Max Branning unleashed his anger on his own family in tonight’s EastEnders, telling them that he blamed them for standing by and doing nothing during his recent incarceration.
As viewers know, Max was wrongfully imprisoned for the crime of killing Lucy Beale when many on the Square knew that Bobby as actually responsible. When Ian’s son eventually confessed, Max was released and set about wreaking revenge on all those who he saw as having wronged him.
But this week’s episodes of the BBC1 soap saw Max double crossed by his bosses at Weyland, who left him without a penny following the exposure of their plan to buy up Walford properties and turn them into luxury flats.
Thursday’s instalment – written by Simon Ashdown – saw the Branning girls confront their dad about his recent actions, but then turn on each other when Lauren brought up the subject of Abi’s pregnancy.
As the showdown descended into acrimony, Lauren revealed that she still had a copy of Max’s business contract in her possession, but would only let her dad have it if he revealed the truth about his reasons for hoodwinking his friends and neighbours.
After threatening to burn the paperwork, Lauren eventually handed it over, only for Max to then crumble and destroy the contract before revealing that he’d been motivated by vengeance rather than money.
As Abi, Lauren and Jack finally saw the wrath that had remained hidden for so long, Max angrily admitted that his family – as well as the likes of Ian and Phil – had been on his hit list ever since his release from prison. This evening’s final scene then saw a damaged Max staring into the bathroom mirror at his own reflection before head-butting the glass.
Upcoming episodes will find an increasingly unhinged and alienated Max decide to kill both Ian and Phil as he seeks retribution, setting the scene for a Christmas in Walford that puts the Brannings centre stage.
Speaking recently to Radio Times about 2017’s festive drama, show boss John Yorke said: “The really big story on Christmas Day, and one of the biggest stories we have ever told on EastEnders, will revolve around Max and how his past actions all come back to haunt him in the most powerful and appalling way.
“This Christmas is going to be a classic EastEnders Christmas – the time of year when EastEnders should be at its very best – and we can’t wait for people to see it.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of all next week's drama on EastEnders below. Beneath that, there's our exclusive Week in Walford review show
And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.