Fave or Fail? (19-23 Feb 2018)

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! In the week that saw Aaron and Robert finally reunite, Tracy was threatened with secrets from her past.

Faves

Make Your Dreams Come True

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m14s763If you heard the sound of happy crying on Thursday night then it was probably me. After months and months of agony and teasing, FINALLY Aaron and Robert were reunited and sought to face the future together, better than ever. It’s no secret that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry has earned them thousands of fans worldwide so the pressure was on for a satisfying and romantic reunion. We got it – and then some. It had all the classic tropes of a romantic movie, with heartbroken Robert struggling to move on and Aaron realising he couldn’t live without Robert. It wasn’t just the fact they’d patched up and declared their love, it was all the special details included that made it so poignant for fans. From the fun scenes in the club, to the meaningful conversations in the garage (a location pivotal in their love story) – there wasn’t a moment wasted with all cards on the table. There wasn’t any silly misunderstandings or finger pointing, it was rooted in their intense past and entirely faithful to their characters. After so much agony and angst, it was a surreal joy to see their family happily reunited. Aaron was grinning – and you don’t see that often! It felt important and truly memorable. Moving forward, we know it can’t be plain sailing but by god, Emmerdale, don’t ruin this. You’ve got something really special.

Amazing Amy

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m51s372On any other week, Tracy’s storyline would have been top of my Faves list because if there’s anyone who deserves ALL the awards then it’s Amy Walsh. She’s been an absolute revelation this week, as Tracy was blackmailed over her prostitute past by the vile Phil. Amy conveyed Tracy’s abject fear brilliantly and her heartbreak at David’s cold shoulder was especially moving. Tracy’s scenes with Frank saw a new and improved sensitive side to his character as he was able to comfort her without judgement, until David’s treatment of her. Amy’s performances have been powerful and empathetic in this dark storyline, cementing her as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. We all wanted to rush in and rescue her this week, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for her as she tries to get justice. I just hope Frank and Vanessa will be there for her when David inevitably lets her down.

Squad Goals

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h45m35s230How great was Thursday’s episode at the bar? Fans of Robert have been crying out for him to have some actual mates for ages and Emmerdale also relished the opportunity to revisit the brilliant double act he has with Bernice, as well as giving him an ally in Vanessa. Aside from the girls’ great attempts to cheer him up, the comedy between the girls was something special. This episode was chockfull of one-liners and each character added something to the group to make it warm and funny. It’s great seeing our favourites outside of the village so it felt like we were really spoilt and even better that we got to see a group of girls having a great time and getting along. No bitchiness, no falling out over men, just bad dancing and cheesy music requests. More of this. PLEASE!

Getting Serious?

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h48m42s367With Charity back from her holiday this meant the Vanity hook ups could resume much to both their delights, but as the week progressed it was clear they were after a bit more than no-strings fun. While I’ve criticised Emmerdale in the past for its slow and most off-screen portrayal of Vanessa and Charity’s relationship, I was glad to see it given a little more prominence this week. I loved seeing the women have flirty fun (with drunk Vanessa being an adorable bonus) and Charity soften to the idea of something more serious. When the writing is there, Vanity is sparky and fun, bringing out new sides to both characters. There’s still room for more though, and I want to see it!

Bonus Faves

  • Gerry and Jacob’s lovely attempts to cheer up Liv (ice cream Gerry, leave out the vodka) and talk sense into Gabby. Jacob continues to be wonderful and the Liv/Gabby drama continues to be believable and well done
  • Ross’s continued struggles
  • Aaron’s lovely attempts to help Liv with her sexuality
  • Bernice’s funny but very blunt relationship advice
  • Priya and Kerry’s badgering of the DJ for 90s classics leading to them being kicked out – TV gold!
  • Robert and Liv repairing their fractured relationship. They have always been one of my favourite relationships in Emmerdale so it was touching seeing them move on and become a family again – that hug!
  • Joe’s redecorated Home Farm and it looks amazing
  • Faith using the loo when Chas was in the room – they’ve got a brilliant mother/daughter dynamic
  • Jimmy’s sycophantic “Thank you, Mr Tate!” combined with Robert’s bristling fury at Joe calling him “Richard” – this new rivalry will be amazing

Fails

David is the Worst

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h49m11s488There is always stiff competition when it comes to “worst man in Emmerdale” but surely David Metcalfe wins this one hands down? As if his cheating on insecure Tracy wasn’t bad enough this week he behaved so hideously that I’m firmly Team Tracy Deserves Better. With predatory and disgusting Phil blackmailing Tracy, David caught them in a compromising position and then learnt the truth about Tracy’s past. Instead of being warm, loving and supportive of his wife he was cold and accusatory, unable to even look at her in the same way when he found out about her history. While it would understandably be a shock, David’s attitude towards her prostitution (and his selfish attitude in general) has soured my view of him completely and that’s without considering his recent lying and cheating. With Tracy’s other family members showing compassion and understanding, David is a far cry from the type of man Tracy needs. It’s going to take a lot for me to warm to him again.

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Fave or Fail? (1-5 Jan 2018)

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! An amazing start to 2018 for Emmerdale. Let’s hope it keeps getting better and better! 

Faves

Not Your Average Joe

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h54m06s632Bravo to Emmerdale for a great start to 2018. Not only did the “Tom Waterhouse” reveal give us a campy and gloriously thrilling shock, but it also manage to seamlessly integrate Emmerdale’s past and answer all the niggling issues with the Tom and Debbie plot. As Tom stepped aside, Joe brought us a wicked yet charming villain, unashamedly cruel and done so with power and confidence. He evoked all the icons from the Tate dynasty, leaving us clamouring for returns of Emmerdale legends like Kim Tate and his bitterness is one which looks to cause continuous conflict in the village. Even better than all this potential was the explanation for the criticisms made about the Tom and Debbie story – that this was all meant to look like a too-good-to-be true whirlwind romance, that the money and sex ties were totally intentional – meaning this was a twist done oh-so right. Clever and exciting. Great job.

Adios Adam!

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h51m13s584This week we saw the wrongly convicted Adam Barton go on the run and actor Adam Thomas leave Emmerdale after almost nine years in the show! Even though the “fleeing the country” plot is well used in Emmerdale, thankfully Adam’s last episode was full of heart as he managed to say emotional goodbyes to his loved ones. Unable to say a proper goodbye to mum Moira, Adam left her a tearful voicemail and although life on the run can’t be fun, Adam’s final scene just about managed to be uplifting. Adam probably didn’t deserve such a sad ending, but Adam Thomas really pulled on the heart strings and made the original Barton boy’s goodbyes meaningful and emotive, having shared so many of his storylines with BFF Aaron and wife Victoria. Adam’s exit also meant Cain and Aaron got to do their Dingle best in their efforts to break him and mastermind some great alibi trickery with Robert’s help. It’s going to be strange with Adam in the show and I hope that if he does decide to return one day then a bit of storyline magic will absolve him of his convictions!

The Future is Female

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h55m12s441With Joe’s arrival, it has thrust Debbie and Charity straight to the front and centre of the show and if this week is anything to go by then it’s a good thing. For all my criticisms of Debbie, this week saw Charley Webb give some of her best performances since her return as she battled with fury, vengeance and heartbreak. Debbie attached a lot to her relationship with Tom – stability, security and a bit of excitement too – and her crushed hopes of the future rang true at the end of the week. If Debbie struggles between lingering feelings on top of her anger then this could be really good. As for Charity, it’s about time she had a juicy plot and with such strong ties to her past and Joe’s connection to Noah then we’re going to get a lot more from Charity than just comedy hi-jinx behind the bar. I can’t wait.

Fails

Too Much

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h50m31s612Having spent a good proportion of 2017 off screen, keeping us less suspicious of her shock pregnancy, Moira Barton has had a horrific time of it since October. In just three short months she has had her life rocked by an unplanned baby, suffered PND, killed someone and suffered the guilt, almost turned to drugs, had her son escape jail (for a crime she committed) and now appears to be embarking on a domestic abuse story. It’s all too much. That much darkness for one character is relentless and suffocating (see: Aaron Dingle) and can at times desensitise us viewers from empathy when we’re watching a factory line of hardship with no sign of happier times. When are things going to get better for Moira? It doesn’t seem like any time soon. And was it necessary to add more violence to an already turbulent relationship like Cain and Moira’s? Scenes this week seemed to cross a line, adding more misery and more issues to an over-egged story. With the guilt, their separation and Isaac to deal with – there’s more than enough drama there. Did the characters really need another agonising issue to deal with? For such a great start to 2018 for Emmerdale and such a popular couple, this violence really feels like a misstep.

Fave or Fail? (11-15 Dec 2017)

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! This week we learnt the shocking truth about Emma’s death!

Faves

Emma’s Final Stand

vlcsnap-2017-12-17-15h51m29s050What a joy it was to see Emma Barton again this week, if only in flashback form! Gillian Kearney helped create such a captivating character in Emma and every performance during the reveal was stellar. The scenes which stood out to me were the ones that took place on the now iconic viaduct as Emma had showdowns with both Ross and Moira. The scenes with Ross showcased their complicated history but was charged and intense, keeping the exchange gripping throughout.  Despite all of Emma’s bad and misguided deeds, it was hard not to feel a slight twinge of sympathy for her at times but her twisted nature was in full force right until the end as she goaded Moira to push her, so that she wouldn’t have to kill herself. In the end it seems fairly fitting that Emma’s death was as complex and interesting as the woman herself, it’s just a shame we had to lose the brilliant Gillian Kearney in the process!

Killer Reveal

vlcsnap-2017-12-17-15h51m15s366Moira killed Emma – now that was a shocker and a half! My money was pretty firmly on Pete as Emma’s’ killer and I was surprised at the reveal, something which doesn’t usually happen when you’re a soap addict! First I was unsure how I felt about feisty farmer Moira being responsible for pushing Emma, but the more I thought about it, the more I liked how unexpected it was. It’s a brand new direction for Moira, who is worth a lot more than just being stuck at Butler’s. This new path has already reignited her deep bond with Cain (Coira fans rejoice!) and let’s face it, no one really blames Moira for what she did. The psychological effect of this one reckless action has already plagued Moira enough to consider drugs and abandon her son and with Emma’s words still haunting her, it’ll be interesting to see how she deals with the guilt and with Adam as prime suspect – how will this pan out in light of his upcoming exit from the show?

Unbreakable Bond

vlcsnap-2017-12-17-15h48m28s520With a protective and observant Cain on the case, it wasn’t long before Moira was forced to reveal she was the one behind Emma’s fall from the viaduct and even though their bond has been slowly repairing (albeit strained) since Isaac’s birth, this week really saw the return of Coira. Granted they’re not back together yet, and Harriet’s presence feels ever more frustrating, but there’s no one that quite shares the relationship that Cain and Moira do. Earlier in the week, with Isaac ill, Cain was the only one able to offer her any real comfort and support and now with her killer secret out in the open, Cain is on hand like never before, unflinching in his love for her. My favourite soap relationships are built on tempestuous love and shared secrets and Coira have both of these, tied together with unbreakable chemistry. Long may it live – the love, the support, the darkness and the rows. They just work.

Style and Substance

vlcsnap-2017-12-17-15h52m52s665You’ve got to had it to Emmerdale again that they really know how to pull out all the stops on their special episodes. Not only did the Emma reveal episodes manage to weave present day and flashback sequence (with a nice noir colouring) but the split narrative maintained the intrigue and tension throughout. It’s been a bit of an unengaging storyline on the whole but these episodes changed that and managed to set up gripping consequences for all the main players.

Fails

Down With This Sort Of Thing

_1050 Aaron amp; Robert 12th December 2017 Aaron Only - YouTubeI’m all for stories of the little people fighting The Man and the Dingles are such a bright and bold family that their moment to fight the good fight should be something for us all to enjoy. I can’t help but feel however that this whole protest plot is a little bit pointless and it feels very unlikely that the Dingles would ever lose Wishing Well cottage. The building is the heart of the Dingles and has been their home for so long it would be like them trying to pretend they needed to demolish the Woolpack – never going to happen. So while we kill time with various members of the family and their placards, alongside Zak and his cough – but I wonder where they’re going with all this. With the demolition not feeling like a real threat, the conflict and the drama is pretty empty and hasn’t been a very engaging watch.

Shouty and Grouchy

Emmerdale - Adam's Own Wife Suspects He's a Murderer! - YouTube (1)It doesn’t seem like that long ago that Adam and Vic were one of the cutest couples in the Dales. They were sweet and chilled once, but now I can’t remember a recent scene where they aren’t shouting at each other. It’s common knowledge now that actor Adam Thomas is leaving Emmerdale which means it’s been hard to really care about Vic and Adam’s make ups and break ups when it won’t be long until they’re separated forever. Lately all their material has been centred around the fact Adam is the lead suspect for Emma’s murder so most of the scenes involve Adam getting smug and unpleasant with the police, panicked Victoria doubting his innocence and the pair of them sniping and shouting at each other. The whole atmosphere between them has become a bit of a drag and honestly after the to-ing and fro-ing and split earlier in the year, it has soured the former sweetness of their coupling. Shame!

Fave or Fail? (13-17 Nov 2017)

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! Isaac’s christening lead to a lot of heartache and soul searching this week.

Faves

Taking Risks

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h33m20s220Lately Emmerdale hasn’t been afraid to push the boundaries of the soap genre and the success of its efforts to tell stories in different and creative ways only confirm why it’s picking up awards regularly. Friday’s episode saw a tight focus on the story thread of Moira and Cain’s role in Isaac’s life and took us back in time to see the struggles Cain and Chas faced with their own parents, Faith and Shadrach. Like the Ashley special episode last year, the Emmerdale casting team were spectacular in their choice of perfect actors for the younger versions of Faith, Shadrach, Cain and Chas with the adults in particular bearing a striking and uncanny resemblance to their counterparts. Reflecting on Cain’s childhood, Jeff Hordley gave a hugely emotional performance, with Cain’s heartbreaking past helping to explain how much of a struggle he’s facing in the present day as a father to Isaac and Sally Dexter continues to be a brilliant on-screen presence, in both comedy and tragedy. Together they make a believable mother and son duo which made the scenes all the more poignant. Far from being gimmicky, the flashbacks helped to flesh out the backstories of characters we’ve known for a long time and gave more weight to the struggles they’ve suffered, which before now we’ve only known through being told rather than seeing it first-hand. When Emmerdale takes creative risks like this the quality feels heightened, like we’re watching something beyond the tag of ‘soap’ and makes the drama feel fresh and novel, showing that these new approaches really pay off.

Compassionate Love

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h35m54s669Eric and Faith’s relationship really became something special this week. For all their to-ing and fro-ing, with miscommunication and Rodney’s interference, the pair finally expressed the strength of their feelings for each other and slept together in some moving and beautiful scenes. The joy of Eric and Faith is that their connection feels real and their own private struggles – whether it’s a shared grief or Faith’s insecurities about her body – were told sensitively and poignantly. It feels like ages since we’ve seen a love story played out between an older couple, but the touching way Eric and Faith’s story has been told, it’s been almost impossible not to fall in love with them too. My heart melted with Faith said Eric made her feel special, and his calling her beautiful and saying she brought colour back to his existence was wonderful. Here’s hoping they go the distance – they deserve it.

Perfect Performance

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h33m39s784Almost every week I want to heap praise onto Natalie J Robb’s acting. As Moira continues to struggle with her post-natal depression Natalie plays the scenes with such an effective dazed disconnect. This week Moira’s difficulties became more apparent to her family as she even went as far as giving Isaac to Adam and Vic, telling them that she couldn’t keep him and couldn’t deal with being a mother again. Moira’s grief and guilt over Holly is tied so intensely to Isaac that Moira’s been unable to bond for fear that she might lose him too. Moira’s breakdown this week was a wake up call to her loved ones who’d been oblivious and almost dismissive of her distant behaviour and Natalie made that inner battle of Moira’s so vivid and raw. I’m glad they’re continuing to show the impact of Holly’s death on Moira’s life and that Isaac hasn’t been a quick fix to that grief or to her estranged marriage with Cain. It’s a difficult watch, but one Natalie sells so well.

Fails

Rhona’s Heartbreak

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h34m34s543It’s a testament to Zoe Henry’s acting that Rhona’s heartbreak was so effective this week, as she discovered Paddy had moved on and was with Chas. As if their slobbering PDAs weren’t bad enough! Granted, it was Rhona’s choice not to reunite with Paddy after the trial, but his and Chas’s sudden teenage fixation with each other does seem a little on the hasty side and is a bit of a hard watch – even more so for Rhona. So why the “Fail” category this week? Simply because it hurts to see Rhona crushed like that when she’s had a really tough year. Plus, it seems inevitable that the great Chas and Paddy love affair will crash and burn at some point (like it always does) so it seems even more unnecessary to put Rhona through this.

Baby Fever

vlcsnap-2017-11-19-18h37m09s905Victoria was right this week when she talked about cute baby overload in the village. But it’s not the squidgy little faces that are a problem, it’s that there feels like there are too many baby plots all at once. Moira’s post-natal depression has been wonderfully told so far, but it’s not just the parenting stories with Isaac we are watching – it’s Rebecca and Robert with Sebastian, Adam and Vic wanting to adopt too. Last week Robert had his moment of being a reluctant father and then this time it was Cain’s turn. And this heavy baby focus is without mentioning Jai and Megan’s concerns over Eliza. All the baby plots serve a purpose when it comes to explore issues with their parents, but did we really need so many baby plots all at once?

Fave or Fail? (6-10 Nov 2017)

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! This week Robert became a father and did some soul searching and Adam was arrested for Emma’s murder.

Faves

Classic Emmerdale

vlcsnap-2017-11-12-18h26m07s636With Eric Pollard at the front of the show this week, getting involved in local council schemes, it really felt like classic Emmerdale and I loved it. I really enjoyed getting to see some of the older characters in the village getting material and there was a nostalgic vibe to it all. Rodney and Eric were back wheeling and dealing with dodgy antiques and Faith continues to be the object of their affections. Even the little moments like her belittling Diane’s relationship with Doug had a classic and humorous feeling to it. Eric’s focus especially was a welcome return to the feel of older storylines and even though he has softened over the years it was fun to see his ruthless side up against the Dingles. With all the insular drama between families, it was a nice change to have a storyline about the wider community and council that Emmerdale is part of and I hope we get similar stories in future.

Robert’s Redemption?

vlcsnap-2017-11-12-18h30m59s259After months of scheming, schmoozing, smirking and sneaking, we might have seen the end of panto villain Robert Sugden as his more human side returned. At last! Well, for now at least. It’s been a bit of a chore the last few months to watch Robert stuck up at Home Farm, complexities diluted and a caricature in his place. This week gave us a chance to see again what was driving him and fully explained why he’d gone so far to ruin the Whites. His self-loathing at Jack’s graveside and to Aaron was a return to the multi-faceted character we know and love, the selfish and vengeful alongside the remorseful and lonely man. Along with the ridiculous comedy of the hotel scenes, Ryan Hawley took on every side of Robert’s personality this week with gusto and his performances help edge Robert back onto a redemptive path following his fast fatherhood epiphanies. Despite me having hated almost every part of this story since Robert’s one night stand with Rebecca, we’re now at least getting to explore Robert’s psyche a bit more and it seems like this will continue into the new year too.

Waif and Stray

vlcsnap-2017-11-12-18h34m37s993I feel like every week Gerry appears in Emmerdale it becomes an automatic highlight. Whether its riling up Doug or grating on Aaron, Gerry offers something weirdly endearing to existing dynamics in the show. He’s already managed to make a lot of connections in the village, showing us a softer side to Liv and even managing to make Aaron smile (which is no mean feat!). This week he sneaked back into the B&B, stole Doug’s cooked breakfast and then wandered away like a little lost puppy until Aaron was cornered and Gerry found himself with a place to stay and work. Now he’s at the scrapyard, I can’t help but think he’d be great value there permanently, or if he gets forgiveness from Doug, then someone he can take under his wing.

Saved By the Bell

vlcsnap-2017-11-12-18h29m12s151I can’t ever remember watching scenes as excruciating and hilariously cringeworthy as the ones this week as Lawrence took Robert to a hotel. Despite Robert’s manipulation of Lawrence’s feelings being a really cruel and cold hearted move, the story has been so outlandish and comedic that it was impossible not to find the hotel scenes hysterical. You have to commend Ryan Hawley for his facial expressions alone and wonder how Lawrence didn’t pick up on Rob’s sheer terror and horror at the thought of having to get intimate with Lawrence. They even worked their way through a whole plate of finger sandwiches! It was hide-behind-a-cushion viewing and the deed was thankfully thwarted by a phonecall about the baby’s arrival, but surely Robert’s discomfort, in his array of expressions, will live on in our memories for a long time.

Fails

Stop Start Suspense

Emmerdale - Adam's Interrogation Becomes a Shouting Match - YouTubeOn paper the Emma Whodunnit should be great, and when the story progresses – with flashbacks and mysteries like last week – it’s an engaging and intriguing storyline. But weeks like this, when it seems sluggish and stalled, and knowing we have another month or so before discovering the truth, it feels a bit of a drag. This week Adam was arrested (and if you’ve ever watched a murder mystery you’ll know the first few arrested are usually innocent) and it was a bit flat. Does he really have much of a motive compared to others? Most of the Whodunnit this week was Adam shouting, Victoria shouting back and plenty of the suspects openly chatting about alibis and motives right in the middle of the pub! Ross left town which stalls the story again and besides the odd exciting flashback, the story mostly consists of Pete accusing anyone he decides is guilty that week! Let’s hope it picks up again soon.

Scene of the Week (2-6 Oct 2017)

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In another of Emmerdale’s incredible Super Soap Weeks there was no shortage of standout moments, but it was this incredibly moving scene that stole the week for me. With Tracy wondering where Finn had got to, it was up to Victoria to break the tragic news. We all knew it was coming and as Tracy blathered on, making jokes and reacting to the goss about Pete and Moira, the tension grew as we waited for her to hear what had happened to poor Finn. It’s scenes like this, where shocking news travels slowly and grief sets in that brings the realism to these big soapy weeks and it was a testament to the emotional performances of Amy Walsh, Isabel Hodgins and Christopher Chittell that it was hugely affecting. You could feel the loss and the tragedy as it rocked the villagers and this made Finn’s death much more impactful and heart-breaking – perhaps more so than the death scene itself.

Fave or Fail? (7-11 August 2017)

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 a golden week of episodes by any means!

Faves

The Sharmas

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-17h56m30s733Admittedly it’s an odd choice for the top spot this week but I’ve really enjoyed the Sharmas lately. Away from the dubious Nell plot we saw a more fun and relaxed side of Jai, a far cry from the cold and unengaging villain he was not so long ago. I like when we get to see the rarer sides to characters like this and Jai’s barbed exchanges with Nicola work well against his rigid businessman mode. Priya has her unlikeable moments in this Pete fling plot (and I still find it totally unbelievable that she could do this to Leyla for Mr Boring himself) but there were times this week when she recognised her own self-destruct and that her life was not the one she wanted. When she’s not hankering after Mr Dull, Priya’s adrift loneliness and self-awareness that she’s made big mistakes make her more sympathetic than she ought to be in this situation. Finally Rishi – always good for a cartoonish moment or two, especially when there’s face paint involved. I’m glad he’s back from Canada!

Eric and Faith

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-18h49m23s633Every time I see Eric and Faith on screen together, they just work. Faith brings out the fun in Eric, smoothing out his grumpier edges, but this week she showed she’s more than just comic relief to his miserly routine, as she knew how to support him and calm him down. She brought out his forgiving side, helping him to change tact and consider different opinions when it came to Josh but even through this she hasn’t mellowed or stopped her flirty ways. I’m not quite sure if they’re an official couple yet, but they gel well together and it feels like they’ve already been a couple for ages. Good call, Emmerdale!

Fails

Struggling to Care

Emmerdale - Josh Makes Jacob a Dangerous Offer - YouTube (1)Jacob was embroiled in police drama this week and while it was nice to see his loved ones rally round (albeit all stuck in that blasted shop set), the Josh element was a real weak point. The Josh story dominated screens this week but we barely know the guy, beyond a very brief attempt to give him a tragic backstory so Jacob’s misguided loyalty to him seemed to come out of nowhere. Why has he been forgiven so fast? Why is sensible Jacob so adamant in protecting him? Emmerdale’s own teens are pretty well rounded but guest characters like Josh ended up being cartoonish and wafer thin so it’s quite hard to care about his fate or understand why Jacob is so willing to throw away his future. Don’t get me started on his superfast redemption including bonding with Eric over music – cringe! What this story really needed was to see Josh’s hard home life for ourselves or to have his friendship with Jacob play out over a longer and more believable time period.

Gullible Fools

-914 Aaron amp; Robert 10th August 2017 Part 2 of 2 Robert Only - YouTubeThere must be something in the water in the Dales right now (that, or the return of panto villain Robert has been spiking the water supply) because so many characters are acting like complete idiots. Megan’s scamming of Frank seems to be far too straightforward (unless he’s tricking her too) with him barely questioning her wanting separate beds and she herself was foolish enough not to realise Charity had faked those incriminating texts – they weren’t even subtle! But this all pales in comparison to the mindnumbingly stupid and unbelievable idiocy of the White family, namely Lawrence and Rebecca. How many times does Robert have to screw them over, use them, smirk behind their backs before they realise he’s out to ruin them? Time and time again Rebecca’s fooled for his fakery and despite crying over how he’s hurt her, not once has she ever questioned his motives here. When has Robert ever been genuine and caring towards her out of the kindness of his heart? At least Lawrence, being ill and drugged, has an excuse for being so gullible, but he’s seen Robert’s puppet mastery first hand and we’re expected to believe that a few clever words makes Larry look past Robert’s colourful history of ruining the Whites? As if! They’re making it far too easy for him to screw them over, it’s almost as if they’ve had a lobotomy.

Yawn of the Dead

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-18h50m20s984Do you ever watch an episode of Emmerdale and wonder how it’s the same show that produces such award winning drama? Tuesday’s hour long was one of those. According to spoilers we were promised a zombie event at Home Farm with a horrifying car crash at the centre. Instead the hour dragged, and aside from a few made-up villagers it didn’t feel much like an event. The film-school trippy effects used on a very hammy Lawrence were embarrassing and the only damage it caused was Victoria to get a slightly twisted ankle. Hardly life or death. The whole event seemed a complete waste of time having hardly any repercussions – even Lawrence who was just out of hospital and faced with another boring near-death moment seemed unaffected. It didn’t damage the Home Farm business, Victoria is back to work already, Robert is back to drugging Lawrence’s drink and twirling his moustache – so what was the point to it?

Fave or Fail? (12-16 June 2017)

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! In a week that saw Rakesh leave (bye!), Rhona bravely reported Pierce to the police.

Faves

Master Manipulator

vlcsnap-2017-06-18-19h06m10s606You have to hand it to the brilliant Jonathan Wrather who manages to deliver such chilling performances as callous rapist, Pierce. His return this week was bizarrely orchestrated by a clueless Paddy (it’s a debatable that even Paddy would be that oblivious) and he began a tireless campaign of gaslighting and getting under Rhona’s skin. Every performance makes you want to scream, particularly as Rhona’s friends were initially drawn into his web, believing every charming word he said. He also managed to act his socks off under police questioning (that’s Pierce and Jonathan who gave unnerving performances) making his deception look like an art form. Pierce’s slippery character, under that perfect surface, is one of the things that makes this storyline so compelling.

Rhona’s Bravery

vlcsnap-2017-06-18-19h04m46s022Rhona returned from rehab this week and so did Emmerdale’s best plot at the moment – hooray! With the support of loyal best mate Vanessa, Rhona managed to stand up to Pierce and his remorseless reappearance and eventually Rhona braved another visit to the police station where she was able to name Pierce as her rapist. Once again Zoe Henry’s performances continue to be powerful and surely will pick up awards next year. I’m pleased that there hasn’t been a long and drawn out process of people being in the dark over Rhona’s horrific attack with her being increasingly isolated. It gives me hope that this story will continue to move in directions that showcase the bravery and strength of women like Rhona.

Doug’s Dancing

vlcsnap-2017-06-18-19h08m56s582If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have already seen me proclaim this little subplot as one of my favourite stories of the year so far. Warm, funny and not a beaver in sight. Worried he was too dull for Diane and he couldn’t even woo her with his dancing, a hapless Doug sought advice from lothario Frank and later an enthusiastic Lydia who was all too keen to give him dancing lessons. Doug is brilliant in his grumpy old man routine and Duncan Preston is effortlessly funny when playing Doug out of his comfort zone, while Diane is none the wiser. Even Frank, who hasn’t been the most engaging of newcomers, was fun in this plot and Lydia’s encouraging pep talks as she compared him to Michael Douglas and told him to believe in himself is exactly the good natured comedy Emmerdale does best.

Grinning Gerry

w62gThere’s so many things wrong with the uncomfortable plot that saw Lachlan (a convicted sex offender) prepare to lose his virginity to Belle, but the one positive from this story is the reintroduction of Gerry – Lachlan’s ex-cellmate. Sure, Gerry’s quite gross, considering that a) he’s pals with Lachlan and b) his readiness to order a prostitute for Lachlan doesn’t scream maturity or responsibility. But his cheeky sense of humour, willingness to flirt with every woman in sight, made a real impression in a short space of time. Plus, the benefit of Gerry is that there’s no white-washing or sugar-coating of his behaviour – like we see so frequently in Lachlan – Gerry is unashamedly a sleazebag and a lad up to no good.

Fails

Baby Mania

vlcsnap-2017-06-18-19h04m19s132They say pregnant women have something called ‘baby brain’ which makes them forgetful and act a bit off. But if anyone has baby mania then it’s Victoria who has the accolade this week of the strangest behaviour in the midst of the much-loathed Rebecca baby plot. Not content to let “free spirited” (I know, I know, no one is buying it) Rebecca do her own thing, Vic bombarded her with messages begging for her return and the pair reunited like they’d be separated by war rather than a fortnight. If their convenient BFFship didn’t pique your cringe levels then, Vic’s insistence that Rebecca move in with her and let her be her sole support might have done. Even Adam, who isn’t always the brightest spark, pointed out how bizarre this insta-friendship is and that’s without getting into what should be Vic’s resentment of that family. And so, while Vic mouthed off at her brother, despite having always been one of the few to empathise with him and champion his relationship with Aaron, I can’t help but wonder if this dire story might end with Vic standing between Rebecca’s legs ready to catch the sprog and run away with it.

Fave or Fail? (15-19 May 2017)

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! Off screen Emmerdale bagged a BAFTA, sadly on screen this week was a lot less exciting!

Faves

Mates Before Dates

w58pmPaddy and Marlon’s friendship is the anecdote to any average week on Emmerdale so they were easily the highlight for me this week. Having been best mates for so long there’s a natural joy in their scenes which arises from the long-term working partnership between Dominic Brunt and Mark Charnock and that kind of fun is infectious. This week, as Marlon’s romance with Carly hit troubled waters, Paddy was there to coo, gasp and practise his proposal to her on (much to the mocking of Charity). The pair also had to cover up Marlon’s failed attempts to propose by inventing a story about their friendship anniversary – n’aww. And even though Paddy might be the worst at giving Marlon confidence in his status as Carly’s beloved, the pair of them and their friendship will outlive any romance and for that I’m truly grateful. Who needs a girlfriend when you have a best friend like these two?

Handsome Stranger

Emmerdale - Matt Has Just One Thing to Say to Carly - YouTubeRight at the end of last week, a tall, dark, handsome and bearded stranger arrived in the shape of Carly’s ex-Matt, and poor Billy’s father. It seems pretty much guaranteed that Matt won’t be around for long and that he and Carly are going to break Marlon’s little heart but in the meantime it’s been nice to have a charismatic new arrival in the village. Now you might say I’m swayed by his nice accent and good looks and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but if things were different I’d say Matt would make a good new addition to the Dales. He’s already proved he can carry a believable and exposition-heavy scene and make his emotions towards Carly and the loss of Billy complex and emotive, but up against Charity’s creepy OTT flirting, he’s proved his comedy worth too. So, while we might not have him for long and it’s a shame his role seems to be a facilitator for Carly’s exit, Matt seems like a pretty interesting character.

Different Direction

w58dSince my Emmerdale viewing habits became religious, Debbie seemed to be stuck in a cycle of two plots which never really endeared me to her as a character. I never bought into her Barton love triangle, nor her supposed love for Ross and the gangster/heist stories she got mixed up in left me cold too. For me, Debbie works best around her family, being a mother, running the garage rather than being at the centre of a money or love-triangle drama. Living with her kids, Faith and Moira has breathed life into her and this week I really enjoyed seeing her at the heart of the garage, back in her overalls and concerned with making a living rather than this just being an excuse to stir up old feelings with Ross. I enjoyed seeing her go up against Chrissie and her cutting one-liners to both White sisters were pretty satisfying too. I’m sure before long she’ll be back with Ross, trying to muster up some sexual tension, but for now Debbie seems assured and independent and I like that a lot.

Fails

Filling the Gap

Emmerdale - Jai Walks In On Nell Crying After Harming Herself - YouTubeRhona went to rehab on Monday this week meaning that most of my interest in village drama went with her. That’s not to say there are no characters I like in Emmerdale right now, but in terms of stories there just aren’t any plots holding my interest. I’m warmed massively to Jai, but his plot with the insipid Nell is odd and unengaging. Should we trust her, but more importantly why should we care? We’ve only known the girl five minutes and her budding and uneasy relationship with Jai has nothing on the short-but-sweet connection Holly and Jai had. Dan vs the bullies was the other main story of the week and even with a ‘whodunnit’ element, the teen gang were still as unthreatening as ever. Neither Dan or Jai are exactly leading man material with these uninspiring plots. Even with Amy Walsh’s great performance at the end of the week, the teen thug story is one that feels cold, lacking a ‘must-see’ factor. Other stories this week involved Zak Dingle being even more useless than ever and serving meat to vegans and the beginning of the end for Marlon and Carly. In isolation these plots might have made good B or C plots, bubbling in the background but front and centre they’re not the best – Emmerdale, we know you can do better.

Storyline Amnesia

w58wEmmerdale has never been afraid to have a wealthy, snobby family living in Home Farm, lording it over the other villagers and being generally antagonistic to everyone they meet. It’s a dynamic viewers are used to, but one the White family has always struggled with, leaving their role in the village a mess. I’ve never hid the fact I like the family best when they’re embracing their dark side with full self-awareness and that the weakness comes when Emmerdale tries to paint them as insincere victims rather than privileged villains. Stepping away from their tedious in-fighting this week, there was a puzzling turn of events as Victoria worked and grovelled at Chrissie’s feet as she catered for a vegan event. What’s the problem there you say? Well, the last time Vic interacted with Chrissie she called her a poisonous cow and didn’t hold back in light of Chrissie setting up Andy, meaning he was on the run and absent from his ill daughter’s life. Now Vic is working for her, BFFs with Rebecca and bending over backwards to please them with no explanation. It’s as if the whole (boring) Whites vs Sugdens plot never happened! Andy who? Then there’s the continuing problem with Lachlan, a character still defined by the fact his history of sexual assault was wiped from the history books rather than him having any sort of redemption. Sorry, but whether they were friends or not, whether he rescued Alfie the dog, I still find it hard to believe that Belle would ever talk to him let alone kiss him. In this middle ground, where their rivalries and devious pasts are forgiven and forgotten with no explanation, the Whites just don’t work as well as they should. Make them hated, make them powerful but stop with this wishy-washy middle ground.

Fave or Fail? (8-12 May 2017)

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! Rhona confided in Vanessa this week in outstanding scenes and the teen gang plot remained uninteresting.

Faves

Avoiding the Predictable

Emmerdale May 10 - YouTubeRhona’s story returned this week as she came back from her holiday with Leo and thankfully Pierce wasn’t anywhere to be seen. After Emmerdale’s fantastic and emotional portrayal of Rhona’s bravery in the aftermath of her rape I was concerned they might be tempted of going down a very soapy route of having her forgive him, or cope by being in denial over the attack and make her friends increasingly oblivious as Pierce continued to abuse her. After all he was very manipulative after the attack and warning her she had no chance in winning a trial against him. You could see how he’d chipped away at her and I worried that he might have destroyed all her resilience. But so far, and to my relief, this doesn’t seem to be the route they are taking this story. Rhona is being brave and strong, trying to cope with this alone despite the fear and the shame affecting her deeply. Even though she has returned to taking painkillers, Vanessa’s support is hugely important and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t gone down a cliched route of her keeping quiet – right now this is not about any further evil deeds Pierce can do, this is about Rhona and the long-term impact his behaviour the rape has had on her.

Friendship

w56rvI got a reminder this week about how the long-term friendships on Emmerdale are something I love watching. There was a return to the Victoria and Finn friendship, that we haven’t seen in forever, one which feels far more heartfelt than the other pals the two of them have made. The actors have a nice chemistry and if Vic’s going to stay single for a bit then I hope we can return to having more scenes of these two together. And of course the biggest friendship factor this week was “Team Rhona”. Paddy, Marlon and Vanessa were all worried on her return and while they all took different and cautious approaches as the week went on, it was Vanessa who eventually got through to Rhona and allowed her to open up fully. The scenes following Rhona’s confession were beautifully acted and written with Vanessa saying all the things Rhona, and every other woman suffering in the same way, needed to and should hear. I was moved to tears as Vanessa offered to be there for talks or even a cuddle and her strong response to Rhona’s relapse was another fantastic moment in this story. Emmerdale characters and stories work best when they have a network of loved ones around them – family, spouses but also friends – and I hope we continue to see these believable friendships in all the on-going stories.

The Little Things

w56cTwo little moments in the week struck me as the perfect example of how well Emmerdale can squeeze in some great comedy. Take the tragic passing of Lydia’s cockatoo Steve and how this affected her interview up at Home Farm. Not only was the anecdote of his death as bonkers as Lydia herself, but the next day a spot of confusion had Chrissie assume Steve was Lydia’s dead friend rather than a bird. We don’t often get to see Chrissie in humorous scenes but her reaction to Steve being stuffed really tickled me and made me wish for more scenes where we get to see Chrissie as a bit more human rather than stuck with the White contingent. Then there was Sandy, technophobe and only two clicks away from a dodgy video. Laurel had to quickly cover Arthur’s eyes and then uncover them so he could get rid of the offending porn video. It was a throwaway scene but one with such warmth, humour and one that was very welcome after all the sadness in the Thomas’s household.

Fails

Underwhelming

Emmerdale - Adam Has Broken Victoria's Heart for the Last Time - YouTubeAdam and Victoria broke up (for good?) this week and after their previous “split” a few weeks ago, which while convoluted had some great performances, this week’s developments just felt underwhelming. Adam was in full on Neanderthal mode, blaming everyone but himself for kissing Vanessa– including his own mother – and these sorts of situations never put him in the best light. Vic took a hard line on the cheating (although it’s not been all that long since she forgave him worse) but it’s hard to know whether her resistance to forgiving him will last, particularly seeing as Emmerdale’s commitment to exploring Adam and Victoria’s relationship (good or bad) seems half-hearted at best. But perhaps the impact of this storyline has been significantly lessened by the oversaturation of cheating/mistake-kiss plots in the recent year. I’m SO tired of it and it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Surely even the scriptwriters are bored writing the same apology and forgiveness scenes for their couples?

Teenage Terror

Emmerdale - The Robbers Return to Intimidate Eric - YouTubeWho wouldn’t be scared by a gang of teenage thugs, ones who use threats, intimidation, theft and knives to terrify their victims? Dan suffered that very ordeal this week and was faced with the dilemma of whether to go through with identifying them to police or not, a dilemma which was particularly troublesome when their threats included hurting his daughter, Amelia. Despite this, teenage gangs never really translate well on screen and while hypothetically I can believe these characters would be intimidated, there just doesn’t feel like there’s any real threat when we watch it on screen. Stories of intimidation and insecurity are ones which need a slow-burn build up to feel real, but these Waterloo Road rejects throwing a sandwich and circling round Kerry doesn’t really cut it. Unfortunately that hasn’t helped to served Dan’s repetitive story and it’s not keeping my interest.