EastEnders teased there may be hope for Ben Mitchell to redeem himself after an emotional breakthrough in Friday's episode (May 24).
To say Ben (Max Bowden) has been nasty since he returned to Albert Square would be an understatement. He's been plotting to bankrupt dad Phil (Steve McFadden), allowed his sister Louise (Tilly Keeper) to get kidnapped and even got the family involved in human trafficking.
This week though, he seemingly crossed a line when his botched plot to have his relative Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) killed by a hitman resulted in young Will Mitchell being hospitalised with severely injuries instead.
Billy was none the wiser about his relative's involvement in the plot, and actually thanked a guilt-ridden Ben for saving Will's life at the hospital. All throughout Friday's half-hour, Ben wrestled with his conscience over his part in the boy's injury.
Finally, it looked like Ben had a breakthrough during a tearful reunion with his dad Phil, where the two agreed to try and mend their relationship.
"The rest of the world, it doesn't matter," Phil told him. "We've got to take care of our own."
"You don't need to forgive me, dad," Ben admitted. "Because I don't forgive myself. I'm a dad now. I know how you feel. I know how Billy feels.
"I know what I'd want to do if anyone put my little Lexi in danger. So all I can do is try – try and make it up to you."
Phil gave his son a supportive pat on the shoulder, unaware that his son flashed a sinister grin as he walked away. Ben's co-conspirator Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) caught the disturbing moment and later questioned whether he was sincere about changing his ways.
"There's good in you, Ben. I know there is," she told him. "But if you give me any more reason to doubt that, plan or no plan, we're gone."
Ben reluctantly agreed to Lola's terms, later explaining to her why he'd been driven to such extremes to get even with his father.
"Every time I look in my dad's eyes, I see it. Just as I did when I was a kid," he admitted. "That look. I'm not Keanu. I'm not Jay. He's ashamed of me. I can't help the way I was born, can I?
"I'm not like him though. I'm not! I will look after my own. You and Lex. I'm sorry."
This time, as Lola walked away, there was no sinister smile hinting at an ulterior motive. The duff-duff sounded on a closing shot of Ben crying alone in the dark.
But can he ever truly redeem himself after what he's done?
EastEnders continues on Monday (May 27) on BBC One.
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