At the hospital, John watched helplessly as Kayla and Sarah stopped trying to restart Marlena's heart.
Meanwhile, Marlena awoke in a room in which the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and all of the furniture had been painted white. An hourglass, perched upon a marble pedestal, began spilling its sand from the top to the bottom as Marlena looked around the room in confusion. A door soon opened at one end of the room, and a figure emerged from the blinding light behind the door.
"Where do you think you are, Marlena?" the figure wondered. "Andre DiMera?" Marlena assumed, struggling to make out the figure through the blinding light but recognizing the voice. "Oh, please tell me you haven't forgotten your dear old friend Tony," the figure replied with a chuckle as Marlena's eyes finally adjusted. "Tony?" Marlena repeated. "You're alive?" Marlena continued, shocked.
"Oh, my goodness! You're amazing! You were impaled!" Marlena noted after hugging Tony. "How many times have you cheated death?" she asked. "Almost as many times as you," he replied with a sly grin.
"What is this place?" Marlena wondered, taking another look around the room. "You don't know?" Tony replied. "Well, I'm -- I'm -- I'm feeling a little confused... I -- I remember being in my office, and I -- and I -- and I ate a cookie, and, uh, my -- my throat closed up... I couldn't breathe, and --" she recalled. "Yes -- you suffered an anaphylactic shock," he clarified. "No, no -- that couldn't be," she insisted with a dismissive laugh. "I'm not allergic to..." she began to add before stopping abruptly. "How do you know what happened to me?" she asked nervously. "I know and see all," he explained, shrugging.
"I am dead, Marlena...and so are you," Tony elaborated, snapping a finger to summon a television monitor that showed that Marlena was actually lying in a hospital bed at that moment, with a flatline alarm blaring in the background. "No, no, no -- there's been a mistake!" she protested. "Tony, I've gotta go back! You gotta help me!" she begged. "Marlena, I'm not exactly Saint Peter...but I am here to try to help you," he stressed, drawing a smile of relief from her. "I don't want to rush things -- [I know] this is a shock -- but time is of the essence..." he cryptically added, causing the smile to fade. "Then...it's real?" she asked. "It is," he replied.
Marlena sighed and started to walk toward the blinding light, but the door swung shut as Tony chuckled and insisted that wasn't the right way. "This is where you belong," he added, dragging her toward a closed door on the opposite side of the room. "Wait, wait -- I don't want to go!" she protested, pulling away from him. "Tony, I want to go back! You've gotta help me! I want to see my family! I want to see -- I want to see John again!" she continued. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Marlena...but that's no longer an option," he replied. "[But]...to make your journey as easy as possible, I've arranged for someone to escort you to your final resting place," he assured her.
The second door swung open -- without an accompanying light -- and a figure emerged from it. "Hope?" Marlena asked incredulously. "I don't understand... Hope, are you...dead?" Marlena continued. "'Hope'? Seriously? How could you possibly confuse me with such a peasant?" the figure indignantly replied as the door swung shut again. "Princess Gina," Marlena realized with a groan. "This is my guide?" Marlena snapped at Tony. "Oh, you couldn't be in better hands. Princess Gina knows this place inside and out," Tony assured Marlena. "She doesn't even belong in heaven!" Marlena protested, making Gina scoff.
"She had a mental breakdown. I thought you, as a professional, would understand that," Tony countered. "And whatever misdeeds [she] may have committed while on earth, all ills are healed in heaven," Tony added. "Well, that hardly seems fair..." Marlena grumbled. "Oh, Marlena... Haven't I always been a friend to you -- someone you can confide in, someone to trust?" Tony pointed out. "I want you to trust me now. I want to make sure that you go to your rightful place in the afterlife," Tony added, but Marlena still wasn't convinced. "I kind of thought [that] I would get to see my parents, my baby, and -- and, you know, my sister, Samantha, [when I died]," Marlena admitted. "Yes, and you will see them -- Princess Gina will take you to them," Tony promised, urging Marlena toward the second door again.
"As I said before, you don't have a choice. Your soul has left its body. There's no going back," Tony stressed when Marlena again hesitated. "Oh... Well, if this is the end..." she began uncertainly, following him to the door.
"No!" a figure shouted as the first door burst open. "Stop! Do not go through that door, Marlena!" the figure advised.
"Oh, don't listen to him!" Tony warned Marlena. "That's Andre!" Tony added while scowling at the look-alike, who was wearing a suit instead of tiger-themed attire but was otherwise an exact replica.
"[I'm] Tony -- the real Tony! That's the impostor! Andre's just trying to trick you so he can steal your soul -- so he can take your place in heaven and send you straight to hell!" the man in the suit insisted.
"Damn it, Tony -- why couldn't you leave well enough alone? I was so close!" the man in the tiger-themed attire snapped, giving up the act.
"You tried to take my soul so you could -- you could make me replace you in h-h-h--" Marlena tried to admonish Andre, horrified. "Hell," he tiredly concluded for her. "'Cause that's where you belong," he added. "I do not belong there!" she defensively insisted. "Oh? Do you [not] remember, Marlena, the people that you killed?" he asked before helpfully recapping the murders. "I didn't do those things! You just -- you tried to make me think that I did [by] messing with my mind!" she protested. "Have you forgotten that you committed adultery?" he continued. "I know you think of yourself as a saint, but you're not!" he argued.
Andre snapped a finger, and the monitor began playing clips of Marlena's most notorious collection of misdeeds.
"That's not me! I was possessed!" Marlena eventually pointed out, having seen enough. "The truth is...the devil never left you," Andre countered. "He wants you back...and Tony or no Tony, he will have you," Andre added. "No, no -- it can't be true!" Marlena nervously protested. "Oh, please! That little montage -- it just proved that hell is exactly where you belong!" Andre argued.
"Do you not remember how you tried to lead on poor Steffy?" Gina helpfully added. "Yes -- do you remember all those years ago, when my father came into your sleep and made you his Queen of the Night, and you went along with him willingly and opened yourself up to the evil?" Andre elaborated. "It's who you are," Andre concluded. "Yes, he's right about that," Gina agreed.
"Don't listen to them! You do not belong in hell!" Tony insisted, but Marlena followed Andre toward the second door, anyway -- and as it swung open again, menacing flames and puffs of smoke drifted out.
Marlena shoved Andre through the door at the last second. Gina immediately went to hide somewhere, not wanting to suffer the same fate.
Tony breathed a sigh of relief as Marlena slammed the door shut. "I thought that you were gonna walk through that door," he admitted while giving her a hug.
"I was going to... If you hadn't stopped me..." Marlena replied with a shudder after pulling away from Tony. "I just...I -- I can't believe that I'm dead," Marlena sadly added. "That's what Andre told you," Tony clarified. "You mean it's not true?" Marlena asked. "He was too eager. He wanted to snatch your soul before it completely left your body," Tony explained. "You're not ready to die yet," Tony assured Marlena, who breathed a sigh of relief. "And now that he's gone..." Tony continued. "I can go back?" Marlena optimistically concluded for Tony, who confirmed the suspicion with a nod.
"How? How do I do that?" Marlena asked eagerly. "Look," Tony replied, turning Marlena's attention to a third door that was positioned in the center of one of the walls that the other two doors shared.
"All you have to do is open that door," Tony instructed Marlena, who thanked him and gave him one more hug then rushed over to the door. "Oh, by the way -- if you see Anna..." he began to request. "I will," she knowingly promised before trying to open the door. "I think it's stuck," she said while pulling on the door's handle with all her strength. "You've been out of your body too long because of Andre's games. You're losing the vitality you need to fight this battle. I can't do it for you, Marlena. You've gotta keep trying," he explained. "I can't!" she weakly protested. "Fight, Marlena! You've gotta fight for your life! Keep trying!" he maintained.
"Remember how much you have to live for, and that will give you strength," Tony reasoned, snapping a finger to start a new series of clips on the monitor -- clips that included Marlena's reunion with John on the pier as well as Marlena's efforts to assure a closeted Will that it was okay to be gay. "You're right. I've got to go back. I have to," Marlena agreed at the end of the montage -- but the door still wouldn't budge. "I can't -- I'm too weak!" Marlena decided with a sigh of defeat. "No, no, no -- you can! You have to! Do you have any idea what will happen to your loved ones if you don't go back?" Tony cryptically countered.
"Oh, I do," Gina interjected, emerging from a hiding place to join the conversation. "What the hell are you doing [back here]?" Tony demanded to know. "Oh, it is so boring down there...and you do know how I love a good cliffhanger," Gina explained with a shrug. "Listen to me, Marlena -- you're not just loved [but also] needed, and without you, lives will change -- and not for the better," Tony warned.
Tony snapped a finger, and a new series of clips began playing -- clips of a future that didn't include Marlena.
"You bastard! How dare you refuse to divorce Sonny?" Will snapped at Leo in the living room of the Kiriakis mansion. "Wait a minute -- this isn't the future!" Marlena protested, stopping the video. "Right before I was poisoned, John was going over to Diana's [place] to break into her safe [and] get some evidence against Leo -- evidence that would force Leo to divorce Sonny [so that] Will and Sonny could be together," Marlena recalled. "[And] Diana clearly was lying -- John is not Leo's father!" Marlena added. "If only it were that simply...but there is that little matter of DNA..." Tony replied. "Sadly, it's all true," Tony reported, stunning Marlena.
"So...John chose Leo over Will?" Marlena asked incredulously. "If you were only there to advocate for Will, the future would have been different," Tony replied before starting the video again.
"You are so sexy when you're angry," Leo observed before giving Will a kiss. Will shoved Leo away in disgust and threw a punch. "You're a monster! You give gay men everywhere a bad name!" Will snapped. "If you just gave it a chance, you would see that bad can be so, so good," Leo countered. "Come on, Will -- I'm thirsty," Leo added with a groan of frustration. "Oh? Have some water," Will replied, grabbing a nearby pitcher of water and dousing Leo with it. "You beast! I like the way you play!" Leo declared before giving Will another kiss. Will pushed Leo away in disgust again -- with much more force than before -- and Leo's head hit the mantel.
"Leo?" Will asked nervously as Leo collapsed to the floor. "Not dead this time, either," Leo replied, popping back up immediately. "Don't you know by now? You will never, ever be rid of me," Leo warned while approaching Will again. "I'll be here, [day after day], married to the man you love, making his life and yours a very special kind of hell...and enjoying every minute of it," Leo continued with a mocking laugh.
"I hate you," Will snapped at Leo through gritted teeth. "Such a thin line," Leo flirtatiously countered. "What do you say we do something with all this passion?" Leo suggested before trying to kiss Will yet again.
"I want you to die, bastard!" Will spat, wrapping both hands around Leo's neck. "Die!" Will repeated in a fit of rage while continuing to choke Leo, who soon stopped struggling and collapsed to the floor, dead.
"Tony, please -- please stop it!" Marlena begged. "Tell me it's not true! Tell me this doesn't happen!" Marlena desperately added after Tony stopped the video. "It doesn't have to happen, Marlena...if you go back. You make the difference," Tony stressed. "Pity -- your happily ever after does not quite look so...happy...now, does it?" Gina interjected, joining Tony and Marlena in a row of chairs that were lined up in front of the monitor. "Oh, go to hell, Gina," Tony tiredly demanded. "Not quite yet, dear Antony," Gina replied before starting the video again, wanting to see more clips of the future that didn't include Marlena.
"Oh, Will... I'm so sorry, but you've been charged with murder one," Belle announced, joining Will in a conference room at the police station. "Well, then -- then what's next? How do we -- how do we fight this?" Will asked worriedly. "I don't think there's anything I can do. I think that you will have to think of this as a learning experience," Belle replied with a shrug as Will was led away in handcuffs.
Seconds later, Claire was led into the conference room, also wearing handcuffs. "Oh, dear God -- what has Claire done?" Marlena asked, stopping the video in horror. "Why so shocked? It's just a little bit of history repeating itself," Gina replied, starting the video again then opening a silver compact to apply some lipstick. "You always told me to go after what I want, so I did!" Claire explained to Belle with a shrug. "Not like this!" Belle countered. "Just when I thought I couldn't be more disappointed in you... You and Ciara are family! You two were best friends! How could you sell her baby on the black market?" Belle wondered.
Tony stopped the video after Marlena assumed that Ben was the father of Ciara's baby. "As Ben couldn't continue his therapy with you, he just felt too broken and not good enough for Ciara, [so] he left [her] -- broke her heart -- [and she] went back to Tripp, and nature took its course," Tony clarified. "Claire must have been devastated!" Marlena guessed. "Yes...[so she] took extreme measures," Tony confirmed while starting the video again.
"My own sister tried to sell me on the black market!" Belle pointed out. "Where do you think I got the idea?" Claire proudly countered. "Luckily, Sami's plan failed -- and so did yours! I wouldn't be here today if she had gotten away with it!" Belle continued. "I wish you weren't! It's not like you're ever around, anyways!" Claire spat. "I wish Grandma Marlena was here right now! She was the one person I could actually count on!" Claire added. "Well, I'm here for you now, and I love you," Belle stressed. "If you love me so damn much, get me out on bail!" Claire demanded. "No," Belle replied, wanting Claire to take responsibility for once.
"You are fired, I hate you, and you are a terrible mother!" Claire spat. "Grandma Marlena would be rolling over in her grave if she knew what you've become," Belle countered.
"I'm ready to do that right now," Marlena admitted, stopping the video. "Not quite yet -- I do not want you to miss the best part," Gina protested, starting the video again.
Belle wandered through the hospital with an ornate urn. "It's okay, Mom -- I got ya," Belle sadly stated while lovingly patting the urn. "That looks so familiar..." Tony mused as the video continued playing. "Sorry it took me so long to collect you, but...well, I've been busy..." Belle began to explain -- just as Eric and Brady entered the scene, with Sarah close behind. "Are they...?" Marlena worriedly began as Eric and Brady stumbled around while trying to fight each other. "Four sheets to the wind," Gina confirmed, clearly enjoying the show. "Actually...make that five," Gina added as the fight continued.
Confused, Marlena stopped the video to find out why Eric and Brady had both fallen off the wagon and were fighting again. "A woman," Gina explained with a shrug. "[But] Nicole is dead..." Marlena began to protest. "Isn't she?" Marlena asked Tony uncertainly. "Not Nicole," Gina clarified. "This time, it is Sarah," Gina elaborated. "Eric and Sarah are together?" Marlena assumed. "Not exactly," Gina replied.
"Eric found Brady and Sarah 'in flagrante' in the on-call room," Gina revealed, surprising Marlena, who assumed that Gina was mixing up the brothers. "Rex finally came to his senses [and realized] that Sarah had feelings for Eric. [Sarah] went running to Eric...who showed absolutely no interest whatsoever in her. So, of course, slutty Sarah -- and she is deliciously slutty -- went 'delicto' with the first available man who looked her way," Gina elaborated. "Brady," Marlena guessed with a groan. "Bingo," Gina confirmed with a grin. "The reason Eric didn't speak to Sarah is because you -- your love, your support -- weren't there," Tony helpfully explained to Marlena.
As the video started playing again, Belle tried to stop Eric and Brady from fighting with each other, holding out the urn while insisting that Marlena was always watching and would want them to get along. Brady ignored Belle's protests and lunged at Eric again, knocking the urn out of Belle's hands in the process. It fell to the floor, and the ashes spilled out. "That's me!" Marlena noted with a gasp. "Was," Gina dryly clarified.
"This is all we had left of Mom, and now... Look at what you've done!" Belle snapped, smacking Brady. "You son of a bitch!" Eric spat, glaring at Brady. "Eh, it's not -- it's not like Marlena ever loved me. She never considered me a real son," Brady dismissively argued. "That's not true, Brady! We got past that a long time ago! I -- I love you like my own!" Marlena shouted at the monitor.
"This is crazy. Isn't anybody I love happy?" Marlena added. "Yes, someone is -- very, very happy," Gina coyly replied as the video continued playing. "Now that my father's getting married, I don't have to pretend that you -- or any of Marlena's family -- ever existed," Brady said to Eric. "I don't want to be late for the nuptials, so I'm just gonna..." Brady continued, stumbling through the ashes. "Oops," Brady said as the others watched in horror.
"Oh, dear -- simply reduced to the dust on the bottom of Brady Black's shoe. It cannot possibly get any worse than that...but it shall, and it will..." Gina cheerfully mused.
"John's getting married?" Marlena asked incredulously. "To whom?" Marlena wondered, and Tony snapped a finger in response, changing the video to a clip of the wedding.
"Oh, no -- it's Hattie Adams!" Marlena realized with a gasp as the look-alike chomped on a piece of gum while waiting for a kiss from John. "John misses you so much, Marlena --" Tony tried to explain. "Does he? Really?" Gina skeptically argued, watching as John seized a kiss after making Hattie spit out the gum. "Stop! Stop! I can't stand it!" Marlena fretted, stopping the video.
"Then do what you have to do -- the only thing you can do -- and that's to take action," Tony advised. "Why the long face? Belle still loves you," Gina dryly assured Marlena before starting the video again, revealing that Belle was at the wedding, celebrating with John and Hattie. "That's it! I've had enough! I'm going home to my family!" Marlena declared, stopping the video yet again.
"Hurry -- before it's too late!" Tony urged Marlena as Gina eyed the hourglass, which didn't have much sand left in the top half.
Ben protects Ciara
Outside the pub, Leo informed Diana that Marlena's heart monitors had flatlined at the hospital. Diana feigned surprise. "Is this exactly what you wanted?" Leo asked. Diana pretended to be offended. Leo accused Diana of obsessing over John to the point of getting rid of the competition. Diana claimed that she only wanted John to be happy. Leo asked Diana why she had not told him about his real father sooner because, unlike Richard, John was a decent man.
"You kept John and me apart because that's what worked for you. You disgust me now more than ever," Leo said. Diana argued that Marlena would not have allowed Leo into John's life. Leo countered that John had appeared genuinely happy that Leo was his son when he had learned the truth. Diana grinned in spite of herself.
"It never occurred to me that John would be into you being his son. This is wonderful," Diana said. Suspicious, Leo asked Diana what was in it for her. Diana countered that she was happy because it meant that Leo might finally have a relationship with his father. As Diana held up the bag of takeout from the pub, she announced that she needed to take the food to John. Leo said he would join her.
In Marlena's hospital room, Kayla worked to revive Marlena's heart by shocking it. Marlena's heart did not restart. Kayla looked over at John. "I'm sorry," Kayla whispered. John gasped in disbelief. John gently cradled Marlena in his arms and asked her to take him with her. Marlena's heart started to beat on the monitor. Kayla gently told John that Marlena was alive. Stunned, John pulled back and looked at Marlena's face.
"Sweetheart, if you can hear me, just open those beautiful eyes," John pleaded. Marlena's eyes slowly fluttered open. "What happened?" Marlena asked. Kayla told Marlena that her heart had stopped. Sarah eagerly rushed out to update the family on Marlena's condition. John thanked Marlena for fighting her way back to life.
After an examination, Kayla confirmed that Marlena's vital signs were strong. Kayla left John and Marlena alone to talk. "Apparently, I died and came back to life," Marlena whispered. John nodded. Marlena recalled her last memory of eating a cookie in her office. John informed Marlena that the cookies had been laced with penicillin.
At the nurses' station, Brady thanked Rex for hanging around the hospital. "I know you'd rather have Eric here," Rex said. Brady guffawed. Rex told Brady that Eric felt terrible about the past. Brady interrupted to note that Eric was not trustworthy.
"He is going to burn you, just like he burned me," Brady warned Rex. Rex assured Brady that Eric would never go behind his back. Brady nodded and said he had believed the same thing until Eric had pursued Nicole. "Sarah is not Nicole," Rex stressed.
Kayla exited Marlena's room and informed Brady about what had happened with Marlena. Brady rushed off to see Marlena. In Marlena's hospital room, a relieved Brady rushed in to join John and Marlena. Marlena said she refused to leave her family behind.
Eli arrived at the hospital, and Kayla informed him that she had noticed a pinhole in the I.V. bag. Kayla theorized to Eli that Kristen had sneaked back into the hospital and injected penicillin in the I.V. bag.
In the hospital chapel, Eric prayed to God to help Marlena. "I will never allow myself to come between my brother and the woman he loves," Eric said. As Eric pleaded for God to let Marlena live, Sarah tapped him on his shoulder. "[Marlena] is awake, and she seems alert," Sarah said. Sarah explained that Marlena had almost died, but John had pushed Marlena to fight.
"It was nothing short of a miracle. I wasn't sure that I believed in the power of prayer, but whatever you said to God? He heard you," Sarah said. Eric nodded yes. "I meant every word I said," Eric whispered. Sarah asked Eric if they could talk about the kiss. Sarah apologized for placing Eric in a bad situation with Brady. Eric noted that his only concern was that Rex did not find out about the kiss.
"What if that is not what I want?" Sarah asked. Sarah explained that she was falling for Eric. Eric disagreed. When Eric suggested that Sarah had only been interested in him because Rex had slept with Noelle, Sarah said no. Sarah told Eric that she had dreamed about him, and it had made her realize that their friendship was over and that she wanted more from him.
"I think that we could be really good for each other. So, I guess the big question is, did I wait too long to say all this?" Sarah asked. Eric said he only felt friendship for Sarah. Sarah was embarrassed.
"You said you loved Rex. He is going to spend the rest of his life making you happy. He loves you very much. And as far as I'm concerned, we never had this talk. And he will never find out about that kiss," Eric said. Outside the chapel, Rex tilted his head as if listening. Rex then walked in. Eric thanked Sarah for taking care of Marlena.
"What are friends for?" Sarah asked as she looked at Eric. Rex noted that Sarah appeared distant. When Sarah shrugged, Rex suggested that Sarah eat some food. With a nod, Sarah put her arm around Rex, and they walked out of the chapel.
At the DiMera mansion, Ciara marched into the house. Ciara argued that Ben was "scum" if he was willing to work for Stefan. Ben wanted to explain, but Ciara interrupted. "Doing Stefan's dirty work is wrong, no matter what," Ciara argued. With a sigh, Ciara noted that she was scared to see what Stefan had planned.
"You're wrong about me hurting women, because right now, I'm trying to stop one from being killed," Ben barked. Ben explained about the situation with Chloe. Unsure what to say, Ciara sighed. "I'm a total jackass. I jumped to all the wrong conclusions. I'm so sorry," Ciara said. With a grin, Ben told Ciara she was not a jackass. Ben promised that his work at the DiMera mansion was a good thing.
""I've been right all along, and you do have a big heart, so how could you be a bad guy?" Ciara asked. Ben noted that he was damaged goods, at the least. Unfazed, Ciara warned Ben that he could not get rid of her. Ciara confessed that she missed Ben.
"I know that I can find a way to prove to you that you are not the broken person that you think you are," Ciara said. Ben worried aloud that he might become abusive in the future. As Ciara reached for his hand, Ben scooted away from Ciara on the couch. With a sigh, Ciara warned Ben that Stefan was not a good influence. Ben disagreed. Ben explained that Stefan struggled with the same worries that Ben did about his own father.
"I don't want you living in fear, even if it is just in the back of your mind," Ben said. "Do you want to know what really scares me? Thinking of my life without you in it," Ciara confessed. Ciara took Ben's hands in hers and told him that her life was better with him in it.
"You definitely brought out the best in me. That is for damn sure. I'm always going to want to be the guy that you can trust. I just don't think I can guarantee that is the way it is going to happen," Ben said. Ciara looked in Ben's eyes and asked why he would not let her help him. With a shake of his head, Ben said he did not think Ciara could understand his struggles.
"I'm just as screwed up as you, Ben Weston, and you know it," Ciara said. Ciara talked about how Bo had been absent from her life and had then died. Ciara added that, in her grief, Hope had ended up in prison. Ciara mentioned the fact that her stepbrother had raped her.
"What I'm trying to say is that I have not had a normal life, either. At all. But you and I get each other, and that is why I'm not scared of you, but you keep telling me that I should be scared, so I'm just starting to think it's because you're not that into me," Ciara said. Ben sighed. "That could not be any further from the truth," Ben said. Ciara ordered Ben to stop making her decisions for her.
"Ben. Just be with me," Ciara pleaded. Ben kissed Ciara passionately. With a chuckle, Ciara said she had been wrong to think that Ben was not interested in her. Ben cautioned Ciara not to jump ahead. Ciara offered to take things slowly. "All I want is you," Ciara said. As Ben and Ciara kissed again, someone fired a gun through the back window. Ben threw himself on top of Ciara, and they tumbled to the floor.
By the nurses' station at the hospital, Diana arrived with Leo. Diana asked Brady about Marlena. Brady announced that Marlena had suffered a setback but was fine. Diana covered the fleeting look of surprise on her face. Brady asked Leo to join him at the pub. Brady explained that he and Leo had gotten off on the wrong foot and that he wanted to talk.
In Marlena's hospital room, Eli talked to Marlena and John about his only lead on the poisoning. Marlena noted that Kristen was a master of surprise. With a raised eyebrow, Eli wondered if Shelly had been mistaken as to Kristen's identity. Leo collected the I.V. bag and other evidence and returned to the station.
When Eric walked in, John left him alone with Marlena. Marlena asked Eric to do whatever he could to make things work with Brady. Marlena confided her fear that Eric and Brady's sobriety was at stake. Eric promised that he would not do anything to interfere with his brother's life.
In the hospital hallway, Diana told John that she was happy to hear the good news about Marlena. John noted that Kristen was still at large but that they had bagged the I.V. bag as evidence. "Hopefully, we will pull some prints off of it," John said. As John walked away, Diana's eyes grew wide with fear.
At the pub, Brady suggested that he and Leo could work on their relationship. Brady noted that he approved of Leo's decision to drop the charges against Sonny and Will. Leo asked if Brady would hire him if he improved himself. Brady promised to think about it. When Brady's phone rang, he stepped away to take the call. Leo listened as Brady talked about a deal and stressed that he did not want DiMera Enterprises to hear about it.
"This could be a game-changer deal for Titan," Brady confided to Leo after he ended the call. Leo thanked Brady for being nice to him. With a nod, Leo excused himself and left. Outside the pub, Leo texted Stefan that he had information for Stefan. Inside the pub, Brady called Gabi and thanked her for tipping him off about Leo's work as a spy for Stefan. "I have to tell you about the trap that I set for him," Brady said.
Haley's fate is determined
At the DiMera mansion, Stefan, Chloe, Ben, and Ciara converged in the foyer, each seeking shelter from the gunfire.
"Where are the other guards?" Chloe asked worriedly. "They should have been here by now," Stefan agreed. "Unless the other gunmen took them out first," Ben pointed out before rushing back into the living room to get a clearer picture of the threat. Ciara sprang into protective mode and tried to chase after Ben, but Stefan stopped that from happening.
Ben soon returned and reported that the other members of the security team were still alive and were actively searching the property for the shooter, who seemed to be a lone gunman. "He left that," Ben added, producing a black card that had a gold, skull-shaped sun in the center. "The symbol of El Fideo's cartel," Chloe recalled with a gasp of horror, no longer the least bit unsure about the shooter's intended target. Chloe immediately contacted Maggie, who confirmed that Parker and Holly were both safe and sound at the Kiriakis mansion. Meanwhile, Stefan contacted the police.
"The cartel must have thought you were me. My hair was that long when they kidnapped me," Chloe apologetically explained to Ciara, who wasn't interested in blaming anyone other than the shooter for what had happened. Ben waited until the police arrived then started to escort Ciara back to the loft apartment. Meanwhile, Stefan called in more security guards then tried to comfort Chloe, who was still shaken and wanted to be held for a while.
Claire burst into the loft apartment and found Tripp in the living room, fiddling with a cell phone. "Are you texting Ciara? 'Cause I need to talk to her -- right now! It's life or death!" Claire said dramatically. "Why? What's -- what's going on?" Tripp asked, concerned. "I need to borrow her red sweater!" Claire explained, drawing a groan from Tripp, who clearly didn't think that was much of an emergency. "This is very serious, Tripp! I -- I have a live stream that I'm about to do, and I can't wear something that my followers have seen already!" Claire elaborated. "And Ciara's not answering any of my texts right now, so..." Claire added.
"No, I'm not texting Ciara, okay? I'm -- I'm trying to find out how it went with Haley's hearing," Tripp clarified, still not particularly sympathetic to Claire's plight. "Oh... Okay, well...your uncle's her lawyer, [and] he's the best, [so] I'm sure it was fine," Claire dismissively replied. "Even the best lawyers lose sometimes," Tripp worriedly pointed out. "That's true, I know... You always have to stay on top of your game...which is why I need to find something to wear for my live stream -- right now!" Claire said before starting to rush off to another room to change clothes. "Wow. Way to change the subject, Claire," Tripp grumbled, stopping Claire.
"You seem pretty reluctant to talk about Haley," Tripp curiously observed. "It's none of my business," Claire reasoned with a shrug. "Right, right -- except...I'd still like to find out who it was that ratted her out," Tripp replied, eyeing Claire skeptically. "Why on earth would I tip off Jack Deveraux about Haley Chen?" Claire asked indignantly. "I know as much about [this] as you do!" Claire added before starting to rush off, claiming to have forgotten to go to the library to pick up some research material for an upcoming final. Still suspicious, Tripp quickly decided to follow Claire -- and bumped into Kayla on the way out of the apartment.
"I just wanted to come by and see how you're doing," Kayla explained. "Hanging in there," Tripp replied before thanking Kayla for the concern. "Any word from my dad?" Tripp asked hopefully after inviting Kayla into the apartment. "I spoke with him on the phone just the other day. [He's]...okay, I think... Um...he said he misses all of us -- wanted to make sure that I let you know that -- and, um...unfortunately, it looks like the cleanup with the ISA is gonna take longer than he was hoping, and...I don't think he's gonna be back home for a while," Kayla sadly reported. Tripp was disappointed to hear that, but Kayla sensed some concern, as well.
"I'm worried that Claire's lying to me," Tripp began to explain. Kayla agreed, after hearing the whole story, that Claire certainly wasn't above lying to further a personal agenda.
"But I don't want what you did to get lost in all this," Kayla added, confusing Tripp. "Hiding [Haley] from the authorities until you could figure out how to keep her in this country," Kayla elaborated. "You didn't even think of the consequences and how it could jeopardize your own freedom -- you just jumped right in!" Kayla continued as Tripp began squirming. "It was impulsive, and it was reckless...and it was exactly what your father would have done," Kayla proudly noted, surprising Tripp, who had mistaken everything beforehand as the start of a lecture. "When he finds out about this, he's gonna be so proud of you," Kayla concluded.
"Getting back to Claire...I -- I think the best advice I can give you is to be direct. If you're honest with her, then maybe she'll be honest with you," Kayla advised. "I agree...but Ciara has already accused Claire, and she denied it, and if I just repeat the same thing, then it'll just --" Tripp began to explain. "Be like you're ambushing her," Kayla knowingly concluded for Tripp, seeing the dilemma. "Uh-huh -- and I don't want it to feel like we're ganging up on her, especially when I don't know for sure that [she] was even the one who did this...but if she did, [that means that] Haley might get deported because of me," Tripp continued, sighing. "No," Kayla assured Tripp.
"[She would have been] at risk no matter where she was. Her face was plastered all over the news," Kayla pointed out. "Because of my uncle," Tripp grumbled. "You know, he had the nerve to show up here at my door and pretend like he actually wanted to get to know me, when all he wanted was to get Haley busted so he could use the footage for his next campaign commercial! I mean, can you believe that?" Tripp continued, outraged. "Actually...I can," Kayla vaguely admitted. Tripp didn't bother to question Kayla's response, having just thought of a way to find out if Claire was the person who had provided the tip that had led to Haley's apprehension.
Shortly after Tripp and Kayla left the apartment, Ciara and Ben entered it.
"The only reason why you were even inside of that house was because you wanted to see me, which just confirms my feelings that if we weren't together, you'd be a hell of a lot safer," Ben said to Ciara with a sigh. "You listen to me, Ben Weston, because I'm only gonna say this once -- we just got back together, [and] it's gonna take a hell of a lot more than a hail of bullets to scare me away this time!" she insisted with finality. "You're a lot tougher than you look," he somewhat jokingly replied, having found her stern tone a bit scary. Unamused, she pressed for an answer. "I got the message," he assured her.
Satisfied, Ciara started to clean Ben's hand, which had gotten cut on a shard of glass from one of the windows that the shooter's bullets had shattered. He insisted that wasn't necessary, but she was quite happy to be taking care of him for a change. They soon began kissing passionately, but he eventually stopped things from progressing any further, making it clear that he was doing so against his better judgment. "I'd love to stay, [but] I should really get back to the mansion [and] make sure that [everything's] under control," he explained. "As long as you're okay...?" he added. "Trust me -- I am more than okay," she replied before kissing him again.
At the Horton Town Square, Jennifer approached Jack and Eve, who had been discussing the latest poll numbers. "We are actually in a campaign meeting, so if you'll excuse us, Jennifer..." Eve irritably stated. "Well, I would be happy to, but as a member of the free and fair press, I have a question...and I'm sure you don't want to deny the voters a chance to hear your candidate's position," Jennifer countered. "Of course not..." Eve grumbled as Jennifer produced a recording device. "How does it feel to destroy the life of a young, innocent woman for political gain, Mr. Deveraux? How do you justify using Haley Chen as a political football?" Jennifer asked pointedly.
"No comment," Eve tiredly answered for Jack. "Actually, Eve...I asked Jennifer to meet me here [and] invited her to interview me," Jack clarified, stunning Eve. "Why in the world would you grant Jennifer an interview?" Eve asked after pulling Jack aside. "She supports Abe 100%!" Eve added. "Relax. I can handle Jennifer," Jack dismissively replied. Eve sighed and reluctantly agreed to give Jack some time alone with Jennifer.
"I want to make sure that, uh, this interview is fair and unbiased -- that I'm not just setting myself up for a hatchet job so you can [try] to destroy any chance I have of being mayor," Jack said after rejoining Jennifer. "My job is to inform the electorate...and I realized that I don't even know what you stand for, which means the public doesn't know what you stand for, so that is why [I'm doing this] -- so you [can] give me a clear picture of your platform. And if it resonates with the voters, so be it," Jennifer replied. "And for the record...I don't do 'hatchet jobs' because I don't need to lie and betray people to get what I want," Jennifer pointedly added.
"I'm a clean slate," Jack began to explain, ignoring the dig. "Isn't saying that you're 'a clean slate' just a way of not taking responsibility for anything that you have ever done?" Jennifer asked. "I've never denied my past. I'm well aware I've made mistakes, even if I can't remember them," Jack replied. "And if others can?" Jennifer countered. "I'm beginning to think that maybe someone else should be writing this article -- someone who's not so personally involved," Jack evasively mused. "Trust me -- I'm a professional," Jennifer dismissively insisted. "My opponent also has flaws!" Jack defensively pointed out, but Jennifer refused to allow the weak deflection.
"Are you gonna print what I say, or are you just gonna keep printing your own fake news?" Jack asked. "'Fake news'? That's what spews out of your mouth every time you open it!" Jennifer replied. "'Spews'? Is that what the opinion of the Spectator is?" Jack wondered. "No, that's the opinion of Jennifer Horton -- and you can quote me on that!" Jennifer countered.
"I am surprised that you would even allow me to be a part of your byline...but, then again, I am surprised that we were ever married in the first place! I don't know -- I can't remember -- [but] maybe -- just maybe -- I threw myself down that elevator shaft, just to get away from you!" Jack spat. Furious, Jennifer picked up a nearby glass of water and doused Jack with it.
"I thought that you said you were a professional," Jack mused while drying off. "Which is why I am going to kill this story," Jennifer replied. "And just a little advice for you, off the record -- the less you open your mouth, the better chance you have at fooling people into voting for you!" Jennifer added before starting to storm off -- just as Kayla arrived. "Oh, Kayla -- I'm glad you're here! Your good friend Jennifer just gave me an unsolicited cold shower. Maybe you can help her cool down now," Jack said. "I doubt that...'cause I assume she's as mad as I am at you for being a pompous ass and only caring about yourself," Kayla countered with a glare.
Jennifer was stunned to hear about what Jack had done to Tripp. "He was harboring a fugitive! As a citizen and a candidate, I had the obligation to --" Jack began to pontificate. "Save it for your rallies, Jack," Jennifer tiredly advised, stopping the speech. "If what you plan to do for Salem is the same thing that you have done to your son and your nephew, I pray that Abe wins!" Jennifer added before storming off, with Kayla close behind.
At the Salem Inn, Eve received an unexpected visit from Tripp, who demanded to know who had provided the tip that had led to Haley's apprehension. "I can't be specific here. The person that alerted Jack and me to Haley's location said that they would only tell us if they remained anonymous. But I can tell you this -- it was a concerned citizen," Eve explained. "Last time I checked, there's no such thing as 'campaign manager-concerned citizen confidentiality,' so why don't you just tell me who it was?" Tripp countered. "It was a neighbor of yours, okay?" Eve claimed. "Mrs. Carney?" Tripp assumed, and Eve played along.
Satisfied, Tripp started to leave -- just as something fell in the bathroom. "Is there somebody else here?" Tripp asked suspiciously. "That, um -- that's Jack. He was taking a shower before, and he must have dropped something," Eve explained before stepping into the bathroom for a second. "Oh, yeah -- everything's fine. He dropped the shaving cream. And he said he would come out and see you, but he's absolutely buck naked and dripping wet," Eve continued after emerging from the bathroom. "That's okay. I want nothing to do with him -- not after what the two of you did to Haley," Tripp replied before storming off.
As soon as the coast was clear, Claire emerged from the bathroom and thanked Eve for backing up the cover story.
At the park, Kayla tried to assure Jennifer that Jack was only doing hurtful things because of the amnesia. Jennifer admitted to having doubts about that. "I believed that he beat his demons and that he really changed [years ago], but I'm starting to wonder if it was all an act, because [now he] doesn't seem to have a conscience at all, and I don't know -- I really don't know -- if I or anybody else can save Jack from himself," Jennifer mused.
Tripp entered the town square, ready to start a work shift, and noticed that Jack was sitting at one of the tables. "How did you get here so fast?" Tripp wondered. "Hmm?" Jack replied, confused. "You know what? I don't -- I don't care. I just want you out of my section," Tripp demanded. "Tripp, I'm sorry --" Jack began. "I don't want to hear it, okay? Haley might get deported because of you! Do you get that? You might have just destroyed someone's life, and you're -- what, you're out ordering coffee? I don't understand how you can live with yourself," Tripp snapped before storming off with a shake of the head.
After leaving the courthouse, Justin and Haley rejoined J.J. at the police station. "So, how did [the hearing] go? What did the judge decide?" J.J. asked nervously. "The judge postponed making a decision," Haley replied.
Haley didn't know whether to consider the postponement a good thing or a bad thing, but it had clearly left Justin feeling quite optimistic. "For one thing, you were released on your own recognizance...and I also think the judge seemed sympathetic -- I mean, in my opinion, the fact that he didn't make a ruling right away is only cause for hope," Justin reasoned. "There are certainly some challenges, uh, presented by the current political climate...and, of course, the fact that there has been violence linked to a Mexican drug cartel right here in Salem doesn't help our cause...[but] I have heard good things about this judge -- that he's fair, that he is not easily swayed by whatever rhetoric is in the wind -- so I believe that he will base his ruling on the facts [of your history here], which are more than in our favor," Justin added.
Haley thanked Justin for the help and support then started to leave. "Wait," J.J. called out, stopping Haley. "I know I'm not your favorite person right now, but...I really need to talk to you," J.J. continued.
Haley agreed to join J.J. for coffee at the Brady Pub -- and acknowledged, once they were there, that she deserved more blame for her predicament than he did, and she only stood a chance of getting out of it because of him. "I've never felt this alone. My own sister [has stopped] returning my calls -- [not that] I should be surprised, [since] we were never that close, anyway... In fact, I've always been really scared of that -- getting close to anybody. I guess I was just really worried [that if I did], they'd find out my secret," she admitted. "Must have been a hard way to live," he sympathetically mused. "Yeah...[but] in some ways, it actually made me stronger," she replied. "Now that I think of it...I mean, does it even matter if I have to go, [since] I don't have anybody [keeping me here]?" she suddenly realized. "You have me," he stressed.
"Let me be the same kind of friend for you," Haley replied, sensing that something was bothering J.J. "I know you're still furious at your dad. You want to talk about it?" Haley continued. "I know he doesn't remember who he is, but that's not an excuse, you know? I'll never forgive him for what he did to you, [and I'm gonna do] whatever it takes to stop him from becoming mayor," J.J. vowed.
Just then, Justin entered the pub and apologetically revealed that the judge had just decided to start the deportation process. "You said this judge was fair -- that he wouldn't be swayed by the political climate!" J.J. pointed out, confused. "And I hoped that he wouldn't be. I mean, considering Haley's exemplary record, I -- I -- I thought he'd be more lenient. But he's sticking to the letter of the law," Justin explained with a shrug of defeat. "I'm afraid you have 30 days before you have to, um, leave the country," Justin told Haley. Meanwhile, at the Salem Inn, Eve and Claire celebrated the judge's ruling.
J.J. followed Haley out of the pub and tried to convince her that there was no reason to give up just yet, but she couldn't think of any way to get around the judge's ruling. "Marry me," he suggested.
Haley makes a big decision
At the Kiriakis mansion, Maggie found Sarah in the living room, preparing a stiff drink.
"You should be drinking Champagne. I understand that you and Kayla saved Marlena's life," Maggie said to Sarah, who dismissively clarified that a miracle had saved Marlena's life. Maggie quickly realized that something was bothering Sarah, who confirmed the suspicion and proceeded to recap everything that had happened at the hospital.
"I think you could use a little escape -- [maybe] a spa day tomorrow?" Maggie offered at the end of the tale, but Sarah insisted that wasn't necessary. "I'm fine -- I really am. I just, um...I think the whole Eric thing -- maybe it was just a fixation, and I just have to accept that it's only platonic between us, at least on his side, and I need to move on [and] focus on Rex," Sarah added with a shrug. "You shouldn't commit to a life with Rex by default," Maggie argued. "I love him," Sarah stressed. "Do you?" Maggie skeptically countered. "And he loves me. I -- I just -- I have to learn how to trust him again," Sarah continued, ignoring Maggie's question.
Eric awoke with a start after a dream in which Rex had found out about what had happened with Sarah.
"That was not a happy dream you were having, man; it was a nightmare," Rex observed while pouring coffee in the kitchen of Eric's apartment. Eric, who had accidentally fallen asleep on the couch, shrugged and claimed to have already forgotten what the dream -- or nightmare -- had entailed. Rex nodded and changed the subject, revealing that Sarah was going to be arriving soon for dinner. Eric took the hint and started preparing to go jogging so Rex and Sarah could have some privacy. Rex gratefully raved that Eric was a great brother -- and that Brady's warnings about Eric making a play for Sarah had obviously been meritless and ridiculous.
Later, Eric returned from the jog and found Rex and Sarah dancing in the kitchen. Sarah soon tripped and fell to the floor, spraining an ankle in the process. Sarah claimed that it didn't really hurt, but Rex insisted on securing it with athletic tape, just to be safe. While Rex was fetching a medical bag, Eric fetched an ice pack and placed it on Sarah's ankle. Eric and Sarah locked eyes with each other, but Rex soon returned, interrupting the moment. Eric went to clean up the remains of a glass that Sarah had broken during the fall -- and paused to watch as Rex tended to Sarah's injury. After a few seconds, Eric sighed and went back to cleaning up the mess.
At the police station, Hope complained to Ted about the damage that El Fideo's crew had done to the DiMera mansion. "More than 100 bullet holes! [The members of his] crew are even more vicious now that he's dead!" Hope noted with a shake of the head, adding that Ciara was lucky to have made it out of the mansion in one piece. "We'll find the person responsible," Ted assured Hope, who nodded in agreement.
"Leo Stark submitted all his paperwork, and the charges against Will and Sonny are officially dismissed," Ted reported once Hope was ready to move on to another subject. "Finally," Hope declared, satisfied. "There won't be any more conflict-of-interest issues, [right]?" Hope asked Ted pointedly. "I still have my guilt for torturing two people you care about," Ted sheepishly replied. "[But] I'm trying -- trying to turn my life around, to be a better person, to make up for all my...I won't call them 'mistakes,' because they were not mistakes; they were choices, and they were the wrong ones. And it took meeting a woman like you to make me see it," Ted added.
Pleased, Hope promised to support Ted's attempt to secure a permanent position as Salem's district attorney. Ted pointedly hoped that wouldn't cause any conflict between Hope and Rafe.
As if on cue, Rafe entered the police station and observed that Hope and Ted seemed to be having a good time together. Rafe chased Ted away then wondered if Hope had time to go out for dinner. "Things haven't been great between us, but I want to fix that," Rafe explained. "I have a ton..." Hope began to protest before stopping abruptly. "Work can wait. I'd love to have dinner with you," Hope said instead, giving Rafe a smile.
As Hope left with Rafe, Ted watched jealously from afar, having been in the process of inviting her to dinner himself just before her husband's unexpected interruption.
When Hope and Rafe arrived at the Brady Pub a short time later, the place was closed, and a table for two was set and waiting for them, complete with flowers, lit candles, and a bottle of Champagne.
"Roman closed early so we could have the place all to ourselves," Rafe explained. "What's the occasion?" Hope wondered. "Well, with all the craziness that's been going on -- and the tension -- we seem to have missed celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary," Rafe clarified. "And I know -- I know that some things happened that you may not necessarily have wanted to celebrate, but I just want you to know that I didn't forget; [I just] didn't bring it up on the day because I didn't necessarily want you to have to go through that pain again," Rafe elaborated. "Let's not look back, okay?" Hope suggested, and Rafe nodded in agreement.
A short time later, as Hope and Rafe were sharing a passionate kiss, Ted burst into the pub and announced that a second pair of footprints had just been found at the DiMera mansion, disproving the initial assumption that there had only been one shooter. "How did you even know we were here?" Rafe asked irritably. "Hope left word at the desk," Ted replied. "I need to look into this right away," Hope apologetically told Rafe, who forced a smile and pretended to be fine with the change of plans. Rafe watched jealously as Hope rushed off with Ted. Once the coast was clear, Rafe sighed and sadly blew out the candles.
Claire entered the Horton Town Square and approached Tripp, who seemed to be preparing to leave.
"It's slow, [so] I volunteered [to] take off early [because] I'm in a crap mood," Tripp explained when Claire expressed confusion. "Jack was just here, and he actually tried to apologize, [but] he's a liar and a fake, and all he cares about is wanting to be the next mayor of Salem, and he'll do anything to win -- including destroy a person's life -- [so] I will never forgive him for what he did to [Haley]. I mean, Haley is a good person, [and] Haley is a great nurse, [and] Haley is --" Tripp continued. "'Haley, Haley, Haley' -- oh, my God, Tripp, I'm starting to think you're obsessed with her!" Claire tiredly complained. "No, I'm not 'obsessed' with Haley," Tripp insisted.
"But I do feel bad for the situation she's in," Tripp explained. "Right... Sorry -- I, uh...didn't mean to snap at you like that..." Claire replied, adding that Tripp wasn't the only one who felt bad for Haley. "I really do care about her, and it sucks that someone turned her in!" Claire dramatically declared, prompting Tripp to reveal that Mrs. Carney had been confirmed as the culprit.
"You know, for -- for a little while there, it kinda seemed like you thought it was me," Claire noted. "Well, only three people knew that Haley was staying with us, so..." Tripp replied, shrugging. "Yeah, and I -- I'm always the one doing these stupid things out of jealousy, so I get why you would suspect me. [But] when we promised each other no more lies and no more secrets, I meant it, [and] I hope you know that I would never, ever betray your trust like that," Claire innocently stressed. "I do...and, um, I'm sorry that I ever doubted you," Tripp replied before giving Claire a hug.
Tripp again asked Claire to put Haley in touch with Belle, but Claire claimed that Belle was too busy with other cases to help. "[But] I am gonna do everything I can to help -- [like] a social media campaign [and] a fundraiser," Claire continued, knowing that none of those promises would need to be kept because Haley's fate had already been decided. "That would be amazing! Wow, you -- you are the best girlfriend ever!" Tripp raved, impressed. Just then, Tripp's cell phone chimed, announcing the arrival of a news alert -- one that was about the judge's ruling in Haley's case. Tripp read it aloud. Claire feigned surprise and pretended to feel sorry for Haley.
Claire quickly changed the subject, offering to make a romantic dinner for Tripp. She rushed off to do some grocery shopping, grinning triumphantly.
Outside the Brady Pub, J.J. tried to convince Haley to accept his marriage proposal, arguing that it was the best -- and maybe the only -- solution to her problem.
"So, what do you think?" J.J. excitedly asked Haley at the end of the pitch. "I think you lost your damn mind," she replied with a scoff. "ICE would be on us in a hot minute! [I mean], we've been all over the news, [and] everybody knows [that] we're not engaged -- [or] even dating -- and right now, if anything, I am just the undocumented Chinese woman who was staying at your place because my sister disowned me!" she pointed out.
"You could get arrested -- thrown into jail for fraud!" Haley reminded J.J. "Not if it's a real marriage -- which it could be...someday," he countered. "I don't want you marrying me out of guilt," she insisted.
"It's more than that. You must -- you must know by now that I...I have feelings for you," J.J. admitted to Haley. "I've really missed you since you've been gone. Um...it -- it -- it was nice, just having meals together, and playing music, and talking, and I -- I actually felt like we were -- we were really starting to connect...um, before everything hit the fan," he continued. "But it did, [and] even if I thought this was a good idea -- which I don't -- there's still one huge reason I can't marry you, [and it's something] you can't fix -- [the fact that] you betrayed my confidence, and that's...that's why I'm in this situation now," she countered.
"And, yes, I've let it go, [because] I don't want to be angry anymore -- at you or anybody else -- but...marrying you?" Haley continued. "I can't. I won't," she insisted with finality.
"I understand why you hold me responsible for the situation you're in -- [I mean], I am responsible -- but there aren't too many other ways to avoid getting deported," J.J. reminded Haley. "[But] it's your call, [and] whatever decisions you make -- tonight and going forward -- I'll...I'll respect them, and I promise not to push...but, Haley, um...we're under the gun," he warned.
Haley headed off to the loft apartment to think about J.J.'s proposal without the pressure of an audience. Tripp was there, waiting for Claire, and was surprised to learn that J.J. had just proposed to Haley.
"What about ICE? I mean, wouldn't they know the marriage is fake?" Tripp asked. "They'd be watching every move we make...but, Tripp, I don't have any other options -- I don't know what [else] to do -- so part of me is actually thinking of saying yes," Haley replied. "But what if we get busted? And then, instead of going back to China, I go to prison, and so does J.J.," Haley added, conflicted.
"I wish there was something I could do," Tripp said. "That's so nice of you, but...I don't think there is," Haley replied.
Later, Haley headed over to J.J.'s apartment, having made a decision.
"You're right -- if I don't do something now, I'm gonna get deported, [and] marrying a U.S. citizen [is] the quickest way to get a green card," Haley began. "Wow. I didn't think you'd say yes...but, um, I'm so glad you did. And don't worry -- I'll take care of everything, and we'll get married as soon as possible," J.J. excitedly replied. "I'm not gonna marry you; I'm marrying Tripp," Haley clarified, stunning J.J.
Meanwhile, Claire entered the loft apartment with a load of groceries and bragged to Tripp about the amazing dinner she was going to cook for him. "Look...I'm sorry, Claire, but, uh, we're gonna have to put dinner on hold for a minute. I have something to tell you," he awkwardly began. "Sounds serious," she observed, confused and intrigued. "It is...and you're not gonna like it," he warned.
Diana scrambles to cover her tracks
At the police station, Eli and Lani talked about Haley's immigration situation. "She is going to need a miracle," Lani said. With a shrug, Lani lamented that a good person could be forced to leave the country.
"J.J. really cares about her, and after everything that he has been through, I would hate for him to miss out at a chance at happiness," Lani said. Lani wrapped up her work for the day and teased Eli that he was still on the clock. Eli suggested that Lani should head over to his apartment and wait for him.
"I guarantee that I will make it worth your while," Eli purred. Lani looked around. Lani asked Eli if there were security cameras on them. With a grin, Eli told Lani she was going to get them in trouble.
"Ask me if I care?" Lani said. Lani sat on Eli's lap and kissed him. With a chuckle, Lani suggested that they quit while they were ahead. Lani told Eli she would meet him at his apartment. Excited, Eli readily agreed. As Lani turned to leave, Diana walked into the station. Eli asked Diana what she needed.
"I am a reporter. In fact, I used to own the Spectator. And now I own the paper in my hometown, and I am working on a piece on Kristen DiMera," Diana said. Diana said she wanted to bring Kristen to justice for everything Kristen had done to her friend John. Diana questioned Eli about the case, and Eli confirmed that the only step left in the investigation was to test the I.V. bags for fingerprints. Eli added that Diana needed to arrange interviews through the media representative in the future. With a wink and a handshake, Eli said he was happy to help a friend of John.
As Diana gathered her things to leave, Eli asked Lani to remove the I.V. bag from the evidence locker and place it in the safe. "This is the DiMeras we're talking about," Eli explained. With a nod, Lani headed down to the evidence locker. Diana watched Lani from the corner of her eye.
At the loft, Tripp told Claire that he had bad news. "I am totally committed to our relationship, Claire, and I have no feelings toward Haley at all, but we're getting married," Tripp announced. Claire's mouth fell open. In shock, Claire told Tripp he was insane.
"You are committed to me but you are marrying Haley?" Claire asked. Tripp explained the situation with J.J. Claire asked Tripp why he had discouraged Haley from marrying J.J. Tripp said he was confident that, unlike J.J., Jack would ignore Tripp's marriage to Haley. When Tripp mentioned that he had suggested himself as a groom, Claire shook her head.
"This was your idea?" Claire asked in disbelief. Claire argued that Immigration would see through the sham marriage. Claire added that Immigration could review her social media posts and know that Tripp was lying.
"When you get caught, Tripp, you could actually go to jail. We could get busted," Claire said. Tripp promised he would protect everyone. Claire asked about their relationship. When Tripp suggested that he and Claire could be together privately, Claire said she did not want to live her life as a secret.
"Keeping secrets can be kinda hot," Tripp said with a grin. "You know what is hot? Having a boyfriend who is proud to be with you," Claire said angrily. Tripp argued that what had happened to Haley was not fair. Claire huffed in frustration. "Are you sure you don't have feelings for her?" Claire asked. Trip said no.
"I know what it is like to feel all alone in this world. To feel abandoned," Tripp said. Tripp explained that he needed Haley to feel like someone was in her corner. Claire asked Tripp if she needed to decide between their relationship and Haley. Tripp stressed that he did not want to break up. When Tripp told Claire that he planned to marry Haley the next day, Claire groaned. Frustrated, Claire asked Tripp how he thought he could make Immigration believe the marriage was real. Tripp said he was confident he could convince everyone.
Claire picked up a pillow and screamed into it. With a sigh, Claire said, "Yes, I'll support you, but I really don't like it." Relieved, Tripp hugged Claire then kissed her passionately.
Haley went to J.J.'s apartment and told him that she had decided to marry Tripp. Confused, J.J. asked why Haley had chosen his cousin instead of him. Haley explained that marrying Tripp was easier. Haley added that Jack would never let her have a break if she married Jack's son.
"I'll not only be protecting myself, but I'll be protecting you," Haley said. Upset, J.J. said he did not care about his father. "He cares about himself and his campaign, which is why I'm going to make sure he never becomes mayor," J.J. said. Haley argued that she did not want to be the reason that J.J. and Jack stopped speaking. J.J. countered that Jack was the reason, not Haley.
J.J. asked Haley if she still hated him. Haley insisted she did not. "You trusted [Jack], and he let you down. That's just who you are," Haley said. Haley told J.J. that she appreciated all his help but that she did not want J.J. to marry her out of guilt. J.J. asked for more time. With a shake of her head, Haley said she needed to move forward immediately. J.J. asked about Claire. Haley said that Tripp was confident that he could convince Claire to go along with the plan. J.J. reminded Haley that he was single and the better choice.
"If you're going to make this seem like a real marriage, you have to stay together for a long time. Years," J.J. said. Haley insisted that she was prepared for the scrutiny. J.J. asked Haley if she wanted to be in a fake, loveless marriage with someone that was in love with someone else.
"With someone that doesn't care about you like I do," J.J. added. J.J. kissed Haley passionately. After a moment, Haley pulled away. "We can't do this!" Haley yelped. J.J. cried out that he did not want to lose Haley. Through tears, Haley said she needed to marry Tripp. Haley ran out of the apartment.
In the Kiriakis living room, Gabi asked Brady about their plan with Leo. With a chuckle, Brady said the plan had gone well. Brady informed Gabi that Leo had been taken in, "hook, line, and sinker." Brady toasted Gabi for her help. When Brady asked Gabi about her evening plans, Gabi said she was going to get takeout and go home. Brady urged Gabi to go out on the town, but Gabi said everyone hated her for what she had done to Abigail.
"We've both made mistakes. Stay the course. It will get better. I promise you," Brady said. Gabi's phone buzzed. With a groan, Gabi announced that the boss wanted to see her. Brady asked Gabi if she was willing to spy on Stefan for him. "With pleasure," Gabi said as she walked out.
In the DiMera mansion, Leo sauntered into the living room and commented to Stefan about the boarded-up windows. As Leo went to pour a drink, a stern-faced Stefan looked up from his chessboard. Leo asked for a reward for his work. Stefan grabbed Leo by the throat and asked him, "What kind of grift are you trying to pull?"
Stefan explained that Brady had given decoy information to Leo then acquired a company that DiMera had wanted. Surprised, Leo said he had relayed the information Brady had given him. Leo swore he was not working with Brady. When Leo suggested that someone had tipped off Brady, Stefan called Leo a moron. Leo begged for a second chance.
"I don't need you anymore," Stefan said. "I can still make a difference!" Leo pleaded. When Leo promised to find out who had betrayed Stefan, Stefan countered that he already knew the answer to that question.
In Marlena's hospital room, Marlena joked to John that they should add poisoning to the list of things that could not kill her. John said he was thankful that Marlena was on the road to recovery. Diana knocked on the door and poked her head in. When Diana asked John why he had invited her over, John explained that he wanted to ask Diana questions about Marlena's poisoning. John showed Diana a photo of Kristen and asked if Diana had seen her at the hospital.
"So, this is the woman you think poisoned Marlena?" Diana asked. "Unless, of course, you think it could have been somebody else?" Marlena asked with a raised eyebrow. Diana asked about what nurse Shelly had seen. John said he wanted to have a second witness.
With a shrug, Diana said she did not think she had seen Kristen. Diana asked about other suspects. John said Kristen was the main suspect. When Diana asked about the I.V. bag, John said that forensics would have an answer in the morning. With a nod, Diana said that was good news. Diana wished Marlena a speedy recovery as John walked her out of the room.
In the hallway, John thanked Diana for her help. "Your support has meant a lot to me," John said. Diana said she would do anything to help John. John suggested that Diana and Leo join him and Marlena for dinner when Marlena was feeling better. After John walked away, Diana muttered to herself about wiping her prints from the I.V. bag. Nervous, Diana whispered that she needed to make sure.
John returned to Marlena's room and promised her that he would get to the bottom of the poisoning. "I think we are going to have her right where we want her," John said.
In the town square, Lani spotted J.J. drinking at the café. Lani told J.J. she was sorry to hear about Haley's deportation. J.J. confided that Haley had rejected his alternate solution, but he did not explain about his proposal. "Maybe there is still a chance that you two can be together," Lani suggested. J.J. admitted that he would never get to be with Haley again.
Haley returned to the loft, and a cheerful Claire sang "Here Comes the Bride." Haley sheepishly thanked Claire for her support. When Haley hugged Claire, Claire's fake smile melted away into a dark scowl.
Gabi arrived at the DiMera mansion and pretended not to know about the deal Brady had secured. Stefan asked Gabi if she was responsible for the corporate espionage and tipping off Brady about Leo in particular. "Did you ask [Leo] to spy on Brady? Because that would be a horrible idea," Gabi commented. Gabi denied that she had helped Brady. Gabi asked Stefan why he would trust Leo.
"The man is hardly trustworthy. But neither are you," Stefan said. Stefan argued that Mr. Shin would toss Gabi out of the company if the board believed Gabi had sabotaged DiMera Enterprises. Gabi countered that Stefan was likely to blame for the espionage so that he could drive down the cost of the company shares and consolidate his powers by buying up the stock. Stefan gritted his teeth and leaned close to Gabi.
"I would hate to see your daughter lose her mother again," Stefan said. Gabi slapped Stefan. "You will never slap me again," Stefan growled. "You will never threaten me or my daughter again, because if you do, I guarantee that you're the one that is going to be terminated," Gabi said as she leaned closer to Stefan, unfazed. Stefan and Gabi locked eyes, both fuming. As Stefan repeatedly clenched his fist and swallowed his anger, Gabi walked out.
At the Kiriakis mansion, a furious Leo asked Brady why Brady had fed him false information. "Let me get this straight. Are you angry at me for stopping you from spying on me?" Brady asked with a chuckle. "You set me up!" Leo exclaimed. "Again, you were spying on me," Brady reiterated.
Brady called Leo a con artist. Brady said he did not care who Leo was; he would not trust him. "You've finally gotten what you deserve. Nothing," Brady said firmly. Leo yelled at Brady for ruining his only source of income. Brady suggested that Leo get a real job.
"If things get desperate for you, you could go back to being an escort," Brady joked. Frustrated, Leo announced that he was going to talk to John at the hospital. "I am his son. You will not keep me from him," Leo said. "You mean his money," Brady added. Leo rushed over to the hospital with Brady hot on his heels. Leo demanded to see John. Marlena shook her head and sighed. "Where is John?" Leo asked.
At the police station, Diana broke into a darkened office. The lights turned on, and, startled, Diana gasped and turned around. "Hello, Diana," John said as he held an evidence bag aloft.