Days of our Lives Recaps: The week of January 2, 2023 on DAYS

Gabi told Stefan and Chloe about the brainwashing. Stefan rejected Gabi. Eric stashed Rachel with Sloan. Nicole used restraint with E.J. Johnny and Wendy decided to date. Alex acted territorially. Rafe finalized his divorce. Sarah told Justin and Bonnie that Xander had been the kidnapper. Leo warned Gwen. Bonnie punched Xander and talked to the police. Sarah asked for a divorce. Alex and Stephanie decided to sleep together. Brady demanded the orchid in exchange for Rachel. The orchid disappeared. Eric told John and Marlena about Kristen's blackmail. Rachel returned home. Kayla and Marlena's health declined. Kate died.
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Gabi told Stefan and Chloe about the brainwashing. Sarah told Justin and Bonnie that Xander had been the kidnapper. The orchid disappeared. Kayla and Marlena's health declined. Kate died.
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the week of January 2, 2023
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Eric and Brady convince Kristen that Rachel is missing

Eric and Brady convince Kristen that Rachel is missing

Monday, January 2, 2023

by Mike

E.J. and Nicole, still together in the living room of the DiMera mansion, tried to have a discussion about the kiss they had just shared -- but they soon decided that they would rather have sex instead.

Nicole and E.J. headed upstairs in search of a bed, making out and undressing along the way. Nicole eventually pulled away from E.J. and put a stop to what was happening. E.J. was quick to remind Nicole that someone else was probably having sex at that very moment. "Eric is just using Sloan to get over me...but that doesn't mean that I should use you to get over him," Nicole argued. "Use me!" E.J. begged. "One of my top New Year's resolutions is to stop making decisions that I will regret," Nicole maintained. "You call what you do 'making decisions'?" E.J. teased before backing down and leaving Nicole's bedroom.

Nicole waited until the coast was clear then composed a text message to send to Eric -- "JUST WANTED TO WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR!" -- but deleted it with a sigh after quite a bit of thought.

Li, still alone at the Salem Inn, phoned Gabi multiple times and grew increasingly frustrated as each call was sent to voicemail. "It's me again -- your groom!" Li stressed during one of the attempts.

Li eventually phoned Rolf and explained what had happened after the wedding ceremony. "'Sorry'? That's all you've got? I guess you're not the genius you thought you were -- and now...you've ruined my life!" Li spat before hanging up on Rolf.

Johnny and Wendy, still together at the town square, attempted to have a conversation about the kiss they had just shared -- but they soon agreed that they would rather go back to kissing instead.

Wendy and Johnny eventually resumed their discussion. "This is New Year's Eve -- us kissing could just be like...you know, going with the flow," Wendy reasoned. "Felt pretty real to me," Johnny countered. "Me, too," Wendy admitted.

Johnny wondered if Wendy wanted to head over to the park for a more private conversation. Wendy glanced at the nearby Salem Inn then gave Johnny an apologetic shake of the head. "I know I told my brother I was done with him...but his whole world blew up tonight," Wendy fretted. "Gabi's left Li. He will probably lose his job at DiMera. He might even go to prison," Wendy continued. "I feel so bad for him...and it kind of makes it hard to focus on how happy I am with you right now," Wendy concluded, drawing a nod of understanding from Johnny, who promised that they would see each other the following day and perhaps even go on a real date for a change.

Wendy said goodbye to Johnny then entered the Salem Inn and headed up to Li's room. "You said I was on my own," Li reminded Wendy. "I thought you might not want to be alone right now," Wendy explained, drawing a nod of gratitude from Li.

Wendy wondered if Li had really tried to kill Stefan months earlier. "I temporarily lost my mind," Li summarized. "You were always ruthless in going after something you wanted," Wendy acknowledged. "I learned that at our father's knee," Li muttered.

Johnny entered the DiMera mansion and found E.J. in the living room then revealed that Rafe had been forced to let Li and Kristen go due to lack of evidence. Johnny promised not to say anything to Rafe or Stefan about E.J.'s prior knowledge of the brainwashing scheme. E.J. thanked Johnny for the reassurance then changed the subject, wondering how things were going with Wendy. "We'll see what happens in the new year. What about you and Nicole?" Johnny responded. "We'll see what happens in the new year," E.J. countered.

Gabi groaned after barging into Stefan and Chloe's hotel room in Miami and seeing that they were rolling around in bed together. "Apparently, I'm a little too late," Gabi fretted as Stefan and Chloe pulled away from each other in shock.

Stefan couldn't understand how the hotel room door had gotten unlocked, so Gabi held up a key card. "The front desk was very nice to give me this after I showed them that my ID says 'Gabi DiMera' and that this is my husband's room!" Gabi clarified for Stefan before revealing what had happened after the wedding ceremony.

Stefan offered a few words of comfort at the end of the tale then ordered Gabi to leave. "Chloe and I were kind of in the middle of something important," Stefan explained. "You'd rather have sex than find out what happened to you?" Gabi sputtered. "We just made love for the first time -- and that is a very big deal to me," Stefan reasoned.

Stefan snatched the key card while Gabi was wondering if Chloe could ever truly be happy with someone whose feelings had been manufactured in a lab. Stefan forced Gabi out of the hotel room then slammed the door shut and apologized to Chloe for the interruption. Gabi pounded on the door over and over again while Stefan was trying to get back into bed with Chloe. "Are you not even a bit curious about what happened to you?" Chloe wondered. "I have heard so many versions of the same damn story, and I don't care!" Stefan responded.

Gabi took a break from trying to beat down the hotel room door after seeing that Li had called multiple times since the wedding ceremony. Gabi realized that could only mean that Li had already been released from police custody for some reason. Gabi phoned Li and demanded an explanation for the development. Li summarized that the police had no proof of Gabi's claims. "Well, I don't need proof, because I know what you did, and I hate you for it -- and if it's the last thing I do, I'm gonna make you pay!" Gabi spat before hanging up on Li.

Stefan professed to have real feelings for Chloe and vowed to eventually prove the claim. Chloe told Stefan that it would probably be best for them to stay in separate hotel rooms that night. "You sure?" Stefan wondered. "After tonight...I don't know, I'm not sure about anything -- well, except that I did have a really nice New Year's Eve with you, so...thank you," Chloe responded. "It was the best night I can remember having in a long time," Stefan stressed before giving Chloe a goodnight kiss then exiting the hotel room with some luggage.

Stefan ran into Gabi in the hallway. "You believe me!" Gabi assumed after seeing Stefan's luggage. "Get the hell out of my way!" Stefan demanded before shoving past Gabi. "It'll happen -- it's just gonna take some time, but it'll happen," Gabi muttered while watching Stefan storm off to the lobby.

Li thanked Wendy for visiting. "You can take off -- I wouldn't want you to hang around with a guy who's ruined everything for himself," Li muttered. "Well, at least you see that now -- that's something," Wendy responded. "I have nothing left," Li fretted. "You drive me crazy...but we're family, and no matter what you do, I will always love you," Wendy stressed before giving Li a hug.

Brady, still with Kristen at the Evans-Black townhouse, laughed off the news that Rachel was missing. "She's not in her bed, and it's after midnight," Kristen explained to Brady. "There's gotta be some kind of explanation," Brady assured Kristen.

Kristen phoned Eric then told Brady that the call had gone straight to voicemail. "You don't even look upset -- what is the matter with you?" Kristen snapped at Brady. "You know they have New Year's Eve fireworks down by the river -- I'm sure that's where he took her," Brady argued. "But he's not picking up his phone!" Kristen countered. "If you're talking about me, I turned my phone off," Eric interjected, entering the living room with a sandwich.

Kristen informed Eric that Rachel was missing. "That's impossible -- I just checked on her ten minutes ago," Eric objected. "Rachel, sometimes she sleepwalks --" Brady began to explain, confusing Kristen, who interrupted to question the claim. "She's done it once or twice before," Brady maintained before advising Kristen to check all the other bedrooms.

Brady waited until Kristen was gone then quietly demanded to know why Eric wasn't with Rachel. "She's with a woman who has zero scruples?" Brady sputtered after Eric answered the question. "She and Sloan hit it off immediately," Eric assured Brady. "Dude, you did not tell me that you were gonna bring Sloan into this -- how do you know that you can trust her?" Brady protested. "She's my lawyer -- we have attorney-client privilege," Eric reasoned. "That doesn't mean a damn thing because she aided and abetted you in a crime!" Brady countered.

Kristen returned just then and reported that Rachel was nowhere to be found. Kristen started to contact the police, but Brady advised against that course of action. "You're not on good terms with the police right now," Brady reminded Kristen. "I don't care -- our baby is missing, Brady! And why are you so damn blasé about it?" Kristen snapped. "It's just...she was here, and there's no way someone could have broken in," Brady explained. "What if she woke up, and she wanted to see New Year's Eve, and she sleepwalked out that door?" Kristen fretted, eyeing the balcony.

Eric composed a text message while Kristen was distracted. Kristen soon received the text message -- "I HAVE RACHEL. SHE IS FINE AND WILL STAY FINE UNLESS YOU CALL THE POLICE!" -- then started lashing out at Eric for having failed to prevent the kidnapping. "The doors were locked -- I don't understand," Eric muttered before starting to rush off with Brady to search for Rachel.

Kristen insisted on joining the search, prompting Eric to discreetly compose another text message -- "STAY HOME AND WAIT FOR FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS. COMPLY WITH THEM OR YOU'LL NEVER SEE RACHEL AGAIN!" -- to solve that problem. "I hate this," Brady whispered to Eric after they exited the townhouse. "I don't like it, either...but I prefer it to watching my mom get sick and possibly die this time," Eric responded. "She could do something crazy right now," Brady fretted before telling Eric why Kristen had been arrested earlier that night. "Convince Kristen that this is for real," Eric advised Brady before rushing off to check on Rachel.

Brady rejoined Kristen and claimed to have decided that they needed to help each other through the ordeal instead of splitting up. "If we don't find her, Brady, I don't want to go on living!" Kristen declared between sobs, prompting Brady to offer a hug.

Eric headed over to the Petersen apartment and saw that Sloan had managed to get Rachel to fall asleep. "I thought we were gonna ring in the New Year together, but instead, I spent my New Year's emergency babysitting," Sloan grumbled, prompting Eric to admit that there was more to the story. "I just helped you kidnap Kristen DiMera's kid? How could you get me mixed up in this?" Sloan snapped after Eric elaborated.

Eric shrugged and explained that Sloan had been the only available babysitter. "Why do I get the sense that you're enjoying this?" Sloan challenged Eric. "Kristen ruined my life a few years ago...and if I told you some of the things that she did to people I care about, you wouldn't even believe me, so I really don't care if she suffers one moment -- especially if it makes her do the right thing," Eric admitted to Sloan, shrugging again.

Sarah tells Bonnie that Xander was the clown

Sarah tells Bonnie that Xander was the clown

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Stephanie woke Alex up in his bed. "What are you doing here?" a groggy Alex asked. Stephanie explained that she was there to continue their date. "And this time, I came prepared," Stephanie whispered. Stephanie presented Alex a Christmas wreath adorned with condoms. As Alex smiled, Stephanie spoke in Leo's voice. Alex awoke, and he startled when he saw Leo on his bed.

"What the hell are you doing in my room?" Alex yelled. "Waking you from a very hot dream, apparently," Leo said. Alex said Leo had ruined his dream. As Leo asked to borrow toothpaste, Alex complained that Leo should talk to Sonny. "Well, Sonny's out, and I couldn't find any in his bathroom," Leo explained. Leo added that Sonny had gone to talk to Will.

"I'm with Will on this one," Alex said. "The guy who ditched his family to fly off to la-la land?" Leo countered. Alex argued that some people needed to travel for work. "Your whole MO is to target vulnerable men and bleed them dry," Alex stressed. "You say that like I have designs on Sonny. We're just friends," Leo insisted. Alex accused Leo of pining for Sonny.

As Alex ranted about friendships, Leo noted, "I don't think we're talking about Sonny anymore." "Of course, I'm talking about Sonny. You're trying to cause problems," Alex said. Alex ordered Leo to leave.

At the Horton house, Stephanie visited Chad. "I'm taking a personal day. I'm taking the kids ice-skating," Chad said. "I'm not here about work," Stephanie countered. Stephanie explained that she was there to drop off presents for the kids. Chad asked Stephanie if he had ruined her Christmas with Alex. Before Stephanie could answer, Thomas and Charlotte ran into the room. Stephanie gave the presents to the kids, and they asked her to join them ice-skating. Stephanie agreed.

When Chad, Stephanie, and the kids arrived at the skating rink in the park, Stephanie went over to a bench to sit. Alex walked by and said hello. "What are you doing here?" Stephanie asked. "Well, your assistant said I might find you here," Alex said. Alex asked Stephanie why she was in the park. Chad walked over with Thomas and Charlotte. Chad's smile faltered when he saw Alex, but then Chad introduced the kids to him.

"I heard that this one missed a meeting [with you]. I'm sorry, that's on us. We dragged her into this," Chad said. Stephanie escorted the kids back to the rink so that Chad and Alex could talk. Chad apologized again. "It's all good. You guys having a good time?" Alex asked. Chad said yes. With a nod, Alex reminded Chad that he was dating Stephanie. Chad chuckled.

"Yes, of course I know that you and Stephanie are together," Chad said. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean for that to come out as harsh as it may have. I know how rough Christmas was for you. I know you're missing Abigail. I get it," Alex said. Alex told Chad that he had had a great time on Christmas with Chad. Alex explained that prior to Chad's arrival, Alex and Stephanie had intended to have sex.

"[Being a third wheel] wasn't my intention. But with the holidays, I was just feeling lonely, and Stephanie's a friend, and she's easy to be with," Chad said. Alex agreed. "But the holidays are over. Just another workday. In which Stephanie and I had a meeting planned, and instead, she's here with you, having family time," Alex said. "Family time?" Chad said with a laugh.

"It's not an accusation. I understand the whole ice-skating thing is innocent. But I also know you had feelings for Stephanie," Alex said. Alex asked Chad if there was something between Chad and Stephanie that he should know about. Nearby, Stephanie ducked behind a bush to eavesdrop.

"There's absolutely nothing romantic going on between me and Stephanie, all right? She's my friend and my boss. That's it," Chad said. Stephanie walked over to Chad to tell him that the kids had asked for him. After Chad walked away, Alex suggested that they rent skates. "Who the hell do you think you are?" Stephanie said.

Will fixed a coffee in Allie's kitchen as he talked on the phone to his employer. "Christmas didn't exactly turn out the way that I planned," Will said. Will explained that he would have to delay his return to Los Angeles. "I'm aware there's work to do. I'll be on a plane as soon as I can," Will promised. As Will ended his call, Sonny knocked on the apartment door.

"Can we talk?" Sonny asked. "That depends. Where's Leo?" Will countered. Sonny told Will that Leo was still at the Kiriakis mansion. "Nothing else to say," Will said as he shut the door in Sonny's face. Sonny banged on the door, and he begged Will to open it. Reluctantly, Will let Sonny into the apartment.

"You have every right to be upset," Sonny said. Will explained that if Sonny kicked Leo out of the house, their fight would be over. "But for some incomprehensible reason, you just, you haven't done it yet," Will said. "[Leo] has nowhere else to go!" Sonny argued. Will warned Sonny not to feel sorry for Leo, because Leo was a predator.

"Why is it so hard for you to believe that someone can change?" Sonny asked. Frustrated, Will said he believed that people could change, but not Leo. "I'm not saying that Leo is a completely different person, and I am definitely not excusing his past behavior. But like I said, I have been spending a lot of time with him," Sonny said. Sonny explained that Leo was a human being with "feelings and dreams." Sonny added that if Will had been in town, he would have seen the change in Leo, too.

"You mean if I hadn't abandoned you to go to L.A.," Will said. Sonny dropped his head in hands in frustration. "That's not what I meant," Sonny said. Sonny told Will that the conversation about Will's job was a separate issue. "I asked you to kick him out. You refused. What else is there to talk about?" Will said. Sonny asked Will to hear him out, and Will agreed.

"When Craig left, Leo kind of lost it. He hurt a lot of people, but he knows that he made a mistake," Sonny said. Sonny told Will that when Leo talked about his past, he saw sadness in Leo's eyes and heard regret in his voice. "[Leo] spent a lot of time reflecting, thinking about how to change his life, how to turn it around. And the first step was to find a job. So, I offered him one," Sonny said. Sonny explained that he had offered the job after Leo and Sonny had started to become friends. Will groaned.

"[Leo] turned me down. You know why? Because he knew Uncle Vic would freak out and fire me. That's proof right there," Sonny argued. Will suggested that Leo had used the offer to leverage a better one. "Why are you being so naïve?" Will asked. Will argued that one act of kindness did not mean that Leo had changed.

"I'm trying to get you to understand the choices that I've made. And if you understand those choices, and you still want Leo gone, he's gone," Sonny said. Sonny explained that he was friends with Leo, but he would help Leo find another place to stay for Will's sake. "You're my husband, Will. You always come first," Sonny said. With a sigh, Will said he did not want to force Sonny to change his mind.

"You're not forcing me to do anything. All I want to do is make you happy. That's the most important thing to me," Sonny said. Sonny took Will's hands in his, and he said that he loved Will. "I love you when things are great. And I still love you when we're fighting. And I still can't believe you flew all the way out here, and I still haven't gotten a single kiss yet," Sonny said. Will smiled, and he kissed Sonny.

"I've been away for a lot longer than either of us thought I would be, and I'm sorry for that," Will said. Will admitted that he felt like he had stranded Sonny in Salem. "It's been hard," Sonny admitted. Will told Sonny that he was surrounded by new friends in L.A., and he was okay if Sonny had new friends, as well. "I just really wish it was somebody else," Will said. "I don't think we want a relationship where we can veto one another's friendships," Sonny said. Will agreed.

Will told Sonny that he respected Sonny's loyalty to Leo. "So, we'll agree to disagree?" Sonny asked. "Until you realize I'm right," Will said. With a grin, Will said that he hated to fight with Sonny. "Yeah, but I love making up," Sonny said. Sonny grabbed Will and kissed him.

In the Kiriakis living room, Justin and Bonnie settled on the couch to eat breakfast. Maggie walked in and announced that she had found an apartment for Sarah and Xander. Justin and Bonnie exchanged a look. "What's wrong?" Maggie asked. Justin explained that Xander had lied about his job. "And that's not all he lied about," Sarah said as she walked into the room. Sarah announced that she would never forgive Xander.

As Justin explained that Gwen had created the Rednax website, Sarah sat down on the couch and stewed in her anger. "I am so confused. I thought that Xander had the job, and then he decided to quit," Maggie said. Justin updated Maggie on what had happened with the lawsuit and Gwen's confession.

"It sounds to me like Xander went to extremes to convince you that he had a job because he was feeling, you know, awful, and because he wasn't able to provide for you," Maggie said. Sarah looked stricken. "This is about so much more than a stupid, fake job. Xander had a job. He just couldn't tell us what it was, because his boss was Ava Vitali," Sarah said. Sarah told Bonnie that she had been right.

"The kidnapper was Xander," Sarah said. Sarah explained that Ava had leveraged Xander's desperation for money into helping Ava kidnap Susan. "My God," Maggie whispered. Annoyed, Sarah argued that she was not surprised that Xander had turned to Gwen for help. "Are you saying that Xander was cheating on you?" Maggie asked. "Honestly, I don't know," Sarah said. Sarah admitted that she could not believe anything Xander said, because he had no moral compass.

"But [Xander] was snatched up by that musclebound clown, same as me," Bonnie said. "And yet somehow the clown managed to get out without being unmasked," Sarah countered. Sarah argued that the second kidnapping had been set up to make Xander look like a hero. "My God. Is it possible?" Maggie asked. "Well, to pull it off, he would have needed someone to help him," Justin said. "And I bet I know who it is," Sarah said. Leo walked into the room. As Justin, Bonnie, Maggie, and Sarah frowned, Leo asked what had happened.

"Sarah thinks that Xander was the kidnapper and that he hired a fake kidnapper, so that I wouldn't suspect that he was the real kidnapper," Bonnie explained. "That seems far-fetched," Leo said. Maggie asked Sarah who she believed had assisted Xander. "There's only one person that makes sense. Gwen," Sarah said. Justin noted that although Gwen had helped with the Rednax lie, it did not mean that she had helped with the kidnapping.

"The clown who kidnapped Xander and me was a man. A big man and didn't look at all like Gwen," Bonnie said. Leo listened intently as Justin announced that the police believed the kidnapper had worn a bulky body suit. Justin looked at Leo as he noted that the clown could have been a small-framed man. "What are you looking at me for?" Leo asked. "You're Gwen's friend," Sarah said. Leo swore that he did not know anything about Gwen having dressed as a clown. Leo hurried out of the room.

Gwen visited Xander's room at the motel, but there was no answer at the door. When Gwen turned the knob, the door opened. The room was disheveled, and Xander was lying on the floor. "Are you all right?" Gwen asked. Xander stirred awake.

"You weren't answering your phone. I thought you were hurt or worse," Gwen said. "Oh, worse. Definitely worse. I can't stop thinking about what a worthless human being I am. I am a wretched loser, lying dirtbag," Xander muttered. With a groan, Gwen ordered Xander to stand up. Xander refused to move, so Gwen pulled him to his feet, and she settled him into a chair. Gwen gave Xander a protein bar to eat. When Xander grumbled about his life, Gwen asked him what beating up on himself would do to help.

"What does anyone do when the one that you love no longer wants anything to do with you, Gwen?" Xander said. "That's funny, because I've asked myself that question many a time," Gwen said. Gwen advised Xander to have hope for the future. Xander explained that Sarah would not take his calls.

"It's like I no longer exist. Like we don't exist. It's over," Xander said. Gwen argued that because no one had arrested Xander, the relationship was not over. "It means that Sarah hasn't told the cops or anyone else," Gwen said. "You don't think she went straight to Bonnie and Justin?" Xander asked. Gwen noted that if Sarah had told anyone, they would have heard from someone.

"So, see? There's hope yet. Because that means that Sarah obviously decided to keep what you did to herself," Gwen said. Gwen told Xander that Sarah needed time to calm down. "But I did hurt her. Badly," Xander said. "But that wasn't your intention, was it?" Gwen asked. Gwen urged Xander to have faith in Sarah's love for him.

"There is no way Sarah is going to give me the benefit of the doubt about this. It's more likely that she'll find an evil clown to take me out," Xander said. Xander thanked Gwen for her pep talk. "I know how hard you've worked to get back into Jack's good graces, but if he finds out you've been helping me--" Xander said. "You let me deal with my dad," Gwen said. Xander refused to destroy Gwen's life, too.

"I'll tell Jack that I forced you to help me, and I'll protect you, I promise," Xander said. "You've already got so much to deal with as is," Gwen said. Xander stressed that he wanted to pay his debt to Gwen. "Let me," Xander pleaded. Gwen told Xander that she believed things would work out for Xander. When Xander announced that he preferred to drown his sorrows, Gwen took the liquor bottle from his hand.

"I'm going to be very brutally honest with you right now. Xander Cook, you are as delectable a specimen of the male species that I have ever laid eyes on. But you are never more unattractive than when you wallow in self-pity," Gwen said. Gwen told Xander that she would not let him give up on the woman of his dreams.

"Think about Sarah. Think about holding her. About kissing her. Touching her," Gwen said. "I've lost all of that forever," Xander lamented. Gwen urged Xander to imagine a happy future with Sarah. Xander closed his eyes and imagined his future. "Keep that mental image there at the forefront of your mind, and let it motivate you, put this fire underneath you, and hold on to it every minute of every day until Sarah is back in your arms," Gwen said. Xander gasped, and he opened his eyes. "That's exactly what I needed. You're right," Xander said. Xander hugged Gwen, and he thanked her for her help. "It's the least I could do," Gwen whispered.

When Gwen returned to the Horton house, a breathless Leo pushed past her to enter. Gwen told Leo that she did not have time to hear about his designs for Sonny, and she attempted to push Leo out of the house. Leo stuck his foot in front of the door so that Gwen could not close it on him. Gwen said that Sarah had decided not to tell anyone that Xander was the kidnapper. "Sarah is not keeping her mouth shut. She's telling everyone what Xander did," Leo said.

At the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie consoled Sarah. "This is all on me. I knew that there was something wrong with Xander, and I just pushed it off," Sarah said. "You love him," Maggie said. Sarah fought back tears. "I let that blind me to who he is. To who he is always going to be," Sarah said. Sarah's phone rang. When Sarah saw the caller was Xander, she threw her phone across the room. Maggie asked Sarah what she planned to do next. "I have to divorce him," Sarah said.

As Xander left a voicemail for Sarah, there was a knock at the door. It was Justin and Bonnie. Xander asked if they wanted to talk about Rednax. "I'll Rednax you," Bonnie said. Bonnie punched Xander in the stomach.

Maggie tries to talk Sarah out of divorcing Xander

Maggie tries to talk Sarah out of divorcing Xander

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

by Mike

Alex, still with Stephanie at the park, wondered why there was suddenly tension in the air. "I heard you talking to Chad just now -- telling him that he needed to back off because you and I are together," Stephanie answered. "All right -- I think there's been a little bit of a misunderstanding --" Alex tried to explain. "You're damn right there has been," Stephanie muttered.

Stephanie guessed that Alex had been about to identify the wrong person as the one who had misunderstood. "You have no right to tell me who I can and can't see -- I'm not your property!" Stephanie snapped. "That's not what I was saying, babe --" Alex attempted to clarify. "Then how would you describe that conversation?" Stephanie wondered.

Alex preferred to think of the exchange as a preemptive effort to make sure that Chad's unresolved feelings for Stephanie wouldn't lead to any problems in the future. Stephanie argued that Chad was still in mourning and was therefore uninterested in pursuing a relationship with anyone, but Alex wasn't convinced that the latter assertion was true. "I don't understand where this is coming from -- I mean, you're the one who asked him to stay and play video games with us on Christmas --" Stephanie objected. "I didn't want him to stay, Steph -- you and I were about to have sex!" Alex confessed. "Then why didn't you say something?" Stephanie wondered. "I don't want to look like a jerk!" Alex reasoned.

Stephanie scoffed then teased that Alex had only delayed the inevitable. "I'm sorry that you didn't want to spend Christmas with Chad, and I'm sorry that you think I'm spending too much time with him...but he is still grieving his wife -- my cousin -- and if I can help him, then I owe it to Abigail," Stephanie argued. "Did it ever occur to you that maybe you're leading Chad on?" Alex countered. "There is nothing romantic going on between me and Chad -- he knows that you and I are seeing each other, and he respects that 'cause he respects me...which is more than I can say for some people right now!" Stephanie snapped before storming off, ignoring Alex's protests.

Stephanie tracked down Chad and apologized for Alex's earlier behavior. "It's not unreasonable for Alex to want to spend time with the woman that he's seeing. If you and I were dating, I wouldn't want to share you with another man, either," Chad stressed. "He has nothing to worry about -- I mean, we're just friends, right?" Stephanie argued. "We're family," Chad clarified before telling Stephanie that was part of the problem.

Justin, still with Bonnie and Xander at the roach-infested motel, intervened before any more punches could be thrown. "He's just lucky I didn't go lower!" Bonnie shouted. "Thanks...I think," Xander grumbled. "I'm the one who should be complaining -- you've got some rock-hard abs!" Bonnie admitted as Xander collapsed onto the bed in pain.

Justin and Bonnie took turns explaining that their visit and its violent opening act were both responses to some information they had learned about Xander during an earlier conversation with Sarah. "You should be ashamed --" Justin declared. "No, you should be proud of yourself -- yes, proud -- because you are a criminal mastermind. Might as well enjoy your handiwork," Bonnie interjected.

Bonnie raved that the most impressive thing about Xander's plot had been the use of Gwen as a decoy in the second kidnapping. Xander insisted that Gwen had only been involved in the Rednax stuff, but Bonnie found that hard to believe because there were no other obvious suspects. Xander apologized to Bonnie and Justin, who stormed off to the police station together to give their statements.

Sarah, still with Maggie at the Kiriakis mansion, argued that filing for divorce was the only appropriate way to respond to the revelation of Xander's latest string of misdeeds. "I know how hurt you are, but...is it possible that...well, you're overreacting?" Maggie protested. "If anything, I am underreacting!" Sarah insisted.

Maggie conceded that Sarah was right to be upset about what Xander had done. "But if you still love him --" Maggie tried to add. "I am not like you, Mom -- I cannot live with myself if I am married to a man like Xander," Sarah fretted. "I've felt that way in my marriage a few times," Maggie clarified. "How do I trust that he will never do something like this again? And how do I stay in a marriage if I can't trust my husband?" Sarah wondered. "Well, you know, if you feel that way -- if you can't imagine ever trusting him again -- then you should divorce him," Maggie responded.

Maggie promised to support Sarah either way then stressed that it was okay to ponder the matter for a while before making a final decision.

Rafe entered the police station and wondered if Jada had managed to track down Rolf yet. "So far, every lead just brings us straight to another dead end," Jada answered. "Keep at it," Rafe requested.

Jada nodded then changed the subject, handing Rafe a manila envelope that a messenger had dropped off earlier. "Divorce papers," Rafe explained to Jada with a sigh after opening the envelope.

Jada tried to offer a few words of comfort, but Rafe was quick to admit that the documents weren't a complete surprise. "Still, it's not fun when they send you --" Jada maintained. "I'm actually the one that sent them to Nicole -- she just signed them and sent them back," Rafe clarified. "So...that's it, then?" Jada translated. "Yeah -- as soon as I sign these, my marriage is over," Rafe summarized.

Rafe stepped over to the nearest desk and retrieved a retractable ballpoint pen, prompting Jada to point out that there was no rush. "It's fine," Rafe insisted, clicking the pen's button. "Or maybe it isn't," Rafe backpedaled, repeating the action. "I feel like I failed...again," Rafe fretted before confiding in Jada about having already been through two other divorces over the years.

Rafe's admission left Jada speechless. "It's better to have loved and lost?" Jada eventually reasoned with a shrug before groaning then apologizing for the "cringey" response to Rafe's history of heartbreak. "I don't even know if that's true," Rafe confessed to Jada before unceremoniously signing the paperwork then declaring that it was time to get back to fighting crime.

Bonnie burst into the police station just then, with Justin close behind, and announced that Rafe and Jada were in luck because they were about to be given an open-and-shut case of crime to fight. "We're bringing them secondhand knowledge, hearsay -- unusable in a court of law," Justin clarified for Bonnie in an effort to manage expectations. "We are gonna do everything that we possibly can," Rafe promised after hearing the whole story, and Jada agreed with a nod.

Bonnie and Justin thanked Rafe and Jada then headed back to the Kiriakis mansion. Justin hoped that Bonnie's symptoms of PTSD would start to subside as a result of having learned that Xander was the kidnapper. Bonnie guessed that Xander's betrayal had hurt Justin, who confirmed the suspicion with a nod. Maggie soon joined Justin and Bonnie in the study and started fretting that Sarah was thinking about divorcing Xander.

Leo, still with Gwen at the Horton house, reported that Sarah had already told Bonnie, Justin, and Maggie about Xander's latest crime spree and might blab to the police next.

Gwen wanted to warn Xander right away, but Leo insisted that was a bad idea. "He's sinking, Gwenny -- you've got to abandon ship," Leo advised, but Gwen felt conflicted.

Leo soon changed the subject, fretting to Gwen that the police knew about the bodysuit that had been used during the second kidnapping. "Salem P.D. doing their jobs -- go figure," Leo grumbled. "If they follow the trail of the second clown, it could lead them right to my doorstep!" Leo continued. "I finally have my life together, Gwenny -- Sonny is actually starting to trust me, and for once, I am not a complete screw-up! The last thing I need is any trouble with the law!" Leo concluded -- and, as if on cue, someone rang the doorbell just then. "Hope we're not interrupting," Rafe, who was with Jada, began when Gwen opened the front door.

Leo squirmed while Rafe and Jada were questioning Gwen, who feigned innocence then warned that any future visits would involve a lawyer. Leo waited until Rafe and Jada were gone then advised that it might be best for Gwen to help the police.

Sarah headed over to the roach-infested motel to talk to Xander, who was quick to reveal that Bonnie and Justin had visited earlier and had probably already spoken to the police since then. "Are you gonna corroborate their story?" Xander wondered. "I can't lie to the police --" Sarah began to respond. "I would never ask you to lie, Sarah...but you might not have to," Xander interjected before reminding Sarah that the United States, unlike Scotland, had rules in place to protect spouses from having to testify against each other. "That's presuming I still am your wife," Sarah countered, horrifying Xander.

Sarah informed Xander that Maggie had advised that it would be best to take some time to think about the matter before making a final decision. "But when I reached for that door, my heart was racing -- I wasn't sure what I'd find," Sarah admitted while fighting back tears. "That proved to me that I don't trust you anymore -- and I never will," Sarah continued. "I'm gonna file for divorce when I leave here," Sarah concluded before rushing off to the bathroom to start packing, ignoring Xander's protests.

Kristen learns that Brady staged Rachel's kidnapping

Kristen learns that Brady staged Rachel's kidnapping

Thursday, January 5, 2023

by Mike

Marlena joined John in a room at the Salem Inn and released a sigh of contentment then raved that ringing in the New Year at the hotel had been a good idea and that its amenities -- especially the hot stone massage -- had been much-needed treats. John, who had been fiddling with a tablet computer, warned that there had been a development that might send Marlena straight back down to the lobby in search of more stress-relieving services. "You are not even gonna believe what Kristen has done now," John began to elaborate, drawing an eye roll from Marlena.

Marlena shuddered at the end of John's report then fretted that Stefan might not be the only person who was brainwashed. "If Brady were brainwashed, he would be a lot more enthusiastic about having Kristen in our house -- like, he'd be sleeping with her instead of, like, walking around with this dark cloud over his head," John argued, and Marlena conceded the point.

John and Marlena agreed, while on the subject of their townhouse, that it was weird that Brady had asked them to stay away from it for as long as possible that day. John started to give Marlena a kiss, eager to make the most of their remaining hours at the hotel, then turned away at the last second and sneezed. "That's a real mood breaker, isn't it? I'm sorry! It's that dang massage oil, that patchouli -- it gets me every time," John explained to Marlena with a shrug.

Rachel, still with Eric and Sloan at the Petersen apartment, turned down a sandwich after realizing that it had been made with chunky peanut butter. Sloan offered to prepare a different meal for Rachel then glared at Eric and muttered that being tricked into aiding and abetting a felony was a much bigger deal. Rachel asked Sloan to repeat the comment in a louder tone, prompting Eric to intervene with an offer to turn on the latest movie in the Jurassic Park franchise. "I just want to go home," Rachel requested. "I thought you were having fun!" Eric protested. "Well, I'm not now," Rachel countered. "You took a kid," Sloan explained to Eric with a shrug, not the least bit surprised about the turn of events.

Sloan delighted in witnessing Eric's efforts to weasel out of the dilemma Rachel had just created. Eric squirmed while pondering various responses then decided to claim that it simply wasn't safe to enter the Evans-Black townhouse at that time, but Rachel was quick to beg for further details, and Sloan was more than happy to echo the demand. "Your mommy is sick, and she doesn't want you to get sick," Eric explained. "Then why can't my daddy pick me up?" Rachel wondered -- and Sloan jumped in once again to press for an answer to the question. "Because...your daddy...he's sick, too," Eric clarified. "Yay! That means they must have kissed at midnight -- that's how you attract germs!" Rachel raved.

Rachel soon rushed off to the kitchen in search of a cookie, and Sloan waited until the coast was clear then gave Eric a shake of the head. "Really? You want to get the kid's hopes up about her parents?" Sloan snapped. "I didn't know what else to say!" Eric reasoned. "She's gonna be in a world of heartbreak when she finds out the truth -- that her daddy hates her mommy, and they'll never get married," Sloan fretted. "My mother's life is at stake, and so is my stepmom's and my aunt's, so if this is what it takes to save them -- not to mention getting Brady out from underneath her thumb -- then it's all gonna be worth it," Eric countered.

Eric started to apologize for having tricked Sloan into helping with the scheme. "You lied to my face," Sloan clarified. "You know, you're right -- I can't even believe what a skilled liar I've become," Eric admitted. "You're lucky that I'm madly attracted to you -- otherwise, I would have turned you in already," Sloan stressed. "I'm gonna make it up to you," Eric promised. "You'd better -- if I get caught, I could be disbarred," Sloan grumbled. "You're not gonna get caught," Eric insisted, but Sloan wasn't quite as confident. "I need this to be over today, Eric -- otherwise, you gotta come up with a new plan," Sloan demanded.

Kristen paced around the living room of the Evans-Black townhouse while fretting to Brady that it was really concerning that they hadn't heard from Rachel's kidnapper since the previous night. "We just need to be patient," Brady advised, drawing a scream of frustration from Kristen. "Why are you so calm?" Kristen snapped. "I have to be -- I mean, Rachel needs us to keep clear heads here," Brady responded.

Brady assured Kristen that John was investigating Rachel's kidnapping and that Eric was also still on the case. Kristen started to rush off, having developed a theory that Sarah had kidnapped Rachel again with Xander's help, but Brady insisted that it would be best to stay put. Brady promised to share the theory with John and Eric then offered a hug of comfort and convinced Kristen to use the kidnapper's period of silence as an opportunity to try to get some rest.

Kristen headed off to a bedroom, and Brady waited until the coast was clear then phoned Eric. "I think we should pull the trigger on this and make the demand of Kristen now," Brady informed Eric after they finished updating each other. "I was about to say the same thing," Eric responded. "Once we make the demand for the orchid, Kristen's gonna know that it's coming from me, because I told her that I would never tell another soul -- so, I'm gonna have to be really careful about the way I break the news to her, so she doesn't go off the deep end," Brady stressed. "Isn't she already there?" Eric argued. "She can always go further -- she can always get a little more cruel, a little more vindictive," Brady countered.

Brady admitted to having almost suffered pangs of guilt at times during the execution of the kidnapping scheme, and Eric scoffed in response then insisted that they had a very good reason for having resorted to such drastic measures. "If Kristen's telling the truth about them needing another dose of that serum," Brady clarified, and Eric conceded that the validity of that claim was still uncertain.

Brady reported to Eric that Kristen was resting at that moment. "She's gonna go nuts when she finds out that I was the one behind the kidnapping of Rachel -- I gotta be really, really careful about finding the right moment to just drop that bomb on her," Brady declared. "I think you just did," Kristen, who had returned to the living room just in time to hear that entire statement, called out from behind. "She's right here -- I gotta go," Brady explained before hanging up on Eric.

Kristen started lashing out at Brady. "Look, I don't know what you overheard, Kristen, but --" Brady tried to respond. "What I heard was that my suffering and my being sick to death with worry about Rachel is all on your head -- so, what the hell did you do with my daughter, Brady?" Kristen snapped. "Oh, come on -- your devious little mind can't figure this one out? I needed leverage on you, so I took Rachel -- and you're not gonna get her back until you hand over the orchid," Brady countered. "And then you can just kick me out of the house and go running back to Chloe?" Kristen guessed with a scoff before telling Brady that ship had sailed off to another port already.

Kristen insisted that Brady had messed with the wrong person. "You bring Rachel back to me, or I'll let those women die -- is that a chance you're willing to take?" Kristen spat. "You go ahead and withhold that orchid, but you're never gonna see your kid again -- is that a chance you're willing to take?" Brady countered.

Roman finished serving some customers at the Brady Pub then left the bar and claimed the extra chair at Kate's table. "You know what my New Year's resolution is -- one of them, anyway? To stop at the first bottle of Champagne," Kate informed Roman with a groan before conceding that surviving a life-threatening illness was at least one of the better excuses to end a year with an overindulgent celebration.

Rex soon entered the pub and announced, as if on cue, that Kate's blood test had returned alarming results. "I have elevated liver enzymes again -- and low uric acid," Kate summarized after Rex handed over the report. "Last fall, those levels returned to normal after you received the serum," Rex reminded Kate. "So...does this mean that you think I'm relapsing?" Kate wondered. "No -- not necessarily," Rex answered. "I mean, I feel fine...except for a little hangover," Kate insisted. "Well, if you've been overindulging on eggnog, that would certainly affect your liver function," Rex teased, prompting Kate to clarify that the hangover was the result of a one-time Champagne binge.

Rex warned that it wasn't going to be easy to figure out what was going on with Kate. "You're gonna show antibodies for this virus for the rest of your life, so we can't test for reinfection," Rex explained. "So...what can we do?" Roman interjected. "Run identical tests on Kayla and Marlena and see if we get similar results," Rex answered -- and, as if on cue, Kayla entered the pub just then, with Steve close behind.

Rex filled Kayla and Steve in on what was being discussed. "I assumed that one dose of the serum would keep the illness at bay forever," Rex admitted. "It was a reasonable assumption -- that's the way the virus acted with me all those years ago," Roman stressed. "Yeah...but, Dad, your cure was different -- it was derived from a rare species of orchid that's now extinct, while the cure for Kayla and Mom and Marlena was mysteriously dropped off at the police station in a vial," Rex explained. "Damn -- we should have tried harder to find out who our anonymous benefactor was," Steve fretted, prompting Kate to argue that it was too soon to be having regrets about the matter.

Kayla rushed off to the hospital with Rex to run more tests. "I hope that I didn't fail my mom -- I hope I didn't fail all three of you," Rex muttered before drawing samples of Kayla's blood then rushing off to the lab with them.

Kayla was hard at work when Steve arrived a short time later. "I have been gone for weeks -- I've got a lot of catching up to do, and if I'm gonna be out of commission again --" Kayla explained to Steve. "If that's even a possibility, is this how you want to be spending your time?" Steve countered, drawing a shake of the head from Kayla, who soon seized a hug.

Rex eventually returned and announced that Kayla's test results showed the same abnormalities. "I feel fine --" Kayla began to assure Rex before sneezing, prompting them to exchange looks of concern.

Steve was quick to point out that a sneeze was sometimes just a sneeze. "That's how the illness presented itself the first time in all three cases," Rex countered. "I'm relapsing," Kayla agreed.

Kate headed over to Statesville, which had just started allowing visitors again, then rejoined Roman at the Brady Pub later that day. "How's Lucas?" Roman wondered. "Well, he --" Kate began to respond before sneezing.

John and Marlena entered the Evans-Black townhouse and realized that no one else was around. John pondered the matter with Marlena for a few seconds then headed off to their bedroom with their luggage. Marlena sneezed while waiting for John to return to the living room. "Darn massage oil," Marlena muttered.

Eric read a text message from Brady then explained to Sloan that Kristen had agreed to hand over the orchid. Rachel soon approached to show off the results of a makeover Sloan had provided earlier. Eric raved that Rachel looked even more beautiful than usual. "I was gonna give Sloan a makeover next, but she had a better idea," Rachel teased, drawing a gulp from Eric.

Sloan and Rachel took turns enhancing Eric's look with makeup, hair bows, clip-on earrings, and fake tattoos. Rachel particularly enjoyed applying the tattoos, which were being created with lipstick, and resolved to show Kristen the trick sometime. "Your mommy could definitely use a heart," Eric advised Rachel.

Brady scoffed while following Kristen into the DiMera mansion. "I've heard of hiding things in plain sight, Kristen, but this is ridiculous -- who else is in on this?" Brady snapped. "No one," Kristen insisted.

Kristen led the way to the secret tunnels, drawing an eye roll from Brady. "Can't believe I didn't figure this one out," Brady grumbled while navigating the tunnels with Kristen. "What?" Kristen responded. "Anything and everyone is always hidden in the DiMera 'secret' rooms," Brady elaborated while Kristen was unlocking the door to one of those rooms.

Brady waited in the doorway as Kristen walked to the back of the room and opened the doors of an armoire then spun around to present the orchid with a flourish. "Voilà!" Kristen announced, confusing Brady, who saw a heat lamp and a pedestal but no orchid. "Oh, my God -- it's gone!" Kristen fretted to Brady after turning to face the armoire again.

Kate, Kayla, and Marlena decline rapidly

Kate, Kayla, and Marlena decline rapidly

Friday, January 6, 2023

At the Horton house, Chad and Stephanie sipped hot tea. Stephanie told Chad that she had captured video of when Chad had fallen on the ice. As Stephanie stood up to retrieve her phone from the desk, she groaned. Stephanie said her ankle was sore.

"It's been a long time since I skated," Stephanie said. Chad offered to massage Stephanie's ankle. "And then maybe you can accidentally delete that video," Chad said with a grin. Stephanie put her foot on Chad's knee, and he massaged her ankle. "You really know what you're doing," Stephanie said. Chad explained that he had dated a physical therapist. Alex called Stephanie's phone, and she pulled her leg away from Chad.

"Are you still mad at me?" Alex asked. Stephanie looked at Chad. "No. We're good," Stephanie said. Alex apologized. "I just keep getting this feeling that Chad keeps trying to find ways to spend time with you. And anyway, it is behind us now," Alex said. Stephanie agreed. Alex and Stephanie made plans to meet for dinner. Stephanie thanked Chad for the fun day, and she left to meet Alex.

In the wine cellar of the DiMera tunnels, Kristen opened a cabinet that was supposed to contain the orchid. The orchid was gone. "I don't understand. The orchid was right here," Kristen said. "Stop lying," Brady said. Kristen begged Brady to believe her. Brady warned Kristen that if she did not find the flower, he would never let her see Rachel again.

"Why would I [play games] when you are threatening to take my child from me? Which, by the way, is a despicable, heartless thing to do," Kristen said. "Are you kidding me? You have been holding Marlena's life over my head for the last couple months," Brady countered. Kristen argued that Rachel was innocent. "Did you think I wanted to bring my daughter into this? No, but you gave me no choice. Give me the flower," Brady said. Kristen reiterated that she did not have the flower. Brady told Kristen to say goodbye to Rachel.

"I swear to you, on Rachel's life, that I'm telling the truth. Someone stole the orchid," Kristen said. Brady asked who would have stolen the orchid. Kristen shrugged. "You took the one thing that could save Marlena and Kate's and Kayla's life. And you left it in an area where an army of people would have access to it. How could you be that careless?" Brady yelled. Kristen argued that she had not expected that any of the renovation construction crew would enter the room.

"I'm sure it is somewhere in this house," Kristen said. "For your sake, I hope to God it is," Brady growled. While Brady went upstairs and waited in the living room, Kristen talked to Harold. "[Harold] hasn't seen the orchid anywhere in the house. He said that no one has been in the tunnel since the construction started," Kristen said. Kristen added that the construction foreman was reputable.

"That brings everything back to you, right?" Brady said. "For the last time, Brady. I did not move the orchid," Kristen stressed. Brady argued that Kristen had gotten rid of the orchid out of spite. With a groan, Kristen argued that she would never have destroyed her only leverage against Brady.

"And besides, I don't really want Marlena and the others to die," Kristen said. "Well, now they might!" Brady bellowed. Brady called Kristen selfish. "I'm sorry. I really didn't want any of this to happen," Kristen said. "If anything happens to those three women, their blood is going to be on your hands," Brady growled.

At the hospital, Kayla confirmed to Rex and Steve that she and Kate had similar lab results. "It doesn't necessarily mean that you're relapsing," Rex stressed. "There's no denying these numbers. Kate's and my results were almost identical last fall," Kayla noted. Kayla added that the rate of decline was accelerated. "What does that mean?" Steve asked. "That means that Kate and I might be in real trouble. And I suspect that Marlena is, too," Kayla said.

"I don't suppose you have any more of that serum," Steve said. "We only had one vial to begin with," Rex said. Kayla explained that the serum had been split between lab work and doses for the patients. "Can it be reproduced?" Steve asked. "Maybe with the orchid that we made it from," Rex said. With a groan, Steve noted that they were at the mercy of the person that had previously gifted them the serum. "We are not going to just sit around and wait for a miracle. We are going to find some other viable treatment," Kayla said.

At the pub, Kate resisted going to the hospital. "I don't want to take any chances," Roman said. "I want to stay here," Kate countered. Kate insisted that her sneeze was nothing to worry about. After Roman talked to Kayla on the phone, he told Kate about Kayla's test results. "I guess we're relapsing together," Kate said. Worried, Roman argued that Kate needed to be with doctors that could respond to her needs. "I will not go to the hospital," Kate stressed. Chad walked in, and he asked if everything was okay.

"Maybe you can talk some sense into this woman," Roman said. Roman updated Chad. "[Kate] needs to get to a hospital as soon as possible. Don't you agree?" Roman said. "It doesn't matter if he agrees! I'm not doing it!" Kate yelled. Kate stood up to walk away. Kate took one step then fainted in Chad's arms.

At the hospital, Kayla talked to Rex about Kate. "My mother is not going to come in without a fight," Rex said. With a sigh, Kayla announced that she would call Marlena. As Kayla pulled her phone out of her pocket, she fainted. Steve and Rex caught Kayla before she hit the ground, and they sat her in a chair.

"[I feel] better. I just got so dizzy all of a sudden," Kayla admitted. Rex noted that Kayla had a fever. "We need to admit you immediately," Rex said. Kayla refused. "We're going to beat this thing, just like last time. There is no doubt in my mind," Steve said.

In the penthouse living room, Marlena yelled at John. "I just think you're being a little unfair here!" John said. "Unfair? Kristen is an evil, lying bitch. And you take her word over mine?" Marlena said. Marlena threw a glass of water in John's face. With a gasp, Marlena apologized.

"I guess I just got caught up in the moment," Marlena said. "That's okay. That's why we're rehearsing here. We want to make this fight look as real as possible here. It's the only way I'm going to get Kristen to trust me," John said. Marlena told John that she hoped he could discover why Brady was under Kristen's thumb. "If this works, we may finally get Kristen out of Brady's life for good," John said.

Alex and Stephanie returned to the Kiriakis mansion after they discovered that the Bistro was closed for renovations. As Alex and Stephanie dug into their grilled cheese sandwiches, Alex apologized for his earlier territorial behavior. "I'm not that guy. Well, at least I wasn't that guy until I met you," Alex said. "I promise, you have no reason to feel threatened by Chad," Stephanie countered. When Alex reminded Stephanie that she had almost hooked up with her friend Chad, Stephanie stressed that the circumstances had been different.

"I was worried about my mom's illness, and he was still grieving his wife," Stephanie said. "You know he is going to be ready to move on at some point," Alex said. Stephanie stressed that Chad's interest in dating had no bearing on her relationship with Alex. "I'm with you, not Chad," Stephanie said. Stephanie smiled at Alex, and they kissed. After dinner, Alex and Stephanie cuddled on the couch in front of the fire. Stephanie admitted that she was dreading going back out into the cold. "So, don't. Stay the night," Alex said. "I'd really like that," Stephanie said.

As Alex and Stephanie walked up to his room, he pointed out that she was limping. Stephanie explained that her ankle was sore from skating. Alex offered to massage her ankle. "That's okay. Chad already--" Stephanie started before she cut herself off. "Chad gave you a massage?" Alex asked. "It wasn't like that," Stephanie said. With a sigh, Alex said he was not jealous. Stephanie pulled Alex into a kiss.

At the hospital, Kayla settled into her hospital room and researched on her tablet. Chad called to tell Kayla that Kate was on her way to the hospital. Rex rushed downstairs to meet Roman and Kate. "You need to call Marlena," Kayla told Steve. Steve promised Kayla that they would find a cure. Kayla cautioned Steve to be realistic. "Someone anonymously dropped off the serum. God, I wish I could find out who that person was," Kayla said. Steve blamed himself for not having discovered the source.

At the penthouse, Eric stopped by to look for Brady. John said Brady was not home. Marlena thanked Eric for having agreed to babysit Rachel. "To be honest, I had an ulterior motive," Eric said. Eric explained that he had kidnapped Rachel.

"This is all an act just for Kristen's benefit," Eric explained. "A lot of that going around," Marlena muttered. With a shake of his head, John noted that kidnapping Rachel could send Kristen over the edge. "Much as I dislike that terrible woman, any mother being made to believe their child had been abducted--" Marlena started. Eric yelled that it was the only way to end Kristen's blackmail of Brady.

"I knew it!" John said. "What in the world does she have over him?" Marlena asked. "Your life," Eric said. Eric told John and Marlena that Kristen had provided the serum in exchange for Brady's breakup with Chloe. "We've always known that [Kristen] was manipulative, but I never believed she'd ever go this far," Marlena said. John admitted that he had suspected that Kristen had been responsible for obtaining the serum from Rolf.

"It doesn't make any sense, because once we were all cured, Brady didn't go back to Chloe. He brought Kristen here. To stay with us. Why would he do that if the threat was over?" Marlena asked. Eric shook his head. "According to Kristen, it's not," Eric said. Eric explained that a booster was needed as part of the treatment. "[Kristen] won't turn over the orchid that we need to make the serum unless Brady keeps doing what she wants," Eric said. John asked Marlena if she felt okay. Marlena sneezed. John shared a worried look with Eric.

"That's the second time you've sneezed today," John noted. Marlena dismissed the sneeze, and she asked Eric if he believed that Kristen had been honest about the need for a second dose. "[Brady] wasn't willing to chance it," Eric said. "Brady. He's sacrificed so much giving up the woman that he loves. Ugh. How could Kristen be so cruel?" Marlena said. "Why didn't Brady just tell us?" John asked. Eric explained that Kristen had threatened to destroy the orchid if Brady had told anyone about it.

"[Brady] only told me in a moment of frustration," Eric explained. "So, it was your idea to force her hand?" John asked. Eric nodded yes. When Eric said that Brady should be retrieving the orchid with Kristen, John groaned. "I don't know about this," John said. John worried aloud that Kristen would fall apart. "We're going to find out soon enough," Eric said. Brady returned home with Kristen.

"Where's the orchid?" Eric asked. "It's gone," Brady said. Brady updated Eric, John, and Marlena about the search. "Maybe she has it hidden somewhere else," John said. "She says that she doesn't," Brady said. When Eric rolled his eyes, Kristen yelled that she did not know what had happened to the orchid.

"Why should we believe you?" Marlena asked. "Because your son threatened to take off with Rachel, and I wasn't willing to risk losing her," Kristen said. "Well, you didn't have any problem risking the lives of three women to get what you wanted. You didn't have any problem taking Marlena, Kate, and Kayla's kids away from them. You know why that is? Because you're still a monster," John said. Frustrated, Kristen guessed that John had faked being nice to her. Kristen narrowed her eyes at Eric.

"It's obvious that you are the one who took my daughter," Kristen said. Kristen yelled that John, Marlena, Eric, and Brady were all liars. "You have no right to the moral high ground," Marlena said. Kristen argued that she had only wanted to get her family back. John reminded Kristen that Brady had attempted to work out a reasonable custody agreement with her.

"But there is no reasoning with you, because you are deranged, and you are pathetic. What the hell? After all these years, you're still coming after my family? And now you have put your own daughter in the direct line of fire!" John said. Kristen argued that Eric and Brady had endangered Rachel.

"No, you sick freak, think about it for a second. If you really lost that orchid, little Rachel could lose her grandmother. How do you think that's going to make her feel when she finds out that you were responsible for that?" John yelled. "[Kristen, you] not only endangered the lives of three women. You caused your daughter so much pain. You traumatized her to no end, but that wasn't enough," Eric said. John blamed it on Kristen's obsession with Brady.

"Maybe we'll find the orchid," Kristen said. "What if we don't? What's the plan then? What if the symptoms come back?" Brady yelled. John's phone rang with a call from Steve. Steve asked about Marlena. "She's fine, why?" John said. Steve updated John on Kayla and Kate's illness. After John ended the call, he told Marlena that she needed to go to the hospital. Marlena refused to go, but she agreed to lie down and rest.

"If you hadn't been playing your games, the doctors could have found a cure by now. And if anything happens to Kate or Kayla, and they don't make it, that's on you," Marlena said to Kristen. "Marlena, this was not my intention. I was planning to turn the orchid over at the first sign of any symptoms," Kristen said. Marlena scoffed, then she went to her bedroom with John.

"We need to find that orchid," Eric said. "Yes! And I do want to find that orchid, as well, but guess what? There is a pressing matter at hand," Kristen said. Kristen demanded that Eric return Rachel. While Eric retrieved Rachel, Brady asked Kristen if Rolf could have stolen the orchid. Kate noted that Rolf was halfway around the world.

When Eric returned with Rachel, she ran into Kristen's arms. "Mommy!" Rachel said. "Are you all right?" Kristen asked. "Yeah, but I missed you," Rachel said. Rachel explained that Eric had told her to stay away from home because Kristen and Brady had been sick. "Your daddy and I are perfectly fine," Kristen said. "I wish we could say that about everybody else," Brady grumbled.

In the waiting area of the hospital, Steve told Roman and Chad about the orchid. Steve explained that the orchid had disappeared. "So, Kristen knew that Kate and the others would need another dose and didn't say a word? If she had given us that damn flower at the start, we'd be in the clear. What the hell is wrong with her?" Roman muttered. Steve explained that Kristen had used the orchid as leverage to control Brady.

"In other words, playing games with people's lives," Chad grumbled. "And that means that the women we love could pay the price," Steve growled. Roman left to visit Kate's room. Steve told Chad that he would update Kayla about the orchid. "Is there anything I can do to help?" Chad asked. Steve asked Chad to call Stephanie.

At the Kiriakis mansion, Stephanie ducked into the bathroom to freshen up. While Alex waited on the bed, Stephanie's phone rang with a call from Chad. Alex rejected the call.

In Kayla's hospital room, Steve told her about the orchid. "I'd like to throttle [Kristen] right now," Steve muttered. "I'd like to do a lot worse," Kayla said. Steve asked Kayla about her research. "There is nothing. So, without the orchid," Kayla said with a shrug. Kayla admitted she was scared. "The fight isn't over yet. You can't give up," Steve said.

In Kate's hospital room, she stirred awake. "I didn't want to go to the hospital," Kate whispered. "For whatever it's worth, we all took a vote when you were on the floor of the pub, and you lost," Rex said. Kate smiled weakly. "It's bad, isn't it?" Kate asked. "I'm just glad that you are here," Rex said. Kate noted that she had grown weaker faster with the relapse.

"Bring me home," Kate whispered. Rex stressed that the hospital was the best place for Kate. "We're doing everything in our power to find another cure," Rex said. "I thought we were cured," Kate whispered. Rex apologized. Kate asked Rex not to blame himself. With a sigh, Kate asked Rex to call his siblings.

"I feel so strange," Kate whispered. Roman walked in as Rex called out Kate's name. Kate struggled to whisper, "Roman. Rex. I love you." The alarms on the monitors blared as Kate's heartbeat stopped. Rex shocked Kate's heart, but it failed to restart after multiple attempts. "It's time to call it," a nurse said. "Do it again. Try it again," Roman yelled. "Nothing more we can do. Time of death, 8:02," Rex announced. Rex hugged his father and apologized.

Recaps for the week of January 9, 2023 (Following Week)
THE LATEST DAYS HEADLINES
DAYS and Y&R alum Lamon Archey is engaged
DAYS OF OUR LIVES

MAKING HEADLINES: SOAP OPERA NEWS, UPDATES, AND HEADLINES

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
Real life to meet ''reel life'' on The Bold and the Beautiful
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL
Alley Mills hops from B&B to GH
GENERAL HOSPITAL
DAYS OF OUR LIVES
DAYS and Y&R alum Lamon Archey is engaged
DAYS OF OUR LIVES
GENERAL HOSPITAL
GH alum Annie Wersching has died at age 45
GENERAL HOSPITAL
Sonya Eddy, GH's Epiphany Johnson, has died
GENERAL HOSPITAL
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
Y&R alum Shemar Moore reveals he's a first-time dad
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
DAYS, Y&R star Quinn Redeker dead at 86
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
The Young and the Restless' Michael Mealor is engaged!
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
Eric Braeden recuperating following surgery
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
INTERVIEW: Y&R's Lauralee Bell on her holiday traditions
THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS
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