EastEnders’ return to BBC One was welcomed with open arms by its long-suffering fans, as the soap finally returned after its lockdown hiatus with an episode chock-full of incident and plot development.
The reaction was generally positive. One fan tweeted, “the camera works, the lighting, the details… #EastEnders has really stepped it up”.
“Straight back in there. Feels like a lot happened in just 20 minutes,” according to another superfan.
From Dotty’s revelation at the episode’s conclusion that Ian Beale was responsible for Sharon’s brother Dennis’s death, to Chantelle’s growing terror of husband Gray to copper Callum’s pursuit of a petty thief, there was a story lurking around every corner of Albert Square.
One fan was quick to sum up the main plot points, including whether or not Mick Carter would buy a new apron (please, yes), whether Kat will ever be silenced (hardly) and will Sharon kill Ian (unlikely, but welcome)?
“How did they manage to fit all of that in 20 minutes?” asked one viewer.
It has already been reported that Chantelle will die at her abusive husband’s hands and the episode felt all the more ominous for it.
Every husband needs to have a tracker on his wife’s phone, just to “make sure we’re all safe”, right? Wrong.
Some EastEnders fans were feeling Chantelle’s pain in a visceral way.
The socially distanced production means that EastEnders is initially returning with 20-minute episodes, because it takes so much longer to produce, but that might come as relief to Ruby, seeing as it saves her from being dragged around the square by Kat!
Handsome copper Callum was in hero mode when he leapt on a petty thief making off with a money bag from the market. But moments later he was conflicted when he saw his partner Ben on CCTV looking dodgy near a warehouse.
Will he choose his career or his relationship?
The undeniable climax of the episode was Dotty Cotton’s revelation that Ian was responsible for Dennis Rickman’s death. Sharon (Letitia Dean) was given the honour of taking the classic “duff-duff” intro to the EastEnders theme tune.
It set up EastEnders perfectly for what producers are calling “series two” – the continuation of the soap after the COVID-19 pandemic.
EastEnders returns to BBC One on Tuesday night.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.