Immediately after Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) in EastEnders was attacked it became the topic of conversation among the residents of Walford. Who attacked Ian? Where was each person when he was attacked? Who will give someone else a fake alibi in order to save them from prison?
One thing we do know for certain – pretty much everyone is suspect, including Ian’s son, Bobby (Clay Milner Russell).
Viewers have watched Bobby over the past few months develop OCD. Something that began as a way to protect himself and his family from the coronavirus has now increased and since his dad was attacked, Bobby’s OCD is beginning to control his life more than ever before.
With Bobby acting strangely and hiding things from Peter (Dayle Hudson), the likelihood of him being his dad’s attacker may be growing. However, Bobby isn’t the one who attacked Ian, but is blaming himself for everything that’s happened.
Yes, it makes sense that Bobby could’ve tried to kill Ian. He’s already killed his sister, attacked Dennis (Bleu Landau) and Jane (Laurie Brett) when he was younger, and we’ve seen how angry he got last week when he discovered Ian had stolen the money from the Lucy Beale Foundation fund.
Let’s not forget that Ian lets Bobby down all the time. Since he returned to Walford from prison the relationship with his dad has been a fractured one. Bobby has tried to impress him but Ian either doesn’t pay him any attention, or does something that makes him the focus instead of Bobby.
We also have Peter, someone who is like Bobby in the sense that he is constantly ignored by his dad and never really felt as though he was as good as Lucy, and since Peter discovered Ian didn’t include him in his will, he’s been manipulating, and convincing Bobby that Ian is a bad person and should be the one to blame for Lucy’s murder.
Bobby’s past does give him a perfectly good reason to be Ian’s attacker – but he’s not. Throughout the storylines Bobby has had during the months he’s been back in Albert Square they have all led back to one thing – wanting to change. Whatever he’s done Bobby has tried to readjust to normal life and prove to his family he has changed.
It’s not been easy, but from converting to Islam to building a relationship with Max (Jake Wood), Bobby has desperately tried to change his life, so it wouldn’t really make sense if he was Ian’s attacker, it would only lead him back to square one.
All of what is happening to Bobby right now leads back to him killing Lucy. An event that happened six years ago is still having an impact on people’s lives today, and when it comes tonight’s episode where Bobby told Ian ‘I’m sorry, it was me!’, he is no doubt beginning to grow more convinced that if he didn’t kill Lucy, his dad wouldn’t be in hospital, so therefore he is to blame for the attack.
Another factor that isn’t helping Bobby’s paranoia is his OCD – an illness where obsessive and intrusive thoughts are common symptoms. The only person who really knows about Bobby’s OCD right now is Peter.
He understands his brother’s illness in the sense that he’s aware Bobby is doing his rituals because it makes him feel better, but when Bobby says his intrusive thoughts in front of Peter, the thought he could’ve attempted to kill again overwhelms the thought that it’s his OCD talking.
Bobby completes his rituals as he thinks doing them will protect his family, which means his OCD could be about to get even worse if he thinks Ian was attacked because he didn’t complete his rituals enough times.
Bobby is currently unaware of the fact that his OCD is rippling into other people’s lives too. We saw in a recent episode that Bobby scrubbed the area in the Beales house where Lucy was killed because he saw blood, and now we know the blood came from Ian and Tina’s (Luisa Bradshaw-White) fight, Tina’s future in Albert Square will be in jeopardy when the police search Ian’s house and fail to find any blood – all because Bobby cleared it up.
When Bobby eventually learns of Tina and Ian’s fight, if the police’s suspicions around Tina are growing, the fact that he cleaned the blood up will add to the problem that he blames himself for everything that’s happened. However, if Bobby tries to help Tina and tells the police what he did, will he even be believed?
Bobby blaming himself for Ian’s attack and other people’s version of events can lead back to events that happened weeks, months, even years ago. If Bobby never killed Lucy, his attempt at getting closure and organising the Lucy Beale Foundation never would’ve happened, and if he never killed Lucy, Ian wouldn’t have stolen the £20k from the fund to fix the debt he’s in with Max.
Eventually, Bobby could even say that if his feud with Dennis never happened, Ian would’ve never locked him on the boat, bought Sharon (Letitia Dean) the pub, and never would’ve gotten himself into debt and made Max want angry enough to want to kill him.
He’s a troubled character, and Bobby blaming himself for Ian’s attack is making the real identity of the attacker a lot more difficult to find. With the way things are going, Bobby could find himself taken in for police questioning soon, and with his OCD, paranoia and anxiety increasing, someone needs to understand Bobby’s thoughts well enough to see that he didn’t try and kill Ian, but thinks he’s to blame because of everything he’s been through.
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