At the Horton Town Square, Lexie and Abe told Cameron and Celeste about the results of Lexie's latest brain scan. "At the rate the tumor is growing, my time is even shorter than we realized...which is why Abe and I have made a decision," Lexie said.
"I've decided, um -- well, we've decided -- not to pursue any medical treatment from this point on. We have the luxury of knowing when and how. I'm not willing to spend the rest of my time suffering from terrible side effects of medications that ultimately can't help me, all right? I want to spend quality time with my family," Lexie continued. Cameron started to protest, and he insisted that Lexie couldn't just give up.
Cameron urged Lexie to try some of the experimental drugs that were available, and Celeste agreed. Lexie said that she had already done a lot of research, and she insisted that none of the experimental drugs would work. Cameron wondered if Abe was willing to accept Lexie's decision. Abe said that he trusted Lexie's judgment, and he confirmed that she had his full support.
Celeste told Cameron that they needed to respect Lexie's decision. Cameron admitted that Celeste was right, then he added that he wasn't ready to lose his sister. Lexie hugged Cameron and she said that she wanted everyone to act like nothing had changed. Lexie refused to feel sorry for herself, and she insisted that she wanted to enjoy the time that she had left.
Lexie added that she wasn't ready to tell Theo about her illness. "Tonight, when I put him to bed before the sitter came over, he was just going on and on about his plans for his birthday party. He wants a bounce house...and a dinosaur cake. He's changed his mind a hundred times since his last party, and, uh...well, it's getting close to the time again, and he's -- he's so excited. I don't want to take that away from him. I don't want to take it away from me. So, um...let's all act like everything's okay, all right?" Lexie asked, and everyone agreed to honor her request.
Lexie retrieved a piece of paper from her purse, and she told Celeste and Cameron that she was going to need their help with something else. Lexie explained that she had started to work on a list of things that she wanted to do before she died. Cameron was familiar with the concept of a bucket list, and Celeste enthusiastically stated that it was a wonderful idea.
Lexie handed Cameron the list. Cameron was surprised to learn that Lexie wanted to go bungee jumping. Abe said that Lexie had once lived on the edge. Lexie clarified that she had once been a cop. Cameron was impressed, and he regretfully admitted that there was a lot that he didn't know about Lexie. Lexie assured Cameron that there was still time to fix that problem.
In Sami's apartment, Sami told E.J. that she was seeing someone. E.J. seemed pleased to hear that, but his attitude quickly changed when he realized that Sami was talking about Lucas. "Samantha, do you not see what you're doing? You're doing the same thing you always do -- you're playing musical chairs with the men in your life. One finishes, you move on to the next one," E.J. observed.
Sami insisted that E.J. was wrong. Sami said that E.J. was arrogant, conceited, and bossy, then she reminded herself that those traits were in his blood, since he was a DiMera. Before E.J. could respond, he received a phone call, and he abruptly excused himself.
In Austin and Carrie's hotel room, Austin asked Billie to help him create a scrapbook. Austin hoped that the project would remind Carrie that they had once been extremely happy together. Billie was confused, so Austin explained that he had realized that Carrie was still in love with Rafe. Austin refused to give up on Carrie.
Billie wondered where Carrie was, and Austin admitted that he wasn't sure. Billie assured Austin that Carrie would be home soon. Billie noted that Austin seemed determined to save his marriage. Billie recalled that Austin had displayed a similar level of determination as a boxer. Billie and Austin started to reminisce about their childhood as they continued to work on the scrapbook.
At Common Grounds, Will said that he had something that he wanted to tell Lucas. Lucas admitted that he also had an announcement to make, and Will insisted that he wanted Lucas to go first. Will was shocked to learn that Lucas and Sami were back together. Will wondered if Lucas had lost his mind.
Will warned that Lucas was about to make the biggest mistake of his life. "Dad, I'm not worried about me -- I'm worried about you. I think she's gonna do the same thing to you that she did to Rafe, because she can't help it, Dad -- she can't help being the slut that she is," Will insisted. Lucas conceded that Sami had made some mistakes. Lucas added that Sami was trying to change, but Will wasn't convinced.
"It's not genuine. It's not real -- everything she does is an act, Dad. Everything she does is for her benefit, and the people who end up paying for her selfish actions are her kids, and I don't want to do that anymore," Will said. Lucas tried to change the subject, and he wondered if something else was bothering Will.
"I'm going through some stuff, but I don't wanna talk about that. I want to talk about you getting into a dead-end relationship again, and you -- you're destroying your life...again," Will said. Lucas asked Will to follow him to Sami's apartment so that they could discuss the situation as adults. Will wasn't interested, but Lucas advised him to think about his siblings. Will wasn't pleased with the low blow, but he reluctantly agreed to talk to Sami.
At the safe house, Roman tried to rush into the burning building to save everyone, but Shane stopped him. Shane was certain that no one could have survived, but Roman refused to accept that. Roman grabbed the two-way radio, and he desperately tried to contact everyone. Roman didn't receive an answer, and he slowly started to realize that Shane was right.
Shane insisted that there was nothing else that could be done, but Roman disagreed. "I can kill the bastard who did this -- I can kill Stefano DiMera. I will find DiMera and show him what real pain feels like," Roman vowed. Shane said that killing Stefano wouldn't solve anything, but Roman wasn't convinced. "Let's give all of them the justice they deserve. We'll bring Stefano down, but let's do it the right way," Shane suggested.
"Mind if we help?" Bo asked, as he, Hope, Marlena, John, Rafe, and Carrie rushed over to hug Roman and Shane. Shane and Roman were shocked, and they wondered how the group had survived. Rafe explained that a trapdoor had been hidden under an area rug. Hope added that the passageway had taken them to a fortified basement. "No one can know that we're alive," John stated.
Later, a team of firefighters searched for survivors. E.J. arrived, and he said that he had heard about the explosion. Roman blamed Stefano, but E.J. refused to believe that Stefano would have bothered to blow up a random house in the middle of nowhere. "There were people in there. John and Marlena, Bo and Hope, Rafe and Carrie -- innocent people he wanted dead!" Roman snapped.
E.J. was visibly shocked, but he dared Roman to find proof to back up his claims. E.J. warned Roman to remain impartial during his investigation. Meanwhile, Shane excused himself so that he could deliver the bad news to the Bradys and the Hortons.
Back at Austin and Carrie's apartment, Billie told Austin about Kate's new job. Austin guessed that something was going on between Ian and Kate. Austin started to ask Billie about her life, but before she could respond, Austin received a phone call from Shane.
At Sami's apartment, Will and Lucas greeted Sami. "Wow, this is a nice place. I see you put away your pitchfork and the fire pit," Will dryly stated, as he looked around the apartment. Lucas told Sami about his earlier conversation with Will. Sami guessed that Will wasn't happy about the fact that she and Lucas were back together. Will confirmed Sami's suspicion.
Lucas urged Will and Sami to talk to each other. Sami struggled to think of the best way to start the conversation. "Uh, I don't know. How about with an apology? Meaning from you -- I'd like you to apologize to me for lying to me, for being selfish, and for putting yourself before your kids. How's that to start with?" Will asked.
"Will, I do owe you an apology. I'm sorry. I am so sorry for being selfish. I am so sorry for what I did to hurt you. I'm sorry for messing up the whole family, but if you give me a chance, I know we can -- I know we can work through this, and I know you and I can be okay. We can be happy -- just give me a chance," Sami begged Will. Will warned Lucas that it was only a matter of time before Sami would break his heart again.
Sami started to promise that she wouldn't do that, but Will refused to believe her. "You never change. No matter, you know, how many promises you make, or how hard you do sincerely try, you always end up making the same stupid mistakes," Will matter-of-factly stated. Before Sami could respond, she received a phone call from Shane.
Later, at the Brady Pub, Will, Sami, Lucas, Austin, Billie, and Kayla waited anxiously to hear Shane's announcement. Shane wanted to wait for the rest of the family to arrive, but Sami impatiently assured Shane that she would pass the news along to everyone else. Shane reluctantly agreed.
"Earlier today, John, Marlena, Bo, and Hope were placed in protective custody. Stefano DiMera's been threatening them recently, and those threats have become increasingly aggressive -- just the other day, he hired an armed thug to attack Marlena. Now, the attack was unsuccessful, but it was enough to convince everyone that further action was necessary," Shane said.
"A few hours ago, Rafe and Carrie helped to...take them all to, uh, a remote location -- a safe house. What none of us realized was that the security system...had been rigged with explosives. We did everything we could...but I'm afraid it wasn't enough. The, uh -- the bomb went off...with everyone inside," Shane regretfully informed the group. Everyone started to demand answers.
Austin and Lucas wanted to help with the rescue efforts, but Shane stopped them, and he pointed out that it was a crime scene. Sami started to sob, and she hugged Will. Will looked uncomfortable, but he didn't push Sami away. Meanwhile, Billie tried to comfort Austin, and Kayla hugged Shane.
Back at the safe house, the firefighters announced that there were no survivors. E.J. offered his condolences, and Roman warned him to shut up. Later, Roman found John, Marlena, Bo, Hope, Rafe, and Carrie in the woods, and he assured them that the coast was clear. Roman wondered if everyone was sure that they wanted to go along with the plan.
"DiMera just handed us a golden ticket -- perfect opportunity to take him down," John said, and Hope agreed. Marlena didn't want to hurt her loved ones, but John reminded her that it might be their only chance to stop Stefano. Roman said that he would deliver the bad news to everyone who was waiting at the Brady Pub. Marlena apologized for putting Roman in that position, but he believed that everyone would eventually understand.
Later, Roman entered the Brady Pub. "I'm sorry. They're gone -- they didn't make it," Roman regretfully stated.
In Chad's apartment, Chad and Melanie talked about Lexie. Melanie made some herbal tea for Chad, but he declined it, noting that he needed to stay awake and wait for Gabi's phone call. When Chad turned to Melanie, he waggled an eyebrow and asked her to keep him awake.
After eating dinner at Chez Rouge, Jack and Jennifer walked through Horton Town Square, holding hands. As Jack swept Jennifer into a romantic kiss, a distraught Abigail ran up to them and told them about the explosion. Fighting tears, Abigail announced that Bo and Hope had been killed.
At the pub, Roman confirmed to Sami, Kayla, Will, Lucas, Billie, and Austin that Bo, Hope, Marlena, John, Rafe, and Carrie had been killed in the explosion. As Sami broke down sobbing, Brady and Madison entered the pub and learned the news. In disbelief, Brady noted that he had seen his father earlier and that he had been fine. Roman explained that he and Shane had been at the site of the explosion.
While everyone attempted to comfort one another, Gabi rushed into the pub, with Nicole entering right behind her. As Roman confirmed to Gabi that her brother had been killed in the explosion, Nicole clutched her belly. Kayla rushed to Nicole's side and helped her sit down. Will hugged Gabi as she cried. In the corner, Austin said, "There's gotta be a mistake. There's no reason for Carrie to be down there. She was coming home to me."
As Austin choked back his tears, he wondered aloud how Billie would tell Chelsea that Bo had died. Stunned, Billie shook her head. Across the room, Roman clutched Sami tightly and told her he was sorry. Upset and desperate to blame someone, Sami lashed out at her father. Though still hugging her father tightly, she told Roman that it was his fault their family had died in the explosion.
Lucas reached out for Sami, but Roman gently waved Lucas off. As Sami cried into her father's shoulder, she continued to blame Roman. Brady defended Roman, and Sami turned to Brady and yelled about her dead mother, sister, and husband. Angry, Will interrupted and screamed at Sami for acting like she was the only person who had lost someone in the explosion. Lucas begged Will to calm down.
When Austin pulled Will aside to talk, Will asked Austin how he could defend Sami after what she had done to Carrie. "They are sisters, and this isn't about you. Nobody loved your mother like Carrie, and regardless of what you think, your mother loves Carrie," Austin said sternly. Austin asked Will to cut Sami some slack, and Will apologized to Austin. Lucas sat Sami down at a table and urged her to remember that Will had been speaking out of anger. Shaking her head, Sami argued that Will had meant every word he'd said to her.
Billie took Roman and Shane aside to ask them what had happened. Roman explained that there had been a threat by Stefano against Bo, Hope, Marlena, and John. Shane added that he was in Salem because of the threats. When Roman noted that Rafe had been at the safe house to help secure the site, Austin interrupted to ask why Carrie had been at the safe house. Stammering, Roman noted that Carrie had been at the safe house to help everyone get settled.
Furious, Brady announced that the crime was cold-blooded murder and that he intended to do something. Worried, Madison grabbed Brady at the door and begged him not to leave. Brady noted that since Stefano lived by the motto "an eye for an eye," then he intended to make Stefano pay for what he had done.
As Brady marched out of the pub, Shane, Roman, and Madison ran after him. Outside the pub, Shane stopped Brady and noted that killing Stefano would make things worse. Madison added that if Brady killed Stefano, he would go to prison, and they would lose him too. Roman urged Brady to work with him to fight Stefano. Brady grudgingly agreed to work with Roman and not go after Stefano alone.
Inside the pub, Nicole comforted Gabi. Kayla chimed in that Shane had mentioned that Rafe had attempted to save everyone before the explosion and that Rafe was a hero. Sami cautiously approached Gabi. Fighting her tears, Sami told Gabi that despite how things had ended between her and Rafe, he was "the most amazing man she ever met." Sami pulled Gabi into a hug, and the two women wept.
Across the room, Lucas asked Will to back off of Sami. Wiping away tears, Will wondered aloud why Sami hated Marlena. Lucas noted, "Just because you're mad at someone doesn't mean you don't love them. Sometimes it's proof of how much you do."
When Shane returned to the pub, Billie took him aside and demanded to know what was going on. Shane avoided the question. Upset, Billie swore to help take down Stefano. Gabi called Chad and asked him to meet her at the pub.
Jack and Jennifer arrived at the pub, and Kayla confirmed that Bo and Hope had been killed. Kayla added that Chelsea and Max were unreachable in Italy and that Caroline was on a church trip with Ciara. Jennifer was worried about Caroline and frantically grabbed her phone. Abigail went to the bar and gave her condolences to Austin.
Roman took Shane aside to talk about how difficult it was to tell their families that everyone had died in the explosion. "It's the only way, Roman," Shane said. Kayla interrupted to add that if the ISA did not deal with Stefano, someone in the family would. Overwhelmed, Jennifer stood up and shouted that if Stefano had caused the explosion, then she hoped he would burn in hell.
Roman received a text message, and he announced that E.J. was having a press conference. Shane swore to everyone in the pub that the ISA would punish Stefano. With a defeated expression, Nicole noted that Shane would need all the luck in the world. Shane countered that Stefano would be punished.
Kate arrived at the cafe in the Horton Town Square for a business dinner, and she was dismayed to find that it was closed for a private party. As Kate remembered the night that Stefano had dumped her over dinner in the cafe, Ian approached Kate and asked her if she was all right. When Ian explained that the private party was for him and Kate, she scowled.
Kate informed Ian that the cafe was where Stefano had ended their marriage. Ian apologized, but Kate countered, "Stefano is a world-class bastard. Of course you're nothing like that." With a smirk, Ian noted that he would not hurt Kate. Ian offered to move their dinner, but Kate refused to let Stefano ruin her evening.
Ian toasted to Kate's freedom from Stefano. With a sigh, Kate noted that Stefano "never forgets and never forgives." "Then Stefano and I do have something in common, because neither do I," Ian said. Ian gave Kate a tennis bracelet as a gift, but she refused to accept it. Kate explained that she appreciated all that Ian had done for her, but that it was too soon for her to get involved with another man.
When Ian asked Kate whether she had lingering feelings for Stefano, she admitted she did. "That just won't do," Ian said as his face darkened. Ian reminded Kate of how Stefano had treated her. Shaking her head, Kate noted that she had cheated on Stefano. Unfazed, Ian added that her marriage to Stefano had been founded on blackmail. When Kate continued to defend Stefano, Ian accused her of suffering from Stockholm syndrome.
Ian noted that unlike Stefano, he wanted what was best for Kate. Kate apologized for her emotional state. When Ian asked about Kate's relationship with Madison, Kate admitted that she and Madison had found common ground. When Kate received a text message, she gasped. "Stefano has finally lost his mind," Kate said. After Kate explained about the explosion, she wondered aloud what Stefano would do to her and Ian.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefano remembered sitting at his father's bedside when his father died. As Stefano sat in the living room deep in thought, E.J. walked in the house and demanded to know what Stefano had done. Stefano feigned ignorance and asked E.J. to tell him what he had done. E.J. was furious that Stefano acted surprised by the deaths of John, Marlena, Bo, Hope, Carrie, and Rafe in an explosion.
"What I don't understand is why? You've played this stupid game for years. I thought it was about winning. Losing. Who made the next move. I never thought you'd end it like this," E.J. said. "I didn't mean for this to happen," Stefano whispered to himself. Shocked by Stefano's statement, E.J. noted it sounded like Stefano had confessed to killing John, Marlena, Bo, Hope, Carrie, and Rafe.
"I never wanted them dead," Stefano said quietly. "This is how you choose to show your estranged son and your dying daughter that you love them?" E.J. asked. E.J. begged Stefano to forget about the DNA and let him stay in Stefano's life. When Stefano refused, E.J. warned, "They are coming for you."
Stefano insisted that he had not killed anyone. Narrowing his eyes, E.J. asked why he had terrorized John, Marlena, Bo, and Hope for so many years. Stefano noted that the information was personal. Bristling at the implication, E.J. asked if he was cut off from all information about the DiMera family. Stefano remarked that E.J. was an outsider. "I'm not allowed to trust you anymore," Stefano said.
E.J. noted that Stefano did not need to treat him like a stranger. "In the DiMera family, you are either in or out," Stefano noted. E.J. remarked that he had spent his entire life seeking Stefano's approval, and that he realized that he had wasted his time. "You're on your own, fath... Stefano," E.J. said. After E.J. left, Stefano stared at a picture of E.J.
Stefano received a phone call from Agent Harmon. With a growl, Stefano ordered Harmon to meet him at the house. After hanging up the phone, Stefano angrily swiped all the pieces off of his chessboard. When Harmon arrived, a furious Stefano asked what had happened.
"All I wanted was for them to realize how serious I was about getting back what was mine," Stefano growled. Harmon apologized, but an enraged Stefano shoved Harmon backward. "Are you sure that they're dead?" Stefano asked. Harmon said that no one had lived through the explosion.
In Horton Town Square, E.J. worked on his speech for the press conference. When Roman arrived, E.J. offered his condolences. "We don't rest till we get who did this. I think we both know who that is," Roman said.
While E.J. spoke in the square, everyone in the pub watched E.J. on the television. E.J. promised to punish those responsible for murdering six citizens in an explosion. "My administration will not allow this senseless, cold-blooded murder to go unavenged. Now, if by any chance the perpetrator of this heinous crime is watching me now, you stand forewarned," E.J. said. In the DiMera living room, Stefano shook his head as he watched E.J.'s speech on the television.
Shane and Roman met on a park bench outside Horton Square. Roman admitted that it would be difficult to pretend that the very much alive Bo, Hope John, Marlena, Carrie, and Rafe were dead while their loved ones grieved at the memorial service. Shane reminded Roman that they both had to fake it, or the others' lives would be in danger -- plus going along with the plan would finally give them an opportunity to take Stefano down once and for all.
Stefano was alone at the DiMera mansion, reading the obituaries in the newspaper for the group who had died in the safe house, when Will arrived. Will demanded, "They were my family, you know. Why did you kill them?" Stefano insisted that he'd had nothing to do with the deaths, but Will began to scream at him. Stefano threatened to kill Will if he didn't lower his voice. "After everything that I have done for you, you didn't think twice about killing my grandmother?" Will roared.
E.J. entered just then, and asked what Will had been talking about, when Will worked for E.J., not Stefano. Will claimed that he had only meant that he'd assumed working for E.J. and working for Stefano were the same thing. He then demanded to know if E.J. had known about the plot to blow up the safe house. E.J. said that he hadn't, and Stefano reiterated that he had not done anything.
Will declared that Stefano did not deserve to be alive, and essentially threatened Stefano's life. Stefano maintained that he mourned Marlena and Hope's deaths just as much as Will did, but Will didn't buy it. As Stefano left the room to take a phone call, he instructed E.J. to show Will out.
E.J. repeated his question about what Will and Stefano had really been talking about. Will gave his original answer, and added that he'd also done it in an obviously futile attempt to protect his own family. E.J. warned that he would find out if Will were lying. "Shut up. I lost six people I love, and you're going to hit me with DiMera mind games?" Will hissed. On his way out, Will suggested that if E.J. needed to satisfy his paranoia, he should talk to Stefano.
When Stefano returned to the living room, he was displeased that E.J. was still there. After the men exchanged polite barbs, E.J. asserted that it was something of a death sentence to be loved by Stefano. While Stefano scowled, E.J. recounted all of Stefano's dead loved ones -- Benjy, Tony, Marlena, and soon Lexie. "I think I'm lucky to have got out when I did," E.J. declared on his way out. E.J. returned a short time later, and announced that he'd learned something that he thought Stefano should know.
In Madison's hotel room, Brady was working on something for Basic Black, determined to make a success of his father's company. Madison encouraged him to take some time to mourn his father's death. Brady tearfully confided that Stefano had tormented John for years. "I swear to God, that man is going to pay," Brady vowed. Madison urged him to calm down.
Brady shared how it had driven him crazy when he'd gotten angry and his father would just laugh at him, but things had changed when they'd begun to work together, because they had gotten to know each other better -- until Stefano had taken it all away. Madison tenderly pointed out, "Brady, what you do have -- and it's not nothing -- is that you and your father knew that you loved each other. No one can ever take that away from you."
Madison reiterated her encouragement for Brady to take some time to mourn his father, and then get to work on making Basic Black a success to honor John's memory. "You need to focus, so that when you hit, you're sure you're going to nail that son of a bitch," Madison declared.
Billie pounded on Austin's hotel room door, but didn't get an answer, so she let herself in. Austin was sitting alone in the dark on the floor, wedged between the end table and the armoire. When Billie found him, he clutched at her desperately, sobbing. "Carrie's gone, Billie. It hurts so much!" Austin cried.
After comforting her brother as well as she could, Billie started straightening up while Austin got dressed. She found a crumpled picture of Carrie in her wedding dress, and asked what had happened. Austin confessed that he was furious with his wife, because he didn't understand why she'd been at the safe house -- unless she'd been there to see Rafe. But despite Austin's anger, he admitted that he missed Carrie.
As Lucas entered Sami's apartment, he found her crying herself sick on the sofa, still dressed in sweats. He tried to comfort her, but her guilt over the way she had treated her lost family members would not be assuaged. "They're gone forever, and now I can't ever make it right," Sami wailed. Lucas could only hold her as she sobbed inconsolably. He tried to reassure Sami that her family had known that she loved them, but Sami didn't think so.
After Lucas tried unsuccessfully to get Sami to have some breakfast, he told her that he had made sure that the school wouldn't tell the kids about the deaths until Sami had gotten a chance to. Sami didn't know how she was supposed to tell the children that so many of their loved ones were dead. Lucas promised that they would do it together.
Once Sami had gotten dressed, she admitted that she didn't think she was strong enough to get through the wake, especially because she was the "screw-up" of the family. Lucas asserted that she didn't have to be, but she could only take things one step at a time. "The first thing I have to do is make things right with Will," Sami said, adding that she was worried about how Will would take the loss of his grandmother.
At the Brady Pub, Kayla was busy preparing for the wake celebrating the lives of John, Marlena, Bo, Hope, Rafe, and Carrie, whose pictures were lined up on the bar. The Deveraux family arrived, and Kayla confided to a sympathetic Jennifer that, two days after getting the news, it seemed even more unreal that everyone was dead. As Kayla joined Jennifer, Jack, and Abigail at a table, Kayla expressed disbelief that Stefano would actually kill six innocent people, despite everything he had done to their families over the years.
Victor and Maggie arrived just then, and Victor vowed to make Stefano pay for what he'd done. Maggie pulled Victor aside, and gently pointed out that threatening more bloodshed would only make things worse for those who were already grieving, and encouraged him to join the others in celebrating the lives of their loved ones. Victor promised to wait to deal with Stefano until the next day.
A furious Kayla urged Victor to let the police handle things, but Victor complained that the police -- including Roman -- had never been able to take Stefano down. As Kayla stomped away, Jack chastised Victor, "She just lost her brother; now you're going to blame the one she's got left?" Victor apologized to Kayla, and she acknowledged that they were all crazy from grief. Privately -- or so he thought -- Victor vowed to Maggie that just as soon as he'd buried his son and daughter-in-law, he was going after Stefano.
Chad and Melanie entered just then and overheard. "You ever hear of innocent until proven guilty?" Chad asked. Victor warned Chad, "If you know what's good for you, you'll keep your distance from that father of yours, otherwise your picture's liable to end up on that bar." Melanie pulled Chad aside and tried to calm him down, but he went outside for some air instead.
When Sami and Lucas showed up a while later, Gabi, Roman, Shane, Will, Austin, Billie, Madison, Brady, and Nicole had already joined the rest of the group. Sami hesitated before entering the pub, worried that the others would think her a hypocrite. Lucas reassured her that everyone knew how much she loved her family, and then led her inside. Kayla was just announcing that people had sent cards and telegrams to express their condolences, which were on the bar for everyone to read if they wanted.
Kayla continued that everyone who had known them had been lucky to know John, Marlena, Bo, Hope, Rafe, and Carrie. Kayla explained the Irish tradition of sharing memories with others who had lost someone as a tribute to the deceased, so the sorrow didn't erase the joy of having known and loved them. She continued that what she would remember the most was the sound of laughter, which, to her, was the sound of love.
Gabi then shared some memories of growing up with her older brother, Rafe, who had always made her feel like no one else in the world mattered. Gabi then broke down. Melanie signaled to Chad to comfort Gabi, and he complied by putting his arms around his sobbing friend.
Sami stated that she wasn't surprised that Rafe had died the way he'd lived -- protecting others. "I consider myself and my children very blessed to have spent time with him. He was a good man, and I really loved him," Sami concluded mournfully. She and Gabi shared a tearful embrace.
Victor talked about how spending time with Ciara had made him regret not getting to raise Bo, but he had finally realized that Bo had grown up exactly where he should have, with the Bradys, who had raised Bo to be the strong, unafraid, yet gentle man he'd become.
Jennifer told some stories about growing up with her cousin and best friend, Hope. "She made the impossible seem possible. She made me feel like I could do anything," Jennifer declared. When Jennifer began to weep, Abigail rose and tried to comfort her mother.
Austin described how everyone had tried to talk him and Carrie out of getting married so young, but he had fallen in love with her again and again over the years, and they had grown closer as they had grown up together. He confessed to the group that the two of them had been so sure that they'd been on the right track that they'd been talking about having a family.
Will expressed how his grandmother Marlena had known so much about different things, and had so many friends. He thought it was because she had always tried to find out exactly who the other person was without telling them who to be. "I think that's why I told her things I've never told anyone else, and why I'm going to miss her for the rest of my life," Will concluded.
Brady shared that his dad had been a role model for many, including Brady, because John had taken responsibility for his mistakes, and had always tried to do what was right. Brady declared that he was going to try to live his life in a way that would make his father proud. "So from now on, I'm a Cubs fan," Brady wisecracked.
Sami then acknowledged how difficult things had been between her and her mom. "I never made it easy for her to love me, but she did, because that's the kind of person she was. She let me know that, no matter what, she would always have her arms open, ready for me," Sami explained, her eyes cast downward guiltily. "I would give anything to have another chance for her to put her arms around me." Sami sat back down, and buried her face in her hands.
As Stefano and E.J. arrived outside and saw the crowd gathered in the pub, Stefano demanded to know what they were doing there. "There's a wake going on in there... I wanted you to see what you've done, the people you've hurt, the pain that you have caused," E.J. explained. "Since when have you become so damn sanctimonious?" Stefano growled as he strode off.
After Kayla announced that it was time to head over to the church for the memorial, everyone began rounding up their belongings. Will merely gazed mournfully at the photograph of Marlena on the bar. Maggie stroked him on the back soothingly, and tried to reassure him, "They'll always be here with us, watching over all of us from heaven."
At the Brady Pub, Sami wondered how she was going to tell her kids about Marlena's death. "I can't even count how many times I've told her I hated her, but I didn't -- I loved her. I loved her so much, and I never got to tell her that, and now she's gone," Sami told Lucas.
Will and Gabi arrived at the pub. Sami said that she was going to miss Rafe, despite the fact that their marriage hadn't worked out. Gabi thanked Sami. Gabi abruptly excused herself, and Will started to follow her. Sami stopped Will, and she suggested that Marlena would have wanted Sami, Will, and Lucas to mourn their losses together as a family.
"Right now, the only thing I can think about is that I just lost six people that I love," Will said. Before Sami could respond, Will walked away. After Will left, Sami sighed, and she admitted that she didn't want to lose him. Sami vowed that she wasn't going to make the same mistakes with Will that she had made with the rest of her family members.
"I'm gonna be different, Lucas -- I swear to you. I know -- I know I have said it a thousand times, but this time...I am serious. I am not gonna be selfish, I am not gonna make scenes, and my mom may not be here -- she may not be here to see it, but she is gonna be proud of me. I'm gonna make her proud of me," Sami promised Lucas, as she started to cry.
Elsewhere, Nicole told Daniel that she was still determined to keep E.J. away from her baby. Nicole wanted to leave Salem, but Daniel urged her to reconsider. "Stefano has already proved that he is a cold-blooded killer, and I do not want my baby anywhere in that world...ever!" Nicole insisted, as Daniel tried to calm her down. Daniel promised to help Nicole, and he abruptly excused himself.
Meanwhile, Austin struggled to accept the fact that Carrie and Rafe had died together. Austin wondered why Carrie had stayed at the safe house. Billie reminded Austin that Carrie's family had also been at the safe house, and she begged him to stop torturing himself. Billie received a phone call, and she apologetically excused herself. Austin assured Billie that he would be all right.
Doug, Julie, and Kayla wondered how they were going to tell Caroline and Ciara about the explosion. Julie said that it was comforting to know that Hope had died while she had been doing something that she had believed in. Meanwhile, Gabi told Will that she had not been able to contact any of her family members. Gabi felt alone, but Will assured her that she wasn't.
At a new safe house in an undisclosed location, Roman announced that Stefano had been spotted near the pub during the wake. Roman was certain that Stefano was convinced that everyone was genuinely grieving. Shane was pleased to learn that Stefano had taken the bait.
Roman noted that Shawn and Belle had been told the truth about the explosion, and he explained that they had agreed to warn all of the out-of-town family members about the ruse. Shane added that Abe and Lexie also knew the truth. Shane and Roman excused themselves so that they could start the second phase of their plan.
After Shane and Roman left, Carrie told Marlena about everything that Rafe had revealed before the explosion. Carrie hoped that Marlena wouldn't judge her for choosing Rafe over Austin. "I was in the same situation when your father and I decided to separate, and I ended up with John. You know, this will send shock waves through our family, but whatever you decide to do, I will never, ever judge you. I can tell you for sure that this will be a very rocky road for you and Rafe," Marlena warned Carrie.
Meanwhile, Bo wondered how John wanted to handle Harmon. "I say we bring back the tradition of hanging traitors in a public square," John dryly stated. Hope admitted that John's suggestion sounded satisfying, but she pointed out that Harmon might know something about Stefano's organization.
John insisted that Harmon couldn't be trusted, but Hope suggested that they might be able to use that to their advantage. Bo agreed, and he pointed out that Shane could feed Harmon some false information. Bo hoped that Harmon would inadvertently lead Stefano right into a trap.
Back at the Brady Pub, Roman said that he needed to talk to Doug, Julie, and Kayla about something. "The rest of you -- I need for you to move quickly and quietly to the rear of the pub. There's a beer truck out there. I want you to get in the back. No questions -- just do what I tell you...right now," Roman cryptically instructed the group.
At the Horton Town Square, Shane told Harmon that the explosion had crippled the DiMera investigation. "The loss of John, Bo, and Hope severely undermines the ISA efforts to get Stefano DiMera. I was on my way to debrief in the safe house just before the explosion happened. I'm afraid all the information they had on Stefano died with them in that explosion," Shane explained. Shane offered to let Harmon handle the investigation, and Harmon eagerly agreed.
Back at the safe house, Roman escorted Will, Gabi, Brady, Nicole, Sami, Lucas, and Austin into the building. Roman instructed the group to remove their blindfolds, and they were shocked to see John, Marlena, Bo, Hope, Carrie, and Rafe standing on the other side of the room. Everyone shared an emotional reunion with their loved ones, and the survivors quickly revealed the truth about the explosion.
Later, Nicole told Rafe that she cared about him, and that she was glad that he was alive. Before Rafe could respond, Sami approached him. "I can't believe you put us through thinking you were dead. I mean, was that your idea, Rafe? I can't believe that you would've thought of something like that. It's unbelievably selfish to -- to torture us like that. I mean, we were mourning and weeping," Sami angrily stated.
Rafe tried to explain, but Sami refused to change her mind about the ruse. After Sami left, Rafe and Nicole resumed their conversation. Rafe said that he cared about Nicole, but he added that he had told Carrie the truth about the baby. Rafe promised that he would still protect Nicole and her baby from E.J.
Nicole realized that Rafe loved Carrie, and she said that Carrie was a lucky girl. Rafe reiterated that he would still protect Nicole, and she nodded. "I really do need to thank you. I need to thank you for making me believe that there are really good guys out there, and that maybe I -- maybe I will fall in love with one," Nicole said, as she fought back her tears.
Meanwhile, Austin wondered why Carrie had stayed in the safe house. Austin admitted that he had assumed that Carrie had stayed because of Rafe, but he quickly added that none of that mattered anymore. Austin said that he was just grateful to have Carrie back, and he insisted that she didn't owe him an explanation.
Brady announced that he and Madison were getting married, and he asked John to be his best man. John hugged Brady, and he enthusiastically accepted the offer. Elsewhere, Sami watched as Will and Marlena shared a slice of pie. "It was hard to think I lost everybody, but especially you, 'cause you're more than just my grandma, you know? You're my shrink, and I need my shrink," Will tearfully stated, as he and Marlena laughed.
John reminded everyone that they needed to continue to grieve, and that they needed to make it look real. Sami couldn't contain her anger any longer. "Are you serious? It is real! We thought they were really dead. I thought my sister, and my mother, and Rafe -- I thought they were really dead. It wasn't just some act for your convenience," Sami snapped.
"Do you understand that I almost told my kids? That I almost put your grandchildren through this? That I -- that we were really heartbroken, thinking that you were dead? How could you think it was okay to do that to all of us?" Sami asked incredulously. Marlena patiently explained that it had been necessary to lie to everyone until after the memorial service, so that Stefano wouldn't realize that no one had actually died.
Lucas reminded Sami that she had promised to stop making scenes. Sami insisted that her anger was justified, and she refused to apologize. Lucas said that the whole situation had been a nightmare for everyone, and he asked Sami to relax.
"I'm not gonna relax, Lucas! They should've gone home to their families! They should have told the people that they love that they were okay, and now they tell us they want us to fake it all, while they're sitting here cozy and comfortable, eating pie?!" Sami asked incredulously. Carrie tried to get Sami to back off. Sami snapped that Carrie seemed extremely comfortable at the safe house with Rafe.
Roman told Sami to stop talking, and he announced that it was time for the visitors to leave. Austin suggested that Roman might be willing to arrange for Carrie to go back to Switzerland. Carrie claimed that she didn't want to put the operation at risk. Carrie started to tell Austin something else, but Roman interrupted and reiterated that it was time to leave.
After everyone left, Carrie admitted that she was worried about breaking Austin's heart. Rafe wondered if Carrie had changed her mind. Carrie conceded that she was being selfish, but she insisted that she needed Rafe. Carrie rationalized that Austin was a good guy who deserved to be with someone who loved him completely. Carrie assured herself that Austin would find someone else.
Back at the Horton Town Square, Billie offered Shane her condolences. Shane hugged Billie. "Actually, they're all alive. I'll explain later," Shane whispered in Billie's ear. Billie quietly wondered if Shane had told the safe house residents that she was working for the ISA. Shane told Billie that he hadn't revealed that information yet.
At the Brady Pub, Doug, Julie, and Kayla celebrated with a bottle of champagne. "To nine lives -- and more," Kayla said, as she raised her glass. Sami, Lucas, and Austin entered the pub, and they told Kayla, Julie, and Doug about everything that had happened at the safe house. Sami told Kayla that Roman had gone to talk to Victor and Maggie.
"Good, good -- maybe they can put a stop to starting World War III with the DiMeras," Julie optimistically suggested. Kayla offered Sami some champagne, but Sami said that she wasn't in the mood. Julie assured Sami that everything was going to be all right, but Sami was still visibly annoyed.
Sami wondered why Carrie had been at the safe house. Austin explained that Carrie had taken some groceries over to the safe house, and he summarized that she had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sami wondered if Austin really believed that story. Austin insisted that it was purely coincidental that Carrie and Rafe had ended up at the safe house together. Austin firmly stated that Carrie was committed to their marriage, but Sami wasn't convinced.
Back at the safe house, Shane and Roman rejoined the rest of the group, and they started to talk about the DiMera investigation. Carrie suggested that Shane could convince Harmon to testify against Stefano, but Rafe pointed out that Harmon was a liar and a traitor. Rafe said that Stefano's lawyers would quickly discredit Harmon's testimony.
Marlena wondered if the ISA had managed to gather some evidence that would connect Stefano to the Basic Black embezzlement scheme. Shane said that an agent was working on that, but he added that the agent hadn't managed to find anything yet. Roman noticed that John seemed agitated, and he wondered what was wrong.
"Why did I ever think this was gonna work? It's been two days, folks -- two whole days -- and what do we have to show for it? Nothing," John said with a sigh. Marlena urged John to be patient. "I have been patient most of my life. You know, it doesn't matter what kind of evidence we gather here, or what kind of a case we build -- DiMera will just pay off the judge or the jury, and he'll walk free, like he always does," John insisted.
Bo refused to give up, and Marlena wondered what had caused John's outburst. John said that the explosion had been the final straw. John reminded the group that Stefano had been threatening them for decades. John told Marlena that he was sick of watching Stefano get away with everything.
"There's only one way to stop this man, and I think you all know what it is. All of us -- everyone we care about -- will never be out of danger until that son of a bitch is dead!" John snapped.
At the Carvers' house, Lexie and Abe were preparing to go to a Van Gogh exhibit. Lexie sensed that Abe was hurting, so she tried to comfort her husband with an embrace. "I know that this is hard for you, but I want the rest of our time to be special, not sad," Lexie said. Abe acknowledged that he had to accept his wife's impending death, but he wasn't sure he could. After Lexie put her arms around him again, he seemed to feel better, and headed upstairs to print the tickets for the exhibit.
Lexie began idly thumbing through a box of family photos, and she smiled at the memories the pictures evoked, but then she broke down in tears. When Abe returned, Lexie declared that she wanted to make a family photo album for Theo instead of going to the museum, so he would always be able to see her, and to know about his family. Abe reassured her that Theo would never forget her.
As they assembled the photo album, Lexie ran across a picture of E.J., and made Abe promise to let Theo spend time with his uncle. Abe gave his word that he would make sure that it happened. Abe looked at the pages wistfully, and noted that Theo would have the pictures to remember Lexie by, and Abe would have the captions in Lexie's handwriting and her words. Patting Abe's chest, Lexie reminded him that she would live on forever in his heart. After Abe and Lexie had finished the album, Abe stroked the cover photo pensively while Lexie grabbed her purse. They then left for the museum together.
Marlena found John downstairs at the safe house, and he admitted that he hadn't been able to sleep, so he'd gotten up early to do some Internet research on Stefano's known associates. John vowed, "This is the end of DiMera, whether we put him behind bars or six feet under." He asserted that they had the upper hand, since Stefano thought they were all dead, and if Stefano didn't make his move, then they would have to "revisit the final option." Marlena reminded John that she had been prepared to kill Stefano a while back -- until John had talked her out of it.
John pointed out that Stefano had really tried to kill them, instead of just toying with them as he had in the past. "We can't take our lives back until he's gone. And if the agency can't do it, by God, I will," John declared. Marlena urged John not to turn it into a vendetta, but he said that it was too late. Marlena declared that she despised Stefano deeply, but despite everything he had done, they were still there -- and together. John reiterated his pledge that no matter who took the old man down or when it happened, "It's the end of the line for Stefano DiMera."
After Roman met Austin at Common Grounds, Austin demanded Roman take him to see Carrie at the safe house right away. Austin explained that after grieving his wife's death, he needed her to know how committed he was to their marriage -- and he needed to tell her that himself. "Sorry, Austin. That's not going to happen," Roman said. He asserted that they had already tempted fate by taking everyone to the safe house, plus he was no longer calling the shots, since the ISA had taken over the operation.
Austin earnestly pleaded with Roman to at least ask the ISA if he could visit his wife -- because she was stuck in the safe house with Rafe. Roman reluctantly agreed to see what he could do. Austin thanked Roman sincerely. A while later, Roman returned from making some phone calls, and said that the agency had finally consented to let Austin see Carrie. They hurried out together.
Upstairs at the safe house, Rafe went into Carrie's bedroom, and woke her with a cup of coffee. Carrie beamed when she saw him. Rafe sat in bed next to her, and after they exchanged a few sweet nothings, they began to kiss. They then admitted that neither of them had expected what had happened between them. Rafe pointed out that they were finally alone together, and they put their coffee down and quickly began to undress -- but Carrie put the brakes on before things went too far.
"It's too soon," she said. Rafe agreed that it wouldn't be fair of them to sleep together before Austin knew the truth. Carrie promised to tell Austin the first chance she got, because she wanted to be with Rafe. She worried what the news would do to Austin, and Rafe guessed that she was having second thoughts.
Carrie insisted she wasn't, but she was glad to be stuck there so that she would have some time to think of the right words. Rafe assured her that she would find the right way to tell Austin, who would eventually understand that Carrie had been true to her heart -- and everything would work out. Carrie kissed Rafe gratefully, and as their kisses grew more ardent, Roman and a blindfolded Austin arrived at the front door.
Billie arrived at the ISA office to meet Shane, who surprised her by revealing that Bo and Hope were there, as well. Thrilled and relieved to see the Bradys still in one piece, Billie embraced them both simultaneously. Billie worried that if Stefano found out everyone had survived the bomb blast, he would make absolutely sure they all died the next time.
Hope wanted to know when Billie had started working with the ISA again. Billie explained how her cover had been to work at Countess Wilhelmina with her mom, while gathering information from inside the DiMera mansion. She continued that she had found a bill of sale for a weapons deal. Billie assured the others that E.J. clearly had no idea what his father was up to -- because it seemed that E.J. had stolen the missing pensions from John, and Stefano had used some of the money that to buy the arms.
The others were stunned that E.J. had been the one who had set John up, and that Stefano had double-crossed his own son. Hope guessed that E.J. had used the embezzlement as a "wedge issue" to win the mayoral election. Billie noted, "If we could just find a way to split E.J. away from Stefano..." Hope suggested that Billie simply tell E.J. how Stefano had betrayed E.J. by helping to free John.
When Will dropped by Sami's, his mom answered the door, wearing her bathrobe -- and E.J. appeared behind her, wearing just an undershirt. A chagrined Will immediately jumped to the conclusion that Sami and E.J. had slept together, but they quickly reassured him that they were just cleaning up after a breakfast food fight with the kids. "Okay. My bad," Will said a bit grumpily. Sami then went into the bedroom to get dressed.
Will remarked, "If my dad and my mom are getting back together, that just makes you the lonely ex living in the building. I'm just not sure that's a role that you can play." E.J. insisted that he had no "designs" on Sami, and that he had moved in across the hall just to be close to his children. Will was skeptical, but E.J. urged Will to cut his mother a little slack. Will pointed out that he and his mom had both just lost six people whom they loved very much, but Sami had been nasty to all of them before they'd died. E.J. then left to get dressed.
Sami emerged from the bedroom, dressed for work. Will apologized for how he'd behaved, but noted that his reaction had been understandable. Sami asked if the two of them could talk later, but Will said that she was the last person he would go to for advice. Sami urged him to let her try to be a better mother to him -- because she would always be his mother, and she would always love him, no matter what.
E.J. returned and overheard, and encouraged Will to give his mother a chance, especially since Will had just lost his grandmother, someone who had devoted her life to helping people heal. Will agreed to think about it. E.J. then reminded Will that the two of them had work to do. Sami was worried that E.J. would get Will in trouble, but Will pointed out that Sami worked for Stefano's company, which could be a front for any sort of illegal activity. Sami countered that Will could end up in prison if he continued working for E.J.
"E.J.'s not going to put me in prison; he's the one who kept me out," Will blurted. E.J. issued a terse caution to Will, but Sami demanded to know what was going on. Will confessed that he, not Lucas, had shot E.J. on E.J. and Sami's wedding day. Sami could do nothing but sputter and stammer for a moment as she tried to wrap her head around that. She asserted that Will had just been a kid and couldn't have shot E.J. "It was the only way I knew how to protect you and Dad," Will explained.
Sami noted that if that were true, then Lucas had gone to prison for years for a crime Will had committed. "He insisted," Will said, adding that the shooting had been the reason he'd gone to live with Austin and Carrie in Switzerland. Sami couldn't believe that E.J. had known all along. E.J. pointed out that he couldn't have sent a child to prison, plus Lucas, Will, and E.J. had all survived relatively unscathed.
Sami demanded to know how Will could work for someone he had once been willing to shoot. "To get even with someone who I hated more," Will replied coldly. Sami quickly deduced that Will had blackmailed E.J. with the knowledge that Sami and E.J. had slept together. E.J. confirmed it, and admitted that in exchange, he had blackmailed Will into working for him.
Billie called E.J. then, and asked if he would meet her in Horton Square right away, because she had something to tell him. E.J. hung up, and as he exited Sami's apartment, she warned him to leave Will alone. Billie told Shane, Bo, and Hope, "Now I just have to give him the bait and see if he bites." After Billie had gone, Hope expressed her optimism that once E.J. learned that his father had betrayed him, E.J. would give them what they needed to put Stefano away.
A fuming Sami couldn't believe that E.J. had blackmailed Will, but Will pointed out that he'd blackmailed E.J. first. Sami said that at least Will could stop working for E.J., but Will insisted he liked working for E.J. Sami stated softly, "When we thought that my mom and Carrie and everybody was gone, you and I had a moment, and it is the only thing that kept me from losing my mind." She maintained that she only wanted what was best for her son.
Will said that the best thing that had ever happened to him was going to work for E.J. A dismayed Sami just wanted Will to quit. Will declared that it was his dream job, because he loved the perks and the power -- and she should be proud of him. "I am who I am because of you. Look at me: my mother's son," Will proclaimed as he left.
When E.J. met Billie outside Horton Square, she asked if he'd learned any more about how John Black had been freed. E.J. feigned nonchalance, so Billie assured him that she wasn't wearing a wire. E.J. asked why he would think such a thing. "Because you're guilty of a crime: you framed John Black. You stole his pension money to help get yourself elected mayor," Billie contended.
Billie continued that despite everything E.J. had gone through, John was free, and the money was missing. E.J. demanded that Billie get to the point. "I know who made it possible to get John freed," Billie divulged, then clarified, "Stefano. Your own father betrayed you to help his sworn enemy."