Max Branning (Jake Wood) has been determined to show girlfriend Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton) just how much he’s committed to their relationship in EastEnders, and with a little help from Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell), he came to the conclusion that he should ask for her hand in marriage. However, his romantic gesture didn’t exactly go according to plan, as Ruby turned him down in front of everyone during tonight’s episode.
Yes, Max has demonstrated his concerns about the possibility of Ruby leaving him in recent months, which is why he was so determined to prove how serious he is about her. A customer in E20 mistaking him for his lover’s dad was the final straw, and after some words of advice from Jack (Scott Maslen) — not to mention a dig from Jean (Gillian Wright) — he set about making his relationship more official.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk about Max’s decision, actor Jake Wood said: ‘I think at the minute it feels like Max is getting settled and getting his feet on the ground, and getting back into normal life, if you like. So, obviously he’s aware of the age difference between them, and from my point of view I think he feels a little bit lost, so I guess he thinks that the right thing to do is to propose.’
‘He’s not exactly sure what Ruby wants, but I’m not exactly sure he knows what he wants. I think he just wants to make a commitment to her and in typical Max fashion he goes the wrong way around it.’
After deciding that popping the question was the right plan, Max went to the one person he knew would be able to help him in pulling the whole thing off. Yes, Bobby has become something of a confidante for Max — in spite of the fact that the young lad’s role in his sister’s death once resulted in Max being wrongly accused of the crime.
Yes, Max and Bobby’s relationship is one of the many interesting dynamics which have developed in the BBC One soap since Kate Oates came on board.
Speaking about the dynamic between the two characters, Jake said: ‘I think when you breakdown those characters and what they’ve been through — emotionally, what they’ve been through is pretty similar, really. And I really thought about it when they were paired together and Bobby was going to set the house alight, and Max intervened.
‘He talked him out of it because he told him he knew what he was going through, so — I think out of any of the characters around — Max is the most well-equipped to understand what Bobby’s going through, and the post-traumatic stress he might be suffering. I think Max felt something similar where’s he’s had the same loss in his life — he’s lost his son and his daughter — so we’ve seen Max at really low points, so maybe he can relate to Bobby.’
Of course the other interesting dynamic in Max’s life at the moment is his partnership with Ian (Adam Woodyatt), and once the restaurant co-owner got wind of Max’s plan to propose to his girlfriend, he set about making a spectacle out of the whole thing — so that the entire population of Walford would be present as he got down on one knee.
Speaking about the pairing, Jake mused: ‘I don’t think they’ll ever see eye to eye — I think they’re quite a good pairing, Max and Ian — but if there’s ever an opportunity to undermine the other one or embarrass the other one, they’ll always take it. But I think it’s quite funny to watch!’
Ian’s interference provided Max with a great source of conflict, but by the time he’d realised what his business partner had done, it was simply too late to back out, and thus he carried out his plan, and proposed to Ruby.
Unfortunately, it didn’t pan out the way he’d hoped it would, as Ruby turned him down. However, in spite of Max’s feelings, Jake reckons that Ruby made the right call.
He said: ‘I think it’s the right decision from her point of view, absolutely. I mean, if Max actually sat and down and thought about it, he’d realise how stupid he’s being, or how it’s a little bit too soon, and she’s probably a little bit too young.’
‘You know Max has been there and been married so many times — to him, it’s probably not a massive deal — but for Ruby, she’s young and it probably means a lot more to her. So, it’s one of those tricky situations that comes out of the age gap, I guess.’
Yes, the age-gap has been something that Max has struggled with, as we’ve seen him do all he can to prove just how serious he is about Ruby — despite everyone belittling him for being older than her. However, it’s clear that Max wants this to work. The question is: is a future together even a possibility after the events of this episode?
It’s currently unknown what the future holds for Ruby and Max, but Jake reckons they make a good match: He said: ‘I think Max has got genuine feelings for her, and I think Ruby also does for Max — although maybe not as deeply as Max does for Ruby.’
‘I think Max is someone who — when he falls for someone — he falls all the way, doesn’t he? And Ruby is the one, at the moment. So we’ll see where it leads!’
EastEnders continues Monday 25thNovember at 8pm on BBC One.
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