Emmerdale often goes big at this time of year because it’s when the show’s anniversary falls. Previous autumn set pieces have seen Finn Barton shot, Kim Tate pushed over a balcony and the multi-car pile-up on the Hotten Bypass.
You’d have thought everyone would have learnt their lesson by now: don’t go out in October.
And yet here we have Moira trapped in weeds underwater after being thrown from a boat. And back on the vessel itself, where Cain and Nate are currently fighting, there’s a canister that’s ominously leaking petrol.
If you’re a fan of pyrotechnics, you’ll no doubt love the incendiary action that follows. But I can’t help but notice the current lack of imagination at Emmerdale – the plot-lines in recent months all feel like standbys you’d use when the cupboard is bare: a factory fire, the returnee with secrets, an illicit affair and, now, the big explosion. But the flames can’t mask the feeling that this is a soap in need of a big idea.
What I’m also kind of dreading is the prospect of this week’s big revelation being that Nate is somehow related to Cain and is on some mission of revenge. It’s a theory that’s been hotly debated on fan forums and in the tabloid press. But before Nate is potentially added to the Dingle family tree, it’d be handy for him to be handed an actual personality. At the moment, he has just one notable trait: being a total sleazebag.
Thankfully, not all the drama next week involves combustible boats. We also get the Woolpack reopening and Chas getting trapped in the toilets with Marlon just as her waters break. With Bob DJ-ing, the pair’s cries for help go unheard and a vulnerable Chas is left with Marlon having to coach her through labour.
As for the birth, viewers have been suspecting that Emmerdale will surprise us where Paddy and Chas’s baby is concerned. Will they end up having a girl rather than a boy? Surely the writers won’t be able to resist naming the newborn after the much-missed Lisa?
And there are big repercussions for Robert, who we’ve now seen hand himself in to the police after his attempt to go on the run with Aaron backfired. Upcoming episodes see Robert due in court, but will Aaron’s plan to stop him from going to prison work? Part of me is still hoping Robert goes on the lam and reunites with fellow fugitives Andy and Adam in the Costa del Crime…