The Mitchell sisters drowned in a hotel swimming pool in tonight’s episode.
Submerged: Ronnie learnt the hard way that wedding gowns are no substitute for a swimming cozzy
Ronnie (Samantha Womack) and Jack Branning’s (Scott Maslen) wedding venue played host to the sister’s demise. A tragic accident unfolded after the inebriated pair found themselves by the hotel’s deserted pool after-hours.
Roxy (Rita Simons) failed to resurface after diving into the water while Ronnie’s attempts to rescue her sister proved futile thanks to her wedding dress getting in the way – the sodden lacy gown eventually causing her own death.
At the stroke of midnight, Jack was seen falling asleep with his kids in bed, blissfully unaware of the nightmarish fate that had just befallen his new wife and sister-in-law. An eerie shot of Ronnie and Roxy’s floating bodies fed into the credits played over a black screen without music.
Earlier in the episode, Roxy had fled from Ronnie’s side moments before she was due to give her away to Jack, uneasy that Ronnie was lying to her husband-to-be because of her.
Ronnie was unable to go through with the ceremony without her sister and admitted to Jack that she wants Roxy to join them in their move to Ongar. Jack was forced to concede to the sisters’ plan and the wedding resumed without further hiccup.
Ardent EastEnders fans will have noticed that in the ensuing reception scenes the show paid tribute to the trailer which promoted the sisters’ debut in the soap back in 2007.
‘The Mitchell sisters’ were devised in 2007 to re-energise the Queen Vic. Ronnie and Roxy arrived in Walford, fresh from Ibiza, in July of that year for their cousin Phil’s wedding reception and decided to stick around.
Sam Womack quit her role after four years when a controversial plot saw Ronnie lose her baby son James to cot death then swap him for neighbour Kat Moon’s son Tommy. Ofcom received 1,044 complaints over the two New Year episodes of 2010 which featured the swap while the BBC itself received 13,400 complaints.
Ronnie’s leaving line saw her imprisoned over the kidnap while a return to the soap for Womack in 2013 saw her released from prison. Ronnie’s storylines in both stints have typically been of a hard-hitting nature. Others include the death of her daughter Danielle (Lauren Crace) as they were reunited, the admission that she was sexually abused by her father Archie (Larry Lamb) and killing Roxy’s boyfriend Carl White (Daniel Coonan).
Roxy’s storylines have included a fiery relationship with Sean Slater (Robert Kazinsky), the reveal that Jack is the father of her daughter Amy, and an abusive relationship with Dean Wicks (Matt Di Angelo) who almost raped her.
It was announced in August that Samantha Womack would be bowing out as Ronnie following a dramatic storyline being put to her by the soap’s then-new boss Sean O’Connor. Within days news followed that Rita Simons was also to leave the BBC One serial and that the Mitchell sisters would go together.