Max Branning’s (played by Jake Wood) risqué decision to try and escape Walford with baby Abi in last night’s instalment of EastEnders could result in the infant being taken into care.
In the latest episode of the hit BBC drama series, the grandfather attempted to flee Albert Square with his late daughter’s child following Cora Cross (Ann Mitchell) and Raine Branning’s (Tanya Franks) explosive row.
Cora has been goading Max and Rainie about custody of the baby and is furious when she catches her daughter hovering over the newborn.
The women exchange cutting words, with Cora accusing Rainie of trying to take off with the baby.
A furious Cora asked: “Is this some kind of trick? What’s the idea, sneak in behind my back and sneak out with the baby?”
Professing her innocence, Rainie insisted she had no intentions of running away with the child and only came to the house to apologise to her.
“The court is going to crucify you for this… am I suppose to believe the word of a crackhead like you,” Cora spat.
Then, Max walked in on the pair and was told by Rainie to take baby Abi out for a bit to allow her to make up with her mother.
But, Cora had other plans and whacked Rainie over the head with a frying pan as she escorted her husband to the front door.
Later, Max was seen getting ready to leave E20 with Abi, when the police stormed into the house announcing they would be taking the baby away.
“We need to take Abi under the Section 47 Act of the Children Act, Mr Branning,” explained DC Jane Kaminski.
“We’re removing her to a place of safety.”
As the officers walked out of the property with the infant in tow, Max followed closely behind.
Sobbing, he begged: “You ain’t got to do this. Please, you ain’t got to take her! Please!”
The devastating scenes caused viewers to react, with many taking to social media to discuss the incident.
One person wrote on Twitter: “Heartbreaking to see Max hand over Abi. Only pinprick of light was that Stacey [Slater] was there with him.”
Another commentator added: “Max really needs a bit of luck in his life,” while a third simply said: “Gutted for Max.”
A fifth tweeted: “Max does genuinely want to raise Abi and Rainie clearly want to as well, the issue is oddly not completely of their making. Cora would’ve caused trouble even if Jack situation hadn’t happened.”
Someone else stated: “If I had to choose, I’d rather Max raised Abi. Ian Beale shouldn’t be involved given his track record with kids.”
EastEnders continues tonight on BBC One at 7.30pm.