When the jury came back with a verdict of guilty for Pierce Harris’ rape of wife Rhona Goskirk, there wasn’t an Emmerdale fan watching who didn’t punch the air. Given only 6% of cases see justice served, it was a brilliant climax to a fantastic storyline, with brilliant performances by Zoe Henry, who plays Rhona, and Jonathan Wrather, who plays Pierce. As Rhona ran from the courtroom, Pierce was sentenced to five years in prison.
After isolating Rhona from her closest friends, Pierce went way beyond anyone predicted with his controlling nature when he raped Rhona on their wedding day. In the court room, both barristers had pulled the prosecution and defence apart and in the lead up to the episode, fans could not predict which way the jury was going to go…
Reacting to the verdict, Rhona actress Zoe Henry told Digital Spy: “It’s a moment of disbelief, she didn’t dare hope for this and it’s happened.
“But there is a numbness and an emptiness that still overwhelms her. It’s not the reaction she thought she’d have, or as a viewer you’d think she would have, but it’s been so enormous and so exhausting that actually what comes is tears and overwhelming sadness.
“At the end of the day, she did love Pierce and she’s been left in a situation where she is not the woman she was. She was married to a man who abused her and her life is now in tatters. It’s quite moving how she reacts.”
After such a harrowing ordeal, does the verdict actually have the impact it is hoped for. When Aaron Dingle (Danny Miller) was cleared of murdering boyfriend Jackson Walsh in an assisted suicide, it had the opposite affect on him as he didn’t get the closure he hoped for. Could it be the same for Rhona?
In an interview with Metro.co.uk, Zoe added: “Everybody’s so happy and they get back to Smithy and Marlon’s there and Pearl’s there and Paddy and Vanessa and Leo and everybody and there’s kind of a numbness. It’s like that elation when something has happened but what she’s expecting to feel – and I don’t know what it is – isn’t there and there’s just an emptiness because actually she got the verdict she wanted but her life is a mess.
“Her husband is in prison and she deserted all of her friends during the last year, she’s given her part of the practice away – albeit in return for her house – she’s in a situation that isn’t actually brilliant and emotionally she isn’t brilliant either. So it’s an odd time for her because she should feel glad but she doesn’t, she doesn’t really feel at all because of the numbness.”
Whilst fans celebrated Pierce finally getting his comeuppance, they were equally sad that it means the departure of Jonathan Wrather’s tenure at Emmerdale, after playing the evil character for the past 18 months.
Zoe added: “I’m absolutely gutted. There is no other way to describe it. You do become really close and Johnny often stays with us when he’s filming.
“But as devastated as I am to be saying goodbye to a colleague, I absolutely know that I have made a new friend and I know I will be seeing him again socially – I’m just sad it won’t be in the work capacity.”
However, Jonathan has already hatched a plan of his own to keep the character in the mix – a crossover into Coronation Street!
Jonathan told the Daily Mirror: “It would be great if a character could exist in one soap and then another. Pierce can’t show his face again in the Emmerdale village so he might go somewhere else!”
Will the ITV soap universe break new ground in the way that BBC’s Casualty and Holby City have? That would be amazing for viewers but I think the Cobbles already have enough to deal with!