Frankie (Rose Ayling-Ellis) just broke our hearts as she left EastEnders in emotional scenes, changing her surname to Carter as she bravely headed towards the Tube station.
The popular character, played by Strictly Come Dancing winner Rose, resolved to leave the Square for a job opportunity in Scotland, much to the upset of dad Mick Carter (Danny Dyer), who took the news hard.
Mick, however, realised after a heart-to-heart with ex-wife and soulmate Linda (Kellie Bright) that he needed to support his daughter’s decision, and thus he reconciled with her, telling her how proud he is.
The first of Thursday’s (September 22) two offerings of the BBC One soap saw the Queen Vic landlord throw Frankie a farewell do in the pub, in which they shared an emotional moment, as he told her how much he wishes he could’ve held her in his arms as a baby.
Frankie, as viewers know, turned up two years ago, and left Mick stunned when she revealed that he’s her dad.
It was subsequently revealed that her mum Katy (Simone Lahbib) had abused Mick when he was a child.
After Katy’s sentencing, Mick and Frankie got to know one another, and they’ve built upon that relationship ever since, which is why they’ve both found saying goodbye so difficult.
There were a few tears and a couple of showdowns, but Frankie ultimately bid farewell to the Square, as she bravely decided to get the Tube – her first time doing so since she was followed home on a train several weeks ago.
Frankie said her goodbyes to Mick, Shirley (Linda Henry) and Linda – a trio she evidently regards as her family, something made all the more clear when Mick realised that the tag on her luggage said ‘Frankie Carter’ instead of ‘Frankie Lewis’.
The end credits of the episode reflected this change.
No, you’re crying.
The scenes were reminiscent of those back in January 2021, when Mick and Frankie first embraced as dad and daughter in the very same station.
It was confirmed back in August that Rose was leaving EastEnders after two years.
‘It’s been incredibly special to be EastEnders’ first regular deaf actor,’ she said last month when news of her exit was broke exclusively by Metro.co.uk.
‘I have loved my time on the show and Frankie has been such an awesome character to play, however now feels like the right time for me to move on and I am excited and ready for new challenges.’
Rose competed in last year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing, making history as the first deaf contestant to take part in the show.
The 27-year-old captivated fans with a number of superb ballroom routines including her Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz and American Smooth.
She would go on to achieve the earliest perfect score in Strictly for her Halloween-themed Tango, but it was her Couple’s Choice that truly made history.
Rose picked up the win in what appeared to be one of the closest finals in the series’ long history, fighting off tough competition from Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite and his partner Johannes Radebe.
EastEnders continues Monday September 26 at 7:30pm on BBC One.
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