As ITV gears up for Super Soap Week next week, EastEnders took the opportunity to prove it’s a force to be reckoned with with last night’s episode.
The powerhouse performances from Lacey Turner as Stacey Slater, William Ellis as Theo Hawthorne and Bobby Brazier as Freddie Slater, as well as some superb writing and nods to the past, have cemented the soap’s place at the top of the league right now.
Bravo, EastEnders, bravo.
What happened in last night’s episode of EastEnders?
The tension started from the moment the episode opened. Despite spoilers already warning us shocking scenes would air, even if we hadn’t known that, the close up of Stacey’s pained face in the taxi told us something was coming.
As emotions rose throughout, veering between Poor Freddie having confrontation after confrontation, and Stacey vowing not to be scared, it was obvious this was going to end badly.
Our hearts broke for Freddie as everyone seemed to turn against him for no reason. He did nothing wrong, yet everyone blamed him for something. And given his encounter with his rapist father, he thoroughly believed he was just like him.
Meanwhile, Stacey was desperate not to let Theo win, even though he was lording it round the Square after the courts found in his favour at the Stalking Protection Order hearing. As her family left her alone in the house while they went for dinner at Kat’s we knew something was coming.
Even the tension of her just eating in the dark room while watching the telly was like a horror movie. And that was before Theo broke into the house!
And then he did.
He was crazed, but calm. He terrified us as much as he did Stacey because he was so convincing. It was so clear he could do whatever he wanted and get away with it because of the exterior he presented.
Theo tries to assault Stacey
As he forced Stacey to floor insisting that once he’d had sex with her she’d see they were meant to be together, Freddie came home in the nick of time. He grabbed Theo off Stacey and then turned on his former teacher.
“He was going to rape me,” Stacey sobbed as Theo insisted she wanted it and they were just having a “lover’s tiff”.
But Freddie saw red.
And the best, most genius moment came when Freddie spotted the iron on the side. The very same weapon his mum, Little Mo, used against her rapist (husband Trevor Morgan, not Freddie’s dad Graham Foster) all those years ago, was what Freddie then picked up to get rid of Theo.
What a brilliant – and important – nod to the past.
As Freddie knocked Theo over with the iron before raining punches down on him, Stacey stood horrified in the doorway.
“What have you done?” she cried as the doof doof sounded.
Last night’s EastEnders episode was brilliant
From the horror-movie-esc darkness and tension, to the nod to the past and the brilliant writing and performances, EastEnders truly earned it’s recent Best Soap title tonight.
Firstly, Bobby Brazier is an absolute revelation. We’ve all taken him to our hearts as the cheeky chappy, warmed to his light-hearted bants and charm. His bromance with Bobby has long been one of EastEnders’ greatest partnerships (let’s not talk about just why they went and ruined that, shall we). And now he’s proved he can do the drama too. His tortured portrayal of Freddie arguably stole the show.
What a far cry from the genuine delight Bobby is on Strictly at the mo! So now not only are we rooting for him to win that, but we want him to win all the awards too!
It’s no secret Lacey Turner is a safe pair of hands with any huge storyline. And she did nothing to disprove that notion tonight. In fact her ability to switch between strong, feisty Stacey to scared rape victim Stacey was astonishing to watch.
And you have to had it to EastEnders, Theo is a truly creepy villain. He’s so calm and collected, it seems reasonable that everyone believes him, that Elaine took Theo’s side when Freddie kicked off in The Vic and that everyone would believe his version of events with Stacey.
Viewers at home definitely think the same. Writing on ED’s Facebook page, one said: “Brilliant episodes, about time. Loved it.”
Another added: “What an episode. Well done to Bobby Brazier and Lacey Turner. Fantastic acting.”
“What a brilliant episode and Lacey Turner deserves a top award for this. Edge of seat storyline.”
More praise followed: “Was absolutely gripped by tonight’s episode. Great acting from Lacey Turner and Bobby Brazier.”
“On the edge of my seat. Absolutely brilliant episode, can’t wait until tomorrow,” added one more.
And another commented: “Last night’s and tonight’s have been brilliant. So real, raw and emotional. Spot on. I have shed tears. Brilliant writing and the actors have been superb.”
“Wow, wow, wow, what an episode! Palpitations were through the roof! Well done,” shared one more.
It’s also set up a series of huge stories to come. Very cleverly, it’s drawn Freddie into the plot so we wonder has he killed Theo? Are we to expect a court case? Will Freddie go to prison? And how will he cope with the fact he has attacked someone to that level when all he’s ever tried to be is a gentle soul.
How will Stacey cope with the future now? Will she still live in fear? How will it feel to her knowing Theo is now the victim?
There is so much potential for long-running storylines here and that is what soap is all about; it’s not about one moment and huge stunts and death tolls, it’s about characters and how single moments can impact their lives for years to come.
EastEnders should be congratulated on a brilliant episode tonight.
For more information and support, viewers can visit the Rape Crisis website – www.rapecrisis.org.uk. You can also call their 24/7 Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Line on 0808 500 2222 or chat to them online 247sexualabusesupport.org.uk.
EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.
For all the latest soap spoilers, news and chat come and join us at Soap Daily now!
Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think.