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 a week of big episodes as Emmerdale took a trip to Belfast and celebrated International Women’s Day.
Who Run the World?
Friday’s episode had a very female flavour as Emmerdale celebrated International Women’s Day with an all-women episode on screen, using mostly women off screen too. Not only was this an inspiring decision behind the scenes, but the episode itself was full of pathos, joy and warm fuzzy feelings. Emmerdale managed to use almost all of its female characters, with them intersecting in ways they don’t normally. It’s always a treat to see characters sharing scenes who never normally, like Diane and Rhona, Nicola and April, and despite there being no men involved, it was the most community feeling episode in a long time. Alongside Chas’s pregnancy reveal, April’s insecurities and Rhona’s hysterectomy worries, there was also the sad announcement that Lisa is dying. I really liked the slow surprise reveal of her appearance in the episode and was glad Emmerdale managed to keep it completely under wraps. Although Charity and Lisa’s sad discussions took a central role in the episode, it still managed to be warm and funny, with a firm feeling of strength and confidence among all these women. It’s episodes as successful as this, with big heart and ambition, that make me proud to be an Emmerdale fan.
It was Vanessa’s birthday this week and never one to shy away from a good time, she decided to get absolutely wasted. Off her and Rhona headed to Ellis’s party, where she proceeded to party hard, even beside a stone cold sober Rhona. Actress Michelle Hardwick has brilliant comic timing and her drunk Vanessa was lots of fun, only bettered when an irate Charity showed up. Vanessa’s expressions, excitement at the thought of a puppy and insistence she say goodbye to everyone. Charity’s irritation contrasted perfectly with Vanessa’s attempts to squeeze in one last shot (and slut drop), but when they got back to the house, the shouting got far too much for poor pouty Vanessa. Hungover Ness the next day was just as entertaining and I think Emmerdale should definitely make more of Vanessa’s party girl habits and use Michelle’s comedic talents to their best!
Adventures in Belfast
It’s always a fun novelty when Emmerdale goes on location and this week it was a one-day jaunt to Belfast for Marlon and Jessie’s mini-moon. While the circumstances to get Marlon, Jessie, Paddy and Kerry all in Belfast for the day was clunkily contrived, the unlikely foursome ended up being quite entertaining. Despite Paddy and Marlon being the best of buds, it was Paddy and Kerry, then Jessie and Kerry who made for the most fun duos. As the drama initially resulted in sitcom silliness over room provision, Kerry brought out a much warmer and funnier side to Jessie, and it was amusing to have Paddy’s patience tested by someone other than his nearest and dearest. Though the beautiful locations shot made for a nice change, I can’t help but feel a trip away deserved more than just a Thursday double for it to be really worth while.
Mother Daughter Reunion
Amy and Kerry were reunited in Belfast this week, as newcomer Natalie Ann Jamieson took over the role. It was great to see Kerry given something to do outside of the Spencer dramas and their tumultuous relationship looks set to still cause friction even now as Amy has made a return to the village. Amy’s return nicely recapped her history in Emmerdale and explained too why she didn’t return for Val’s funeral. On Thursday’s episodes she was reluctant to step back into Kyle’s life, which seemed like fitting characterisation for someone who had a troubled relationship with motherhood, but by Friday’s episode she was already causing friction with the Dingles, saying she was going to fight for him. It’s a little disappointing that we’ve already rushed towards an all-out war with Cain, when really they could’ve spent longer growing her feelings towards her son. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing how Amy works in the village now.
Enough with the Wrestling!
There were elements of the Belfast trip that definitely felt like a dodgy Dingle VHS spin off. A rowdy bar of stereotypical drunks, Marlon’s dodgy accent and a misunderstanding that lead Paddy to don a cape and get in the ring against a terrifying clown. When Bear Wolf turned up again in full wrestling gear, I dreaded a rehash of the cringeworthy scenes from the other week and the whole farce was almost unwatchable. On the bright side, once Paddy had got Bear on his own and spoke to him in a serious discussion about being his biological father, about Paddy’s loss of Grace, then there was real potential in both the character of Bear and the actor who played him. That just made the inclusion of the pathetic wrestling stuff even worse – if we’d have dropped that so-called comedy then perhaps by the time things got serious with Bear, we’d have been far more invested.
On paper, Aaron and Robert’s foray into surrogacy should have been an interesting and emotional journey. Instead we had a plot that sent Aaron baby mad for a few episodes and get resolved in such a way as to wonder why they bothered in the first place. This unsatisfying resolution is nothing new for the pair and is actually becoming a disappointing trend. Back in November, after losing baby Seb, Aaron’s unresolved grief about Grace and losing Seb seemed to be tapping into a much larger storyline. Then…nothing. Fast forward to the beginning of the year and Billy’s arrival shook things up in the Robron household. Billy’s impact had Robert arrested and Aaron suffering poor mental health, all for it to be swept under the carpet and Aaron is seemingly back to normal. With the surrogacy storyline offering lots of potential to cover the struggles, pitfalls and joys of a same sex couples becoming parents, it’s no wonder that expectations were high when Aaron and Robert began their journey. After Robert’s plan backfired and the money disappeared, Aaron and Robert seemingly put a hold on their plans, then last week, after Chas’s encouragement, it was back on. Then, just one week later it was abandoned again. Whiplash, or what? Back to square one. Aaron’s desperate attempts to secure a surrogate, going as far as to steal from Robert, had no real follow up and what should have been a significant conflict between the two was glossed over, without even scratching the surface as to Aaron’s motivations. This on/off storytelling for the pair is destroying all momentum and any emotional investment in their storylines – and when you’ve got great actors and a popular couple, it’s a complete waste of their talents.