EastEnders: 6 things Max Branning needs to do as soon as he's back

Max Branning makes a surprise return to EastEnders tonight (April 23) when he’s unveiled as the new owner of the car lot.

Max has been keeping a low profile since Abi’s funeral a few months ago – very wise considering he was branded a pariah after his public exposure as a puppet for the evil Weyland corporation in their nefarious plot to destroy Albert Square.

(Which basically amounted to building some flats, but everyone got their knickers in a right twist about it.)

His Christmas Day suicide attempt and Abi’s tragic death may have tugged at the heartstrings so we forgive his wrongdoings, but Maxy boy has got a lot of making up to do after causing Steven’s demise, leaving Jane to die in a burning building, trying to kill Ian with some fairy lights, wrecking Stacey’s marriage and breaking Carmel’s heart.

As we wait to see if his return means more revenge or a road to redemption, here are some things Max needs to address before he can start that new chapter.

1. Leave Stacey alone

As much as their unexpected Christmas Eve cavorting made for a great doof-doof, the fact Max and Stacey have barely shared a scene in the four months since their liaison on the lounge carpet has taken the heat out of potentially rekindling this decade-old romance.

Martin didn’t really do anything wrong, so we’re hoping for an eventual reunion with Stace, and for Max to chalk up this moment of madness with his old flame as part of the epic breakdown that ended with him teetering on the edge of the Queen Vic.

So no sniffing around the Slater house please, Mr B.

2. Have an affair with Mel

We’ve declared Stacey out of bounds, but we understand a man’s got needs, so here’s a much better idea for his next hook-up: Mel Owen.

So far we’re not exactly feeling the chemistry between her and Jack, which feels like a pretty predictable pairing, but putting Lothario Max in the mix as a rival would spice things up and pit the brothers against each other.

And Mel is so Max’s type in a Tanya Branning/Vanessa Gold kind of way – blonde, smart, with a killer wardrobe and a feisty edge. Of course the man has varied tastes when it comes to the opposite sex – meaning there are more options available…

3. Have an affair with Hayley

Max and Stacey’s history also tells us he has a thing for gobby brunettes with hoop earrings and foghorn voices, so if him and Stacey aren’t going to be a thing, what about the new Slater in town?

Hayley is a star in the making but she needs a juicy plot – selling Sim cards with Mo is hardly Sharongate, is it? Would Stacey be jealous? Would Max meet his match in the frankly terrifying newcomer? Would she tell him what happened with Kat in Spain?

4. Draw a line under Willmott-Brown and his mob

We’re hoping Max being revealed as the new king of the car lot doesn’t mean more plots revolving around property purchases. It also better have nothing to do with the Weyland corporation, James Willmott-Brown, Uncle Hugo, Fi Browning and her spreadsheets or any of that hard-to-follow, hard-to-care-about plot Max was caught up in for all of 2017.

How come he’s got the car lot? Wasn’t all that confusing nonsense with who owned which business on the Square sorted out? Fingers crossed Max brings news that Weyland has gone into liquidation and they don’t even exist anymore.

5. Set a good example to baby Abi

Losing his daughter means Max has already been punished, but his chance to fully redeem himself and win the fans’ full forgiveness hinges on fulfilling his promise to do right by his grandchild, who he confusingly also named Abi. Wouldn’t it be nice to see him follow that through and become a better man by bringing up a baby?

If you’re questioning his suitability as a legal guardian, it’s not like the rest of the family are in any fit state to look after her: fragile Tanya’s probably still in that hearse necking tranquilisers and Lauren was last seen leaving the crematorium on foot to start a new life with little Louie, no luggage and no method of transport (where is she? On the hard shoulder of the M6?).

Who does that leave? ASBO granny Cora?

6. Throw a big apology party

If Max wants a future in Walford that doesn’t involve being public enemy number one for the next few decades, the best thing to do is front this whole thing out – so why not throw a party inviting all the suspicious locals and apologise for the bad stuff and ask everyone to move on? Ian could do the catering to prove there’s no hard feelings for that whole ‘framing for murder’ thing.

Kat and the Slaters could give him some tips on getting forgiveness from the community. Buy a few rounds of drinks, break out the karaoke and Max would’ve made amends in no time. If only it were that simple…

Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest EastEnders spoilers, as Max Branning makes his return and Tiffany could be heading out of Walford.

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