Days of our Lives Recaps: The week of January 27, 2020 on DAYS
Kristen told Eric that Nicole had slept with Brady. Will asked Ciara not to tell anyone about his innocence. Sonny slept with Evan. Shawn and Rafe realized that Gina was posing as Hope. J.J. reached out to Theo for help. Kristen refused to help Chad. Chad and Abigail moved into the guesthouse and found the Steve painting. Kate told Hattie the truth about Steve and Hope. Eric kissed Sarah. Xander begged Brady to test Tate for Mackenzie's sake. Gina kidnapped Marlena. Rolf staged a shooting of Steve. ''Hope'' told John that Marlena was dead. ''Steve'' told Marlena that John was dead.
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Shawn realized Gina was posing as Hope, but not before Marlena and John were both kidnapped
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Will realizes the truth about Adrienne's death Will realizes the truth about Adrienne's death
Monday, January 27, 2020
by Mike

At Basic Black, Kristen and Brady finished discussing what had happened the previous Mother's Day.

"Even now, it's -- it's -- it's really, really hard [to] process the swing of emotions that we went through that night," Brady admitted while wiping away some tears. "As painful as it is to relive that -- that day, I'm really glad that we did," Kristen, who had also been crying, stressed. "Yeah -- me, too," Brady agreed.

"We planned to open up the envelopes with the -- with the baby names that we picked --" Brady recalled. "But we never got the chance because they took me down to the police station for booking," Kristen acknowledged. "Right -- [but then] the nurses came to me [and] asked me what name I wanted to -- to have on the death certificate... [Anyway], I was touched by the name that you had chosen -- you chose my mother's name; you chose 'Isabella' -- [and] I only got to see her for, like, a minute...[but] she had your eyes, so I went with 'Rachel Isabella,'" Brady continued.

"I had so many hopes and dreams for her..." Kristen began before breaking down. "Have you been to see her? Have you...visited the grave?" Brady wondered after comforting Kristen with a hug. "No -- I just didn't think I could handle it," Kristen admitted. "Well, um...if you want to go, I'll go with you," Brady offered. "Really? You would do that for me?" Kristen asked. "For you...and for our daughter," Brady replied.

Brady and Kristen headed over to the town square to buy flowers -- and ran into Eric, Nicole, and Mackenzie there. "I'll pray for you and your daughter. I just would never want you and Sarah to go through what Brady and I went through," Kristen told Eric. "What is wrong with you? Mackenzie is gonna live, and to suggest otherwise is just cruel!" Nicole snapped at Kristen. "I'm trying to say something nice!" Kristen explained. "And failing!" Nicole countered. "Nic!" Brady protested. "I understand what she was trying to say," Eric stressed. "Thank you," Kristen said to Eric, who nodded in response.

Nicole awkwardly changed the subject, wondering why Brady and Kristen were together. "Brady was taking me to put some flowers on our daughter's grave..." Kristen explained. "If that is all right with you," Kristen continued, speaking to Nicole. "What is your problem?" Nicole snapped at Kristen. "I just wanted to make sure that you aren't gonna try and accuse me of stealing your man," Kristen clarified, confusing Eric, who demanded an explanation from Brady and Nicole. "You didn't know? Nicole and Brady aren't just working together; they are a couple now," Kristen informed Eric as Brady and Nicole squirmed.

"So, this happened over the holidays -- while I was away, getting treatment for my daughter?" Eric guessed. "I can explain --" Nicole began. "You don't have to explain. It's your business. My focus is on my daughter," Eric, who had been showing Nicole signs of forgiveness earlier that night, stressed before starting to rush off to the hospital with Mackenzie. "I'll take Mickey --" Nicole reminded Eric, who had previously fretted about having to drag Mackenzie all over town in cold weather. "Actually, I think it's better if she stays with me -- I'm sure you and Brady have better things to do," Eric countered.

After Eric and Mackenzie disappeared from view, Brady said goodbye to Nicole then started to walk away with Kristen, who seemed a bit confused about what had just happened.

At the hospital, Maggie fretted to Sarah about what had happed the previous Mother's Day. "I would give anything to have that night back -- [I mean], I should have been with you when your little girl was born, instead of [being] passed-out drunk!" Maggie admitted. "You have to stop blaming yourself -- [after all], no one knew that Summer was gonna show up on our doorstep [that night] with a mountain full of baggage and a bottle of vodka, okay? I am just glad that you did pass out at home -- that no one got hurt," Sarah stressed. "Yeah..." Maggie agreed.

"It still breaks my heart when I think about Adrienne -- [and] her poor family... [And Will -- I mean], he should have known better [than to] text and drive, but he has to live with that mistake for the rest of his life," Sarah continued, getting emotional. "I can't imagine a worse feeling than to know you killed someone -- [especially] someone in your own family," Maggie mused with a shudder. "[And], knowing Will, that -- his guilt over Adrienne's death -- [surely] has to be worse than any prison sentence," Sarah guessed, getting even more emotional.

Sarah eventually recovered and decided to change the subject. "I'm done thinking about all the terrible things that happened last Mother's Day, [because] it wasn't just a day of tragedy; it was a day of miracles, too," Sarah reasoned. "Thank God [that] Xander found you and helped you deliver Mickey," Maggie raved. "I'm always gonna be grateful to him for that," Sarah stressed. "He really loves you," Maggie noted. "I know...[but] I can't even go there [right now] -- I can only focus on getting my daughter the treatment that she needs," Sarah insisted.

Meanwhile, Victor watched as Xander tried to contact Ciara -- apparently not for the first time in recent hours. "Voicemail -- again!" Xander grumbled before ending the call.

Xander fretted to Victor that Ciara could, at that very moment, be telling someone -- like, for instance, Will -- the truth about Adrienne's death. "Settle down," Victor dismissively advised Xander, choosing to believe that Ciara ultimately cared more about Maggie than Will. "At least you didn't tell her that we swapped Sarah and Kristen's babies..." Xander noted. "I would never do that!" Victor insisted. "Hopefully, that OB-GYN we paid off is sipping cocktails on a beach somewhere, never to be seen or heard from again," Xander mused. "Yeah -- if she knows what's good for her..." Victor agreed with a scowl.

"[You know], when we first made the deal with the doctor to switch the hospital bracelets, I thought [that] would be the end of [Brady's relationship with Kristen]...but what I didn't count on was [that it would also be the end of Brady's relationship with me -- and] all because you forced me to fire him and make you the new CEO of Titan!" Victor bitterly complained. "Are you saying I didn't earn that promotion? [Don't forget that] I'm the reason your wife isn't in prison [right now -- and] besides, I've done an excellent job as CEO, and you know it!" Xander defensively countered.

"Let's just change the subject, shall we? Your being CEO of Titan is the least of our problems [right now]. We have to concentrate on protecting Maggie," Victor decided, and Xander nodded in agreement. "Protect me from what?" Maggie, who had just entered Victor's room, undetected, asked curiously. "Yourself -- [see, we're worried] that you're gonna exhaust yourself [by] spending so much time at the hospital, looking after me and Sarah," Victor coolly replied. "I appreciate your concern, [but] this is where I belong, [because] you need me, and so does my daughter -- and my grandchild," Maggie insisted.

Maggie soon began telling Victor and Xander about Mackenzie's need for a bone marrow transplant. "We are just hoping that one of Mickey's parents will prove to be a match for their daughter," Maggie stressed as Victor and Xander exchanged a look of concern. Meanwhile, Eric tracked down Sarah, who was still waiting for the results of their compatibility tests. Sarah soon realized that Eric was still upset with Nicole.

At Statesville, Will struggled to process the information that Ciara had just revealed. "All this time, I thought...I thought I was the who -- who killed Sonny's mother...[and] every second of every day, [I have been] living with the guilt and -- and -- and the pain that I inflicted on everyone who loved her... [But] it wasn't me?" Will incredulously summarized. "It wasn't you," Ciara confidently confirmed.

Will listened, through sobs of relief, as Ciara elaborated. "[That night], you must have been right behind Maggie, [whose] car is black...[and Adrienne was] swerving to avoid her, Will -- not you. [But then, at the hospital], Victor and Xander overheard you telling J.J. what you thought happened, [and] they decided to cover up for Maggie, [who apparently] got so drunk [that night] that she doesn't even realize she left the house, [by letting] you take the fall," Ciara revealed. "What? Are you -- are you serious? [So], Victor did this to me?" Will repeated.

"You never questioned that it was you?" Ciara wondered. "I mean, I -- I knew I shouldn't have been texting...and when it all went down, I -- I had no -- I had no reason to -- to doubt that it was me..." Will explained, shrugging.

"I am so sorry for what my grandfather did to you, [but] he's not gonna get away with it," Ciara insisted. "[Of course], once Maggie finds out what happened, she's gonna be so devastated, [but] --" Ciara continued. "It's the worst feeling in the world -- the guilt, it...is harder than a prison sentence ever could be," Will stressed. "Well, at least now you know you're innocent, and once the truth comes out...Will, you're gonna be set free!" Ciara summarized, thrilled for Will. "I don't know -- maybe the truth shouldn't come out..." Will suggested, stunning Ciara.

"Will, Victor and Xander had no right to let you take the fall for something they knew Maggie did...[and] Maggie would not want you and Sonny and Arianna to pay for her actions!" Ciara reasoned. "What if she didn't have to know?" Will argued. "But she does, Will -- she does need to know! Everybody needs to know, including the authorities, so you can be set free!" Ciara maintained.

"[Look], I'm not gonna give up on clearing Ben, but the one person I know I can clear right now is you -- and it'll feel really, really good, knowing that you can walk out of here tomorrow and be with Sonny, [because] you have suffered long enough, and you and Sonny deserve the right to be together again! [I mean], isn't that what you want?" Ciara continued. "I've never stopped loving Sonny...but I was so sure that, you know, our -- our marriage was over after what I did to his mother --" Will replied. "[But] when Sonny learns that you are not responsible, he's gonna want you back!" Ciara predicted.

"[But] what about that guy Evan -- [you know], Rafe's nanny?" Will argued. "He's nice enough...but you are the love of Sonny's life!" Ciara stressed. "He's the love of my life...but it's been a long time since we've been together, you know? And -- and things can -- things can change..." Will acknowledged. "I can't believe this... I mean, like, a -- a few hours ago, we were signing divorce papers, and now..." Will continued. "Everything has changed, and you get to reclaim your life!" Ciara excitedly concluded for Will.

"[But] what about Victor? [I mean], what happens when he finds out what you did?" Will wondered. "I, uh...I'm sure he's gonna be furious -- he may never even forgive me -- but that's okay, because I know I'm doing the right thing," Ciara replied. "All I can think of is the look on Maggie's face when she finds out that she's the one who killed Adrienne..." Will fretted. "I don't want to see that any more than you do, but imagine the joy that Sonny and Ari will feel when they learn that you're coming home to them!" Ciara countered.

"I'm scared to even think about that, [because] what if it doesn't happen -- [I mean], what if it can't happen?" Will mused. "Hope can be a scary thing, I know -- I mean, when I walked in here today, believing that you would be released, I couldn't help but wish that the same was true for Ben," Ciara admitted. "I really am sorry that all the work you put into saving Ben could end up maybe sending me home instead," Will stressed. "Then don't let it be in vain -- Ben and I can't be together, at least not yet, but the same doesn't have to be true for you and Sonny!" Ciara reasoned.

"'Me and Sonny' -- I never thought I'd say that again..." Will admitted, getting emotional and managing a hopeful smile. "He's probably sitting at home right now, praying for a miracle -- wishing that you'd come running in through those doors and rip up the divorce papers... And you can, Will -- [I mean], you can do that right now!" Ciara stressed. "[And just] imagine how happy he's gonna be, knowing that you get to come home, and he gets to have his husband again, and he gets to hold you in his arms again..." Ciara continued, and Will nodded in response, getting even more emotional.

"Thank you for...for coming to me with this news..." Will stressed. "Of course -- [and] I want to do more; I want to go and tell my mom everything right now!" Ciara replied. "Before we do that, um, just...let me -- let me think on it for -- for a little bit..." Will requested. "Will, you deserve to be free!" Ciara reiterated, surprised that Will still wasn't convinced. "Victor and Xander want you to keep this a secret, right? So, for now, let's just let them think that you have," Will maintained. "It is incredibly unselfish of you to want to protect Maggie, [but] if she knew the truth, she'd be the first person to want you back together with Sonny," Ciara argued.

"Okay, I will let you sleep on it," Ciara agreed after realizing that Will wasn't going to budge. "But you have to promise me one thing -- do not let your lawyer file those divorce papers, okay? The truth about that night needs to come out -- and then you and Sonny can start spending the rest of your lives together," Ciara continued. "Okay," Will promised.

At the Hernandez house, Evan received a visit from Sonny, who wondered if it was a bad time. "Not at all -- Rafe's away on a stakeout, [and] David's already down for the night, [and] I'm actually midway through an epic binge of The Good Place," Evan reported. "Well, if you'd rather be alone..." Sonny offered. "I'd much rather hang out with you," Evan insisted.

"I mean...if that's what you want," Evan continued. "I'm here, aren't I?" Sonny replied. "I know, [but] you said you weren't entirely comfortable with us spending time together as long as you were still married to Will..." Evan recalled. "I did say that...um, but I just came from visiting Will in prison, and...we...signed the divorce papers," Sonny explained.

"Are you okay?" Evan wondered. "No -- not at all," Sonny admitted.

"My father offered to bring the papers to Will, or to send them to [Will's] attorney, but I wanted to do it myself, [because] I owed it to Will, [and] to our marriage, to end it in person [with him] -- you know, face to face -- and I guess I just wanted to make sure that a divorce is what he really wanted -- what we both really wanted," Sonny explained. "I can't imagine how hard that must have been," Evan replied. "I still love him...[and], you know, a part of me will always love him...[but] I've been realizing lately [that], as much as I've hoped it could be possible, I could never get past what he did to my mother," Sonny admitted.

"I'm still worried about how I'm going to explain to Ari that Will and I are ending our marriage. Her life has been one upheaval after another -- [I mean, first] her mom was in prison, and now Will..." Sonny fretted. "If there's anything I can do to help, just ask," Evan stressed. "You've already done a lot. [I mean, for starters], you've helped me see that I have a future beyond Will," Sonny replied.

Sonny suddenly kissed Evan, who quickly pushed Sonny away. "You just came from signing divorce papers -- I mean, they probably aren't even filed yet..." Evan protested. "That's just a formality. My marriage to Will is over, okay? It ended the night I learned that he killed my mother. It's over, okay? It's -- it's really over," Sonny insisted. "Are you sure?" Evan wondered.

"I want to be with you -- [and] not as a substitute for Will, but because I want you," Sonny stressed, prompting Evan to return the earlier kiss then lead the way to a bedroom.

Shawn grows suspicious of Hope Shawn grows suspicious of Hope
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

In bed, Eli told Lani how excited he was that they were getting married after their long separation. "We have the rest of our lives to be together," Lani said. Eli woke from his dream and gasped. "What's wrong?" Gabi asked. Eli stammered that he had been dreaming about the wedding.

"It must have been a nice dream. Before I woke you up, you had this huge smile on your face," Gabi said. "Why wouldn't I? I get to wake up next to the woman I love, every single day of my life," Eli countered. Gabi kissed Eli. Eli suggested that they set a date for the wedding. Excited, Gabi grabbed her phone to look at her calendar. Eli suggested that they marry on Valentine's Day. With a sigh, Gabi said the holiday reminded her of the Valentine's Day she had run interference for Sonny with Leo.

"How did you pull that off?" Eli asked. "Let's not talk about that," Gabi said dismissively. When Eli asked about another day, Gabi said she had changed her mind and wanted to make new Valentine's Day memories. Eli suggested that they spend the day in bed. Before Gabi could speak, Eli snatched her phone away.

"What is this about Julie?" Eli asked. As Gabi reached for the phone, she told Eli it was not what he thought. "What I think is that you're guilty, and what is on this screen proves it," Eli said with a scowl. At a loss for words, Gabi stared at Eli until he playfully accused her of texting with his grandmother to plan the wedding behind his back.

"Yeah, you know Julie and I have gotten so close. She wanted to be involved, and I really wanted her to be," Gabi said. Gabi said she would set boundaries with Julie, but it meant a lot to her to have Julie's support. "It means a lot to me that you would include her," Eli said. Gabi reminded Eli that they only had two weeks to plan their wedding. "It's not soon enough. I can't wait to put a ring on this finger," Eli said.

At J.J.'s loft, Lani and J.J. discussed the pacemaker app on Gabi's phone. J.J. told Lani that an alert went to Gabi's phone any time there was a change to Julie's pacemaker. Worried that they could not control the situation, J.J. suggested that they go to the police for help. Lani refused. Lani said she could not risk Julie's life. J.J. agreed to follow Lani's lead.

J.J. told Lani that Gabi and Eli were engaged. Lani noted that it was strange that Eli had not said anything to J.J. when they had discussed Eli's love life on his last visit. Averting his eyes, J.J. admitted that his conversation with Eli had convinced Eli to propose.

"You helped him make this horrible choice? J.J., you put the idea in his head to marry that two-faced bitch?" Lani asked. J.J. admitted that Eli had asked him to be his best man, and he had accepted. Lani demanded an explanation. J.J. told Lani that he had been examining Gabi's phone, and Eli had caught him in the living room. J.J. explained that he had lied to Eli about why he was there, and Eli had pushed for an answer about the best man question.

"You agreed to stand up with him while he makes that she-devil his wife!" Lani objected. J.J. argued that he had done it so that Eli would not get suspicious. "This gives you an excuse to be around those two. Which will help us expose Gabi for the homicidal bitch that she really is," Lani said. J.J. wanted to talk to Theo because he was good with computers, but Lani did not want to involve her brother in the situation.

"We can trust him to keep quiet," J.J. said. Reluctantly, Lani agreed. Lani stressed that they could not talk to anyone else because she did not want to cost Julie her life. Gabi knocked on the front door. "We need to talk to our best man," Gabi yelled through the door. After Lani hid in the back of the apartment, J.J. opened the door. J.J. started to tell Gabi and Eli that it was not a good time, but Gabi walked right past him into the apartment.

Gabi and Eli announced that they were going to get married on Valentine's Day. When J.J. noted that the date was soon, Eli said, "Why wait when you've finally found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with?" In the back room, Lani rolled her eyes. "Is there something that you're hiding from us?" Gabi asked. J.J. shrugged and said he was not hiding anything. Gabi pointed out the girl's tank top on his couch.

"I don't want to kiss and tell, but I did say this wasn't a good time," J.J. said. "You did say that. We're just happy that you're moving on," Gabi said. Gabi added that she and Eli were proof that people could find love again. Eli suggested that J.J. should invite his mystery woman to the wedding.

"I don't think she is ready for that," J.J. said. Gabi said that the mystery woman should stop by her store, too, because J.J.'s new girl had great taste in men but terrible taste in clothing. In the back, Lani sneered with annoyance. Eli and Gabi left. Once the coast was clear, Lani rejoined J.J. in the living room.

"I will definitely take Gabi up on her offer next time I want to dress up like a lying slut," Lani complained. J.J. urged Lani to stay focused. "I know, but I would really like to give that monster a piece of my mind," Lani growled.

In the square, Gabi and Eli talked about wedding details. "We can just elope," Gabi suggested. "I want to marry you in front of all of my friends and family so they can see how happy you have made me. Besides, Julie would die if she didn't get to come to our wedding," Eli said. Gabi appeared uncomfortable, and she chuckled nervously.

In the pub, Marlena talked to John on the phone. Marlena told John that "Hope" was keeping a close eye on her. When John told Marlena that their lead had not panned out, Marlena was dismayed. John promised to track down Stefano and lock him up for "whatever unnatural life he has left."

In their hotel room in Prague, "Steve" glowered at John behind his back. "There's no way that ugly bastard is ever going to get his filthy hands on you again," John promised Marlena. Upset, "Steve" squeezed his glass until it shattered in his hand. John didn't notice the sound as he said goodbye to Marlena on the phone. "Steve" picked up a shard of the glass and stared at John's neck. As "Steve" walked toward John, John turned and was startled.

"What's going on, man?" John asked as he looked at the shard of glass. "Steve" chuckled and said that the glass had slipped out of his hand. "Steve" urged John to go down to the café, and Steve would meet him after he cleaned up. Once John was gone, Stefano ripped off his eyepatch.

"I'm done with this. It is time to claim my queen. It is time!" Stefano shouted. Stefano cleaned up, and he muttered to himself that he was done playing a fool. Stefano put his ring back in his bag and answered a phone call from Gina. Gina asked for an update.

"You want an update? I almost just killed John Black," Stefano said. Gina gasped. Stefano promised that he would continue to restrain himself. "I need to know that you are clear on our objectives," Gina said. "Yes. We make John believe that Marlena is dead, and we make Marlena believe that John is dead. And then we both get what we want," Stefano confirmed. Gina promised to keep Marlena safe, but she added that she was "sick and tired of having [Marlena] around." Gina promised not to do anything until Stefano contacted her again.

Stefano headed downstairs as "Steve" to meet with John. "I have another lead," "Steve" said. "So do I," John countered. John nodded toward the corner. "Steve" turned to see Tony and Anna. "Antony," "Steve" said. "Hello, Steve. Long time no see," Tony said. "Steve" asked Tony why he was in Prague. "I know all about your plan," Tony said. John jumped in to explain that he had called Tony in Vienna to tell him that they were in Prague, looking for Stefano.

"Stefano is a master of stealth and deception. So, what could either of you possibly know that would be of any use?" "Steve" asked. "I think I have information for you that will be of great interest," Tony said. With a raised eyebrow, "Steve" said he doubted that Tony would ever betray his father.

"Do you really think I'd be here meeting with Steve Johnson and John Black -- I mean, you were two of Stefano's worst enemies -- if I still had any loyalty towards my father whatsoever?" Tony said. "You tell me," "Steve" said with a scowl as he stared into Tony's eyes. Tony said he no longer wanted any part of his father's business. Tony added that the only thing he wanted in life was Anna.

"Could you fill Steve in on your interaction with Stefano," John asked. Tony said he had last spoken to Stefano months before when Stefano had asked for Tony's shares in the company. "I smelled a rat when he refused to meet with me in person," Tony said. Tony said he had given his shares to Chad to help him fight Gabi. John asked Tony if he could make contact with Stefano again.

"I don't want my Tony to have anything to do with that horrible, hateful man ever again," Anna interjected. Anna called Stefano "pure evil." "I don't want that twisted old spider dragging Tony back into his web," Anna added. As Anna noted that Stefano did not have the guts to face Tony, "Steve" smirked.

Anna talked about the last time she had seen Stefano and had told him to go to hell. "I think he is already there, because he is all alone, and even his own son is sickened by him. No, Stefano DiMera is nothing but a weak, pathetic coward," Anna said. "For God's sake, woman! Would you just shut the hell up!" "Steve bellowed. As John placed his hand on "Steve's" shoulder, "Steve" pushed it off.

At the Brady Pub, Kate said to Marlena, "I couldn't help but overhear. John is out of town?" Marlena nodded yes. "He is with Steve in Europe, looking for Stefano," Marlena said. Kate's mouth fell open in surprise. Marlena told Kate about the lead in Prague. "I just don't see why John would leave you alone," Kate said. Marlena said that Hope was watching out for her. Kate's eyes went wide in surprise.

"[Hope] is police commissioner. What could go wrong with that?" Marlena asked. Kate sighed. Curious, Marlena asked Kate why she was surprised. Kate pointed out that Hope's duties as police commissioner were enough to keep Hope too busy to watch out for Marlena.

"You two have some issues, right?" Kate asked. "Yes, but she apologized for that ridiculous pass she made at John, and we talked about it and cleared the air a bit. And John thinks I should give her a second chance," Marlena said. Marlena said she did not believe anyone would come between her and John.

"I'm afraid that I know something about Hope that you don't," Kate said. Marlena asked Kate what she knew. Kate thought about when Stefano had threatened her about telling Marlena the truth. "Rafe told me that he is worried about Hope. That she hasn't been acting like herself for quite a while," Kate told Marlena. "That's it?" Marlena asked. Marlena asked if Kate was keeping something from her. Kate warned Marlena to watch her back with Hope.

After her meal, Marlena went to the hospital. Marlena called John and left a voicemail. "We've got to talk about Hope," Marlena said.

Gina holed up in Hope's office at the precinct. When Gina went to grab her cigarettes, she was dismayed to find they were gone. "Who the hell took my cigarettes?" Gina wondered aloud. Frustrated she could not smoke, Gina decided to draw instead to "keep the edge off."

In the interrogation room, Rafe talked to Shawn about his mother. Rafe showed Shawn the file he had compiled about Hope. "She's mishandling police work," Rafe said. "You said there was odd personal behavior, too, right?" Shawn asked. Rafe confirmed that Hope had been defensive and smoking in secret. When Rafe added that Hope had hit on John, Shawn sighed.

"I think I know what's going on here," Shawn said. Rafe asked Shawn what he thought, but before Shawn could answer, "Hope" burst in and demanded to know if Rafe had stolen anything from her desk. Rafe fished the cigarettes out of his pocket, and he asked "Hope" if she meant those. Shawn watched the tense interaction.

"You said I need grounds to fire you? I'd say going through your superior's desk without permission is a damn good start, wouldn't you?" "Hope" asked in a whispered but threatening tone. "I was just worried about your health," Rafe joked. As "Hope" started to leave, she warned Rafe to worry about his own health.

"Mom?" Shawn asked. "Hope" stopped dead in her tracks. "What's wrong with you?" Shawn asked. "Hope" spun around to face Shawn, and her demeanor changed. With a broad, fake smile, "Hope" said, "I didn't see you there." "Hope" hugged Shawn. When Rafe noted that he was surprised that "Hope" had not noticed her son in the room, "Hope" ignored Rafe and asked Shawn why he was in town.

"I heard that you were going to come to Hong Kong for the holidays, but then you changed your mind," Shawn said. "What else have you two been talking about," "Hope" asked as she glared at Rafe. Shawn said he had been catching up with Rafe. With a nod, "Hope" said that Rafe needed to get back to work. "Hope" opened the door, and with a smirk, Rafe left.

"What else has Rafe told you about me," "Hope" asked. With a shrug, Shawn lied and said that Rafe had not said anything else about her. "We both know that is not true," "Hope" said. "Hope" said she knew about Rafe's file on her. "I assume he showed it to you," "Hope" said. Shawn confirmed that Rafe had shown him the file. "Hope" complained that Rafe had dragged Shawn to the other side of the world.

"Now that I've heard Rafe's side of the story, I want to hear yours," Shawn said. "Hope" said that Rafe was having a hard time getting over their marriage ending. "Hope" added that in Rafe's mind, the only explanation for why "Hope" had rejected him was because she was crazy.

"Does he not know his place? Does he not understand that he is my subordinate?" "Hope" asked. Shawn suggested that they talk over lunch. "Hope" declined, citing a full plate. "I don't suppose Rafe took time out of bashing me to tell you that Stefano is back?" "Hope" asked. "Hope" updated Shawn on the situation with Stefano.

"With Black Patch on the case, I kind of feel sorry for the old man. Or anybody dumb enough to get in their way," Shawn said. Shawn suggested that he take "Hope" to dinner instead. When "Hope" hesitated, Shawn picked up the box of cigarettes and said they should discuss her "new little vice." "Hope" said she had already given up the habit, but she had not wanted to give Rafe the satisfaction of admitting that she had.

Shawn said he knew that "Hope" had to be extremely stressed to have taken up smoking. Annoyed, "Hope" said she did not want to discuss it and that she would text Shawn later if she was free for dinner at the pub. Shawn kissed "Hope" goodbye. "Great surprise," "Hope" said as she walked out. A look of worry flooded across Shawn's face.

Gina returned to Hope's office to be alone. Gina fished out a cigarette as the door to her office flew open. Kate walked in. "I've had it. I want to know what you and Stefano are up to. Now," Kate said.

In the interrogation room, Rafe returned to talk to Shawn. Shawn said that "Hope" had told him that Rafe was having trouble letting go of her after the divorce. "And what do you think?" Rafe asked. "I don't think my mom is lying. Because I don't think that that woman is my mother," Shawn said.

Shawn realizes what is wrong with Hope Shawn realizes what is wrong with Hope
Wednesday, January 29, 2020
by Mike

At a café in Prague, Anna, Tony, and John listened in shock as Stefano continued lashing out at Anna while pretending to be Steve. "How dare you speak to my wife like that!" Tony snapped. "How dare she pollute my ears with her nonsense?" Stefano countered. "There's only so much I can take! I am finished with this charade!" Stefano declared before starting to storm out of the café.

John quickly blocked Stefano's path, hoping to calm Steve down and determine the real reason for the outburst. "I don't need to be handled!" Stefano insisted, pushing John away. "I was just getting sick of listening to that insufferable woman go on and on about --" Stefano continued. "I'll show you 'insufferable'!" Tony warned, lunging forward in anger. "It's okay, Tony --" Anna protested, chasing after Tony. "No, no -- he has no right to speak to you that way!" Tony maintained. "I do seem to have struck a nerve with you, Steve," Anna conceded. "Yeah, Steve -- why is that?" Tony demanded to know.

"Maybe I have a low tolerance for ignorance!" Stefano suggested with a shrug. "[But] why do you have a problem with me trashing Stefano DiMera? [I mean, you] hate him as much as I do -- unless something's changed..." Anna argued. "Anna's got a point there. Why are you sticking up for Stefano? Are we missing something here?" John interjected. "You're not missing anything -- [except that I'm not sticking up for Stefano]; I'm sticking up for common sense! [I mean], we're wasting time listening to her whine and complain [when we could be] finding the man!" Stefano replied.

"You really should watch your tone!" Tony stressed. "Oh, come on, Tony -- even you can admit that her anger and resentment toward her father-in-law is out of line!" Stefano argued. "[No, it's] totally justified -- [and] the least that monster deserves!" Anna insisted. "'Monster'? Is that how you think of your father?" Stefano challenged Tony. "Would you just let her speak?" Tony snapped. "Thank you, darling," Anna said to Tony. "And yes, Stefano is a monster! He kept Tony and me apart for two decades! He's done horrific things -- to all of us!" Anna maintained.

"I will never, ever forgive him!" Anna declared. "Nor do you have to," Tony assured Anna. "I think we [can] all agree [that] the old man has tried to destroy [each of] our lives at one time or another," John interjected. "[And] surely, Steve, you can admit that my wife has a right to say [as much]," Tony argued. "Steve?" John said expectantly as Stefano struggled to stay composed.

"All right, [Tony] -- I'll admit that...as long as you admit to the fact that your wife is a major pain in the ass!" Stefano eventually replied, glaring at Anna with obvious contempt. "[You and John] weren't around the last time we went hunting for Stefano, [but] we were so close to capturing him, [and then Anna] showed up and fired a shot at me -- [I mean], at him, [but] it hit me!" Stefano bitterly recalled. "Oh, the bullet barely grazed you -- [and besides], if you hadn't gotten in the way of that bullet, then Stefano would be dead today, and the world would be a better place!" Anna dismissively argued.

"As if a bullet has ever stopped the Phoenix! He always rises from the ashes! [I mean], say what you want about Stefano DiMera, [but] he's always beaten the odds [and] outsmarted everyone who's ever tried to take him down -- all of you included! [You know], some might call him 'a genius' -- [after all], he's always one step ahead and just out of reach!" Stefano countered. "For now," Tony stressed. "Well, I can tell you this -- we're never gonna catch him as long as this deranged Annie Oakley keeps getting in the way, [because] he's miles too clever --" Stefano continued.

"You know, Steve, it sounds like you actually admire the man," Anna curiously observed. "You're right -- I do," Stefano readily confirmed.

"I gotta tell you, pal -- I never thought I'd live to hear you say [that]," John admitted after recovering from the shock of the statement. "Yeah -- sounds like crazy talk to me!" Anna agreed. "All I'm saying is that [Stefano's] a worthy adversary [who will] do anything he has to [do] to survive," Stefano clarified. "Yeah, he's a survivor...[but] no one's arguing that," John stressed. "[But] that's why I don't want to litigate the things he's done in the past...[and why], if you don't have anything useful to add to our investigation, I would prefer if you got out of the way, [Tony]," Stefano continued.

"Right, John?" Stefano asked expectantly. "I don't think I'd quite put it in those terms..." John began to reply. "Because you're not a rude, insulting ass," Tony summarized. "'Rude'? Why don't you talk to your big-mouth wife about that? [Seriously], the woman is unhinged!" Stefano countered. "Oh, I'll show you 'unhinged'!" Anna warned, lunging forward in anger. "See what I mean?" Stefano said to John, who was trying to put an end to the conversation. "How would you feel, [Steve], if I was to assault Kayla the way you have been insulting Anna?" Tony wondered. "Kayla's with Justin Kiriakis now," Stefano revealed with a shrug.

"[And] you don't mind seeing her with somebody else?" Tony asked incredulously. "She has her life; I have mine," Stefano dismissively replied. "So, if you think I'm gonna apologize to your chattering wife for getting in the way, you can forget it," Stefano continued. "Oh, come on, Tony -- let's just go," Anna suggested. "Good luck getting your man...but I wouldn't count on it -- as long as this Neanderthal is part of your posse, I think Stefano will smell you coming a mile away!" Anna warned John before storming off. "I'm sorry this didn't turn out the way I had hoped," Tony told John before starting to chase after Anna.

"Nice to see you again, Tony," Stefano called out, suddenly using a much kinder tone than before, but Tony just scoffed and continued walking away.

"What the hell has gotten into you?" John asked once the coast was clear. "I'm just reacting to that woman's insanity! She's like the walking embodiment of nails on a chalkboard!" Stefano replied with a scowl. "That's a bit harsh," John protested. "Not harsh enough, if you ask me. I honestly don't know what someone like Tony sees in her," Stefano maintained.

Stefano soon decided to check in with some contacts -- but refused to let John tag along, reasoning that the contacts wouldn't like that.

At the Salem Inn, Kristen received a visit from Chad, who didn't care that it was a bad time. "I really have to head to work!" Kristen protested. "Work can wait," Chad insisted.

"Abby said that you met with Stefano. I want to hear every single detail of that meeting," Chad continued after barging into Kristen's hotel room. "Uh...let's just say it was...a revealing encounter," Kristen replied. "What does that mean?" Chad asked. "Well, it's just that...I hadn't seen Father in a long time...[and], for a moment, I almost didn't recognize him," Kristen clarified. "You didn't recognize Stefano DiMera -- one of the most infamous faces in town?" Chad incredulously summarized. "I said I almost didn't recognize him," Kristen coyly repeated.

"[But] then he said something [that] made it undeniable, [and] I realized [that] it was him -- [that] our father's come back to us -- [and then we hugged, and] I could feel the love in his embrace...[and, you know, I've] missed that more than I even realized..." Kristen continued, smiling at the memory. "Well, if this was such a special moment, then why did he just turn around and leave [afterward]?" Chad wondered. "Because I refused to hand over my DiMera stock," Kristen guessed. "Did he say where he was going, [or] when he was coming back?" Chad asked. "He wasn't in the mood to discuss his travel itinerary [at that point]," Kristen replied.

"I just can't believe that he didn't trust me enough [for a] face-to-face [meeting]," Chad grumbled. "I wouldn't take it personally. You know how Father is -- he's just being cautious about who he reveals himself to," Kristen reasoned. "There's that word again -- 'reveal'..." Chad curiously noted. "Come on -- is it news to you [that] Father likes being secretive?" Kristen innocently wondered. "[But] he was willing to meet with you --" Chad reiterated. "I demanded it --" Kristen explained. "[And] so did I," Chad countered. "[But] I have something that he desperately needs," Kristen reminded Chad, who grudgingly conceded the point.

"Considering everything he's been through...how did he look? [I mean], you said that you had trouble recognizing him, which means he looked differently than the last time you saw him, [so]...was it that rough?" Chad asked. "Actually, no -- I mean, for a man who's been to hell and back, he looked better than I expected," Kristen replied. "I just can't help but feel like you're leaving something out about your meeting with him," Chad admitted. "No -- I told you everything that happened," Kristen insisted. "[Well], if our father is really gone, then we may as well forget about him [and] go after Gabi and the board ourselves," Chad decided.

"I hate to let you down, Chad, but I have to keep my stock neutral, [because] if I give you my shares, [then] Gabi is going to get upset [and] fire me from Basic Black," Kristen reiterated. "But [I'd] get rid of Gabi [and let you continue] running the company," Chad countered. "I can't just blow in there and help you obliterate Gabi, because then Brady will think that I'm the same Kristen as before," Kristen maintained. "You're fine with Gabi running our family business into the ground?" Chad incredulously summarized. "I need to be selfish here," Kristen unapologetically explained. "So, you won't help me," Chad grumbled. "Not until I help myself," Kristen confirmed.

At the hospital, Kayla overheard Marlena recording a voicemail message for John -- one that sounded urgent and had something to do with Hope. "Everything okay?" Kayla asked after Marlena ended the call. "Yeah -- [I'm] just trying to reach John in Prague," Marlena replied. "What's he doing there?" Kayla wondered. "He and Steve are trying to find Stefano," Marlena explained.

"I didn't know that Steve was leaving the country," Kayla admitted. "But, then again, why would he bother to tell me? It's not like we're still married," Kayla conceded. "I'm sorry -- I didn't mean to upset you," Marlena stressed. "No, I'm not 'upset' -- I'm not!" Kayla insisted. "So, uh...have they found Stefano?" Kayla continued. "Not that I know of -- I've been trying to reach John, but he has not called me back," Marlena reported. "Well, I know it's been weighing on you -- having Stefano on the loose again -- so I hope that their mission is successful," Kayla declared. "So do I," Marlena agreed.

"Do you expect Steve to come back to Salem [afterward]?" Marlena wondered. "I have no expectations one way or the other -- nor do I care. As far as I'm concerned, Steve Johnson can leave town for good," Kayla insisted. "[After all], there's nothing for him anymore here -- his children are gone, Adrienne's dead, he and Jack certainly don't get along..." Kayla continued. "You're here," Marlena pointed out. "[But] I'm with Justin now...[and Steve has] made it pretty clear that he has moved on, [as well] -- and the way he spoke about [his mystery woman], it's pretty certain that, uh, she has captured his heart," Kayla countered.

"Honey, I don't know if this will make things better or worse, [but]...there is no other woman -- [Steve] just said that so he could push you away," Marlena clarified. "Well, that doesn't make any sense -- why would he need to push me away [when] he was the one that left?" Kayla protested. "I don't know, [but that's] what he said to John," Marlena maintained. "Maybe he lied to John," Kayla suggested. "I don't think so," Marlena replied. "[Then] I am completely confused," Kayla admitted. "If it turns out that there was no other woman...will that change things for you?" Marlena asked.

"Steve made a choice to leave me behind, so I have made a choice to move on," Kayla reasoned with a shrug before rushing off to check on a patient.

At the police station, Gina dodged Kate's questions about the plan to break up John and Marlena, seeing no reason to answer them. "If you don't, I'm going to go directly to Marlena and tell her that [Hope] and Steve are not who [they] appear to be," Kate warned, prompting Gina to reluctantly explain the plot to make John and Marlena each believe that the other was dead.

"I'm not gonna to sit by idly and let you try to fulfill these deranged plans," Kate insisted. "I would just love to see you try to stop us," Gina countered, reaching for a nearby gun. "[Besides], I was under the impression that you would be handsomely rewarded by Stefano for supporting our endeavor, [so why are you] so determined to ruin everything?" Gina continued. "I guess it's just in my nature," Kate reasoned with a shrug. "It is not just my life at stake; it is yours, as well, [because] if you were to blow up our plan, you would lose everything that Stefano promised you -- [and] you would be charged as an accessory to our crimes," Gina warned.

"[And] if you even entertain the idea of throwing me or my dear friend Stefano under the bus, your 'friends' will not be able to save you," Gina concluded.

Meanwhile, Rafe struggled to make sense of Shawn's theory about Hope. "I can't be totally sure, but from everything that you've told me, and the way that she was acting once we were alone...I think we're dealing with Princess Gina --" Shawn tried to clarify. "Her look-alike? [I mean], I know that this happened before -- [Princess Gina pretending to be Hope -- but]...you actually think it's happening again?" Rafe interjected.

"No, no, no -- this [situation] is different than that [one, because the real] Princess Gina is dead [now]. The day that she was gonna marry my dad, she tried to kill Marlena and me, [but] my dad stopped her, [and then] there was a struggle for the gun, and the gun went off, and...and she didn't survive --" Shawn tried to elaborate. "Then how can she be here in Salem?" Rafe interjected. "Because the last time this happened to my mom, she was brainwashed into thinking that she was Princess Gina, and I think that's what's happening again," Shawn finally managed to conclude.

Rafe continued interrupting with questions, but Shawn eventually managed to explain everything -- that Gina, unlike Hope, was a smoker; that Gina, unlike Hope, had always been in love with John; that Gina, unlike Hope, had never been trained as a cop and wouldn't know how to do the job properly as a result; that Gina, unlike Hope, was a princess and would therefore feel the need to wear a tiara; that Gina, unlike Hope, would be capable of barging into a room and failing to notice one of Hope's children; that Gina, unlike Hope, wouldn't ask for an update on Claire's condition. "And Gina hates me, [and our] hug felt, like, forced," Shawn concluded.

"[But if you're right, then]...who the hell is responsible?" Rafe wondered. "The same person who was responsible last time -- Stefano DiMera," Shawn guessed. "[That] would be the perfect revenge for Hope shooting him..." Rafe conceded. "That's exactly what I was thinking," Shawn agreed. "And I know that Rolf [has resurfaced], and Rolf is always willing to do Stefano's bidding," Shawn acknowledged. "So, Rolf was the one who [made it possible for Stefano to do] this to Hope last time?" Rafe asked. "Who else?" Shawn replied.

"Rolf was in town about a year ago, when Hope [first] started acting differently, [and] I know he had access to the hospital lab [at that time]," Rafe reported. "Then it all makes sense," Shawn decided. "[But] what do we do [about it]?" Rafe wondered. "We need to track down Rolf [and] force him to undo [whatever] he did to my mom," Shawn insisted. "That would be great...but Rolf has left the country, and we haven't heard from him since. [And] Stefano helped him escape, so it's gonna be hard to find him," Rafe revealed. "Damn!" Shawn grumbled.

"Maybe we don't go after the perpetrators; maybe we face it head-on," Rafe suggested. "[Meaning] confront Princess Gina? [The] last time I did that, she tried to kill me," Shawn protested. "[But] it's not Princess Gina this time -- it's your mom," Rafe reasoned. "[You don't understand] -- if the woman inside my mom's body believes that she's Princess Gina, I guarantee you that she's not gonna go down without a fight, [because] she may look like my mom, but for all intents and purposes, she is Princess Gina, [who] is a lunatic [and a] cold-blooded killer," Shawn stressed.

"I agree with you that we need to try and stop Princess Gina, but we can't go barging in there without a plan, [because] if we do, things could get dangerous for everybody," Shawn concluded, and Rafe conceded the point.

Shawn and Rafe rushed off to Hope's office in search of Gina, but no one was there.

Marlena returned home after receiving an urgent text message from Hope's cell phone -- and found Gina inside, pretending to be Hope and wielding a gun. Meanwhile, in Prague, John suspiciously searched Steve's luggage and eventually found something -- just as Stefano entered their shared hotel room. "What are you doing with Stefano's ring?" John demanded to know.

Shawn and Rafe try to stop Gina Shawn and Rafe try to stop Gina
Thursday, January 30, 2020
by Mike

In Prague, Stefano continued pretending to be Steve while complaining about John's lack of respect for other people's privacy.

"We're supposed to be on the same team! Do we have a problem here?" Stefano snapped. "I hope not," John replied. "So, what are you doing with Stefano's ring?" John asked again. "I grabbed [it] from Kate before we left. [It] was in Andre's possession when he died. [She] offered it to Chad, but he turned her down," Stefano explained. "[Then, like Tony, Chad] must also be over Stefano's legacy of evil," John concluded. "That's very dramatic. [Chad and Stefano] may not see eye to eye on everything, but Chad has always loved and respected his father," Stefano protested. "Okay..." John muttered.

"[Anyway], I know how important [that ring] is to Stefano -- it's part of his identity -- [so] I thought that, uh, it would come in handy if we needed to lure him to us," Stefano continued. "I see... So, you have had this ring [since] before we got to Prague, and you didn't tell me about it," John summarized. "I didn't think it was that important!" Stefano defensively explained. "Important enough that you convinced Kate to give it to you," John noted. "It was just an idea I had!" Stefano tiredly stressed. "Man, you're all over the place here," John observed. "Are you accusing me of something?" Stefano angrily countered.

"Stop doubting me!" Stefano demanded. "There is nothing I wouldn't do for Marlena! [She's] very special to me -- even more than you know!" Stefano insisted. "Instead of fighting with each other, shouldn't we be focused on finding the real enemy -- Stefano DiMera?" Stefano concluded. "You're probably right -- I'm probably taking my frustrations out on you because we're not making any headway here," John conceded after some thought. "That's where you're wrong, 'cause one of my contacts just said he got a new lead -- [according to him], a man resembling the Phoenix just rented some rooms off the old town square," Stefano claimed.

As if on cue, Stefano received a text message from someone. "That man just got back," Stefano reported after reading the text message, which John wasn't able to see. "All right -- let's [go]," John replied before starting to rush off. "I'll take the ring back," Stefano demanded, stopping John, who handed over the item with obvious confusion then loaded a gun while continuing to exit the hotel room.

At the police station, Shawn and Rafe searched Hope's office for clues to Gina's whereabouts -- and soon found an ashtray, which contained a partially smoked cigarette that was still burning. "Looks like she left in a hurry," Rafe observed. "We must have just missed her," Shawn concluded. "We need to find [her] -- before [she] does something to wreck [my mom's] life for good," Shawn stressed. "You told me before that Princess Gina was always trying to get with John," Rafe recalled. "Yeah...but, thankfully, he's in Prague with Steve," Shawn replied. "Yeah...but what if, while he's gone, she targets Marlena?" Rafe continued.

"I'll call Marlena. You call Roman -- [he's] been worried about your mom for a long time, [and] he knows her and Marlena better than anyone [else in town does, so] maybe he can help us," Rafe said to Shawn, who agreed.

At the Evans-Black townhouse, Gina continued pretending to be Hope while explaining to Marlena that something big was about to happen. "I just got a tip that Stefano is purposely leading John and Steve on a wild-goose chase in Europe," Gina claimed. "It was a setup?" Marlena summarized. "Yes, we believe so -- and now that he's gotten them out of town, we think he's sending people to come for you. [Now], don't panic -- John and Steve have me here to protect you, and that's what I intend to do -- but it's not safe for you to stay here, [so] I'm gonna take you to a more secure location, where you can hide out until this threat is neutralized," Gina continued.

Marlena started to rush off to a bedroom to pack an overnight bag, but Gina insisted that there was no time for such ultimately trivial matters.

Marlena began to question the extreme urgency of the situation but received a phone call from Rafe just then. "Don't answer that!" Gina demanded. "[Rafe] may have been compromised [by Stefano]. You know, better than anybody, how Stefano operates -- he can get to anyone at any time. [And Rafe] has been undermining my authority at the Salem P.D. -- I just found out that there were leads on Rolf and Stefano, but Rafe withheld that information, which is why they slipped through our fingers. [So], I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Rafe was somehow involved in Stefano's plan to kidnap you," Gina reasoned.

Marlena found the claim shocking -- and hard to believe -- but didn't have time to challenge it before Gina again insisted that it was time to leave.

"My car's parked across the street. I'll take you right to the safe house," Gina said to Marlena while trying to exit the townhouse. "[But] shouldn't we [at least tell] John and Steve about Rafe? They'll be checking in --" Marlena suggested, stopping Gina. "Stop question--" Gina snapped. "Please, just do as I say, okay?" Gina continued in a calmer tone. "[But] what if Stefano's thugs are waiting for us outside?" Marlena fretted. "I'll be ready," Gina promised. "[But] maybe you should pull your car into the garage, and that way, I won't be exposed," Marlena maintained. "Fine," Gina grudgingly conceded.

At the Brady Pub, Roman told Hattie to cover Kate's tables for a while. "She and Chad seem to be talking about something important," Roman explained before walking away, giving Hattie no time to object to the demand.

Meanwhile, at the bar, Chad complained to Kate about the earlier conversation with Kristen. "I know Kristen isn't telling me everything about her meeting with my father; what I don't know is what she's hiding -- or why," Chad summarized. "Maybe you should keep your distance for a while -- you know, just stay away from everything that has to do with your father," Kate suggested. "Has he contacted you?" Chad asked suspiciously, sensing that there was a reason for Kate's advice. "No -- why would he?" Kate innocently replied. "You'd tell me, though?" Chad continued. "Of course I would," Kate confirmed.

Chad soon rushed off, and Kate groaned guiltily once the coast was clear -- then jumped when Hattie approached with orders from Kate's tables. "Wow -- you are as nervous as a cat around a rocking chair! What's goin' on with you?" Hattie wondered. "You look like you lost your last friend," Hattie continued. "That's exactly how I feel," Kate admitted. "Well, then, let's have a little hen chat about it. I am such a good listener!" Hattie offered. "I can't talk about this," Kate insisted. "Oh -- is it because it's...you know, about Steve tracking down Stefano?" Hattie guessed, making a poor attempt to whisper the names.

"You guys talking about Steve?" Roman interjected while approaching Hattie and Kate. "Did you hear from him and John? Did they find Stefano?" Roman continued. "We're just hoping they do," Kate replied.

Roman nodded then changed the subject, revealing that Shawn had just called. "He and Rafe need my help on something," Roman continued. "Shawn's in town? Why?" Kate asked. "I'm not sure," Roman replied. "[Anyway], can you two hold down the fort here?" Roman requested. "We could hold down two forts, [so] you just go about whatever you need to do --" Hattie excitedly tried to assure Roman, who was already walking away.

"I told you not to mention Steve -- not to talk about Steve -- in front of Roman!" Kate snapped at Hattie once the coast was clear. "But he knows everything already, [and] he doesn't care that Steve's hiding out in your room --" Hattie reasoned. "Just keep it zipped!" Kate demanded. "You're in such a mood!" Hattie noted. "Look, I'd like to help you, but I gotta have some idea of what sent you 'round the bend," Hattie continued. "This is a lot more than a bad mood that I'm dealing with... [Honestly], I'm in a mess, and I'm not sure how to get out of it," Kate admitted after some thought.

"Are you in any danger?" Hattie wondered. "I'm not worried about myself -- it's the people that I care about who could get hurt," Kate clarified.

"I have no idea of what I was thinking when I got involved. [I guess] I wasn't considering, you know, the impact that my choice would have on the people that I love. [But] now there's a possibility that John and Marlena's life together will be destroyed," Kate continued. "I'm sure you're making this out to be worse than it really is --" Hattie reasoned. "No, I'm not -- it's that bad," Kate maintained.

"I'd sure like to help you here, but...I gotta know what's going on," Hattie reiterated. "Okay -- I'm gonna tell you," Kate decided after some thought.

"Steve isn't Steve," Kate admitted. "Okay... Who is he?" Hattie replied. "Stefano DiMera," Kate clarified. "How does he...? How does that...? How do you know...?" Hattie stammered. "All good questions," Kate conceded. "So, that's the real reason he's not wearing the patch," Hattie realized. "Yes. And, by the way, Hope isn't Hope -- [see], Stefano, with help from Rolf, turned her into Princess Gina. [And] if I went into the history of that, your brain would explode. The bottom line is...Gina loves John [and] hates Marlena," Kate continued. "Is she dangerous?" Hattie asked. "Yes," Kate insisted.

"[I kept all of this a secret because] Stefano promised me that we would rule DiMera together once he got rid of Gabi, and I wanted that...[but] now, because of that, Marlena is in danger," Kate fretted.

While alone in the Evans-Black townhouse, Marlena listened to a voicemail message from Rafe -- "I know this is gonna sound crazy, but I am here with Shawn, and we have reached a very disturbing conclusion. We think that someone...someone has turned Hope into Princess Gina. Now, as you know, she was obsessed with John, which means you are a threat to her. So, keep your distance from her, and call me back as soon as you get this message." Marlena agreed with Rafe and Shawn's conclusion at once but barely had time to process it before Gina returned.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Gina wondered. "I was...just thinking that, um...you're not yourself," Marlena explained. "Hmm. Well, if I'm not myself, who might I be?" Gina countered. "You tell me," Marlena suggested. "[So], the brilliant, insightful shrink thinks she's figured it out -- you think I am Princess Gina, don't you?" Gina realized.

Gina quickly drew a gun and aimed it at Marlena. "I am rather surprised that the illustrious 'Doc Evans' [did not] figure it out sooner," Gina admitted, no longer trying to sound like Hope. "I should have noticed it -- your odd behavior, the smoking, the attraction to John..." Marlena conceded. "Guess you are not as smart as you think you are," Gina mused.

"Princess Gina is dead," Marlena stressed. "Do I look dead to you?" Gina countered. "No, you don't...[but, of course], you're not Princess Gina; you've been brainwashed [into believing that, but] you're still Hope Brady," Marlena summarized. "Hope Brady is long gone, thanks to Rolf. I am in complete control of her body and her thoughts -- have been for quite some time," Gina bragged. "Now, I cannot have you telling anyone who I really am -- that is not part of the plan," Gina continued.

Gina forced Marlena to return Rafe's call -- and keep the speakerphone setting on during their conversation.

Rafe, who had just finished helping Shawn fill Roman in on what was wrong with Hope, also went with the speakerphone setting.

"You okay?" Rafe began. "Yes, uh...I'm okay... Uh, thank you for the warning, [but] John already alerted me that Hope is Gina," Marlena replied. "When?" Rafe asked, surprised. "Uh, it was a little while ago... [He] wants me to join him in Prague; he's arranging a private jet," Marlena continued. "Are you sure that's a good idea?" Roman wondered. "John says that it's the safest place for me," Marlena explained. "Okay... Well, I guess the further away from Hope, the better," Rafe conceded. "Yes -- I couldn't agree more. [So], I'm on my way to the airport. [Again], thank you, uh, for the warning -- I'm glad the truth is finally coming out," Marlena concluded.

Gina silently ordered Marlena to wrap up the phone conversation. "You need to find the impostor pretending to be Hope as soon as you can. Promise me you'll keep on --" Marlena stressed, but Gina snatched the cell phone and ended the call before anything else could be said. "You were doing so well...until you went off-script. That was a mistake," Gina snapped, waving the gun at Marlena threateningly.

Meanwhile, Rafe mused that it was weird that John hadn't bothered to warn anyone else about what was going on with Hope, and Shawn and Roman agreed. "[Plus], is it just me, or did [Marlena] seem pretty...like, stressed? [I mean], she didn't even say goodbye!" Shawn mused, and Rafe and Roman agreed. "I'm thinking it might be a very good idea if I escort her to Prague [and] make sure she gets there safely," Roman announced. "[Okay -- and, in the meantime, Shawn and I will] find Hope [and] put her on ice, uh, 'til we figure out what to do next," Rafe replied. "Good luck," Roman said to Rafe and Shawn before rushing off.

At the DiMera mansion, Chad complained to Abigail about the earlier conversations with Kristen and Kate. "Everyone's hiding something from me," Chad grumbled.

Chad eventually moved on to complaints about Gabi -- someone Abigail was ready to complain about, too.

While on the new subject, Chad got a sudden burst of inspiration and dragged Abigail off to the guesthouse. "This place has been vacant for over a year -- since Ben went to prison," Chad pointed out. "Yeah, I know. So...?" Abigail replied. "So, if we moved out here, we wouldn't have to live under the same roof as Gabi and Eli...[and] it's still on DiMera property, so we wouldn't give [up] any ground on the turf war," Chad continued.

"I'm as desperate to get away from Gabi as you are, but we don't exactly travel light these days. [I mean, yeah], our kids are small, but they have toys and things --" Abigail argued. "I have stepped on them all -- barefoot," Chad recalled. "We'll add another bedroom. We'll add two bedrooms -- and another bathroom. It'll be cozy, but it'll be nice -- the four of us, all snug in here... [Besides], you've never liked living in that big, cold mansion, [anyway -- and] home is where the heart is, [so] as long as I have you and the kids, I can live anywhere," Chad stressed. "You're right," Abigail agreed after some thought.

At the police station, Rafe and Shawn discussed ways to lure Gina into a trap, believing that they still had the element of surprise on their side. Before a plan could be set in motion, Rafe received a phone call from Roman, who reported that no private flights to Prague had been scheduled. Rafe ended the call then rushed off with Shawn to the Evans-Black townhouse, realizing that Marlena was in danger.

Meanwhile, Marlena warned that Gina's control over Hope's life would soon end because too many people had figured out the truth that day. "I have been getting away with pretending to be Hope for over a year," Gina dismissively bragged. "Oh -- and, 'Doc,' it was I who arranged that job opportunity in Germany to get you out of town," Gina proudly revealed, surprising Marlena.

"While you were gone, I had John all to myself -- [and] if you hadn't returned early, he would have ended up in my bed," Gina insisted. "John would never betray me. You saw what happened when you tried to throw yourself at him. He doesn't want you," Marlena countered. "He was more tempted by me than you realize," Gina maintained. "Oh, dear -- you're delusional, too..." Marlena mused. "John loves me. You couldn't possibly understand that --" Marlena continued. "Oh, I understand -- I understand quite well -- which is why I know that if I want to make a life with John, there is only one option left -- you need to die," Gina declared.

In Prague, Stefano and John entered an old building with their guns drawn -- then holstered their guns after reaching the conclusion that no one else was in the building.

Stefano played along as John started searching the building for confirmation that their target had been there recently. Seconds later, Rolf entered the building with a gun drawn, and Stefano mimicked John's surprise.

"I wasn't expecting guests," Rolf admitted. "Rolf, we're aware that you're the one that pushed Jennifer off that balcony to protect whatever the hell was on that flash drive, [but if] you lead us to Stefano, we'll work it out with authorities to cut you a break," John offered. "You're in no position to make a deal with me while I have a gun pointed at you," Rolf replied. "Come on, Rolf -- you're not a cold-blooded killer," Stefano argued. "You have miscalculated," Rolf countered before firing three shots at Stefano's chest. John tried to rush to Stefano's aid, hoping to save Steve's life, but Rolf warned that John could either let Steve bleed out or suffer the same fate.

After watching what appeared to be Steve's final breaths, John lunged forward in anger, showing no fear of Rolf's gun. "You just killed my best buddy, [and] I'm gonna make you pay if it's the last thing I ever do!" John spat at Rolf -- just as Stefano hit John from behind with the butt of a gun. "Excellent work, Rolf -- very, very convincing," Stefano raved after John lost consciousness.

"Even though I knew there were blanks in the gun, I was still nervous," Rolf admitted as Stefano removed packs of fake blood that had been hidden under a shirt. "I still don't understand why you wanted John Black to believe that Steve Johnson is dead," Rolf continued. "John will be more vulnerable to Princess Gina if he thinks his best friend has been murdered -- [and], by the time John comes to, Hope will be here to deliver the bad news that his precious 'Doc' has also died," Stefano reasoned. "That will be quite a blow," Rolf conceded.

"[Still]...I don't mean to overstep, and I realize that you and Princess Gina have struck a bargain so she can get her Pawn back, but you owe her nothing, [so]...if you really want a clear path to bringing back your Queen of the Night, wouldn't it be best to finish John off here and now?" Rolf suggested. "You make an excellent point," Stefano agreed after some thought, aiming a gun at John's head.

In Salem, Rafe and Shawn burst into the Evans-Black townhouse and discovered that no one else was there -- but Marlena's purse was, as well as Marlena's cell phone. The men guessed that Gina had Marlena.

Meanwhile, Marlena awoke in the makeshift palace, tied to Gina's throne. "Welcome to your new home, 'Doc,'" Gina said. "Merciful monarch that I am, I spared your life," Gina explained. "No need to thank me -- I had my reasons, and I guarantee you are not going to like them," Gina concluded, flashing a wicked grin.

John and Marlena get devastating news John and Marlena get devastating news
Friday, January 31, 2020

At the DiMera mansion guesthouse, Chad discovered a text on his phone from Stefano. "My son. I am deeply sorry I left you in the middle of our plan. I had to leave the country on short notice," the text read. The message also said that no one deserved to run the family business more than Chad.

"You are a true DiMera, and like you, I will never stop fighting for those I love," Chad read aloud. "I got to admit, he did sound pretty sincere," Abigail said. Abigail suggested that they should not move out of the mansion. Chad refused to live under the same roof as Gabi. Relieved, Abigail said she was excited about renovating the guesthouse.

Abigail started to talk about the renovation, and Chad smiled. "We just have to get all this stuff out of here," Abigail said. Abigail started to clean. When Abigail looked in the cabinet, she found a covered painting. "Oh, my God," Abigail said as she looked under the cover. Chad joined Abigail. "What the hell?" Chad wondered aloud as he gazed at the painting of Steve posed like Stefano.

In Kayla's office, Sarah paced nervously as Eric fussed over their sleeping daughter. "One of us has to be a match, Eric. It's the only way that we can save her," Sarah said. When Maggie arrived, Kayla had already informed Eric and Sarah that neither was a match for a bone marrow transplant for Mackenzie. In tears, Maggie hugged her daughter.

"I knew the odds weren't great, but we were really hoping that one of us would be a donor," Sarah said. Eric assured Sarah and Maggie that Kayla would check with the national registry and that they would get all their friends and family to get tested. When Sarah mentioned Summer, Maggie admitted that she had not spoken to Summer since the day that Sarah had gone into labor. "I don't even know if she is alive," Maggie said. Maggie promised that they would find a match for Mackenzie.

In Victor's hospital room, a frustrated Xander worried aloud about the baby switch. "When I placed Kristen and Brady's child in Sarah's arms, I did it so that she wouldn't know that her own child had died. To protect her. So she wouldn't suffer. But now, dear God," Xander whispered. Victor reminded Xander that they had also switched the babies to protect Maggie from learning that she had killed her granddaughter.

"Take that to the grave," Victor ordered. "I won't keep a secret that jeopardizes Mickey's life. I love her," Xander protested. Victor warned Xander to stay quiet and wait for a match. Maggie walked in. "I'm afraid that neither Eric nor Sarah were a match," Maggie said. Maggie announced that everyone needed to get tested. Xander offered to go with Maggie to the lab for a blood draw.

"We have to believe there is a match out there somewhere, and we have to find it," Maggie said. As Xander left with Maggie, he gave a concerned look to Victor. After Xander escorted Maggie to the lab, he saw Sarah in the waiting area with Mackenzie.

"You are going to be just fine. Mommy promises," Sarah told her daughter. "Prettiest girls in town," Xander said as he walked over. Xander told Sarah he was sorry to hear that there was no bone marrow match for Mackenzie yet. Sarah hugged Xander.

When Sarah mentioned that Mackenzie's best hope for a bone marrow match was a full sibling, Xander nodded. "All we can do now is just hope for the best," Sarah said. Xander told Sarah that Maggie was getting tested and he was up next. Sarah said she felt helpless. "You have me," Xander said. Sarah held up her wrist and showed Xander that she was wearing his mother's bracelet.

"You said that [Xander's mother] believed it would ward off sickness, so I'm holding you to it," Sarah said with a chuckle. "I will move heaven and earth to help you find that match," Xander whispered. Sarah thanked Xander then left.

Eric drove Sarah and Mackenzie home to the Kiriakis mansion. When Eric offered to help Sarah put the baby down upstairs, Sarah informed Eric that Xander had not moved out of the house. "But he offered to move out. You know, it's just like him not to stick to his word," Eric complained. Sarah explained that she had asked Xander to stay. "I know that you don't like him, but he loves Mickey so much, and she honestly just needs all the love and support she can get right now," Sarah said. Eric agreed.

After Sarah and Eric tucked Mackenzie into her crib, Sarah thanked Eric for allowing Xander to stay in the house, and she said she understood if Eric wanted to reach out to Nicole for support. Eric told Sarah that he had spoken to Nicole earlier, and she had offered to babysit Mackenzie. "She's an awesome mom, and if you ever do want her to watch Mickey, I'm fine with it," Sarah said. With a grin, Sarah added that it would be a good excuse for Eric to spend time with Nicole.

"I thought about it, but I changed my mind," Eric said. Eric told Sarah that Nicole had slept with Brady while they had been in Boston. Sarah was surprised. Eric assured Sarah that it was not a big deal and that he was acting overly sensitive. With a chuckle, Sarah asked Eric if he wanted a hug. Sarah hugged Eric, and after, they stared into each other's eyes.

"I haven't always been fair to you," Sarah said. "It's all in the past," Eric said. Sarah told Eric that she was there for him if he needed her. "You just have to ask," Sarah said. Eric kissed Sarah.

At the hospital, Xander returned to Victor's room after the nurse had finished drawing his blood. "What good is getting tested? I'm not going to be a match," Xander complained. Xander suggested that Tate was Mackenzie's best shot at a match. Victor warned Xander not to kick up suspicions with Kristen and Brady.

"I'm not going to let Mackenzie die," Xander objected. "And I'm not going to let you threaten my wife's peace of mind," Victor countered. Xander said he wanted to protect Maggie, but he would do whatever was necessary to save Mackenzie.

Brady stopped by Eric's apartment to speak with Nicole. Nicole explained that she had experienced a couple of quality moments with Eric, and she had felt hope that she and Eric might reconcile.

"And then Kristen blew it to hell because she announced that you and I were together, and Eric probably got very upset about that, right?" Brady said. Nicole told Brady, "Eric was not just upset. I think that he hates me again." Nicole blamed herself for concocting the plan to pretend to be a couple with Brady. Nicole admitted that she had wanted to punish Kristen.

"[Eric] will come around," Brady assured Nicole. Nicole asked Brady about the visit to his daughter's grave. "We had to say goodbye," Brady said. "You know how I feel about Kristen, but I do understand how grieving a baby together can bring you closer and remind you of the love you had," Nicole said. Brady asked to end the charade and tell Eric the truth. Before Nicole could object, Xander knocked on the door and interrupted.

"I was hoping you would be here," Xander said to Brady. Xander told Nicole and Brady that neither Eric nor Sarah had been a match to donate their bone marrow to Mackenzie. "Is there anything we can do?" Nicole asked. Xander said he had promised he would talk to everyone about getting tested. Brady agreed to get tested, but he pointed out that he and Eric were not blood related.

"Nevertheless, I'd hoped that you want to be included," Xander said. "Absolutely," Brady countered. "I'm in, too!" Nicole added. Xander noted that they needed a wide testing pool, and he suggested that Tate be tested. "My son? Because he may be a match because Theresa and Eric are cousins, right?" Brady asked. Xander nodded in agreement.

"Tate is definitely related to her," Xander said as he shifted his eyes away from Brady. Brady noted that Tate and Mackenzie were distant cousins, and that Tate might be too young to undergo a procedure. "Either you're committed to doing whatever it takes to help Eric and Sarah, or you're not," Xander shouted. Xander begged Brady to call Theresa.

"What is going on here? The likelihood of Tate being a match is a long shot, Xander. I'm willing to help, but I want to know something. Why are you pushing this so hard? To have my son tested?" Brady asked.

In Victor's hospital room, Maggie told him that she had prayed in the chapel. "Maybe I was asking for forgiveness," Maggie said. Victor asked why. Maggie said that when she had donated blood, she had been forced to admit that her years of sobriety had been cut short after a couple of slip-ups. "Like last Mother's Day. Which I don't even remember,"' Maggie said. Victor urged Maggie not to be too hard on herself. "You are still the most beautiful person I have ever known, inside and out," Victor said.

Outside Stefano's loft, Stefano talked to someone on the phone about John. "This is more important. My endgame. To be reunited with Marlena," Stefano said. Stefano asked if John had survived the night, and the person on the phone confirmed it. Stefano took his ring off of his finger, and he slipped his eyepatch down over his eye. When Stefano entered the loft, he found Marlena tied to Gina's throne. Stefano pretended that he was Steve and that he was there to rescue Marlena.

"Stefano led you and John on a wild goose chase," Marlena said breathlessly. Marlena told "Steve" that Hope had left a voicemail confessing that she was Princess Gina. "The important thing now is that you're safe," "Steve" said. Confused, Marlena asked Steve why he was not in Prague and whether he had seen Gina.

"Gina is not my concern right now. You are," "Steve" said. Marlena argued that Gina was determined to have John. Marlena asked "Steve" if John was with him. "Steve" changed the subject to Marlena's health. Worried, Marlena said she needed to know that John was okay. Marlena asked what had happened in Prague.

"Did you find Stefano?" Marlena asked. "Yes, we did," "Steve" confirmed. When "Steve" avoided answering any questions, a frustrated Marlena demanded answers. "Steve" told Marlena that he and John had tracked down Stefano in Prague, but Stefano had been backed up by an armed Rolf. "Steve" told Marlena that John had chased after Stefano while he had fought Rolf.

"Was John hurt? You've got to take me to him," Marlena said. "Steve" told Marlena that Stefano had killed John. "That's not possible," Marlena said in disbelief. "Steve" took Marlena's hand in his. "John was my best friend. He was the bravest man I ever knew," "Steve" said. "Steve" told Marlena that John's final request had been that he would take care of Marlena. "And I will," "Steve" said. "Steve" hugged Marlena as she broke down sobbing.

In a warehouse, an unconscious John hung suspended by his wrists from manacles and chains in the ceiling. Gina walked in and smiled at the sight of her beloved. "Thank God you are alive," Gina whispered. Gina caressed John's face. "We shall be together again, my love," Gina said. As John started to rouse awake, Gina switched over to her Hope persona, and pretended to call for help at the door.

"Let me out!" "Hope" cried out. "Hope? What are you doing here? How did you find me?" John asked. "Hope" asked what had happened. John explained that Rolf had set a trap. When "Hope" asked about Steve, John said that Steve was dead. "Hope" pretended to be shocked by the news. John told "Hope" about the shooting. "Hope" examined John's head and noted that he appeared to have a concussion.

"Steve stepped between me and Rolf. He saved my life," John said. "Hope" picked the lock on John's chains. John complained that they needed to make Rolf and Stefano pay. "We will do it together," "Hope" said. As "Hope" worked to open the lock on John's manacles, he asked "Hope" why she was there.

"Your job was to protect Marlena. The reason I traveled halfway around the world was because you gave me your word that you would keep her safe. Why aren't you in Salem, protecting my wife?" John yelled. "Hope" freed John from his manacles. When John again demanded to know why "Hope" was there, she explained that she had wanted to tell John something in person.

"I couldn't stop him!" "Hope" said. John grabbed "Hope's" wrists and yelled, "Where did they go?" Furious, John ran to the doors and pulled as hard as he could. "Hope" smiled to herself. "Hope" told John that Marlena had fought Stefano, and Stefano had shot Marlena. "John, she's dead. I'm sorry," "Hope" said through crocodile tears. John collapsed to his knees. "Hope" smiled as she leaned over and hugged a weeping John.

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