At the DiMera guesthouse, Ben wrapped up a phone conversation with Ted then started complaining to Ciara about having just been summoned to the police station.
"He wants me to go sign the statement I gave in Holly's investigation so they can close the case," Ben explained while donning a shirt. "You weren't even on duty [when Holly was kidnapped]!" Ciara pointed out, sharing Ben's frustration about the inconvenience of Ted's demand. "If I had been --" Ben began with a sigh of regret. "There was nothing you could have done," Ciara insisted. "Guess we'll never know now..." Ben mused, sighing again.
"I know how hard this must be for you..." Ciara began while comforting Ben with a hug. "But, you know, there is something you can do -- make a difference in another child's life," Ciara suggested after pulling away from Ben. "[You did say] you wanted to be more involved in David's life...and how lucky would he be to have his super-awesome, amazing Uncle Ben teach him everything that's important in life? [You know], you are gonna be the best uncle ever!" Ciara continued. "I don't think anybody has ever told me I could be 'the best' at...anything...[so that's] a weird sensation...[but] I like it," Ben admitted, managing a smile.
"Good -- then it is settled," Ciara happily declared before giving Ben a kiss. "I have to go vote; I mean, after what Jack Deveraux did to Haley, I have to do everything I can to make sure that that creep doesn't end up being Salem's next mayor. So, I'm gonna go do that, and then I'm gonna go convince Rafe that you need to be in your nephew's life," Ciara added before rushing off with a confidence that left Ben looking cautiously optimistic.
Outside the Hernandez house, Rafe drank beer and thought about everything that had happened the previous night, oblivious to the fact that David was crying loudly from a nearby stroller.
Lani eventually arrived and managed to snap Rafe back to reality while simultaneously comforting David. "After what happened with Nicole's baby...how am I ever supposed to be responsible for a child again?" Rafe regretfully mused. "None of [that] was your fault," Lani insisted. "I can't help but think if I'd have done something differently, Nicole would still be holding Holly in her arms," Rafe maintained. "As a cop, I would have done the exact same thing," Lani stressed, sharing Rafe's opinion that Ted couldn't be trusted. "How come you and I are the only ones who can see [that]?" Rafe asked with a shake of the head.
Lani was stunned to learn that Hope had suspended Rafe in the wake of the explosion -- and that the couple's marriage might be over for good as a result of the incident, too. "It was a long time coming," Rafe admitted with a sigh before heading inside to change David's diaper. While Lani was waiting for Rafe to return with David, Ciara arrived and revealed Ben's desire to spend time with the child. "I know you have your issues with Ben hanging out with David, but...it's kind of not your call," Ciara pointed out when Lani dismissed the idea. "But it is Jordan's, and she made it very clear that she didn't want Ben anywhere near her son," Lani countered.
"I know...[and] I get that everyone is really worked up about Ben Weston, ex-serial killer, holding a baby...[but] David is his nephew, and he has every -- every -- right in the world to spend time with that little boy and have a relationship with him, especially now, after everything that happened with Holly Jonas. I mean, every moment in life is precious, and all Ben is trying to do is share some of them with David and actually have a real part in his life, you know? [So], if Rafe could just call Jordan [and] try to convince her [that] Ben has changed [and] deserves to be in David's life... Jordan listens to Rafe, [so] maybe she will agree," Ciara reasoned.
"From what I understand, there's no chance," Lani replied. "Okay, so...maybe he doesn't even have to tell her anything at all," Ciara suggested. "And go against Jordan's wishes behind her back? Come on, Ciara -- you know Rafe is not that kind of guy," Lani argued. "Yeah, but Rafe is the kind of guy who believes in family [and] believes in chances, and Jordan did put David in Rafe's care, so that kind of makes it his decision, [so] if I could just call him -- or maybe Ben could just call him -- and talk to him for a little bit..." Ciara countered. "Rafe is inside with the baby...[who] has a fever," Lani claimed, perhaps seeing Ciara's point.
"We want to keep him inside today [and] make sure he gets lots of rest," Lani continued. "Okay, [then] I will call Rafe later, and we'll make arrangements for another time," Ciara decided, feeling bad for David.
Shortly after Ciara left, Rafe returned with David and started to head off to the Horton Town Square to vote, prompting Lani to cause a temporary distraction to keep ample distance between Ciara and Rafe.
At the police station, Ted stepped into an otherwise unoccupied conference room and began searching Xander's criminal file for known associates, desperate to somehow confirm that Holly truly was alive and well.
Hope peeked in the conference room a few minutes later, while Ted was wrapping up a phone conversation with the coroner, who had not yet managed to positively identify Holly as the deceased child whose body had been recovered from the explosion. "Do you have reason to believe that the little girl who died in the explosion wasn't Nicole's daughter?" Hope asked curiously. "I'm sorry to say, but, um...I have no doubt it was Holly in that van; I had a clear view of the kidnapper when he put her in that vehicle. [I only called the coroner] to make sure that she was being thorough and timely," Ted coolly replied while hiding Xander's file under an unrelated file.
"No, that is not why you made that call," Hope argued, making Ted squirm a bit. "A little girl is dead, so you're doing what we're all doing -- going over every detail, no matter how small, [in an effort to] figure out if there was something we could have done differently that could have changed the outcome," Hope guessed, drawing a sigh of relief from Ted, who nodded in agreement. "Maybe [this] wouldn't have ended in tragedy if I [had] fought Rafe harder from going after that car..." Ted innocently mused. "He disobeyed [my] direct order, and now a little girl is dead...[so] I had no [other] choice [than] suspending [him]," Hope declared with a sigh.
Later, Ben arrived at the police station and began searching for Ted, who was no longer in the conference room but had left behind a pile of items, including a copy of Ben's statement, which was in plain view at the top of the pile. Ben picked up the document and skimmed it then reached for a pen to sign it -- and realized that the pen had been clipped to a corner of Xander's file. "What the hell does Xander Cook have to do with Holly Jonas' death?" Ben asked curiously when Ted returned to the room. "I was cleaning up some old paperwork. [Now], why are you looking through confidential documents?" Ted replied, squirming a bit while taking the file from Ben.
"I was looking for this," Ben explained, holding up the pen. "You called me in here to sign my statement, so let's go ahead and get this over with so I can get the hell out of here, [because] this isn't my favorite place in the world..." Ben added while signing the document. Ted waited nervously then breathed a sigh of relief when Ben rushed off.
At the Brady Pub, Lani wiped Rafe's mouth with a napkin while making a joke about adults who were messier than babies. Hope arrived in time to witness the exchange. "You want to talk some more?" Rafe asked hopefully, standing to greet Hope. "You took off your wedding ring, [so] that says it all," Hope replied before rushing off in tears. Rafe sighed but didn't bother to chase after Hope.
Ben met up with Ciara in the park and revealed that things had been a bit weird at the police station. "Laurent got all bent out of shape over nothing -- just, like, total overreaction," Ben curiously mused before changing the subject, wondering if Ciara had managed to talk to Rafe about David. Ciara explained that the conversation had been postponed because David hadn't been feeling well earlier.
Later, Ben and Ciara headed over to the pub to get some food -- and arrived just as Rafe and Lani were leaving with David. "I thought you said David was sick and couldn't go out," Ben said to Ciara as Rafe and Lani walked away with David, unaware of the couple's presence. "Yeah, that's what Lani told me... Obviously, she was lying," Ciara replied with a shake of the head, outraged.
At the police station, Hope stepped into one of the conference rooms and contacted Belle, not bothering to shut the door first. "I need your help. I want to file for divorce," Hope began as Ted listened outside the room.
Sarah went to Eric's apartment to retrieve a file that pertained to Will's case. "[If I didn't need this file], I would never dream of bothering you and Nicole --" Sarah apologetically began to stress. "Nicole's gone," Eric sadly revealed. "She just lost her daughter, [so] she's grieving, and she's emotional, and she's gonna lash out at anyone and everyone because she's just trying to make sense of something that doesn't make any sense," Sarah reasoned after learning that Nicole had decided to blame Eric for Holly's death. "The only one she's willing to accept comfort from right now is Brady," Eric grumbled.
Sarah argued that Nicole had chosen the wrong person to declare the hero of the story, since Holly's safety had simply been a talking point in Brady's jealous plot to get Chloe away from Stefan, but Eric didn't think that distinction mattered much in the grand scheme of things. "Brady came between you and Nicole once before. Do not let him do it again!" Sarah passionately advised, believing that Eric needed to let Nicole know the real reason that Brady had been concerned about Holly's safety. Eric dismissed Sarah's advice, refusing to take away the only source of comfort that Nicole had found since Holly's death.
"[Then] I'm gonna go talk to Nicole, [because] someone has to [make her understand] how much you loved that little girl [and] how good you were to her and for her," Sarah insisted. "You're so amazing. You're still so ready to fight battles for people who let you down --" Eric began to marvel, but Sarah interrupted, claiming to be fine. "Okay, maybe I'm not fine, but I...I will be. [Rex] is a great guy, and we're good together, [so I'm just] gonna walk down the aisle with [him instead]," Sarah added with a shrug and a forced smile. "You cannot give up [on Nicole], because she needs you, whether she knows it or not," Sarah stressed before leaving.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Xander sidestepped Brady and approached Nicole with a look of disbelief. "All this time, I thought you were dead, yet here you are -- a living, breathing miracle!" Xander happily declared before seizing a kiss from Nicole. "You pig!" Nicole spat after pushing Xander away. "Oh, how I missed those little terms of endearment..." Xander wistfully mused.
"You're telling me that you didn't know she was alive?" Brady asked skeptically. "Oh, not a clue," Xander insisted. "Then what the hell are you doing here?" Brady demanded to know. "As soon as I heard about Holly on the news, I knew exactly what I had to do -- I had to come straight here to be with my dear Uncle Victor and Aunt Maggie," Xander coolly explained.
"I have something important to tell them..." Xander began to add before turning to face Nicole again. "But seeing as you're here -- Holly's mother, in the flesh -- perhaps it's fitting that you hear what I have to say first...[which is that] I am so very sorry for your loss. [I mean], you know how fond I was of the little tyke; I was her stepdaddy, after all. The games of peekaboo, the nighty-night stories -- I mean, for a while there, we were quite happy, the three of us, back in Nashville," Xander continued. "Are you insane? We were never 'happy'; Holly and I were your prisoners!" Nicole argued.
"You used that horrible recording to blackmail me into marrying you!" Nicole continued. "I merely used that recording to my advantage; Brady is the...twisted...piece of work that actually made it," Xander countered. "Actually...that makes this whole little moment between you guys very confusing... Aren't you supposed to be ass-over-teakettle in love with his brother? Does Eric even have a clue that his dear brother is using your tragic loss as an excuse to canoodle with his one true love?" Xander curiously added. "Will you just mind your own business and get the hell out of here?" Brady tiredly interjected.
"This is my business. Nicole is still my wife," Xander reminded Brady. "Only because of that recording...but you don't have it anymore, 'cause I took it," Nicole pointed out. "Are you saying that you still have the recording?" Xander asked curiously. "It burned in the explosion," Nicole replied with a shrug. "Well, that's what we all assumed about you, [too]...but then, miracle of miracles, here you are...and here it is," Xander countered, producing a recording device. "Where did you get that?" Nicole wondered. "I found it in the wreckage after that building blew to hell," Xander explained, pocketing the device again.
"You were there? Were you the one who pulled me out of the fire?" Nicole asked. "As much as I would love to play the hero...sorry to disappoint, [but] I was too busy saving my own ass," Xander admitted.
"If you didn't know that Nicole was alive, why are you carrying that [recording] around with you?" Brady wondered. "Well, I was so torn up about what happened with Holly, I wanted to give it back to Uncle Vic as a peace offering...[but] things are different now [that I know] my beautiful wife is alive and kicking. [See], this is such a difficult time, what with losing Holly and all, [and] I really think the best place for my wife [right now] is by my side...and this recording will guarantee that that's exactly where she stays," Xander replied. "You better listen to that recording and remind yourself of what I'm capable of," Nicole advised Xander before storming off.
"I love that spirit," Xander told Brady before starting to chase after Nicole. "She just lost her child, Xander, okay? She's raw -- even you can see that -- [so just] let this go," Brady begged on Nicole's behalf, stopping Xander. "I'm not a monster, Brady. I feel her pain," Xander insisted. "Then prove it and give me the recording," Brady demanded. "Okay...but I am gonna need something in return..." Xander replied with a smirk.
Meanwhile, Nicole returned to the Salem Inn -- and soon received a visit from Sarah.
Will learns the cause of his condition
In the Kiriakis living room, Brady warned Xander to let Nicole go. Xander agreed to hand over the recording of Nicole's confession to murdering Deimos if Brady agreed to make Xander CEO of Titan. Xander argued that Victor would fire Brady since he had rehired Kate, so Brady should preemptively leave the job.
"Even if I wanted to appoint you, I can't appoint my successor," Brady explained. Brady added that Victor was the only person that could appoint the next CEO, and Victor would never help Nicole. With a shrug, Xander countered that Nicole would have to go to prison.
"Maybe you're not done punishing her for choosing her brother over you," Xander said. Brady reminded Xander that Nicole had just lost her daughter. With a smirk, Xander said he would gladly pass along the recording to the police. Brady offered to buy the recording instead. Brady said Xander could start his own company and prove his value to Victor in that way.
"This isn't about money for me. What I want is the respect my family owes me, so you can take your checkbook and shove it," Xander said. With a nod, Brady said he could offer Xander a position at Titan but not a job as CEO. Brady said that the new job would give Xander power at the company.
"This is the best offer you're going to get. You take it or leave it," Brady warned Xander. Xander said he did not want to work for Brady. With a nod, Brady said that if Xander took the job, Xander could prove himself to Victor over time. Softening, Xander demanded an office with a window. Brady chuckled. Brady asked for the recording. Xander said that once he had a contract for the job and his office designated, he would give Brady the recording.
Sarah visited Nicole at the Salem Inn to check on her. "I didn't think anything could be more painful than losing the two babies I never got to know," Nicole said. Nicole said she was grieving for all her children and the time she had lost with Holly. With a sigh, Nicole said she regretted that she had not gone to see Holly when she had first returned to town instead of seeing Eric. Sarah hugged Nicole.
"Is there anything I can do?" Sarah asked. Nicole grew angry. "You all failed her. Chloe, Eric, your family. No one protected her. My only child," Nicole growled. "She was my life," Nicole added. With a sad smile, Nicole called Holly her little miracle. Nicole grew angry again and yelled that only Brady had fought for her daughter.
"No one listened to [Brady], and my daughter is dead!" Nicole said. "I would have moved heaven and earth to save her," Sarah said softly. Nicole groaned. Nicole argued that Eric had given Holly away and then had let Holly stay at the DiMera mansion. Sarah explained that they had decided that the DiMera mansion had been the safest place for Holly to stay. Suspicious, Nicole asked Sarah if Eric had sent her. Sarah said that Eric had asked her to stay away.
"Why is how I feel about Eric so important to you?" Nicole asked. Sarah said she did not like to see Nicole in pain and that she wanted to see Nicole reconcile with Eric. Still suspicious, Nicole asked Sarah when she had grown so close to Eric. Sarah said she had spent a lot of time with Eric when he had grieved for Nicole. With a sneer, Nicole asked Sarah if she had bonded with Eric over Nicole's death.
"Is there something going on between the two of you?" Nicole asked Sarah. Sarah emphatically said no. "If I had feelings for Eric, why would I be here, trying to convince you to be with him?" Sarah asked. Sarah swore that she was there as a friend to both Nicole and Eric. Nicole said that if Sarah wanted to marry Rex because Eric was not available, then Sarah should break the engagement.
"As far as I'm concerned, Eric is all yours," Nicole said. "I don't want Eric. I love Rex," Sarah said. Nicole asked Sarah if she was sure. Sarah started to say that Nicole was emotionally raw, but Nicole interrupted to say that she would always be raw and would never forgive anyone. Nicole ordered Sarah to leave. In shock, Sarah stumbled out of the room.
In his apartment, Eric stared at photos of Nicole. Marlena knocked at the door. At the sight of her emotionally exhausted son, Marlena hugged Eric. "It still doesn't feel real," Eric said of Holly's death. Eric lamented that he had not fought harder to save Nicole from the burning building. When Marlena noted that Nicole would need Eric to help her through her pain, Eric's face crumpled in pain.
"You don't understand. The best day of my life turned into the worst day ever," Eric said. After Eric told Marlena what had happened with Nicole, Marlena counseled Eric to remember that Nicole was lashing out in anger. Marlena told Eric to give Nicole time to recover.
"What if she never needs me?" Eric asked. Marlena assured Eric that Nicole would warm up to him. Eric blamed himself for Holly's death. "Why would Nicole ever forgive me, because I'm not sure I could even forgive myself?" Eric shouted. Eric said he had been obsessed with Brady's ulterior motive instead of what was best for Holly. Marlena disagreed.
"You did the best you could based on the information you had at the time," Marlena said. Eric was unsure. "This is not your fault. In your heart, I think you know that. In her heart, I think Nicole knows that," Marlena advised. Marlena offered to talk to Nicole, but Eric refused. Eric said he had already asked Sarah to stay away from Nicole.
"I spoke to Sarah. I know that the two of you were planning to tell Rex about each other, and that was when Nicole came back," Marlena said. Marlena apologized for telling Sarah about Eric's feelings. With a wave, Eric insisted that Marlena's mistake did not matter. Marlena said that Eric would need to deal with his feelings for Sarah. Eric reminded Marlena that Nicole was the love of his life.
"That doesn't mean that your feelings for Sarah just go away because Nicole came back," Marlena said. "Are you saying I should let go of Nicole and be with Sarah?" Eric asked, shocked. Marlena corrected Eric and advised him to be honest with Sarah and Nicole. Marlena added that she was concerned that Sarah had decided to marry Rex instead of confront her own feelings. Eric asked Marlena to promise not to talk to anyone about his feelings for Sarah. Marlena agreed not to tell Nicole.
Marlena reminded Eric she had been in the same position when Roman had returned, and she had denied her feelings for John. With a nod, Eric said he could only think about Nicole's pain and how much he wanted to be there for her. "And you will," Marlena said.
At the DiMera mansion, Chloe talked on the phone to the funeral home about a dress for Holly. After ending the call, Chloe turned to Stefan. In tears, Chloe said that she had recently purchased a dress for Holly. "She said it made her feel like a princess," Chloe whispered. Stefan hugged Chloe. Gabi walked in and stopped short when she saw Chloe crying in Stefan's arms.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Stefan asked Gabi. "Did you forget? We have some unfinished business," Gabi said. Chloe offered to leave Stefan and Gabi alone to talk. Stefan offered to drive Chloe to the club, but Chloe declined the offer. "I think I might have left one of Holly's stuffed animals there, and I want her to be buried with it," Chloe said. Stefan promised Chloe that he would have the staff search the house for the stuffed animal, as well.
"I'm really sorry. [Holly] was a very sweet girl," Gabi said. Chloe thanked Gabi, and she walked out. Angry, Stefan wheeled on Gabi and barked that they did not have any unfinished business. "Oh, yes, we do," Gabi said before she grabbed Stefan and kissed him. Stefan pulled away.
"I couldn't resist. And I don't think you want me to," Gabi said. Stefan said their entanglement was inappropriate. With a smirk, Gabi noted that the inappropriateness was the draw for her because it meant there were no feelings or attachments. Stefan said he was concerned that Chloe would discover the affair, especially when Chloe had already been devastated by the loss of Holly.
"What do you owe her? I mean you've had one date, and in that date, her daughter was kidnapped and then later killed," Gabi said. Stefan warned Gabi to shut up. With a raised eyebrow, Gabi noted that Chloe would never be able to look at Stefan without thinking about her daughter.
"What about you? You cared about [Holly], too, right? Don't you need some comfort?" Gabi purred. Gabi grabbed Stefan's jacket lapels and pulled him into another kiss. Stefan pushed Gabi away, but after a moment, Gabi and Stefan rushed at one another, kissing passionately. As they fell onto the couch, Stefan jumped back. Stefan pulled a stuffed animal out of the couch cushions.
"We can't do this. Never again," Stefan said. Stefan noted that the stuffed animal was likely the one for which Chloe had been looking. With a shake of her head, Gabi whispered that if she had lost her daughter, she would want to be buried with her. As Stefan stared at the toy, Gabi watched his face.
"I know you were really attached to Holly," Gabi said. Stefan nodded in agreement. "I was. She filled some of the void that was there when I found out Charlotte wasn't my daughter," Stefan said. A look of guilt fluttered across Gabi's face.
"Right. This must be pretty hard for you," Gabi whispered. "After the funeral, I know you'll be expected to comfort Chloe, but who's gonna comfort you?" Gabi asked as she stroked Stefan's thigh. Stefan took a deep breath, and he asked Gabi if she was making him an offer. Gabi said she was.
"What the hell are you up to, Gabi?" Stefan grumbled. Stefan noted that Gabi kept returning to have sex. "We're just two people that are drawn to each other," Gabi explained. With a scowl, Stefan said it was strange because Gabi despised him. Gabi shrugged and countered that she had never lied about hating Stefan.
Stefan argued that Gabi had suggested the hate sex was a way to get one another out of their systems and that Gabi was officially out of his system. "Am I? Because it doesn't take much to get your attention," Gabi said. With a sigh, Stefan told Gabi to show herself out while he headed over to Doug's Place to find Chloe.
After Stefan walked out, Gabi glared at Stefano's portrait. "Your son stole my freedom. Separated me from my daughter. He will not dismiss me now. I swear to you, everything in this mansion will be mine. I will get what I deserve. And so will Stefan," Gabi muttered.
At the hospital, Will talked to Rex about his tumor as Sonny stood at Will's side. Rex explained that Will's treatment caused normal swelling and that there was no evidence of tumor growth. Will worried aloud about more memory loss. "You're not going to forget who you are. You're not going to forget Sonny," Rex assured Will. Rex told Will to hang in there. After Rex left, Will shook his head.
"He's not telling us how bad it really is," Will said. Sonny wondered aloud why Rex would not be honest with Will. Kayla walked in. Worried, Will asked what was wrong. Kayla said she had reviewed Will's records and determined that the tumor contained traces of the chemical compound from the serum Will had used to restore his memory. Kayla said she could not say definitively that the serum had caused the tumor, but it was likely related.
"What does that mean for Will's treatments?" Sonny asked. Kayla admitted that the complication could mean that the treatments would not respond in the way the doctors had expected. "It's almost funny that the drug I took to get my memory back is now causing me to lose my memory," Will said. Kayla said it seemed likely.
"If I could just get my hands on the chemical formula of the drug, I might be able to help with treatment," Kayla said. Kayla hoped to be able to resynthesize the drug to determine the best treatment options. Kayla told Will that his strength would be his best asset.
When Will and Sonny returned home, Will lamented that he had not thought that the complications from the serum could have been so serious. Will wondered aloud what had happened to Rolf's diary. In his room, Xander locked away the recording of Nicole's confession in a briefcase with Rolf's diary.
At Eric's apartment, Sarah apologized to Eric for talking to Nicole. Fighting tears, Sarah said, "I'm afraid I just made it worse.
At the Salem Inn, Brady informed Nicole that he had made a deal with Xander for the recording. Relieved, Nicole hugged Brady. "Thank you for being the only person that I can count on," Nicole said.
Rafe gets divorce papers from Hope
At the Hernandez house, Lani put David down for a nap then headed off in search of Rafe, armed with a baby monitor.
Lani found Rafe outside, drinking a beer and idly flipping through the pages of a document. "You missed it -- the process server, that is. I've been served," Rafe revealed with a sigh after Lani realized that something was wrong. "Hope sure did move fast on the divorce," Lani noted with a shake of the head. "Guess I shouldn't be surprised," Rafe conceded. "You gonna try to fight it?" Lani wondered. "I'm tired of fighting," Rafe admitted.
"Maybe [this] marriage was doomed from the start," Rafe suggested, adding that, after all, it had begun with a lie of omission about a one-night stand with Sami. "[When my first marriage failed], I didn't think it was my fault; I mean, [Sami and I] both made mistakes, but, you know, Sami's..." Rafe mused before stopping abruptly. "Sami," Lani concluded for Rafe with a laugh. "Yeah -- Sami is Sami," Rafe agreed, also laughing. "Maybe the problem wasn't Sami; maybe the problem...maybe the problem was me," Rafe admitted with a sigh, recognizing that he was the only thing that the first marriage and the second marriage had in common with each other.
At the police station, Hope gave Jennifer an official statement about Haley's deportation case -- then curiously noted, off the record, that it seemed odd that Haley had suddenly decided to throw in the towel just a few hours before the end of the mayoral race. Jennifer nodded in agreement then changed the subject, wondering how things were going between Hope and Rafe. "I sent him divorce papers," Hope sadly revealed, adding, when asked, that the decision hadn't had anything to do with Ted's romantic interest. "It just -- it seems like all we do is fight and hurt each other, [and] I don't want to do that anymore," Hope explained, adding that Rafe seemed to agree.
At the Horton Town Square, Jack complained to Eve about the latest exit polls, which still favored Abe as the eventual winner of the mayoral race. "There's still a lot of precincts out. We'll catch up," Eve dismissively insisted.
"Mark my words -- getting Haley Chen to expose her own lies is gonna win you this election," Eve continued. "And how, exactly, did you accomplish that, Mr. Deveraux? Care to comment on what you did to that poor young woman?" Jennifer asked curiously, approaching Jack and Eve with a recording device drawn. "We didn't do anything to 'that poor young woman' [except get her to] see that she was, um, you know, ruining Tripp's life by dragging him down in her deception," Eve innocently claimed. "I was simply trying to protect my nephew. I thought that would please you," Jack defensively added.
"Oh, please. [You two] weren't looking to help Tripp; you were trying to get last-minute votes because you know that you are going to lose. This was your Hail Mary pass, and it's not gonna work," Jennifer countered. As if on cue, someone approached, proudly chanting anti-immigration rhetoric, and congratulated Jack on the earlier victory against Haley -- and the victory against Abe that would surely follow later that night. "You were saying?" Eve smugly asked Jennifer after the interruption. Jennifer sighed in response, clearly upset about what had just happened.
"Look, if you have any more questions, I would be --" Jack somewhat hopefully began to offer, as if eager to keep Jennifer around for a while longer. "No, no -- I have nothing [else]. You two..." Jennifer replied before walking away with a shake of the head. "Have a nice day!" Eve sarcastically called out. "Bitch," Eve quietly added, oblivious to the fact that Jack looked a bit disappointed.
J.J. led Tripp to the park for a private conversation. "Look, I have to go down to the station and make sure that Haley's all right --" Tripp impatiently protested, finding it odd that J.J. didn't have the same sense of urgency about the situation. "I'm worried about her, too, [but] I'm sure it's gonna be awhile before they let any of us see her," J.J. reasoned, adding that, in the meantime, there was something important that Tripp needed to know.
"[Claire and I] had that conversation out in the hallway [outside] the loft, right before the wedding, [so] how did Eve record us?" Tripp wondered after J.J. revealed how Eve had managed to convince Haley to confess to being in a fake marriage. "Damn it, this is all my fault! [I mean], I thought I was being careful, [but] Melinda just told me and Claire that Jack [also] had some video of us spending time together at the Salem Inn [that] she managed to erase, [so]..." Tripp continued. "They must have been following you everywhere you went," J.J. concluded for Tripp. "Yeah... Unless..." Tripp replied before suddenly rushing off, leaving J.J. confused.
J.J. soon headed back to the town square and spotted Jack and Eve. J.J. stormed over and threw a punch that caused Jack to fall backward and crash into a nearby table. "You're a pathetic coward! You don't have the guts to face Haley yourself, so you send your wife in to do your dirty work?" J.J. spat as Jack recovered from the blow. "Calm down -- there's press everywhere!" Eve pointed out. "I don't give a damn! I hope everyone sees you both for what you are!" J.J. countered. "I hope you two are proud of yourselves. Haley worked hard to build a life for herself, and you two decimated it," J.J. added with obvious disgust.
"Jack was just following the law! Why do you keep defending a woman who keeps breaking it?" Eve protested. "You were a prostitute! And [he was] a rapist! And I sold drugs! None of us here are saints!" J.J. incredulously countered. "For you to act like you're some staunch believer in the rule of law...well, I can't take it," J.J. added, speaking directly to Jack. "I'm done with you," J.J. concluded with a shrug before starting to storm off.
"No!" Jack begged, grabbing J.J.'s arm. "Don't you ever touch me!" J.J. snapped, shoving Jack away with an icy glare. "Let's get one thing straight -- I do not care about you. I hate you. Whatever feelings I had for the man that you used to be -- they're gone. To me, you are a worthless, pathetic excuse for a man, and if there's any justice in this world, you will lose this election -- in humiliating fashion," J.J. spat before continuing to storm off, leaving Jack speechless -- and seemingly hurt, too.
Eve took Jack back to the Salem Inn and distracted him with sex to keep him from worrying about the exit polls, which still weren't going in his favor.
Tripp entered the Kiriakis mansion and found Claire in the living room, napping on the couch. "Well, you look awfully happy. What were you just thinking about?" Tripp asked curiously, waking Claire. "Lyrics for a new song," Claire, who had actually been in the middle of a happy dream about Haley's downfall, claimed. Changing the subject, Claire innocently began questioning Tripp about Haley's earlier confession -- and feigned distress after being told what had prompted it. "Eve managed to record not one but two private moments between you and me," Tripp curiously noted. "She was obviously stalking us 24/7," Claire grumbled.
"[Or] maybe she had a little help -- from you," Tripp suspiciously countered, drawing a scoff of indignation from Claire, who claimed to be incapable of doing such an underhanded thing. Unconvinced, Tripp noted that Eve loved to take credit for things and would have probably preferred to expose Haley via the second recording to maintain full control of the narrative -- if not for the fact that doing so would have implicated a silent partner's boyfriend as a willing participant in a fake marriage. Tripp added that it was extremely difficult to believe that two private conversations with Claire had simply fallen into Eve's lap in strokes of pure coincidence.
"It wasn't a coincidence; Eve was obviously trying to catch us. For all we know, she left a bug in the hallway," Claire reasoned with a shrug. "I never said [one] particular conversation took place in the hallway," Tripp pointed out. "Okay, well, I just assumed --" Claire began, stammering. "Oh, my God, Claire -- you really are behind this," Tripp realized with a shake of the head, but Claire continued to insist that wasn't the case. "Just admit it, all right? Tell the truth, Claire! The truth!" Tripp impatiently demanded. "All right -- yes, it was me," Claire reluctantly admitted.
"How could you betray me like this?" Tripp asked incredulously. "I was desperate, and I thought I was losing you," Claire explained with a shrug. "Well, you weren't -- [and] I made sure you knew that [by telling you], over and over again, [that] I didn't have feelings for Haley [and that] I was just trying to help her!" Tripp stressed. "Yeah? Well, what about me? [I mean], what about what I need, and what I want?" Claire countered. "You have no idea how much I wanted to play that recording for ICE on the day of your wedding! [But] then I thought about it, and I realized that you would get in trouble, too..." Claire began to add.
"[So, you just] gave that recording to Eve, knowing full well what she would do with it," Tripp concluded for Claire with a scoff of disbelief. "I never would have given that recording to Eve if she didn't promise me that she would protect you!" Claire tried to assure Tripp. "And what about Haley?" Tripp asked incredulously. "What about Haley?" Claire replied with a dismissive shrug. "She had you and J.J. both wrapped around her finger, [and] it was a matter of time before she got you into bed!" Claire added. "She has feelings for J.J.!" Tripp reminded Claire, stunned and confused. "Sure -- for now..." Claire skeptically replied.
"Look, if you were jealous, or upset, or going nuts -- which you obviously were -- you should have just talked to me instead of lying and scheming and being an outright, destructive little bitch!" Tripp spat. "Now, thanks to you, Haley is being deported, and you've just destroyed her life!" Tripp added. "Haley isn't your problem anymore," Claire dismissively assured Tripp.
"Oh, my God -- you actually think that what you did is okay!" Tripp realized with another shake of the head. "I know you're upset, [but] you have to understand that I did this because I want to be with you! [Look], just take me home, and then we can come up with a solution together, as a couple!" Claire begged. "Are you out of your mind?" Tripp asked incredulously. "What you did was unforgivable -- unconscionable -- and I can't stand to be in the same room with you, much less be with you as a couple! No, no -- we are over, Claire! Done! Forever!" Tripp insisted, stunning Claire.
At the police station, Trask stormed into Hope's office and demanded to see Haley right away. Hope, who had been staring sadly at a framed photograph of Rafe, patiently revealed that Haley was about to meet with someone from ICE. "Does she have a lawyer?" Trask wondered. "Yes -- Justin Kiriakis," Hope replied. "I meant a competent one," Trask tiredly clarified. "You know very well [that] he's an excellent lawyer," Hope argued. "Not excellent enough to help my sister," Trask insisted. "At this point, I am sorry to say, there's not much anyone can do. I'm afraid Haley's gonna be deported," Hope warned.
Meanwhile, Justin joined Haley in one of the conference rooms and wondered what had prompted her earlier confession. "The truth was gonna come out sooner or later," she vaguely explained. "[But]...you do realize that [now] there's really not much I can do to help you...right?" he asked, still confused. "Yeah... I guess I'm going to be deported..." she replied, sighing. "Very likely," he apologetically confirmed.
"Guess it's too much to hope I won't have to deal with that awful Agent Smith..." Haley mused, shuddering. "Did I hear my name?" Smith cheerfully called out from the hallway.
"Well, well, well -- look who turned out to be a naughty little liar!" Smith added with a smirk after joining Haley and Justin in the conference room. "I hope you're not gloating, Agent Smith," Justin tiredly stated. "What, I can't be happy that justice is being served?" Smith asked innocently. "Your idea of justice, maybe..." Justin countered. "Mrs. Dalton is an admitted felon, [and] she just bought herself a one-way ticket back to China!" Smith summarized with a wide grin, practically singing the words in an unabashed display of excitement.
Smith unceremoniously produced a document and told Haley to sign it. "[It's] your statement, admitting you perpetrated marriage fraud to stay in this country," Smith explained when Haley started asking questions about the document. "I already admitted [that] at the press conference," Haley pointed out, still confused about the purpose of the document. "[But signing this] will make it official, [and that will] help speed up the deportation process," Smith clarified, prompting Justin to stress that Haley was under no obligation to make things easier for ICE.
"I strongly advise that you cooperate, Mrs. Dalton; otherwise, I'll be inclined to investigate your husband. [I mean], I know you claim that you tricked him into marrying you, but I have a feeling you're still lying -- and if he's found guilty, he'll be facing a significant prison sentence," Smith warned. "Careful, Agent Smith -- it almost sounds like you're trying to coerce my client into a confession," Justin noted. "Your client already confessed. I'm simply stating a fact -- marriage fraud is a federal crime for both parties involved," Smith countered.
"I'm not going to sign this statement unless it makes it clear that Tripp did nothing wrong," Haley informed Smith, who reluctantly agreed to have the document amended right away.
Later, after Haley signed the new document, Smith started to head over to the courthouse to show it to a judge, insisting that Justin didn't need to follow -- a suggestion that was ignored.
"You've been taking an incredible amount of pleasure in my arrest," Haley curiously observed, stopping Smith from following Justin out of the conference room. "As I said before, I'm happy anytime justice is served," Smith explained with a smile and a shrug. "So, it doesn't matter to you at all that my patients will suffer, [or] that I'm losing everything that I have, [or] that I'm being ripped away from my family and my friends?" Haley asked incredulously. "Actions have consequences, Mrs. Dalton. If you'd taken a citizenship test, you'd know that this is a nation built on laws," Smith countered, clearly not the least bit sympathetic.
"When was the Constitution written?" Haley asked. "Excuse me?" Smith replied. "Just answer the question, Agent -- if you can," Haley demanded. "Oh, please," Smith dismissively muttered, scoffing. "1787," Haley informed Smith. "And how many amendments are there?" Haley continued. "I don't... What is your point?" Smith replied. "27," Haley revealed.
"I've only been here since I was thirteen, and I presume you've been here...what, all your life? And yet, I'd be willing to bet that I know a hell of a lot more about your beloved country than you do," Haley helpfully summarized when Smith still didn't get the point. "I'm an American. I know and love my country. And you don't belong here," Smith countered before walking away, clearly unimpressed.
A short time later, Trask arrived and demanded to know why Haley had done such an unbelievably stupid thing earlier. "So nice to see you care..." Haley sarcastically mused. "I do care, damn it!" Trask insisted. "Then why are you yelling at me?" Haley asked. "Because I am frustrated, and I'm scared!" Trask admitted. "I mean, you had a plan; it was a terrible one, but at least you had a plan! Why did you tank it all?" Trask asked again. "You wouldn't understand..." Haley muttered. "Jack and Eve forced your hand," Trask guessed. "Obviously!" Haley confirmed. "How?" Trask wondered. "It doesn't matter how!" Haley evasively replied.
"[All that matters is] that I'm going back to China -- a place I haven't been since I was thirteen years old!" Haley continued. "At least then, I had Mama, [but] now I'm gonna be all alone... [You know], all this talk of being sent back -- it's brought back so many memories [of] being in Beijing with Mama and Papa... I know you don't like to talk about them; I know you had this huge falling-out before I was born --" Haley began to add. "It wasn't about me," Trask vaguely clarified. "I miss them both so much...especially right now," Haley admitted, fighting back tears. "They would be so disappointed in me right now..." Trask admitted, also fighting back tears.
"You did everything you could to help me stay in this country," Haley insisted. "That's not true," Trask quietly admitted.
Just then, Justin returned with J.J., who had just arrived. "I'm sorry, Haley -- unfortunately, the judge has ruled to proceed with the deportation order, [and] ICE is making the arrangements as we speak, [so]...it should be within the hour," Justin revealed. "I haven't even packed!" Haley protested, stunned. Justin rushed off to get Tripp to take care of that, and Trask rushed off to withdraw all of Haley's money from the bank.
Alone with J.J., Haley regretfully noted that if she hadn't been too stubborn to accept his proposal, they could have had a real marriage. "I think so, too," he agreed before comforting her with a tender kiss.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Tripp received a text message from Justin while Claire was begging for another chance. "I can't even stand the sight of you right now," Tripp spat before storming off, leaving Claire in tears.
At the police station, Hope received an unexpected office visit from Rafe -- and was devastated to learn that he had signed the divorce papers and had only stopped by to return them.
Meanwhile, Smith interrupted J.J. and Haley's private moment and declared that it was time to go to the airport. "Wait! You can't deport her!" Trask insisted, having just returned from the bank. "Enough grandstanding! It's too late to help your sister!" Smith tiredly countered. "She's not my sister; she's my daughter," Trask clarified, stunning everyone.
The winner of the mayoral race is revealed
Abe entered the Brady Pub just as Jennifer was about to read an alert about the final results of the mayoral race. "It's not really the news I was hoping for," he summarized for her with a heavy sigh.
"I am so sorry! You deserved to win this!" Jennifer told Abe, outraged. "Since when does 'deserved' matter in this world?" he acknowledged, and she conceded the point. "What are you doing here? You should be with your campaign staff," she noted. "I was on my way to what was supposed to be my victory party when I got the results, so I thought I'd stop in here and get a little shot of courage before I had to give my concession speech," he explained. "Even without the absentee and provisional ballots counted, it's over," he added, sighing again.
At the Salem Inn, Jack received a phone call from Abe while celebrating with Eve. "He's calling to concede," Eve knowingly explained to Jack.
"Enjoy your moment, Mr. Mayor," Eve added, and Jack nodded in response then greeted Abe with barely disguised smugness. "The voters have apparently spoken, and I have no choice but to concede the race," Abe began. "Well, that's very big of you. Is that all?" Jack replied, fishing for congratulations. "No, it's not all. I sincerely hope you'll take a look in the mirror and decide to do right by the people of Salem. They deserve an honorable mayor who will always put them first --" Abe continued. "Gotta go!" Jack announced, pretending to have missed everything that Abe had just said.
"What'd he say?" Eve asked after Jack ended the call. "I don't know. I don't care!" Jack replied with a gleeful laugh and a dismissive shrug.
At the police station, Ted entered Hope's office and apologetically announced that two ICE agents were about to escort Haley to the airport. "I know you were hoping for a different outcome..." Ted added. "I was..." Hope confirmed, clearly distracted. "You okay?" Ted asked. "Rafe and I are getting divorced," Hope sadly revealed. "I'm sorry --" Ted began to stress. "No, you're not," Hope knowingly argued.
"I can see that you're in pain, and I take no pleasure in that," Ted maintained. "We don't have to talk about your divorce, [but] I don't think you should be alone right now, [so] let me take you out to a proper dinner. We'll have a drink or two [and] keep it light -- [just] talk about books, [or] movies, [or] politics --" Ted suggested. "Definitely not that -- not politics," Hope insisted, having already heard about the outcome of the mayoral race. "Okay, we don't have to talk about politics. We can talk about whatever you want -- [or just] sit in stony silence if you want," Ted continued. "Stony silence?" Hope repeated, perking up a bit.
Meanwhile, in one of the conference rooms, Smith skeptically dismissed Trask's unexpected revelation as perhaps the most desperate lie anyone had ever tried to sell to ICE in an effort to prevent a loved one from being deported. "It's too late, Ms. Trask. Your sister is going back to China -- tonight," Smith added. "She's not my sister, and I'm not lying," Trask insisted.
"It's the truth, Haley. I thought we would go through your whole life without you ever finding out, but...you're...you're my daughter," Trask maintained. "How?" Haley wondered, stunned and confused. "It's a long story," Trask vaguely replied. "Which we don't have time for. Your sister -- or daughter, or whoever she is -- has a plane to catch," Smith impatiently interjected. "For God's sake, Agent Smith, will you give them a minute to sort this out? What could it possibly hurt?" J.J. argued. "Fine. I have to call the pilot, anyway. Make it fast," Smith replied before exiting the conference room with a sigh and a shake of the head.
"I don't even know where to begin..." Trask admitted. "I was 17 when I got pregnant with you... He was a local boy from a prominent family -- I mean, we weren't even supposed to be together... I was in such denial for months -- I ignored all the symptoms, I hid my pregnancy, I pretended it wasn't even happening... I couldn't even admit it to myself, much less anyone else," Trask shakily recalled.
"And then, one day, when I was getting dressed, Mama walked in [and saw me, so] I had no choice but to face it. And I begged her -- I begged her -- not to tell Baba, but she insisted that we tell him. And I was terrified," Trask continued, fighting back tears. "What about the father?" Haley asked, struggling to process everything. "His family was so far above ours, and he was already promised to marry another girl -- a girl from a prominent family... I mean, if anyone had found out that I was carrying his child, it would have been...it would have been a terrible scandal in our community... [So], I never even told him," Trask explained.
"And Baba? I mean, what did he -- what did he say? Was he furious?" Haley asked. "Worse -- he was ashamed," Trask revealed, shuddering at the memory and no longer able to keep the tears at bay.
"He said that I brought shame upon our whole family, and that I would never be a mother to my child... [And] Mama begged him to reconsider, for the sake of my innocent child, [but he] wanted to kick me out -- he wanted to send me someplace where no one could find out about me and my baby -- [and] he would have...if Mama hadn't acted before he had the chance. Against his wishes, she announced that she was pregnant -- that a blessing had been bestowed upon our house -- [and] she was still young enough that it was believable, [so then she] took me to her friend's house in the south, [and] we stayed there until I gave birth," Trask explained.
"[And then] I held you in my arms, knowing that I would have to say goodbye..." Trask regretfully concluded. "Why didn't you ever tell me this? I had a right to know!" Haley snapped.
Just then, Smith returned and impatiently insisted that Trask had helped Haley stall the wheels of justice for long enough. "Hold on -- you're not going to call in this new information?" J.J. asked incredulously. "I'd like to know what Haley's lawyer, Justin Kiriakis, will have to say about this development," J.J. added, producing a cell phone. Smith scoffed and tiredly followed J.J. out of the conference room.
"All those years, and you never even came to visit me -- not once!" Haley continued once the coast was clear. "It was too painful," Trask explained. "And then, when you showed up at my doorstep, I was in shock; I never thought I would see you again, and there you were -- my baby girl, all grown up," Trask added. "No, you -- you pushed me away, every chance you got! You were ashamed of me!" Haley argued. "No, Haley, no -- it's the opposite! I am so proud of you! I'm so proud of the woman that you've become -- without me!" Trask insisted. "You have a funny way of showing it..." Haley grumbled.
"If you had just told me those things all those years ago, things could have been so different... Maybe I could have been a citizen, too, and none of this -- none of this -- would have ever happened..." Haley pointed out. "Believe me, I wish I could change it..." Trask admitted. "But you can't, because it's too late, isn't it? It's too late," Haley sadly summarized.
Smith soon returned again, clearly annoyed with J.J., who wasn't far behind. "You have to halt this deportation! [I mean], Haley's mom is a U.S. citizen, [so] doesn't that at least grant her a stay?" J.J. protested. "Ms. Chen was born in China...and even if Ms. Trask's story is true, she admits she wasn't a U.S. citizen when she gave birth," Smith dismissively explained. "But she is now!" J.J. pointed out.
"We're not waiting any longer, Mr. Deveraux! [Besides], do I have to remind you that Ms. Chen broke the law when she 'tricked' Tripp Dalton into marrying her?" Smith tiredly stated, obviously still skeptical of that story. "All of this was a trick by my father so he could win an election!" J.J. argued, but Smith didn't find that distinction particularly important. "[Look, I] follow the rules, [and] the rules say Haley Chen has a plane to catch!" Smith declared with finality before calling another agent into the conference room to help escort Haley out of the building.
"I don't know what to say..." Trask tearfully began. "There's nothing to say. Goodbye...Mom," Haley replied before walking away.
J.J. insisted on following Haley to the airport, ignoring Smith's objections. Trask broke down as the group disappeared from view.
At the Horton Town Square, Hope and Ted ran into Jack and Eve, who were en route to a victory party. "We should schedule lunch soon to talk over law and order and all that good stuff," Jack suggested with a smug grin. "You should be ashamed of yourself," Hope snapped, causing Jack's mood to change in an instant. "I think the proper response is, 'Congratulations, Mr. Mayor,'" Eve argued, springing to Jack's defense. "For what -- cheating your way to the top?" Hope countered. "When I think of what you two did to Haley Chen just to win this election... It is deplorable!" Hope added with a shake of the head.
"Haley Chen is a criminal," Eve declared, adding that such an important distinction should matter to a police commissioner, of all people. "What matters to me, Eve, is [that] she is a human being -- unlike the two of you," Hope countered. "So, while the two of you go off to knock back your cheap champagne and celebrate your unwarranted victory, I want you to think about her -- sitting on the plane alone, headed back to China," Hope added. "[Actually, I'll be] thinking, 'I haven't even taken office yet, and I've already just fulfilled my first campaign promise!'" Jack countered, recovering from the sting of Hope's disapproval.
"You really are disgusting. The people of Salem will [eventually] see how corrupt and dishonest you really are," Hope predicted. "I'm sorry you feel that way, Hope. You know, I was thinking of asking you to stay on with my administration, but you've really opened my eyes tonight," Jack countered. "To what?" Hope asked with a slight chuckle, as if foreseeing what was about to happen. "Well, to the fact that this...arrangement...could never work. So, as soon as I officially take over as mayor...consider yourself fired," Jack elaborated, and Hope chuckled again in response, not the least bit surprised.
"You're shooting yourself in the foot, Deveraux. Hope is an extremely popular public official," Ted warned. "Oh? More popular than the man that was just elected mayor?" Eve countered for Jack. "Do you want people to choose between you?" Ted asked. "I think they'll understand Jack's desire to get rid of one of Abe's...puppets. The people of Salem deserve an independent, bold commissioner," Eve replied, still speaking for Jack. "Out with the old, in with the new, as they say," Jack managed to add, shrugging.
"Hope, I'd be willing to let you save face if you'd like to resign before I fire you," Jack offered. "Go to hell, Jack, seriously," Hope countered. "Well, have it your way..." Jack replied, shrugging again. "You know, we can make the announcement at the swearing-in [ceremony to] send a message to the people of Salem [about] your vision [for a] 'New Salem,'" Eve spontaneously suggested, and Jack took an immediate liking to the new slogan, repeating it like a mantra. "If you fire Hope, you're gonna have to fire me, too," Ted insisted, interrupting Jack and Eve's chant.
Hope tried to protest but also couldn't help swooning a bit, and Ted refused to reconsider the decision. "I could use a man like you on my team -- according to Eve, you're a man after my own heart -- [but] I won't beg you [to stay]; I can probably do better, anyway," Jack told Ted before rushing off with Eve to the victory party. "Can you imagine what those two will do to this town?" Hope grumbled. "We will do whatever we can to stop them," Ted replied. "I don't want you quitting because of me," Hope maintained. "Working with you is what makes it all worth it. If you're not there, it means nothing," Ted insisted, causing Hope to swoon again.
Later, at Doug's Place, Hope signed the divorce papers after a few glasses of wine -- and some not-so-subtle encouragement from Ted, who was quick to reiterate all of Rafe's bad traits.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Claire paced around the otherwise unoccupied living room while furiously ranting about what had just happened with Tripp, as if speaking to followers on a social media platform.
"I can't believe Tripp just threw me away like that! I was only trying to protect him from that stupid bitch Haley! But, you know, of course, right? Of course he had to be the hero, right? He -- he had to save the poor, sweet, sad little immigrant who just happened to need a husband! Oh, and now, somehow, I'm the bad guy, right? How does that work? How does that work? What about my feelings, right? What about my life?" Claire complained before picking up one of Maggie's beloved figurines and hurling it at a wall.
Ciara arrived in the middle of Claire's meltdown, when a total of three figurines had been destroyed. "I'm just getting started, so unless you want to get hurt, you better get the hell out!" Claire warned before picking up another figurine and preparing to throw it. "You know how much those figurines mean to Maggie," Ciara quickly but calmly pointed out, making Claire pause. "You don't understand, okay? You know, none of this is right, what's happening to me -- none of it! It's not fair!" Claire tearfully insisted, still holding the figurine. "Well, you can tell me all about it, but you've gotta stop destroying the house, okay?" Ciara countered, staying calm.
Nodding, Claire hesitantly placed the figurine on the coffee table then slumped down on the couch and somewhat irritably wondered why Ciara had decided to visit the mansion in the first place. "I came to see my grandpa. I just didn't know that I was gonna walk in on The Purge," Ciara dryly replied. "Yeah... Um... Oh, God, I don't know -- I just, um...lost control...for a second," Claire admitted with a hint of embarrassment. "Yeah, I'd definitely say so," Ciara agreed with a chuckle. "What's wrong?" Ciara wondered. "Everything!" Claire dramatically insisted.
"Tripp just dumped me -- said that he thinks I'm an awful person -- and it's all because of that stupid, fake wife of his!" Claire elaborated after Ciara patiently requested a more specific answer. "Now I've lost him forever!" Claire added before accepting a comforting hug from Ciara. "Tripp is blaming Haley's deportation on me," Claire continued after calming down a bit, trying to satisfy Ciara's need for even more information. "That...really doesn't sound like Tripp..." Ciara curiously mused, still confused. "I'm missing something..." Ciara continued as Claire began squirming.
"Oh, my God, Claire -- did you do something?" Ciara eventually asked. Claire tried to dodge the question and change the subject, but Ciara continued pressing for the whole story. "I really don't need you judging me right now, so..." Claire evasively stated. "I'm not gonna judge you. It's just...it's obvious that you need to tell someone," Ciara replied.
"So much for no judgment..." Claire grumbled after confessing everything to Ciara, who seemed speechless. Claire braced for another lecture, expecting Ciara to take Tripp's side. "Actually, I was just gonna tell you that I'm really, really sorry," Ciara clarified. "What you did was an impulsive decision that led to a lot of damage, but...Tripp kind of put you in an impossible situation," Ciara added with a shrug, stunning Claire.
"There's something else I need to tell you..." Claire began to admit, feeling guilty because Ciara was being so supportive. "This seems kind of serious," Ciara noted. "Yeah, it is... See, recording Tripp is not the first time that I've -- I've acted impulsively when it came to holding onto our relationship... I -- I've done some -- some really horrible things...even to you..." Claire continued. "When I was with Tripp? Yeah, I know. But we got past it, Claire. I forgive you," Ciara stressed. "No, Ciara --" Claire tried to clarify. "It's okay," Ciara insisted before giving Claire a hug. "Right..." Claire muttered, deciding not to say anything else.
Outside the Brady Pub, Abe looked up at the sky and sighed. "Well...it was a bad night for us, Lex. Really wish you were here with me," Abe admitted. Kayla soon passed by and insisted on dragging Abe back inside for a drink, having heard the news. "I think tonight calls for some of Pop's favorite whiskey," Kayla declared.
"Have you talked to Val?" Kayla asked after filling two glasses and passing one to Abe. "She sent me a text earlier. I know we've ended things, but it would have been nice to have her here," Abe replied. "Yeah, I know how that feels..." Kayla admitted. "Any updates on Steve?" Abe wondered. "Just that I miss him more every day," Kayla reported.
"To the best mayor this town has ever known," Kayla declared, raising a glass. "In time, the people of Salem are gonna learn exactly who they voted for, and once that happens, Jack and Eve Deveraux are gonna have to face their day of reckoning, [so]...to that, [too]," Kayla added, and Abe agreed.
While passing through the park, Jennifer spotted Trask, who was sitting alone on a bench -- and was in the process of loading a gun.
Meanwhile, Tripp caught up with Haley, J.J., and the ICE agents in the town square. "Thank God I got to you in time!" Tripp breathlessly declared, rushing over to the group with a duffel bag. "I brought everything I could fit," Tripp added while handing the duffel bag to Haley. "After she 'tricked' you and made you complicit to a federal crime, I don't think I'd be so forgiving..." Smith suspiciously noted. "Guess I'm a bigger person than you are," Tripp countered. Smith scoffed and impatiently ordered the other agent to put Haley in a waiting vehicle. "Say goodbye to America!" Smith mockingly advised Haley.
J.J. suddenly shoved Tripp into the other agent then dragged Haley away. Tripp grinned while watching J.J. and Haley disappear from view, with the agent stumbling after them.
Xander meets with his partner
In the Kiriakis living room, Kate visited Victor to inform him that Xander was working at Titan. Brady walked in and admitted that he had hired Xander. "You've set a new record for screwing things up," Kate said. When Kate suggested that Victor replace Brady with her as CEO, Victor muttered that he was tempted. Brady warned Kate to leave, and she reluctantly did.
With a scowl, Victor reminded Brady that Xander had been an incompetent gardener. Brady explained that he had made a deal with Xander to obtain the recording of Nicole. "She just lost her daughter, I'm not going to see her go to jail," Brady said. Victor was angry, but Brady ordered Victor to back off and let him handle the situation.
After Brady left, Kate returned and asked Victor why Brady had hired Xander. Victor muttered that he had given Brady free reign to hire whomever he wanted. "For the time being, we're stuck with this worthless maggot," Victor said. "Why do I have the feeling it's me you are talking about with such affection," Xander said as he entered the living room. Xander told Kate that he did not answer to anyone at the company except the CEO and the board.
"I'm going to make you see that I can be a better CEO than Brady ever dreamed of being," Xander said. With a grin, Xander walked out. "Would you be so kind as to fetch me my gun?" Victor quipped to Kate. Kate pressed Victor for details about Xander's blackmail, but Victor said he could not tell Kate about it. Victor asked Kate to watch Xander carefully.
At the pub, Sarah sat alone at a table, eating. Xander walked in and whispered in her ear, "No one this beautiful should be eating alone." Sarah told Xander he smelled, and she wanted him to go away. With a grin, Xander sat at Sarah's table. "Sooner or later, you're going to realize what a catch I am," Xander said. When Sarah reminded Xander that she was engaged, Xander countered that he was married.
"I won't tell anybody if you won't," Xander purred. Xander asked Sarah if she wanted to sleep with him again. "You couldn't get enough of me," Xander said as Sarah rolled her eyes. Eric appeared out of nowhere, pulled Xander to his feet, and punched him in the face. Xander dropped to the ground. When Xander got to his feet, he declined to engage in a fight with Eric, noting that he was late for a business meeting.
"You'll come around eventually. They all do," Xander whispered to Sarah on his way out the door. Sarah grabbed ice to put on Eric's hand. Sarah apologized for making things worse between Eric and Nicole. "I ended up giving her the impression that something was going on between you and me, which is ridiculous, isn't it?" Sarah asked.
In the DiMera mansion, Stefan saw Nicole scowling at the portrait of Stefano. With a chuckle, Stefan noted that Holly had thought that Stefano was Santa Claus. Nicole said it was hard to believe. When Stefan admitted that he had not known Stefano, Nicole noted that her relationship with Stefano had been complicated.
"The way you talk about Holly, it sounds like you really cared about her," Nicole said. Stefan said he was glad Nicole was there because no one had loved Holly as much as Nicole and Chloe. "You need each other right now," Stefan said as Chloe walked in. Stefan left to give Nicole and Chloe privacy.
"I don't even have the words to tell you how sorry I am," Chloe said. Nicole explained that she had just left the funeral home. "Do you really think that some pretty little dress is going to make up for putting my daughter in a funeral home?" Nicole asked. Through tears, Chloe said she had loved Holly. Nicole argued that Chloe had failed to keep Holly safe. Nicole pulled Holly's dress out of her purse and threw it at Chloe's face.
"Thanks for nothing!" Nicole said as she marched out the door. Chloe sat on the couch, stunned. Stefan walked in and asked what had happened. Chloe broke down in tears and rushed into Stefan's arms. After Chloe was calmer, she told Stefan what had happened. Stefan counseled Chloe to remember that she had done everything she could have done to protect Holly.
"I'll never forget the sound of the two of you singing together," Stefan said. Chloe smiled at the thought then she started to cry again. "What has happened to our sweet little angel?" Chloe cried out. Stefan took Chloe's hand and told her that he had dreamed that she, Holly, and Parker would be his family. "I still have that hope, Chloe. I want you to know that I will take care of you and Parker for as long as you'll allow it," Stefan said.
J.J. And Haley ran from the police and holed up in a motel. Haley told J.J. that she did not want anyone to go to prison to help her. "Maybe we aren't in as much trouble as we think we are," J.J. suggested. Haley turned on the TV. The news announced Jack's win in the mayoral race. J.J. was livid. J.J. lamented that his father had hurt Haley, and that Jack would suffer no bad consequences for his actions.
"I was being selfish. I made the decision to run tonight. It was your life," J.J. said. J.J. apologized to Haley because his father had ruined the life Haley had built in the US. Haley told J.J. that she felt lucky to have J.J. in her corner. Overcome with emotion, Haley started to cry.
"It just hit me again. Melinda is not my sister. She's my mom," Haley said. As she paced the room, Haley wondered aloud how to deal with all the lies. "Your grandmother and grandfather must have really loved you," J.J. said. Haley said she did not know how to accept Melinda as her mother. With a shake of her head, Haley told J.J. about finding a baby blanket she had loved as a kid.
"One day, I hear my mother, my grandmother, say that she was sorry she had never learned how to knit," Haley said. Haley added that her grandmother had later lied and said she had knitted to relax when Haley had asked her about the blanket. "Every time I had that blanket, I felt like I wasn't alone. I wonder if I was feeling this connection that I didn't even know existed," Haley said. J.J. took Haley's hands in his.
"Why didn't she want to be my mom? I don't get it. All those years," Haley said. J.J. told Haley that Melinda's choice was not about Haley's choices. J.J. took Haley's face in his hands and stared into her eyes. J.J. told Haley that she was safe, and they would deal with ICE in the morning.
In the park, Jennifer found Melinda crying and loading a gun. "I'm going to Jack Deveraux's victory celebration to make sure that he and his lovely bride pay for what they did to Haley," Melinda said. Melinda complained that Jack had used Haley for a campaign scheme. As Jennifer attempted to calm Melinda, a furious Melinda corrected Jennifer and told her that Haley was her daughter.
"I want them dead!" Melinda growled. Jennifer asked Melinda to talk to her. Melinda slowly put the gun back in her purse, and she sat on the bench. "I was raised to strive for protection and the way to get there was through shame," Melinda said. Jennifer nodded her head. Melinda told Jennifer about her pregnancy at 17 and how her parents had reacted.
"I can't even imagine how painful that was for you," Jennifer said. Melinda said the shame of abandoning her child had caused her to shut down emotionally. "I have dishonored myself. My career is over. And I have nothing left to lose, so I'm going to start acting like a real mother. I'm going to do whatever it takes to help my daughter," Melinda said as she pulled the gun back out of her purse. Jennifer begged Melinda to reconsider her plan. Jennifer urged Melinda to use her legal skills to help her daughter instead.
"I can make sure that [Jack] never gets sworn in," Melinda said. Jennifer warned Melinda that shooting someone would not make up for the years she had lost with her daughter. "I understand that you hate Jack and Eve, but they are not the ones that hurt Haley the most," Jennifer said. Melinda asked Jennifer what she meant.
"You have. It would just be good for you to accept that and move forward and try to be different," Jennifer said. Melinda fought back tears. Jennifer noted that Melinda had kicked Haley out of the house, and that was proof that Melinda had hardened her heart. "You need to put her needs before your own," Jennifer said. "I haven't been a mother at all," Melinda said. Jennifer told Melinda that she could be a mother at that moment. When Melinda asked how, Jennifer asked for the gun. Gently, Melinda handed it to Jennifer.
"You did the right thing," Jennifer said. "Thank you for helping me. My question is, what do I do next?" Melinda asked. Jennifer suggested that Melinda act at Haley's lawyer. Jennifer's phone beeped with an alert. An APB had been issued for J.J. and Haley.
In the square, Brady met with Xander to give him his contract. Xander was surprised to find divorce papers in the briefcase. Brady explained that the deal was contingent on Xander signing the divorce papers. Nicole walked up and joined the two men at the café table.
"There is no way that I'm ever letting go of her," Xander stressed. "Do you want the job or not?" Brady asked. Xander objected that Brady had changed the terms of their agreement. Brady refused to budge. With a frown, Xander signed the papers and handed over the recording. Brady warned Xander not to cross him.
"I would never think to cross you, the bloke who got me everything I want," Xander said. Brady promised to get Xander set up at the mansion, as well. With a nod, Xander walked away. Brady promised Nicole that he would destroy the recording. Nicole asked if she could destroy the recording herself.
"I have been under that animal's thumbs too long," Nicole said. "Because of me," Brady said sadly. Nicole thanked Brady for standing by Holly. "You have always been the only one I could ever count on," Nicole said. As Nicole hugged Brady, Eric and Sarah walked into the square. Eric asked to talk to Nicole, but she refused.
"Now I see you have a new girlfriend," Nicole said as she stared at Sarah. Sarah stressed that Eric had never stopped loving Nicole. Nicole asked Eric to leave her alone and let her live her life. Nicole turned to Brady and thanked him again. With a nod, Nicole walked away. Eric loudly blamed himself for Nicole's misfortunes.
"Trust me, hindsight is always 20/20," Brady said. "Holly is dead, and I can do nothing to make it right!" Eric yelled. Brady cautioned Eric to give Nicole time to "come around." "At least she is free of Xander," Brady said.
At the Salem Inn, Xander visited Nicole. "You got your recording and your divorce; can't you at least ask me in?" Xander said. Nicole opened a bottle of Champagne. "I am celebrating the fact that my plan went off without a hitch," Nicole said. "You couldn't have done any of this without me, partner," Xander said. Nicole smiled.