As the folk from Ferndale celebrated Christmas in last night’s cliffhanger, the hospital was buzzing with festive cheer.
The hardworking staff had relinquished their scalpels and stethoscopes to join Santa, who was gifting presents to a bunch of excited children at the cafeteria, while those invited to Harper Whitley and Boyd Rolleston’s gorgeous vineyard nuptials were busy mixing and mingling before the ceremony kicked off.
But the epic 90-minute episode didn’t continue as it left off, and ended with a catastrophic shootout in the hospital and the fate of many of Shorty’s favourite characters hanging in the balance.
Gun-toting Gareth Hutchings was at the centre of the drama. The conniving, cold-blooded intruder – who had been previously banned from Ferndale hospital – stalked the wards hoping to exact revenge on Drew McCaskill and Rachel McKenna.
Top plastic surgeon Drew was his first victim. Gareth shot him twice, leaving him bloody, helpless and alone in his exam room, before taking the guests of the annual childrens’ Christmas party hostage in the café.
After armed police failed to negotiate with the unrelenting gunslinger, valiant Vinnie Kruse and Moe Hannah took matters into their own hands, charging at Gareth in an attempt to release his weapon. Their efforts were brave but the results were deadly. In the struggle several shots were fired, blood was everywhere and hair-raising screams could be heard for miles.
In the fatal firing line include Bella Cooper and her baby Stevie, Leanne Miller, Boyd, Wendy and Murray Cooper, Vinnie, Moe and his son Jack Hannah but we won’t know their fate until shorty returns on January 18 next year.
Almost certainly dead is Drew, who, while all the commotion was taking place on the lower level, was shot point blank, but this time by a mystery killer.
So who would want the handsome surgeon dead?
Margaret Hannah is an obvious choice. Her boss Drew has threatened to turn the grieving mother into police after discovering she’d been embezzling cash from his practice.
Or was it Margaret’s son Curtis, who promised his desperate mum he’d protect her.
Then there’s fellow surgeon Victoria Anderton, who blames her former-fling Drew for her failure to the promotion she’d been dreaming of.
And we can’t forget Drew’s ex-wife Virginia. Armed with a pair of scissors and a bitter hatred for her former hubby, Virginia fled her hospital bed and was nowhere to be seen at the time of the shooting.