 and were all produced, written and shot in an impressive turn around.

Unsurprisingly, these different episodes were divisive, with some viewers not enjoying the change of pace but others embracing the show’s efforts to entertain us even in these challenging times. Rather than being ‘boring’ or ‘slow’, the episodes felt like mini plays, a back-to-basics look at the nuts and bolts of what soaps should be. Far from the stunt filled, plot centred, sometimes unrealistic, heightened drama of the soaps we’re used to, it was a return to character-led writing, simpler set-ups and a welcome focus on relationships and deeper emotions. More of this style of writing please!!

For someone like me who loves when regular Emmerdale takes the time to delve deep into characterisation, these special episodes were a treat and a resounding success. Here’s a brief look at the highlights of each episode.

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Lydia and Sam

Sam: Good evening, slash, only just afternoon. FURLOUGHED! FURLOUGHED!

  • Lydia and Sam have become the new head of the Dingles at Wishing Well, so it seemed only right that they were the first lockdown episode – and theirs was one of my favourites, as Sam tried to keep Lydia shielded at home, worried as she hasn’t had her Huntington’s test.
  • At first, the novelty was a little hard to get used to – mentions of real-world phrases and aspects of the lockdown that had become so familiar to us felt weird (furlough, shielding, Click and Collect) – but it ended up being a comfort to have our favourite Emmerdale characters thrown into situations like our own. Some viewers found it a little too close to home, but I appreciated how relatable it was, and a far cry from some of the more outlandish soap we can get a bit fatigued by (Malone, anyone?).
  • One challenge the cast and crew had to overcome was filming with social distancing. This was the most difficult when episodes featured onscreen couples who couldn’t get physically near, but filming is going to look like this for the foreseeable future so it’s something we’ll just have to get used to. Sure, there were a few moments where it was noticeable, but unless you’re a nitpicker, it was easy to get engrossed in the script and performances and overlook the distance.
  • While newlyweds Sam and Lydia enjoyed some lighter moments in their episode (Sam in his hazmat suit was a real highlight) we also got to revisit Lydia’s Huntington’s storyline and even Sam got to talk about his hopes and dreams. Often, smaller character moments like these get lost under the big dramatic stories so it was a welcome change of pace. For characters like Sam and Lydia, it strengthened their relationship and added something a little extra to their characters which hopefully might inspire future stories.

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Aaron and Cain

Cain: You look like a Weetabix!

  • Much like Lydia and Sam’s episode, Aaron and Cain’s episode was sprinkled with some fun comedic moments – such as their early argument about Monopoly and the wearing of sheet masks, but their episode also had a dramatic dilemma at its heart as Cain wouldn’t talk about Moira and hid a letter from Robert, worried Aaron would go off the rails again.
  • Cain and Aaron’s gruff, familial relationship is a fan favourite one, possibly because the two Dingles have a lot in common. This episode also proved how well Jeff Hordley and Danny Miller work together on screen as their characters rubbed each other up the wrong way. Even though Cain’s been busy using The Mill as a dodgy den while working with Malone, hopefully this episode might inspire some more clashing domestic Aaron and Cain scenes at home.
  • While Cain dealt with his lingering feelings towards Moira, it gave hopeful Coira fans the tease that things aren’t really over – and with any luck after the audience response will convince the powers that be that Cain and Moira are meant to reunite…
  • For Aaron, the episode was a nicely crafted bit of closure as he received a letter from Robert explaining his difficult decision to end their marriage. The letter had a lot of build up and conflict as Cain struggled to remember where he put it, giving the episode its drama, however the choppy style of the episode meant Aaron’s response to the letter felt a little rushed. Despite this, it seemed like a good attempt to close that chapter of Aaron’s life, while staying true to the significance of their relationship after so many years together.

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Vinny and Mandy

Mandy: I thought we could do a duet, right? And stick it on that FlipFlop.

  • Vinny and Mandy were one of the few lockdown episode participants to be slap-bang in the middle of an unresolved plot when filming paused, and they still had many Paul-shaped tensions to deal with as they spent their lockdown in the salon (one of the most contrived locations the writers had to make work!).
  • Paul’s appearance and disappearance was the main tension Mandy and Vinny had between them, but this gave the pair of them time to talk about their past which was nice for us viewers who still don’t really know all that much about Vinny, and Mandy’s time away from the village. Although it feels like we haven’t heard the full story about Paul, this episode gave us more backstory about his abandonment of Mandy.
  • Vinny has often felt a little bit like a Finn Barton replacement, but it was nice to use this episode to explore his character a little more and for us to see how close he and Mandy are.
  • As Mandy questioned whether Vinny wanted to find his birth mum, she opened up with a tragic secret of her own, explaining why Vinny has been so precious to her. Mandy’s chaotic humour has always been fun, but Lisa Riley’s strength is also in emotional scenes, and the moment where she shared her traumatic miscarriage and infertility secret with Vinny was really powerful. It was tricky for this scene to not include Vinny comforting Mandy and the obvious moment was cut away from, but the emotional weight of this moment suffered a little from the choppy structure of the episode. I’m glad they’re giving Mandy something meatier to work with, I only hope that, with so many women in the village suffering from tragic motherhood/birthing stories, she realises that her worth isn’t centred around her ability to be a biological mother – and Lydia would be a good person to help with this.

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Nicola and Jimmy

Jimmy: Jai’s always the one that’s putting those picture, whatchamacall-its. GIFs! That’s the one. Jai! You’re a middle-aged man, for crying out loud – grow up!

  • I had high hopes for Nicola and Jimmy’s episode, being that I think they’re one of Emmerdale best couples – and most underused. It seemed as if Twitter agreed as many viewers cited this episode of their favourite lockdown of the time! As the Kings (with invisible kids) moved into Laurel’s to shield Rodney, Nicola aired her frustrations with life and Jimmy bore the brunt.
  • Two of the challenges with this episode were that in reality, the King household would be chaos – homeschooling, Nicola’s council work and Jimmy trying to continue working – but the Emmerdale version, for obvious reasons, was a lot quieter. Secondly, we know Jimmy and Nicola are lovers and fighters and when they bicker, they usually make it up with snogging and role play. With that out of the picture, some of their arguments hit a little harder and felt a bit more forced, without the amusing make-up sessions.
  • Still there was plenty of laughs in this episode – the failed wine delivery, group chats, the commentary and bitchy opinions on other villagers, keeping the world of Emmerdale alive even though we couldn’t check in with these characters ourselves. The odd moment where we heard their thoughts was a strange misstep in an otherwise entertaining episode of marital strife.
  • A big plus of this episode was an uninterrupted episode of Emmerdale’s most underrated characters. With Nicola eyeing up a new work project, I really hope this means the Kings might finally get the story and the screentime they deserve. They are wasted.

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Paddy and Chas

Paddy: Do you know what I’m going to do next time? I’m gonna get a cattle prod: TWO METRES!!

  • Unpopular opinion alert: I think Chas and Paddy are better as friends – so I was a little apprehensive for a full episode of just the two of them, so I was glad their lockdown episode touched on a lot of the niggles I have with their relationship. As Chas found life under lockdown difficult, Paddy wanted to get things back on track, naive to Chas’s complicated feelings.
  • One aspect of the lockdown episodes that I really enjoyed was how grounded they were in real-world struggles. We all love a bit of escapism, but often worries about money and jobs only crop up in a stories removed from real world struggles. (For example, you never hear Jimmy wondering how Brexit will impact the haulage business, do you?). But for Chas, the pub being shut – and their rival the Malt Shovel doing takeaways – made her worry for the future of her livelihood. This wasn’t just about her identity but about how this pandemic will impact upon people’s businesses. This was a good writing decision and an element I’d like to see seep into regular episodes more often.
  • Chas’s struggles weren’t just about the pub, but also a sense that she’d lost track of who she was. While this worry also cropped up for Nicola, Chas’s felt more organic as her personality seems to have lost her spark lately. Since the Grace story, the writing for Chas has reduced her to some sort of self-righteous mother figure and nagging wife against Paddy the hapless fool. We rarely see her anywhere else besides the bar or the backroom and the Chas we know and love is a lot more than this! I’m hopeful that this recognition in the episode might lead Chas down a more interesting path post-lockdown.
  • Her relationship with Paddy also seems to have hit a road-block. Perhaps it was purely for some tension in the episode, but this coupling does seem to have stifled them both, making their characters a bit stuck. Could this lockdown episode be hinting at a split? I think I’d prefer something new for both of them.

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Marlon, Al and Ellis

Al: You’re too tall! I can hear your arms and legs flapping through the air!

  • I’ll be honest, Marlon’s lockdown episode with Al and Ellis was the episode I wasn’t that excited about, but one that surprised me in a good way. Since the recast Ellis has been written as pretty dull and Al’s characterisation after stirring things between Jessie and Marlon had been a bit flat too so this was a good chance to delve deeper into their dynamic. The stage was set for maximum conflict as Ellis invited Al to stay with him and Marlon.
  • One drawback of this lockdown episode was that it felt a bit contrived to have Marlon living at Debbie’s place and the whole of Charity and Vanessa’s brood elsewhere, but the reasoning just about worked.
  • It was an interesting spin to have Marlon wary that he had the virus, as I’m sure a lot of viewers panicked about a cough in the early days in lockdown. The direct references to things like the NHS rainbow and clap for carers was a little cheesy in this episode, as it had been in others, but it worked when Marlon used it just to be passive aggressive towards Al.
  • As with all the episodes, the comedy was a little hit and miss, but this was balanced with Marlon finding it hard to be away from the kids and Al snapping when working from home became just too difficult with the distractions (been there!).
  • This episode worked wonders for Al, fleshing him out with an emotive backstory and making him seem far more layered as a character. He’s often been written off as a bit dull, but this episode proved there’s potential there, if the writing is good. As he and Marlon came to some sort of truce I could actually see them as sort of reluctant, antagonising friends – it could be fun.

The Woolie Weekly’s regular recaps return every fortnight.

Fave or Fail? (25 May-5 June 2020)

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Every week (every fortnight during the lockdown) I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. This marks the last fortnight of ‘normal’ episodes before the lockdown episodes, as Andrea took her revenge and Vinny discovered ‘Alex’ was his dad, Paul.

Faves

Andrea Gets Her Revenge

vlcsnap-2020-06-06-21h32m20s482Andrea’s been sitting on the knowledge of Jamie and Belle’s affair for a while now but finally their fling was exposed in a dramatic fashion right in the middle of a pub quiz. Once the dust settled Andrea wasn’t finished and tried to claw back her marriage, pleading with Jamie and using Millie as a bargaining tool, satisfied that she’d managed to damage Belle and Jamie’s relationship. The tables soon turned however when Jamie realised Andrea had known for weeks and had orchestrated the whole reveal making him question the woman he married. The reveal was a great bit of soapy drama as was Andrea’s plan backfiring but when she later went missing, that’s when things got even more interesting. It’s taken a long time for Andrea to show any real personality so this fortnight has given her something juicy to do and the hint of a Gone Girl style revenge plot was a nice teaser. Lockdown means we might not find out what Andrea’s planning for a long while but I think this story might end up being the making of her. Time to play dirty.

Rhona’s Wrong Move

vlcsnap-2020-06-06-21h33m14s506Rhona and Moira’s business partnership on the farm got off to a bad start as the pair clashed over a big meat order. With Rhona desperate to succeed she ended up going behind Moira’s back to secretly split the deal with Nate. You can already see this backfiring big time, can’t you? With oblivious Moira stressed and wanting to put the last year behind her, you could see the cogs turning for Rhona realising that Moira won’t be happy if she discovers the truth. And she’s bound to, this is Emmerdale after all. It’s a shame there’s already a huge spanner in the works and a big rift on the horizon because these two are very watchable together and a long term partnership could be great. Also it’s a welcome decision to have a farming plot in the show again as it’s always good to see the roots of the show. Although times have changed, there’s surely a lot more engaging stories to be had about the reality of farming in these difficult times compared to tales of two dimensional characters like Malone.

Leanna Opens Up

vlcsnap-2020-06-06-21h34m09s989It would be easy to dismiss Leanna as simply a spoilt teenage brat, but there’s a vulnerability to Leanna that emerged in recent episodes that showed she’s so much more. As her desperation for her dad to end things with Leyla took a violent turn, Liam called it quits with Leyla after taking time to listen to Leanna’s point of view. Despite her behaviour sometimes being cruel and vindictive, Mimi Slinger managed to make her empathetic as she explained to her dad how she had felt neglected by him always putting his girlfriends first. This was a tricky situation for Liam to handle and perhaps he’ll continue to struggle if he doesn’t take his blinkers off when it comes to his daughter, but listening to her was a start. This story also saw Leyla break down about another disastrous relationship gone wrong and you can’t help but feel for her too, especially as her hapless bad luck makes her so endearing. I’m not sold on her romance with Liam but she does deserve some major happiness soon!

Fails

Same Story?

vlcsnap-2020-06-06-21h35m20s344Vinny learnt the truth about his new friend “Alex” this fortnight, leaving him hurt and his relationship with Mandy in a fragile state. There will be more of Mandy and Vinny’s relationship in their very own lockdown episode and I’m looking forward to their heart to heart. It’s early days for this story and it’s been nice to see more of a serious story for Mandy and to reveal more about Vinny’s character, but there’s one thing about this story that just isn’t drawing my interest – we’ve seen it before. In the last two years we’ve had Paddy learning about long lost dad Bear, then there’s Nate discovering dad Cain and now it’s Vinny’s turn. Doesn’t it feel like this has been overdone lately? Although there might be a dynamic to this story that’s fresh, the father and son trying to rebuild a relationship stuff feels stale. There’s surely only so many conversations that can be had before they forge a relationship again. Watching Bear and Paddy you’d be forgiven for thinking they’ve known each other their whole lives. Let’s hope Vinny and Paul have a bit more to them than the same old story.

Romantic Misunderstandings

vlcsnap-2020-06-06-21h35m44s364My feelings on Wendy are well-documented and I really think after Bob’s last much-loathed romance, he deserves to be partnered up with someone who is at least liked by viewers – poor guy. But even if I felt warmly towards these two, their letter plot this fortnight just seemed far too lazy and silly to care about. The mix up involved so much suspension of disbelief that you might as well just go ahead and remove your head. Manpreet inspired Wendy to write Bob a letter revealing her innermost feelings (I know what you’re thinking, Wendy has feelings beyond “My poor Lee!!” – I was shocked too) but for some bizarre reason, the letter got mixed up with the mail-outs from the GP surgery and Rishi received it and believed Wendy liked him instead. A cute romantic trope? Meh. We’re meant to believe Wendy wouldn’t start the letter “Dear Bob”? Or Manpreet would be that careless? And with all those letters, it just happened to end up in Rishi’s letter – married, and Bob’s mate? Too silly. Had this been a coupling we cared about maybe we could overlook this plot, but instead, it was the kind of filler story you regret not fast-forwarding through.

Come back in three weeks for the ‘Lockdown Lowdown’ a look at the special episodes made showing our favourite characters stuck at home!