Maggie entered the Kiriakis mansion and was pleasantly surprised to see Sarah sitting in the living room. "Were you waiting for me?" Maggie asked while joining Sarah on the couch. "I was. Henderson said you were out, [but] he would not tell me where," Sarah, who clearly found the mystery intriguing, replied. "Ah. Well, Henderson is the soul of discretion. I was down at the Horton Center, [attending] a meeting," Maggie clarified. "Are you doing that every day now?" Sarah asked. "I'm trying. The recent slip reminded me that I cannot be cavalier about my sobriety. I need to work the program," Maggie replied.
Changing the subject, Maggie curiously wondered what had prompted Sarah's unexpected visit. "I thought you would be very happy to hear [that]...Eric and I are finally together," Sarah announced, delighting Maggie.
Sarah soon rushed off, and a short time later, Victor joined Maggie in the living room. "I know things have been tense between us lately...[but] I have something for you," Victor began before producing a small gift box, which Maggie hesitantly opened. "A chip," Maggie observed with obvious surprise, fighting back tears. "You've been sober for ten weeks today," Victor explained. "I know that... I just didn't think that you did," Maggie admitted. "I know you must think the only thing I keep track of is the Titan stock prices, [but] I know how hard you've worked, [and] I wish that I'd been more sensitive to what you were going through," Victor stressed.
"I appreciate you saying that... [And] I need to make an apology, too -- I overreacted where Kate was concerned. It's just that...that woman, she just knows how to push my buttons," Maggie acknowledged. "I understand...but you have to know that she is merely an employee of mine, [while you are] my wife -- and that makes me the luckiest man in the world," Victor declared. "I'm lucky, too," Maggie insisted.
Brady went to see Eric, who didn't exactly offer the warmest of greetings. "Give me one minute," Brady begged while barging into Eric's apartment. "You want to talk? [Then] talk...[but] I have nothing to say to you. [I mean, you let Nicole] marry Tony DiMera!" Eric spat. "I didn't 'let' her do anything, all right? She's a grown woman. She did what she wanted to do," Brady tiredly clarified. "And it's not like you ever stopped her from getting what she wanted [before, right]?" Eric pointedly countered. "I wasn't in a position to dissuade her from doing [it]," Brady explained with a shrug.
"So, I'm supposed to believe that she fell madly in love with Tony [while they were] recovering in a hospital [after they] nearly died? [That] doesn't make any sense," Eric argued. "No, it doesn't make any sense...[and that's because] it's not the real reason," Brady admitted before reluctantly proceeding to reveal the true purpose of Nicole and Tony's marriage.
"Since when does Nicole care about DiMera? And why the hell would you go along with this?" Eric asked afterward, and Brady stammered while trying to decide how to respond.
"Wait, [let me guess] -- you're thinking [that] if you help Nicole get what she wants, [then] she's gonna come back to you, [and] the two of you are finally gonna be together," Eric summarized with obvious amusement. "Actually...we already are," Brady defensively bragged, causing Eric's smile to fade in an instant. "You are such a son of a bitch!" Eric spat before shoving Brady.
Sarah entered the apartment just then and stopped things from escalating further. "What the hell is going on?" Sarah demanded to know. "Eric's upset because I told him that I'm sleeping with Nicole," Brady explained.
"Which I find really ironic, actually, since Chloe just told me that the two of you are together. I mean, once again, Eric steals his brother's woman," Brady continued with a shake of the head. "Excuse me? 'Steals his brother's woman'? [Look], maybe you're the type of guy that thinks that women are possessions that can be stolen -- which is probably why you have such a tough time holding onto one -- but your brother, on the other hand, sees me for exactly who I am -- a reasonably intelligent, capable human being who can make her own decisions. And my decision was to be with Eric," Sarah countered.
"Sarah, I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to offend you, honestly, and I don't feel that way about women. My point was that I was keeping Nicole at an arm's length for my brother, because I didn't want to hurt him the way that he had hurt me," Brady backpedaled. "Oh, how noble...well, at least until you changed your mind," Eric grumbled. "You're with [Sarah now, so]...why do you care?" Brady wondered.
"I'm done with this conversation," Eric evasively informed Brady. "Yeah? Me, too," Brady agreed before changing the subject, hoping that Eric could at least be civil during John and Marlena's upcoming anniversary party. "That's why I came over here," Brady explained while producing an invitation for Eric and Sarah, who were both hearing about the event for the first time. "Nicole will be there," Brady warned Eric.
After Brady left, Sarah curiously wondered why Eric was so upset about everything that had been revealed earlier. "It's not what you think," Eric insisted, but Sarah wasn't convinced. "As far from perfect as it was, I ended my marriage to be with you, [so...look], I know that you said that you were done with Nicole, but if she's still in your heart, [then] you have to tell me," Sarah stressed before leaving to give Eric time to think.
At Doug's Place, Shin tried to convince Kate to return to DiMera Enterprises. "The Kiriakises have made this big show [of] offering you this job, but they'd never see you as one of their own. They're not your family. But the DiMeras -- now, that's where you belong. [And] you can't honestly be happy with Victor's grandson telling you what to do," Shin argued. "Well...no, Brady Black is not my dream boss...[but] you threw me to the curb when Vivian Alamain and Stefan came into town, [so]...the way I see it, I owe you and the DiMeras nothing. I suffered enough at the house that Stefano built," Kate countered.
"I'm sorry to hear you feel that way. I had no idea you had such ill will toward the DiMera family. [But] if you were to come back, [then] I would do everything in my power to make it up to you," Shin promised. "That's very flattering...but why the change of heart? You already offered the job to Stefan's wife," Kate replied. "I'm starting to think that may have been a mistake. I have my doubts about her loyalty to the company. [And] I have reservations about Nicole, as well," Shin explained. "They are both loose cannons..." Kate agreed. "And I'm betting that you can offer us some very interesting insights into Titan," Shin noted.
"I'm afraid the answer is still no," Kate insisted. "When you change your mind, you know where to find me," Shin countered.
Shin exited the club just as Victor and Maggie were about to enter it. "Well, I suppose the rumors are true, [because] for you to come all the way from Hong Kong, DiMera must be in big trouble! Not that I'm surprised -- I mean, [Gabi] may have a knack for getting people to dress like prostitutes, but running a corporation? Stefano would turn over in his grave!" Victor mused. "If he were alive, he'd point out that DiMera's choice makes as much sense as you allowing your playboy grandson to run your shriveling business into the ground!" Shin countered.
After Shin walked away, Victor and Maggie spotted Kate. "Maybe she just stopped in for lunch..." Maggie suggested. "Yes, and maybe I'm the Queen of Sheba. I don't like the looks of this, Maggie. Do we have a traitor in our midst? I think I'd best have a little chat with my employee," Victor grumbled. "I'll get us a table," Maggie offered, taking the hint.
"I just ran into Mr. Shin outside. I assume you saw him, too?" Victor pointedly began after approaching Kate. "Yes, I did. He gave me such an earful. He's such a pushy man," Kate complained. "And foolish -- putting Gabi Hernandez in charge of the company!" Victor noted. "She certainly wouldn't have been my first choice," Kate agreed before rushing off to a Titan meeting, leaving Victor no less suspicious than before.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny excitedly pulled Will into their bedroom then shut the door.
"What's going on? What are you so worked up about?" Will curiously wondered. "There's something I have to show you," Sonny quietly explained before kneeling beside the bed, reaching under it, and pulling something out.
"I'm hoping that this could help us get to the bottom of your grandmother's kidnapping. [It's] that bonehead Xander's [briefcase]. I didn't plan to take it, but I was walking by Xander's room -- which is very messy, by the way -- [and] his door was open, [so] before I knew it, I was, like, in his room, rummaging through his stuff," Sonny continued. "Risky...[but also] gutsy!" Will acknowledged, clearly impressed. "I promised you I was gonna help you, and that's what I intend to do," Sonny explained with a shrug. "I am very, very grateful for that," Will somewhat suggestively stressed.
Sonny locked eyes with Will for a moment then looked down at the briefcase, trying to stay focused. "Okay, so...we know Xander is hiding something, [and] the answers might be in this box," Sonny summarized. "The only question is...how do we get this thing open?" Will mused before suddenly starting to rummage through the closet, having thought of something that could help.
"Family heirloom?" Sonny teasingly guessed after Will produced a lock-picking kit. "It's Paul's -- he left it when he moved to California," Will clarified. "[And] you didn't send it back to him?" Sonny asked while starting to pick the lock on the briefcase. "I've been meaning to..." Will replied with a sheepish shrug. "Well, for once, your procrastination pays off," Sonny declared before opening the briefcase.
Will and Sonny excitedly began searching the briefcase. "I don't even want to think about where he got those," Will declared when Sonny found a pouch that was filled with diamonds. "Probably cursed," Sonny guessed when Will found a pouch that was filled with ancient trinkets. "Creepier than the cursed trinkets," Will summarized while showing Sonny a loose, well-handled photograph of Sarah.
"Is that a bankbook?" Sonny asked when Will found something else. "Yeah -- with an account number to what appears to be...an offshore bank," Will replied while flipping through the pages of the bankbook, prompting Sonny to contact one of Titan's IT experts. A few minutes later, Will and Sonny had everything that was needed to log into the account and view Xander's full transaction history.
"Whoa -- Xander is pretty loaded," Sonny observed with a shake of the head. "Yeah -- apparently, selling blood diamonds is fairly lucrative, from what I've heard," Will summarized with obvious disapproval. "Look at these repeated transfers from an Italian bank," Sonny advised Will. "There's no name -- it's just an account number," Will noted, prompting Sonny to contact the IT expert again.
"Apparently, the account [that's] paying Xander belongs to a foreign shell company," Sonny began to inform Will afterward. "One that was set up by Stefan?" Will assumed. "No, by another DiMera -- Kristen," Sonny clarified.
"Okay... I mean, I guess that makes sense, [since] he worked for her down in Nashville..." Will recalled. "Yeah, but that was a while ago, [and] some of those transfers are more recent," Sonny noted. "Yeah -- [and] how can that be? Kristen's dead! I mean...isn't she?" Will argued. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves here -- just because this is Kristen's account, [that] doesn't mean that she's still alive. For all we know, Xander could just be helping himself 'cause there's no one to stop him," Sonny reasoned. "Yeah, I guess that's possible..." Will agreed. "[Or maybe] Stefan got control of his sister's account, and he's using [it] to pay Xander," Sonny realized.
Just then, Sonny received a text message from someone at Arianna's day camp. "[Ari] forgot her bathing suit at Gabi's, but they can't get ahold of Gabi," Sonny summarized for Will. "We had two [here], but I took them to Gabi's when Ari started camp," Will recalled. "You stay here [and] work on this, and I'll stop by Gabi's," Sonny volunteered.
At the DiMera mansion, Kristen wiped away flakes of residue from the mask while grudgingly admitting to being somewhat impressed with Gabi, who had apparently done a bit of research on the DiMeras before setting out to steal everything from them. "Oh, I didn't have to do research -- I know exactly who you are," Gabi clarified. "Oh, goodie -- then you know exactly what I'm capable of," Kristen countered.
"So, this whole entire time, [it's all just] been a scheme to get back with Brady? [Wow], you are one crazy bitch," Gabi declared with a shake of the head. "I am an ambitious, exceptionally clever woman who's accomplished almost everything she's set out to do...[and] it'll be just plain everything once she gets rid of the pesky little obstacle that's standing in her way," Kristen countered with a scowl. "I am not gonna be intimidated by some loony tune that can't even show her face in public," Gabi dismissively insisted before producing a cell phone and starting to contact the police.
"You are not gonna take this away from me! I have worked too hard to get DiMera and Brady, [and] you are not gonna stop me!" Kristen insisted while struggling with Gabi for control of the cell phone. "That's exactly what I'm gonna do!" Gabi countered before shoving Kristen away and again starting to contact the police.
Kristen picked up a metal globe and swung it at the back of Gabi's head. Gabi fell to the floor with a groan and immediately passed out. Kristen checked for a pulse then grumbled that Gabi was still alive. "I can fix that..." Kristen added in a singsong voice before raising the makeshift weapon and preparing to strike Gabi with it again, unaware that someone else had just entered the mansion.
"Kristen? What the hell? You're alive?" Stefan began after disarming Kristen. "That's right, brother," Kristen confirmed as Stefan stared at Gabi's motionless body in shock. "What the hell did you do to her? Are you insane?" Stefan asked, horrified. "No -- I'm simply doing what you should have done the second she stole the company from you," Kristen replied, shrugging.
"And now I'm just finishing the job," Kristen added before trying to steal back the metal globe, which Stefan refused to release. A brief struggle ensued, during which Stefan shoved Kristen, whose head struck a corner of the coffee table during the resulting fall. Stefan immediately produced a cell phone and started to call for an ambulance while simultaneously trying to revive Gabi, unaware that Kristen hadn't actually lost consciousness. Kristen quietly reclaimed the makeshift weapon, which had been left unattended, and swung it at the back of Stefan's head. Stefan fell to the floor with a groan and immediately passed out, right next to Gabi.
"Looks like I'm gonna have to kill two birds with one stone..." Kristen mused before preparing to finish off Stefan and Gabi -- and catching a glimpse of Stefano's portrait in the process. "What? Oh, don't tell me you actually care about Vivian's bastard! You didn't even know him! But I know, I know -- what you care [about] most in this world is your family..." Kristen grudgingly conceded before setting aside the metal globe.
"[But] I can't just leave them here, [so]...better start with the big one..." Kristen decided while tiredly opening the false panel that led to the secret tunnels.
Kristen dragged Stefan into one of the rooms in the secret tunnels then returned for Gabi -- just as Sonny rang the doorbell.
Brady entered the Kiriakis mansion and greeted Will, who immediately started to share the information that had been uncovered earlier. "It's about Kristen," Will revealed, surprising Brady.
Kristen locks up Stefan and Gabi
Marlena paced her penthouse as she talked to Chloe on the phone about the surprise party. "John actually thinks that we are having dinner for two, so he will be so surprised!" Marlena said with cheer. Marlena thanked Chloe for all her help.
"It hasn't been easy keeping it from John," Marlena said at the end of her call. John rounded the corner and overheard. Marlena asked John how long he had been standing behind her. "Why? You got something to hide?" John asked. Marlena chastised John for listening to her conversation.
"I don't like hiding things from you," Marlena said. With a chuckle, Marlena explained that she had lied to John about visiting a patient. Marlena told John that she had gone to talk to Nicole at Chloe's request.
"[Chloe] just thinks, as a lot of people do, that Nicole has been acting strange," Marlena explained. Marlena admitted that her conversation with Nicole had not gone well and that Nicole had threatened to call security on her. John asked if Marlena had an explanation for Nicole's behavior. Marlena admitted that Nicole's behavior was unstable.
"I have no idea what she might be capable of doing," Marlena said. John thanked Marlena for the information. "I have been keeping something from you also," John countered. John said he had not told Marlena that Brady had confided in him about Brady's renewed romance with Nicole.
"Well, I happen to know that Nicole's marriage to Tony is in name only," Marlena noted. John said he knew about the business arrangement. John added that his investigation into Ted's murder had pointed back toward Nicole. John explained to Marlena that Kate was afraid of the person behind the kidnappings. Marlena asked if Stefano might be the person pulling the strings.
"We're working on some leads," John confirmed. John said Kate believed that Nicole was just as scared as Kate was. When Marlena offered to talk to Nicole again, John shut her down. "The last thing we want to do is tip her off," John said. John assured Marlena that Hope was investigating Nicole. "Let's concentrate on each other tonight," John suggested. With a grin, John noted that it was the anniversary of their wedding.
"I didn't plan anything extravagant to mark the occasion, but I still would like to mark tonight for the special occasion that it is," John said. John suggested that they have dinner at Doug's Place. "It's amazing how we are always in sync," Marlena said. Marlena said she had wanted to suggest Doug's Place, as well. As John and Marlena hugged, they both made elated faces, neither one knowing that the other had planned a surprise party.
In the square, Tripp apologized to Kayla for lying about the prescription for Haley. Kayla asked how Haley had been since her fall. With a shake of his head, Tripp said Haley appeared fine. Kayla told Tripp that she did not condone his actions, but she understood that Tripp had acted because he had feelings for Haley.
"Whatever feelings I have for Haley, she doesn't have any for me," Tripp confirmed. "It is understandable that you would start to have feelings for her," Kayla said. Tripp admitted that he had not known he had fallen for Haley until it had been too late. Kayla asked Tripp about his living situation. Tripp said he was going to offer to switch rooms with Haley and J.J. Kayla noted that it would not alter the awkwardness of the situation. With a shrug, Tripp noted that none of the roommates were home that often.
"Haley doesn't know how you feel, does she?" Kayla asked. "No, and I don't want her to know," Tripp said. Tripp said he only wanted to know that Haley was happy. "You deserve to be happy, too," Kayla stressed. Kayla reminded Tripp that he was family. "That is never going to change. Ever. I love you," Kayla said.
At the loft, Haley told J.J. that she was happy to be home from the hospital. With a shake of his head, J.J. said he wished Haley had told him about her nightmares. "You've already done too much for me," Haley said. J.J. countered that there was no such thing as doing too much for Haley. Haley promised to take her anxiety medication and continue to talk to her doctors.
"I just can't believe Tripp sneaking around, getting you drugs without telling me," J.J. complained. "He was just trying to help me," Haley said. Haley asked J.J. to let it go. Concerned, J.J. asked Haley why she had felt like she could confide in Tripp and not him. Haley explained that when her hallucinations had started, J.J. had been struggling with his dad. Haley added that she did not want J.J. to see her as someone that need to be rescued.
"You are the strongest person I know," J.J. said. J.J. told Haley that he wanted to be there for her no matter what was going on. Haley said she felt the same way. "Can we have no more secrets, please?" J.J. asked. "No more secrets," Haley agreed. J.J. and Haley said "I love you" to one another, and they kissed. As the couple leaned back on the couch, Tripp returned home. Tripp slammed the door to announce his presence.
"I really am sorry, J.J., for everything. I thought I was helping the situation," Tripp said. Haley told Tripp that her fall was not his fault. As J.J. stared daggers, Haley pointed out that she was healthy and fine. Haley spoke on J.J.'s behalf and said that he did not blame Tripp. J.J. said nothing. As Tripp noted that he was headed out for the evening, J.J. told Tripp that he did not want Tripp to feel like he could not hang out in his home.
"You put everything on the line, and I really appreciate it. We both do," J.J. said. Tripp thanked J.J. "Given what we have all been through, I think it would be best for me and Haley to move out," J.J. said.
After stashing Stefan's unconscious body in the wine cellar dungeon of the DiMera tunnels, Kristen returned to the living room to grab Gabi's unconscious form. Sonny banged on the front door. Frustrated, Kristen complained, "Sonny! Can't you take a hint and go home?" Kristen closed the doors to the living room then dragged Gabi downstairs into the dungeon.
"This is starting to get old," Kristen complained as she returned upstairs. In the dungeon, Stefan's hand twitched. With a groan, Stefan sat up and looked around the room. "The wine cellar? How did I get here?" Stefan wondered aloud. As Stefan turned around, he saw Gabi passed out on the bed. Worried, Stefan rushed to her side and attempted to wake her. When Gabi did not respond, Stefan confirmed that Gabi was still breathing.
Stefan pulled on the door and found that it was locked. Stefan returned to Gabi and shook her gently. With a moan, Gabi opened her eyes. Stefan asked Gabi if she knew how she had ended up locked in the wine cellar. "I think I saw Kristen, but that is not possible. Was I dreaming?" Gabi muttered. Stefan confirmed that Kristen was in the house and had locked them in the cellar.
"Clearly, [Kristen] is back to get rid of both of us and take over DiMera," Stefan said. "She said that?" Gabi asked. Stefan explained that when he had entered the house, he had found Kristen standing over Gabi's unconscious body with a heavy object raised as if she intended to "finish [Gabi] off." Stefan told Gabi about his fight with Kristen.
When Stefan asked if Gabi knew anything about Kristen's return, Gabi told him that Nicole had burst into the living room to yell about Mr. Shin. "What does Nicole have to do with Kristen?" Stefan asked. Gabi explained that she had accused Nicole of framing Stefan for kidnapping and murder. Confused, Stefan asked how Kristen had knocked Gabi out while Gabi had been arguing with Nicole.
"Kristen is Nicole!" Gabi exclaimed. "That makes no sense," Stefan said. Gabi pointed out that since Nicole had returned to town, everyone had been saying that Nicole had not been herself. "She lost her daughter in a tragic accident," Stefan noted. With a shrug, Gabi countered that Holly was not Kristen's daughter. Gabi explained that when she had fought with Nicole, she had pulled Nicole's face off to reveal Kristen underneath.
"You pulled her face off?" Stefan asked in confusion. "Her mask," Gabi added. Gabi said that Nicole's drive to overtake DiMera and reunite with Brady made sense if the woman was Kristen and not Nicole. "Kristen has always been obsessed with [Brady]," Stefan murmured. Gabi added that Nicole was not crazy like that.
"There is only one person that would go to extreme lengths, including marrying her brother, to get what she wants. And that's Kristen DiMera," Gabi said. Stefan told Gabi that Ben and Ciara had overheard Nicole talking to Kate about the kidnapping. "Kate seemed to think there was a second person involved. Someone they were both very afraid of," Stefan said. With a chuckle, Stefan noted that Kate had not realized that she had been talking to Kristen all along.
"How did I not see it?" Stefan marveled. "Well, how could you imagine something so twisted?" Gabi said. Gabi reasoned aloud that Kristen had known that she could not return to town as herself and had instead masqueraded as Nicole. Anxious to leave, Stefan attempted to open the door again, but it would not budge. Stefan joked that he had intended to have a contractor remove the door to the wine cellar.
"What happened to that plan?" Gabi asked. "I ended up marrying a certain woman who kicked me out my company and my home," Stefan said. With a smirk, Gabi remarked, "I can see how that might distract you." Stefan said they needed to focus on Kristen. With a nod, Gabi noted that Stefan's entrance to the mansion had been fortunate. "You say that you hate me. Why did you save my life?" Gabi asked.
Upstairs, Sonny continued to knock on the front door. When Sonny touched the door, it opened. As Sonny walked into the house, Kristen frantically donned her mask and wig in the living room. Sonny opened the door to the living room and found a disheveled "Nicole."
"What are you doing here?" Sonny asked. "Nicole" said she was working. Sonny said he was surprised that Gabi had let Nicole continue to work for DiMera. "Why are you so out of breath?" Sonny asked with suspicion. "Nicole" changed the subject to Sonny's visit, and he explained that he needed to pick up Arianna's bathing suit. "Nicole" waved at the staircase and told Sonny to get what he needed.
"I need Gabi to show me where she put it," Sonny said. With a shrug, "Nicole" said she had not seen Gabi since Gabi had left for a meeting. "She left you alone in the house?" Sonny asked with suspicion. A phone rang. "Nicole" made a grab for the phone on the floor, but Sonny snatched it up first. "This is Gabi's," Sonny noted. "Nicole" took it from Sonny and commented that Gabi had left in a hurry.
"She never leaves her phone. She always needs it in her hand so we can be in touch about Ari," Sonny said. "Nicole" argued that Gabi's priorities had changed since she had "schemed her way into being CEO." Sonny announced that he would go upstairs and look for the bathing suit.
In the Kiriakis living room, Will told Brady that he had found evidence in Xander's briefcase that connected Xander to Kristen. Brady noted that Xander had worked for Kristen in Nashville. With a nod, Will said that there were still payments going to Xander from Kristen's account. Brady and Will agreed that there could be other explanations for the payments, but Will said he wanted to consider the possibility that Kristen was still alive.
"Will, it's hard to stand here in front of you and make a case that coming back from the dead is impossible," Brady joked. Will asked Brady if he thought it was possible that Kristen was alive. With a sigh, Brady reminded Will of when Maggie had claimed that she had seen Kristen in Nicole's hotel room.
"What if she really did see Kristen?" Brady wondered aloud. Before Will could respond, his phone rang. Will noted that he was waiting to hear from Sonny about their date plans, but Brady asked Will to cancel so that he could instead attend John and Marlena's surprise party. Will agreed to reschedule his dinner plans. When Will asked about the party, Brady explained about the mutual surprise plan and the similar guest list. Brady noted that the only difference in guest lists was Susan Banks. Will asked if Susan was going to the party.
"God, I hope not," Brady said. Brady asked Will to run interference if Susan returned for the party. With a chuckle, Will teased Brady about the "special moment" that Brady had shared with Susan during her last visit. "No offense, but you're really not her type," Will said. "Could have fooled me," Brady whispered as he thought about when Susan had kissed him.
"There was something strange about that whole thing," Brady said. Before Brady could explain what he meant, Sonny returned home. Sonny told Will and Brady that he had run into Nicole at the mansion. When Brady pressed for details, Sonny recounted that Nicole had claimed that she was there for a meeting with Gabi but that Gabi had left.
In the DiMera living room, "Nicole" talked to Stefano's painting and asked for guidance. "Nicole" lamented that she could not kill Stefan or Gabi. "Once you have them, what the hell are you supposed to do with them?" "Nicole" asked Stefano. "Nicole's" phone rang.
"Brady?" "Nicole" answered cheerfully. Brady said Sonny had told him that she was at the DiMera mansion. When Brady asked to meet "Nicole" in her hotel room, she eagerly agreed. "Nicole" rushed over to her hotel room at the Salem Inn to meet up with Brady.
While pacing her room, "Nicole" continued to mutter to herself about the fate of Gabi and Stefan. Brady knocked on the door, interrupting her train of thought. "Nicole" threw open the door and kissed Brady. After a moment, Brady gently pushed "Nicole" away, and he walked past her into the room. "Nicole" asked what was wrong. Brady said his conversation with Will and Sonny had reminded him of Kristen.
"You're bringing up Kristen again?" "Nicole" asked. Brady admitted that he had been thinking about Kristen a lot. "What have you been wondering about?" "Nicole" asked. "If Kristen is still alive," Brady said.
In the Kiriakis living room, Will asked Sonny to explain what he had meant when he had said that Nicole had been "acting strange." Sonny recounted that Nicole had been jumpy and out of breath. "She was irritable with me when I kept asking her questions about Gabi," Sonny said. Sonny added that Gabi had left her phone at the mansion.
Eric makes a big decision
Stefan, still trapped with Gabi in one of the rooms in the secret tunnels beneath the DiMera mansion, called out for help while pounding on the door and trying to pry it open.
Meanwhile, Gabi teasingly guessed that Stefan had saved her life, despite the fact that it was arguably in his best interest to let her die, because he still had feelings for her, even after everything she had done to him. "[No, I saved you because] I'm a decent human being," he insisted. "You are?" she countered. "Yes -- contrary to popular opinion. I would have done the same for anybody -- [or] even, uh, a dog in the street," he maintained. "Okay, so...you're comparing me to a dog," she incredulously summarized. "If you were a dog, I would have moved faster," he dryly stressed.
Stefan teasingly guessed that Gabi only cared about his reasons for saving her life because she had feelings for him and wanted to know that those feelings weren't one-sided. She laughed off the suspicion, but he questioned the sincerity of her protests -- and was quick to point out that her own brother doubted her, too. She maintained that she hated him and planned to make sure that even if he did eventually manage to clear his name, he would have nothing left to call his own. He tauntingly pointed out that she hadn't managed to take the shirt off his back yet, and he proceeded to remove it and offer it to her.
Gabi tried to look away, but Stefan forced her to face him -- and they soon started kissing passionately.
At the Horton Town Square, Tony and Anna spotted each other while they were both shopping for a gift to take to John and Marlena's anniversary party. Anna made a point of reminding Tony that Salem's next big event might just be a wedding ceremony. "[You actually] think I believe that you intend to marry Roman?" Tony asked incredulously. "What does it matter [to you]? You [already] have a wife," Anna bitterly replied.
Eric entered the Brady Pub and greeted Roman, who reported, when asked, that Rex had found an apartment in Chicago. Eric tried to apologize for having inadvertently caused Rex to retreat from Salem, but Roman dismissed the concern, reasoning that it was in everyone's best interest to finally have everything out in the open. Eric admitted with a sigh that, at least in Sarah's mind, it wasn't necessarily true that everything was finally out in the open. Eric somewhat irritably stressed that Sarah had repeatedly been assured that Nicole was no longer going to be an issue, prompting Roman to point out that actions spoke louder than words.
Anna arrived just then and started complaining about Tony. Eric tried to assure Anna that Tony and Nicole's marriage wasn't real, but Anna pretended not to care -- and advised that Eric should stop caring, too.
Sarah entered Doug's Place with a gift box and handed it to Chloe, who was surprised to see one of John and Marlena's guests hours before the anniversary party was scheduled to begin. "[Actually], I'm not gonna be able to make it, so I just wanted to drop off the gift," Sarah clarified, confusing Chloe, who took that to mean that Eric wasn't going to be in attendance, either. "Oh -- no, um, I'm sure Eric will be here; I just won't be with him, [because we] got into a fight," Sarah further clarified. "Seriously? Didn't you leave your husband for him, like, two seconds ago?" Chloe asked incredulously. "And that's your business how?" Sarah defensively replied.
"Sorry -- I shouldn't have said anything," Chloe backpedaled before guessing that Sarah and Eric's fight had been about Nicole. "[I have a feeling that Eric] isn't as over Nicole as he says he is -- and he probably never will be. [Which means that I'm always] just gonna be the girl that he settled for because he couldn't have his first choice," Sarah fretted, but Chloe disagreed, suspecting that Eric had gotten upset because of Brady, not Nicole.
At the Salem Inn, Kristen, still disguised as Nicole, feigned surprise when Brady revealed what Will and Sonny had discovered during a search of Xander's briefcase. "Nicole" wondered if Brady was hoping that Will and Sonny's discovery meant that Kristen was still alive. When Brady didn't respond right away, Kristen got excited and began to admit the truth about "Nicole" -- but Tony entered the hotel room just then.
"Nicole" started to complain about the interruption, but Brady insisted that Tony's timing had actually been perfect. "As much as I want to continue our conversation, [Nicole], I should probably get to Doug's Place and check in with Chloe to see if the party preparations are set," Brady elaborated, confusing Kristen, who probed, as Nicole, for more details. "Tony didn't tell you," Brady realized, somewhat surprised.
Brady quickly clarified things for "Nicole," who made a few snide comments about John and Marlena then insisted on attending the event as Tony's date -- just for the sake of appearances, of course.
"You really are playing a dangerous game," Tony warned Kristen after Brady left. "Oh, you have no idea..." Kristen countered before starting to tell Tony about the latest complications.
Someone knocked on the hotel room door just then, stopping Kristen, who excitedly guessed that Brady had forgotten something. Tony groaned and quickly retreated to the bathroom, not wanting to witness more of "Nicole" and Brady's displays of affection. Kristen waited until the coast was clear then opened the door, still disguised as Nicole, and found Eric standing on the other side of it instead of Brady.
Disappointed, Kristen impatiently probed, as Nicole, for the point of Eric's unwelcome visit. "I needed to see you for myself -- to be sure, 100%, [of] what I feel," Eric vaguely explained. Confused, Kristen pointedly bragged, as Nicole, about having a husband and a boyfriend already -- and no room or desire left for Eric. "Thank you...[for] giving me what I wanted," Eric replied before rushing off, leaving Kristen even more confused.
When Tony emerged from the bathroom, Kristen elaborated on the complications that had been mentioned earlier. "[Locking Stefan and Gabi in the secret tunnels is] a temporary solution, [but] what plan do you have for a permanent one?" Tony asked worriedly. "Maybe I'll have you kill them -- the same way you killed Ted," Kristen calmly replied while producing a gun, leaving Tony even more worried.
Eric returned home and found Sarah waiting on the couch. Sarah apologized for having walked out on Eric earlier. Eric insisted that Sarah wasn't the one who needed to be apologizing. "I'm sorry that I made you feel like I wasn't being honest with you -- or even maybe myself -- [but] I told you that I was over Nicole, and I am. [Look], I went to see Nicole [earlier], because I wanted to be sure, [and] I didn't feel anything for her -- at all. [And] I realize now that I was only angry because of my history with [Brady]. Sorry that I put you through this, [but now] I can say, with 100% certainty, that I am over Nicole, and I want to be with you," Eric stressed.
"I'm really gonna need [more] convincing here..." Sarah suggestively informed Eric, who took the hint and led the way to the shower.
At the Brady Pub, Anna showed Roman a large silver bowl that had been engraved with the date of John and Marlena's first wedding. Roman predicted that John and Marlena would love the thoughtful anniversary gift. Anna agreed then changed the subject, producing a jewelry box that contained a diamond ring. "How far [do] you plan on taking this?" Roman asked, stunned that Anna had actually purchased a ring to make the fake engagement look more authentic to Tony. "As far as I have to," Anna replied. "You are not actually thinking about us going as far as the altar, [are you]?" Roman wondered. "I can't imagine it would go that far..." Anna insisted.
At Doug's Place, Chloe received back-to-back phone calls from John and Marlena, who had each sneaked away from the other to make sure that everything was ready for the anniversary party. Chloe silently expressed frustration during both conversations but made a point of speaking in a calm, sweet tone while confirming that everything was good to go.
A short time later, Brady entered the club and asked Chloe if everything was ready for the big event. "I wish everyone would leave me alone and trust me to do my job!" Chloe snapped before quickly apologizing to Brady, who guessed that John and Marlena were somehow responsible for the outburst. "Let's just say [that] planning a double surprise party for two Type-A personalities has been...challenging. Not to mention, I have an audition -- tomorrow, in New York City. [It's] for a season [at an] opera company," Chloe explained. Brady confidently predicted that, even with everything else that was going on, Chloe would still nail the big audition.
Brady was disappointed when Chloe revealed that Sarah and Eric had gotten into a fight about Nicole. "I thought me being with Nicole would help Eric move on, but...apparently, that's not gonna happen very easily," Brady mused with a sigh. Brady wondered if Sarah was the only person who was potentially going to be skipping the party. "Uh...no, there's one [other] person -- Susan Banks. [She] hasn't responded, but I'm assuming she's not coming. I know it was [this] last-second [thing, so she probably wasn't able] to come in from out of town," Chloe reported. Brady was relieved to hear that. "Not a fan?" Chloe guessed. "No, not really," Brady confirmed.
"Plus, she's not on my dad's list, so if she runs into him, she could spoil the surprise, [and] that would be bad," Brady continued.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, Marlena and John started questioning whether it was wise to keep Brady in the dark about Nicole's possible connection to Ted's murder -- but ultimately decided that it was indeed best to do so, at least for the time being, if only to prevent the police investigation from being compromised. Later, John surprised Marlena with the top portion of their cake from the interrupted wedding ceremony the previous year. Marlena couldn't believe that it had occurred to John, during the chaos of that day, to save the cake. "I had faith that you were gonna [survive the shooting and] be here with me to enjoy this moment," John assured Marlena.
Later, while Marlena was changing clothes, someone knocked on the townhouse door. "Surprise!" Susan shouted when John opened the door.
John and Marlena's anniversary party begins
At the Kiriakis mansion, Will finished tucking Arianna into bed then joined Sonny in the living room.
Will curiously informed Sonny that Gabi had apparently never called to say goodnight to Arianna that evening. "Hmm. That's not like her," Sonny noted, equally puzzled. "Well, she does run a multinational corporation now," Will acknowledged, shrugging. "Still..." Sonny mused. "Yeah. I'll call her tomorrow," Will decided.
"I reached out to a few companies' European financial people while you were upstairs," Sonny began, changing the subject. "About Kristen's Italian bank account?" Will assumed. "Yes. And, uh, I'm just hoping that someone [at one of those companies can help us] prove that someone is accessing Kristen's account to pay Xander -- or that Kristen is alive and is paying him herself," Sonny continued. "Eh...I would bet that Xander is helping himself to Kristen's money all on his own," Will predicted. "So, you don't think Kristen has risen from the dead again," Sonny concluded.
"You, of all people, shouldn't be such a skeptic," Sonny argued. "True -- it's not impossible... But, um, if Kristen were alive, I don't think she'd be able to stay away from Brady," Will reasoned.
At the Salem Inn, Kristen, still disguised as Nicole, encouraged Tony to kill Stefan and Gabi, who both knew too much. "You already whacked Ted Laurent, [so why not] go for a hat trick?" Kristen blithely reasoned while trying to get Tony to accept a gun. "This isn't hockey, 'dear' -- it's murder! [Besides], Ted's death was an accident, and you know it! [I was just] trying to protect you, [but] I am not your flunky; I'm your brother! [And] as far as Gabi and Stefan are concerned, that's your problem! And stop waving that gun around!" Tony irritably countered, fed up with Kristen's antics.
Kristen sighed and started to put the gun in a purse. "May I remind you that Marlena is a dear friend of mine?" Tony began. "Still?" Kristen dryly asked. "And I will not allow you to harm her in any way," Tony continued. "Well, you're no fun..." Kristen grumbled before reluctantly removing the gun from the purse and placing it on the desk. "Promise me that you will not do anything drastic this evening," Tony demanded. "Oh, don't worry -- as tempting as it is to ruin John and Marlena's pathetic little soirée...I have to be a good girl, [because] I just got Brady back," Kristen grudgingly conceded.
"Yes, and murdering Brady's stepmother on the [night] of her anniversary may just put a damper on the romance," Tony warned Kristen. "Exactly," Kristen agreed with a forced smile as Tony stepped into the bathroom to finish getting ready for the party. "But still...a girl's gotta be prepared..." Kristen mischievously mused once the coast was clear, putting the gun back in the purse again.
At the Evans-Black townhouse, John stared at Susan in shock. "What brings you to Salem?" John asked as Susan barged into the living room. "Well, you know!" Susan replied, waving a hand dismissively. "Actually...I don't know," John insisted. "The par-tay!" Susan elaborated. "Oh... But...who invited you? Because...I'm giving the party, and I know that I didn't," John protested, still confused. "You don't want me at your party," Susan concluded, hurt. "Sorry -- I didn't mean to be rude..." John backpedaled. "Brady is the one who invited me," Susan clarified.
"But you don't want me there," Susan repeated, sighing. "No, no, no, Susan -- that's...not it at all; it's just...Marlena's here! She's in the other room, changing!" John stammered, whispering.
"And it's just that...sometimes, you know, you just tend to say things that are right on the top of your head, [and] you cannot, cannot, cannot mention a word about this party, 'cause Doc doesn't know anything about it!" John continued. "She doesn't?" Susan asked, confused. "No! That's why they call it a 'surprise'! [So, you have to] promise me you will not say a word about it!" John replied -- just as Marlena returned.
Marlena cautiously greeted Susan, and John nervously stressed that the seemingly random visit had been totally shocking. "You look beautiful -- just like you're going to a party or somethin'!" Susan observed, giving Marlena a wink and a nod. "In fact, John and I are going out to dinner -- [just] the two of us," Marlena insisted. "Yeah -- [so]...I, uh, better get dressed," John interjected before retreating to another room.
"What are you doing here? You're supposed to be at Doug's Place! John doesn't know a thing about this party, and I hope you have not spoiled the surprise for him!" Marlena quietly snapped at Susan once the coast was clear. "No, no, no, Dr. Marlena, no -- I wouldn't spoil anything for Mr. John!" Susan defensively insisted. "I am so happy you invited me to your party! [But]...wait a minute -- this isn't an anniversary party for your weddin'; this is an anniversary party for when you got popped! Why are you havin' a party for that?" Susan continued. "We're having a party to celebrate our first wedding," Marlena tiredly clarified.
"Oh, I see...I guess..." Susan muttered while digging all the frosting off the wedding cake, which was still sitting on the coffee table. "It was so kind of you to keep me company, [but] didn't you want to see Sonny and Will? [Like]...now?" Marlena pointedly asked Susan as John returned. "Oh! Right! Right! Right!" Susan replied, still licking frosting off both hands. "I'll walk you out," John volunteered. "You don't have to do --" Susan began to protest. "It's only polite," John insisted while practically shoving Susan toward the townhouse door. "You're really going to Doug's Place, right?" John whispered. "Oh, you betcha!" Susan confirmed.
Abe entered Doug's Place while Brady was in the midst of placing two large framed photographs on easels -- one from John and Marlena's first wedding ceremony in 1986, and the other from their interrupted wedding ceremony in 2018. Abe raved, after glancing around the decorated club, that it looked great and had a really festive feel to it. "I hope it stays that way..." Brady stressed. "Oh? Is something wrong?" Abe asked curiously, sensing concern in Brady's voice. "No, no, no -- I think, uh...I think my dad and Marlena are in for a party they will never forget," Brady optimistically replied.
Meanwhile, outside the club, Hope called out to Kate, who jumped in response to the unexpected greeting. "Could you not sneak up on me like that?" Kate snapped. "Sorry -- I didn't mean to startle you, really; I just wanted to catch up with you before the party so we could talk privately, [because now] I know you lied about Stefan kidnapping you and Ted, [and] I also know that Nicole is somehow involved," Hope explained. "Ted was murdered, [and] I could be next, [so] I'm not talking to anyone -- not to you, not to the police..." Kate insisted -- just as Hope's cell phone chimed. "You may not have to..." Hope began after reading a text message.
"Xander -- he's meeting with the D.A. right now, [and she has] offered him immunity in exchange for the name of the person he takes his orders from," Hope continued, stunning Kate.
"My nightmare may be over..." Kate mused with a sigh of relief after Hope entered the club.
Kate entered the club while Brady was in the process of explaining to Hope that John and Marlena were each trying to surprise the other with an anniversary party. "Unsurprisingly," Hope noted. "There better be an open bar..." Kate mused. Abe soon approached and pulled Brady aside to express concerns about Nicole's recent behavior. Brady informed Abe that Nicole's marriage to Tony was nothing more than a business arrangement. "You're sure?" Abe asked. "Very sure, because... Uh, I might as well tell you, because this information's gonna get out sooner or later... Um, I'm with Nicole. We are together," Brady replied.
Will and Sonny soon arrived and privately told Brady about the European financial experts who were investigating the recent payments that Xander had received from Kristen's bank account. "I can't believe this! [I mean], I just got back together with Nicole, [and now]... If Kristen is out there, running around...I mean, she could -- she could turn both our lives upside down!" Brady fretted.
Meanwhile, Eli and Lani arrived and informed Hope and Abe that Xander still hadn't finalized the new immunity deal with Trask.
A short time later, "Nicole" arrived with Tony and rushed straight over to Brady to seize a kiss. "I know this is a marriage of convenience, but I'd rather not be openly cuckolded in front of the entire town," Tony snapped, using a cane to keep "Nicole" and Brady separated. "Nicole" mockingly explained to Brady that Tony was just upset about being kept apart from Anna -- who happened to enter the club just then, with Roman close behind.
Anna ignored Tony and "Nicole" while excitedly bragging to Brady about being engaged to Roman. "That's...great?" Brady replied. "I need a drink," Roman muttered. "I don't believe this," Tony grumbled, eyeing Anna's ring.
Tony walked away in disgust, and Anna followed Roman to the bar with a look of triumph. Alone with Brady, "Nicole" eagerly predicted, based on what had just happened, that there would be major drama at some point during the party. "No, no, no -- don't say that, don't say that! This has to be a drama-free party!" Brady protested -- just as Eric and Sarah entered the club.
Brady sighed and braced for the expected drama, but Eric simply declared that it was time for a truce -- at least for one night.
A short time later, Brady's cell phone chimed. "They're here!" Brady loudly announced after reading a text message, prompting everyone to stop talking and stare at the club's entrance expectantly.
"Surprise!" everyone shouted in unison when the doors swung open seconds later. "Don't hurt me!" Susan screamed in response before quickly recovering and laughing off the scare.
Stunned, "Nicole" nervously asked Brady why Susan, of all people, was at the party. Brady quietly complained that Marlena had invited Susan.
"Is that the lady, or is that the tiger?" Kate worriedly muttered while watching Susan closely.
"Surprise!" everyone shouted in unison again when John and Marlena entered the club together seconds later. "Are you surprised?" John and Marlena asked each other simultaneously.
"Why should I be surprised? I'm the one who planned this whole party!" John protested, confused. "Oh, no, honey -- uh, I planned the party," Marlena argued, equally confused. "No, no, no -- actually, you both planned it. [See], you both had the same idea," Brady clarified. "A sign that we were meant to be together?" John suggested, and Marlena agreed.
With the big reveal out of the way, everyone started mingling again, and Kate seized the opportunity to confront Susan. "I just want you to know [that] if you are here to kill me, I am not going quietly!" Kate stressed. "Well, why would I kill you?" Susan wondered, confused. "Let me see those teeth!" Kate demanded before starting to tug on Susan's teeth.
Susan screamed while trying to get away from Kate, prompting Will and Sonny to intervene. "What's going on?" Will demanded to know. "She tried to hurt me!" Susan summarized. "No, I wasn't... She...had something in her teeth..." Kate claimed. "Oh, you are one big, fat liar!" Susan insisted. "Grandma, are we gonna have to have that talk about personal space? Again?" Will wondered.
"Bizarre -- even for Kate," Brady told John after the scene ended, prompting "Nicole" to nervously suggest that it might have simply been a misunderstanding. Brady shrugged then went to find some food, leaving "Nicole" alone with John. "Nicole" whispered in John's right ear -- in a tone that was sweet but also vaguely menacing -- that there was no reason to be concerned about Brady's new relationship with an old flame.
"Nicole" walked away from John with a discreet display of disgust then approached Susan, who was still with Will and Sonny. "You try to calm down when a crazy woman just tried to yank your teeth out!" Susan challenged Will before noticing "Nicole" -- and Tony, who had rushed over to keep Kristen in line. "Andre DiMera? I thought you were dead!" Susan declared. "No -- Tony, dear," Tony clarified. "Tony? I thought you were dead, too!" Susan protested. "Yeah -- rather hard to keep track," Tony conceded with a chuckle.
"I have two people that look like me, too, you know! One's a crazy woman, and the other is my sister, the sister," Susan revealed. "What are you talking about?" Will somewhat tiredly wondered. "Oh, didn't I tell you? Oh, I -- I ran into my sister Mary Moira the last time I was in town," Susan clarified, making Kristen nervous. "Isn't she a cloistered nun?" Will recalled. "She was, [but] she left the convent because she fell for the gardener," Susan revealed. "Oh. And...what was she doing in Salem?" Will asked. "Well, she said she tracked me down 'cause she just wanted to say goodbye to me before her and her man go on a cruise around the world," Susan explained.
"Can you imagine what that's like -- running into yourself, only it's not you?" Susan continued. "Nicole" squirmed and admitted with a nervous laugh that the concept was likely beyond most people's wildest dreams.
"Susan didn't run into Sister Mary Moira, did she? It was you!" Tony guessed after dragging "Nicole" away. "I wish I was there to see that!" Tony admitted with a chuckle, annoying Kristen. "If [Susan] doesn't stop yammering, then people are gonna catch on! Will is already wondering -- I can tell!" Kristen fretted. "What are you going to do?" Tony asked. "I'm gonna figure out a way to shut Susan's big mouth!" Kristen replied.
Meanwhile, Abe approached John and Marlena, who were once again questioning whether it was wise to keep Brady in the dark about Nicole's possible connection to Kate and Ted's kidnapping and Ted's subsequent murder. "Brady told me that he and Nicole are back together again," Abe revealed. "What do you make of that?" Marlena asked. "Well, it seems odd, after what happened between them before she left town...[but] nothing about Nicole surprises me anymore. Since she's come back, she's...been another person," Abe replied.
Brady had just rejoined "Nicole" when Susan approached to make sure that there were no hard feelings after what had happened a few weeks earlier. "[You know, when] I rejected, uh...your indecent advances," Susan whispered. "Uh...Susan, that's not what happened. [I mean], if we're honest with each other, [what really happened was that] you came into my room and cornered me, and you were trying to kiss me, and --" Brady insisted. "Oh, I would do no such thing, [because] I am a one-man woman, [and] my Roger is that man! [Look], you must, um...you know, be confusing your sex fantasies with reality," Susan countered, annoying and confusing Brady.
"Nicole" nervously interrupted, declaring that Brady was clearly embarrassing Susan -- who, thanks to a shiny nose that was in desperate need of powder, already had enough of a reason to be embarrassed. "My nose isn't shiny -- I already checked!" Susan defensively protested, but "Nicole" dismissed the argument and quickly dragged Susan away.
As Tony watched with obvious concern, Sarah approached with Eric to try to arrange a meeting in the near future. "I would really love to hear about your recovery. I have a little bit of experience with Dr. Rolf's serum because of Will, [and] I have so many questions about him," Sarah explained to Tony, who clearly wasn't interested. "I don't think I could answer those questions. You see, Dr. Rolf was insane," Tony stressed. "Right... [But] he was also a genius! I mean, Rex and I had to go through all of his old notes to try to find anything that could help Will, [and] some of his inventions were just...off the wall!" Sarah countered.
"Like, he had a schematic for this high-tech mask that, apparently, he claimed would go on like skin and could make you look like anybody you wanted to be," Sarah continued. "Any proof that might have worked?" John, who had been listening at the nearby bar, asked curiously. "I don't even know if he tested it out," Sarah replied with a shrug as Tony feigned ignorance.
Brady soon interrupted to prompt John and Marlena to share a dance together. Anna locked eyes with Tony during the romantic moment then rushed out of the club. Tony followed Anna outside and wondered if something was wrong. "I wanted to admire my ring in the moonlight," Anna claimed. "We both know that you're just trying to make me jealous! When are you gonna stop playing [these] childish games?" Tony tiredly protested. "'Games'? You really think this is all a game to me?" Anna incredulously countered.
"You can go to hell, for all I care!" Anna spat before trying to walk away, but Tony blocked the path and seized a kiss. "Does [this] mean you're ready to leave Nicole?" Anna asked afterward, looking hopeful. "Oh... I can't," Tony replied with a sigh of regret. "You. Are. Unbelievable!" Anna snapped before storming back inside the club.
Meanwhile, Susan followed "Nicole" to the back office. "This isn't the little girls' room!" Susan pointed out with obvious confusion before realizing with a gasp of horror that "Nicole's" purse had been hiding a gun.
After John and Marlena's dance ended, Kate approached to congratulate the happy couple. During the conversation, Marlena received a text message from Maggie, who wasn't in attendance because Victor wasn't feeling well. Kate skeptically suggested that there might be a different reason for Maggie's absence. "It's a party. There's so much available alcohol, and...you know," Kate elaborated when John and Marlena didn't catch on right away. "Oh. Yeah, I heard there was a little slip," Marlena recalled. "It was more than a 'slip' -- I mean, I was there, [and] she was so drunk that she was seeing dead people!" Kate clarified.
"She said that she saw Kristen [at the Salem Inn], wearing a red dress...[in] Nicole's room," Kate hesitantly elaborated when John and Marlena curiously probed for more details.
Meanwhile, Eli received a phone call from Trask. "You're not gonna believe this -- Xander swears that [the person he has been working for is] Kristen DiMera," Eli told Lani and Hope afterward.
"Nicole" emerged from the back office -- alone -- and approached Brady, looking a bit rattled. "Nicole" tried to convince Brady to skip the rest of the party, vaguely insisting that there was something important that they needed to discuss right away. "Can we at least wait 'til Dad and Marlena's toast is over?" Brady asked, and "Nicole" grudgingly agreed.
John soon gave a toast then stepped aside so Marlena could have the floor. "Xander finally named his boss. He swears it's Kristen," Hope whispered to John while Marlena was speaking. "You think she could be here in Salem?" John asked in an equally hushed tone. "She could be right here in this room," Hope replied while glancing around suspiciously.
John thought about everything that had happened that night -- Kate's attempt to yank out Susan's teeth, Abe's musings about Nicole being a different person since returning to Salem, Sarah's mention of Rolf's idea for a mask that could disguise a person's true identity, Kate's summary of Maggie's supposed encounter with Kristen in Nicole's hotel room -- then directed Hope's attention to "Nicole" and declared, "You're right."
Marlena, whose toast had just concluded, interrupted just then to seize a kiss from John. "Nicole" impatiently tried to drag Brady out of the club, but John pulled away from Marlena's kiss and blocked the exit.
"You're not taking my son anywhere," John insisted, confusing Brady, who wondered what was going on. "She's behind Ted and Kate's kidnapping, and also Ted's murder," John declared. "Nicole would never do that!" Brady incredulously protested as "Nicole" feigned indignation. "You're right -- Nicole would never," John agreed.
"You want to do the honors, or should I?" John asked Hope. "Go for it," Hope encouraged John, who immediately lunged for the mask and yanked it off, infuriating Kristen and leaving everyone else horrified.
Kristen takes a hostage
At Doug's Place, John thanked the guests for attending the surprise party that he and Marlena had planned. John gave a speech about the anniversary of the shooting that had almost claimed Marlena's life.
"Without a doubt, I am the luckiest man in the world to have you as my wife," John concluded as he raised a glass. Around the room, Eli, Lani, Sarah, Eric, Roman, Anna, Tony, Abe, Sonny, Will, Susan, Hope, Kate, and Brady smiled and raised their glasses. "Nicole" impatiently waited for the toast to conclude so that she could leave with Brady. Marlena gave her own speech about the 33rd anniversary of her marriage to John.
"It has been such an adventure to live with you, even through some very dark times," Marlena said. As Marlena continued, Hope whispered to John that Xander had named Kristen as his boss. "Do you think [Kristen] could be here in Salem?" John asked Hope. "I think she could be here in this room," Hope responded.
John thought about when Kate had attacked Susan earlier in the party. Worried, John wondered aloud how Kristen could go undetected at the party. John thought about what Sarah had said about Dr. Rolf's design for a facial mask to disguise the wearer as another person. John then thought about when Kate had told him that Maggie had claimed to have seen Kristen in Nicole's room. With a scowl, John thought about Abe's comment that Nicole had been acting like a totally different person.
"You know what you said a second ago about Kristen, that she may be in this room? I know you're right," John whispered. As Marlena wrapped up her speech about John, she walked over to him. "My dearest love, you're always worth fighting for," Marlena concluded. John and Marlena kissed, and the room erupted in applause. "Nicole" urged Brady to leave, but John intervened.
"She's behind Ted and Kate's kidnapping, and also Ted's murder," John said as he motioned to "Nicole." Confused, Brady said, "No, she's not. Nicole would never do that." John agreed that Nicole would never have done those things. John grabbed "Nicole" and ripped off her wig and mask to reveal Kristen underneath. Everyone gasped.
"You married your own sister?" Anna yelled at Tony. "It wasn't Nicole. It never was," Eric said in disbelief. Kristen ran for the door, but Lani and Eli grabbed her. John asked Kristen for an explanation. With a laugh, Kristen asked John how he had figured out that she had been wearing a mask. John explained that Xander had named her in exchange for immunity. John added that after he had learned that Kristen was alive, he had put together the pieces of evidence, including Maggie's claim about Kristen.
"She's the one who had Ted and me kidnapped. She's the one who wanted us to die in the basement. She's the one who threatened my family if I didn't blame Stefan," Kate confessed. Confused, Brady asked, "You knew Nicole was Kristen?" Kate said she had not known about the mask. Kate confirmed that she had thought that Nicole had been a victim like her. John noted that "Nicole" had said disgusting things to Marlena when Marlena had visited her.
"Nicole is no saint, but she never would have been that vicious," John growled. Kristen yelled that every muscle in her body had wanted to strangle Marlena during that encounter. As Kirsten reached out, John grabbed her wrist and pushed her away from Marlena.
"And you knew the only way you could get your hooks into Brady was to make him keep thinking you were somebody else. Somebody that he was in love with," John said. John pointed out that Kristen had tipped her hand when she had assured him earlier in the party that she would make Brady happy this time.
"Why did you do this?" Brady yelled at Kristen. "I did it for you," Kristen said. In the corner, Anna asked Tony if Kristen had forced him to help her. "No, I agreed to do it," Tony admitted. When Anna asked why, Tony asked to talk about it later. While Kristen told the room that DiMera Enterprises was her birthright, a stunned Eric stumbled to the corner. Sarah asked Eric if he was okay. Eric said no.
Kristen continued to rant about the family business and her need to oust "Vivian's bastard" from the company. "You can't be on [Stefan's] side. He forced Chad out. He tried to take his wife," Kristen argued. "Don't even try to say you did this on moral grounds!" Marlena objected. Kristen explained that she had devised a plan to save her father's company and win back the love of her life.
"There's no way you could have made it out of that warehouse alive. There's no way," Brady said in disbelief. Kristen said she had survived and used Dr. Rolf's journal to devise a plan. When Brady noted that Kristen's back scar was from her phoenix tattoo removal, Kristen laughed. "Inside, I'm still the phoenix, and I beat death again! And if I couldn't be with you as myself, at least I could be with you as her!" Kristen cried out.
Brady argued that Kristen had desecrated Nicole's memory. Kristen countered that Nicole did not need her identity. Worried, Sarah asked Eric if he wanted to leave, but Eric refused to go until he could watch the police handcuff Kristen. Kristen asked Brady to understand her point of view.
"Understand that you wanted me but were willing to destroy everyone around me? Even my brother?" Brady asked. With a chuckle, Kristen called Eric "the curdled cream" in her coffee. Kristen told Eric that she had realized the only way she could have pushed him away was to create a diversion. "Holly?" Eric whispered. Kristen smiled.
"That little girl's untimely death was just what I needed. I mean, it was the motivation that Nicole needed to just grind you into the ground," Kristen confirmed. "You used the death of a child for your own devices?" Sarah asked in shock. Kristen noted that it had been Nicole's dying wish for Eric to take care of Holly, and he had instead handed Holly over to Chloe and the cartel.
Furious, Sarah yelled that Kristen had almost destroyed Maggie because of her guilt over Holly's death. With a nod, Kristen said she had felt bad about hurting Maggie. Curious, Eric asked Kristen what she would have planned if Holly had not died. Hope raised an eyebrow.
"The kidnapping. It didn't just fall into your lap, did it? The drug cartel wasn't behind Holly's death. You were. You orchestrated it, didn't you?" Hope asked. "You killed a sweet, innocent girl just to break up with me?" Eric asked indignantly. With narrowed eyes, Brady noted that Kristen would not have killed a child. Kristen thanked Brady for his defense. With a grin, Kristen then turned back to Eric and told him that he was responsible for Holly's death.
"You sent that little girl to her death just like you sent her daddy to his," Kristen whispered. Enraged, Eric attacked Kristen. "She didn't deserve to die!" Eric screamed as several people pulled him back. In the scuffle, Kristen was able to grab the gun from her purse and take Marlena hostage. With the gun pointed at Marlena's abdomen, Kristen suggested that she and Marlena go out in a blaze of glory.
John ordered Kristen to let Marlena go. Kristen warned John that she was not afraid to pull the trigger. To change the focus, Hope blurted out that Kristen was the woman she had seen in the park after Ted's murder. Kristen pleaded the fifth and refused to answer. "You murdered Ted!" Kate chimed in. When Kristen said she had enjoyed Kate's earlier efforts to remove Susan's teeth, a worried Will asked about Susan.
"Did you do something to her?" Will asked. "Let's just say Susan won't be stepping on my blue suede shoes anymore," Kristen said with a smile. "I finally got my hands on the one thing I have waited my whole adult life to destroy," Kristen said as she clutched Marlena tight, shoving the gun deeper into her side. John asked Kristen to take him as a hostage instead. "No sale," Kristen said. Brady stepped forward and asked Kristen to take him.
"Let her go, and I'm all yours. I can give you the one thing you want more than to hurt her, and that's me," Brady whispered. "I didn't get where I am by being naïve," Kristen said. Brady reiterated his plea to take him instead, but Marlena said she did not want to endanger Brady. Brady asked Kristen to show her humanity. When Brady reminded Kristen that he had given himself to her to save Eve, Kristen countered that Brady had double-crossed her. Kristen said she could not trust Brady.
"I don't think mutual trust is going to be a big point in our relationship, but if you want a one-way ticket out of here, baby, just take me," Brady whispered. Kristen said she had planned to tell Brady the truth after the party. "I thought that we could be together forever!" Kristen said. Kristen argued that Brady would double-cross her again. Kristen edged toward the door, and everyone cleared a path.
As Kristen backed toward the exit, Susan slammed a plate against the back of Kristen's head, and Kristen crumpled to the floor. "No one is going to hurt you, Dr. Marlena," Susan said. Marlena rushed into John's arms. When Kristen regained consciousness, Eli and Lani escorted her out of the restaurant. Marlena thanked Susan for saving her life. John told Susan that she could call him for help whenever she needed him, and Brady extended the same offer.
"I don't need anything. I just want to make sure that Dr. Marlena is okay," Susan said. While Susan and Marlena chatted, John took Brady aside to talk. Brady chastised himself for having been sucked in by Kristen's lies. John thanked Brady for his courage when he had offered himself up in exchange for Marlena. With a nod, Brady said he needed to go to the station and get answers from Kristen.
"You were right when you said that Stefan didn't kill Laurent," Abe said to Hope. "Kristen didn't just want to replace Stefan DiMera. She wanted to destroy him, Abe," Hope countered. Abe noted that he was happy that Theo was not in Salem. "Poor Nicole. She never came back to us," Abe lamented.
Roman checked on Eric in the corner. Eric said he could not talk about Nicole, but he assured his father that he was fine. As Eric left the restaurant, Roman asked Sarah to stay with Eric and make sure he did not drink. Once Sarah rushed out, Kate approached Roman and looked at the Nicole mask in his hand.
"At least it's over now, right? At least we hope it is," Kate said. Roman hugged Kate to comfort her. While Roman and Kate sipped a whiskey to calm their nerves, Hope and Abe joined them at the bar. "You have been through quite an ordeal," Abe said to Kate. Kate admitted that she had struggled to keep quiet about Kristen.
"[Kristen] said that she would kill my children one by one," Kate confirmed. "We all do what we have to, to protect our families, Kate," Hope said.
Anna and Tony stepped outside the restaurant to talk, and she asked him for answers. "How could you go along with that?" Anna asked. "Kristen convinced me that the DiMera legacy was at stake!" Tony exclaimed. Anna reminded Tony that Kristen's plan was not just about business. "She killed people," Anna whispered. Tony shifted his eyes away, and Anna asked what he was hiding. "She was not the only one," Tony admitted.
John, Marlena, Will, and Sonny escorted Susan into the office of Doug's Place to locate her purse and jacket. "We were worried sick when we couldn't find you," Will said. Susan told the group that Kristen had dragged her into the office and had held her at gunpoint. When Sonny asked what had happened next, Susan explained that Kristen had pulled off her Nicole mask to reveal herself and then had tied Susan up. Susan said she had chewed her way through the rope to free herself. With a chuckle, Susan plucked a piece of twine out of her teeth. "You are worth your weight in gold. How could we ever thank you?" Marlena asked as she hugged Susan.
In the park, Sarah and Eric sat on the park bench in silence. "When you're ready to talk, I'm here," Sarah said quietly. "I know that. I'm grateful for that," Eric said. When Sarah noted that Kristen was a monster, Eric marveled aloud about Kristen's destructive plan. Sarah said she understood that Eric had hoped that Nicole would eventually come to her senses and realize that Eric had loved Holly.
"I know that you said you were over Nicole, but I do think that there was a part of you that was still hopeful," Sarah said. "[Nicole] didn't survive the explosion. She's dead, and she is not coming back!" Eric said.
At the police station, Eli and Lani handcuffed Kristen to the chair in the interrogation room and ordered her to write a statement. Eli reminded Kristen that there were outstanding warrants from her last visit to Salem. Kristen demanded her attorney, and Eli and Lani left to make arrangements. Alone, Kristen screamed and struggled against her handcuffs.
In the bullpen, Brady pleaded with Lani and Eli to let him talk to Kristen. "I don't think that's a good idea," Lani said. Brady said he wanted to help the police, but Eli noted that anything Kristen told Brady would be inadmissible in court because Kristen's attorney had not arrived.
"What if I can persuade her to cooperate?" Brady asked. Eli admitted that if anyone could convince Kristen to cooperate, it would be Brady. Eli warned Brady to be careful. With a nod, Brady entered the interrogation room.
"If you're here to offer yourself to me again, forget it. I know where you stand," Kristen said coldly. Brady asked Kristen to admit that she had killed Ted, Nicole, and Holly. Kristen chuckled. "I didn't kill anybody," Kristen whispered.