EastEnders’ Callum Highway’s (Tony Clay) blackmail ordeal seemingly came to an end this week, when Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) came to his rescue.
For months, Callum has been embroiled in a secret plot to destroy Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) in EastEnders. DI Thompson (Philip Wright) promised to guarantee Callum’s boyfriend Ben Mitchell’s (Max Bowden) freedom – but only if the rookie copper helped him to secure Phil’s arrest. And in Tuesday’s episode, it looked like the young man’s troubles were over.
Callum was quick to give Phil and Ben an edited version of the truth. He claimed he had been working with Jack the whole time to mastermind Thompson’s downfall and save them both, glossing over his role as the reluctant spy. While Phil wasn’t sure what to think, Ben was so touched that he started thinking about marriage!
But the happy conclusion came a little too easily – even if we did rather enjoy the heart eyes Ben was sending Callum’s way in the aftermath. Despite Jack’s interference, there’s still a chance Thompson isn’t quite finished tormenting Callum.
And even if he is, surely it can only be a matter of time before the Mitchells learn the full story, as no one escapes trouble so effortlessly in soap. So what will become of PC Highway when the depth of his betrayal is out in the open?
It’s safe to say that being on the wrong side of the Mitchell patriarch is a perilous position to be in. However, there are plenty of Walford residents who have deceived Phil (Steve McFadden) over the years and got away with it.
When he uncovered the Slaters’ part in his attack back in 2019, he agreed to leave it in the past. And as far back as twenty years ago, Phil kept quiet when he was shot by ex-partner Lisa Fowler – acknowledging how badly he had hurt and controlled her.
This isn’t the first time a member of the ‘Old Bill’ has managed to fool Phil. He married Kate Morton despite the fact she was initially investigating him as an undercover officer. So Callum’s duplicity may remind Phil of old wounds and make him angrier than ever before.
Having come to trust Callum, there are glimpses of the kind of respect Phil once held for Keanu Taylor. Keanu’s betrayal consisted of an affair with Sharon; but he survived the attempts on his life and fled, living to tell the tale (though we’re not sure he’ll want to!) As it stands, he may never be able to return to the Square, and this is certainly not the kind of fate we want to fall upon the sweet but naive Callum.
Given that Callum’s deception has been carried out with unconditional love for Phil’s son, could Phil deem this twisted loyalty worthy enough to overlook everything? Perhaps Callum will find himself cemented permanently within the Mitchell clan.
Stranger things have happened, like when Phil’s ex-lover Shirley Carter (Linda Henry) shot him (yes, Phil has quite the history with guns) and still managed to become an honorary member of the family.
As we recall all those who have double-crossed Phil, we can’t help but note that Ben (Max Bowden) would make the list several times over.
Last year he aimed a gun at his father’s head (there really must be something about Phil – we can’t think what!) to ensure Callum’s safety. Not only did Phil not hold a grudge here either; we also saw that Ben was prepared to kill Phil for Callum.
With that in mind, if Ben discovers the extent of Callum’s lies, could he identify with his desperation and choose to keep quiet?
With Callum having spent several weeks desperately trying to protect Ben, could we see him return the favour for his troubled boyfriend, or will his secrecy be too much to overcome?
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