Emmerdale’s Rhona Goskirk reveals the truth about her rapist husband Pierce Harris to the rest of the village next week, and tries move on from this traumatic ordeal – but the nightmare is far from over as someone then starts stalking her…
Having finally named Pierce as her attacker to the police, the horrid Mr Harris was released pending an enquiry to build a case strong enough to go to court. Other than close confidantes Vanessa Woodfield, Paddy Kirk and Marlon Dingle, the locals are in the dark about why Pierce has suddenly disappeared just weeks after him and Rhona tied the knot, and have no idea he committed such an evil act.
That is, until Rhona finally flips next Monday in the middle of a Woolpack packed with punters… “People are talking about how nice Pierce is and how sorry they are the marriage is over, and Rhona can’t take it any more and she snaps,” explains Zoe Henry, who has earned deserved praise from fans and critics for her performance as fragile Rhona in this much-discussed storyline.
“One of her worst fears has been the dam breaking, and this is it. She’s very emotional and feels anger, shame, embarrassment – it’s a real mountain of tears. She doesn’t want to wait for a reaction so she storms out. Rhona is paranoid and thinks everybody’s talking about her, but in actual fact they’re not.
“Then she bumps into Lisa Dingle who unfortunately has been through something similar. They have a heart-to-heart, and Lisa reassures her and says people care about her and just want wants best.
“Rhona feels an element of relief that it’s out in the open, but she knows the next battle will be the court case, if and when that happens.”
Sadly, events take an even more sinister turn for Rhona when someone – presumably a vengeful Pierce – starts a terrifying campaign of psychological terror, starting with that old horror movie trope: a creepy message written in steam on the bathroom mirror…
“After a stressful day Rhona runs a bath,” continues Henry. “Vanessa comes to check on her and finds she’s discovered a message: ‘Pierce loves Rhona’ written on the mirror. It completely freaks Rhona out, she realises he’s been in the house and it pulls the rug from under her, she’s terrified.”
Having mustered all her strength to report the rape and relive the hideous details so the police can gather enough evidence to prosecute, Henry says this latest development weakens Rhona and leaves her more vulnerable than ever.
“Just as she feels she can cope and regain some control, this chips away and wears her down. She’s fragile, volatile and doesn’t know what to do anymore. It makes her question how safe it is to stay in the house with Leo. She’s locking all the doors and windows, shutting the curtains – Rhona is a woman on the edge.”
In next Tuesday’s hour-long episode, Rhona finds flowers and the necklace from Paddy’s mum he gave her on the wedding day in the house – and confides in pal Paddy she thinks Pierce is stalking her.
However, worse is to come next Friday when her tormentor sets up a terrifying scenario that puts Rhona in a very bad light, and makes everyone start to doubt her state of mind…
“Rhona has slept in and comes downstairs looking for Leo. She can’t find him anywhere, then she sees empty blister packs of pills have been left on the table and realises the door is wide open…
“It’s every parents worst nightmare. Thankfully she finds Leo happily playing with his cars on the lawn, but at the very moment a stressed Rhona runs out of the house with an empty blister pack towards an unattended Leo, Paddy and Marlon arrive and jump to all the wrong conclusions.
“Rhona knows they’re going to think the worst, and there’s an element of her questioning herself. This is totally messing with her head and making her think she’s going mad – she wonders ‘did I take those drugs? Does that explain why I slept in?’ It’s just awful.”
Emmerdale fans have been gripped by the plot, and Henry praises the slow burning build-up of Pierce as a character which has kept the audience – and the characters – wondering what will happen next.
“We feel like we know Pierce but he’s a relatively new character. We know nothing about his past, his history or family life so we have no idea what to expect from him. We’ve taken him in and now suddenly his true colours are coming out, and it’s terrifying. Jonathan Wrather is playing it brilliantly.”
The unknown quantity element to Pierce also means there’s no telling how dangerous the manipulative lawyer’s revenge on Rhona will go, which Henry says makes it all the more chilling.
“The things is, Rhona never thought Pierce was capable of what he did in the first place, so she doesn’t know what he’s prepared to do now. That’s why it strikes such fear in her.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week's episodes of Emmerdale below
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