Well, EastEnders certainly gave us a cliffhanger to remember as pre-lockdown footage came to an end and the BBC soap heads off on a break to be replaced by classic episodes and a behind the scenes series, Secrets From the Square – and it was an ending Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) will probably want to forget.
Following his treatment of Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) after her decision to keep baby Kayden, Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) made it clear that she no longer wanted Phil to be the owner of the pub, something that concerned Mick (Danny Dyer) who felt the need to get the recovering alcoholic out of the boozer as soon as possible.
Mick later had a chat with Sharon and asked for her help to convince Linda to sell, only for Sharon to suggest she had plans of her own. Despite Mick’s reluctance to make an enemy out of Phil if they didn’t have to, Linda’s argument was strong and Mick found himself forced to look at other options.
As the episode drew to a close, Phil turned up to chase for the signature he needed to close the deal but was instead greeted with the news that the pub had already been sold to someone else… Walking out into the bar, he saw Sharon and Ian smiling at him while Sharon casually asked: “Hello Phil, what can I get you?” – cue dramatic ending.
As far as scenes they could have used to close out the run of new episodes for the foreseeable future, it’s hard to think of one that could have been better than this. The scene was a throwback to another iconic cliffhanger… (we’ll leave you to think about that)
The poetic justice was not lost on fans either.
When will EastEnders return?
The episode marked EastEnders last offering before it goes off air, with no set date for its return. It even ended with a classic ‘to be continued’. Fortunately, some of the cast are now back filming but it will still be awhile before the soap is back on TV – with a return likely in August/September. When the soap does return it’ll be back to four nights a week, but with episodes running at a shorter 20 minutes.
Fans have been quick to share their love of the soap as they jokingly called it the ‘end of season one’.
What will Phil do now?
What Phil does next will certainly be one of the questions we have while the show is on its break, but if we were Ian, we would be concerned what Phil will do given the chequered history they already have.
Meanwhile, tensions escalated between Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) and Mitch Baker (Roger Griffiths) as their battle to win Karen Taylor (Lorraine Stanley) ended with a street brawl and Karen found herself forced to choose between the two men. And Dotty Cotton (Molly Conlin) found her hold over Ian seemingly come to an end when he made her life miserable and refused to be blackmailed over Dennis’s death any longer.
Elsewhere, Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) got some good news after a shock collapse had him taken to hospital only to be told that regaining his hearing may not be the lost cause he thinks it to be. And Grey Atkins (Toby-Alexander Smith) made moves to get Chantelle (Jessica Plummer) out of her job as his paranoia about her and Kheerat Panesar (Jaz Deol) continued to grow.
With so many stories left unresolved, the wait for new episodes is going to be a long one!
Visit our dedicated EastEnders and Secrets From the Square pages for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.