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Emmerdale's Cain Dingle scenes were a refreshing change for the show

Emmerdale spoilers follow from Tuesday's episode (January 30).

Emmerdale's Cain Dingle announced his own death in Tuesday's episode – but don't worry, he was just in a melodramatic mood.

The ITV soap's latest edition featured some rare moments of self-reflection for Cain following the brutal beating he received from his nephew Aaron last week.

Cain is known for his ruthlessness in any major Emmerdale showdown, but the recent storyline saw him show mercy after overpowering Aaron during their much-hyped fight scene.

Despite having a chance to finish his feud with Aaron once and for all, Cain backed off and prepared to let his troubled relative go.

cain dingle, aaron dingle, emmerdale
ITV

This proved to be a fateful decision, as it gave Aaron the opportunity to seize control with a brutal attack that ultimately put his uncle in hospital.

In Tuesday's Emmerdale, Cain was left questioning what all of this meant for his hard-fought status as the village's top dog.

During a heart-to-heart with his wife Moira, he declared: "I shouldn't have let him walk away. It's not what I do, is it? The man I was would have sorted him. Sorted all of this, but I'm not that man anymore. I'm a joke. The real Cain Dingle is dead."

Moira helped Cain to talk through his emotions as he explained why he didn't go in all guns blazing with Aaron.

cain dingle, emmerdale
ITV

Aaron has been goading Cain ever since he returned to the village last October, but Cain has appeared unusually restrained in his responses.

In their heart-to-heart, Cain admitted to Moira that his change in attitude stems back to the death of Al Chapman in November 2022. Al was shot by Cain's young son Kyle Winchester (then 10 years old), who intervened during a stand-off between the two alpha males.

Cain confirmed that his desire to avoid history repeating itself has led to him holding back when it comes to violent confrontations.

Moira pointed out that it was only natural for him to want to break the cycle of violence, but Cain described himself as a "weak, pathetic shell of a man that I don't even recognise".

cain dingle, moira dingle, emmerdale
ITV

A loving Moira argued otherwise as she pointed out the major sacrifices that Cain has made for his family in the past couple of years. Warmly embracing Cain 2.0, she told him: "You have never been stronger – and I have never been prouder or more in love with you than I am right now."

The popular couple's heart-to-heart provided some of their most impactful scenes for a long while, with Emmerdale taking some much-needed time to dig deeper with Cain's character.

As one of the main fan favourites in Emmerdale, Cain is rarely without a big storyline and these often involve his disputes with other villagers or guest villains.

Despite this, Jeff Hordley – who plays Cain – has been suggesting changes for his character for a while. Way back in February last year, Jeff pointed out that it'd make for a better on-screen narrative if Cain learns lessons from a big storyline, rather than lurching mindlessly from one to the next.

cain dingle, charity dingle, chas dingle, emmerdale
ITV

Speaking at the time about Cain's endless supply of on-screen enemies, Jeff admitted: "I don't think he needs a nemesis all the time! I think it would be nice to not have that for a while, to be honest – but I think they always like to put somebody against Cain.

"I hope to see some lessons and a change because of his actions. Fingers crossed that creates new pathways for him.

"His DNA is always going to be there. He's always going to react in situations. But I do think big things like this hopefully should teach us lessons – and if they don't, we're not going to better ourselves, are we? History is there for a reason."

Disappointingly, this became a topic that was mainly referenced in Jeff's press interviews last year, rather than explored in any detail in the show itself.

cain, moira dingle, emmerdale
ITV

This meant that the scenes between Cain and Moira in Tuesday's episode felt long overdue, showing the benefit of hitting the pause button from time to time to remind viewers of how characters' actions are shaped by their past as well as their present.

Cain and Moira's conversation formed part of a special episode focusing on the Dingle family, with lovingly-written two-hander scenes between Cain and Chas, Chas and Charity, and Mackenzie and Aaron.

Penned by Chris Gill, the episode featured many of the ingredients that soap fans often call for: an atmospheric night-time setting, references to the past and classic character-based storytelling.

We're used to soaps hyping up their "must-see editions" and "special episodes", but the latest slice of village drama – which hadn't received much pre-promotion – was a reminder that sometimes the best episodes can come completely out of the blue.

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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