At the DiMera mansion, Abigail rushed into the foyer as someone repeatedly rang the doorbell -- and was surprised to see that the visitor was Xander. "Took you long enough!" Xander grumbled while sidestepping Abigail, desperate for refuge from the elements. "You don't have anyone to answer the door around here?" Xander marveled while shivering. "It happens to be Harold's morning off," Abigail clarified before adding that, in any case, no one was ever standing right beside the front door at all times in anticipation of unannounced visitors. "I didn't want to waste any time after I got your message!" Xander explained with a shrug.
Xander begged to know everything that Abigail had learned about Sarah's method of departure from Salem. "I went to the DiMera travel department to see when the jet was last used for non-DiMera business...[but] it wasn't --" Abigail began to explain. "That's your 'lead'? How is that a 'lead'?" Xander protested. "We have more than one jet -- the company keeps several older models as a part of their fleet that can be reserved for personal use -- and, apparently, one of them was used for non-official business around the time that Sarah disappeared...[but the pilot's] gone --" Abigail tried to clarify. "The pilot's dead?" Xander sputtered. "No, he's not dead -- he just quit...and, apparently, not that long after the non-official flight possibly transporting Sarah to God knows where," Abigail managed to conclude. "Well, that's not suspicious at all..." Xander muttered.
"Let's hop online and track him down!" Xander begged. "Oh, yeah -- him [and] everybody else that's got the same name," Abigail noted. "Well, how do you suggest we track him down?" Xander countered. "I'm gonna go back to the DiMera travel department [and] see if he left any contact information," Abigail answered. "Then why do you need me?" Xander wondered. "I don't!" Abigail insisted. "You called me!" Xander stressed. "To update you -- [but] it was your big idea [to] show up here!" Abigail explained. Xander conceded the point then rushed off, not wanting to delay the next phase of Abigail's investigation.
Abigail headed over to DiMera Enterprises and was disappointed to discover that everyone in the travel department was in the middle of a meeting -- but the trip wasn't a total waste, since Chad was still around. "[Ned Grainger]? Yeah, he was here for years -- until last spring..." Chad recalled. "Know why he left?" Abigail wondered. "I don't...but it was pretty sudden, if I remember correctly -- [and], now that I think of it, it was a headache for Payroll; Grainger's last check was returned, and they were never able to track him down," Chad answered before saying goodbye to Abigail then starting to rush off to the courthouse.
"Aw -- look at you, all excited to bury your brother," Abigail teased. "Yeah, no -- yeah, I'm starting to think that he might be innocent," Chad admitted. "You have hard evidence that E.J. is guilty as charged..." Abigail began to protest before realizing that Chad was planning to take the stand and lie under oath. "I didn't say that --" Chad tried to explain, but Abigail wasn't convinced.
Chad and Abigail didn't have time to discuss the matter further because they were already late for the trial. "You don't have to go just for me --" Chad objected. "I'm not -- the reporter I assigned to the trial is sick, so I'm covering it," Abigail clarified.
At the courthouse, Trask protested that no one had mentioned anything about Belle representing E.J. "Oh? Well, you were misinformed -- about a lot of things, actually..." Belle responded with a shrug before prodding E.J. to formally accept the offer of help as a way of appeasing Trask. "This is hardly standard procedure!" Trask, who was apparently still unappeased, pointed out before wondering how DiMera Enterprises' board members were going to feel about Belle's decision to represent E.J., since they had been trying to distance the company from the case in recent days. "I think you should be focusing on coming up with a new strategy...because you're gonna need it," Belle advised Trask as E.J. smirked.
Trask turned away with a sigh -- and E.J. seized the opportunity to pull Belle aside so they could have a private conversation. "Not that I don't appreciate this, but...just the other day, you went on and on about not wanting to represent me, yet here you are, [so] what made you change your mind?" E.J. wondered. "Nicole Walker," Belle answered. "Nicole stood up for me?" E.J. sputtered. "Yeah...but she still hates your guts -- and that's pretty much a quote," Belle clarified. "And I don't blame her...but I'm grateful that she convinced you to do the right thing," E.J. admitted.
"Defending me will, in all probability, risk your position as general counsel at DiMera," E.J. acknowledged. "I can handle the board," Belle insisted. "And what about your other concern?" E.J. wondered. "Don't worry -- I can handle Sami, too," Belle responded as the judge -- Kirk Barnes -- entered the courtroom.
Barnes was pleased to see that E.J. had decided against the idea of self-representation -- but, like Belle and Trask, was stunned when another decision was announced. "Did I hear you correctly? You waive your right to a jury trial?" Barnes sputtered. "I do, Your Honor --" E.J. confirmed. "May I have a moment to confer with my client?" Belle interjected. "It would certainly help if the defendant and his counsel were on the same page, so..." Barnes agreed.
Trask smirked as Belle pulled E.J. aside for another private conversation. "What the hell are you doing? I am the attorney; you are the client -- which means you sit there and shut up and let me do my job!" Belle snapped. "Just saving us a lot of time," E.J. reasoned. "You are an attorney -- you know full well it is harder to sway a judge than a jury!" Belle argued. "I think he'll be fair...[and] I'm feeling lucky, [and] I'm innocent, [and] I trust the system --" E.J. explained. "Oh, please -- you don't trust anyone or anything! So, what is it -- you think that you're gonna get to the judge? Or have you already?" Belle countered.
"I just think Barnes seems like a reasonable person -- and, given the details of this case, I certainly trust someone who has passed the bar [more than] the hoi polloi of this town who would love nothing more than to bring down a one-percenter," E.J. elaborated. "Oh, God -- do you know how arrogant you sound?" Belle grumbled. "I'm simply speaking the truth!" E.J. declared. "Okay -- well, then, do us all a favor and stop speaking," Belle advised.
"We are gonna run this defense my way -- or I'm out," Belle warned. "I am very grateful to have you on my side, Belle, so...I will leave my fate in your very capable hands," E.J. conceded after some thought -- just as Barnes returned. Belle requested a day to get up to speed on E.J.'s case, but Trask objected -- and Barnes agreed that there was no good reason to delay the proceedings.
Chad entered the courtroom with Abigail just then. "There's something I want you to know before I testify --" Chad informed Abigail -- but Barnes interrupted just then, ready to continue the trial.
At the police station, Rafe confided in Shawn about the Internal Affairs investigation. "I have never had one complaint against me -- and now I've got two in the same damn day!" Rafe grumbled. "You're sure these guys don't know each other?" Shawn assumed. "Right now, I'm not sure of anything!" Rafe responded. "Maybe they ran into each other, and they realized they have something in common -- [a desire] to punish you for whatever reason -- and they, you know, decided they would, I don't know, help each other out..." Shawn suggested. "Or...someone put them up to it," Shawn added.
At the Horton Town Square, Ava and Gwen collided then started lashing out in unison -- but each woman backed down after realizing that the other wasn't a stranger. "Bad day?" Ava guessed, prompting Gwen to start venting about Xander and Abigail's joint effort to locate Sarah. "Abigail says [this] has nothing to do with me, [but] I don't buy that for a single minute, [because] I've seen her dark side -- [you know], how she revels in payback," Gwen eventually concluded.
"Well, that's something we have in common, because I am reveling in payback myself right now," Ava admitted before telling Gwen how Rafe's infidelity was being punished. "You want to send the man that you say that you love to prison?" Gwen repeated. "Oh, it's already in motion -- [see], I have a connection with a few gentlemen who have found themselves recently 'wrongly' incarcerated, and I may have convinced them to file a report saying that a certain commissioner planted evidence on them... [But] this is just between us, okay? I need you to keep your mouth shut about it --" Ava confirmed.
"Hello, ladies... What does Gwen need to keep her mouth shut about?" Xander called out while approaching Ava and Gwen. "I thought you were on your way to go and see Abigail," Gwen responded. "I already did," Xander explained. "Oh... Right... Well...okay... You know Ava?" Gwen muttered. "In my former life as a caregiver. But don't worry -- those days of altruism are long behind me," Xander answered.
"So...what, exactly, were you two discussing that Gwen needs to keep her mouth shut about?" Xander repeated. "Rafe's surprise party -- his birthday is in a few weeks, and I am getting a jump-start on planning, so I was swearing Gwen here to secrecy," Ava claimed. "Trust me -- my lips are sealed," Gwen promised. "You, too!" Ava warned Xander before saying goodbye to Gwen then rushing off.
"That was strange -- [I mean], you two, chatting away... How do you even know each other?" Xander challenged Gwen. "Through her son Charlie," Gwen answered. "My former intern who turned out to be a rapist?" Xander sputtered. "[He and I] sort of just bumped into each other once or twice and ended up sharing sob stories -- turns out we both know what it feels like to be an outcast, so we sort of bonded... [Anyway], after he died, I wanted to offer Ava my condolences -- it was such a horrible tragedy, after all, [and] I know what that feels like, [and] I felt that Ava deserved to know that her son wasn't just some soulless monster," Gwen explained. "You bonded with a psychopath!" Xander teased before praising Gwen for the gesture.
Ava headed over to the police station with some takeout food for Rafe, who claimed to be too busy to eat at that moment. "I could be way off base here, but...I've got the feeling that Ava is involved in this," Rafe admitted to Shawn after Ava left. "You guys having problems?" Shawn wondered, prompting Rafe to explain that Ava had shown signs of jealousy toward Nicole in the past -- and that Nicole had recently found a beheaded teddy bear at Basic Black, which could have been Ava's way of sending a message. "She's been talking about turning over a new leaf and being a new person, [though], and I just can't imagine that she would want to destroy me..." Rafe backpedaled. "Ava Vitali is not exactly known for playing nice," Shawn noted.
In Italy, Steve and Kayla infiltrated a convent as Father Nichols and Sister Mary-Elizabeth, believing that Kristen might be hiding out there. Kayla found the ruse sacrilegious, but Steve had managed to successfully argue that it was for a good cause.
"Father Nichols" explained to the convent's Mother Superior that "Sister Mary-Elizabeth" had been stationed at a very small parish in the Tuscan countryside that had recently burned to the ground -- and that "Sister Mary-Elizabeth" was in need of a place to stay as a result. The convent's Mother Superior promised to consider the request and get back to "Father Nichols" and "Sister Mary-Elizabeth" with an answer as soon as possible. "Father Nichols" and "Sister Mary-Elizabeth" rushed off after providing the convent's Mother Superior with their contact information -- and as soon as the coast was clear, Kristen appeared out of nowhere and asked the convent's Mother Superior about the visitors.
"We do try to find a place for everyone -- as we did for you..." the convent's Mother Superior stressed after repeating Steve and Kayla's cover story to Kristen. "Yes, and I am so grateful -- especially since you're allowing me to wear this habit, even though I don't deserve it, given that I'm not one of the sisters..." Kristen responded before requesting permission to make a private phone call -- a request that the convent's Mother Superior granted without hesitation.
"Damn it -- did you sic your little friend Patch on me?" Kristen snapped when Ava answered the call. "What are you talking about?" Ava responded. "He and Kayla showed up here tonight --" Kristen explained. "Where's 'here'?" Ava wondered. "It doesn't matter -- just answer the question!" Kristen demanded. "I don't know, all right? Although...well, I know that Xander wanted to hire Steve to find Sarah Horton... I thought he turned him down, but...I don't know, maybe he took the case, after all..." Ava suggested. "Damn it -- the last thing I need right now is that little caper coming to haunt me!" Kristen fretted.
"Is there anything else?" Kristen wondered. "Nothing -- except that Gwen is desperate to get Xander off of Sarah's trail; she's convinced that if he finds his ex, then he's gonna leave her," Ava responded. "Yeah -- I know exactly how that feels..." Kristen grumbled. "Still there?" Ava prodded Kristen after enduring a few seconds of silence. "Yes, I'm still here -- and since you and Gwen helped me, I'm gonna help you in return," Kristen answered. "How?" Ava challenged Kristen. "You'll find out," Kristen assured Ava before ending the call.