Before we get too deep into the summer, we need to talk about Stuart Highway (Ricky Champ) on EastEnders. He’s Mick Carter’s (Danny Dyer) joke-loving mate, and Callum “Halfway” Highway’s (Tony Clay) older brother. Stuart Highway has been the most interesting new character on the show (behind the Taylors, of course).
He’s the villain I love to see on soaps: calculating, sensitive, and misunderstood. That’s why EastEnders bosses need to keep Stuart redeemable if he’s going to stick around Walford.
Stuart caused trouble the moment he arrived at the Queen Vic. He attacked Mick at the Vic while wearing a balaclava. He even paid Hayley Slater (Katie Jarvis) to sleep next to Mick while he was drunk. (Linda Carter [Kellie Bright] has still barred Hayley from the Vic.) I knew he had an agenda with the Carter family, and I was excited to what he had planned.
What makes Stuart so exciting is that Champ plays the character so well. He has brought a different vibe to the usual EastEnders villain. During one scene, he made me cringe. (And it wasn’t the scene between him and Linda Carter.)
Champ has such an acting range that Stuart goes from menacing to sweet in a heartbeat. And his eyes always adds more to the story! That’s why I think his character has longevity as a villain and should stick around Walford for a while.
I could see Stuart interacting with other characters beyond the Carters. (The scene between him and Kathy Beale [Gillian Tayforth] was quite funny.) HOWEVER… there is the slight problem of Stuart becoming too evil.
The current storyline now focuses on a secret between Highway and Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White). The spoilers said that it was something evil that took place when they were younger. If he sexually assaulted Tina, then his redemption would be impossible.
Stuart and the Long Road…
We’ve had domestic abusers as long-term characters (Phil and Grant Mitchell) and murderers (Ben Mitchell). Sexual abusers and rapists haven’t lasted long in Albert Square for very good reasons.
As of Friday’s (07/13/18) episode, it turns out that Stuart may have locked Tina in the boot (trunk Amer.) of a car and tortured her. I say “may” because Tina’s memories were fuzzy, and there were other men who there that night. It also leaves the door open that he may not be guilty of a crime.
Now that we know Tina’s secret, this storyline will take at least until Christmas to sort out. (They say the summer, but with the current pace, I think it will be longer.) That’s fine with me! I get to see Stuart Highway stay in Albert Square for a little longer.