Hunter Owen (Charlie Winter) has been shot dead in tonight’s dramatic EastEnders, with Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) and Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) also sustaining injuries during a tense siege that put most of the soap’s main characters in danger.
Efforts had been made by trained police negotiators to get prison escapee Hunter to disarm. But a showdown that began in the Queen Vic ended up spilling out on to the Square itself after the unbalanced teen took a pregnant Louise hostage and threatened to kill her.
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After Louise’s partner and dad-to-be Keanu ran from behind a police cordon to rescue her, Hunter ended up shooting his adversary in the arm before his reign of terror was terminated by armed officers.
A traumatised Mel (Tamzin Outhwaite) was last seen cradling Hunter’s body, while back in the pub, Phil was thanking Sonia after she used her nurse’s training to save the life of his son Ben, who’d taken a bullet to the stomach after getting caught up in the mayhem.
A tense scene earlier in the episode had seen Phil attempt to stage a rescue attempt by storming the back entrance to the Vic, only to face a Sophie’s Choice-style dilemma when he opted to stay in the pub to care for a critically-ill Ben rather than free daughter Louise from Hunter’s clutches.
Prior to this week’s high-profile drama being broadcast, EastEnders had revealed that at least one character would be losing their life.
Viewers now appear to have their answer, and while it still remains to be seen whether Ben will recover from his injuries, the fact that actor Max Bowden was photographed recently filming upcoming funeral scenes for the BBC1 soap suggests his character will pull through.
What we do know for sure is that Tamzin Outhwaite is set to leave the cast in the wake of Mel’s on-screen tragedy, with the actress having recently commented: “The time feels right to once again pursue other challenges.
“I will of course miss so many people here at EastEnders, and I will forever have good memories of my time at the show, but I am also excited to experience new roles outside of Walford.”
At this point, EastEnders isn’t yet revealing the full fallout from this week’s shock drama, but viewers can expect the events to be hanging heavy on the Square’s residents when we next visit Walford on Monday.
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