EastEnders‘ Mel Owen (Tamzin Outhwaite) has perished in car crash as a bold plan to destroy the mighty Mitchells came horribly unstuck – mirroring the demise of her husband Steve Owen 17 years ago.
It was the end of the road for Mel on Thursday 14th November when she miraculously survived the road accident only to be finished off by a speeding lorry at the wreckage site. The incident occurred while she was en route to tell Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) the baby that wife Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean) is carrying is Keanu Taylor’s (Danny Walters), Phil’s future son-in-law who has also got his daughter Louise Mitchell (Tilly Keeper) pregnant.
Eager to get to Phil first, Sharon was in hot pursuit, causing her adversary to up her speed leaving her no time to swerve to avoid a broken down car up ahead. Sharon then pulled Mel from her flipped-over motor before it exploded, with unstable Mrs O finally coming a cropper when she was hit by a huge truck as she dashed back to the vehicle convinced dead son Hunter was in there.
Mining its own history, EastEnders neatly constructed the circumstances around Mel’s dramatic exit to echo her other half’s unforgettable blaze of glory back in 2002, when Louise – then just months old – was drawn into Phil’s feud with Steve leading to fateful car accident that had huge consequences that have been felt ever since.
We all know why Mel and Sharon were playing Wacky Races, but what was Steve and Phil’s original Fast and the Furious chase all about? And how were Mel, Sharon, Lisa Fowler (Lucy Benjamin) and Lou involved?
How did Steve Owen end up crashing his car? Was it Phil Mitchell’s fault?
Phil’s toxic romance with Lisa had collapsed after she tried to shoot him dead in 2001, and when she later discovered she was pregnant she pretended Mark Fowler was the baby daddy.
Sharon was in on it and thought Phil deserved to know the truth – so she told him. In March 2002, Lisa planned to flee Walford for a new life abroad with Mark, BFF Mel and hubby Steve, so she could get three-month-old Lou away from her bullying biological dad.
Phil was having none of it and the escape plan stalled when Mark backed out. With Steve keen to get one over on his rival for sleeping with Mel, he was only too pleased to ensure he never saw his little girl again by snatching Lou and speeding off.
A frantic car chase between the blokes ensued ending in Steve crashing into a wall. Phil went to help trapped Steve, who passed unharmed Louise to safety, but Phil’s split-second hesitation to go back and free his enemy cost the gangster his life when the car exploded.
Heartbroken – and suddenly pregnant – Mel left for Portugal shortly after Steve’s death, and gave birth to their son, Hunter, off screen. In 2018 she returned to Walford with the spawn of Steve Owen, now a cocky, sociopathic teenager, and when he learnt the truth about his dad’s death the Owen/Mitchell feud was reignited – paving the way for Mel to meet a similar fate to her doomed spouse in what is essentially an all-girl reboot of that legendary scene.
All it needed was Louise, now 18, strapped in the backseat to complete the picture – though putting a pregnant woman in a pile-up is perhaps pushing things a bit too far, even for EastEnders…
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