EastEnders fans were shocked during Tuesday’s dramatic episode when villain Lucas Johnson was left for dead after being violently attacked.
The serial killer, played by actor Don Gilet, was seen being surrounded by three men and punched on the floor as his terrified daughter Chelsea watched on.
However some viewers questioned whether his nemesis Phil Mitchell may have had something to do with the attack after the pair were seen exchanging tense words earlier in the show.
Dramatic scenes: EastEnders fans were shocked during Tuesday’s dramatic episode when villain Lucas Johnson was left for dead after being violently attacked
In the dramatic scenes Lucas was seen walking his daughter to her car before being hit from behind as she got inside.
One man then knocked Lucas to the floor while another held the car door shut so Chelsea, played by Zaraah Abrahams, could not help her father, only scream ‘dad, dad’ in terror.
During the brutal attack one of the men, who were wearing hoodies but not hiding their faces, sinisterly said to keep Chelsea inside and ‘give her something to watch’.
Earlier in the episode Lucas was seen talking to Phil, with Phil telling him ‘you’ll remember what I’m capable of… stay away from Denise’.
Did he plan it? Some fans questioned whether Phil Mitchell had something to do with the attack after he spoke with Lucas earlier in the episode
Lucas had his own reply for Phil, played by Steve McFadden, telling him: ‘You last little boy went to prison for putting my son in a coma with a fractured skull.’
He was recalling the 2010 storyline where Phil’s son Ben turned on bully Jordan, who is Lucas’ son, and held up a wrench to him.
Phil had been urged to step in and speak to Lucas, who only returned to the soap on Christmas Day, by Denise Fox’s father Patrick.
Patrick told Phil that if he wants to see his son, Raymond, then he should warn Lucas to stay away from the family.
Terrified: Lucas’ daughter Chelsea screamed in terror as her father was beaten up
Awful: Chelsea couldn’t get out of the car as one of the gang members held her door shut
Denise and Lucas used to be together however she’s been terrified of him since he held her hostage for months when she discovered he’d killed his first wife Trina.
Fans were quick to react to the very dramatic scenes, with many asking whether Phil could have been involved in the violent plot.
One person wrote: ‘Oh my God Phil??? What have you done??? This isn’t gonna end well, Lucas is gonna want revenge…ahh I’m so excited! This is so good! Yeah that ep was a bit boring but I think the Lucas/Denise scenes saved it.’
While another shared their own theory: ‘Phill has clearly paid for thugs to take down Lucas. I think Lucas and Chelsea might be plotting to bring down Denise.’
Will he survive? Lucas was seen being punched as he lay on the ground of the car park
Opinions: Several EastEnders fans shared their own theories on who was behind the attack
‘What hole did those men crawl out from slapping Lucas down like that? he deserved it tho defo hired by Phil. I feared for Chelsea they made sure she was locked in & couldn’t get out the car. It’s time for Patrick to cough up Raymond & keep his end of the bargain!’, added another.
However some were not convinced, with one person writing: ‘We’re meant to believe that Phil arranged that little bashing on our dear Lucas but I’m not falling for it #EastEnders!!
‘Patrick asked him to warn him off & that he did. why would he have shown his face to Lucas if he was just gonna set the heavies on him anyway…jack anyone?
Others still thought there could be someone else behind the attack, penning: ‘Well, was not expecting their to be a hit on Lucas. Phil’s doing? Or maybe someone else’s?’
Watch out! The gang wore hoodies but didn’t cover their faces
Creepy: During the brutal attack one of the men sinisterly said to keep Chelsea inside her car and ‘give her something to watch’
Actor Don previously teased that viewers would be left guessing whether he’s really a changed man after his Christmas Day return to Walford.
He also revealed his excitement at seeing fans’ reaction, saying: ‘Either no one knows yet or they’re too scared to approach me, but as yet I’m still able to go to the shops for my basic provisions without raising any out-of-the-ordinary attention.
‘Maybe after Christmas day things might be different, but I hope not!’
The character of Lucas returned to the square on Christmas Day, coming face-to-face with his ex Denise Fox after arriving with their daughter Chelsea, who is desperate to build bridges following his release from prison.
Petrified! Killer Lucas made a terrifying return to the soap on Christmas Day
As expected Denise was petrified to see Lucas after he held her hostage for months when she discovered he’d killed his first wife Trina, and bosses have teased 2021 will be a dramatic time for the Fox family.
Denise was frozen with fear when she saw Lucas back in Walford – just as she was preparing for her first Christmas with son Raymond after regaining custody.
She was even more surprised to see he’s joined by their daughter Chelsea, with actress Zaraah Abrahams taking over the role.
Discussing the scenes, actress Diane said: ‘It’s absolute terror when she sees him, what is he here for? She then thinks, not now, not when I have got Raymond, this very small person to protect. But of course her first emotion is terror.
‘She feels shocked and betrayed and then worries for Chelsea and what she’s doing.
‘She should be really thrilled and happy to see her daughter, who she hasn’t seen on Christmas Day in a while, so that is a lovely thing but she shouldn’t have been standing next to her murdering father.’
Meanwhile actress Zaraah, who will make her first appearance as Chelsea on Christmas Day, revealed her character won’t be happy when she learns her mum has kept the existence of her son Raymond a secret.
She added: ‘I think Denise would love it if Chelsea came back as the loving doting daughter. But Chelsea’s not. So it is fiery and explosive – but there are warm moments there as well.
‘There’s a part of Chelsea where she can’t help being selfish. And because she is selfish it means that she hurts the people closest to her. Which she is sorry about but she still needs to do what she needs to do.’
What’s he doing here? Dramatic scenes saw Lucas come face-to-face with his ex Denise Fox who is terrified to see him given her horrific ordeal during their marriage