Call the Midwife season 12 ending explained — who died in the final episode?

Sister Monica Joan at a lectern in Call the Midwife season 12
Call the Midwife season 12 has come to a dramatic close. (Image credit: BBC / Neal Street Productions / Laurence Cendrowicz)

Call the Midwife fans in the UK were sent on a rollercoaster of emotions as the final episode of season 12 aired, with births, deaths and marriages all playing out. 

Viewers couldn't wait to see Trixie Franklin (Helen George) get her happy ever after as she tied the knot with Matthew Aylward, but as always in Call the Midwife, there was a devastating twist that left everyone stunned. 

So, what happened in the Call the Midwife season 12 finale? Here's everything you need to know...

*WARNING — spoilers for all of season 12 ahead*

Who died in the Call the Midwife season 12 finale? 

While viewers cried happy tears watching Trixie get married, there were also tears of sorrow as a sad death hit Poplar.

As all our Nonnatus House favorites headed to the church to watch Trixie become Mrs. Alyward, Shelagh Turner, Dr. Patrick Turner and their son Timothy (Max McMillan) raced to catch up with them after being delayed attending to a drama with a new mother.

However, disaster soon struck as they drove to the wedding when an expectant mother was involved in a car crash on the way to the maternity ward. 

In devastating scenes, fans watched as Dr. Turner declared mum-to-be Lizzie dead as soon as she was dragged from the smoking car and was forced to perform an emergency c-section in the middle of the road to save her unborn baby.

But the heartache didn't end there... as Lizzie's helpless husband watched on as his daughter was born, Shelagh talked deceased Lizzie through the birth, describing what her daughter looked like just as she would to any other patient. 

Dr Turner and Shelagh attend a expectant mother in Call the Midwife season 12 finale.

Expectant mother Lizzie died instantly in a terrifying car crash.  (Image credit: BBC)

Does Trixie get married to Matthew?

Yes! Trixie finally got her fairytale ending after years of heartache and tied the knot in a lavish wedding ceremony with all her friends and family around her. Her brother, Geoffrey made a special appearance for the big day, and when a series of disasters threatened to ruin Trixie and Matthew's wedding, including a fire that broke out at their fancy wedding reception venue, he teamed up with Nurse Crane to get Trixie's wedding back on track. 

While we will have to wait for season 13 to find out what the future holds for Trixie now that she has moved out of Nonnatus House, we do know that she and Matthew will have an exciting marriage... 

"It'll be interesting to see where they end up living," Helen told us. "But one thing is for sure, it will be a passionate marriage. They really challenge each other — I don't think they're just going to be playing house and buying lots of kittens!"

Olly Rix in a morning dress and Helen George in a wedding dress stand in front of a vicar in the church in Call the Midwife.

Trixie and Matthew tied the knot in a beautiful wedding.  (Image credit: Neal Street Productions / BBC)

What happened to Sister Monica Joan in Call the Midwife season 12?

Sister Monica Joan is a retired midwife in her 90s, and while she is still harboring a bit of a feisty side, this season has also seen her battling loneliness and contracting a very serious case of hepatitis that was doing the rounds in Poplar. 

Viewers were left concerned for her welfare when she became very poorly indeed, even turning down food and her usual trip to evening prayer. But thankfully, as she always does, Sister Monica Joan managed to rally, and not only did she get well enough to go about her usual daily routine, but by the end of season 12 she was back to full fitness and delivering a heartfelt reading at Trixie and Matthew's wedding. Hurrah! 

Judy Parfitt as Sister Monica Joan and Nothing the dog

Sister Monica Joan has had a tough series, battling illness and loneliness.  (Image credit: BBC / Neal Street Productions / Miya Mizuno)

Is Call the Midwife coming back in 2023?

Yes! Call the Midwife will return with a Christmas special for 2023 as well as season 13 in 2024... the show has also been commissioned for a further two seasons, meaning there is plenty more drama from our Nonnatus House favorites to come. 

Where can I watch season 12 Call the Midwife?

In the UK you can now stream all episodes of Call the Midwife season 12 as well as past seasons on BBC iPlayer. 

In the US, Call the Midwife season 12 will premiere on Sunday, March 19, 2023, on PBS with new episodes being released each following Sunday at 8/7c until  June 6. 

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.