It’s pretty certain that any diehard Casualty fan was sobbing into a box of tissues tonight.
In a truly heartbreaking and moving episode, Charlie was forced to say goodbye forever to his beloved Duffy, way sooner than he, and viewers, ever expected.
Not surprisingly, it made for emotionally charged viewing as a tearful Charlie bid farewell to his wife of two years, after realizing it was the end of their 30-year long working partnership and friendship. “You are the love of my life,” he told her.
It was evident right from the opening scene that viewers were in for an emotional rollercoaster, as Charlie woke in the morning to find Duffy had gone missing, and it just got more dramatic and moving as the episode unfolded.
Charlie headed off into the snow, desperately searching for his wife, knocking on neighbours’ doors, calling the police and scouring the streets of Holby.
Meanwhile, as her frantic husband was pounding the pavements, Duffy was sitting talking to a man at a bus stop, wearing her old nurse’s uniform from years ago, looking healthy and happy and reminiscing about her close “working friendship” with Charlie.
After conceding that the bus was “never coming” Duffy walked off into the freezing cold, clad in just her cotton short-sleeved uniform.
However, after stumbling upon a young girl unconscious in the street it soon became apparent that what we were watching wasn’t actual reality, but a version of events that were playing out in Duffy’s confused mind, and that she was far from healthy or happy.
In fact, as Charlie was soon to discover to his horror, it was actually Duffy that was lying alone on the snowy street, freezing to death. By the time the ambulance arrived, Duffy was already unconscious and suffering from a severe case of hypothermia.
Upon arrival at the hospital, it seemed that at first Duffy might pull through, she even regained consciousness at one point, although the longtime nurse clearly knew the end was near as she begged an emotional Connie Beauchamp to “take care of Charlie for me when I’m gone” before lapsing into unconsciousness once again.
Staff rallied to try and save their beloved former colleague, but after a scan revealed that Duffy had suffered a catastrophic brain bleed, everybody was forced to realize that the fight was over. Well, everybody except Charlie, who just wasn’t able or ready to accept the fact that his wife’s life was ending so tragically early.
“Duffy used to say that we didn’t take time [to get together], we just took the scenic route. I’m not ready to lose her yet,” he insisted to Connie and Dylan after they broke the news to him that there was nothing more that could be done.
“So you’re telling me my wife is going to die?” a clearly shellshocked Charlie asked before his bewilderment quickly turned to anger. “Forty years. She started nursing college straight after school. Forty years of nursing, every single one in the NHS. 40 years of caring for other people and now nobody can be bothered to care for her.
“Why is nobody doing anything? Maybe dementia patients don’t get the same care as other patients round here. Is that it?”
“She’s almost gone, isn’t she? She’s almost gone,” a heartbroken Charlie observed as finally, the shock started to wear off and reality began to sink in.
As if the news of losing Duffy wasn’t traumatic enough in itself, poor Charlie was hit with yet another blow after Robyn gently broached the subject of organ donation.
“There’s still a lot of people she can help,” she said.
“She has a donor card,” Charlie replied almost robotically.
“I know, but I want you to be comfortable with it. I know you didn’t expect to be doing this today,” Robyn told him.
“After the diagnosis, I thought, a few more years, please. Then the TIA, one more year, please, give us six months, and that turned into making for a few weeks, a few more good days,” Charlie shared.
“Maybe you could page the organ donor nurse,” he concluded before going on to ask to spend some time alone with his beloved wife.
As Charlie sat by Duffy’s bedside holding her hand, a sequence of touching flashbacks from their time together was shown—starting with the pair of them, back in the day, looking impossibly young.
The ongoing “will they won’t they” storyline, that any Casualty fan worth their salt is only too aware of, played out on-screen, as a series of “special” moments between the two were shown, culminating in Duffy’s proposal to Charlie, their subsequent wedding day, and the happy newlyweds driving off together to start their married life together.
Then, just like that, it was over, and it was back to grim reality once again.
“Funny old thing time, isn’t it?” Charlie told his dying wife: “One minute you’ve got so much of it you don’t know what to do with it, and the next….
“We wasted a lot of time you know, you and me, but we’re here together, exactly as it’s supposed to be. You’re the love of my life. It’s all right now, I’ll be alright, you can go now sweetheart, you can go.”
Staff stood in line to honor Duffy as she was wheeled away to the donor unit, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the hospital.
In tears. What a beautiful sensitive episode.
But, the desperately sad and moving episode ended on a bittersweet note as the grief-stricken Charlie saw a vision of his wife just as she used to be before dementia took a cruel hold of her.
Duffy stood at the hospital door, uniform neat and pressed, hair pulled back, smiling brightly and lovingly, waving goodbye.
Viewers were left in tears and shared their thoughts on Twitter.
— Caroline (@CarolineWarrey) February 2, 2020
#Casualty just watched last night’s episode. In tears. What a beautiful sensitive episode 💔💔💔💔💔
— Halinka Rands (@halinka_rands) February 2, 2020
Just caught up with Saturday’s #Casualty and oh my word; I am in tears. 😔😢
Such a beautiful send off for #Duffy aka @cathship27 after an incredible storyline of dementia. Thank You to all the cast and crew; especially Cathy and Derek to your hard work. Love You All. 😻😻
— Tanya (@GremlinGreen) February 2, 2020
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