DYING Lola Pearce is taking care of every loose end she can find before her time runs out.
But this could mean Jay Brown and Ben Mitchell will be going head to head as the mechanic spirals in EastEnders.
Ben Mitchell has been trying to support Lola and their daughter Lexi
Lola is due for an emotional exit – and she makes a huge decision about the child
But could it mean Ben will have to go to war with Jay Brown?
1. Brutal custody battle
Actress Danielle Harold broke silence as she filmed her character Lola Pearce’s final scenes.
On-screen, the hair stylist is making sure her daughter Lexi is well taken care of following her passing and she makes a big decision this week on BBC One.
Lola Pearce-Brown was recently told her time is running out and when her grandfather Billy Mitchell (portrayed by Perry Fenwick) returns from a trip to Portugal, she worries about breaking the news to him.
Billy knows Lola is ill but has yet to find out about how terminal her condition is.
When the market trader excitedly talks about taking the family for a summer holiday in Portugal, Lola is forced to tell him the truth about her prognosis, cutting any hope of her recovering in the future short.
He is utterly devastated and consumed by anger when Lola tells him she only has a few more months to live.
Later on, she reminds her husband Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) that there’s a lot to go over, most notably about her daughter Lexi.
Lola makes it clear to Jay she has already chosen who Lexi’s legal guardian will be – and she tells him that she would like the mechanic to adopt her.
But will Jay accept to go along with it?
More importantly, how will Lexi’s biological father Ben Mitchell react to Lola’s decision?
As viewers of the London-based drama know, Ben is not only Lexi’s father, he is also a close friend of Jay Brown.
With Lola deciding to leave Lexi with Jay, could Ben be willing to go to war with his pal over his daughter?
Will Lola’s choice change their friendship forever?
Some fans have even theorised that Jay would not be able to go through with raising his late wife’s child and could even abandon her altogether.
Ben gets news regarding Lewis Butler this week
2. Downward spiral for Ben
Speaking of Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden), the mechanic has done all that he could to overcome the trauma left by his rape ordeal.
Fans will remember that Ben was raped by Lewis Butler in early 2022 but the former Prince Albert manager was able to get away with the crime.
Ben eventually faced Lewis thanks to his aunt Sam Mitchell and the vile rapist was scared away from Albert Square.
Unfortunately, he makes himself heard of again and Ben is shaken to the core.
It all begins when he gets ready for his upcoming match with Martin Fowler (portrayed by James Bye).
Eager to throw a few punches, Ben is convinced he’s going to win and brags to everyone that is willing to listen to him.
Callum Highway (Tony Clay) on the other hand tries desperately to stop his husband from fighting but Ben won’t listen.
Things go from bad to worse and Ben’s hubris gets a huge blow when a plain-clothed police officer approaches him with news regarding Lewis Butler.
Ben is shaken to the core when the copper tells him Lewis has been arrested for rape again.
Back at The Boxing Den, Callum arrives to find Ben limbering up and tells him he knows about Lewis.
Once again, Callum implores Ben to reconsider fighting but he’s ignored.
Ben climbs up on to the ring, ready to face Martin and full of pent-up rage.
The character has wreaked havoc in the Square throughout the years and even murdered one of Walford’s most beloved residents.
While he’s managed to clean up his act and do what’s right, notably since meeting Callum and becoming a father, Ben’s violent nature can show up again.
In fact, Ben was caught up by his inner demons as he was recovering from his rape – he not only overdosed but he also assaulted his own nephew, Peter.
Could Ben forget all that he’s learned upon hearing the update on Lewis?
Could Keanu Taylor be killed off?
3. Christmas murder victim revealed
After Stacey Slater, Keanu Taylor turns to dodgy dealings to make ends meet and gets involved with Ravi Gulati (Aaron Thiara).
The hunk portrayed by Danny Walters feels helpless next week when he realises he can’t afford to pay for Albie’s christening.
Faced with Keanu’s money worries, Mitch Baker (played by Roger Griffiths) gives him his best advice – he needs to get a few more jobs.
Keanu sets out to find himself an extra form of income but when Alfie Moon and Phil Mitchell both turn him down, he begins to question Zack Hudson (James Farrar) about another one of Walford’s thugs – Ravi Gulati.
But when Keanu asks to know more about him, aside from their shared connection to Chelsea Fox, Zack warns him that he shouldn’t get involved with the underworld Ravi operates in.
Cash-strapped Keanu, on the other, doesn’t see a problem and is lured in by the prospect of big money.
Ravi agrees to give him a trial run by taking a shady delivery the following day.
Keanu later feels under financial pressure again when Sharon tells him they need to pay Linda Carter.
He heads off to do the delivery job for Ravi but things quickly go south.
As he picks up the boxes, a suspicious DS Giles turns up and quizzes him on what he’s transporting.
With the prospect of Keanu getting into legal trouble, some fans have theorised he could become cumbersome for Ravi Gulati.
The gangster has been working on his criminal endeavours in the dark and has managed to avoid trouble.
Could that all change with Keanu?
This could potentially be the case and, as a result, Keanu could even be killed off for Ravi to keep his slate clean.
If such events were to occur, it could definitely explain how Sharon Watts, the mother of Albie, would be involved in the upcoming Christmas murder mystery.
Ravi killing Keanu to save face could prompt the gym owner to avenge her young lover by murdering the thug.
This would mean Ravi is the dead man lying under the Christmas tree EastEnders have caught a glimpse of during an explosive flashforward scene aired in February.
And with Denise Fox’s marriage breaking down because of him, there is more than one reason for Ravi to be the big target this festive season.
Is Keanu living his last moments in the Square?
EastEnders airs from Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.