BlackWoman Bitmoji with short afro sitting in tea cup labeled EastEnders Tea, T.Lanette

Not Much to Do with Ballum (EastEnders)

The show has made an extra effort to keep the fandom happy and content. So… Has the fandom and the show placed Ballum into a storyline corner? Is there anything left to do with Ballum?

It’s been almost six months since Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) and Halfway (Callum) Highway (Tony Clay) had their non-social distanced wedding. They’ve been living the marital dream while sleeping on an air mattress at Stuart and Rainie’s (Ricky Champ and Tanya Franks) flat. EastEnders did their best to make sure the Ballum Fandom got the dream wedding and romantic ending they were hoping for— starting with the over-the-top cute proposal and ending with the kiss after the “I Do’s”. The show has made an extra effort to keep the fandom happy and contented. So… Has the fandom and the show placed Ballum into a storyline corner? Is there anything left to do with Ballum?

Ben and Halfway have managed to stay together despite Halfway’s betrayal (trying to rat out Phil to the police) and Halfway’s PTSD after seeing his partner stabbed in the line of duty. (Ben had that “other man” fear that Halfway was cheating on him with his former fiancée, Whitney Dean who he cheated on with Ben.) They married knowing they had to work on the trust between them. Now the next “bump” in their marital bliss road is Halfway becoming insecure about Ben’s previous relationships.

Is the show resurrecting an old non-issue because they have nothing for Ballum to do at this moment?

Halfway spent the early days of their relationship convincing Ben that he wasn’t concerned about his previous lovers. Ben has been very open about enjoying a healthy sex life before and after he met Halfway. (Ben did have some fun when Halfway left town.) This is an old non-issue that appeared to be sorted before their wedding. Now Ben’s concerned that Halfway will see all of his old lovers wandering around Albert Square every day. This leads to Halfway feeling insecure about Ben’s love. Is the show resurrecting an old non-issue because they have nothing for Ballum to do at this moment?

What other storyline is there for Ballum?

Ben and Halfway are both cheaters, so it’s definitely possible for them to cheat again. If the show has Halfway and Ben cheat on each other, then they risk angering the Ballum Fandom who they’ve placated throughout the couple’s existence. There is still the issue of Halfway working as a policeman to consider. However, the show has already had him try to rat on Phil. They are not going to put Halfway in a position to rat on Ben or Phil again.

What other storyline is there for Ballum? The show could make an exciting storyline about Ben and Halfway moving into their first home. There is still the issue with Ben’s role in Jags Panesar’s ( Amar Adatia) death. However, I don’t see that providing enough content for a storyline arc. Instead, I see a bigger problem for the couple. They are at the mercy of a small but vocal fandom that demands and expects Ben and Halfway’s perpetual happiness. Soap operas don’t thrive on perpetual happiness.

At this point, I think there’s not much to do with Ballum on the show. Ben and Halfway’s longevity as a couple may be in jeopardy.

Now that we are at this point, I think it would’ve been better if Ben had left Halfway at the altar. Then we would see:

  • Ben focused on pushing Halfway away while festering in his anger and lack of trust;
  • Halfway dealing with his hurt by moving on with another lover while trying to forget Ben;
  • Ben deciding that he had to be with Halfway, but realizing that he may have lost him to another man;
  • Ben and Halfway coming back together and getting married.

I think this scenario would’ve been more appealing to the show’s overall fan base and helped with their longevity as a couple. In addition, their wedding would have taken place during the Christmas episodes. (I’m still ok with Denise and Jack getting married during Christmas.) I would definitely be more interested in Ben and Halfway if their storylines were not based on appealing to the Ballum Fandom.

At this point, I think there’s not much to do with Ballum on the show. Ben and Halfway’s longevity as a couple may be in jeopardy.


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TLanette

Teacher, writer, web designer, friend, and traveler... I try to experience everything and let go of all that I cannot control.

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