LINDA Carter has been unable to move on from her painful past as Dean Wicks rocked up Walford in recent weeks.
But could a budding friendship lead to her finally getting revenge on her rapist this week in EastEnders?
1. Walford duo plot against rapist
Nine years have passed since Linda Carter (played by Kellie Bright) was raped by Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo).
And while she managed to remain on top of her trauma, old wounds were reopened when Dean resurfaced in Walford as Cindy Beale’s new business partner.
Despite the protests of residents around her, including those from her two daughters Anna and Gina, Cindy has had no choice but to go ahead with the business.
Coming up on BBC One, it’s launch day for the Beales’ pie and mash shop, but Dean is furious to see the word “rapist” written in graffiti across the window.
Firmly convinced that Linda is to blame, Dean has a nasty confrontation with her and the Knights in front of a crowd where he states he can sue the landlady for slander.
As regular viewers of the London-based drama will remember, Dean was never convicted for raping Linda, meaning she runs the risk of heavy legal repercussions, despite her really being his victim.
Elaine Peacock (Harriet Thorpe) and George Knight (Colin Salmon) are worried legal action could result in her losing the pub.
After seeking advice from Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), Linda reluctantly goes to strike a truce with Dean.
When her efforts to cool the situation fail, Ian (Adam Woodyatt) and Cindy (Michelle Collins) demand that Dean back down or their business will never take off.
But during a tense stand-off upstairs at The Vic, George lashes out at Dean, who falls down the stairs and lies motionless at the bottom.
Linda, George and Cindy are all in shock as they rush to Dean following his fall.
Cindy immediately calls the ambulance, telling everyone she didn’t see what happened – which makes her husband furious as he knows she’s covering for George.
While at the hospital, Ian begs Cindy not to lie for George as it could lead her straight to prison again and she agrees to tell the police the truth.
But what will she do when she discovers her ex-husband is on a suspended sentence and could go to prison for assaulting Dean?
The situation grows increasingly dire, prompting Linda to take matters into her own hands, which lands her in a huge moral dilemma.
She could even have to lie in order to get George in the clear.
Linda broods but she’s horrified when her mother Elaine makes it clear she wants her to say whatever it takes to get George off the hook.
Recent scenes of the London-based drama have shown Linda receiving an overwhelming amount of support, even from a usually cold-hearted Suki Panesar who gave her a heart-warming nod.
Alfie Moon (Shane Richie) has also made it clear to her that he’d be standing by her no matter what, ready to “fight fire with fire.”
This has prompted viewers to speculate he could take action against Dean and help Linda finally get rid of him.
“Alfie’s not well enough to stand up to Dean but he’s determined to help his dear friend Linda drive Dean out of Walford for good. Wonder what he means by ‘fight fire with fire.’ Hoping it’s nothing dangerous!”, one soap fan wrote.
Another echoed: “I bet Alfie will sort him out!” while a third chimed in: “OMG! Alfie Moon & Linda Carter team up to get rid of that vile rapist Dean Wicks! Don’t mess with this duo, Dean!”
But Alfie and Linda could be involved in another dramatic storyline with another unexpected couple.
2. Love rivalry
Alfie Moon was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year and Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) tried to support him.
However, Alfie decided he needed a break from life in Walford after undergoing surgery for his cancer.
This prompted him to escape the Square with very little warning but he recently returned to the fictional London borough.
The character has recently returned and this week, Alfie’s former wife Kat Slater (Jessie Wallace) makes a huge decision to support him as he goes through further treatment for his illness.
Coming up, Alfie attends an appointment to have his first hormone injection and he is privately glad that Kat chooses to go with him.
But could it lead to something more?
How will Phil react to Kat’s decision to support her ex-husband?
As mentioned above, Alfie and Linda have grown close but viewers can’t help but spot his lingering chemistry with Kat.
To top it all off, Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) recently found out that Phil was the father of her son Albie all along.
She’d been initially convinced that her fiancé Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) was the baby daddy.
Following this revelation, one fan questioned: “Wonder if this means we’ll see a return of Sharon and Phil as a couple? Cause Kat and Phil are so wrong, Kat belongs with Alfie.”
Another spotted Kat looking jealous as Alfie recently comforted Linda over Dean’s presence in Walford: “I sense more jealous Kat scenes.”
Could all five characters be stuck in a love rivalry?
3. Nish’s secret ally
Viewers were heartbroken when Suki Panesar (portrayed by Balvinder Sopal) called time on her extra-marital relationship with Eve Unwin (Heather Peace).
At the time, Suki was trapped in her marriage to Nish Panesar (Navin Chowdhry) by her own son Vinny (Shiv Jalota) who uncovered the affair and was ready to tell his father all about it.
But when Suki catches her husband with another woman next week, Vinny has a change of heart – and she can finally plan ahead.
Coming up, Vinny Panesar worries as his mother shows the signs of stress and exhaustion while Priya Nandra-Hart (Sophie Khan Levy) argues with Ravi (Aaron Thiara).
Later on, Vinny discovers Suki never picked up her prescription for anti-depressants from the doctor.
Nish then steps in to resolve a problem with Avani’s passport, and a grateful Priya tells her daughter she will make sure he loves having them around.
But when she passionately kisses him, Nish is horrified – especially when he realises Suki and Vinny are stood in the doorway.
In later scenes, Nish is appalled when Suki accuses him of enjoying the kiss and sends Priya packing.
At the Minute Mart, Suki is cut deep to see her former lover Eve Unwin happy with her new lady, Tessa.
She convinces Nish to give Priya another chance so they can keep their granddaughter close, knowing that having lots of family around will mean she doesn’t have to be alone with him.
When Vinny privately questions Suki on being so forgiving, she lets rip about the depth of her unhappiness in her marriage and how much she hates Nish.
Devastated, Vinny tells Suki that he’s had a change of heart – if she wants to be with Eve, he will no longer stand in her way.
Nish sticks his nose into Minute Mart business, enraging an increasingly desperate Suki.
Eve spots the argument, and Suki asks if they can talk before revealing that Vinny has given his blessing to them being together.
However, Eve doesn’t want to go back to a closeted relationship now she’s got Tessa.
Later, Suki tells Vinny she’s going to leave Nish and start a new life, giving her son the chance to back her up.
Suki puts the final touches on her plan to leave and writes a goodbye letter to Nish.
As Vinny rallies round to get her the cash to tide her over, finally deciding his mother’s happiness is more important, Suki makes a last-chance plea to Eve to come with her.
Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner), however, is completely against the idea of Eve and Suki rekindling their relationship.
She advises Eve to look to the future with Tessa, not the past with Suki, but Eve is torn.
Will Eve give up on her budding romance and go after Suki?
Some fans are convinced there’s another twist ahead of the illicit couple – could Nish have hired Eve’s new lady Tessa to expose their affair?
Not much is known about the newcomer but she has managed to keep Eve away from Suki.
Could the next step of her plan be to push them back together to try and expose them for Nish?
How would Nish react if he found out Suki and Eve were in love?