Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) returns to Walford for the first time since 2014, ready to fight Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) for custody of her daughter. But what has the bad girl been up to since we last saw her?
Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) attacks Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton) turns the tables on Jean Slater (Gillian Wright) and a fire breaks out in the Square.
Here are all your EastEnders spoilers for 6th – 10th September 2021.
Janine's big return
Kat finally tells Tommy Moon (Sonny Kendall) that Scarlett isn't his cousin, she's his sister, explaining they both have the same dad, Alfie's cousin Michael Moon - murdered in cold blood by Janine. This makes Tommy even more eager to help Scarlett so Kat relents and tells social services she'll become the abandoned girl's carer, as she's better off without her mean mum.
Janine then makes a suitably grand entrance at her daughter's court hearing where she gives an Oscar-worthy performance, insisting she's redeemed herself and is ready to be a proper parent to her little girl. Unfortunately it doesn't wash with the authorities and the Butcher bitch marches into the Vic later that day for a showdown with Kat, who vows to do everything she can to keep Scarlett away from her murdering mother!
Scarlett goes missing
Realising her confrontational approach isn't getting her anywhere, Janine calms down and tries to appeal to Kat mum to mum, hoping it grants her a second chance with Scarlett. By this time it's clear sly Janine's up to her old tricks and Kat tells her to get lost, only for social services to then report Scarlett has gone missing.
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Suspicion immediately falls on Janine but it appears she's telling the truth when she swears she had nothing to do with her disappearance. She and Kat form an uneasy alliance to search for her, and Janine reckons she knows exactly where her daughter is hiding out…
Meanwhile, Shirley is fuming with Phil for refusing to tell the police the truth about Ian's attack, thus preventing Tina from coming home. The fact Tina's been dead since Christmas is a bigger obstacle to her returning, but Shirl still thinks her sister's laying low thanks to Gray Atkins (Toby-Alexander Smith) and his lies he's seen Teen and she's desperate for money - which he's happy to scam from the Carter matriarch, pretending she's helping out her sibling while he pockets the dosh.
Manipulative Gray fuels Shirley's hatred of Mr Mitchell and she ends up storming over to his place to have it out, culminating with her whacking him out cold with a baseball bat then fleeing in a panic. At this point, Janine shows up having correctly guessed Tommy has been hiding Scarlett, and is shocked to see Phil unconscious on the floor. As Janine tries to get away with Scarlett there's a tussle - and a fire starts in the Mitchell kitchen. Well, we were promised Janine's comeback would be explosive…
Jean confesses to Martin?
Jean is back from her hols and quick to clock that Ruby hasn't come clean to Martin Fowler (James Bye) that she lied to put Stacey behind bars, so will she be true to her word and tell her former son-in-law the truth? Turns out she's got more to worry about when the marijuana Big Mo left in the garage now resembles a garden centre - what's Jean going to do with a drugs den she didn't want?!
Begging best mate Shirley for help, Jean comes up with a plan to deal with her plantation problem. By this time Ruby can smell something's awry and that Jean is hiding something - quite literally as the stench from her garage is getting pretty strong. When Lily Slater (Lillia Turner) is caught with weed at school, Rubes reckons she's got leverage to stop Jean blabbing to Martin. Will Ruby play dirty to keep herself in the clear?
Elsewhere on EastEnders
- Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) is panicking her due date is getting closer, and has to keep checking her diary to preserve the ruse she's not as far along as she actually is so people believe Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) is the baby's father and not Max. A typically insensitive comment from Vi Highway (Gwen Taylor) as to how big Linda's bump is gets Rainie Highway (Tanya Franks) thinking and she starts asking some very awkward questions. The Carters fear their cover story is crumbling, especially when Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) begins poking his nose in again…
- Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) is shaken by having to face up to what her and Phil did to Ian and Zack Hudson (James Farrar) is concerned for his big sister. Offering to take Albie to a doctor's appointment so she has one less thing to worry about leaves Shazzer relieved, but Zack's trip with his nephew turns out to be much more eventful than he'd anticipated!