EastEnders The Six: Comp image of Linda, Denise, Stacey, Suki, Sharon and Kathy

OPINION: EastEnders’ Christmas episodes were amazing – but the aftermath isn’t hitting the right notes

EastEnders can do better, we know it!

There is no doubt the EastEnders’ Christmas episodes in 2023 were a triumph. The Six murder storyline had kept us captivated since February.

But now it feels a bit like EastEnders spent so much time making Christmas amazing they forgot to think about what happens next.

EastEnders: Sharon, Kathy and Linda look stricken
Linda killed Keanu to save Sharon (Credit: BBC)

EastEnders’ Christmas episodes were spot on

EastEnders fans up and down the country spent most of 2023 trying to work out what would happen at Christmas after the epic flash-forward episode in February. It had us gripped as we hoped to work out who the killer was – and who died.

Twist after twist took place on Christmas Day as we finally found out Linda Carter was the killer and she offed Keanu Taylor. The Six women – Linda, Sharon Watts, Suki Panesar, Kathy Beale, Stacey Slater and Denise Fox then covered up the murder.

The women moved Keanu’s body to the cafe, which was waiting for construction works to begin. They got rid of Rocky Cotton, who witnessed the body being dragged across the street, by reporting him to the police for setting fire to the cafe, and now they are trying to keep their tracks covered.

However, despite all of this, there remains one glaringly obvious problem: Keanu’s murder was self-defence.

Keanu had his hands around Sharon’s throat, he was threatening her, choking the life out of her. He was going to kill her. Unless Linda got their first. She hadn’t stuck the knife in his back with intent to murder him, she didn’t want to get rid of him for good, she just wanted to save her friend’s life. There were five other witnesses who would have attested to that. So why did they cover it up in the first place?

Nish in The Vic on Christmas in EastEnders
Nish confronted his wife on Christmas Day (Credit: BBC)

Nish was a problem

Sure, Nish Panesar was also lying comatose in the main bar, having been hit over the head by Denise with a broken bottle. Again, however, in an act of defence of Suki, who he was threatening and acting aggressively toward.

Admittedly, it might be a little hard to make the police understand the exes of two of the six women came to harm through self-defence. But surely with the evidence of the others, plus background on Keanu’s kidnapping tendencies, temper tantrums and previous threats to Sharon over taking Albie out of the country, a good enough case would have got Linda off.

The same can be said for Nish’s injuries – the entire Panesar family witnessed his aggressive outbursts, the man has been in prison for murder and Eve could have testified what he did to her – it wouldn’t have been a hard case to prove, surely.

They are trying to frame Keanu for Nish’s attack, but it’s full of holes. They’re falling apart as they try to stick to the story and it’s a story that didn’t need to be told at all!

Lauren’s return could have been better if it hadn’t interrupted The Six (Credit: BBC)

The Six missing after EastEnders’ Christmas episodes

Putting the cover-up-that-isn’t-necessary aside, why did we have a whole week last week with none of The Six on screen? It was filler stories that while would have been interesting in their own right at any other time, should not have interfered in what we wanted to see.

And now they’re back on screen, just barely, and seem both stressed and totally blasé about the situation at the same time.

We’re seeing a lot of Linda getting drunk. Cowardly Sharon’s fled, unable to cope, and Denise is trying to hold it together. Kathy looks like a ghost, Stacey doesn’t seem that bothered and Suki is the only one who seems to be remotely in control of the situation.

As Linda stumbles around the Square getting hammered, why is no one helping her? Why is everyone just saying: ‘Oh she’s drinking again, hey-ho.” Help the woman, for crying out loud!

And why isn’t Bernie asking questions about her brother’s whereabouts? Has she suddenly forgotten she had a brother in Walford?

EastEnders The Six
These women will save EastEnders (Credit: BBC)

EastEnders can bring it back

Before 2023, EastEnders was in a slump. It made a raving recovery to become the best soap in the UK last year, winning almost every award going. And rightly so.

But they can’t lose momentum now. It’s not the time to get complacent or ride on the coattails of Christmas. They need to pick this up and run with it.

We need these women to work together and support each other. We don’t need them turning on each other, we don’t need them pitted against each other. They must come together and be a strong force to be reckoned with.

It looks like we’re in it now with this cover-up – there’s no going back and getting away with it, they’ve buried a body. So let’s find a way to make it right.

The beauty of soaps is not always the big plot, but the long-term consequences of it. There’s a real opportunity here to make sure EastEnders puts the women at front and centre of the show.

Soaps are built on strong women and for Linda to get away with murder – which we want her to, right? – The Six need to find the fire in their belly and rule that Square. Or else what was it all for?

Read more: Who is leaving EastEnders this year?

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EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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Carena Crawford
Associate Editor (Soaps)