Kathy Speer and Terry Grossman wrote this gem of an episode, a brilliant combination of sadness and humor. Betty White's performance was pitch perfect, combining her usual elements of character naivete and innocence with an additional emphasis on complex love lost and painful mourning.
Charlie's Buddy focuses on the appearance of one of Charlie's pals from the war. His name is Buddy (ah, clever), and he visits Rose in Miami to see what was so special about this girl. Rose then reminisces with him about his life with Charlie as they walk in the park. The writers give substantial due to the deep love Rose had for Charlie, and it was a gift to see Betty White so wonderfully portray this. Rose was most endearing when she discussed Charlie (Take the episode "A Piece of Cake" from Season 2, where Rose celebrates her final birthday alone in St. Olaf). This episode is proof of that.
It becomes clear, however, that Buddy has more malicious intentions than at first apparent. Dorothy becomes alarmed when she hears of the financial activity that Buddy recommends to Rose. After a brief investigation, she learns that Buddy is there to swindle Rose from her finances. Unfortunately, she learns too late and must wait from Rose to return from her latest visit with Buddy (By this point, Buddy has expressed his "love" for Rose and wishes for them to move away and live together).
But Rose pulls through in amazing fashion. Rose realizes she is not in love with Buddy but instead is in love with Charlie and their life together. So she turns him down, but offers him a gift -- an expensive watch that Charlie owned.
And Buddy pulls through too. He turns her down, saying that he's taken enough from her. "Take care, Rose. You're a special lady." Yes, she is.
The subplot of the episode was enjoyable comedic. Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia are all buying new dresses for a social event, but they seem to have rotten luck at buying "different" dresses. This leads to an amusing "I look prettier than you" argument between Blanche and Dorothy and later an hysterically funny "Now you know how it looks" retort from Sophia.
All of these girls are special ladies. What a fine episode from a show clearly at the top of its game.