EastEnders: was it a good choice to have Bobby kill Lucy Beale?

Were you thrilled by the murder plot? Or let down by its climax? David Brown weighs up the outcome and asks for your vote

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So now we know – Bobby Beale killed his half-sister Lucy. But were you satisfied by the outcome to the long-running EastEnders murder mystery? With opinion divided on the climax to the whodunnit, we sift through the pros and cons of having Bobby unmasked as a murderer…

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ON THE DOWN SIDE…

Bobby Beale wasn’t in the original ‘There’s a Killer Amongst Them’ trailer. Not even in the overhead shot. It feels that EastEnders wasn’t playing fair when it said that the murderer was in that line-up, only for that not to be the case.

Even the official EastEnders website was stating that there were 14 ‘remaining suspects’, none of whom was Bobby Beale.

Bobby was played by a different actor at the time of Lucy’s killing. Rory Stroud was in the role over Easter 2014, now Bobby is being portrayed by Eliot Carrington. Is it bending the rules to recast a character and then unmask them as a killer in a flashback episode using the new actor?

A whodunnit works best when the solution makes you reassess everything you thought you knew about the guilty party. This works particularly well on soaps where you can follow characters over years and sometimes decades. But when it’s a relatively minor character like Bobby, you can’t reassess all that much. And we – as viewers – don’t really have that much of an emotional attachment to Bobby…

And does Bobby really have much of a motive? Is “she made everyone miserable” enough? Lucy did act as a mother figure to him during Ian’s breakdown and the two of them always seemed close. Unless this is now going to turn into a We Need to Talk about Kevin story and we find out that Bobby is completely lacking in a conscience.

Are there still so many unanswered questions:

How did Bobby manage to kill someone without anyone upstairs (Ian, Denise, Cindy) hearing? Are we supposed to think that the music from Roxy’s party drowned it all out?

Who put the jewellery box under the Christmas tree and why? Could the Beales not tell that it was a child’s writing on the gift tag?

What was the catalyst for Emma Summerhayes working it all out?

Does it make sense for Jane to come back, let killer Bobby sleep under the same roof as Cindy’s baby and then marry Ian?

Was Bobby merely dissembling and staging a massive cover-up when he started messaging Tiffany in a bid to find Lucy’s killer?

ON THE UP SIDE…

Bobby may be the killer, but this is really a story about Jane and the lengths to which she’d go to protect him. Executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins always said that he wanted the solution to come “from the heart” and there was definitely plenty of emotional pull from the fact that Jane has been carrying this massive burden around since Easter 2014.

Soaps have always been in the business of deferring gratification. The end of one story has to be the beginning of another. And now we get to find out how the Beales deal with Bobby, something that could fuel plotlines for years. Will he be full of remorse? Or is Bobby now going to be the Omen child of Albert Square?

The whole week has been about the bonds between mothers and their children. Peggy and Phil. Dot and Nick. Kathy and Ian. And now, of course, Jane and Bobby. So there was certainly symmetry in having Jane cover up a murder committed by her adoptive child.

It’s now possible for EastEnders to celebrate its 60th anniversary by having a 75-year-old Jane Beale letting a 42-year-old evil Bobby Beale die at home, in a style reminiscent of Dot letting Nick Cotton die at home, which was in turn done in the style of Nick Cotton letting Reg Cox die in his home back in 1985. 

And Kathy gets to now come back to a whole world of pain and torment. Her son Ian’s in a mess because of Lucy, other son Ben is a killer, grandson Bobby is now also a killer and the other grandson Peter is a drug pusher. And then there’s  ex-husband Phil, who’s now married to the woman who had an affair with him when he was married to Kathy. Welcome home, Kath.

But now it’s over to you – vote on the resolution to the Lucy Beale murder mystery below!

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