Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) made a surprise return to EastEnders on Friday 3rd January for a final farewell to mum Karen Taylor (Lorraine Stanley), thanks to would-be hitman Martin Fowler (James Bye) who united mother and son for the last time.
Consumed with the guilt of covering up Keanu’s true fate while his family feared the worst, Martin admitted to Karen her boy was still alive but refused to divulge any further details.
Co-conspirator Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) earlier begged Mr Fowler to have a heart and tell the pained parent the truth but poker-faced Martin refused, not letting on he’d already let the cat out of the bag.
Seeing Karen spiral, not knowing what to believe, and publicly accuse Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) of hiding what really happened to Keanu pushed Martin to the brink and he made a sneaky phone call before whisking Karen off to a secret location.
The pair were then seen at Stansted Airport just in time for Keanu to quietly emerge – in the traditional baseball cap and beard disguise of the soap fugitive – causing relieved Karen to fling her arms around her offspring.
Keanu explained everything to his dear old ma, how the Mitchells had ordered him dead after he was revealed as being the father of Sharon’s baby and that fiancee Louise had betrayed her baby daddy and delivered him to Martin, who Ben had instructed to carry out the kill.
As viewers saw in the flashback to Christmas Day, Martin couldn’t pull the trigger and when reluctant witness Linda got involved (she was on the scene, having passed out drunk in the back of the van Martin used to take Keanu to the derelict warehouse where he was meant to finish him off) the trio concocted the cover-up – film a video convincing enough to satisfy Ben that Martin had done the deed, then let Keanu go on the run with the proviso he stay away, and stay ‘dead’.
It appeared that Keanu didn’t tell Karen of L’s involvement, only that Martin had saved his life having been backed into a corner by Ben.
As the Taylor totty dashed to catch his flight with a fake passport bearing the name ‘Adrian Swanson’, lamenting how he’d never be a dad to either of his Mitchell kiddies, he bid a tearful goodbye to his mummy and made her promise never to reveal to the rest of the family what she knew.
While this twist gives the story a certain amount of closure, there are still threads left hanging – did ‘Enders deliberately reveal Keanu’s new identity so fans remembered it in case it cropped up again? He also (perhaps unwisely) promised Karen he’d get in touch when he was settled in his new life – surely that’s a big risk? And can Keanu really keep away from baby Peggy and – when it comes in the next few weeks – his and Sharon’s unborn bubba?
Also, Martin may have stepped up and done the right thing by Karen, but Linda reckons he’s a ruthless menace and Ben thinks he’s a cold-blooded killer – what if either uneasy alliance went awry and one of them turned on him, not realising he was still that decent family man deep down?
For now that seems to be it for Keanu, so let’s hope he stays safe, out of trouble, and doesn’t get any more Mitchell women pregnant – knowing his luck he’ll run into Phil’s sister Sam on his travels and knock her up too…
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