Maya & Jacob’s Illegal affair!
It’s the Emmerdale storyline that has everyone talking, regardless of their opinion! The adult, a teacher no less, manipulating a teenage crush. It is uncomfortable viewing and so it should be says The Emmerdaily contributor @IShipVanity
The troubled residents of Emmerdale are set for a tumultuous new year with early 2019 bringing fresh heartbreak and turmoil (and for a few rare happiness). But there is one storyline that deserves your consideration no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel because that is the point.
Emmerdale is leading three characters down a very dark path indeed with David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden) facing every parents worse nightmare. His girlfriend Maya Stepney (Louisa Clein) entering into an illegal affair with his teenage son Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant) has truly divided the audience.
Some viewers are praising the soap for its bravery in tackling the issue of child sexual exploitation. Others have made complaints about it suitability as a storyline for early evening viewing. Serial dramas have to reflect reality and this storyline has its place and has opened up the discussion of what child exploitation is, clearly demonstrating how to spot the signs.
Maya has cultivated the trust of Jacob and in turn made him a very isolated figure. Placing a huge amount of blame on the teenager, Maya is making him secretive of the affair to David. His self-destructive behaviour is now effecting others around him even suggesting he and Liv Flaherty (Isobel Steel) have slept together, all to make Maya jealous of his relationship. It’s been an engaging watch and Joe-Warren has played Jacob’s struggles with real maturity and Louisa with sensitivity and realism. For those reasons alone it’s worth investing your time in.
Society should not stigmatise child exploitation in any way and Emmerdale flipping the narrative towards a female adult grooming a male pupil, is in itself redefining what many perceive sexual exploitation to be. It takes many forms from using sex as a form of control in gang related violence and retaining power over a victim. Or in this case, a teacher using a position of trust and power over impressionable children and teenagers. While David is seemingly unaware of the horror being inflicted upon his son. It’s a brave storyline that should encourage many families to have a conversation on the issue.
To see Maya meticulously break down Jacob’s resolve and conflicting the teenager is hard to watch, leading him to make rash decisions including asking Liv to lose their virginity together. Whilst wrong to go down this road, he is ultimately at a stage of huge vulnerability himself being groomed by Maya.
Going into the new year, Jacob will be faced with increased isolation as he and Maya engage in an illegal relationship. We face the prospect of David learning Jacob has been groomed and the breach of trust of his girlfriend, facing the guilt of not been able to see the signs (offering an insight for the viewers of how to spot them) and seeing how he supports Jacob in the aftermath.
Mix in Jessie Grant (Sandra Marvin) facing questions to why the school didn’t see one of their teachers was engaging in an illegal relationship to boot, and all of these issues are very powerful narratives. They really get to the core of the stages of child sexual exploitation and educate a lot of people in doing so.
This storyline and that of Dawn Taylor are extremely important to show how issues in childhood can affect people later in life and how breaches of trust can weigh heavy. Some viewers may find them uncomfortable to watch but delve deeper into these storylines and I’m sure you will be rewarded.
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