To say that life has not been easy for Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) of late in EastEnders would be almost redundant – life has never been easy for him and given the Mitchell legacy he is a part of, it comes as no surprise.
Fans have taken to his latest relationship with Callum Highway (Tony Clay) really well and many are hoping that this will be the real deal; a romance that goes the distance. But the latest Secrets From the Square indicated that when EastEnders returns, Ballum may have been apart through lockdown. Is this is the end of yet another romance for Ben, and will he ever be able to find love?
For us, we cannot help but feel that Ben’s rocky love life has been, at least in part, hampered by the failed relationships he has seen growing up. We know that Ben always wants to please his father, Phil (Steve McFadden) and does all he can to prove himself as a Mitchell, but Phil’s love life has been one disaster after the next and Ben seems set to continue following that destructive path.
Part of Ben’s problem, and one that has damaged the bond he shared with Callum, is his tendency to keep things to himself. It’s par for the course when you dabble in illegal doings while your partner works on joining the police force, but it has certainly been a cause of a number of issues, not to mention Ben being less than forthcoming over how bad his hearing loss had become in the weeks leading up to EastEnders going off the air.
Before Callum, and back when Ben looked a lot more like Harry Reid, there was Paul Coker (Jonny Labey) and whilst that relationship was not easy (it was Ben’s first after coming out), it showed a more stable side of him and it seemed the characters were destined to stay together. But as viewers know, a homophobic attack resulted in Paul’s death and that moment was likely pivotal for helping to shape who Ben would become.
Could it be that, despite his love for Callum, there is a strong part of Ben that is resistant to being vulnerable and fully open with his boyfriend? He had that before and it was snatched away from him and it would certainly fit with how he hides aspects of himself away from Callum.
Or could it be, as previously mentioned, a knock-on effect of watching his father bounce from one troubled, volatile, relationship to the next? In all likelihood, it is a combination of the two and Ben is at a pivotal point in his life now. To lose Callum, on top of all that has happened to him of late, could well be the final nail in the coffin for Ben ever having a stable, healthy and loving future.
For us, the best chance Ben has of getting a happy ending would be for him to distance himself from being a Mitchell. History has shown that things never run smoothly in love for that family but this is Ben we are talking about and honestly, we can see him repeating the same mistakes for many years to come.
That being said, if there is ever going to be someone other than Paul to change things for Ben, it’s Callum. Let’s just hope Ben realises that before it is too late.