Looking Back: Robron's First Proposal
Ahead of tonight’s proposal, we look back on Robron’s first dramatic proposal, so strap yourselves in get ready for a watery ride!
The Car In The Lake
Robert’s proposal came just moments before Aaron swerved to avoid a car pile up, thus sending their own vehicle hurtling into a lake. One moment the boys were bickering, Robert had the ring in his hand, Aaron was stunned into silence - and the next their lives were on the line.
What could be more Robron than that?! We think these star crossed lovers ending up fighting for life in a submerged vehicle is a perfect metaphor for their relationship. Intense, overwhelming, dangerous, dramatic, and all-consuming. At that point in their story, they were probably still a little unstable, within in their own private bubble, but they gave each other love and hope. Enough to pull each other through the darkness.
When they discovered Aaron was stuck in the car while the water levels rose, Robert calmed Aaron down and promised him they’d get him free of the flooding car wreck as long as they worked together. Robert put aside his own fear to reassure Aaron, and a terrified Aaron listened.
It’s these drama filled storylines that fit Robron perfectly, and in the high pressure environment, we saw the boys’ emotions, usually bottled up, come bursting out. What was a nightmare for the boys, was a dream for viewers, who got to see their favourite soap super couple involved in an impressive stunt, one that felt both claustrophobic and cinematic at the same time.
It might not be what usually happens next after someone proposes, (or attempts to!), but it’s just another day in the life of Robron!
If anyone was still in doubt of Robert Sugden’s love for Aaron Dingle, they would have seen the result of Robert’s development and growth through his years of knowing the scruffy scrapper come to a head in this tense episode. When Robert burst back onto the scene with the Whites in 2014, he was self-centred, callous, and through his experiences had learned to value his own survival and success above all things. Through his interactions with Aaron, we saw a slow, and sometimes infuriating journey towards the more adult realisation that there’s more to life than money, wealth, reputation and status.
Not only does Robert propose to his boyfriend in this episode, a brave move for a man once afraid of being true to himself, but he gives Aaron his final breath, and decided to remain trapped in the car with him if there was no way of freeing the love of his life. Robert deciding he would rather die by Aaron Dingle’s side than save himself, is in our opinion one of his biggest character moments to date.
Thankfully, Robert managed to rescue Aaron, but we think Robert probably realised something about himself in the lake as well. Perhaps when push comes to shove for Robert Sugden, the heart really does come first.
Lachlan In the Boot
Robron’s first proposal storyline featured a teenager in the boot (standard), and not just any teenager: future serial killer Lachlan White, once Robert’s stepson through his previous marriage to Chrissie. This followed a trend in the Robron story, with Robert spending some time tied up in a car boot by Aaron’s uncle Cain, and Robert then keeping Ryan, who he needed to lie to the court in order to send evil Gordon Livesy to prison, in a boot for the night. Aaron would later end up in a car boot before his surprise wedding too! But this time, it was Aaron doing the kidnapping, and somehow , in a way only Emmerdale knows how, the show managed to make the situation funny.
Lachlan had overheard Robert plotting with Rebecca White in order to help his brother Andy, and accused him of having an affair with Rebecca. When the furious teenager warned Robert away from his aunt, he threatened to tell his counsellors that his ‘gay stepdad’ wouldn't leave him alone if he didn’t back off. Lachlan seemed to believe this would work for him because of Aaron’s recent success in managing take his father Gordon to court and prove that he had suffered horrific childhood abuse at his hands.
Unfortunately for Lachlan, Aaron turned up at the scrapyard at the wrong moment, and overheard Lachlan’s threat.
We got to witness the best of protective Aaron, in total bodyguard mode, ready to defend Robert in typical Dingle style. We love Aaron and Robert’s dynamic, and think Robert’s cunning and smarts, paired with Aaron’s furious and sometimes aggressive loyalty, make them a force to be reckoned with. We even think that should Emmerdale decide to take Robron down a darker path together, they’d work well as the new bad boys of the village, with all the scheming of Chris Tate and the attitude of Cain Dingle combined.
Aaron’s hot temper has got him into plenty of trouble, but we like to know he’ll always fight in Robert’s corner.
Robert’s Bisexuality Speech.
We think this speech written by Maxine Alderton is one of the show’s best. Bisexual viewers were able to relate to Robert, and have their experience discussed on screen with great delicacy and care, all the while providing a realistic situation to explain much of Robert Sugden’s character and actions. Ryan Hawley delivers a beautifully restrained performance when discussing one of the most private and traumatic events of his life: the day his father, Jack Sugden, found him with a boy in his bedroom and leathered him.
This speech explains a lot about Robert Sugden as a character, but it also reveals a lot about Aaron, who although ignorant about bisexuality, listens, and tries to learn, telling Robert that he’s not a disappointment. He’s amazing.
Robert talks about his bisexuality quite a lot during the Super Soap Week episode, and faces biphobic comments and stereotypes from an ignorant Aaron. We think this was a fantastic way to allow bisexual people to counter these ideas through a known character, and that the framing was perfect.
It’s a brilliant example of the biphobia bisexual people can face not only from straight people, but also members of the LGBT community, as bisexuality is still so misunderstood.
In our view, Emmerdale should have continued allowing Robert to counter these stereotypes, as many people have complained that the good work of this episode was wasted when following his excellent speeches about not needing both, and being bisexual not meaning he was going to cheat, Emmerdale decided to have him cheat just weeks after marriage.
However, this doesn’t detract from a fantastic episode, and we hope that going forward, we can have more material like this, which educates viewers and fights harmful stereotypes, and less like the storyline from last year!
Bisexual men are an especially vulnerable group for some of the reasons Robert talks about in his speech. It would be great if Emmerdale could delve into Robert's bisexuality in a respectful way, so viewers can learn to be more understanding and leave stereotypes and bigotry behind.
Victoria and Robert are close siblings, and so it was only natural that Robert would confide in his little sister that he was planning to pop the question. Vic was delighted by the news, and even helped Robert prepare what to say. One of the funniest moments was seeing Robert practicing what he would say in front of an unimpressed Victoria!
Victoria’s not the most subtle of sisters either, and so she almost gives the game away, but we love the Sugden siblings and think it was nice that Victoria played her part in what would have been a perfect proposal, seeing as she’s been such a huge part of both of their stories over the years.
While Aaron was in surgery, Robert waited with an anxious Victoria and Adam, and was soon joined by Chas and Liv. There were several great moments during this stressful time, including Liv, Robert, and Chas being referred to as 'Aaron Dingle's family', and Liv and Chas seeming delighted by Robert's plans to marry Aaron. In these scenes we truly saw Robert absorbed into Aaron's family.
We also think that Liv's relationship with Robert grew stronger from this moment, as she found out that he'd saved her brother from an almost certain death. It's definitely a milestone in Roblivion's journey!
He Said Yes! - And Then Flatlined
Viewers were overjoyed to see Aaron safe in hospital, surrounded by his family of Chas, Robert, and Liv. Although bruised and probably a bit high on morphine, the first word Aaron said when he woke up was ‘yeah’. He'd not only remembered Robert's plans, but was eager not to leave his boyfriend in the lurch.
Robert put the ring he had retrieved from the sunken car on Aaron's finger, while Liv and Chas watched on with pride, but this happy time was cut short, as just moments after, the Dingle closed his eyes and began to flatline...
Viewers feared for Aaron Dingle's life as both he and James Barton looked to be in great danger. But only one was destined to meet their doom...
The Non-Morphine Influenced Answer
Thankfully, fan favourite Aaron Dingle survived, and Robert spent the night in the hospital while Aaron recovered, sleeping by his bed in a chair, wearing clothes still damp from the lake.
We got some lovely scenes of Robert caring for his boyfriend with a calm domesticity we think is hinting at their future dynamic as twice married men. He affectionately kissed Aaron’s forehead, sat on his bed, and they talked about the accident.
There was something very grownup about this scene, where the boys communicated and discussed their relationship. We hope elements sewn in this scene will be taken forward to create Robron’s new, and more powerful relationship dynamic, so that they can be just as intense and passionate as always, but more grounded, domestic, and mature when they get married a second time.
Aaron worried that Robert might not be ready for such a huge commitment since he’d so recently come out and got divorced from Chrissie, but Robert convinced Aaron that he was sure. Aaron claimed he wasn’t easy to love, and so did Robert, but thankfully, they have each other! There was something very satisfying about seeing two complex and troubled characters who we have known for so long, find solace and acceptance in each other.
We were also given one of Robron’s most iconic lines: ‘I don’t want easy, I want messed up, with you…forever.’ If that doesn't describe Robron, we don't know what does!
With their conversation over, this time around Aaron asked the big question, and Robert happily agreed, sealing the promise with a kiss. Adam and Victoria arrived with the second ring for Robert, which Aaron put on his new fiancé’s finger. We think it was fitting that Aaron's best friend Adam, and Robert's little sister Victoria were both present at this special moment.
Of course the gathering wouldn't have been complete without Liv and Chas, who turned up soon after with balloons to celebrate the engagement. Their arrival felt like it completed Robron’s own happy and chaotic little family unit, with the people that mattered most there in the room with them.
It might not have been glamorous, but we think it's one of the most romantic proposals in soap!
What Comes Next?
Tonight, we will see Robron propose again, and hopefully become engaged for a second time. They’ve been through plenty of hardships, but they’ve been each other’s anchor throughout, never really leaving the other’s heart during their split.
We’re looking forward to seeing Robron enjoy the lead up to their marriage, and we can’t wait to see them settling into married life. We hope they can be just as dramatic as ever, and that they are still given gritty storylines that they can face as a united couple. After all, we know they're stronger together than apart!
Here at Talking Emmerdale, we think it’s important viewers get to see two men in love and being married in a popular soap, and we hope that Emmerdale give Robron the opportunities to show that their love and loves like theirs are something to be celebrated, and something to be supported!
This time, let’s get things right! Forget the misery, we think it's time for a happy ending!
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