EastEnders fans were rocked by the news of Brian Conley’s sudden exit from the BBC soap, with many wondering what this could mean for the upcoming Christmas murder story that has been building up since February.
Brian’s character Rocky Cotton has strong links to the storyline already, given that he has recently married Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), who is one of The Six.
During their fateful wedding day, Rocky learnt that he wasn’t actually divorced from previous wife Jo (Vicki Michelle), but decided to go through with saying his vows anyway.
When Kathy later discovered the truth, she was devastated, and left in financial ruin when Jo demanded £50,000 to keep quiet.
This is not the first time Rocky has let Kathy down, leading many fans to wonder if he may be the one to find himself dead on the floor at Christmas, with Kathy having delivered the fatal blow.
However, with Brian’s sudden departure allegedly having impacted plans for the Christmas murder, what does this mean for the storyline, and how will Rocky end up leaving?
What does Rocky’s exit mean for the Christmas murder story?
With six women at the helm of the dastardly Christmas day murder, the body on the floor could literally belong to anyone.
Between them, The Six are connected to almost everybody on the Square, and more than a handful of people have upset them over the past year.
As it stands, the only clue we have to the murder victim’s identity is a pair of cufflinks, which are currently in the possession of Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), making him the most likely suspect at this stage.
However, we’ve seen many a whodunit in our time, and we know that that is more than certainly going to change as we draw closer to Christmas Day.
Over the months, we have been tracking the clues dropped by EastEnders, and at this point there are enough to make any number of endings plausible.
If the show had planned to kill Rocky off in this big whodunit, they have laid enough groundwork up to this point for any number of other characters to be a plausible victim, meaning that any changes should be totally unnoticeable to fans.
The main impact will undoubtedly come in Kathy’s thread of the storyline, given that up until this point, the main man to have wronged her has been Rocky.
With The Six having already cheersed to the men in their lives ‘getting what they deserve’, Rocky’s exit may have taken Kathy’s potential victim out of the running.
However, with Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) back in Walford and already rocking the boat, she may have a new enemy as Christmas approaches.
Could we still be set to see #KillerKathy trending on Christmas day? Could she seek revenge on someone else for driving her husband out of Walford, or even murdering him?
With that in mind, let’s consider how Rocky may be set to leave Walford.
The past comes back to haunt him
We all know that Rocky is no angel, and his first storyline saw him committing fraud and being an all-round not very nice guy.
However, he seems to have turned over a new leaf in recent months, despite a few poorly judged decisions, and left his life of crime behind.
But that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t go back, and end up being thrown in prison for some crime or another.
Just after their wedding, Kathy and Rocky paid Jo to keep quiet about his bigamy, though she was quick to demand more money.
Though they were able to frighten her off, Jo’s final scene showed her taking a mysterious phone call, telling the person on the other end that there was ‘plenty more for the taking’.
Could Jo come crawling back out of the woodwork for more money? And when broke Rocky and Kathy refuse, will she go to the police about their sham marriage, leaving Rocky facing prison for bigamy?
Jo Cotton’s sidekick
With Rocky having joined the show as a conman, it wouldn’t be out of the realms of possibility for it to be revealed that his whole relationship with Kathy was just one massive con.
We know that Kathy has had bad experiences with men in the past, with all of her husbands having treated her badly in one way or another. This has left her vulnerable, and potentially the ideal target for a romance scam.
Could Rocky have seen a successful businesswoman, still vulnerable after her past relationships, and taken advantage of that by wooing her in order to get his hands on her savings and businesses?
Could he have secretly been in cahoots with Jo this whole time, and be set to run off into the sunset with her and Kathy’s money?
The café fire – Insurance scam
Fans of the show will know that there is a big stunt coming up this Autumn, with the café set to catch fire and leave lives in jeopardy.
But will it catch fire or be set on fire?
Following Jo’s blackmail, Kathy and Rocky have been left with absolutely no money, after using all of Kathy’s savings to pay her off.
Their plan to sell the chippy in order to earn some money back was scuppered by the arrival of Ian, who decided to reclaim his property and take it off the market.
With that in mind, could Rocky come up with an elaborate plan to earn some quick cash by setting fire to the café as part of an insurance scam?
We’ve seen the likes of Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) pull similar stunts in the past, with his actions ending in horror for Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace), who was trapped inside their burning home.
Could the same thing happen to Rocky and Kathy, and Rocky’s guilt over the situation lead him to confess to starting the fire and being carted off to prison?
Or could someone catch him in the act, leaving him to face the long arm of the law?
The café fire – Rocky’s tragic death
Even if Rocky doesn’t start the fire, it is likely that he will still be heavily involved in the action, given that his wife owns the business.
Could Rocky see the blaze and rush in to save Kathy, assuming that she is trapped inside, before succumbing to the flames himself?
Could Rocky already be inside the building when the fire starts, and fail to find a way out in time?
Or, could The Six actually be set to go on a full murder spree, with their first victim coming well before Christmas as they vow to set the café on fire together, deliberately killing Rocky in their bid to see the men in their lives ‘get what they deserve’?
Of course, many characters over the years have left Albert Square either by taxi, tube or plane.
Perhaps Rocky will see the fire in the café and decide that he’s had enough of Walford’s drama and make a quiet, unassuming departure via public transport.
In this era of EastEnders, absolutely anything is possible.
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