THERE’S one question on everyone’s mind after EastEnders’ explosive Christmas episode: is Keanu Taylor really dead?
Keanu was a marked man from the moment Phil Mitchell discovered he not only slept with his wife Sharon, but she was pregnant with his baby.
In the episode, it appeared Ben Mitchell blackmailed Martin Fowler into kidnapping and executing Keanu.
His girlfriend and mother of his child, Louise Mitchell, lured him out, turned to him and said: “Never, ever take a Mitchell for a fool.”
Martin then drugged Keanu before filming the fatal gunshot.
However, fans aren’t convinced Keanu is dead and with a trailer for New Year’s Day promising “all will be revealed”, it’s likely there’s another twist in the tale.
Is Keanu Taylor really dead? This is how fans believe he got out of it…
Phil Mitchell is ticked into thinking he’s dead
The most credible theory is that one or more people involved in the assassination plot conspired to fake Keanu’s death.
Martin Fowler was being blackmailed into killing Keanu – and hasn’t killed anyone on purpose thus far. Would he really go through with killing someone just to protect himself?
Also, while it is likely Louise sided with her dad, Keanu is still the father of her child, so may have worked to fake his death.
But throughout Phil’s revenge plot, Ben has been insistent the patriarch “doesn’t get his hands dirty” and has organised for someone else to act on their behalf. Could he be trying to keep both their hands clean, so he can be reunited with ex-boyfriend Callum?
One viewer insisted: “In the flashback episode we’ll see Ben going to see Keanu and Louise to explain his plan to fake Keanu’s death. He gave him a bullet proof vest (maybe with Callum’s help.) Martin is the only one who doesn’t know, thinking he really killed Keanu.”
Another said: “The video that was shown to Ben was faked (Martin fired a shot to the side of Keanu and Keanu pretended to die by falling over) so it’s a double bluff.”
A third suggested: “I don’t think Keanu’s dead. I think it’s been faked. Martin’s the real G.”
Linda Carter faked his death
Her alcoholism spun out of control on Christmas Day and it got her caught up in the Mitchells’ blood feud – as is revealed by the New Year’s Day trailer showing her by the grey van used to kidnap him.
Fans think Linda’s unknown involvement in the plot means she helped Martin fake his death.
One person said: “So curious as to Linda’s part in all this. Maybe she’ll be one of the few that knows the secret that Martin let Keanu go and faked his death.”
Another added: “So those with the theories Ben and Louise faked Keanos murder or Linda’s involvement with the ‘killing’ are possibly true!”
Someone else wondered: “WoW… Ok could it be that Linda knows what’s happened to Keanu? Was she also in van that Martin threw Keanu at the back of after hitting him on the head. Explain the blood on her heels? Oh n Ben n Louise have a secret plan B to frighten Keanu enough that he stays away.”
Martin Fowler shot Tubbs and faked Keanu’s death
Ben is able to blackmail Martin because he has evidence of his recent bad boy behaviour, including a hit and run that left an innocent stranger on the edge of death.
He asked Ben to destroy the van used in the crash. This meant the younger Mitchell hardman could call in a favour when his dad sought revenge.
But fans have noticed two things: firstly, Ben previously promised he could get Tubbs “off the scene”, leaving Martin free to pursue his newly rekindled romance with Sonia.
Secondly, Tubbs has been nowhere to be seen since the murder took place.
This fan theory suggests that instead of Keanu being shot in the video, Ben allowed Martin to take out Tubbs, freeing him from blackmail.
One said: “The shock on Ben’s face when he said ‘you actually went through with it’ b’cos it definitely wasn’t Keanu.
“I may be the only one to think this but… do you think it’s Tubbs that they got rid of? #EastEnders.”
Another added: “And what did Ben mean when he told Martin: ‘I can get Tubbs off the scene’ Before Martin starts talking about ‘murder’ and ‘killing someone’, Ben says: ‘and I need a person’.
“Odd phrase. Then he talks about Keanu being a dead man. What did he really ask Martin to do? #EastEnders.”
Someone else wondered: “Did Martin really “shoot” Keanu “dead”? Or was it Tubbs?”