ROCKY Cotton is headed for huge trouble as he tries to pay back his debt to Nish Panesar.
But there's another dangerous man roaming freely in Walford. Get the lowdown on all the potential drama coming to EastEnders.
1. Rapist strikes again
BBC One viewers were stunned to see Matt Di Angelo reprise his role as rapist Dean Wicks in recent scenes of the London-based program.
To top it all off, Dean has decided to go into business with Cindy and Ian Beale (respectively portrayed by Michelle Collins and Adam Woodyatt) – which causes trouble between the blonde bombshell, her former husband George and their two daughters, Anna and Gina.
After finding out Dean and Cindy were in cahoots, Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) rushed to confront her with her mother Elaine Peacock (Harriet Thorpe) and Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) in tow.
While Cindy tried to explain she had no clue about Dean's past, Ian dismissed Linda's anger but the pair eventually tried to break from their agreement with the villain – which he refused.
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This week, Cindy and Ian reluctantly make plans on the renovation of their new shop "Beale's Eels."
But, as mentioned above, Cindy's ex-husband George (Colin Salmon) and their two daughters Gina and Anna (Francesca Henry and Molly Rainford) are shocked by their controversial business deal.
However, soap fans are convinced that, despite Dean acting like he is back on the straight and narrow, ready to provide for his sick daughter Jade Green, he could strike again.
Viewers spotted a clue suggesting Dean may make another victim in Walford after Elaine pointed out that Cindy could only understand Linda's point of view due to her being the mother of two daughters.
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Following Wednesday's (November 1, 2023) instalment of the long-running drama, one fan penned on social media: "after what Elaine said tonight about Cindy having two daughters… Dean is defo going to do it again to either Anna or Gina and I’m not ready for it."
Another agreed: "The way that Elaine had to remind Cindy that she has two daughters… Key, methinks!"
If Dean targeted Cindy's daughters, could it be enough for her to end her business partnership with him?
Worse still, could she get revenge on him, making him the unknown Christmas Day victim?
2. Unexpected death
Elsewhere in the Square, a dark cloud is hanging over Kathy Beale and Rocky Cotton's marriage as the former con man has another trick up his sleeve.
After paying off Rocky's former wife Jo Cotton, who was blackmailing him with a prison sentence for bigamy, the couple have encountered hefty financial struggles.
Rocky (Brian Conley) developed a gambling addiction when he tried to gather cash for Kathy and his ordeal became more convoluted when he turned to loan shark Nish Panesar.
Cold and calculating in his marriage to his wife Suki, Nish (Navin Chowdhry) is just as unforgiving in business and Rocky is having issues paying what he owes him.
But in a shocking twist, Rocky hatches a plan but it could leave Walford residents between life and death.
Coming up, Rocky is desperate to find the funds to pay back his loan but Nish has other ideas about payment– he wants Rocky to steal a car from the car lot.
Rocky agrees, but after a heartfelt chat with Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) about life following his near-fatal car accident, he decides against it.
Realising his time is up, Rocky heads to the Vic to come clean to Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) about his debt, but a conversation with SoniaFowler (Natalie Cassidy) sparks one last idea.
In later scenes, Rocky confides in his pal Harvey Monroe (Ross Boatman) about his new plan – he’s going to set fire to the café.
Soon enough, Rocky tampers with the electrics and manages to start a fire before heading to Walford East for his date with Kathy.
A panicked Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) sees the fire blazing inside the café and attempts to extinguish it but it explodes and the unconscious lad ends up trapped inside.
While the odds seem stacked against the lad, many viewers have been speculating that Karen Taylor (Lorraine Stanley) may meet a tragic end in the café fire.
The beloved matriarch is also the manager of the local launderette, which is located in close proximity to Kathy's café.
Could Karen find herself trapped in the blaze and be revealed as one of Rocky's victims at the last minute?
3. Shock divorce ahead
While this remains to be seen, soap fans are already convinced Rocky's actions will break his marriage to Kathy Beale beyond repair.
With the established character set to be involved in an upcoming Christmas murder mystery, many viewers believe she'll face major hurdles as a single divorced woman.
In their eyes, it'll be impossible for Kathy to forgive Rocky for the devastation he caused.
But to top it all off, viewers also speculate that Rocky will be sitting in prison a heartbroken man after he is exposed for his involvement in the café fire.
Could they be on to something?
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4. Two legends come back
Dean Wicks' return to Walford has sent shockwaves across Albert Square but it has also left viewers to think about other potential comebacks.
According to them, Dean's on-screen mother Linda Henry will also come back as Shirley Carter.
"I wonder if Dean’s return could be part of an agreement to bring Linda Henry back," one fan penned on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"I can't say I'm bothered about Dean returning, but surely Shirley won't be too far behind if Linda Henry is actually returning?" another questioned as a third echoed: "Could this mean that Shirley IS returning?!"
But there could be another return in the works, months after Mick Carter's sudden disappearance and supposed death at sea.
"Hmmmm they never found Mick’s body you knowwwww – feels like they’re leaving the door open for a come back", one fan commented.
Another one agreed: "At this point, I’m convinced Mick is coming back too!!"
5. Christmas wedding setup
Meanwhile, Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) is desperate to find her son Albie this week.
Coming up, the search for Albie continues in Walford as residents join the police in an attempt to track him down.
At No.43, Sharon conceals the £50,000 ransom note from the police as she fears for Albie’s safety but later reveals all to Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) and Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden).
The pair agree to lend Sharon the money to pay the kidnapper off, completely unaware of their identity.
Meanwhile, Karen Taylor fumes at her son Keanu (Danny Walters) and worries about the consequences of the fake kidnapping.
While she planted the idea in Keanu's head, Karen had no intention of letting the situation grow so dire but the hunk threw caution in the wind and acted on impulse.
The pair have worked out a devious plan allowing Keanu to be more involved in the tot's life and they found the perfect culprit to frame in the form of Dorian Gates (Luke J I Smith).
Later on, Karen secretly drops a second ransom note detailing a time and location for the cash.
Sharon reasons they must go along with the kidnapper’s wishes for fear they’ll hurt Albie but Phil suggests he’ll drop the money and deal with the low life that took him.
Keanu keeps up with the plan and refuses, wanting to do the drop, but Phil insists on going with him.
Sharon agrees as Keanu pales that his actions are about to be rumbled.
Keanu and Karen are consumed with worry as they try to find a way to return Albie to Sharon.
Sharon receives a text from Karen via Keanu’s burner phone requesting a drop off the £50,000 at the park at midday but it must be done alone.
Viewers will have to wait and see before finding out how everything plays out but this has led one fan to take to Reddit and share their own theory about how Sharon and Keanu will be at the centre of this year's Christmas whoddunit.
The fan speculated that Sharon may figure out what Keanu has done and make him pay with an evil ruse of her own.
But Keanu wouldn't be the one to die at Christmas – instead, he could be taking the blame for the upcoming murder.
"I’m going to guess that Sharon’s learns of Keanu's plan to take Albie away from her like she was going to do to him, decides the best form of revenge is to marry him and then deal with him."
"Moving forward to the Christmas body, it’s safe to assume that the six murder someone either on purpose or accidentally (probably this), so Sharon sets Keanu up to take the fall as punishment for what he did, all the six are mothers so they can relate to a man trying to take a child away from its mum, they all agree to frame Keanu."
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Will it play out as expected?
EastEnders airs from Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.
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