Stephanie and Chad shared a meal at the Brady-Johnson townhouse then started working on Paulina's statement. Stephanie was stunned to learn that Chad was planning to leave SJPR after they finished handling Paulina's affairs. Stephanie protested that Paulina wasn't SJPR's only client, but Chad maintained that it would be best to cut ties with the firm.
Stephanie wondered why Chad no longer wanted to work at SJPR. "I think it'll just be uncomfortable," Chad blurted out. "For Alex, obviously," Chad continued. "I mean, when we first started working together, he thought that we were sleeping together," Chad concluded. "Alex and I both know that you're not ready for a relationship," Stephanie assured Chad.
Chad conceded the point with a sigh then agreed to continue working with Stephanie, unable to think of any other fake reasons for wanting to quit and unwilling to admit the real reason.
Sonny asked for an update on Leo's job search while they were sharing a meal at the town square. Leo admitted to having tried to land a job at the Spectator as a gossip columnist then grumbled that the idea was probably too lowbrow for the respectable newspaper and also too lowbrow for the Sonnys of the world. "I actually have a bit of a weakness when it comes to celebrity news," Sonny confessed. "How I love hearing that you're human, like the rest of us!" Leo raved. "But there's a caveat -- it can be interesting, and it can be juicy, but it can't be mean-spirited," Sonny stressed. "The only tea I serve will be very sweet," Leo promised. "Like the little feel-good article you gave to the Intruder about Chad?" Sonny teased.
Jack headed over to the roach-infested motel to see Xander but found only Sarah there. "I just wanted to come by and see how he's doing -- see how things are going with the new job," Jack explained. "He quit," Sarah revealed.
Sarah shared the whole story with Jack, who felt bad about not being able to give Xander a job at the Spectator due to Gwen's hiring. Sarah seized the opportunity to find out if Jack still believed that Gwen wasn't over Xander yet. Jack was surprised to learn that Sarah was asking because Gwen had recently offered to write an article about Rednax as a way of helping Xander promote the fledgling company. Sarah suggested that could have been a convenient way to spend time with Xander, and Jack allowed for that possibility but argued that Gwen's feelings didn't matter. "She knows that Xander's completely committed to you -- and you know that, too, of course," Jack elaborated. "Of course," Sarah responded.
Maggie, still with Justin and Alex at the Kiriakis mansion, admitted to having last seen Bonnie rushing out of the Brady Pub in a panic. "You just let her wander off into the night in that state of mind?" Justin snapped after Maggie elaborated. "It didn't occur to me that I had to chase after her," Maggie responded before apologizing to Justin for the mistake. "It's okay -- you didn't know she would just go missing," Justin conceded after some thought, drawing a sigh of relief from Maggie.
Bonnie continued lashing out at Xander while they were alone together at the park. "You're the sicko who kidnapped me!" Bonnie spat. "That's absurd," Xander insisted.
Xander wondered what had prompted Bonnie's accusation. "I just heard you say, 'I'm not gonna let this situation destroy my life' -- and I heard the clown say the exact same thing!" Bonnie explained before admitting that the kidnapper hadn't spoken with an Irish accent. "Scottish," Xander clarified. "Same thing!" Bonnie argued. "No, they are not --" Xander objected. "You know what? Who cares!" Bonnie yelled.
Bonnie stressed that the point was that Xander had used the same wording that the kidnapper had used and was therefore guilty of the crime. "Damn it, would you keep your voice down --" Xander begged. "The clown said that, too!" Bonnie recalled. "Ordinary things that people say all the time?" Xander summarized. "And that clown knew I had a daughter named Mimi --" Bonnie noted. "Lots of people know Mimi -- hundreds, maybe even thousands --" Xander argued. "You calling my daughter a tramp?" Bonnie snapped. "Of course not -- I'm just saying that she's very...popular..." Xander backpedaled.
Bonnie remained convinced that all the signs were pointing to Xander. "You and the clown have the exact same build --" Bonnie observed. "So do lots of guys," Xander countered.
Justin phoned while Bonnie was threatening to report Xander to the police. "He'll be very interested to know what his cousin did to his --" Bonnie warned Xander while preparing to answer Justin's call.
Gwen emerged from the shadows just then and swung a rock at the back of Bonnie's head before Xander could object. "You're welcome," Gwen bragged to Xander after Bonnie collapsed to the ground and lost consciousness.
Xander checked Bonnie's motionless body for signs of life then breathed a sigh of relief and assured Gwen that they probably weren't going to have to relive their corpse-disposal ordeal from the previous year. Gwen dismissed Xander's concern about the seriousness of Bonnie's head injury then continued fishing for even the slightest expression of gratitude. Xander appreciated Gwen's attempt to help but knew that Bonnie was eventually going to wake up and remember everything. "Ship her off to DiMera Island," Gwen suggested, but Xander didn't like that idea. "Maybe I should just turn myself in," Xander conceded, but Gwen thought of another solution just then.
Alex entered the town square while Leo was apologizing for having used the Intruder in the past to spread hurtful lies about Sonny and other people. Alex noticed that Leo was grasping Sonny's hands and that they were staring at each other.
Alex approached and wondered if Sonny or Leo had seen Bonnie that night. Sonny and Leo each gave Alex a shake of the head then took turns probing for more details about Bonnie's disappearance. "Wouldn't want to interrupt your dinner plans," Alex muttered. "You're not, okay? We just happened to run into each other -- believe me, it's not planned," Sonny insisted. "More like kismet," Leo joked. "Shut up!" Sonny snapped.
Alex rushed off to the park after receiving a phone call from Justin, and Sonny followed, leaving Leo alone to ponder the buzz that a gossip column about Bonnie's disappearance might generate.
Alex, Sonny, and Justin convened at the park then returned to the Kiriakis mansion together to check in with Maggie, who didn't have anything new to report. "I think it's time we call the police," Justin, who had found Bonnie's scarf at the park, decided.
Xander and Gwen finished stashing Bonnie somewhere then prepared for the next phase of their plan. "Time is a factor here," Xander stressed when Gwen hesitated. "When I've hit someone before, it was because I was really upset, and I'm just not really upset right now," Gwen explained to Xander with an apologetic shrug. "Well, how 'bout this to make your blood boil -- I chose Sarah over you!" Xander teased, prompting Gwen to throw a punch.
Jack left the roach-infested motel after chatting with Sarah about the aftermath of Bonnie's kidnapping ordeal. "Xander, I know that you are committed to your cardio, but this is a long run, even for you..." Sarah muttered after checking the time.
Gwen phoned Leo and began to explain that a job opportunity had just presented itself. Sarah phoned Xander and recorded a voicemail message. Bonnie started stirring after hearing Xander's cell phone ring. "Not again..." Bonnie, who was tied to a chair in what appeared to be a supply closet, grumbled before realizing that Xander was also being held captive there.
Eric and Sloan ate takeout and drank beer in Sloan's apartment. "I came here to settle up my attorney's fees, and I ended up talking your ear off about Nicole," Eric said. "Breakups are rough. Plus, it sounds like you really loved her," Sloan said. Eric said he believed that Nicole had moved on with her ex.
"So, let me get this straight. Within a matter of weeks, Nicole was married to the commish, got back together with you, and is now possibly hooking up with the town mogul?" Sloan asked. Eric said yes. Sloan asked if Nicole was normally a fickle person. "Well, when she and I were married, she was fighting her attraction for Rafe. And she had a one-night stand with Xander Cook. So, yeah. With Nicole, it's about par for the course," Eric said.
Sloan offered Eric another beer. "To be honest, I'm not really looking forward to going home [and running into Jada]," Eric admitted. Sloan asked why. "You are entitled to be angry or sad or both about this abortion. I mean, especially if she told you she was gonna keep the baby," Sloan said. "I just wish she would have told me she changed her mind," Eric said. Eric noted that he was not angry at Jada.
"I mean, why couldn't [Nicole] just keep her mouth shut?" Eric said. Eric confessed that he was worried that he would take his anger out on Jada if he saw her at the pub. Sloan invited Eric to stay the night with her. "I can't impose. We only met this morning," Eric said. Eric asked Sloan how she could be sure that he was not dangerous. "You're a Brady," Sloan said. "You obviously haven't met my twin sister, Sami," Eric joked. Eric reminded Sloan that she had met him in jail.
"I don't really feel like my life's in danger around you," Sloan said. Sloan told Eric he was welcome to stay, but they would have to share the bed. "Nothing sexual, of course. Although I certainly wouldn't mind it," Sloan said. Eric looked Sloan over.
After Sloan changed into her pajamas, she slipped into bed. Eric exited the bathroom, clad only in his underwear. "Just waiting for you to warm me up," Sloan said. "I think that beer is kind of setting in right now," Eric said. Sloan called Eric a lightweight. Eric changed the subject to Chanel as he climbed into bed.
"Must have been pretty hard to carry all that anger and resentment over your parents' death," Eric said. Sloan noted that their situations were similar. "We've both been wronged by these people who keep excusing their actions and telling us that they're justified," Sloan said. "It's hard to let it go sometimes," Eric whispered. Sloan argued that they were entitled to be angry. Eric said he preferred to take the high road. "Were you always like this?" Sloan asked. Eric said Sami's antics had directed him to be her opposite.
"I went as far as even becoming a priest," Eric admitted. Sloan laughed. "Have you ever thought about not being so perfect all the time? And maybe giving in to your impulses for once?" Sloan asked. "I'm not so sure it is in my nature," Eric said. Sloan encouraged Eric to do what he wanted. Eric kissed Sloan, then she stopped him. "I'm not taking advantage of you in your inebriated state, am I?" Sloan asked. "I'm thinking very clearly. This is what I want. This is what I need," Eric whispered. Eric and Sloan kissed again.
At the DiMera mansion, E.J. shut the open patio doors. "I finally got Holly to bed," Nicole said as she walked in. "Hopefully, she doesn't find it too difficult to fall asleep in an unfamiliar house," E.J. said. Nicole noted that Holly had some good memories from when she had lived in the house with Chloe and Stefan. Nicole thanked E.J. for his hospitality.
As Nicole and E.J. sipped drinks, Sister Mary Moira walked in. "What's going on?" Sister Mary Moira asked. Sister Mary Moira said that the room was thick with sin. Nicole and E.J. exchanged a look. "We are laying your poor mother to rest tomorrow, and here you are, canoodling on the sofa, drinking the devil's juice with a woman who is not your wife," Sister May Moira said. "No, but she used to be," E.J. countered. E.J. introduced Nicole to his aunt.
"I know exactly who she is. Yes, she is the godless tramp sleeping in my beloved sister's bed," Sister Mary Moira said. E.J. warned Sister Mary Moira to be respectful of his other guests. "I suggest you apologize to her posthaste," E.J. said. "Me, apologize to her?" Sister Mary Moira said. When Sister Mary Moira hesitated, E.J. prompted her again. "Fine. I am sorry that you are a godless tramp," Sister Mary Moira said. Nicole rolled her eyes.
"You are the jezebel who lured Eric Brady out of the priesthood. And how did you repay him? By committing adultery, which caused the sacred union to end in divorce. Shame, shame, shame," Sister Mary Moira said. "She is a friend of mine," E.J. said. Sister Mary Moira called Nicole a "corruptor of souls." With a smirk, E.J. noted that he was not a saint, either.
"I did commit adultery. And I've been divorced, and now I'm getting another divorce. You know why? Because I was lusting after another man," Nicole said with a grin. Sister Mary Moira gasped, and she looked away. Nicole told Sister Mary Moira that she had convinced Eric's ex to get an abortion. Sister Mary Moira shrieked in horror.
"What do you think about that, sister?" Nicole yelled. "I think I'm gonna faint," Sister Mary Moira said. Nicole looked at E.J., and he winked at her. After Sister Mary Moira and E.J. went upstairs, Nicole paced and stared at her phone. On the patio, someone looked through the window at Nicole. E.J. returned, and Nicole apologized.
"There is nothing to apologize for. She treated you terribly," E.J. said. "Well, she did just lose her sister," Nicole said. "Grief is no excuse," E.J. countered. With a grin, E.J. said that it had been nice to see Nicole stand up for herself. "It reminded me of the fierce, take-no-prisoners Nicole Walker I first fell in love with," E.J. said.
When Nicole noted that she had lost her temper because of her horrible day, E.J. asked what had happened. Nicole told E.J. that she had fought with Eric. "Our relationship is over once and for all," Nicole said. "I've heard that before," E.J. said in a mocking tone. "I know. But believe me, there's no going back for [me and Eric]," Nicole said. "I would say sorry about you and Eric, but I'm not. I never thought you two were a good match," E.J. said. E.J. told Nicole that Eric had stifled her fiery spirit, and E.J. encouraged Nicole to be herself.
Gwen called Leo and told him Xander's secret. "It was Xander who kidnapped Susan Banks? And Bonnie Lockhart?" Leo said. Gwen explained that Bonnie had realized that Xander was the kidnapper. Gwen asked Leo to help her throw Bonnie "off the scent."
When Leo arrived at the Horton house, Gwen explained that detention of Bonnie was a temporary fix. "So, I came up with a brilliant, genius idea of making it look like Xander is also the one who's kidnapped. They're both currently tied up in a warehouse," Gwen said.
"How do I fit into this?" Leo asked. Gwen explained that Bonnie needed to see that Xander and the clown were two different people. Gwen held up the clown mask, and she complimented Leo's work as an impersonator.
"That's true, but I hate clowns. Mother sent me to clown school when I was a child. I was exceedingly talented, but all the other clowns were a bunch of bitches, and they hated on me," Leo complained. Leo added that he had vowed never to dress as a clown again. Gwen noted that she would pay Leo well. With a sigh, Leo admitted that he needed the money.
"There's just one problem. I'm no stranger to the gym, but I am not as pumped up as your ex-boy toy," Leo said. Leo added that he was too short to convince Bonnie that he had been the original kidnapper. "Don't worry. I've already thought of that," Gwen said. Gwen gave Leo a muscle suit and platform shoes from old Halloween outfits to approximate Xander's look.
In a warehouse, Bonnie and Xander were tied to chairs. Bonnie called out to Xander until he stirred awake. "Where are we?" Xander asked. "You tell me!" Bonnie said. When Xander asked why he would know, Bonnie groaned in frustration. "You faker! I know you're the sick clown who kidnapped me. Just what are you trying to pull?" Bonnie yelled. Xander reiterated that he had not kidnapped Bonnie.
"What are you in cahoots with now, huh?" Bonnie shouted. "I'm not in cahoots with anyone!" Xander protested. Bonnie asked who had knocked her out. "It was the kidnapper," Xander said. Bonnie argued that was impossible, since Xander was the kidnapper.
"Then how am I tied up next to you, Bonnie?" Xander asked. "I don't know! You're working with him, or you did it yourself," Bonnie said. Xander sighed. Xander explained that when Bonnie had attempted to call Justin, a clown in a blue suit had appeared in the park and had knocked her out. "I put up a fight, but he was strong as hell, and yeah, he got the best of me," Xander said. "You look kind of beat up," Bonnie admitted.
"Bonnie, you have to believe me," Xander pleaded. With a sigh, Bonnie noted that Xander was the same height and build as the kidnapper. "Tonight, you said the same phrase that clown said. Not once but twice," Bonnie argued. "Very common phrases, Bonnie, as I already pointed out. It's just a coincidence," Xander said. Bonnie noted that it was a strange coincidence that the clown had appeared when she had accused Xander of the crime.
"Maybe he was following you?" Xander suggested. Xander argued that Bonnie was the kidnapper's last loose end. "My gut is telling me that you are the creepy clown!" Bonnie said. Leo walked in dressed in a blue suit and the clown mask. "Just who are you calling creepy?" Leo said in an imitation of Xander's clown voice. "It's true! Someone else is the clown," Bonnie said. "I told you!" Xander yelled. Bonnie demanded to know the clown's name.
"I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Although to be honest, I'm going to kill you, anyway," the clown said. As the clown approached Bonnie, she screamed. Xander warned the clown not to touch Bonnie. "There's nothing you can do about it," the clown said. Xander broke free from his ropes, and he tackled the clown. Leo and Xander wrestled one another for control.
"Be careful!" Bonnie yelled. "Don't worry, Bonnie! This creepy clown is going down," Xander said. Xander shoved the clown out into the hallway out of view. "Leo, is that really you?" Xander whispered. Leo lifted his mask. "Who the hell else would it be?" Leo said. "I can't believe you and Gwen pulled this off," Xander said. As Bonnie screamed, Xander told Leo that the plan was working. Leo put his mask back on, and Xander steered him back into the room.
"You messed with the wrong family, and now you're gonna pay for what you did to poor Bonnie," Xander said. "Knock him out!" Bonnie screamed. Leo broke free, punched Xander, and ran off. "Don't let him get away!" Bonnie yelled. Xander chased after the clown.
In the Kiriakis living room, a worried Justin called Rafe to report Bonnie's disappearance. Alex walked in as Justin ended the call. Alex confirmed that Maggie and Sonny had gone to the garden shed to look for Bonnie. "Although I highly doubt that Bonnie would want to revisit the crime scene," Alex said. Justin agreed. Alex also confirmed that Mimi had not heard from Bonnie.
When Rafe arrived, Justin noted that Ava could not be involved "this time." "Yeah, but her minion's still on the loose," Rafe said. Rafe said he understood Justin's concern, but he could not file a missing persons report for Bonnie because she had only been gone a couple hours. Rafe promised to put out an alert.
While Rafe stepped outside to call the station, Alex explained to Justin that Maggie and Sonny had gone to visit Bonnie's favorite spots in town. Frustrated, Justin announced that he would do the same rather than wait at home for Bonnie to return.
When Rafe returned from his call, Alex told Rafe that Justin had gone to look for Bonnie. With a nod, Rafe asked Alex to update him at the station with any news. As Rafe turned to leave, Alex apologized to Rafe. "It was my idea to put Eric and Nicole on the cover of Bella," Alex said. Rafe shrugged. "If I caused any problem in your marriage at all, then I am truly sorry," Alex said. "As painful as it's been, it is for the best," Rafe said. Relieved, Alex thanked Rafe for being so cool, unlike Eric.
"[Eric] just blew up on me the other day just because I suggested that he and Nicole do another cover," Alex said. "I did hear that they had a pretty major fight," Rafe said. Alex asked if Eric and Nicole had made up. With a shrug, Rafe said, "I don't know, and I couldn't care less."
Justin went to Sarah's room at the motel to ask if she had spoken to Bonnie. "I thought since you were there [at the pub], you might have some idea about where [Bonnie] went," Justin said. Sarah recounted that Bonnie had wanted some time alone. Justin said he had found Bonnie's scarf in the park.
"I called Rafe to look into it. I may be overreacting, but after what happened to her the last time," Justin said with a shrug. Sarah said she understood. "Xander went for a run a really long time ago, and now he's not answering his phone. I'm sure it's probably just a coincidence," Sarah said. "But what?" Justin asked. After a moment, Sarah confessed that she had once believed that Xander had been the kidnapper.
"But then I looked up Xander's company, and it's legit," Sarah said. Justin told Sarah about his lawsuit conversation with Xander. "Maybe he just didn't want to get caught up in a legal battle," Sarah said. "Well, he wouldn't even give me his boss's name. Maybe that's because he really was working for Ava Vitali," Justin said. Justin noted that it was a strange coincidence that both Bonnie and Xander had gone missing.
Justin asked Sarah to talk to Rafe, but she refused. "I don't want to get Xander in trouble," Sarah said. "But what if you're right? You could be saving Bonnie's life," Justin argued. Sarah countered that even if Xander had been the kidnapper, he would not hurt Bonnie. "We don't know what [Xander] is capable of," Justin said. Justin begged Sarah to reconsider. Reluctantly Sarah agreed to help.
At the warehouse, Bonnie struggled to get free of her ropes. A breathless Xander returned to the room. "The bastard got away. I'm so sorry," Xander said. "Please, don't be," Bonnie said as Xander untied her. Bonnie thanked Xander for having saved her life, and she admitted that she had been wrong about Xander. Behind Bonnie, Xander breathed a sigh of relief and smiled.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Rafe told Alex that there was no news on Bonnie. Justin returned home with Sarah. "We're still searching," Rafe said. Justin mentioned that Sarah had some information. Sarah stammered, "Just remember that this is probably a long shot and might be totally off base." Before Sarah could continue, Bonnie ran into the living room and into Justin's arms. Xander followed.
"The clown kidnapped me again," Bonnie said. "Are you okay?" Alex asked. "I am now that I'm at home with you," Bonnie said as she hugged Justin again. "Xander, you didn't have anything to do with this, did you?" Sarah asked. "He happened to be there when that guy attacked me. And he saved me," Bonnie explained. Bonnie told everyone what had happened at the warehouse. Rafe asked about the clown.
"He managed to get away," Xander said. Rafe asked about identifying traits to the clown. "Nothing I can think of," Bonnie said. Xander suggested that the clown was likely an old mob contact of Ava's. "Whoever he was, he was determined to kill me. And you, Xander, saved my life. You're a real hero!" Bonnie said. Bonnie hugged Xander. After Rafe left to search the warehouse, Justin vowed not to let Bonnie out of his sight. Bonnie swore never to leave the house again.
When Xander returned to the motel with Sarah, she called Xander a hero. Sarah admitted that she and Justin had suspected that Xander had kidnapped Bonnie. "I hope that you can forgive me," Sarah said. "We all make mistakes," Xander said.
Still dressed in the clown disguise, Leo surprised Gwen in the Horton house living room. "Did [Bonnie] buy it?" Gwen asked. "Our plan worked like a charm," Leo said. Gwen paid Leo for the job. "You really went above and beyond for your ex tonight. I hope he appreciates it," Leo said. "I'm just really glad he is not behind bars," Gwen said. "He went from being the number one suspect to being the town hero overnight," Leo said.
E.J. paced around the living room of the DiMera mansion while wrapping up a phone conversation with Roger. "I completely understand -- this memorial service is rather impromptu," E.J. conceded. "No, there's no need to change your plans -- Mother would be touched that you've left your tour to make a pilgrimage to Graceland in her honor," E.J. continued. "Oh, I'm with you on that -- I hope the woman who murdered her is burning in hell," E.J. concluded before ending the call -- and Ava, who was lurking near the terrace doors, smirked at the comment.
Johnny knocked on the door to Susan's old bedroom while Nicole was shaking off the memory of a romantic reconciliation with Eric that had felt real but had turned out to be nothing more than a dream. Nicole donned a robe then opened the door and greeted Johnny with a forced smile. "I hope I didn't wake you," Johnny fretted. "No, I was up," Nicole grumbled.
Nicole stepped aside after learning that Johnny wanted to search the bedroom for one of Susan's belongings so the item could be displayed during the memorial service that was going to be held at St. Luke's later that day. "She was truer to herself than anyone I ever knew. A lot of people looked down on her for it -- called her 'a loon' to her face -- but she didn't care. I mean, she never gave a damn about what anybody said or thought -- never tried to change, never even wanted to." Johnny mused while retrieving a cross from a jewelry box. "Gotta admire that about a person, you know?" Johnny concluded, and Nicole agreed.
Johnny soon changed the subject, wanting to apologize again for having jumped to the wrong conclusion after catching Nicole with E.J. the previous day. "It's just...I really like you, and I really like Rafe, and I was hoping things would work out between the two of you," Johnny explained to Nicole with a shrug. "So was I, but I realized that Rafe and I were wrong for each other from the start -- he is a really good person...and, as hard as I try to ignore reality, I am not, and I never will be," Nicole admitted with a sigh, drawing a dismissive scoff from Johnny. "I was just a kid -- you know, when you were my stepmom -- but I remember that you took really good care of Sydney and me," Johnny recalled as a way of refuting Nicole's claim.
Ava was still lurking near the terrace doors when Rafe entered the mansion and found E.J. in the living room. "I need a statement about the circumstances around your mother's death. You've missed two appointments to give it to me," Rafe reminded E.J. "It's very unpleasant for me to talk about," E.J. fretted. "And I respect that...but I need more details --" Rafe insisted. "Why -- so you can bring Ava to justice? It's a bit late for that. Let the dead stay dead -- or rot, in that witch's case," E.J. spat.
Nicole entered the living room, still wearing only a robe, while Rafe was recapping each of E.J.'s unofficial statements. "Enjoy your consolation prize," Rafe teased E.J., drawing a scoff of indignation from Nicole. "It's not what it looks like," Nicole assured Rafe, but E.J. delighted in implying otherwise. "I will find out the truth of what happened between you and Ava," Rafe warned E.J. with a scowl before giving Nicole a judgmental shake of the head then storming out of the mansion.
Eric and Sloan chatted about various things between rounds of sex at the Petersen apartment. Sloan was surprised to learn that Eric had done more than one stint as a priest. Eric gave Sloan vague details about how each stint had ended. Sloan hoped that Eric wasn't planning to agree to another stint at some point. Eric assured Sloan that priesthood had been "the wrong path" and was no longer appealing. Sloan clarified that dressing up as a priest for the occasional role-play scene would be okay, but Eric maintained that it was a relief to be free of the clerical collar for good and that it would probably never be put back on for any reason. Eric and Sloan were each relieved to learn that the other was only interested in being friends with benefits.
Steve entered the Brady Pub and joined Roman at the bar. "You got back from Seattle fast," Roman noted. "I took the red-eye," Steve explained.
Roman acknowledged that Kayla was still in Seattle and that Steve would soon be returning there with Stephanie so the entire Johnson family could spend the holidays together. "How's Tripp doing?" Roman wondered. "Still pretty broken up," Steve reported. "Glad you could be there for him -- it was lucky you happened to be in Seattle when Ava was killed," Roman declared. "Eh, it wasn't exactly 'luck'..." Steve admitted.
Kate and Jada approached while Roman was trying to get Steve to elaborate. Steve assumed that Jada was about to head off to work for the day. Jada confirmed Steve's suspicion then made a vague comment about having been out on sick leave the previous two days. Steve offered to give Jada a ride to the police station then explained that there was an important matter that they needed to discuss in private. Jada nodded then rushed off with Steve.
Nicole entered the pub a short time later and greeted Roman and Kate then ordered a cup of coffee and asked if Jada was around. "She just left for work...but, to save you a return trip, I don't think she wants to see you," Kate responded. "Jada can make that decision," Nicole argued. "Yeah, well, we both agree with that -- Jada should make her own decisions," Kate countered.
Nicole assured Kate that no one had forced Jada to get an abortion, and Roman agreed then acknowledged that it was also true that no one had forced Eric to get drunk and assault people in the wake of the abortion. Nicole told Roman about what had happened with Eric and Sloan the previous day. Roman hoped that Eric hadn't gotten into any more trouble afterward. "Eric didn't come home last night?" Nicole translated before rushing off with a vague excuse about needing to check on something, leaving behind the cup of coffee that Roman had just prepared. "I'm worried about him," Roman admitted to Kate with a sigh. "So is she -- but for a completely different reason," Kate informed Roman with a smirk.
Nicole headed over to the Petersen apartment to see if Eric was with Sloan -- and was stunned to see that they were each dripping wet and wearing only a towel.
Rafe entered the police station while Steve was telling Jada that what they were about to discuss needed to be kept off the record for the time being. "E.J. DiMera kidnapped my son -- and that bastard needs to pay for it," Steve spat.
Rafe groaned at the end of Steve's story then admitted that everything suddenly made a lot more sense. Rafe wondered why Steve had waited so long to share the information. Steve explained that being with Tripp in the wake of Ava's death had been a higher priority and that reporting the matter via a phone call or an email would have created a record of the crime before there was any proof of E.J.'s involvement. "The henchman who was holding Tripp wouldn't name names," Steve grumbled. "E.J. probably managed everything from right here -- and if we can prove that, then we have jurisdiction," Rafe stressed.
Steve soon rushed off, giving Rafe an opportunity to rant to Jada about what had happened at the DiMera mansion earlier. "Nothing Nicole does surprises me anymore...but I would like to wipe that smug grin off E.J.'s face once and for all," Rafe spat.
Johnny delivered Susan's cross to St. Luke's then returned to the DiMera mansion and found E.J. in the living room. Johnny told E.J. about the trip to St. Luke's then revealed that the priest who was overseeing the memorial service had pointed out that there had not yet been any discussion about alternative ways to permanently honor Susan. "Since there's no remains," Johnny explained to E.J. with a hint of discomfort.
E.J. wondered if Johnny wanted to head out to the DiMera crypt and pick out a spot to hang a plaque in Susan's honor. "Last time, we added Jake, and your Uncle Stefan came back to us -- who knows, maybe someone else will rise from the dead this time," E.J. joked before starting to exit the mansion, expecting Johnny to follow. "The devil held her hostage there -- I just don't know if she'd want her memory to be associated with it for the rest of eternity," Johnny argued. "Maybe you're right -- it is rather gloomy down there...and haunted by so many ghosts, past and present," E.J. conceded.
Charlie appeared while Ava was hiding out in the DiMera crypt. "I thought that you and I were gonna live happily ever after in the underworld, but it seems you're hard to kill, Mother," Charlie declared. "I must be on my eighth life by now," Ava agreed.
Charlie wondered why Ava hadn't killed E.J. during their most recent encounter at the crash site. "I wanted to give him more time to suffer with the guilt of what he did to his mother," Ava explained. "And now he's suffered enough?" Charlie assumed. "Oh, no, he'll never suffer enough...but I think that more people need to pay for the way that they've treated me, and the perfect opportunity has presented itself, so today will be our final act," Ava clarified.
Ava bragged that E.J. was convinced that their most recent encounter at the crash site had only been a drunken hallucination. "So, he'll never see it coming," Charlie translated. "Exactly -- now I can get revenge on the whole lot of 'em," Ava confirmed. "Don't keep me in suspense -- how are we getting our final revenge on E.J. DiMera?" Charlie wondered. "It is going to be a memorable memorial -- a colorful spectacle, befitting Susan Banks.... It's gonna be a blast," Ava teased while revealing a bomb.
Nicole barged into the Petersen apartment with a shake of the head and demanded to know if Eric and Sloan were sleeping together. "What's it to you?" Eric snapped.
Eric wondered what had prompted Nicole's visit. "Well, when Roman told me you didn't come home last night, I had a pretty good idea of where you might be," Nicole explained. "So, you...what, started knocking on random doors?" Sloan assumed. "Honey, I used to be a reporter -- it took me about ten seconds to track down your address," Nicole clarified. "Wow -- stalker much?" Sloan teased.
Nicole insisted on talking to Eric without Sloan's interference. As the owner of the apartment, Sloan was outraged at first but decided to humor Nicole for Eric's sake.
Sloan stepped into the bathroom to get dressed, and once the coast was clear, Nicole started lecturing Eric about reckless behavior. "How dare you judge me for sleeping with Sloan when you're hooking up with E.J. DiMera!" Eric spat, prompting Nicole to reiterate that nothing sexual was going on with E.J. and that the DiMera mansion was only a temporary shelter. "Then maybe you should be spending your time searching for apartments rather than keeping track of me!" Eric advised Nicole.
Nicole admitted to being worried about Eric's recent out-of-character actions. Eric dismissed Nicole's concern then confessed to having grown sick of being a pushover. "Know what I realize now? People like you and my sister Sami -- why you enjoy being so selfish and sabotaging is because you do what you want without worrying about any consequences! And you know what? I understand, because there's kind of a little bit of a rush to it -- I mean, who wants to be the good twin when there's so much more fun in being the bad twin?" Eric reasoned before ordering Nicole to leave. "Enjoy your afternoon delight -- but don't say I didn't warn you," Nicole called out to Eric while storming out of the apartment.
Sloan, who had returned in time to hear Nicole's parting shot, admitted that the advice about enjoying afternoon delights was actually worth consideration -- and Eric agreed, leading to another round of sex.
Kristen entered the living room of the Evans-Black townhouse while Brady was having a phone conversation with Tate about a planned trip to a resort in Aspen that featured ski-in/ski-out accommodations and a hot tub that might just be bigger than some lakes. Kristen approached from behind and lowered crafted mistletoe into Brady's field of vision. Brady sighed then cut the phone conversation short, promising to call Tate again later that day.
Brady snatched the art project, which had been made with construction paper and ribbon, then started to advise Kristen that taking the time to create such a prop was a sign of a whole new level of desperation. Kristen interrupted and clarified that Rachel had made the mistletoe in school. "She was hoping we would hang it together --" Kristen revealed. "You know how I feel about you encouraging her fantasies about us getting together," Brady protested. "I am 'encouraging' her creativity," Kristen countered. "Yeah, well, maybe you should do an art project based on the plant that helped save Marlena's life, since that's the only reason why you're staying here!" Brady snapped.
Kristen gave Brady a dismissive groan then started to rush off to prepare for Susan's memorial service. Brady warned that E.J. probably wouldn't want Kristen, of all people, at the event. "Don't worry about it -- I have a plan," Kristen teased. "And you saying you 'have a plan' is supposed to make me not worry?" Brady sputtered. "You'll see," Kristen promised before exiting the townhouse, drawing a sigh of concern from Brady.
Brady left the living room for a while but eventually returned and found Sister Mary Moira removing Marlena's look-alike doll from the mantel. "Just what sort of voodoo is this?" Sister Mary demanded to know. "Nice try, Kristen," Brady responded. "How dare you confuse me with that godless wretch!" Sister Mary protested before setting aside the doll then wondering if the real Marlena was around. "I knew you were good at this, but I gotta say, this is good -- it's very convincing," Brady admitted before pointing out that Kristen's plan to sneak into the memorial service would fall apart if Susan's sister showed up. "I am her sister!" Sister Mary insisted, prompting Brady to retrieve the crafted mistletoe then seize a kiss.
Sister Mary shoved Brady away with a scream of protest. "How dare you press your unclean lips against the flesh of one of Christ's sacred brides!" Sister Mary snapped before producing a ruler and smacking Brady multiple times as punishment.
John and Marlena split up at the town square, hoping to finish their Christmas shopping in half the time that way, then reconvened at the entrance later that day and took turns bragging about great finds. John hoped that the camera drone Marlena had purchased for Johnny would be used on projects that had nothing to do with demonic possession. Marlena had also purchased some Troll dolls for Holly but was quick to warn John that they might not get to see the child during the holidays because Eric and Nicole were on the outs again. John fretted that the age-appropriate marine biology kit Marlena had purchased to encourage Rachel's newfound interest in whales probably wouldn't make up for the disappointment of not hearing wedding bells.
Marlena agreed with John then revealed a plan to free Brady from Kristen's clutches. "You want me to 'get close to' Kristen? Again? Come on, Doc -- I think you remember that I tried that once before, and it didn't work out that well...and, you know, my powers of seduction may have --" John objected, prompting Marlena to interrupt and clarify that the plan wouldn't require seduction.
Marlena reminded John that Kristen was estranged from the other DiMeras and cut off from Lani. "Be her friend -- you know, play on the long history that you've had, and remind her that she can still trust you," Marlena advised. "I just love it when you use your mastery of psychology to hatch a scheme!" John raved. "No, it's not a 'scheme' -- this is just plain good parenting," Marlena insisted.
John decided to skip the memorial service and set Marlena's plan in motion right away. "Susan, of all people, would understand how desperate we are to save our son and granddaughter from Kristen DiMera," John assured Marlena.
E.J., still with Johnny at the DiMera mansion, admitted to having had a drunken hallucination of Ava during a visit to the crash site. "Ironic, isn't it? In death, Ava made me feel as crazy as she was," E.J. mused.
Ava, still hiding in the DiMera crypt, bragged to Charlie that the bomb they were admiring packed enough power to obliterate at least half of St. Luke's. "And it's all for E.J. DiMera," Charlie noted. "When he shows up at Susan's funeral, he's gonna be the one resting -- in pieces," Ava joked.
Charlie sensed some hesitation, but Ava denied having doubts about the plan. "I was just thinking -- how great would it be if all of my other enemies could get what was coming to them, too...starting with Nicole Walker," Ava clarified before explaining to Charlie that Nicole had stolen Rafe then had a brief affair with Eric before moving in with E.J. "You're absolutely right -- a person like that needs to get her comeuppance," Charlie declared. "The good news is, she will most likely be accompanying E.J. to the funeral...which means I can kill two birds with one bomb," Ava stressed before donning a wig, oversized sunglasses, and an oversized hat.
Kristen entered the DiMera mansion and found E.J. in the living room. E.J. insisted that Kristen wasn't welcome at the memorial service. Kristen tried to object, but E.J. refused to reconsider. "You tried to take me away from her when I was a baby!" E.J. spat. "She was forever traumatized by what you and Father put her through!" E.J. continued. "You don't give a damn about me or my mother, and you are the last person that she would want at her funeral, so get the hell out and let me grieve in peace!" E.J. concluded, drawing a sigh from Kristen, who left without saying another word.
Nicole stormed into the living room a short time later and prepared a stiff drink at the bar while venting to E.J. about what had just happened with Eric. "A one-night stand? Who knew he had it in him!" E.J. mused before offering Nicole words of comfort.
E.J. vented to Nicole about what had just happened with Kristen. "And yet, she was the only one of my siblings who was available," E.J. admitted before explaining to Nicole that Tony and Anna were visiting Carrie and Austin for the holidays, Stefan was dealing with a business emergency, and Chad was still in no state to be attending such a sad event. "I can go with you," Nicole offered, surprising E.J. "Do you really want to risk being seen in public with me again? We might get a few more tongues wagging!" E.J. warned. "You are my friend, and I want to be there for you," Nicole insisted.
Kristen entered the Evans-Black townhouse while Brady was applying ice to the injuries that Sister Mary had caused earlier. Brady couldn't resist gloating about having correctly predicted that E.J. wouldn't want Kristen to attend Susan's memorial service. Kristen couldn't resist laughing for a full minute about the misunderstanding that had prompted Brady to make out with a nun.
Kristen wondered what would have happened if Brady's suspicion had been correct. "It's me in the nun's habit, and you hold up the mistletoe, and you put your lips on mine, and I respond --" Kristen whispered. "Take it easy --" Brady protested. "And then, all of a sudden, we would start tearing each other's clothes off, and then we would just go straight back to our bedroom -- I mean, that is, if we made it that far --" Kristen continued. "Stop --" Brady objected. "Why do you keep fighting this? We both know that it's still there between us," Kristen concluded before leaning in to kiss Brady. "Ho, ho...whoa, boy!" John called out from the townhouse doorway, prompting Brady to push Kristen away then rush off.
John fetched two bottles of beer from the kitchen then rejoined Kristen in the living room. Kristen thanked John for the beer then pointed out that the memorial service was about to begin. John admitted to having decided to skip the event, prompting Kristen to probe for more details. "Doc and I were out Christmas shopping, and we kind of got into a dispute," John revealed before adding that the argument had been about Kristen.
Brady headed over to the town square for a meeting with Eric. "Thanks for coming to see me," Eric began. "We got a lot to talk about," Brady responded.
Eric was confused at first but soon realized that Brady had heard about the recent incident at Small Bar. "Besides me being worried about you, Eric...I mean, you missed a whole day of work, and I had to reschedule the entire summer swimsuit shoot, and we had to rebook all the models," Brady grumbled, prompting Eric to apologize. "'Sorry'? You know, you cost me a lot of money, man -- if you weren't my brother, I'd probably have to fire you --" Brady stressed. "I'll save you the trouble -- I quit," Eric countered, surprising Brady.
Charlie appeared at St. Luke's while Ava was hiding the bomb under a covered table that was displaying some of Susan's belongings. "Is someone reminiscing over her near-adventures in cradle-robbing?" Charlie teased after catching Ava staring at a framed photograph that featured Johnny alongside Susan. "Johnny was kind to me -- maybe things would have been different if I had just let him into my life," Ava explained to Charlie. "Coulda, woulda, shoulda! Sorry, Mom -- you may have been Johnny's little cougar fantasy at one point, but now you're just the crazy lady who killed his grandmother," Charlie countered, annoying Ava, who demanded to be left alone for a while.
Johnny entered the church a short time later and saw Ava from behind. "I'm Susan's grandson, Johnny -- are you a friend of hers?" Johnny called out. "We're not quite ready yet -- maybe you want to wait outside?" Johnny suggested.
Sister Mary entered the church in tears just then and started fretting about what had just happened with Brady -- a "venomous heathen" whose unwelcome kiss had "tasted like coffee and sin" -- and Ava sneaked off while Johnny was distracted.
Johnny stepped outside to search for the mystery woman but found only Marlena. "I am sure she's okay, honey -- you know, people deal with grief in different ways," Marlena advised, but Johnny still sensed that something was amiss.
Marlena entered the church and greeted Sister Mary then started to apologize for John's absence. "He isn't the one who should be expressing remorse -- it's that reprobate son of his who needs to atone!" Sister Mary spat, confusing Marlena. "He stuck his forked, fornicating tongue down my virgin throat --" Sister Mary began to explain. "Whoa -- that's an image," Marlena muttered while Sister Mary was finishing the story.
Marlena wondered what had caused Brady to suspect that Sister Mary was Kristen. "I don't know, and I don't care! That horrible woman has corrupted his mortal soul -- which is why you and John Black should have done a better job of keeping your boy away from that she-devil --" Sister Mary snapped. "We're working on that," Marlena promised.
E.J. and Nicole entered the church before Sister Mary got around to asking Marlena for more details. Marlena offered E.J. condolences then pulled Nicole aside for a private conversation about Eric's downward spiral. Nicole urged Marlena to check on Eric as soon as possible then made it clear that E.J. was just a friend. E.J. interrupted to inform Marlena that the largest and most beautiful arrangement of flowers in the church was from Sami. "That was very thoughtful of her," Marlena mused, and E.J. seemed to agree, as did Nicole.
A priest soon approached and offered to start the memorial service, prompting E.J. to object that Johnny hadn't arrived yet. Sister Mary and Marlena took turns clarifying that they had each seen Johnny just a few minutes earlier.
Ava was skulking around the church grounds when Johnny approached from behind and called out a greeting. Ava tried to flee, but Johnny followed. "Ava?" Johnny sputtered after catching up. "In the flesh," Ava confirmed.
At the penthouse, John and Kristen sipped beers and talked about his fight with Marlena. "Doc wants to kick you out of the house, and I have a problem with that," John said. Kristen reminded John that he had not welcomed her. John explained that his stance on Kristen had softened.
"How so?" Kristen asked. "This whole idea that you are solely here to suck Brady back in, I don't see that. But it's all the Doc sees," John explained. Kristen confirmed that Marlena had been cold to her. John explained that Marlena was worried about Kristen's closeness to Brady.
"[Marlena] warned me that my schemes would never work," Kristen said. "That's so unfair," John muttered. John argued that Marlena wanted Kristen out of the penthouse because Marlena did not understand why Brady had broken up with Chloe. "And now that he has, [Marlena] thinks that you're getting too close to Brady, and he's in danger of falling for you all over again," John said. "What do you think?" Kristen asked. "I think you belong with your daughter," John said. Kristen asked John if that meant that he believed Kristen belonged with Brady.
"Whoa, I didn't say that," John stressed. John explained that he and Marlena had a fundamental difference of opinion about Kristen. "Which is?" Kristen asked. "She thinks you're a really bad person. And I don't," John said. Kristen smiled. "You don't think I'm a bad person?" Kristen asked. John said no.
"I really don't think Doc does, either. It's just that when it comes to you and Brady, I think her view is a little, I don't know, colored by our romantic past," John said. "Or maybe she thinks that your view of me is colored by our romantic past," Kristen said. John shrugged. "I remember who you were when I first met you, Kristen Blake. For crying out loud, you were a social worker," John said with a chuckle.
"You made a difference in a lot of people's lives. And see, that's not the work of a bad person," John said. "That was a long time ago," Kristen whispered. John admitted that he had been suspicious of Kristen's motives, but his suspicions had faded. "I see her, the other Kristen, the good Kristen. The Kristen that I fell in love with," John said. John talked about how the Kristen he had known had been called to serve God.
"You were always looking out for other people," John said. John reminded Kristen that she had been one of the first people to have realized that Marlena had been possessed. "It was a very scary time," Kristen said. John credited Kristen with having helped him save Marlena from the devil. With a chuckle, John noted that it was ironic that Marlena believed Kristen had evil intentions when it had been Kristen that had saved Marlena from the devil.
"You were a real friend to her, Kristen. And honestly, I just can't understand why she can't find it in her heart to be a friend to you now," John said. Kristen averted her eyes. "Maybe she still can't see past my mistakes," Kristen whispered. "What she needs to see is how much you love your daughter," John countered. John argued that Brady had moved Kristen into the house so that Rachel could be with her mother.
"Brady and I already see that you're not only a good mother, but you're a really good person," John said. "No, I'm not," Kristen said with tears in her eyes. John asked Kristen what she meant. "What did you do?" John asked.
At DiMera Enterprises, Stefan and Chloe worked in the boardroom. Stefan thanked Chloe for her help. "I didn't want supply chain issues to keep E.J. from his mother's service," Chloe said. When Stefan jokingly asked Chloe if she had anything better to do, she sighed. Stefan asked what Chloe had missed.
"Brady and I were supposed to be in New York tonight. He got us tickets to one of my all-time favorite operas. They don't perform it that often. So, it was special," Chloe said. "You were really looking forward to it," Stefan said. Chloe nodded yes. "Until Brady dumped me for your sister," Chloe grumbled.
"Brady hurt you. You're allowed to be upset. But I was under the impression that you were getting over it," Stefan said. Chloe explained that though Brady had justified his actions as a parent, she believed that Brady had lied about his feelings for Kristen all along. "I'm sorry. It seems to be wearing very heavily on you," Stefan said. Stefan promised that Chloe would forget Brady by New Year's Eve. As Stefan and Chloe kissed, his computer beeped with a message from shipping.
"Crisis averted. Now if I hurry, I can make Susan's memorial," Stefan said. "I'm sure E.J. would appreciate that. I'd be happy to go with you," Chloe said. Stefan gratefully accepted Chloe's offer, and they left for the service.
In the square, Brady complained to Eric about how Eric had missed the photo shoot. When Eric quit his job, Brady asked what he could do to fix the situation. "There's nothing you can fix, Brady. I just don't want to work with Nicole," Eric whispered. "I know it is a lot of hours to work with your girlfriend--" Brady started. "She's not my girlfriend!" Eric yelled. Eric explained that he and Nicole had broken up.
"I'm not sure we were ever back together," Eric added. "Things aren't easy for you two right now, especially now that Jada is pregnant," Brady said. Brady rambled on about the challenges for Eric and Nicole. "Stop!" Eric yelled. Eric told Brady that Nicole had talked Jada into having an abortion. After a moment, Brady slapped a comforting hand on Eric's back.
"I'm sorry. I had no idea what you were dealing with," Brady said. "It's all right. Thank you," Eric whispered. Brady told Eric that he needed to say something as a big brother. "Was Nicole wrong in talking to Jada about her pregnancy? Yeah, probably. But from everything you've told me, it sounds like Jada made the decision that was best for her," Brady said. Brady advised Eric that it would be unfair to blame Nicole for Jada's decision.
"The decision about the abortion, it was up to Jada. But let's not forget that Nicole went behind my back and gave Jada this whole speech about single motherhood and how hard it would be. But that doesn't really matter anymore," Eric said. Eric noted that he and Nicole were not good for one another.
"You remembered why it didn't work out [before]," Brady said. Eric told Brady that Nicole had tracked him down at Sloan's apartment. "She laid into me for sleeping with Sloan," Eric said. "I'm sorry, what?" Brady countered. Eric explained that Sloan had served as his attorney, and one thing had led to another. Brady warned Eric about Sloan's reputation.
"Did you hear what she did to Paulina and Chanel?" Brady asked. "That's real classy coming from a guy who is shacking up with Kristen DiMera," Eric countered. Defensive, Brady stressed that he was not sleeping with Kristen. "But you are living with her," Eric countered. Brady argued that the situation was about parenting.
"That's exactly how it started last time," Eric said. Eric reminded Brady of when Kristen had convinced Brady to move into the Kiriakis mansion during Kristen's pregnancy. "She manipulated you. She wormed her way into your house and then into your bed," Eric argued. Brady stressed that he would never sleep with Kristen again.
"You're still attracted to [Kristen]," Eric said. "I'm attracted to vodka, too, all right? But I manage to control myself because I know the road leads to disaster," Brady countered. Eric warned Brady that it was only a matter of time before Brady reconciled with Kristen. "I'm not going to go anywhere near her, not after what she did," Brady said.
"What did she do to you?" Eric asked. Before Brady could answer, Chloe and Stefan walked into the square. Chloe attempted to direct Stefan away from Brady, but Stefan walked over. "Can I get those tickets?" Stefan asked Brady. "What?" Brady said. Stefan reminded Brady about the opera tickets. "I was thinking we could exchange them for another performance. Perhaps Valentine's Day," Stefan said. Annoyed, Eric attempted to shut Stefan down, but Stefan continued.
"Do you have any idea how much this night meant to her?" Stefan yelled. "I care about her more than you know," Brady said. Chloe shifted uncomfortably as she watched her two paramours argue. "So much so that you tossed her aside for my sister?" Stefan said. "That isn't what happened," Brady countered. Stefan argued that Chloe was finally with someone who treated her with respect.
"We're going now," Chloe said. "No, hang on. Unlike Brady, I'm going to make sure that you make it to this opera," Stefan said. Brady argued that as a DiMera, Stefan could fly in the opera company for a private show. With a shake of his head, Stefan told Brady that he had blown it. "You had the most wonderful woman on the planet. And you threw her aside like she's garbage. At least now she is with a real man," Stefan said. Brady punched Stefan.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Chloe yelled. "He's out of control, that's what's wrong with him. Just like his brother," Stefan said. "Leave him out of it," Brady said. "You're both rageaholic jerks who think nothing of assaulting people," Stefan said. When Stefan noted that he should call the cops, Brady held out his phone. "Call the cops, Stefan," Brady said. Chloe urged Stefan to leave with her instead.
"My brother declined to press charges against Eric. Guess I could do the same for poor Brady here. Besides, a jail sentence is temporary compared to the time you're going to spend thinking about what a fool you were to let her go," Stefan said. Stefan and Chloe walked away. Brady fought back tears, and he let out a sigh. "You okay?" Eric asked. Brady said that it drove him crazy to see Chloe with Stefan. "If you love her so much, why did you give Chloe up?" Eric asked. Worried, Eric demanded to know the truth.
"Why would you move this psycho [Kristen] into our parents' home?" Eric yelled. "Because I didn't have a choice!" Brady blurted out. Brady explained that Kristen had blackmailed him. "[Kristen] forced me to break up with Chloe and move her in," Brady whispered.
At the edge of the square, Stefan apologized to Chloe. "I shouldn't have provoked him like that," Stefan said. Stefan told Chloe that he hated the way that Brady had treated her. Stefan suggested that they head home for the reception.
At the church, E.J. refused to start Susan's memorial service until Johnny returned. "I saw him outside. He said he wouldn't come in with me, because he was looking for a woman," Marlena said. "What woman?" E.J. asked. Sister Mary Moira noted that Johnny had walked out on his conversation with her to pursue a woman.
"This woman Johnny ran after must have been pretty important or pretty beautiful," Nicole said with a chuckle. E.J. asked if anyone had more information about the woman. "All [Johnny] said to me was he called after her and she didn't turn around, so he never had a chance to talk to her," Marlena said. "This is disconcerting," Sister Mary Moira said. Sister Mary Moira demanded that the priest start the service. Underneath the altar, the clock on Ava's bomb counted down.
"We are not starting this ceremony until my son walks through that door," E.J. said. Tripp walked into the church. Tripp said, "This is the son of a bitch who killed my mom." Nicole intervened, and she stressed that E.J. had not killed Ava. "Her death was an accident. She drove off the road," Nicole said. "With E.J. in hot pursuit. He hated my mom. You wanted her gone, permanently. So, you forced her to crash," Tripp argued. E.J. countered that the accusation was ludicrous because Susan had been in the car, too.
"I wanted Ava to stop!" E.J. said. "That's the truth," Nicole agreed. "Save it! The last person I want to hear from is the tramp who slept with my mom's boyfriend behind her back," Tripp said. Upset, E.J. yelled at Tripp not to disparage Nicole. "You are to blame for all of this, you selfish, sadistic bastard. I mean, none of this would have happened if you hadn't ordered my mom to leave town," Tripp argued. E.J. countered that Ava had escalated the situation when she had kidnapped Susan.
"No, E.J., you escalated it by kidnapping me," Tripp said. E.J. looked across the room at everyone. Tripp argued that E.J. had ordered his kidnapping to avoid paying the ransom. "You cheaped out on your own mother, you bullied mine, and now they're both dead!" Tripp yelled. Sister Mary Moira asked for everyone to be civil so that they could start the service.
Outside the church, Johnny recognized Ava in her disguise. "How is this possible? They said nobody could survive that crash," Johnny said. "Guess I'm hard to kill," Ava said with a shrug. "If you survived the crash, does that mean my grandma's alive too?" Johnny asked. "I'm afraid not," Ava said. Ava explained that she had jumped from the car, but Susan had not. Concerned, Johnny asked Ava why she was at the service in disguise.
"I'm here because I wanted to pay my respects to your grandmother," Ava lied. "I can't believe that you have any interest in honoring my grandmother, considering what you did to her," Johnny said. Ava admitted that she was sorry that Susan had been collateral damage. "But it is a war that [E.J.] started when he tried to make me leave town," Ava stressed. Ava reminded Johnny that he had been upset with E.J.'s order, as well.
"I was pretty upset when I found out that my dad kicked you out. Now, I'm starting to think he might have done the right thing," Johnny said. Johnny argued that Ava had started the war when she had faked her marriage to Jake. "You said that you understood that and that it didn't matter because Jake wanted to marry me," Ava said. "I was wrong," Johnny said. Johnny argued that Ava had lied and stolen from the family. "I was wrong to defend you," Johnny said. Ava asked Johnny why his feelings had changed.
"That was before you killed my grandmother!" Johnny screamed. "Susan is dead, but I didn't kill her," Ava argued. Johnny laughed ruefully. "I bet you didn't kidnap her, either," Johnny countered. Ava admitted she had kidnapped Susan to teach E.J. a lesson. "So, you used an innocent woman as a weapon?" Johnny asked. "E.J. DiMera, he disrespected me. He needed to pay," Ava argued. Johnny reminded Ava that E.J. had paid the ransom.
"And then my grandmother showed up at the airfield, and you dragged her off. Why? You got exactly what you wanted. Why couldn't you just leave?" Johnny asked. Ava explained that E.J. had failed to pay the money, but Johnny disagreed. "First, he had to kidnap Tripp," Ava yelled. Johnny took a step back, speechless. "I'm guessing [E.J.] left that part out," Ava said. "Is he all right?" Johnny asked. Ava explained that Steve had rescued Tripp.
"So, you see, I'm not the only one who dragged an innocent person into this," Ava said. Johnny asked Ava why she had kept Susan after Tripp had been set free. "What happened on the road that night?" Johnny asked. Johnny accused Ava of intentionally crashing the car in order to hurt his father.
Sister Mary Moira exited the church. "We were all wondering where you were," Sister Mary Moira said. "I just ran into an old friend," Johnny said. Annoyed, Sister Mary Moira argued that the fate of her sister's soul was more important than Johnny's conversation. When Sister Mary Moira mentioned that Tripp had entered the church, Ava's face went pale.
Inside the church, E.J. and Tripp continued to argue. "We are going to pay respects to my mother, and you are going to get the hell out of here," E.J. growled. Tripp sat in a pew and refused to leave. Beneath the altar, the timer on the bomb counted down.
"Why should I let this monster grieve for his mother when he took my mother from me?" Tripp said. Angry, E.J. grabbed Tripp's arm, and he attempted to pull Tripp out of the pew. Ava ran into the church. "Tripp! You need to come with me right now," Ava said. E.J., Nicole, and Marlena gaped at the sight of Ava in her disguise. "Mom?" Tripp said. Tripp ran into his mother's arms.
"We've got to get out of here," Ava said. Ava grabbed Tripp's hand, and she pulled him toward the exit. E.J. ordered Nicole to call the police. Tripp resisted leaving. Johnny walked in. "I'm assuming this is the mystery woman you were searching for earlier?" E.J. asked Johnny. Johnny said yes. As E.J. grabbed Ava's arm, Tripp yelled at him to let go. "I can handle E.J., Tripp. Just please go," Ava said. Tripp refused to leave his mother. "There is a bomb!" Ava yelled. Ava lifted the fabric on the altar to show everyone the bomb. The timer was down to six seconds. "Run!" Ava screamed. The bomb exploded.