J.J. cautiously approached the suspect he had just shot, complaining, "I warned you to drop the weapon! Why didn't you just listen to me?" He was horrified when he realized that he was talking to Theo.
J.J. repositioned Theo then began applying pressure to the teen's gunshot wound while trying to keep him awake and alert. Lani, having heard the sound of a weapon being discharged, traced the noise to the Horton Town Square and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that J.J. was unharmed. "I'm sorry! I didn't know! I couldn't see his face!" J.J. regretfully explained.
Lani didn't understand what J.J. was trying to tell her -- until she got closer to him and realized that he was kneeling beside her brother. He continued trying to explain what had happened, but she quickly interrupted, impatiently reminding him that he needed to call for an ambulance right away. While he was doing that, she assured her brother that everything was going to be okay.
After J.J. ended the call, Lani somewhat angrily prompted him to continue his explanation. "We were both chasing the perp, [and] when we split up, I saw him running, and I told him to freeze -- I yelled it at him -- but when he stopped, I saw that he was holding a gun," J.J. breathlessly began. "Theo?" Lani asked skeptically.
"Yeah! So I ordered him to drop the weapon and to get on the ground, and he didn't listen. I told him over and over, and he didn't listen!" J.J. stressed, adding that Theo had instead turned toward him with the weapon raised, as if preparing to fire it. "I know it sounds crazy, but I -- I saw the gun! He must have dropped it when he fell!" J.J. guessed, beginning to search the area.
As an ambulance approached, J.J. located Theo's scanner and sadly admitted to Lani, "It's not a gun. I was wrong. He was unarmed, and I shot him."
Meanwhile, Claire and Tripp discussed Theo while eating ice cream in their shared apartment. Claire complained that Theo had ditched her earlier because he'd had something better to do, but Tripp found that hard to believe. "[Because] I'm such great company?" Claire asked skeptically. "You are to me," Tripp replied sincerely, adding that Claire was funny, smart, and sweet.
Trying to avoid pointing out that Claire was also pretty, Tripp instead repeated that she was smart. She found it funny that he had praised her intelligence not once but twice, since she didn't really think of herself as a smart person -- at least where important things, like politics and current events, were concerned. She admitted, however, that she was proud of the things she was smart about -- such as music, pop culture, and human nature -- and was proud of her talent, too. Nodding, he assured her, "You should be proud of that. I mean, I've always been in awe of people that are able to write songs [that] touch people the way that you do, [and] I think that's way more important than knowing about politics or current events." They agreed that only people who aspired to one day run for office needed to know a lot about those things.
"And that's the last thing I would want to do, because then I wouldn't have time for my music [or] my friends -- like you, Tripp. I really like talking to you," Claire stressed. "The feeling's mutual," Tripp replied.
After an awkward pause, Claire began talking about Theo again, explaining that she had gotten into another argument with him earlier about the followers he had bought for her. Tripp still thought that Theo had meant well, but Claire maintained that buying followers was wrong -- and that anyone with half a brain would be able to understand why it was wrong. "You actually said that to him?" Tripp asked incredulously.
Claire conceded that she might have been a bit too harsh with Theo. "[But] he just needed to understand -- like you understand," Claire continued. Groaning, Tripp worriedly asked, "Please tell me you didn't say that to him." Claire admitted with a shrug that she had because, after all, it was the truth. "You and I connect on a lot of things. You get me. And, you know, if Theo doesn't like that, then that's his problem," Claire continued. Tripp was glad to hear that Claire felt like she could trust him, especially since he was well aware that she had every right to hate him for what he had done to Kayla and Joey.
Insisting that Tripp deserved a pass because of the extenuating circumstances, Claire added that, aside from that one lapse in judgment, he had proven to be an incredibly responsible -- and super nice -- guy. "Is that how you see me?" he asked with a hint of disappointment, chuckling as he continued that she was making him sound pretty boring. She clarified that he was actually quite interesting; in fact, she often found herself wanting to know more about him because he always had a mysterious look in his eyes that never failed to give her the impression that he had tons of passion and intensity bottled up inside, just waiting to be expressed.
"I am always the opposite of bored whenever I'm with you," Claire stressed, struggling to remember if there was a word to properly describe that feeling. "Captivated?" Tripp suggested. "Yes! That's it! That's perfect! That's exactly how I feel!" she agreed. He admitted that the feeling was mutual but was quick to add that she might not want to tell her boyfriend that they captivated each other.
Claire agreed that she had already said enough to Theo that night to renew his feelings of jealousy toward Tripp. Tripp suggested that might have been Claire's intention, at least on a subconscious level, but she didn't bother to entertain that possibility, instead complaining, "I just want him to come home!" Tripp encouraged Claire to reach out to Theo, but she suspected that her call would just be ignored.
Meanwhile, at Doug's Place, Abe and Valerie chatted with Doug and Julie over glasses of Champagne. They all agreed that Lani had seemed happy during her surprise birthday celebration, and Abe added that he'd had a change of heart about J.J. They raised their glasses in recognition of the young couple, who seemed good for each other.
As Julie started prying for details about Abe and Valerie's plans for their future as a couple, Abe received a phone call from Lani, who tearfully informed him that he needed to head over to the hospital right away because Theo had been shot. After Abe and Valerie rushed off, Julie worriedly reminded Doug that Claire had left with Theo earlier.
After losing to Tripp on a video game that involved zombies, Claire began playfully chasing him around the apartment, pretending to be one of the undead creatures. As he fought her off, they fell onto the couch together, their lips inches apart. They stayed frozen in that position for a few seconds, gazing into each other's eyes then awkwardly separated when a cell phone began ringing.
Before Tripp managed to fish his cell phone out of his pocket, Claire announced that hers was the one that was ringing -- and that Julie was the caller. Julie breathed a sigh of relief when she realized that Claire was all right. Confused, Claire wondered why anyone would be worried that she might not be all right. Moments later, Claire ended the call in shock and numbly informed Tripp, "Theo's been shot."
Sick with guilt, J.J. vomited in the town square before heading over to the hospital to check on Theo. "Kayla rushed him into the E.R. as soon as we got here. We nearly lost him three times in the ambulance," Lani tearfully reported. Stunned, J.J. apologized again for his actions, stressing that he had simply reacted to a perceived threat in the way every police officer was trained to react. "You believe me, don't you?" J.J. asked Lani.
As Lani was trying to decide how to respond, Abe arrived with Valerie, who soon rushed off to find out how the surgery was progressing. "What the hell happened? Who -- who in God's name did this? Who shot my son?" Abe asked Lani. "I did. I shot Theo," J.J. regretfully admitted.
In Memphis, Rafe let himself into Susan's house, flashed his badge, and explained that he needed to ask her a few questions about Will Horton. "He's dead, dead, dead!" Susan insisted. Rafe skeptically informed Susan that Will's grave was empty, but she claimed that she didn't know anything about that. "Maybe you should be talking to the undertaker," Susan suggested.
"I'm talking to you because I know that you were involved," Rafe countered. Susan maintained that Rolf's attempt to revive Will had failed. Certain that was a lie, Rafe warned Susan that he wasn't going to leave until she answered his questions truthfully, prompting her to demand to see his badge again. "I knew it! You're not Memphis P.D. at all, are you? No, you're not! You're just like the trespassers, aren't you? You're from Salem!" she observed after he reluctantly allowed her to take a closer look at his badge. "So what? I'm still a cop," he pointed out. "[But] that's not why you're here. You're here because of her," she guessed.
"So, tell me, what is the situation? You Sami Brady's latest boyfriend?" Susan asked. Rafe insisted that wasn't the case, but Susan skeptically continued, "'Cause if you are, you ought to watch yourself! You mess with her, and you could end up dead, just like my E.J. did!" Rafe argued that Sami wasn't to blame for E.J.'s death, but Susan disagreed.
"I knew that he was in harm's way, but did she care? She didn't care! And you know what? Sami Brady always gets what she wants, doesn't she? What about what I want? What about what my son wants? You think he wanted to die? You can show yourself out!" Susan snapped before walking away from Rafe.
Meanwhile, at the nearby hospital, Sami excitedly informed Paul that Will really was alive. "I know," Paul admitted. Confused, Sami wondered what Paul meant. "I saw him," Paul clarified.
Stunned, Sami demanded to know why Paul hadn't bothered to say anything sooner. "I was trying to figure things out," Paul explained. "'Figure things out'? 'Figure things out'? What the hell is the matter with you? You knew my son was alive, and you didn't say anything? You just let us suffer? You let us worry?" Sami asked incredulously.
Paul stammered that he hadn't known how to handle the matter at first. "Here's what you do, Paul -- you call his mother! You tell me what you've seen!" Sami spat. Grabbing Paul's shirt collar, Sami roughly demanded to know where she could find Will. Paul sadly admitted that Will was at a nearby bar -- with Sonny.
Later, Rafe arrived and wondered if Paul had seen Sami that night. Paul reported that Sami had visited the hospital earlier but had rushed off after learning that Will was at a nearby bar. "Sonny's with him, too," Paul sadly added. Rafe was stunned that Will had been found in such a normal place. "I know. None of this makes sense. But, uh...I mean, it doesn't even seem like he's being held against his own will or anything," Paul agreed.
After Rafe rushed off to the bar, Paul contacted John and admitted with a sigh, "There's something that I need to tell you."
Meanwhile, at the bar, Sonny hugged the bartender, exclaiming, "It's you! It's really you!" Confused, the bartender pulled away, protesting, "Easy, man! What are you doing?"
"Will, it's me! It's Sonny!" Sonny stressed excitedly. Still confused, the bartender insisted, "I'm sorry. I've never seen you before in my life."
Assuming that something had happened to Will's memory, Sonny promised to get a doctor to look into the matter right away. "[I'm just] so glad that you're alive! You have no idea what it's been like since I lost you! There are so many things --" Sonny started to stress. The bartender impatiently interrupted, insisting that he needed to finish closing the bar.
"No, wait, wait, wait -- please! Let's -- let's -- let's sit down, and let's talk, please! Please! You don't know what it's like for me to see you right now! You have no idea what I'm feeling!" Sonny continued, beaming with excitement. Assuming that he was simply dealing with someone who'd had too much to drink, the bartender offered to summon a taxi so the confused stranger could return home and get some sleep.
Sonny insisted that he was completely sober. "I have no idea why you don't remember me. I have no idea how you're alive and living in Memphis. But maybe this will trigger your memory," Sonny added before giving the bartender a passionate kiss. The bartender quickly pushed Sonny away then snapped, "What the hell is wrong with you? That crossed a line!"
Hurt, Sonny started to explain, "Will, we love each other! I -- I thought --" The bartender interrupted, angrily countering, "You thought wrong! So why don't you get out of here -- now, before I call the cops! Or maybe I'll kick your ass myself! Or maybe I'll do both!" Sonny insisted that Will would never hurt him. "You want to test that? You want to be the first guy I toss out of here? Seriously, please, get out!" the bartender repeated.
"Will?" Sami asked tentatively, stepping into the bar. "It really is you! Oh, Will!" Sami tearfully added before giving the bartender a hug. Increasingly annoyed, the bartender quickly pulled away and insisted that both of the strangers needed to stop touching him. "Are you both nuts? What's going on? Do you two know each other?" the bartender asked. "I'm not this 'Will' person, and if you don't leave me the hell alone..." he continued.
Confused, Sami glanced at Sonny, who explained that something had apparently happened to Will's memory. "[Will], just stop and think for a second! You know me!" Sami protested. The bartender maintained, "No, I don't -- and I don't give a damn, either, that I don't! I don't know who you are, [and] I don't know who he is, so both of you, please, get out of here, right now! You're making me really uncomfortable, okay? I -- I've warned you! Go!" Undeterred, Sami insisted that even if Will didn't remember her, she remembered every moment she had ever spent with him, and having him back was a true miracle. Sonny happily agreed.
"This is insanity. You're both crazy people," the bartender declared, chuckling nervously. Sami tried to explain to Will that she was his mother and that Sonny was his husband, adding that they both loved him very much. "Look, I know this is confusing for you..." Sami continued. "I'm not confused, but you are," the bartender countered. Insisting that wasn't true, Sami gently urged Will to take a good, long look at her and try to remember the times he'd shared with her in the past -- or, if that didn't work, to try remembering his life with Sonny instead. The bartender stared at Sonny for a moment then turned to Sami.
"Mom!" the bartender suddenly shouted. "Yes! I'm your --" Sami excitedly started to confirm, but the bartender shoved past her and rushed into the waiting arms of the woman who had just entered the bar -- Susan Banks.
"What the hell is going on here?" Sami asked incredulously. "Isn't it obvious? He's hugging his mom!" Susan explained. Stunned, Sami lunged forward in anger, but Sonny quickly intervened, keeping her away from Susan. The bartender explained to Susan, "I have no idea who these people are! They barge in here, they're calling me 'Will,' he says he's my husband, and she's claiming that she's my mother! I swear, I've never seen these people in my life!" Nodding, Susan assured the bartender, "I know, honey. You don't listen to nothing they say, okay? Not one word!"
"I don't know what happened here, but this woman obviously has done something to you! She's brainwashed you! She's an insane creature!" Sami insisted. Confused, the bartender asked if Susan knew why the strange woman was saying such awful things about her. "Because she's that horrible person I've been telling you about, honeypot. She's that mean, mean, mean person!" Susan explained.
Chuckling, the bartender asked, "Oh, you're -- you're Sami?" Surprised, Sami confirmed the suspicion. "I do know you," the bartender admitted. "I know all about you, you cheating, lying whore!" he spat.
Sami couldn't believe what she had just heard, so the bartender happily repeated it for her. "Oh. My. God. What have you done to him?" Sami asked Susan incredulously. Sonny, still holding Sami back, tried to explain that Will had been given the wrong impression, but Susan again told the bartender not to listen to the strangers. "They're just trying to trick you, and they want to bring you back to that horrible place," Susan explained. "I'm not going anywhere!" the bartender insisted. "See? He's not going anywhere. He's gonna stay here in Memphis with me, and you're not ever gonna be able to hurt him again. Do you understand that, Sami?" Susan stressed.
Sami angrily vowed that she was going to find out how Susan had managed to brainwash Will -- and then she was going to find a way to reverse the effects. "Oh, you poor thing, Sami. Do you even hear how crazy you sound?" Susan asked tauntingly. Sami lunged forward again, warning, "I'm gonna kill you, you crazy bitch!" The bartender protectively stepped in front of Susan and ordered Sami, "Stay the hell away from my mother!"
As the bartender was again threatening to call the police, Rafe entered the bar and wondered what was going on. Sami quickly explained the situation to Rafe, who flashed his badge and assured Will that everything Sami and Sonny had been saying was true -- and he could prove it.
"For the last time, people -- my name is not Will! It's E.J.!" the bartender impatiently clarified.
Theo fights to survive
In the penthouse, John told Marlena that Paul had confirmed that Will was alive in Memphis. Confused, Marlena asked if Susan was involved. John admitted he was not sure. When John told Marlena that Paul had seen Will in a bar, Marlena noted that Lucas had sworn that he had seen Will in a bar. Marlena wondered aloud why Will had not returned home. John suggested that Will might have been under mind control. With a nod, Marlena called the airline for a flight.
In a Memphis bar, Sonny and Sami attempted to convince Will that he was not E.J. Will refused to believe them. Susan hugged Will tightly as he defended her against Sami and Sonny. Susan was adamant that Will was her son E.J. Rafe asked Will if he remembered his childhood, but Will admitted that he had lost his memory. Hoping to convince her son, Sami whipped out her phone and showed him photos of his family. When Sami mentioned Will's husband, Sonny, Susan interjected that E.J. was not gay. Will agreed.
Upset, Will ran off. Sonny chased after him. Sami turned her rage on Susan, and Rafe needed to hold her back. Susan reiterated her claim that Will was E.J. and not Sami's son. Shaking his head, Rafe reminded Susan that there was plenty of proof that Susan was lying. Sami showed Susan a picture of E.J. to remind Susan of E.J.'s face. Shaking her head, Susan said that she had been unable to revive Will, but when she had begged for her son to live again, Rolf had then been able to revive Will. Susan was adamant that her son was Will.
Frustrated, Sami said she was confident that Will would recover his memories and return home. Rafe stepped aside to call the local police department. Alone with Susan, Sami warned her to give up her fantasy. Susan growled that Will had hated Sami because she had been a bad mother. Furious, Sami punched Susan.
Will returned home to Susan's cabin. When Sonny arrived, Will yelled at him to leave. Sonny refused to give up on his husband. Will said that he felt nothing for Sonny. Changing tactics, Sonny told Will about his daughter, Arianna. Will softened then asked how he had fathered a daughter if he was gay. Sonny told Will about Gabi. Sonny pleaded with Will to return home to his family.
"Aren't you sick of being told who you are? Don't you want to know it in your soul?" Sonny cried out. Sonny told Will about his death. Scoffing, Will countered that he had clearly not died and that there was no evidence that he had been strangled. Will ordered Sonny to leave. Sonny agreed, but he promised that he would not give up on Will. After Sonny left, Will knocked the letters "E.J." off the wall.
In the loft, Claire was shocked to hear the news about Theo. Overwhelmed, Claire fainted on the couch. Tripp attended to her. Once awake, Claire insisted on going to the hospital. Worried, Tripp urged Claire to take her time, but she refused to wait. Tripp agreed to drive Claire to the hospital as a compromise.
At the hospital, Abe yelled at J.J. as Lani held back tears. Hope intervened and warned J.J. and Abe to calm down for Theo's sake. Abe walked away. Hope told J.J. and Lani that they needed to accompany her to the station to give a statement about the shooting. Lani argued that she had not been on the scene for the shooting, and she needed to remain at the hospital to comfort her father. Hope agreed to let Lani stay. When J.J. asked to remain, as well, Hope denied J.J.'s request. Hope escorted J.J. out.
Lani caught up with Abe down the hallway, and he asked her for details about the shooting. Lani admitted she had not seen the shooting. Claire arrived with Tripp, and she anxiously asked about Theo. Kayla joined the group and informed them that the bullet had missed all of Theo's vital organs but that the bullet was lodged in Theo's chest near his aorta. Kayla explained that Theo needed surgery. As Abe signed the consent form, he asked about the surgeon. Valerie appeared beside Kayla and announced that she would handle the surgery, and Kayla would assist. Abe asked to see Theo before the surgery, and Kayla escorted him and Lani down to Theo's room.
Theo was unconscious. Abe begged Theo to fight and pull through. After Abe and Lani said their peace, Kayla let Claire sit with Theo. Alone with Kayla down the hallway, Tripp asked her what Theo's chances were for survival. Kayla admitted she was not sure. With a sad smile, Kayla urged Tripp to join Claire to comfort her. When Tripp arrived at Theo's room, he overheard a tearful Claire tell Theo, "You're the only guy that I want to be with ever. Please. I love you so much."
At the police station, Hope interviewed J.J. about the shooting. J.J. explained that he had been off duty and had attended Lani's birthday party. When Hope asked about alcohol, J.J. admitted that he had finished a beer and taken part in a champagne toast. J.J. added that after the party, he had returned home with Lani and then had received a call about a burglary. Hope asked for details about the burglary. J.J. said that he and Lani had discovered a man in a hoodie breaking into a warehouse. J.J. noted that the man had run away, and he and Lani had pursued the suspect.
After a deep breath, J.J. said that he had separated from Lani in the chase and had discovered the suspect in the town square. J.J. admitted that he had not recognized the suspect was Theo and that he had ordered the man to drop what appeared to be a gun. Hope picked up the evidence bag with the computer device that Theo had been holding. J.J. said the man had failed to drop the object and had started to turn toward him. J.J said he had followed his training and fired the weapon. Shaking his head, J.J. said he had had no reason to believe that the suspect was Theo.
Hope noted that the device Theo had been holding had technology that could override security codes. J.J. opened his eyes wide in realization. Hope noted that Theo tended to take things literally. Fighting tears, J.J. commented that if he had asked Theo to drop the object instead of asking him to drop his gun, Theo might have complied. J.J. whispered that Theo had not been behaving like the man they knew. Concluding his interview, J.J. said that Lani could corroborate his statement.
J.J. asked if he could return to the hospital. Shaking her head no, Hope told J.J. that he could not talk to the victim. J.J. nodded, and he hollowly said, "Theo was my victim." After a call to the hospital, Hope informed J.J. that Theo was headed into surgery. Hope suspended J.J., and he handed over his gun and badge.
Theo's shooting divides Salem's residents> Theo's shooting divides Salem's residents
After hearing that a police officer had shot Theo, Jennifer rushed over to the police station to get more details from Hope, who gently informed her that the police officer in question was J.J.
At the DiMera mansion, Chad and Abigail found themselves unable to sleep due to shared concerns about DiMera Enterprises. "First day on the job [together], and we've already brought it to bed with us," Abigail mused with a chuckle. Chad admitted that although he no longer believed that Andre was trying to sabotage the company, he still believed that Theo was somehow involved in the matter. "You worry too much," Abigail dismissively assured Chad -- just as her cell phone began ringing.
Meanwhile, Kate paced around the darkened living room while staring at her cell phone expectantly, anxiously waiting for Theo to get back to her with confirmation that he had either aborted their mission or completed it successfully. She eventually contacted him and left him another voicemail message, reiterating that she had gone back to her original conclusion that breaking into the office building near the docks was a bad idea.
At the hospital, Claire and Tripp discovered that Theo's clothes had been left behind in a transparent bag when he had been carted off to surgery earlier. Claire picked up the bag and stared in shock at the enclosed hoodie, which was covered with blood. Meanwhile, Tripp spotted Theo's cell phone on the floor nearby -- and saw that Kate had just placed a call to it.
Tripp guessed that the device had fallen out of Theo's pants pocket earlier and hadn't been noticed then because the doctors and nurses had rightly been focused only on saving his life at that time. Ignoring Tripp's observation, Claire sadly revealed that Theo's bloodstained hoodie had been a gift from her -- and had been his favorite article of clothing.
"There's so much blood on it -- everywhere, Tripp! It's ruined! It's ruined! It's ruined!" Claire fretted. Dropping the bag in horror, Claire started hyperventilating then fainted in Tripp's arms again.
Tripp led Claire to a nearby chair, which she managed to settle into on her own. When Tripp picked up the bag, Claire tried to take it away from him, wanting something of Theo's to cling to while the surgery was still underway. Claire reluctantly released the bag after Tripp gently pointed out that the police would probably need the enclosed items as evidence.
Tripp set the bag aside on a nearby examination table then pocketed Theo's cell phone, which was once again ringing, and rushed off to find a nurse who was free to take a look at Claire.
Meanwhile, back at the DiMera mansion, Andre found Kate in the darkened living room, making another phone call. "Late-night intrigue?" he asked as he turned on the lights. She claimed that she had simply been trying to contact someone in China, where, of course, it wasn't late at all. "Something I should know about?" he wondered. "No," she replied before trying to rush off.
Somewhat suspicious, Andre reminded Kate that she had claimed earlier that she no longer believed that he was the saboteur. "Was that just for show?" he asked. She assured him that she had meant what she had said, adding that she was simply on edge because someone definitely was trying to sabotage DiMera Enterprises. "You have my word -- I'll get to the bottom of this. I will not allow anyone to hurt our family," he vowed as he filled two glasses with alcohol and handed one of them to her. "Nothing like the witch -- Strega, as Father would [call it] -- to settle one into a good night's sleep," he mused, tapping his glass against hers.
Meanwhile, Chad and Abigail rushed downstairs and headed toward the front door, en route to the hospital. Noticing that Andre was in the living room, Chad paused to confront him. Kate dropped her glass in shock when Chad revealed that Theo had been shot. Andre insisted, after listening to Chad's recap of the shooting, that Theo certainly hadn't tried to break into an office building at his request. Unconvinced, Chad pointed out that Andre had proven in the past that he had no qualms about involving Theo in criminal activity. "I care about that boy just as much as you do," Andre stressed. "But everybody's expendable, right?" Chad countered.
Kate listened with regret as Chad continued, "[Theo] was a good kid, and he wouldn't have broken into that building unless somebody put him up to it. Somebody took advantage of him and how special he is, and that's what put him in front of that bullet!" Abigail tried to intervene, fearing that punches were about to be thrown, and Kate nervously interjected that casting blame wasn't as important as making sure that Theo was going to be all right. Glaring at Andre, Chad dismissively insisted that Abigail and Kate could go to the hospital without him because he needed some time alone with his brother.
Once the coast was clear, Chad warned Andre, "You better not be lying to me, brother, 'cause when I find out who did this, I am gonna make their life a living hell -- I can promise you that."
Jennifer found J.J. in the Horton Town Square, staring in horror at a pool of Theo's blood that had not yet been cleaned up. She held her son in her arms as he sadly provided his account of what had happened.
"You were following your training. You thought that your life was in danger. It was a -- it was a split-second reaction," Jennifer reasoned when J.J. finished the recap. "It was a split second too soon," he regretfully countered.
"I'm not gonna run from this. I'm not gonna hide. I deserve whatever happens to me," J.J. continued. Jennifer tried to stress that J.J. would never intentionally harm anyone because he was a good man and a good cop, but he ignored the comment and begged her to go to the hospital to be with the Carvers. "I have no right [to be there], but I need to know that [Theo's] doing okay," J.J. explained.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Lani assured Abe that Theo was going to be okay. Abe still believed that J.J. had mistaken Theo for the real suspect, but Lani clarified, "Theo ran from us, Dad. I don't know why, but he did. [And] he had a scanner in his hand -- the kind that are used to disable alarm keypads, okay? It was -- it was so dark out there, and J.J. thought that he saw a gun, okay? And he -- he ordered [Theo] several times to drop it. [But Theo] didn't, and [when] he turned, J.J. reacted." Confused, Abe insisted that Theo would never decide on his own to commit any sort of crime. "Which means the DiMeras put him up to it," Abe angrily concluded.
Lani wasn't ready to jump to the same conclusion just yet, but when Abe reminded her that Andre had convinced Theo to do something illegal in the name of family once before, she conceded that family was really important to her brother. "And Andre would take advantage of that. They all would," Abe insisted.
Seething with rage, Abe vowed, "If I find out that Andre knew about Theo being near that building tonight, I swear to God, I will tear him apart! [He] as good as put Lexie in her grave, and now my son? There's no other explanation!" Lani begged Abe to calm down, pointing out that he, too, had undergone major heart surgery in the not-so-distant past. Abe conceded that it was pointless to get worked up before knowing all the facts.
"The only fact I do know is that my son...my son could die because J.J. Deveraux shot him!" Abe spat -- just as Jennifer approached from behind. After asking about Theo, Jennifer stressed that J.J. was devastated about what had happened and had been beating himself up all night. "He should be," Abe replied. Abe asked for some time alone with Jennifer, and Lani reluctantly complied.
J.J. was still in the town square, replaying the shooting over and over in his head, when Lani passed through the area a short time later. He tried to assure her that he had done everything by the book and never would have fired his gun -- even if his suspect had been armed -- if he had known that his suspect was her brother, of all people, because he loved her -- and, by extension, her family, any of whom he would gladly take a bullet to protect. "I can't be here right now," she replied before rushing off in tears, ignoring his attempt to stop her. Sighing, he turned his attention back to the pool of blood and began replaying the shooting in his head once again.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Jennifer followed Abe to a break room, desperately trying to convince him to try to see things from J.J.'s perspective. "You have to know that J.J. would never intentionally try to hurt Theo! I really believe that it was an accident," Jennifer stressed. "It was negligence! Or malice..." Abe countered.
Jennifer tearfully insisted that J.J. wasn't that kind of person, adding that the Hortons and the Carvers had known each other for decades. Scoffing, Abe wondered if that meant that he was supposed to just forgive and forget. "Whatever our families have shared in the past, if I bury my son because of what your son did, the Carvers and the Hortons will never share anything again," Abe vowed.
Elsewhere, Tripp watched as a nurse connected an I.V. to Claire, who tried to protest that Theo was the one who needed medical care. "You've had quite a shock. Your blood pressure's low, and you're dehydrated," the nurse countered, adding that Claire was lucky that Tripp cared about her enough to pay attention to the warning signs he had seen her display that night.
After the nurse left, Claire started to remove the I.V. so she could freely roam the hospital in search of updates on Theo's condition, but Tripp managed to convince her that she needed to take care of herself -- for Theo's sake if not her own. Hope soon joined Tripp and Claire and asked them to fill her in on what Theo had been doing in the hours leading up to the shooting. Claire regretfully informed Hope that she had fought with Theo at Lani's surprise party. "[Then], after the party, he just said that he had somewhere that he needed to be, and then...I got mad at him all over again, and then I just walked away," Claire continued, sighing heavily.
"Do you have any idea where Theo went? [Or] if he was meeting up with someone?" Hope asked Claire. Remembering Theo and Kate's recent meeting -- and the phone calls Kate had placed to Theo's cell phone earlier -- Tripp hesitantly admitted, "I may have something that could help find out what Theo was doing."
Tripp started to hand over Theo's cell phone, but Hope overheard Jennifer and Abe's argument at that moment and rushed off to put a stop to it. Abigail and Kate soon joined Abe, Jennifer, and Hope. Abigail convinced Jennifer to give Abe some space, but Kate stayed behind to tell Abe that she was sorry about what had happened. "I don't give a damn about how sorry you are! I want to know if the DiMeras are behind this!" Abe countered.
Hope quickly interjected, "Wait! Before either one of you starts to make any accusations or say things that you can't take back...Tripp has Theo's phone, and I'm just about to look at it, Abe, so maybe it'll tell us who he was in touch with tonight, and that might tell us what and why he was at the warehouse in the first place." Abe ordered Hope to start her investigation with Andre, insisting, "This has his stink all over it."
Abe wanted Hope to start investigating Andre immediately, before Andre had a chance to destroy evidence or flee Salem, so Hope rushed off to do as instructed. Alone with Kate, Abe angrily excused himself so he could get some fresh air. "If the police get that phone, I'm gonna lose everything," Kate fretted once the coast was clear.
As Claire was about to tell Tripp the code to unlock Theo's cell phone, Kate interrupted. "I'm gonna need you to give me that," Kate demanded.
Complications arise during Theo's surgery
Still rooted to the spot in the Horton Town Square where the shooting had occurred, J.J. continued replaying every moment in his head -- and eventually concluded with a gasp of horror, "I did see [Theo before firing]."
Elsewhere, Abigail assured Jennifer that Abe hadn't meant the hurtful things he had said earlier. Nodding, Jennifer wished that she could be there for Abe on what was undoubtedly one of the worst nights of his entire life, just as he had been there for her during some of her worst times. "[But] there's nothing I can do for him...or for J.J.," Jennifer sadly acknowledged.
At Jennifer's request, Abigail went to check on J.J., who was disturbed to learn that Theo was still undergoing surgery. Abigail tried to assure J.J. that Theo was going to be okay, but J.J. argued, "I shot him in the chest. I saw the wound. It'll be a frickin' miracle if he comes through this." Abigail reasoned that J.J. couldn't blame himself for what had happened because he had simply been doing his job, but he disagreed.
"[I've been] going over and over everything that happened. I told [Theo] to freeze, and he did. I told him to drop the weapon, and he started to turn around. He heard me -- my voice -- and turned around. Because he knew it was me. [So] he turned around, and now I know -- as well as I know my own name -- that I saw his face. I knew it was Theo right when I shot him," J.J. regretfully admitted, adding that he had only claimed otherwise all the other times he had spoken about the incident because he had wanted -- needed -- to believe that he hadn't seen the face of his suspect before pulling the trigger.
Abigail refused to believe that. "You're freaking out, and you're not thinking straight, but I happen to know an awful lot about not thinking straight, [so listen to me] -- your mind will make you think things that are not true, okay? I was delusional, and I swear I saw things, J.J., that were not even there, [but] I would have put my hand on a Bible and sworn [they] were," she stressed.
J.J. insisted that Abigail couldn't compare her situation to his. "Ben drove you crazy. Nobody's driving me crazy; I was absolutely in my right mind [when] I shot Theo!" J.J. argued. "You are driving yourself crazy because you feel guilty," Abigail countered, adding that J.J.'s desperate attempts to fill in the missing pieces of a tragic puzzle had resulted in the creation of false memories.
J.J. maintained that the memories he had just recovered were real, so Abigail decided to allow for that possibility, arguing that even if he had seen the face of his suspect in the split second before pulling the trigger, that didn't necessarily mean that he could have stopped himself from doing what he had already decided at that point to do. "Stop [trying to make me] feel better! There's nothing anyone can do to change the fact that I am the one to blame! This is my fault and no one else's!" J.J. snapped at Abigail before calming down and apologetically acknowledging that it was wrong of him to take his frustration out on her.
"It's fine. That's why I'm here. You know you can always get mad at me, and I'm always gonna love you, right?" Abigail assured J.J. Nodding, J.J. sadly revealed that, earlier that night, Lani had expressed her love for him for the first time -- and the feeling was definitely mutual. Abigail predicted that Lani -- a cop herself -- wouldn't blame J.J. for what had happened because she would be able to understand what it was like to make split-second decisions in life-or-death situations. "How can she ever 'understand' that I shot her brother?" J.J. asked worriedly.
Meanwhile, Eric stumbled upon Jennifer in a secluded section of the town square and told her that he had heard about the shooting. She seized a hug from him then started telling him about what had happened when she had gone to the hospital earlier that night to check on the Carvers. She wanted him to go there and check on them himself because he always seemed to know the right things to say to people, but he insisted that he wasn't going anywhere because he had a feeling that she needed him more than anyone else did at that time. Nodding, she conceded that he was probably right about that.
Jennifer guessed that one of the reasons people liked talking to Eric was that he never said things like "everything's going to be all right" -- something that they both knew might not turn out to be true. Jennifer admitted that she was worried about what might happen to J.J. in that case, since he was already consumed with guilt. Realizing that Eric probably knew how J.J. was feeling better than anyone else did, Jennifer asked her friend to accompany her to her son's location and try to do what she couldn't do herself at that time -- comfort him.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Lani told Abe about her earlier conversation with J.J., during which he had sworn that he hadn't known the identity of his suspect until after he had fired at the person. "Yeah, I -- I know what he said. I -- I just don't want to hear it again. Theo is fighting for his life, and he could die on the operating table. Somebody has to be held accountable for that," Abe insisted.
"I'm not sure that's true," Lani countered, adding that things just happened sometimes. Unable to accept that rationale, Abe suggested that Lani might just want to believe it because that was easier than facing the fact that her boyfriend had recklessly shot her brother. "Is this what we should be talking about -- who's to blame? How 'bout we just let the department take care of that. Our focus should be on Theo," Lani argued. "That's fine. But until the department takes care of it...you stay away from J.J.," Abe demanded.
Before Lani could respond, Chad interrupted and asked for an update on Theo's condition. Lani reported that Theo was still undergoing surgery. Chad said he was sorry about what had happened, prompting Abe to wonder if that was supposed to be an admission of guilt on behalf of the DiMera clan. "What?" Chad asked incredulously. Scoffing, Abe countered, "You really are a DiMera -- right down to the feigned innocence."
Lani tried to intervene, but Chad stopped her, stressing that he was okay with continuing the conversation. Reminding Abe that Theo was a DiMera, too, Chad added that Abe had every right to be skeptical -- but was wrong nevertheless. "The minute I [heard about the shooting], I went straight to Andre [and] grilled him myself. He swears he had nothing to do with it," Chad continued. "And you believed him?" Abe asked incredulously. "If I didn't believe him, I'd kill him myself," Chad matter-of-factly replied. Chad added that he loved his nephew and was sick with concern for the teen. Abe didn't respond, but Lani assured Chad, "I know you are."
Elsewhere, Claire wondered why Kate wanted Theo's cell phone. Tripp had a feeling that he knew the answer to that question, so he refused to hand over the device to anyone who was not a member of the Salem Police Department. "Well, of course the police should have the phone. I'm going home right now, [and] Commissioner Brady is there, talking to my husband about this whole thing, so I should just bring the phone to her there, and we'll save everyone a lot of trouble," Kate innocently suggested.
"How thoughtful," Tripp skeptically replied. Kate extended a hand expectantly, but Tripp maintained that he was going to hand the device over to the police himself. Confused, Claire interjected, "Who cares who gives it to [the police], Tripp? Why are you arguing about this?" Tripp urged Claire to calm down so she wouldn't faint yet again. Kate sweetly yet pointedly agreed that it would be best for Tripp to follow her to another room so they could talk about the matter privately and give Claire some time to rest.
As soon as the coast was clear, Claire disconnected her I.V. and stumbled off to the nurses' station in search of information about Theo's surgery. Kayla had just joined Abe, Lani, and Chad there, and Claire arrived in time to hear Kayla explain, "The surgery was very complex. Valerie needed to do a bypass, which is always risky, [and] anyone who has this type of heart surgery is at risk for an embolism. [Theo had that], and it led to an ischemic stroke...[which] means that Theo is in a coma." Kayla admitted, at Abe's request, that there was a chance that Theo might never emerge from the coma.
Claire ran off in tears. Meanwhile, Chad received a text message from Abigail, prompting him to excuse himself so he could share the update with her. "How could this happen?" Abe asked incredulously.
Valerie arrived at that moment and regretfully admitted, "It was my fault." Fighting back tears, she explained that her love for the Carvers had caused her to be anxious during the surgery. "I can't help thinking, 'Maybe...maybe my hands were shaking when I placed the aortic cannula.' So it's possible it was slightly misplaced, leading to the plaque rupture," she continued, her voice wavering as she spoke.
Kayla argued, "I was there. I assisted. I saw everything that happened. [Valerie] couldn't have done a better job. I promise you, [Abe], she did everything she could. As I told you [before], there are so many risks in this kind of surgery. It could have happened to anybody. But she didn't do anything wrong." A nurse interrupted at that moment to announce that Theo was ready for visitors.
Lani followed the nurse to Theo's room, and Abe did the same, not bothering to say anything to Valerie first. Distraught, Valerie thanked Kayla for standing up for her. Kayla stressed that everything she had said had been the absolute truth. Nodding, Valerie tearfully admitted, "But Theo's not just my patient; he's the son of the man I love. And I feel responsible. I feel like I let everybody down."
Chad joined Abigail in the town square, where J.J., Jennifer, and Eric were also waiting for an update on Theo's condition. "He's alive, but there was a complication during surgery, [and] he's in a coma," Chad sadly reported, adding that there was no way of knowing when -- or if -- Theo would wake up. Abigail comforted Chad with a hug, and Jennifer tried to do the same for J.J., but he tiredly ordered her to leave him alone.
"Don't you get it? We can't just act like nothing happened! I shot him! I put him in a coma! [And] I have to live with that for the rest of my life!" J.J. stressed before rushing off. Eric stopped Jennifer from chasing after J.J., assuring her that her son would let her in eventually but needed time and space first so he could process the tragic news in his own way. "I'm so scared for him," Jennifer tearfully admitted, seizing a hug from Eric.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Tripp curiously wondered why Kate was desperate to get her hands on Theo's cell phone. Kate innocently explained, "I am not, I have been told, a comforting presence, all right? So I'm not of any comfort to Abe or to Lani, and I can see that -- that Claire is getting comfort from you, so perhaps you should stay with her, Lani can be with Abe, and I will run an errand that needs to be run."
Nodding skeptically, Tripp pointed out that, while he wasn't trying to accuse Kate of anything because he didn't even know her very well, he had recently interrupted a conversation Theo had been having with her about something illegal. "[And] I'll admit, at first, I bought what you said -- that you and Theo were just talking business -- but then, later, when he came to see me at work and asked me not to mention the conversation to anyone, bells went off. Why would he do that if the conversation was just all so innocent? And, like I said, I'm not accusing you of anything --" Tripp continued. "No, that's exactly what you're doing," Kate interrupted.
Ignoring the retort, Tripp continued, "It's just, I know that the police will want to know everything they can about why Theo was trying to break into that building, so I can't help wondering if there's something on this message that you don't want the police to know about." Shrugging, Kate nonchalantly agreed that it was up to Tripp to decide whether or not to hand over the device to her. "I choose 'not,'" he replied before starting to walk away.
"Well, just one more thing before you go, Mr. Law-and-Order -- if you give that phone to the police, you go to jail, as well," Kate continued, stopping Tripp in his tracks. Confused, Tripp wondered what Kate was talking about. Kate explained that, during a recent visit to the hospital for a board meeting, she had overheard Steve and Kayla talking about Tripp's involvement in the acts of sabotage that had nearly cost Kayla her medical license. "Don't even bother to deny it, because I know exactly what I heard, okay? And I know if I -- if I dig a little, I'll find out more, because I'm a really good digger, okay? You can count on it," Kate warned.
"I...I wasn't in my right mind," Tripp hesitantly explained. "Do you realize that people could have died?" Kate countered, adding that one of those people, Commissioner Hope Brady, would probably be really interested in knowing who had been responsible for the acts of sabotage. Shrugging, Tripp told Kate, "I know what you're doing. And if you want to try to nail me for that, go ahead, because I know that I screwed up, and I should pay the price." Kate was skeptical, finding it hard to believe that Tripp wasn't worried about having his life ruined at such a young age, but he insisted, "I don't give a damn about that."
"Okay. Whatever," Kate replied before starting to walk away from Tripp, who, to her surprise, didn't try to stop her. Realizing that he had truly meant everything he had just said, she turned to face him again, seeming somewhat impressed, and calmly reminded him of his earlier admission that he didn't know her very well. "I always have a backup plan," she informed him.
"Maybe you don't care about yourself, but do you care about Kayla? [Because, you see, she] covered up for you, which means that she could lose her license, she could lose her job, her reputation... I don't think she could come back from that scandal. And after everything that you did to her, do you really want to let that happen?" Kate continued.
Refusing to fall for the scare tactic, Tripp vowed to make sure that everyone knew that Kayla had done nothing wrong. "What everyone's going to know is, not only did she cover up for you, she allowed you to make a huge, anonymous donation to the hospital of mob money from your mother's family, okay? Hush money," Kate countered. Tripp insisted that Kate was twisting an innocent donation into something sinister, but she maintained that the press, the public, the police, and the hospital's board members would all see it the same way she did -- as a payoff.
"Hmm. So it is you. It is your fault that Theo got shot. You're the one who sent him to break into that building," Tripp concluded. "Don't you worry about me; you just worry about protecting yourself and Kayla," Kate countered before demanding Theo's cell phone. Tripp reluctantly handed it over then started to storm off in disgust. "I'm gonna need a password," Kate pointed out, adding that Tripp could probably get it from Claire. Tripp incredulously reminded Kate that Claire already had enough to worry about at that time, but Kate coldly replied that Tripp was going to have to ask Claire for Theo's password regardless.
After Kate left, Tripp found Claire, who seized a hug from him and tearfully reported that Theo was in a coma and might never emerge from it. Claire felt guilty because the last conversation she'd had with Theo had ended with an argument, but Tripp assured her that Theo knew that she loved him. Tripp added that Claire could reassure Theo that she loved him when she visited him for the first time, since comatose patients could sometimes hear what was being said to them. Nodding, Claire thanked Tripp for the advice then started to walk away. Tripp hesitantly and apologetically asked for Theo's password, explaining that the police would probably need it.
Later, Kate rejoined Tripp in one of the break rooms. "It's Claire's name," Tripp reluctantly revealed. Pleased, Kate quickly unlocked Theo's cell phone and deleted his voicemails and text messages then handed it back to Tripp and told him that he could proceed to do whatever he wanted to do with it. "Now that you're off the hook," Tripp bitterly concluded.
"I know what you think of me, but I care deeply for Theo," Kate stressed. "[Then] you should know that he's in a coma, and he may never wake up," Tripp spat before storming off.
Stunned, Kate broke down, regretfully muttering, "Oh, what have I done?"
Will questions Susan's story
In Horton Town Square, Gabi handed a cup of coffee to Eli as he examined the crime scene of Theo's shooting. Rafe arrived looking for Hope, but he was glad to find Gabi instead. Rafe informed Gabi that Will was alive but brainwashed by Susan. Rafe confirmed that Will had no memory of Arianna yet. With a grin, Rafe asked Gabi to keep the news secret until Sami could reach out to Lucas and tell him.
After Rafe left, Eli asked about his cousin Will, and Gabi said that Will was a great person. When Eli gently asked about Gabi's relationship with Will, Gabi explained that she and Will had slept together in high school when Will had still been confused about his sexuality. Gabi said she hoped Arianna would get her dad back.
In Memphis, Will sat in his room and thought about when Sonny and Sami had told him that his name was Will and not E.J. When Susan carried in breakfast, Will asked her for the truth. Susan avoided the question then pointed out the black eye that Sami had given her. Susan added that the police had believed her and arrested "mean, mean Sami Brady." Nodding, Will said he had looked at a death certificate for Will Horton, proving that he could not be Will.
Curious, Will wondered aloud what he would find if he looked up E.J. DiMera on the Internet. Susan cried that Will had broken her heart, believing Sami over her. Will calmed Susan. As Susan dried her tears, Will asked why he could not look himself up on the Internet. Susan retrieved a box of items from E.J.'s life. Susan showed each one to Will, telling him the story behind them. At the bottom of the box was E.J.'s birth certificate. Will examined it, and he noticed that the birth date was smeared. Susan claimed that her son had smudged the certificate with his sticky toddler hands.
Shaking his head, Will admitted that the idea that he had been married to Sami horrified him. Will asked about the other people with Sami. Susan explained that the other people were lying in an attempt to secure money from the DiMera fortune. Susan told Will that his heart knew the truth. With a gasp, Susan bent forward. Susan claimed that she had experienced a premonition that Sami would take "E.J." away from her. Susan begged Will to leave town with her. Will was reluctant to leave his life in Memphis, but Susan promised the trip would be temporary. Will agreed, and they packed.
In the Memphis jail, an officer berated Sami for punching Susan, and he told Sami that he did not believe her story about Will. Marlena arrived, and Sami rushed into her mother's arms. Sami told Marlena everything that had happened, including Susan's brainwashing of Will. Marlena reminded Sami that they had overcome their past differences, and she believed Sami and Will would as well. Chuckling, Sami said that Will's snide comments were proof that her son was still "in there somewhere."
When Sami asked for professional advice, Marlena noted that recovering memories was difficult. Marlena said that she believed Will would remember how much Sami had loved him. The officer returned and informed Sami that Justin had secured her release. When the officer added that the restraining order had been rescinded, Sami whooped with joy. Marlena advised Sami not to run after Will, and she offered to go instead. With tears in her eyes, Sami said that she needed to be the one to get through to her son. Sami ran out of the precinct.
At Will's bar downtown, Paul called Sonny and left a voicemail. Paul pleaded with Sonny to call him, and he promised he would do anything to help. John walked in and hugged his son. When John told Paul he was proud of him, Paul interrupted and told his father that he should not be proud. Paul called himself a coward. When John raised his eyebrow, Paul explained that he had waited until after everyone had left Memphis to tell them that he had seen Will in the bar. Paul said that he had not planned to ever reveal the truth.
Paul said that no one, including Marlena, should forgive him. John argued that Paul had suffered a moment of weakness but had ultimately told the truth. John stressed that they would not have known about Will if not for Paul. Shrugging, Paul countered that Sami would have found Will on her own. With a sigh, John reminded Paul that Sonny and Will had been separated, and he urged Paul to keep fighting for Sonny. Marlena texted. "If it is meant to be, it will be," John said as he left to meet Marlena.
In his hotel, Sonny confided to Adrienne that Paul had lied about Will. Adrienne noted that it was not like Paul, and she suggested that Paul had been desperate to hold onto Sonny. "He should be," Sonny grumbled. Sonny wondered aloud why Paul was insecure. Adrienne said it was easy to see why Paul would worry. Sonny said he wanted to give his relationship with Will another chance. As Adrienne nodded, Sonny gasped. Sonny said he remembered it was Will's birthday. With a wistful smile, Sonny talked about a birthday they had spent eating tacos in a park. Adrienne advised Sonny to follow his heart.
Sonny went to the bar and found Paul sitting alone at a table. At the police station, John met up with Marlena. Marlena confided her fear that Sami would alienate Will and lose him forever. In the cabin, Sami arrived and found E.J.'s room in disarray. Sami worried aloud that Susan had taken Will from her again. Susan returned for an item she had forgotten and found Sami standing in Will's bedroom. Will walked in behind her, and Susan grabbed Will and pulled him close to her.