Hunter Owen (Charlie Winter) appears to have shot his stepdad Ray Kelly (Sean Mahon) dead in tonight’s hour-long EastEnders.
Bigamist Ray was seen collapsing to the ground after taking a bullet to the chest as Hunter stepped in to help mum Mel (Tamzin Outhwaite), who was at that moment being strangled by her murderous husband.
Fans of the BBC1 soap had already been told that a key character would end up with blood on their hands at the climax to this year’s festive episodes. And now it seems that Mel will go to desperate lengths to cover up Hunter’s crime.
Speaking about the upcoming drama, actress Tamzin Outhwaite said: “A mother’s love for her kids can turn her into a lioness. Mel will protect Hunter – pretty much at all costs.”
Prior to the shooting, Mel was seen being lured to local woodland after an on-the-run Ray threatened to kill a kidnapped Hunter unless the frantic bride turned up with a bag containing banknotes and fake passports.
After managing to free Hunter, Mel ended up reversing a car into an increasingly volatile Ray. Believing she’d killed him, Mel then started to dig a hole and bury him in the earth.
But, in true horror movie style, Ray managed to ‘rise from the dead’ and proceed to start throttling Mel, promising that he’d now finish the job he’d started earlier that day.
Cue the surprise intervention by Hunter, who fired Ray’s hand gun, seemingly ending the man’s life in the process.
The cliffhanger scene had echoes of a famous EastEnders plotline from 1999 that saw Hunter’s father Steve Owen bump off Saskia Duncan, bury her body in Epping Forest and then pin the blame on employee Matthew Rose.
EastEnders viewers will now have to wait until Friday at 8.00pm to discover whether the repercussions of Hunter’s actions and how Mel will cope with the fallout from what is likely to be Ray’s untimely death.
Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.