Another high stakes soap week is over, as Emmerdale’s dramatic week concluded with huge consequences.
But while the ITV soap's action-packed stunts were heavily teased, the quieter, emotional scenes made the biggest impact for me.
A number of ongoing storylines reached their peak in these episodes. There was Noah Dingle’s (Jack Downham) stalking of ex-girlfriend Chloe Harris (Jessie Elland), which she finally uncovered when she searched his laptop to find hundreds of photos and recordings of her.
While Kerry Wyatt (Laura Norton) and Al Chapman (Michael Wildman) each tried to teach Noah a lesson, ultimately it was the teen’s mother Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins) who decided his fate.
Alongside this, Gabby Thomas (Rosie Bentham) took the shotgun at Home Farm and pulled the trigger as she heard somebody in the woods. She was convinced that Jamie Tate (Alexander Lincoln) had returned to snatch their baby son Thomas; but it turned out Gabby had actually injured Will Taylor (Dean Andrews).
This resulted in an emergency call to local doctor Liam Cavanagh (Jonny McPherson) who echoed the reaction of everyone watching when he declared “you should have called an ambulance”. But no, protested Gabby, otherwise she would go to prison!
It's almost as though she didn't really think this through...
Luckily for her, and for poor Will, his wound wasn’t severe enough to warrant a hospital dash. As an explanation for what happened, Will was then gifted with the bombshell that Jamie is still alive. After a typically speedy soapland recovery, he asked Harriet Finch (Katherine Dow Blyton) to investigate the claim. It sounds like we can expect an eventful homecoming in the near future!
Other villagers couldn’t avoid descending on the NHS. Cain (Jeff Hordley) and Chas Dingle (Lucy Pargeter) had a narrow escape in a car smash that led to Cain’s nemesis Al saving both their lives in a brief ceasefire to their feud. Despite the promise of a turning point, they were back to tiresome clashes the following day.
So the mortality rate was given a rest this time around, but Emmerdale certainly didn’t need to deliver any deaths to hold our attention.
Amid all the chaos, a powerful new plot began to take centre stage. Faith Dingle’s (Sally Dexter) arrest for criminal damage earlier in the week led to a heart to heart with daughter-in-law Moira (Natalie J Robb), as she revealed that she had breast cancer for the second time.
Faith was informed by an oncologist that her condition was treatable, but incurable; meaning that her cancer was life-limiting. The scenes were delivered poignantly by actors Dexter and Robb, and I’d argue that they rightly overshadowed the physical drama going on elsewhere.
Read more: Next week on Emmerdale
Soaps love to surprise us with strong two-handers, and it wasn’t just Faith and Moira who shared the screen together in these gentler moments. Cain and Noah had a long overdue conversation about respect for women, as Cain revisited his own dodgy past.
Atkins also gave one of the most compelling performances of the week as Charity’s dilemma over her son’s actions allowed her to shine alongside co-stars she rarely shares the screen with.
First was an unexpected encounter with David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden), whose anger towards Noah dulled just enough to allow him to calmly urge Charity to do the right thing.
Finally, a frank exchange with Kim Tate (Claire King) about motherhood and regret gave Charity the push she needed to report Noah to the police.
Of course, she noted the inevitable repercussions of breaking the ‘Dingle code’, but it was refreshing to see the character rise above the family rules in the wake of Noah’s inexcusable behaviour.
For all the build up, Emmerdale’s triumph here is that less is more. In a week packed full of mysteries, stunts and flashforwards, the most powerful moments were those in which the characters bared their souls.
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