There was violence, drama and shocks a-plenty in tonight’s Casualty, as Connie (Amanda Mealing) was very dramatically forced to confront how low her drug addiction has brought her. Ciaran (Rick Warden) and Archie (Genesis Lynea) were both determined to see her caught out, but of course neither of them had the full picture. All they’ve seen of Connie is the fragile, defensive, secretive person she’s become. They never met the poised, intelligent, super-skilled person that Connie was before the terrible assault that shook her confidence and left her with PTSD that she refused to acknowledge and tried to self-medicate her way through.
Charlie (Derek Thompson) knew that version of Connie, so she was perhaps hoping for him to be more understanding when she finally confessed. ‘I’m a mess. I can’t be strong. I can’t be me any more,’ she told him. That much Charlie could have understood, but her betrayal of Archie and particularly Duffy was too much for him. His face went from sympathetic via flummoxed to disappointed and outraged, and it must have been heartbreaking for Connie. There was no way back for her after that, and we left Connie walking away from the hospital looking fragile and alone. No longer was she wearing the usual kitten heels of confidence, but the flats of failure.
We’d seen the last of Ciaran Coulson in the first half of this double episode. His Connie fixation had started to override everything else including his judgement and when multiple casualties were expected from a warehouse fire he decided, against advice, that Holby could deal with all of them. His attitude to the staff and patients was terrible – when Iain (Michael Stevenson) and Ruby (Maddy Hill) brought a patient in to the already over-capacity department Ciaran told them to keep the patient on the ambulance. Iain’s complaints were received with a dismissive ‘Just suck it up.’ Iain, Ruby and Jan (Di Botcher) all stuck together against Ciaran, but it was Connie’s cunning that was his downfall. She falsified the prescribing records to make it look as though it was Ciaran who’d been over-prescribing. ‘We’re not firing you, but we certainly won’t be renewing your contract,’ Hanssen (Guy Henry) told him.
The scene in the pharmacy where Archie and Connie were attacked by a woman with a very large knife was shocking and quite tense. There was extra poignancy as the woman had been one of Grace’s babysitters from years ago, but heroin had reduced her to being a desperate criminal (and yes, Connie saw the parallels). Archie was badly wounded, so much so that at one point back at the hospital Connie was suggesting that her next of kin should be contacted. She’s not out of the woods yet, and when we last saw her she was still unconscious and Will (Jack Nolan) was sitting at her bedside telling her how strong she is. This is a little too late because he was no use at all when she asked him for support earlier.
In all of this doom and gloom at least one person got some good news and ended the day happily. Gem (Rebecca Ryan) stayed at Holby while boyfriend Rash went travelling because she wanted to support Iain after his suicide attempt. Love and duty have kept her in Holby, but in this episode she started to realise that she was being stifled by staying. Iain has made huge progress with his mental health and is now at the point where he can again be supportive of others and can ask for help if he needs it and admit when he’s struggling. He reassured Gem that he could cope without her and so she’s off to join Rash in Thailand.
And Duffy (Cathy Shipton) realised that, dementia diagnosis notwithstanding, she still has her full set of Super Nurse Instincts and empathy skills, when she helped a young woman who deliberately got herself run over by Duffy’s car.
Sue Haasler is the author of the official Holby City book, which you can read about here. Her latest novel, Half A World Away, is out now