Max Branning is at it again. Yes, the car-dealing love guru was tonight revealed to be the secret object of Lucy Beale’s affections, making her yet another notch on the well-whittled Branning bedpost.
In the closing scene of this evening’s episode, Max was shorn of his usual pulling outfit of brown suit and taupe shirt, appearing instead fresh from the shower with a towel around his waist. It was a sight that was enough to knock Lucy bandy with barely contained passion.
“You took your time,” he scolded.
“I got here in the end,” she replied, having teased viewers for the past week that she was actually getting her kicks from Jake, the jittery alcoholic chef who you wouldn’t trust with a butter knife never mind a meat cleaver.
But Jake was, of course, the red herring: he was back at his flat fretting about the imminent departure of both wife and daughter to Dubai. Maybe he’ll end up seeking some relationship from Max who, since Tanya’s exit, has bounced back by trying it on with Kirsty, Stacey, Jane and now Lucy.
The signs that Max was up to his old tricks were there for those that chose to look – him checking his phone for texts, Lucy’s comments about Max being “all right” and treating his daughters like adults…
Then there’s Lauren and Lucy’s business partnership, a double act that’s ripe to be ruined should this subterfuge come out. “You’re my best mate,” said Lauren as she wondered where she’d be in a year’s time.
For Lucy the answer is more clear: thanks to a well-publicised murder plot, she’ll be six feet under in Walford cemetery. If Lauren finds out about Max’s late-night B&B bookings (there’s more to come tomorrow, see below), then you’ve got to wonder whether she’ll be the one to finish Lucy off.
EastEnders continues tomorrow at 8pm on BBC1