10 reasons Emmerdale’s Robert and Aaron reunion episode was perfect soap

10 reasons Emmerdale's Robron reunion episode was perfect soap
(Picture: ITV)

Tonight’s hour long episode of Emmerdale was something special. No, there wasn’t a big stunt or a shocking murder or a massive twist that we didn’t see coming. Instead, it delivered everything that soap should be about – warmth, character driven drama and engaging writing and performances.

It made us smile, it made us laugh, it made us ache and it held our attention in the same way that any gripping 9pm drama or Netflix binge-watch can. With so much investment in the characters and relationships involved, how could we not feel feelings – especially when the script came from the heart of one of TV’s finest writers, Maxine Alderton?

There’s no denying that Robert and Aaron fans have waited a long time for this gift of an episode – and it’s not been an easy journey for the fanbase – but with the light at the end of the tunnel finally reach, we felt we had to pay tribute to the episode that made it happen.

Here’s why we loved it:

It was perfect Robron

10 reasons Emmerdale's Robron reunion episode was perfect soap

The episode was predominantly seen as the reunion for Robron – and the many moments between this beloved pairing were woven in to truly make us feel feelings. From Aaron’s impassioned final speech to Robert through to parallels such as choice of music and the conversation in the garage, it delivered moments that will be remembered as fondly as any other key milestones in this complicated but powerful love story.

Charity bared her soul

It was fantastic to see a warmer and more vulnerable side to the usually acerbic Charity. She went to get her woman and when she and Vanessa were alone, she got as close to true commitment as Charity is ever going to get by admitting her feelings. Vanessa has certainly made Charity surprise herself – and the episode perfectly signalled that this is now no longer about the passion and the games. There are genuine Vanity feels here.

It was beautifully written

Robert and Aaron get back together in Emmerdale
(Picture: ITV)

Maxine’s attention to detail and clear care for the characters was clear – the episode wasn’t a clunky race to an already promised pay off and even though there was little hidden about the episode spoiler wise, there were some touching treats and unexpected moments that made the episode extra special.

Maxine understands the show and the fans and excelled herself once more to deliver a memorable episode.

It was uplifting and funny

Too often, the episodes that are remembered as being big and successful in soap revolve around tough issues, misery, death and stunts. But this delivered what soap needs to keep remembering to – joy, smiles and a warm, fizzy feeling.

We’d be lost without the high drama – but the bells and whistles mean nothing if we don’t care about the characters and episodes like this is what makes us care and relate. Bernice, Kerry and Paddy were on hand to make us laugh – if someone hasn’t made a GIF of Paddy slowly turning his whole aching body around to look at Aaron yet, then that’s a major miss!

It focused on friendships

It was nice to get an insight and an experience of a larger character group simply interacting, having fun and looking out for one another. The scenes in the club were a delight to see Robert, Aaron, Victoria, Vanessa, Charity, Kerry, Bernice and Priya all together. Showing the everyday nature of friendships can sometimes be neglected in soap in place of big storyline driven moments.

But combining such different but brilliant characters together in a new environment was great to watch.

The acting was top class

The cast of Emmerdale are always extremely strong but there were some definite moving performances from tonight’s episode. Danny Miller’s delivery of all of the things Robert has done for him which are often forgotten was genuinely emotional and Ryan Hawley played a blinder as ever. And Amy Walsh is giving her best performances of her Emmerdale career so far in Tracy’s current storyline, which Michael Praed supported subtly and sensitively.

The comedy performances of Dominic Brunt, Lucy Pargeter, Laura Norton and Samantha Giles were typically spot on and effective and the chemistry delivered between Emma Atkins and Michelle Hardwick was extremely layered. There was also a surprisingly moving insight into Priya’s loneliness, which Fiona Wade managed to create empathy for – no easy feat considering some fans still remember her naughty affair with Pete!

The reunion was done correctly

There was no cheating – it was important that Aaron was seen to treat Alex correctly before getting back with Robert. And just as important to also see both Robert and Aaron reflect on their own mistakes and contemplate the changes they would make in the future.

Fans have been waiting a long time but with excitement built up through a deeply engaging and passionate social media campaign, packed with additional content both before and after the episode, expectations were at an all time high and Emmerdale delivered that pay off that patient fans deserved.

It was all about the characters

This point can’t be made enough – this was character driven drama. Robert’s regret for the past and desperation not to hurt Aaron, Aaron confronting his true feelings, Charity exposing her vulnerable side and realising the depth of her own feelings and Vanessa being done with games but still putting her heart on the line. Then there was Tracy, beating herself up over the past and Frank stepping up as a dad at long last while subtler inclusions such as Priya’s loneliness and Chas’ fears over ageing were all in line with the characters.

The LGBT representation

10 reasons Emmerdale's Robron reunion episode was perfect soap
(Picture: ITV)

It shouldn’t be a big deal that an episode was pretty much dedicated to an uplifting representation of happy and loving LGBT couples – and one day, hopefully it won’t be – but it’s refreshing to see a TV show pour the adoration and time into representation for same sex couples.

Like any soap couple, these characters and relationships will never be free of drama – that’s the nature of the genre – but taking the time to write the characters and their very differing personalities so well and in an uplifting and loving way is a wonderful step. Focusing on LGBT characters as much as any other character should be the staple and the norm. And soaps can lead the way in this.

It was fan service but not just for super fans

Fan service is often used as a criticism but I don’t buy that – there is nothing wrong with serving the fans of the show. They are the ones that make the show exist and that’s who every writer, actor, crew member and producer are aiming to entertain.

But this wasn’t just a treat for the most passionate Robron or Vanity fan – there was something here for even the most casual of soap fans. It was just all round good television – dramatic in places, uplifting in others and warm and funny throughout.

Reflecting on an episode and smiling is a more powerful outcome than any viewing figure or award – so for that reason alone, Emmerdale can consider this hour long special a roaring success.

MORE: 10 Emmerdale spoilers: Joe Tate revenge, Laurel and Bob caught and Chas pregnant

MORE: Emmerdale spoilers: Reunions and passion for Robert and Aaron and Vanessa and Charity tonight

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