EastEnders fans lauded Thursday’s episode as its ‘best in years,’ after serial killer Gray Atkins’ reign of torment finally came to an end.
The murderous abuser, who has claimed three victims including his long-suffering wife Chantelle, was arrested by police after his crimes came to light, but still left viewers sickened with his chilling final moments.
The dramatic conclusion to a week of action-packed episodes earned an overwhelmingly positive reception from viewers, with one noting they were ‘hooked’ from start to finish.
Tense! EastEnders fans lauded Thursday’s episode as its ‘best in years,’ after serial killer Gray Atkins’ reign of torment finally came to an end
Throughout the week anticipated had been building for viewers around Gray’s comeuppances, as the soap celebrated its new schedule change with a week of dramatic scenes.
Gray (played by Toby Alexander-Smith) had spent the previous episodes sneaking around Albert Square to avoid police, after ex Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) vowed to expose his killer ways.
During the 30-minute episode Gray was also confronted by Karen (Linda Henry), where he finally admitted he killed her daughter Chantelle (Jessica Plummer) by pushing her into a knife stacked in the dishwasher.
At last! The abuser was finally arrested by police after admitting to his triple murder, and left mother-in-law Karen Taylor distraught with a chilling parting gesture
He eagerly enjoyed taunting her with gory details about Chantelle’s death and her final moments, after she suffered months of abuse.
It all culminated with a dramatic final showdown on a bridge, where Gray also confessed to killing Whitney’s boyfriend Kush Kazemi (Davood Ghadami), but despite his attempts to escape justice by falling to his death, he was eventually thwarted by the authorities.
As Gray was led through the Square by police, he was greeted by all of his victims’ loved ones, and even as he was taken away, he managed to end his reign of terror with one final torment.
Savage: Despite trying to avert justice by throwing himself off a bridge, Thursday’s episode concluded with Gray being led away by police
Heartbreaking: Viewers have been calling for Gray to get his comeuppance since he murdered his wife Chantelle in 2020 following months of abusing her
Staring at Karen, Gray pointed at his eye with a single finger, forcing her to break down in sobs.
While the gesture confused some fans, others explained that it was Gray noting that he was the last person Chantelle saw before her slow and painful death.
One tweeted: ‘What was Gray pointing at and signalling to Karen in EastEnders? Great to finally see him get caught, but this caught me off guard.’
Several viewers then responded to the post by shedding light to the gesture, with one responded: ‘Before Chantelle died, Gray was the last person she saw alive before passing.
Emotional: Learning the brutal reality of Chantelle’s final moments, Karen broken down in hysterical sobs
‘Gray revealed this detail to Karen who refused to believe it. After being arrested on suspicion of murder he points at his eye to psychologically mess with Karen’s mind. He basically gets the last laugh.’
Another added: ‘He told her earlier in the episode that he was the last thing that Chantel saw before she died. He was taunting Karen as he was being taken away.’
‘I think he was reminding her it was his eyes Chantelle saw before she died,’ one added while a third also clarified: ‘It’s because he told her the last person Chantelle saw was him.’
What’s going on? The gesture sparked confusion from some fans, questioning what Gray’s parting moments meant
This is what it means! Other fans clarified that Gray’s final gesture alluded to the fact that he was the final person Chantelle saw before her brutal death
Viewers were quick to share their reaction to Gray’s dramatic exit, with many lauding the episode as the soap’s best in many months.
One wrote: ‘Literal CHILLS when Gray was walking past every he’s hurt in handcuffs, praise the writers for not killing him off so he can pay for what he’s done the hard way. INCREDIBLE episode.’
Another wrote: ‘This is how EastEnders SHOULD BE, edge of your seat, nervousness and hooked, this 10000% should have been an Xmas Day episode.’
‘The best EastEnders episode in several years. From the acting to the execution. Everyone take a bow,’ a third viewer added.
We loved it! Regardless the episode was lauded by viewers who branded it the soap’s ‘best in years,’ bringing an end to Gray’s three-year reign of terror
It comes as Toby-Alexander revealed he’ll be enjoying a break from the drama that came with playing his character to concentrate on his duties as a father after welcoming his first baby to the world late in 2021 with his Emmerdale actress partner Amy Walsh, 34.
When asked what he plans to do next, he told The Sun: ‘Changing nappies, breast pumps and not getting any sleep probably.
‘It’s all good. I’m very happy using this time now just to be present with Amy and Bonnie and I’m just loving every second of it.
‘Who knows what’s around the corner but for right now I’m very happy to just be a full-time dad.’
He went on to say he would not miss the online abuse he received from viewers who detested Gray for his murderous actions as he admitted that some audience members ‘don’t seem to be able to differentiate between Gray and myself’.
EastEnders airs from Monday to Thursday at 7:30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
Back soon: EastEnders airs from Monday to Thursday at 7:30pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer