Woollie Weekly Emmerdale Review!
Emmerdale Review: Guest blogger The Woolie Weekly is back looking at the best and worst happenings over the past month in our monthly Emmerdale review. Here’s what they had to say about all the goings on in the Dales during February 2020…
It’s been a stormy February in the UK and a turbulent month for the residents of Emmerdale as Pierce Harris’ return made Vanessa Woodfield’s life hell and the story came to a gripping climax. Refresh yourself on the highs and lows of February here.
Pierce’s delusional and dangerous efforts to win Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry) back escalated this month as he took increasingly desperate measures to plan for the future he wanted. His first mission was an elaborate plan to seek revenge on Kim Tate (having learnt she was an enemy of Rhona) and while a bit panto, this was a preferable move than just having Pierce lurk outside Smithy Cottage for weeks. There was an element of fun too, with the audience in on his mystery identity and Kim (Claire King) none the wiser. Pierce’s mission took a much darker turn later in the month though when he came face to face with Vanessa.
Poor Vanessa (Michelle Hardwick) had a terrible time as Pierce kept her hostage for weeks, tied to the kitchen drawers with Johnny drugged upstairs. Nit-picking viewers might have spent time finding plot holes in the kidnap plot but the rest of us were glued to the grim turn of events. Impressive performances from Jonathan Wrather and Michelle Hardwick made the situation gripping and intense.
To make matters worse for Vanessa it was revealed she has bowel cancer in a big story, which has the potential to be one of Emmerdale‘s most emotional stories in a while. It’s the type of story the show excels at and one which will hopefully give Vanessa much deserved time to shine. Since her release from Pierce’s clutches, we’ve seen her struggle with her difficult health news and it’s given her relationship with Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) some interesting hurdles to face. This is going to be a heartbreaking but important story in the coming months.
The Pierce plot had a stunning climax as after Rhona’s great detective work, she confronted him. This was a brilliantly tense episode with some fantastic performances from Zoe Henry and Jonathan as Rhona lived through her biggest nightmare and put on a show to fool Pierce into confessing. While the big showdown was one of the best Emmerdale episodes in a while, Pierce’s impact on Rhona and shock return does feel a little lacking considering the misery he’s caused.
With Pierce found as the real murderer, it was time for Marlon Dingle’s release. His prison plot was emotionally acted by Mark Charnock and his tearful shock when Marlon learnt he was being released was memorable and effective. There have also been some great performances from young Amelia Flanagan this month as April struggled with her dad inside. It’s been nice too to see a more maternal, caring side to Mandy Dingle (Lisa Riley) rather than just the loud and brash comedy were used to. It seems as well that the effects of being imprisoned aren’t just going to be glossed over as the repercussions are still being felt.
Other strong moments aside from these big plots in February were the Thomas family receiving the sad news of Sandy’s death, prompting Arthur (Alfie Clarke) to confess to Laurel (Charlotte Bellamy) that he was Archie’s bully. Laurel has chosen to keep the secret for now but this plot continues to benefit from strong and mostly sympathetic performances at the heart.
This month also saw Jamie Tate (Alexander Lincoln) and Belle Dingle (Eden Taylor Draper) share a kiss which was discovered by Kim, making Jamie’s situation far more complicated. Nevertheless it’s hard to see a future for Belle and Ellis Chapman with so any hints that Belle and Jamie will continue is a good thing.
In other relationship news Liam Cavanagh (Jonny McPherson) and Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi) decided to date on the down low. They’re light and fun (still not as fond of them as Liam and Bernice) and a nice bit of comedy amongst the darker stuff. To really work and step out of the Cavastock shadow, I think they need to find their own comedy identity distinct from what Liam and Bernice had. There was more tension for Cain and Moira Dingle this month and despite the fact she seems to have been left out in the cold for Nate and Cara, there was some hints in the writing that there’s still lingering feeling there for Coira. Might they be revisited?
February was also a month of exits with two low key and pretty rushed departures from characters that have been with us a while – Pete Barton (Anthony Quinlan) and Doug Potts (Duncan Preston). Pete had fairly nice exit in the circumstances, leaning heavily on his character’s history, but Doug was in the taxi before we knew it. Sorry to see these two go and while they might have both been on the boring side, they offered something different compared to the rest of the village.
February’s lowlights include the Will/Harriet/Dawn clan, characters on paper who sound like a fascinating bunch who’d make an exciting family unit but the reality is flat stories making them the dullest of the lot. February also saw more attempts to make Nate liked by the viewers by having Cain accidentally shoot him. The pair have grown closer because of this in a predictable and inevitable turn of events.
Another forced effort that is continuing to be an issue is Emmerdale’s attempts at keeping Wendy and Luke Posner around. Luke and Victoria Barton had cute potential before we knew who his relations were but now the cutesy romance struggles to work with all the baggage. It just isn’t believable and hasn’t given Victoria the aftermath she deserves. Then there’s Wendy, written as a victim despite her harassment of Vic.
Emmerdale seem to be bending over backwards to try and make Wendy work as a character but all it’s done is deny Vic the empowerment of leaving her rapist’s family behind. Instead the writing has forced a harmful idea that the “right” thing to do is forgive and accept Wendy because of her biological connection to Harry. For their track record of sensitively handled stories, the Wendy story is badly judged and doesn’t feel like the output of the show we know and love.
With the progress of Vanessa’s illness and Marlon’s adjustment to freedom playing out in March. It looks to be another month of top performances to look forward to. See you then!
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