Fave or Fail? (3-7 Feb 2020)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As Marlon’s hell continued, April ran away from home and a tragedy prompted Arthur’s shocking confession.

Faves

Pierce Gets Smarter and Scarier

vlcsnap-2020-02-08-12h27m49s551Pierce stepped up his plan of action this week and after overhearing Rhona’s distrust and dislike of Kim, he decided to embed himself into life at Home Farm with a crafty plan. The beauty of Pierce’s return is that he’s both smart and chilling, meaning you can forgive the slightly more outlandish “He’s behind you!” moments. This week Pierce was back lurking around Smithy Cottage, even going as far as talking to and touching Rhona while she was sleeping. Creepy as hell! But it would have got old and unbelievable quickly if that was all Pierce was up to, but luckily he had more up his sleeve than that. With the help of a cunning plan to make Kim believe she’d run him over and smashed his phone, Pierce got an invite inside Home Farm and there his manipulations continued. Sure, it’s a bit of a stretch to believe Kim would so readily trust a stranger to help with her son’s custody battle, but Pierce is convincing and charming enough for us to suspend disbelief and it’s fun for us to be privy to his real identity while the rest of the village is oblivious. The Graham murder aftermath continues to be great viewing.

Arthur’s Shock Confession

vlcsnap-2020-02-08-12h26m18s341The Thomas family had some very sad news this week as Laurel revealed that Sandy had died. These scenes not only provided some emotional performances from the brilliant actors within the Thomas family but it also sent Arthur into a spiral of guilt. Blaming himself for his grandfather’s death, Arthur ran away to the graveyard to talk to his dad and apologise. Arthur was at breaking point when Jimmy tried to comfort him and he eventually confessed all to mum Laurel, revealing that he had been the one to hurt Archie. These scenes were excellently performed by the consistently great Alfie Clarke and also Charlotte Bellamy who showed Laurel’s conflict between anger and guilt herself for not noticing Arthur struggling. I’m glad the Arthur/Archie plot didn’t drag on too long (though Arthur’s confession does feel a little isolated when we haven’t seen Archie for weeks) and it felt true to Arthur’s character to have him confess. I also enjoyed the extra strain this put on Laurel and Jai’s relationship there’s interesting potential there going forward if she eventually tells him the truth. Considering Ashley’s history of violence, I hope Arthur’s actions and his struggles won’t be brushed under the carpet because I think this is a worthy story to be told.

April’s Agony

vlcsnap-2020-02-08-12h25m28s848Another young actor took centre stage this week as Amelia Flanagan as April reminded us what a top performer she is. With Marlon still suffering in prison, April learnt she’d been lied to and could in fact visit him. Feeling betrayed, April ran away from home and soon the whole village went on the hunt for her. Meanwhile Marlon was inconsolable when he heard the news of her absence, making his imprisonment even harder to bear. Eventually April was found and it was decided she could go and visit. As the family tried to be strong, with their Free Marlon campaign, the situation isn’t looking any more positive and poor April likely won’t feel any better once she’s seen Marlon there herself. This storyline has provided some great performances and it’s been enjoyable to see Mandy, Billy and Bob in particular taking a supportive role in April’s life.

Pete’s Lowkey Exit

vlcsnap-2020-02-08-12h22m13s232This week’s episodes saw the start of Pete’s low key exit plot as he decided to make a new start away from Emmerdale. After working at Wylie’s Farm for a while, Pete was overcome with bad memories – this was, after all, the site of his father’s imprisonment at the hands of Emma. Pete felt a bit of a spare part this week as Tracy moved on with Nate under his nose and realised that there’s very little keeping him around anymore. Pete’s been in Emmerdale since 2013 so on one hand it feels a bit of a disservice to have such a muted exit, though on reflection, Pete’s been a less central character lately and it’s an exit true to the Pete’s history and with almost all his family gone, options are limited to give him a big send off. The scenes this week where he considered his future and reminisced about better, and also darker days, were well done and for a “taxi” exit, isn’t as rushed as they usually are.

Fails

Suddenly Smitten

vlcsnap-2020-02-08-12h25m53s771For some inexplicable reason Tracy found herself smitten with Nate this week and this latest romance is something I’m really hoping was just a device to get Pete to think about leaving. Even though the Moira affair is over, Nate continues to be a sticking point, especially since Cara has disappeared – and she was one person that might’ve made him a bit more interesting! But forgetting how boring and immature Nate seems, doesn’t Tracy deserve better writing? Tracy already had her empowered moment of realising Nate was a sleazy player, so why was she falling over herself after just one conversation in the shop? It’s true Tracy doesn’t have the best track record in choosing men (David, anyone?) but she’s gone from dates with Billy, a fling with Pete and now this with Nate all with little care to develop these connections. We all know Amy Walsh is capable of big things, so why is she continuously rushed into empty romances. Surely Tracy deserves a big love story, not just whichever single man is hanging around!

Rotten Romance

vlcsnap-2020-02-09-11h24m08s320In any other situation, the rom-com cuteness of Vic and Luke this week would have paid off. He got a chef job at the pub, despite being hopeless with anything else but a microwave and Vic was doe-eyed and smitten watching him mistake gravy for caramel sauce and take hours to cook a pizza. They have chemistry, a real spark, Luke is sweet in a helpless puppy way, and above all Victoria deserves a lifetime of happiness. So, why does the whole thing feel a bit icky and wrong? Even Luke’s cheese-tastic comments to baby Harry which Vic overheard on the baby monitor couldn’t hit the mark when you look at the bigger context. Of course Luke isn’t anything Lee, nor should he be judged on his brother’s crimes, but by having a relationship with him, Vic is tied forever to those memories and that family. And that’s without getting started on the Wendy issue. Even if you buy into the pair’s feelings for each other it seems like an impossible situation that just doesn’t feel realistic. It’s Vic’s choice to explore a relationship with Luke but as a writing choice it means never moving away from her trauma – Lee will always be there in the background, as an anecdote or a memory for the Posners. Vic does deserve happiness and a fulfilling romance, but with the brother of her rapist, a man who lives with his mother (a woman who repeatedly harassed, stalked, gaslighted and continues to make Vic’s trauma about herself) – this is a contrived and unbelievable situation and Victoria is worth more than her whole life being defined by her rapist’s family.

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2019 – Part Two (#10-1)

top202019.png

Here it is, my run down of the Top 10 Best Moments in Emmerdale in 2019. You can read numbers 11-20 here, but below are the things I enjoyed most about Emmerdale this year.

top202019-10.png

10 – Jai and Laurel

Who could predict that one of Emmerdale’s latest favourite couples would be Jai and Laurel? This time last year we were finally free of the massively unpopular Laurel and Bob romance, but her new love with Jai has been a surprise hit. Early days for the pair was something of a sweet slow burn of crossed wires and a pretend kiss to get Jai out of a dodgy date, but now they’re finally together it just works. The actors have a good chemistry and their cuteness has been pretty sweet. Lately their merged family is under threat as Arthur cruelly bullies Archie – could this destroy Laurel and Jai’s relationship so soon? Hopefully not!

top202019-9.png

9 – Vanity’s Engagement

2019 started in a hugely dramatic way for Vanessa and Charity when Vanessa was stabbed outside the pub by Lachlan’s dad Donny. After her brush with death, Charity was more convinced than ever of her love and decided to pop the question. What followed was a brilliantly humorous attempt by Charity to hijack an unsuspecting groom’s outlandish proposal at Home Farm to surprise Vanessa. Although it was classic Charity madness, Vanessa was less than impressed when she realised what Charity had done. Nevertheless Vanessa returned to Home Farm to hear Charity out and after some drunken rambling, the couple’s heart to heart lead to a real proposal. This moment had everything – laughs, vulnerability and a great script. Will their wedding be as similarly funny and romantic when it happens?

top202019-8.png

8 – The Immediate Aftermath of Victoria’s Rape

I have some serious problems with how Vic’s rape story ultimately transpired but there’s no denying that the initial scenes in which Victoria revealed she’d been raped to Moira were outstanding. In the aftermath of Vic’s rape, Moira tried to help her understand she wasn’t at fault in any way with writing that deftly dispelled every myth and misconception surrounding the assault. Emmerdale made interesting choices in the beginning of the story, with Lee seemingly like the nice guy helping to walk Vic home before attacking her in her own home in brutal but effective scenes. The aftermath also featured stunning performances from the underused Isabel Hodgins and it’s a shame the story derailed so quickly.

top202019-7.png

7 – Truth about Maya

It was the moment viewers were eagerly waiting for and when the truth about Maya came out, it was worth the wait. For months Maya had been grooming and seducing Jacob right under his family’s nose and after Liv’s discovery it was only a matter of time before the truth came out. The reveal took the centre stage of the Big Night Out episodes as Priya was the surprise witness to a kiss between the pair. The tension was delicious as Maya accepted a lift from Leyla, Tracy and Priya – although we had to wait a few weeks to find out what they’d actually done to her, suspecting she might be dead. The beginning of the end came with a gripping confrontation in the woods, but David learning the truth was equally compelling with a strong performance from Matthew Wolfenden and an uncomfortable but authentic range of emotions on display. With Maya and Jacob hiding out, there were some must-see twists and turns as the truth emerged, but disappointingly, the dramatic climax fizzled out and the conclusion of this story just didn’t live up to the gripping revelation.

top202019-6.png

6 – Robert’s Exit

The end of 2019 also marked the end of Emmerdale’s most-shipped couple as Robron were torn apart due to the departure of Robert from the show. After his sister’s rape, Robert was unable to move past his need for revenge and when Lee’s torment of her continued, Robert saw red and hit Lee over the head with a shovel. For a while it looked like Robert’s charges would be minimal but things changed when Lee woke up and later died from his injuries. Facing the prospect of life behind bars, Robert went on the run, with Aaron by his side. With the desperate couple willing to sacrifice everything for their love, the reality of their future weighed heavily on Robert’s mind and he selflessly turned himself in, breaking Aaron’s heart in the process. Robert was sentenced to fourteen years inside and scheduled to be moved to the Isle of Wight and while Aaron was determined to hang onto their marriage, Robert made the crushing decision to cut all ties and allow Aaron to live his life. While Robert is a big loss to the show, Ryan Hawley gave some of his best performances throughout his exit and his exit managed to be both gripping and heart-breaking. Despite this story meaning the end of Robron, their epic love story was honoured in Robert’s final episode and the plot stayed true to their depth of feeling until the very end.

top202019-5.png

5 – Flashback episodes

There was a real buzz around Emmerdale’s much promoted Big Night Out episodes, but the real excitement began just a few weeks later as we got to see what really happened during that fateful night. Flashbacks have been overdone in Emmerdale lately but withholding what really went down for two weeks was just the right time to keep things gripping and keep us all guessing. Of all the flashbacks Billy’s was the weakest but even that managed its own twists and give us glimpses of the other storylines in the background. The thrilling showdown between Maya and the trio of Leyla, Tracy and Priya let to a brilliant blackly comic confrontation in a horror movie pursuit in the woods. Victoria’s strand was unsurprisingly the hardest to watch as what could have been a rom-com style episode had a horrific end, and knowing what was coming gave the episode an unbearable dread. Overall this was an exciting dose of episodes, giving Emmerdale back its must-see bite while these big stories played out.

top202019-4.png

4 – Women’s Day Special Episode

Emmerdale celebrated International Women’s Day this year with an episode dedicated to the women of the Dales using a mostly all women crew too. Not only was this an inspiring decision behind the scenes, but the episode itself was full of pathos, joy and warmth. Emmerdale managed to use almost its entire female cast, interacting in surprising ways and having a wonderful community, character driven feel. There was also a surprise inclusion of Lisa with the sad reveal she was dying, but despite this the episode still managed to be funny and full of heart, instilling a sense of confidence and strength in being a woman. An episode with ambitions like this made me even prouder to be an Emmerdale fan. And hey, if it pisses off the backwards likes of Piers Morgan and co then it’s doing something right!

top202019-3.png

3 – The Mere Existence of Liam Cavanagh

If there’s one character who’s made Emmerdale 2019 a joy to watch then it’s Dr Liam Cavanagh. Not only has he shared a sweet and funny romance with Bernice (a relationship so right for their characters I was sad to see end), but in his own right he’s managed to be both charming and laugh out loud funny. This year highlights have included his painfully awkward encounter with Cain, the discovery that he loves murder mystery roleplay – leading to a hilarious misunderstanding where Bernice thought he was a murderer – and of course his adventures in costume from the sheriff to the panto’s Farmer Christmas. Although Liam has lost his love, there’s potential with Leyla, but also his relationship with daughter Leanna and colleague Manpreet to explore. Liam’s the sort of character that easily feels at home in the village (he even made Bear briefly watchable) and Jonny McPherson’s natural charisma and comedic timing, he’s a character who consistently puts a smile on your face. If I could only make one wish for 2020, it would be more Liam!

top202019-2.png

2 – Lydia’s past

There was one stand-out star of 2019 and that was Karen Blick as Lydia, effortlessly taking Lydia from kooky oddball with a big heart from tragic matriarch of the Dingles. This year we learnt more about Lydia’s tragic past, revealing that she had taken on a false identity and was really named Jenny Finn. As the remains of a baby were found by the school, Lydia turned herself into the police revealing she had buried her stillborn child there and kept it a secret all this time. Karen Blick’s performances were nothing short of incredible and together with Sam, they were the real jewels in Emmerdale’s crown this year. This story not only made Lydia more loved, but it also strengthened the bond between the couple. Giving Lydia this fleshed out backstory offered a believable explanation for her personality and the material, never short of gut-wrenching, proved what an incredible performer Karen Blick is. With the question of Huntingdon’s disease playing on her mind, I hope 2020 continues to give Karen the material she deserves.

top202019-1.png

1 – Lisa’s death

We lost a real Emmerdale legend this year as Lisa Dingle passed away suddenly. We had only just seen her back in the village and in her rightful home when we lost her for good, after a warm and nostalgic big Dingle celebration. Lisa’s death was understated and fitting, following a sentimental wedding for her and Zak, which even featured classic Emmerdale band The Woolpackers. Despite Lisa’s death being a surprise to many viewers, we should have guessed Lisa’s time back in Wishing Well was limited considering her return almost felt like a goodbye tour. When her family came home to find her dead, there were impressive scenes as they grieved and supported each other. The aftermath was moving as it panned over their homestead and the funeral was a fun and quirky affair with pig races. Lisa also left behind letters for her family which told them what they needed to hear and was a fitting end for the matriarch of the family. The Dingles haven’t quite felt the same without her, but her final episodes were a beautiful tribute to her treasured character.

Thank you for all your support of The Woolie Weekly in 2019 and Happy New Year!

Emmerdale’s Top 20 Moments of 2019 – Part One (#20-11)

top202019.png

In a year that saw big exits, shock deaths and the end of Emmerdale’s two biggest couples, 2019 had lots of surprising moments. Here is my own look back at Emmerdale’s Best Bits of the year, starting with numbers 20 to 11. Come back tomorrow to see my Top 10 and a countdown of the year’s lowlights too. I’d love to know what you think so feel free to comment below!

top202019-20.png

20 – Nicola’s Rise and Fall

Way back at the beginning of 2019, Nicola and Robert put their efforts into scamming Home Farm out of shed loads of cash. After that backfired, Nicola had a lot of making up to do with both her husband and the villagers she’d betrayed. Nicola’s acid tongue doesn’t always earn her many friends or fans, but there were some fun comedy moments in this story (like when she took Bernice hostage) and touching family moments too. The year got better for her when she got selected for the council – in a role completely perfect for her character – and we got to see her back on top. Nicola and Jimmy continue to be one of Emmerdale’s best and most believable partnerships and here’s hoping they both get good material in 2020.

top202019-19.png

19 – Old School Feel

If there’s one noticeable improvement to Emmerdale this year then it’s the return to an old school feeling. Emmerdale’s USP in the soap world has always been its rural setting but in recent years that’s faded into the background. This year however there’s been a return to its roots with more farming and outdoors shots, Kim on her horses, and community events like the village panto. There’s still so much potential in exploring the dramas of a country village that I hope next year continues to make the most of the show’s unique setting.

top202019-18.png

18 – Cain Learns the Truth

In October, an explosive secret was revealed when Cain learnt Moira had been having an affair right under his nose with farm hand Nate. It had been a challenging year for Cain, who had been bogged down in the Joe dead-or-alive storyline for months but his reaction to the Moira/Nate reveal was satisfyingly explosive. The best thing about Cain though is not just his avenging efforts (which this year ended up on a boat, implausible and outlandish and arguably too contrived for a punch-happy bloke like Cain) but his range of emotions. Cain’s pain and fury played out below his seething surface and Jeff Hordley’s performances ultimately are the reason he’s so popular. However unpopular the Moira and Nate fling was, Cain’s immediate reaction was one of the most gripping of the year.

top202019-17.png

17 – Mandy’s Return

One of Emmerdale’s most iconic characters returned this year in the form of Mandy Dingle. Never far from chaos, Mandy’s first reappearance was far too brief but teasing enough that made viewers hope for a longer return. Later in the year she was back, scamming money from her family and revealing her part in a big casino heist and with son Vinny holding secrets of her own, there’s clearly more to come. Mandy’s return has been an injection of fun and nostalgia and she feels right at home at Wishing Well, even forming a great new bond with Lydia. It’s unclear how long she’s sticking around but there’s something comforting about her presence in the Dingles that makes me wish she’d stay for good.

top202019-16.png

16 – Liv’s Jacob Discovery

It’s fair to say it’s been a hellish year for Jacob as he was groomed by Maya but the story as a whole was patchy. However one of the best parts of the story involved the addition of Liv, and running the Jacob plot alongside her exploration of her identity was an interesting choice. While Emmerdale haven’t put the asexual label onto Liv’s identity yet, she progressed further in the vocalisation of her feelings this year, leaning on Aaron and Robert for support. Making her the first person to discover Jacob’s relationship with Maya was a great twist making an already complex story more layered and gripping as she blackmailed the evil teacher too. Isobel Steele continues to portray Liv with real vulnerability and I hope, given the big topics thrown at her – drinking problems, asexuality, seizures – Emmerdale chooses one and gives it the focus it deserves.

top202019-15.png

15 – Kim Finds Her Place

After Kim’s brief and divisive return in October 2018, fans were nervous about her permanent role in Emmerdale. Would it work? Would Kim be too panto? Her initial months in Emmerdale were met with apprehension. At first, bogged down with the bloated and retconned history of Graham and Joe it seemed as if Kim had been reimagined as a soulless mob wife, sending out hits and grimly trying to  blackmail Cain to sleep with her. It was an uncomfortable watch, but there were glimmers of hope. As Kim started to integrate and they dropped the Joe storyline there were signs they had plans for her beyond a cartoon villain. Eventually Home Farm reformed, and Kim reunited with son Jamie and met her granddaughter Millie and through all of this – and a friendship with Rhona – she found a heart. While the Tate household has not always been engaging to watch, Emmerdale have finally got the balance right with Kim, she’s both a great foe for the villagers but she’s more than just a campy “soap bitch”.

top202019-14.png

14 – Manpreet Settles In

This year Manpreet moved into the village and cemented herself as a regular character by marrying Rishi and giving the Sharma family a more serious focus. Manpreet is a breezy fun character and a nice dose of the ‘everyday’ rather than someone destined for extreme behaviour. She slotted in well to the village, both with the family and with her doctor role, which isn’t always easy for new characters to do. Rebecca Sarker is a really natural actress and her issues with money gave Manpreet a depth and even a little bit of a dark side. Manpreet helped lift the Sharmas out of their comedic rut and she’s been a little gem of a character with much more to her than meets the eye. Can’t wait to see what else they do with her in 2020.

top202019-13.png

13 – Bob’s Homelessness

Cast your mind way back to January 2019 and you might remember that Bob was at the centre of one of Emmerdale’s most emotional stories. After the end of his disastrous romance with Laurel and struggling for money, it was a bleak Christmas for Bob. By January he was sleeping rough, struggling for food and so very isolated. After Harriet found him suffering from hypothermia, Bob was hospitalised and the truth came out to friends and family. Bob’s story was sensitively told and a timely reminder of how quickly a situation like his can escalate. Unfortunately Emmerdale skimmed over the aftermath and Bob is back, full of life, in the pub. It’s nice to have him back where he belongs but this was such a strong story that it feels like a missed opportunity.

top202019-12.png

12 – Bernice’s exit

In a year of high profile exits, Bernice’s departure was one of the most poignant. Despite the unfortunate way it was squeezed into just two episodes, it was fitting and emotional that just as Bernice’s happy ending was within her clutches, she had to sacrifice it. Bernice’s exit story gave her that moment of growth and self-reflection. Her final episodes were the perfect blend of humour and serious emotion, giving her a great send off. She was a character like no other and she’ll be sorely missed – here’s hoping for a return one day!

top202019-11.png

11 – Tracy after Frank’s death

Tracy was my stand-out star of 2018 with Amy Walsh delivering exceptional performances during the storyline that explored her past as a sex worker and split with David. This year Tracy was dealt a massive blow when her dad Frank died in the factory explosion and Amy Walsh continued to impress as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. As the question of the real culprit remained a mystery for a while and blame fell to Frank, Tracy’s determination to find the true thieves intensified leading her finally to the satisfying showdown with Kerry. As Tracy cycled through a range of emotions it was another masterclass from the brilliant Amy Walsh. What will the next year bring for Tracy?

Come back tomorrow for my Top 10 and my worst moments of Emmerdale 2019.

Fave or Fail? (23-27 Dec 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was Christmas week and as the villagers indulged in some festive fun, some smiles didn’t last for long.

Faves

Dinner Drama

vlcsnap-2019-12-28-15h02m06s682There was real traditional Christmas Day soapy goodness at Home Farm this year and it all kicked off in their beautifully decorated house. With Marlon doing the catering there was a “classic” Emmerdale feel with Kim displaying her wealth and power and there was an enjoyable amount of humour in this set up. Of course, Marlon was mainly there to see Graham’s destructive behaviour firsthand, but it made an interesting change to see a posh Christmas rather than just the Dingle knees up. Graham managed to put a grenade in proceedings by revealing he’d slept with Andrea but it was good that Emmerdale subverted expectations and kept Jamie as Millie’s father while still managing to tear the family apart with the revelations. I’m glad we get to keep Granny Kim at least! As the fall out rumbled on it helped make the family and the individuals more engaging to watch, with Jamie cycling through rage and grief and Andrea struggling to cling on. The magic has finally clicked into place for Kim and the last few months have ironed out all her teething problems. As we build to Graham’s exit though, I wonder if there’s enough motive in the Tate household to make Graham’s death feel organic rather than contrived if this continues over many more weeks.

Doorstep Delivery

vlcsnap-2019-12-28-15h01m21s517There was an unwelcome delivery at Farrer’s Barn on Christmas Day as Jacob discovered a baby on the doorstep. As the family stared at the bundle confused, they found a note, revealing the little boy to be Maya’s. As the panic and realisation set in, they tried to keep the baby secret, only contacted Liam when they realised they needed a DNA test. With David vowing to be the baby’s father (or pretend) whatever happens, both him and Leyla deluded themselves with the idea that this could protect Jacob from any more trauma. The baby story continues to be an unexpected direction for the story to take and is an interesting way of exploring Jacob’s long term recovery and bringing a new challenge for the entire family. This week’s scenes were gripping and well written and was even an interesting way of introducing Maya’s mum and building on Liam and Leyla’s relationship.

Hospital Festivities

vlcsnap-2019-12-28-14h59m04s494Poor Noah had a miserable Christmas, stuck in hospital after he was found in the woods, unconscious after his drug taking. Luckily he was on the road to recovery by the big day and Charity, Vanessa, Tracy and the kids rallied round his hospital bedside to give him some festive cheer. There were games and presents and sparkly clothing, but most of all, it was the touching scenes between mother and son that were the highlight. While this wasn’t a conventional family gathering at Christmas, it made a nice change to see a slightly unusual celebration in the episode. Sarah covered up her bad behaviour and continued to be pretty insufferable, but perhaps it’ll be worth it for Granny Charity’s reaction in the end!

Fails

Rhona’s Rage

vlcsnap-2019-12-28-14h57m03s095There was something particularly unlikeable about Rhona during Christmas week. Since her menopause story some viewers have taken objection to her mood swings and short temper, but I can’t help but feel the character has lost her way a little in recent months. This week saw her continue to lie to Marlon about moving away with Leo and then, once again, changing her mind on Graham, only to change it back again. I’m finding their relationship all a bit tiresome now. Then when Marlon found out the truth about Rhona’s plans to move, the exes exploded at each other in a way that brought out the worst sides in both of them – let’s face it, neither of them have made good romantic choices. Will Graham’s exit help to return Rhona to a more likeable character again?

Public Enemy No.1

vlcsnap-2019-12-28-14h58m11s001In the run up to Christmas Emmerdale released a very glossy new trailer teasing Graham’s grisly murder and a number of suspects who will be lining up to end his days. However, with a whodunnit plot comes ferocious rivalries and exacerbated grudges, all so there are a few more murder suspects in the line-up. This week we saw evidence of that as Charity lashed out at Graham after Noah’s drug taking ended up with him in hospital and Marlon was ready to fight – and lose. There’s nothing out of character about impulsive and emotional reactions making characters threaten and want a war with Graham, but no one surely believes Charity and Marlon capable of actual murder? Their responses to Graham this week felt more like a clunky suspect set up and over-blown, rather than a believable desire to want to murder the man! Here’s hoping there isn’t too much more of this as we build to his demise.

Fave or Fail? (7-11 Oct 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Kerry’s health took a turn for the worst and Vanessa stayed in a prison cell overnight. 

Faves

War Against the Wyatts

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h44m49s870The fallout of Tracy and Vanessa’s discovery about their dad’s death continued this week, which was full of strong performances and satisfying, tense moments, even if it has had a somewhat divisive response from viewers. With Kerry hospitalised, Tracy and Vanessa spent much of the week switching scripts, one minute Tracy was guilt ridden and blamed herself, unwilling to turn Kerry and Amy in, then she was gung-ho about going straight to the police. Then it was Vanessa’s turn to flip-flop too. Perhaps this was an attempt to get viewers to question the big issues of blame, guilt and accidents, though some were left feeling like Kerry and Amy have got away with it. With soap being a fast moving genre, there’s a chance it won’t be long before they’re sharing a civilised drink in the Woolie, or perhaps Kerry and Amy will save the sisters’ lives in an attempt to redeem them. Whatever the long term outcome, the moments where Tracy and Vanessa were allowed be furious and indignant at the Wyatts were the most enjoyable and hopefully Kerry and Amy will face a little more justice than just a bump on the head!

Wedding Favours

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h37m16s860This week we had more comedy at Take a Vow as Bernice and Liam competed against Lydia and Sam with the type of humour Emmerdale does best. With the couples vying for the prize, they had to come up with a perfect theme for the wedding and decorate a table. Lydia and Sam opted for a Yorkshire theme while Bernice and Liam let their fantasies run away with them and went full Jane Austen, costumes the lot. As the horny pair got carried away, they ended up wrecking Sam and Lydia’s table in the process and winning by default. The antics of these two never fail to amuse (which makes Samantha Giles’s aka Bernice’s approaching exit even harder to take) and Jonny McPherson continues to be one of Emmerdale’s biggest comedic assets. With the guilt getting to them, they gave Sam and Lydia their prize instead, with Bernice still managing to be her tactless self, suggesting they were a bit of a charity case. Take a Vow is a business that we don’t see do much but with all the weddings in the village could easily be used more for fun stories like this. Next stop, Leyla and Andrea trying to rein in a village bridezilla?

Rhona and the Robot

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h35m44s863It’s early days for Rhona and her budding romance with Graham and while I’m not totally sold, I can see potential.  Before their relationship became exhausting doom and gloom, Rhona forged a surprising chemistry with Pete and now it looks like there are similar sparks with Graham. It hasn’t quite reached the same levels with Graham yet, but it looks like Rhona could be the one to break him out of the robotic mode. What Graham needs is something about him that is more believable, more human. Giving him a real relationship with someone grounded, in the heart of the village, could work – after all we’ve had years of Graham now and he still doesn’t feel like a living breathing person. There is of course the Kim factor which could spoil things but knowing how good her scenes with Rhona have been, seeing them head to head might not be such a bad thing.

Fails

Angry Amy

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h41m26s810One character who won’t be popular with many viewers after this week’s events is Amy. With Kerry critical in hospital, Amy had harsh words for Tracy, blaming her for her mum’s condition. But with Kerry making a fairly quick recovery (okay, slow in soap standards) Amy’s insistence that Tracy’s actions made them even didn’t really wash. There were plenty of times in this story where Amy was the remorseful one, but lately she’s almost been ruthless and cold-hearted in their fight to evade any police involvement. Perhaps if Emmerdale had spent more time showing Amy’s desperation for money, leading to the accident, then Amy’s excuses might have held more weight, but the way she treated grieving Tracy and Vanessa this week was hard to watch. It might take a while for Tracy and Vanessa to move on and forgive her, but I think the audience might take even longer…

Moira Merry-go-Round

vlcsnap-2019-10-12-21h47m00s062I can’t tolerate any more of this Nate and Moira storyline and I reckon not even seeing Cain’s murder eyes or an eleventh hour twist about Nate’s identity can save it any more. This week Moira’s shameless attitude about her affair pissed off Pete and once again she ended things with Nate, only for – you guessed it – her to snog his face off at the end of the week. How many times has this happened now? Moira’s plummeted from one of the show’s strongest characters to one I’m struggling to watch. Her motives make no sense and her lust for Nate is even harder to believe set against her genuine, palpable chemistry with Cain. Then there’s Nate, who lurches from predator to charmless bore who now claims to be in love with her. It’s impossible to tell whether he’s genuine (and a massive creep) or playing a game. But with the same repetitive story beats taking place week after week, it’s a struggle to care. Moira should be the character we connect with, that we’re empathising with, but even the most ardent Moira fans must be finding it hard to recognise her. To make matters worse, Emmerdale appear to be investing everything into this story, putting it front and centre almost every week, despite it baffling or putting off most viewers. Will the climax and Cain’s revenge be worth all these months of a terrible storyline?

Scene of the Week (7-11 Oct 2019)

sceneoftheweek.png

s176.png

Vanessa let rip on Kerry this week in a really satisfying scene. With Amy issuing threats and Kerry wanting the quiet life (with Dan and Amelia completely oblivious) Vanessa wasn’t going to let this go. Furious, Vanessa ranted about the injustice of it all, that Kerry pretended to be a friend and lied to their faces. Grieving and horrified, Vanessa’s outburst was completely in line with how many viewers felt watching so this scene was a real high point in the week. The “assault” on the nurse was a little clunky but Vanessa telling Kerry exactly how she felt was exactly what this story needed. Not quite justice for Frank, but cathartic all the same.

Fave or Fail? (30 Sep-4 Oct 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Kerry’s lies were uncovered this week and Pete learnt that Moira was cheating with Nate.

Faves

The Secret is Out

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h59m57s179It was the moment we were all waiting for this week as Tracy discovered that Kerry and Amy were behind her dad’s death. With Kerry’s guilt worsening, she was a mess trying to stay together, but as the pieces of the puzzle starting slotting together, Tracy’s suspicions were high. It was a really satisfying scene to see Tracy raid Kerry’s room for evidence and even more so when she’d worked out that the lies had been building for months. As the two had a showdown in Tug Ghyll, both Amy Walsh and Laura Norton played the bristling tension perfectly. When Amy arrived it was two against one as they tried to calm Tracy down, but if you were anything like me you were just screaming for Tracy to run out of the house and call the police. What actually transpired was something far messier, making the situation more complicated, as Tracy shoved Kerry who then hit her head and fell unconscious. While it does shift the “victim” of the story – somewhat frustrating when Kerry and Amy have been so unlikeable at times – the moral dilemmas it raised made the scenes take an interesting turn. Once again Amy Walsh in particular proves what a strong actress she is and this is sure to continue through the aftermath.

Countryside Dramas

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h58m36s771There was something really “Classic Emmerdale” about the salmonella plot that I really enjoyed. Granted we’d only seen Derek twice so his death was meaningless but I loved the way this story tied together so many characters in a different way and had an interesting farming angle. As David suffered with food poisoning, him and Jacob attempted to rebuild their relationship, meanwhile accusations were thrown at Rishi, who in the light of his factory troubles was even more desperate for things to be okay. Then of course there was Sam and his poor chickens! This storyline also gave us a new light on Manpreet, who stole from her deceased patient to make a significant sum and then tried to bribe the man from environmental health. These glimmers that there are much more to her than meets the eye are great! This storyline might not bring in award nominations but it’s the everyday community, countryside story that Emmerdale should be doing, playing up to its USP and giving us some surprising interactions as well as building on pre-existing tensions.

Wedding Wars

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m53s340This week saw the beginning of a new genius comedy storyline as Bernice and Liam competed against Sam and Lydia to win their dream wedding. With Andrea and Leyla now working together at Take A Vow we could be seeing the start of ambitious trouble between them and it was very welcome to see Andrea outside of the stifling Home Farm environment. But the main joy of this storyline is seeing the polar opposite couples of Bernice/Liam and Sam/Lydia try and out do each other. From their colourful marital histories, with Sam’s bluntness versus Bernice’s bitchiness, this is the perfect comedic story. It definitely helps that both couples are so right for each other and we’ve been waiting for them to get married for ages! Can’t wait to see how the competition escalates and how far Bernice (let’s face it, it’s going to be her!) goes to win!

Family Bonding

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h55m07s176Archie just might have stolen the top spot of cutest kid in Emmerdale this week as Jai had a breakthrough with his estranged son and Archie spoke for the first time. After seeking Lydia’s help with grief counselling – a nice reminder of Lydia’s origins in the show – it was adorable Arthur who managed to help get Archie talking again. It’s been nice to see Jai have a more emotional story lately and now he’s partnered up with Laurel they’ve become a lovely new family unit. Arthur and Archie’s budding friendship is heart-warming too and has really helped to make the Thomas-Sharma bonds even stronger. I hope this isn’t the end of Archie’s problems after his mother’s death because I think it’s helped to give Jai more to do than just factory drama and it looks like we’re seeing Arthur hanker after a father figure so that could be interesting to explore too.

Fail

Disbelief and Blame

vlcsnap-2019-10-06-08h53m36s579After the brilliant Tracy and Kerry reveal, Friday’s episode took a bit of a surprising turn. With Tracy almost numb with shock it felt pretty unbelievable that Vanessa and Charity would be so disbelieving of her. Sure, Tracy might have accused Dawn a few weeks ago, but this reaction from them felt harsh, especially when they too had witnessed Kerry’s weird behaviour. In fact Vanessa and Charity seemed far more concerned about Kerry’s accident than what Tracy was going through. It might be believable that they’d have little patience for Tracy after her grief made her react badly recently, but their anger and disbelief seemed really misplaced, especially from the usually cynical and switched on Charity. With Kerry in hospital and now looking more of a victim than Tracy, the balance felt a little unsatisfying – we needed people who were more Team Tracy! The accident twist makes the aftermath a lot messier but I hope it doesn’t make for an unsatisfying conclusion.

Scene of the Week (30 Sep-4 Oct 2019)

sceneoftheweek.png

s175.png

There’s always something so satisfying about a big reveal in soap and Tracy’s showdown with Kerry did not disappoint. After putting together all the clues, Tracy approached her supposed friend with a restrained and calm demeanour, ready to catch her off guard. As her questioning increased, her fury was barely contained and Kerry crumbled and confessed confirming Tracy’s worst suspicions. As Tracy cycled through a range of emotions, from suspicion to anger to grief, it was another masterclass from the brilliant Amy Walsh. Laura Norton too, who had the difficult and significantly less sympathetic, role did a great job during the confession so that despite not feeling much sympathy for Kerry, the tension between the pair as everything unravelled was gripping.

Fave or Fail? (26-30 Aug 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Megan left the village after one final showdown with Charity and Robert confessed to his family that he’s facing a worse charge. 

Faves

Megan’s Last Stand

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h49m17s092It was Megan’s last week in Emmerdale (a decision she made on Monday and implemented on Tuesday, no less) but she made a big impression before she left. Grieving and guilty, Megan was given the engagement ring Frank had meant for her by Tracy and this changed her whole perspective. After a great scene in which she tore everyone to shreds for rushing to scapegoat Frank, Megan made the extreme decision that the village was no longer the place she wanted to call home. And who can blame her? Son dead, partner dead, villainous brother on the run. She hasn’t had a great old time of it. Megan’s been pretty wasted as a character but it was good to see Gaynor get to sink her teeth into some big performances before she left. Her show-down with Charity was a real highlight and I only wish they’d kept up their rivalry a little more in recent years. She might have had a disappointing exit, but at least her run ended on some great performances. Bye Megan!

Partners in Crime

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h49m45s340To the surprise of few, Al was revealed to be Kim Tate’s new business partner this week and that sets us up with all kinds of potential. Al has all the charm and underlying darkness of a great villain and I loved how sneakily condescending he was this week, particularly to Marlon. He seems like a cunning sort of bad guy, perfectly suited to subtle ways of getting under people’s skin. His partnership with Kim could be great – hey, he even managed to make Graham marginally interesting! It’s early days with the Sharma take over but I’m intrigued to see what ambitions the pair have – Kim’s been crying out for an equally ruthless partner in crime and it looks like she might finally have it!

Sister Setbacks

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h52m36s381In the week that saw Robert confess to his family that he could be facing a bigger sentence, they had other things to stress over. While the fall out of Robert’s revelation didn’t have the impact it needed (see below), both Liv and Vic had big moments of their own this week. With previous issues of alcoholism and struggles with her sexuality, you’d think the writers might chose to revisit one of those again rather than give Liv a new problem, nevertheless Isobel Steele’s performance of a seizure was well acted. Time will tell if this is just a device to draw her and Jacob back together and give Aaron a reason to stay in Emmerdale, but it would be a worthwhile issue to explore if dealt with properly. Similarly this week Vic’s PTSD was revisited in the hospital. Vic’s storyline has careered off the tracks lately and Vic’s perspective and trauma was lost, but revisiting her struggles this way was a good way to show the real lasting impacts of the assault. And it avoided any circular arguments with Robert, or a visit from Wendy or a threat from Lee – hooray. If only we could have more of these kinds of moments for Victoria, her story might be stronger. However it was good to see both Vic and Liv share a moment together this week, acknowledging their similarities and their protective brothers.

Bonus faves:

  • It does feel strange having The Woolpack in the village hall but it’s also given it a freshness. Not only has it been nice to see more outdoor scenes but it’s also seen a change in bar staff. Dawn made a great addition this week, getting on Charity’s nerves
  • Speaking of Charity, she was on top form this week. The pub wars with Brenda and “pot gate” has been a fun watch.

Fails

Bonus fails

  • Megan was in Emmerdale for seven years but hers was a really lacklustre ending for a character who had been around for so long. Not only did she pack up and leave within the space of one episode, giving Jai a rushed goodbye with Eliza (not quite believable) but she hardly had anyone to say goodbye to. Apart from Jai, Frank’s daughters and business partner Leyla (who had been an enemy for a while) it really highlighted how isolated Megan had become.
  • Robron was Robrushed this week as Robert’s life-changing revelation that he might face life in prison passed without much of a reaction. By Thursday Liv’s illness took precedent and that seemed like a real wasted opportunity when Emmerdale had made a big deal of how Robert was terrified of telling Aaron and pressing on with decisions about having a baby. They might be saving the big reactions for later, but in a week dominating by exhausting and repetitive plots, this story deserved more depth and prominence in the immediate aftermath.

I Feel Terrible

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h52m52s484If Amy says “I feel terrible” one more time, we might have to turn it into a drinking game. She might be the more guilty of the pair, but her and Kerry’s behaviour is wearing thin. Rather than be on tenterhooks about whether they’ll crack, the two’s guilt barely feels genuine and they seem to be conducting the same conversations over and over. It didn’t get much better as Amy turned to Nate this week (a character who does not need any more screentime!) in some snooze worthy scenes. Perhaps Emmerdale thinks the longer it spends focusing on Amy and Kerry, the more we’ll feel for them, but if anything it’s having the opposite effect the longer they keep up this charade. The only pair I feel sorry for is Tracy and Vanessa.

Character Assassination?

vlcsnap-2019-09-01-15h53m23s653Another storyline with far too much screentime this week was the sizzle-free zone of Nate and Moira’s affair. Perhaps the show was unaware of just how unpopular it would be with viewers, but it has been overkill with the amount of scenes dedicated to their so called passion. There was more cliched to-ing and fro-ing, but it felt like the final nail in the coffin for Moira’s likeability was well and truly hammered in. Some fans think Moira hasn’t been the same since Emma’s death, but her actions this week seemed like an even bigger way to ruin her. This week Moira decided she was well up for a full blown affair with Nate, as long as there were no strings. She purposefully missed calls from Cain, seemed unbothered about Isaac’s welfare and was snappy and jealous of Amy. All this for sex with Mr No Personality? Really? It’s a hard enough sell that Moira would throw away her marriage and family like this, but for Nate of all people – it is unbelievable. This week Moira came across as cold and heartless, not the character people loved. Nate seems sleazy and pushy, rather than sexy and alluring, and though it might almost be a repeat of Moira’s fling with Cain, it just doesn’t work in this situation. It’s not wonder Moira fans feel frustrated by this storyline and sadly it’s brought out the worst in social media commentators who have been quick to label her in awful misogynist terms.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Aug 2019)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Not one of Emmerdale’s strongest weeks but the best bits came from surprising little storylines.

Faves

Funeral Fractures

MEGA - Emmerdale_2019-08-23_396p.HDTV.x264-SS.mp4The trying times continued at Tug Ghyll this week as Tracy, Vanessa and Megan tried to organise Frank’s funeral. With many of the village wrongly believing Frank stole the charity money, not many were willing to say they would attend, which devastated Tracy and put her relationship with Vanessa under even more strain. There were some great performances too from Gaynor Faye (Megan) this week as she remained conflicted over her feelings for Frank and struggled with the reminders of losing son Robbie. Frank’s death has provided great material for the three main actresses involved and the injustice of everyone believing Frank to be guilty will provide real satisfaction when the truth comes out. Will we ever be able to look at Kerry in the same way – that’s the question!

Unlikely Friends?

vlcsnap-2019-08-24-20h29m26s883Sometimes the best moments in Emmerdale come from the most unlikely places. This week it was strange yet endearing partnership of Cain and Liam, as Liam went to the garage to get his car fixed. Cain, who isn’t known for his gang of mates, offered Dr C a beer and a surprised Liam accepted (after almost spilling the whole thing). After Cain hurt his hand the two had a funny and awkward chat – the extreme of chalk and cheese. The comic timing was spot on and the scene was made even better when Liam reported back his macho activities to a baffled Bernice and Diane. Will their paths ever cross again? Lets hope so!

Pub Wars

vlcsnap-2019-08-24-20h26m04s328Disaster struck at the Woolpack this week as Charity learnt the pub has dry rot and will be out of action for six weeks. While this hopefully means we’ll get treated to a glossy new makeover inside (the pub hasn’t had a refurb since the Cameron siege), it brought chaos to Charity’s door. First she had to persuade Paddy and Bear to move out, but then the bigger problem was business. Crafty Brenda took advantage of Charity’s misfortune and used her license to sell booze after hours, but this started war and Charity retaliated with a big booze up in the garden. This plot was a whole lot of fun, bringing out Charity’s snark and entertaining personality alongside Brenda’s dry one-liners, as well as giving the scenes a big community feel. The village isn’t the same without the pub, but at least we got some good scenes out of it.

Jacob’s Wellbeing

vlcsnap-2019-08-24-20h27m35s919Jacob had a difficult time this week as his poor GCSE results brought it all home just how much Maya’s grooming had impacted upon his future. As David and his merry band of exes tried to give Jacob some relaxed time in the garden to take his mind off it, they realised Jacob had been trying to write to Maya in prison. Later in the week, Priya’s efforts to comfort Jacob got misconstrued and he was furious at her for being a hypocrite. Thankfully Jacob realised he was in the wrong and perhaps there are glimmers here that he’s noticing how Maya warped his mind. Jacob hasn’t yet had the support he needs to cope with the aftermath of what Maya did to him and after a lacklustre resolution, could this mean we’re moving towards Jacob eventually getting some help?

Fails

Bonus Fails:

  • Paddy’s a funny guy with a great script and good physical comedy with Marlon. The stuttering has got old fast. Combine that with Bear’s illiteracy plot and it’s not a winner
  • So Matty’s storyline is over already? Story resolutions have been a bit iffy lately but this takes the biscuit! All of Matty’s crucial moments happened off screen!

Private School Privilege

vlcsnap-2019-08-24-20h26m30s093There was some dry old posh drama at Home Farm this week as the biggest problem seemed to be the local state primary or a fancy private school. The dilemma! It’s still a hard task to believe Jamie’s really the dad of a five year old little girl and rather than Jamie’s reticence about Millie’s childhood being as privileged as his having nuance, it just feels petty and pathetic. While Kim the panto villain doesn’t work, I’m not sure interfering granny is the best use of her either. Andrea too seems charismatic and could be a great character if only we could see her get out of the mansion. Does anyone really care which school Millie goes to? Perhaps if this were a brief comedy story and not one with endless scenes of Jamie sulking around the house, but this week it just felt like the same old story for Jamie and Kim.

Summer Stinker

Emmerdale - Moira and Nate Sleep Together Whilst Cain Is Away - YouTubeNate and Moira finally gave into “temptation” this week in what has got to be one of Emmerdale’s worst affair storylines in a long time. Yes, worse than Bob and Laurel. Yes, worse than Pete and Priya. A naughty roll in the hay with an alpha male might have earned Emmerdale legions of fans with Cain and Moira doing the dirty, but that story was popular because the actors at the helm had smoking hot chemistry. Nate and Moira are just plain awkward together. This week Emmerdale did their very best to convince us of all that sexy chemistry, lots of close up shots of skin touching, the characters breathlessly staring at each other with gawping mouths, Nate chowing down on Moira’s shoulder, cheap Mills and Boon style barn romping. Laboured is not the word! It seems painfully obvious Nate has an agenda but this is ruining Moira’s character and isn’t convincing in the slightest. Granted, Moira’s got frisky on the farm before, but nothing has felt as forced and clunky as this. Nate’s lines seem purposefully cliché, and maybe we’re supposed to believe Moira would sacrifice her marriage for a personality-free hunk doing his best to recreate her previous farm flings, but nah, not buying it. Nate doesn’t have the charm to pull off this seduction lark, he’s coming across as a creep, and worst than that, Emmerdale has thrown one of their most popular couples (and characters) under a bus for this rubbish.