EastEnders has ended with a shocking suggestion of yet more bloodshed after a festive period packed with violence.
The soap has seen Stuart Highway savagely beaten, Alfie Moon pushed down the stairs, Mel Owen left for dead, and Ray Kelly run over then shot in recent episodes.
In another violent twist, the latest episode hinted that Hunter Owen turned the gun he used as a murder weapon on himself.
The shocking suicide would leave a grisly body count after a Christmas and New Year marked by brutal storylines.
Mel had begun crafting a web of lies to mask the murder of Ray after it was confirmed the policeman was dead. He was shot by Hunter while launching a savage attack on his mother in the woods.
The pair then began covering their tracks following the shock killing. Mel said in a tearful scene that she would “fix this”, and persuaded her son to help her, even as the police questioned the family on Ray’s whereabouts.
But in the final shots of the episode, Hunter was seen raising the gun he used to kill Ray to his own head. As the camera switched to Mel in the kitchen, a gunshot could be heard before the show cut to the credits.