*Warning: Contains spoilers for tonight's EastEnders episode (22nd May 2024), currently available on BBC iPlayer.*


EastEnders has aired a major exit decision for Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) on Wednesday’s episode.

The BBC One soap has already seen Whitney decide that she and Zack Hudson (James Farrar) are over for good following the revelation during their wedding that he had slept with her best friend Lauren Branning (Jacquline Jossa).

In Wednesday’s episode, the long-suffering Whitney struggled to remain strong in the wake of the revelations and the harsh judgment placed on Zack by her mother Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer) - who unbeknownst to Whitney was aware of and had hidden Zack’s infidelity before Whitney found out.

Bianca remained firm that Whitney did not need Zack and she had all the family she needed in her, baby Dolly and foster daughter Britney Wainwright (Lola Campbell), the last of whom was equally firm on her not needing Zack.

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However, Whitney revealed to her aunt Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) that she had received formal legal recognition of the existence of her and Zack’s first child Peach after they terminated the pregnancy due to her Edwards’ syndrome. Whitney wanted to share this with Zack and also needs him to register baby Dolly‘s birth.

Shona McGarty as Whitney Dean with a beehive and emotional in side profile in the foreground while at earful James Farrar as Zack Hudson in a white shirt stands behind in EastEnders.
Whitney (Shona McGarty) split from Zack (James Farrar) at the end of Tuesday's episode. BBC

Meanwhile, Zack turns to drink and gets a warning from sister Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) to prove how to be there for his kid.

Receiving a visit from Whitney to register the birth of baby Dolly, she remained firm that they were over but she needed him for the legal process.

Once this was over, Zack offered to care for Dolly for a while longer while she got some rest and she agreed.

Whitney’s one-time fiancée and friend Callum Highway (Tony Clay) also checked in on Whitney but received a harsh reaction from Bianca, who reminded him of his infidelity with his now incarcerated husband Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden), driving him away.

Whitney then argued with Bianca, who accused her of being a pushover with men, prompting Whitney to throw back that this may be due to the child sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Bianca’s ex Tony King and blamed Bianca for letting it happen before fleeing.

Whitney went on to retrieve baby Dolly from Zack and he made clear he wanted to see and care for their baby, leaving Whitney uncomfortable.

Later, Whitney apologised to Bianca for her remarks and she did in turn, before Whitney revealed that she would speak with Lauren about what happened.

Patsy Palmer as Bianca Jackson in an orange blazer with a ponytail speaking to groom Zack Hudson played by James Farrar in EastEnders.
Whitney remains unaware that mum Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer, left) knew Lauren and Zack's secret. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

In the Queen Vic, Whitney and Lauren shared a tense confrontation and a fuming Bianca watched on.

Lauren explained where her headspace was when she slept with Zack and his too, and maintained how sorry she was.

Whitney remained firm that she didn’t forgive Lauren, cuttingly stating that Lauren reminded her of her philandering father Max Branning (Jake Wood) and had betrayed the immense support and love Whitney had shown her over the years.

Baulking at the hypocrisy on show, Lauren fired back that Whitney has pursued taken men before, noting her previous pursuit of Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and how his wife Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) forgave her.

Whitney was also reminded about the illegal fostering Whitney had undertaken with Britney and how she had prized this over her relationship with Zack and pushed him away, with Lauren blaming this (not incorrectly) for the initial breakdown in their romance.

Infuriated, Whitney went to throw a drink over Lauren who begged her to do it, prompting Whitney to put the drink down and deny her the satisfaction. After leaving, however, Bianca threw the drink over Lauren before leaving - despite Lauren having kept Bianca's prior knowledge of the indiscretion and hiding it from Whitney.

Patsy Palmer as Bianca Jackson, Shona McGarty as a pregnant Whitney Dean and Lola Campbell as Britney pose in an urban housing estate setting in Milton Keynes for EastEnders.
Will Whitney return to Milton Keynes with Bianca, Britney (right), and baby Dolly? BBC/Jack Barnes

Outside, Whitney sent Bianca home to see Britney, while she and Dolly had some alone time. However, a caring Callum approached Whitney and the former couple spoke over a coffee about the situation.

In a sweet scene, Callum reminded Whitney that she was the strongest person he knew after all she had been through and was capable of anything - even raising her daughters alone.

Finally, returning home, Whitney overheard Bianca reminding Britney that they had to block Whitney from forgiving Zack. Interrupting, Whitney told them both that she wouldn’t let Zack off the hook but that she was too forgiving to stay around him, declaring that she wanted their family unit to move away and the episode ended with her satisfied that she would be leaving Walford.

Tomorrow, Whitney places the final touches on her exit plan, but how will she wave goodbye to Albert Square and will there be any further surprises in store?

Actress Shona McGarty is bowing out from her role as Whitney Dean after 16 years in the role.

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