At the Kiriakis mansion, Sarah quickly pulled away from Eric's kiss, looking a bit uncomfortable.
"That...wasn't exactly what I meant [when I said that I'd be there for you if you ever needed anything]," Sarah stressed. "[Then] what did you mean?" Eric wondered. "[That] I've been depending on you so much -- [I mean], I feel like all I do is lean on you [these days -- and] it's not fair, [so I want to return the favor]," Sarah clarified, prompting Eric to dismiss the concern and insist that the support had already felt mutual all along.
Eric and Sarah soon locked eyes then started kissing again.
Kristen approached Eric's apartment, the door of which was ajar, as Brady suspiciously demanded to know why Xander was pushing so hard for Tate to get tested.
"Tested for what?" Kristen wondered. "Just because we work together, [that] doesn't mean you get to barge into my apartment," Nicole snapped. "I didn't 'barge into' your apartment; the door was open," Kristen clarified. "Here -- the office said you were working from home, [and] I need that deal closed, so sign it," Kristen continued while shoving a file at Nicole, who grudgingly complied then threw the file back at Kristen.
"I'm sorry that I came in here unannounced, but Xander mentioned that Tate needed to be tested, [so]...is Tate sick?" Kristen said to Brady. "No, he's not -- he's fine," Brady assured Kristen. "And now that you got what you came for, you can leave," Nicole impatiently snapped at Kristen, who started to comply. "Wait," Xander called out, stopping Kristen.
"I'm actually glad you're here," Xander admitted, surprising Kristen, confusing Brady, and annoying Nicole. "Mackenzie needs a bone marrow transplant, and Eric and Sarah just found out that neither of them is a match. [And] I know I'm not Mackenzie's 'real' father, but I love her like she's my own, and I'm on a mission to help save her life, so I'm trying to [convince] as many people as I can think of to get tested," Xander explained.
"I'll go get tested right away," Kristen promised without hesitation. "Since when does Kristen DiMera do anything for anyone [besides herself]?" Nicole wondered, collapsing onto the couch in a dramatic display of shock. "I would never want Eric and Sarah to go through the pain that Brady and I went through," Kristen stressed, unamused with Nicole's antics.
"Well, I'm sure the two of you are eager to get back to 'working from home,' so..." Kristen said to Brady and Nicole before starting to exit the apartment again. "[Like Xander, I'm] actually glad that you came by, [too]," Brady admitted, stopping Kristen. "Wow -- everybody's happy to see me today. That's novel..." Kristen dryly mused. "Nicole and I have something to tell you --" Brady began to explain as Nicole squirmed.
"I'm sorry, [but] if this has to do with business, it's gonna have to wait, [because] I want to go over to the hospital right now and get tested," Kristen urgently insisted, drawing more skepticism from Nicole. "The odds that I'm a match are probably very slim, [but] it's the least I can do; it's the least we all can do," Kristen reasoned with a shrug before rushing out of the apartment.
Xander followed Kristen out of the apartment then headed back to the Kiriakis mansion -- and found Eric and Sarah together in Sarah's bedroom, getting dressed. "I should go," Eric decided before rushing off. "This isn't what it looks like --" Sarah tried to assure Xander. "Please, just...spare us both the mealy-mouthed explanations [and] just...be with Eric -- it's what you wanted all along, anyway," Xander conceded with a sigh of defeat. "That's just it -- [we] almost slept together, but I want you to know that we didn't," Sarah continued.
"I don't love Eric -- not anymore. I'm in love with you," Sarah revealed, surprising Xander.
Nicole and Brady went to the hospital to take the compatibility test, but only Nicole ended up undergoing it, since Brady was still in the registry from a previous test, back when Chloe had been diagnosed with leukemia. "Can you believe Kristen felt so strongly about running down here to get tested? She almost seemed human...but she's not, so don't get sucked back in again!" Nicole warned Brady. "Trust me -- that ship has sailed," Brady assured Nicole, who soon rushed off in search of Eric.
Brady started to follow Nicole out of the hospital, but Kristen approached just then, having just finished taking the compatibility test. "Thank you for doing [that] -- I mean, to me, it's...it's my niece, but to you, it's just...well, it's the daughter of the family that you hate, so..." Brady acknowledged. "I don't 'hate' your family," Kristen insisted. "[Anyway], you wanted to tell me something earlier..." Kristen continued while following Brady out of the hospital. "It's about Nicole and me," Brady began to explain again.
Nicole went to the Brady Pub after someone at the Horton Center reported that Eric was probably there. "I was on my way out," Eric told Nicole before starting to exit the pub. "Xander [said] that you and Sarah aren't a match for Mackenzie," Nicole revealed, blocking Eric's path. "I'm so sorry. Brady and I [already] went to the hospital to get tested," Nicole continued. "Thank you...[and] thank Brady for me when you get home to him," Eric replied before starting to exit the pub again. "I'm not going home to Brady. We're not together. The truth is, we never were," Nicole clarified, surprising Eric.
At the DiMera guesthouse, Chad and Abigail curiously studied the artwork that had been hidden in a wardrobe. "It's my Uncle Steve...but it...looks so...different..." Abigail observed. "There's no patch," Chad agreed. "Well, yeah...but, I mean, it [also] looks so similar to --" Abigail began to clarify. "My father's portrait," Chad realized. "Yes!" Abigail confirmed.
After taking a closer look, Chad alerted Abigail to the fact that the man in the painting was even wearing a phoenix ring. "Who could have painted this?" Abigail wondered. "Why would somebody paint this? And how did it get here? [I mean], as far as I know, this place has been empty since Ben went to prison," Chad added. "[And] this couldn't be Ben's," Abigail guessed. "I would seriously doubt it," Chad agreed. "[But] we could ask Ciara -- see if she knows something," Chad continued.
"Maybe this was just a prank," Abigail suggested after some thought. "DiMeras do not do pranks," Chad insisted. "My uncle would be so creeped out by this!" Abigail predicted. "What's bizarre is [that] it doesn't look like it was done by memory. [I mean], look at the pose, [the] detail... I mean, I'm no artist, obviously, [but] it looks like he sat for it," Chad observed.
"It does look fairly recent...[but] why would he do that?" Abigail mused. "It's strange -- you know, my father kept reaching out, but he never let me see his face..." Chad noted. "You don't think...?" Abigail protested. "I know it sounds crazy...but [when] 'Nicole' came here, everybody thought it was her, [and] it wasn't, [so] can we [really] rule it out? [I mean], Dr. Rolf [has] the technology, and he would do absolutely anything to please my father, [so] what if my father changed his face, and now he looks like that?" Chad reasoned.
"Why?" Abigail wondered. "Same reason Kristen did -- tactical advantage," Chad guessed. "But Stefano is old, [and] my Uncle Steve [is] young [and] healthy, and...yeah, he's been acting a little strange since he's been back, [but] there's no way that he could be Stefano DiMera!" Abigail insisted. "Is there?" Abigail continued after some thought, drawing a shrug of uncertainty from Chad.
"I went to visit Kristen a few weeks ago, and I was sure that she was gonna be meeting Stefano, [but she was with] my Uncle Steve [instead, and she told me] that Stefano had just left, but...I -- I -- I don't know -- what if...?" Abigail mused. "But why would he tell Kristen, and not me?" Chad wondered. "If he told you, then you would tell me, and then I would tell my whole family, and [that] would ruin the whole thing," Abigail pointed out. "I knew that she was being cagey about everything that was going on with my father!" Chad grumbled.
"I need to do anything I can to get [the truth] out of her!" Chad decided. "She's just gonna lie to you," Abigail predicted. "[Which is why] I'm not gonna confront her [or my father; I'm gonna] play them off each other," Chad clarified. "No! [I mean], Kristen and Stefano are dangerous, and they're unpredictable, and...honestly, I regret ever even suggesting that you meet with your father!" Abigail protested. "I know [that] this is gonna be dangerous, especially with Dr. Rolf involved, [but] we don't have a choice -- we have to figure out what's going on," Chad insisted, and Abigail grudgingly conceded the point.
At the police station, Roman complained to Rafe that multiple attempts to contact both John and Steve in Prague had all failed. "How good's the cell service [there]?" Roman wondered. "No idea," Rafe admitted. "It's working here, though -- I just talked to Shawn. [He's] been pounding the pavement, but [he hasn't found Gina or Marlena] yet," Rafe continued. "I've been racking my brain here, [trying to figure out where Gina would take Marlena], and nothing's coming to mind," Roman grumbled. "I think I have an idea," Rafe announced after some thought.
While following Rafe, Roman received a phone call from an ISA contact, who reported that a woman matching Hope's description had recently boarded a flight to Prague -- and that, although the woman had only been seen alone, Marlena's passport had been scanned at the airport. "No use wasting our time here, [then] -- looks like we've got some traveling to do," Rafe decided, stopping right outside the makeshift palace. "Yeah -- it would seem that Hope and Marlena are probably halfway around the world right now," Roman agreed.
Meanwhile, inside the makeshift palace, Stefano continued pretending to be Steve while consoling Marlena, who was still trying to process the claim that John was dead. Marlena's display of grief seemed forced, but Stefano seemed oblivious to the oddity.
Marlena eventually pulled away from Stefano's self-serving attempt at a comforting hug. "I don't want your 'comfort'! I can't even stand to look at you! Get the hell out of my sight!" Marlena spat. "[That's] the grief talking, but you shouldn't be alone right now --" Stefano argued. "You are the last person I want to be around!" Marlena maintained. "Why would you say that?" Stefano wondered. "Isn't it obvious? My husband is dead, and it's all your fault!" Marlena clarified.
"I begged him not to go [along with] your ridiculous plan to try to capture Stefano, [but] he insisted, [because] he thought you needed him, and he thought that you would protect him -- [and] we see how that turned out! [And] when I couldn't persuade him not to go, I did the next best thing -- I begged to go with him -- [but you refused to allow that, so I wasn't] there to comfort him, to try to ease his pain, to tell him how much I love him, [to] hold him when he took his last breath..." Marlena continued.
"I'm sorry," Stefano claimed. "You should be, because you underestimated Stefano -- you were arrogant, and you were careless, and it cost my husband his life! I don't know who you are, Steve! I don't know what's happened to you!" Marlena countered. "You have to know, in your heart, that I never wanted this to happen -- [that] I did everything I could to stop it," Stefano maintained. "I know that's true... It's not your fault, and I -- I shouldn't be lashing out at you... I just -- I have to lash out at somebody, [but] the person that I should be blaming, really, is Stefano," Marlena conceded after some thought.
"I don't care how long it takes, or what I've gotta do -- I'm gonna track him down and kill him with my bare hands!" Marlena vowed. "If I were Stefano, I'd be very afraid," Stefano declared. "We're not safe here -- we've gotta get out of here [right away], before Gina comes back," Marlena continued before trying to exit the makeshift palace -- and realizing that the door was locked from the outside. "Gina must have doubled back and secured it from the outside somehow," Stefano suggested. "Then...we're trapped..." Marlena fretted.
"We're going to find a way out of this. It's gonna be okay, Marlena. And remember -- you're not alone; I'm right here with you," Stefano stressed, reaching out to comfort Marlena with another hug -- an effort that was dodged. "You know, um, when John and I were on our honeymoon in Hawaii, he went out for a swim and disappeared, [and] everybody thought he had drowned, but he hadn't -- Gina had kidnapped him [because] she wanted him for herself. So, if Gina and Stefano were involved in this, I refuse to believe that my husband is gone," Marlena insisted, annoying Stefano, who seemed ready to provide proof if necessary.
In Prague, Gina continued pretending to be Hope while consoling John, who was still trying to process the claim that Marlena was dead.
John eventually pulled away from Gina's self-serving attempt at a comforting hug. "I don't believe you," John declared, surprising Gina, who took the statement as a challenge of the sincerity of Hope's display of regret. "You don't understand -- I'm not saying I don't believe you're sorry [about Doc's death]; I'm saying I don't believe that she's dead," John clarified, leaving Gina even more surprised. "I was there --" Gina tried to reiterate. "Stefano did something -- he made you see what he wanted you to see," John guessed.
"Trust me -- if there's one thing I know, in my soul, [it's that] as evil as that old man is, there's one [act of] evil that he would never commit, and that is killing Marlena, because he treasures her life as much as his own," John stressed. "I don't think he meant to hurt her, [but] she pushed him too far this time. When she spit in his face, he lost it [and] became enraged -- I've never seen him like [that before]," Gina maintained, but John still wasn't convinced.
"I need to get back to Salem," John decided. "Give me that thing that you used to unlock those shackles," John demanded, and Gina reluctantly complied. "I can get us out of here in no time," John promised while using the item to try to pick the lock on the building's door. "Let me try," Gina eventually requested, prompting John to return the item -- which Gina quickly and purposely broke in the door's lock. "Damn it!" Gina grumbled. "Just perfect!" John complained.
"I know you want to believe that Marlena's still alive --" Gina began, reaching out to comfort John with another hug -- an effort that was dodged. "I know she is! [Look, Hope], you know how many times people have told me I lost Doc, [and] how many times I said my 'final' goodbyes to her. [And] Stefano is a master manipulator. So, until I see her body with my own eyes, I will never believe that she is gone," John insisted, annoying Gina, who seemed ready to arrange that, if necessary.
Ciara tells Ben a secret
Justin met with Ben at the prison to talk about his case. When Ben thanked Justin for helping Ciara, Justin told him that Victor and Xander had convinced Ciara that they had not set up Ben for Jordan's murder.
"She overheard them say that they sent an innocent man to prison. Justin, if that isn't me, then who is it?" Ben asked. Justin said he only knew that Ciara was positive that Victor and Xander had nothing to do with Jordan's murder. Justin promised to send word when he had new information on Ben's case. As Justin turned to leave, he ran into Will.
"I was expecting to get the signed divorce papers back from your attorney by now," Justin said. Will lied and said he had wanted his lawyer to review an issue first. "I just want to make sure that I'm not making a mistake," Will said.
In the town square, Evan suggested to Sonny that they go to his place. "I don't want you to get sick of me," Sonny said. Evan said it was impossible then kissed Sonny. "What the hell are you doing?" Ciara cried out as she spotted Sonny making out with Evan. Sonny asked what was wrong. With a shrug, Ciara said she was not used to seeing Sonny kiss "someone else."
"Well, someone else is Evan Frears," Sonny said. Ciara realized that Evan was David's nanny, and she apologized for "freaking out." Sonny told Ciara that he and Will were getting a divorce. Surprised, Ciara asked, "So you haven't heard from Will?" Sonny said that the divorce had been Will's decision. Ciara's phone rang, and she stepped aside to take the call from Ben at the prison. Ben asked Ciara to meet him, and she left.
"It's going to take my family a little while to get used to the idea of you and I being together," Sonny said. Justin overheard as he rounded the corner. "You and Evan are together?" Justin asked. Evan excused himself so that Justin and Sonny could talk privately. Sonny confirmed that he was dating Evan.
"I just figured, since Will and I did file the divorce papers," Sonny said. Justin interrupted to note that Will had not filed the papers yet. "For some reason, he is dragging his feet," Justin explained.
After Sonny talked to his father, he went home with Evan, and they talked about Will. "Do you think he has changed his mind?" Evan asked. "He was very clear about wanting a divorce. We even signed the papers together," Sonny said. Confused, Evan asked Sonny why Will would delay filing the papers. "I'm sure it is nothing," Sonny said.
Evan sifted through the mail, and his face fell. When Sonny asked if anything was wrong, Evan noted that there was a letter from Child Welfare. "I hope there's not a problem," Evan said. Sonny said there was no reason to worry about Rafe's guardianship. While Sonny went into the kitchen, Evan opened the letter.
"We are writing to alert you to an issue concerning the background check of David's caregiver, Evan Frears," Evan read aloud. Evan muttered that Rafe could not see the letter, and he shoved it into his pocket. When Sonny returned to the room, Evan suggested that they go to the bedroom. Sonny kissed Evan.
At the prison, Ciara apologized to Ben for not telling him about Victor sooner. Ben asked what Victor and Xander had said to convince her they were innocent. "I really can't tell you," Ciara said. "My life is on the line. I need to know what they said. If I wasn't the innocent man they sent to prison, then who was it?" Ben demanded. Will walked in and told Ciara that she could tell the truth.
After Ciara explained about Maggie and the cover-up, Ben congratulated Will on the good news. "I might actually be able to sleep again," Will said. Ben asked Will why he had not told anyone the truth yet. "Because he is protecting Maggie," Ciara said. Will said he was worried that Maggie would not be able to handle the realization that her actions had killed Adrienne.
"So, you're just going to spend the rest of your life behind bars even though you are innocent?" Ben asked. Will said he had not made up his mind yet. Ciara urged Will to decide soon because Sonny was dating Evan. Ben urged Will to tell the truth.
"What does the truth get Maggie? So, she spends the rest of her life in guilt and in misery and in prison? She's the best person I know. How could I do that to her?" Will said. "What about your life? What about Ari?" Ben countered. Emotional, Will walked out. In tears, Ciara apologized to Ben for failing him.
"I spent so much time chasing the wrong lead, and now we're back to square one. Jordan's real killer is still out there," Ciara said. Ben hugged Ciara tight as she wept. "You have not let me down. You understand me?" Ben said. Ben pointed out that Ciara had gone against her own family to help him, and he loved her more than ever. "I want you out of here. I'm not giving up. I'm never giving up," Ciara said. Ciara said she hoped they had enough time to find the truth.
In his cell, Will fantasized about what it would be like if Sonny learned the truth. Elated, Sonny ran to see Will and asked him if it was true that Will had not been responsible for his mother's death. Will smiled and nodded yes. "I may have lost my mother, but I have my husband again," Sonny said. Will and Sonny kissed. In real life, Will smiled at the fantasy.
At the Salem Inn, Brady told Kristen that he was not in a relationship with Nicole. "We were never together. It was just for show," Brady confirmed. Brady explained that he had been truthful when Kristen had returned to Salem, but Kristen had not believed him when he had told her that he and Nicole were just friends. Brady said that Nicole had lied about a romantic relationship with him in order to hurt Kristen.
"Nicole told me about the lie after the fact. She regretted it. She wanted to set the record straight with you, but I told her not to," Brady said. Brady said Kristen's behavior when she had returned to Salem had been vengeful and chaotic. Brady admitted that he had lied to Kristen to keep her at arm's length. Furious, Kristen slapped Brady.
"Really? After everything you've done, you're going to act indignant?" Brady asked. "You played with my emotions," Kristen grumbled. Brady reminded Kristen that she had posed as Nicole in order to sleep with him. "Yeah, and I apologized for that, too!" Kristen countered. Brady raised an eyebrow at Kristen. After a moment, Kristen conceded that Brady had a point. Kristen asked Brady why he had decided to tell her the truth. Brady explained that he had seen how deep Kristen's pain was at the gravesite of their daughter.
"I saw how alone you had been with [the pain of Rachel's death]. I saw how vulnerable you were. I'm sorry, I should have been more understanding. I should have tried a little harder. After everything we have been through, I owe you that," Brady said. Brady confirmed that he was not in love with Nicole. Kristen asked if there was any possibility that they could have a future together. Before Brady could answer, Kristen argued that nothing could happen after what had happened to Haley. Brady assured Kristen that Haley's death had been an accident.
"You stood by me, and I do appreciate that. But you looked at me differently," Kristen said. Brady argued that he was different because he had been grieving their daughter. Kristen blamed herself for the death of Rachel. "What happened to our daughter was an act of God! That's it! It was no one's fault that she was taken from us," Brady stressed.
Kristen rubbed the bracelet on her wrist and said that she did not understand why Rachel had died. "I knew that the pregnancy was difficult when we had a scare, but when she was born, the doctor said she was just fine," Kristen said. "She was as beautiful as her mother," Brady agreed. Kristen said she wished she could live in the moment when Rachel had been alive and with her and Brady.
"You can't live back there. You can't live back in the past. We have to find a way to move forward," Brady said. Kristen asked how. "Maybe we can figure out a way to do it together," Brady suggested. Hopeful, Kristen asked Brady if he meant that. Brady kissed Kristen. In a swoon, Kristen asked if the moment was real.
"What's real is that when I was pushing you away, I was so unhappy. It only made me want you more. That's real," Brady said. Brady said he believed that he and Kristen deserved another chance, and he admitted that he was scared. "If you're willing to take the risk, I certainly am," Brady said. "That is all I ever wanted, is another chance with you," Kristen whispered. "We have a deal here," Brady said with a chuckle.
In the Brady Pub, Nicole told Eric the truth about her relationship with Brady. "It was my idea. Partially because I wanted to protect Brady from Kristen," Nicole explained. Nicole said she had wanted Kristen to believe that a romantic relationship with Brady would not be possible. Confused, Eric asked Nicole why she had let him believe that she and Brady were together.
"You never gave me a chance to explain. Brady and I are good friends, and that's it. If you don't believe me, you can ask him yourself. It was his idea to come clean. He is probably having the same conversation with Kristen as we speak," Nicole said. Nicole asked Eric if he believed her. Eric nodded yes. Relieved, Nicole apologized for hurting Eric.
"Now that you know the truth, I'll just leave," Nicole said. Eric stopped her. Eric told Nicole that when he had returned to Salem from Boston, the first person he had wanted to call had been Nicole. "I knew I had to let go of you, but when Kristen told me that you and Brady were together, I just felt like I had been stabbed in the heart," Eric said. Eric admitted that he had kissed Sarah.
"I was seeking comfort, and so was Sarah," Eric explained. Nicole asked if Eric and Sarah had slept together. "We stopped it. I'm glad we stopped it. We kissed for all the wrong reasons," Eric said. Eric told Nicole that she was his life and his home. "I can't imagine spending any part of [my life] without you in it," Eric said. Surprised, Nicole asked Eric if he wanted to work things out with her. "I do," Eric whispered. Eric said he understood that Nicole had lied about Mackenzie because she had been afraid to lose him.
"I just wish that you and I could trust the love that we have," Eric said. Nicole agreed. "I can't tell you how much I regret it, and I understand if it takes you months to forgive me -- or eons," Nicole said. "I forgive you," Eric said. As Nicole smiled, Eric kissed her. Eric apologized to Nicole for treating her badly.
"I've lost you so many times, and to lose you again because of my ego and my stubbornness? You and Holly bring so much joy into my life. I would never forgive myself. You are the love of my life, and there is not one moment that I want to spend without you in it," Eric said.
In Sarah's room at the Kiriakis mansion, Sarah told Xander that she had not slept with Eric because she had not wanted to repeat her past mistake. "I don't love Eric. Not anymore. I'm in love with you," Sarah said. "I'm sorry, what did you just say?" Xander asked in disbelief. With a laugh, Sarah confirmed that she was in love with Xander. Sarah remarked on Xander's uncharacteristic speechlessness.
"I didn't expect you to say those words to me. Ever," Xander stammered. "Lack of confidence. That's also a first," Sarah joked. Xander reminded Sarah that he had told her that he loved her months earlier, and she had not reciprocated his feelings.
"You took me by surprise, and I hadn't really quite thought of you like that. I was still wrapping my head around it when Eric interrupted us," Sarah said. Xander noted that everything had changed after Eric had learned he was Mackenzie's father. Sarah admitted that she had grown close to Eric in Boston and that Eric had kissed her in an effort to see if they still had a spark.
"I couldn't go through with it, because all I could think about was you," Sarah said. Sarah noted that Xander had stood by her through her pregnancy. "You make me laugh, and the way that you look at my daughter, I mean, you are my rock, Xander. Whenever I needed you, you come running, and thank God you did, because I wouldn't be able to hold my baby girl in my arms if it wasn't for you," Sarah said. When Sarah noted that Xander was a great guy, he said, "No. No, I'm not." Xander stressed that he was not a hero.
"You're my hero, Xander. You're so handsome and smart," Sarah said. "Well, I mean, that's true," Xander joked. "I'm talking about the less obvious things," Xander explained. Sarah noted that Xander was arrogant, insecure, and "could sometimes be dopey." As Sarah rattled off other problems, Xander frowned. "And you have the worst taste in cologne," Sarah finished. Xander smiled and urged Sarah to move on with her point.
"I'm not perfect, either, and that's the great part. I shoot my mouth off, and I am so obnoxious. I do things without thinking, and most of the time I end up regretting them. And it takes me like twenty minutes to order anything off a menu," Sarah said. "Actually, that is quite annoying, but you're still perfect to me," Xander countered. Sarah told Xander that she liked the person that he saw when he looked at her.
"And I like that you see all my flaws. Including some I wasn't aware of until this conversation," Xander said. With a grin, Sarah said, "I love you, Xander Cook." When Xander countered that he preferred the name Kiriakis, Sarah rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, my God, whatever. Just kiss me." Xander pulled Sarah into his arms and kissed her. After a moment, Xander asked Sarah if she really thought he was dopey.
"You have such a fragile ego!" Sarah said. "When the woman you love calls you dopey, you kind of take it to heart," Xander said. Sarah suggested a change of subject. As Xander nibbled on Sarah's neck, he countered that they should not talk at all. Sarah pulled away and noted that she needed to check on Mackenzie. "Of course. I'll wait here," Xander said. Sarah asked Xander if he wanted to join her. Surprised, Xander asked about Eric.
"I talked to him. I told him that you're not moving out, and that you love Mickey, and that she needs you right now, and so do I," Sarah said. "He accepted that?" Xander asked. Sarah nodded yes. Xander excitedly said he wanted to go with Sarah to check on Mackenzie. "Let's go, Dopey," Sarah said playfully. "That's not going to become a thing," Xander objected. "Oh, it's already a thing," Sarah said.
After checking on Mackenzie, Sarah and Xander returned to her room. "I can't lose her," Sarah whispered. Xander promised that they would find a bone marrow match. Sarah thanked Xander for not giving up on her or Mackenzie. Sarah kissed Xander, and they fell back onto the bed. As Sarah and Xander removed each other's clothes, Xander told Sarah that he loved her. "I love you," Sarah said.
In the visitors' room at the prison, Ben returned from the warden's office to tell Ciara that Justin had called. "I'm scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in three weeks," Ben confirmed. Ciara hugged Ben.
Gabi worries about Julie's pacemaker
At the Kiriakis mansion, Xander and Sarah continued kissing while simultaneously undressing each other -- but Mackenzie's cries soon began transmitting through the baby monitor, stopping things from progressing further.
Sarah rushed off to Mackenzie's bedroom then returned with the child a short time later and assured Xander that everything seemed to be okay. "I'm sorry this isn't quite the romantic evening you were probably hoping for," Sarah said to Xander as they lounged in bed with Mackenzie. "Are you kidding? This is everything I ever wanted," Xander assured Sarah.
Xander and Sarah soon began discussing Mackenzie's need for a bone marrow transplant -- and their efforts to convince practically everyone they knew, including Brady and Kristen, to take the compatibility test. "I'm a little uneasy about those two getting tested," Sarah admitted, confusing Xander. "They lost their baby the same night that Mickey was born, and every time I see them, I just -- I get this flash of guilt because my daughter survived, and theirs didn't," Sarah explained. "There's...no need to...relive that night --" Xander protested. "I can't help it, because it could have just as easily been the other way around," Sarah countered.
Later, after Mackenzie went back to sleep, Xander and Sarah picked up where they had left off earlier.
At the Brady Pub, Nicole wondered if Eric was really ready to forgive and forget. "[I mean, I'm not even] sure I can forgive myself," Nicole fretted. "You told me the truth about my daughter [in the end], and that is all that matters," Eric insisted. "No more looking back -- we are all about the future," Eric stressed. "Okay..." Nicole agreed. "[In that case]...do you want to go upstairs?" Nicole flirtatiously suggested. "No..." Eric decided, disappointing Nicole. "I want to go home with you," Eric flirtatiously continued, causing Nicole's disappointment to fade at once. "Your apartment?" Nicole assumed. "Our apartment," Eric confirmed.
While en route to the apartment complex, Nicole told Eric about Xander's somewhat odd attempt to convince Brady to talk to Theresa about making Tate undergo the compatibility test that was being used to identify a bone marrow donor for Mackenzie. Eric didn't give the matter much thought -- and quickly shut Nicole up with a kiss when they reached their destination.
While passing through Horton Town Square, Maggie spotted Brady, who was clearly in a good mood -- and was quick to admit, when asked, that recent developments with Kristen had prompted the good mood. Maggie was okay with that -- and seized the opportunity to ask Brady to thank Kristen for having undergone the compatibility test that was being used to identify a bone marrow donor for Mackenzie.
Maggie soon broke down for no apparent reason -- and admitted, when asked, that it was still hard to think about everything that had happened the previous Mother's Day. "What if you had gotten behind the wheel and tried to drive yourself to the hospital? Trust me -- putting yourself to bed was the best thing that you could have done for Sarah," Brady reasoned, wanting Maggie to stop feeling guilty for having missed Mackenzie's birth.
Maggie eventually recovered and thanked Brady for the support. "If you can have a breakthrough with Kristen, then I'm holding out hope for you and Victor," Maggie told Brady before rushing off.
At J.J.'s loft apartment, Lani tried to contact Theo, but the call went to voicemail. "I assume that 'no news' [means] no news, [but] I really do hope that you are making progress with disabling this app. You do understand the urgency of this...right? You get that Gabi can kill Julie with it? Just -- just...please call me back as soon as you can, okay? I love you so much, little brother," Lani said before ending the call -- just as Kristen arrived. "Any progress?" Kristen wondered. "Not much at all," Lani admitted. "Okay, [well], I promise you, we're gonna break that app -- and Gabi's heart -- into a million little pieces," Kristen stressed.
"Now, I have complete confidence in Theo's genius -- I mean, he is a DiMera -- [but] he's all the way in South Africa, [so] we need a plan B -- [you know], something more...hands-on," Kristen continued. "'We' -- I like the sound of that," Lani admitted. "You're my dearest friend -- well, I mean, you're my only friend -- and I want to pay it forward," Kristen reasoned.
"Brady and I, uh, might be getting back together again. [I mean], I don't want to get my hopes up too high because the fall would kill me, but...things are really looking up. [You know], I just don't want to get ahead of myself [and] jinx it -- I have jinxed enough things to last me a lifetime -- but this time, I'm gonna get it right...[and] so will you, [because] we're gonna get you and Eli back together again, [too]," Kristen continued. "Yeah, well, it better happen damn quick, because Gabi and Eli are getting married -- on Valentine's Day," Lani revealed, stunning Kristen, who promised to think of something before then.
After saying goodbye to Lani, Kristen headed back to the Salem Inn -- and ran into Brady right outside it. "I didn't expect to see you [again] so soon," Brady admitted. "Well, I'm not stalking you, if that -- if you're afraid of that," Kristen stressed with a laugh, apparently not particularly concerned that Brady really was worried about that. "Actually, I -- I'm sorry I ran into you at all... [I mean], I have a tendency to push things too hard, and...I -- I don't want to push you away," Kristen continued. "You're not gonna push me away," Brady insisted. "I've done it every time we've been together," Kristen acknowledged. "But not this time," Kristen vowed.
Brady and Kristen parted ways after arranging to eat breakfast together at Basic Black the following day.
At Julie's Place, J.J. grudgingly played along as Eli and Gabi discussed wedding plans with Julie, who had previously agreed to officiate the ceremony -- and was certain that it was going to be one of the happiest events Salem had ever seen. Julie eventually got the impression that something was bothering J.J. "I'm all good -- really," J.J. insisted, forcing a smile. "What's not to love about a wedding, right? [Plus, I'm] looking forward to you getting exactly what you deserve," J.J. continued, speaking directly to Gabi, who took the vague comment as a sweet compliment.
Satisfied, Julie changed the subject, admitting that something had happened recently. "I'm 99.9% sure this won't be an issue [with regards to your wedding ceremony], but...well, I -- I had a rather...unpleasant...surprise at my cardiology appointment. [But don't worry -- there's] nothing wrong with my heart; [it's] the pacemaker -- [see], apparently, the battery needs changing," Julie elaborated. "When the doctor put it in, they said you'd be good for another ten years or so!" Eli protested. "Yeah, well, evidently, I'm the exception to the rule," Julie explained with a shrug. "Go figure..." J.J. mused while watching Gabi, who was squirming a bit.
"How do they go about, uh, replacing the battery?" Gabi wondered. "Oh, they don't; [see], I'm getting a whole new pacemaker -- the whole enchilada!" Julie clarified. "I shouldn't have used the word 'enchilada'!" Julie realized with a groan after seeing the color drain from Gabi's face. "I swear to you, I have learned my lesson -- [see], what I meant to say was --" Julie backpedaled. "It's fine," Gabi insisted. "No -- I can see I have upset you!" Julie maintained. "I'm just worried," Gabi claimed. "Well, you don't need to worry -- this is practically routine," Julie promised.
"One year ago, I watched Eli's...'wedding'...to Lani from a hospital bed...and I'm so glad that I was not there in person to witness that disaster, when she shattered my grandson's heart for the whole world to see, [but] you better believe I'm gonna be front and center [for this wedding], to see him give his heart to the [right woman -- the woman] who gave me my heart [and] is my darling, darling lifesaver --" Julie continued, annoying J.J., who interrupted to say a quick goodbye. "What's wrong?" Gabi wondered. "I just remembered that I gotta go to work," J.J. claimed before rushing off.
"I have to go, too," Gabi announced before starting to follow J.J. outside. "We haven't tackled that, uh, seating chart yet!" Julie protested. "We haven't even tasted the cake [samples]! What's going on?" Eli added. "I have -- I have to call the deejay," Gabi claimed. "I told you I'd take care of that," Eli countered. "I know, [but I'm just] super excited --" Gabi explained. "What's more exciting than cake?" Julie argued before rushing off to the kitchen to get the cake samples. Defeated, Gabi stayed put -- then breathed a sigh of relief when Eli decided to help Julie. As soon as the coast was clear, Gabi dialed a phone number.
"Oh, good -- you answered. Listen, Julie Williams is getting a new pacemaker. I need to make sure that I have complete control over this one, as well," Gabi told the person who answered the phone call.
Meanwhile, J.J. returned home and told Lani about what had just happened at Julie's Place. "[Gabi's] probably plotting her next move [right now]," J.J. guessed.
Clyde tries to talk Ben into a prison break
At the Brady townhouse, Kayla and Justin received an unexpected visit from Ciara, who was clearly upset about something.
"The judge set [Ben's] execution date," Justin explained to Kayla. "It's not like it came as a shock or anything...but, uh, actually having a date set..." Ciara tearfully began. "Anyway, uh...please forgive me for barging in like this; I just -- I needed somebody to talk to... I left my mom a ton of messages, but she must be busy working on a case right now," Ciara continued. "I am always here for you -- always," Kayla stressed.
"[Justin], you know [Ben's] case better than anybody -- are you sure that there's nothing we can do to try and stop this?" Ciara asked hopefully. "I wish there were, [but]...given that all of Ben's appeals have been denied, and I have no new evidence to present..." Justin regretfully replied. "You have nothing to be sorry for -- you did everything you could," Ciara assured Justin.
"[This is] all on me -- [Ben] might be a free man right now if I hadn't wasted all that time trying to prove that Victor and Xander killed Jordan and framed Ben..." Ciara continued, confusing Kayla.
Justin helped Ciara explain both the birth and the death of that theory to Kayla, who was quick to point out that it was never a good idea to take anything that Victor and Xander said at face value. "Normally, I would agree with you...but, uh, trust me -- in this case, they were definitely telling the truth..." Ciara insisted. "I was dead wrong...and now Ben is gonna have to pay the ultimate price for my mistake," Ciara quickly added, before either Kayla or Justin could probe for more details about what Victor and Xander had said to convince Ciara that they weren't responsible for Jordan's death.
Kayla advised Ciara and Justin to talk each other through Ben's entire case again, reasoning that they might realize something new in the process. "Okay -- in the days and weeks before Jordan's murder, what was she up to?" Justin began. "She was here in Salem, trying to 'save' everyone from her 'crazy' brother by framing him for an awful crime...[and then, once] everyone in the town was onto her, [she] ran away with her baby," Ciara summarized. "And the assumption is that she broke into the DiMera [guesthouse] to make another attempt on your life, but instead, she was the one who ended up dead -- strangled with a scarf," Justin concluded.
"Can you imagine David's life [if he had been] raised by a tortured soul like Jordan?" Kayla randomly mused. "David's father -- I mean, what if he had something to do with Jordan's murder?" Ciara suddenly realized. "Did Jordan ever say anything about him?" Justin wondered. "[Not to me...and] all Rafe told me was that Jordan got really upset [every time] he brought the subject up; she refused to talk about it and was very adamant that [the man needed to] stay out of David's life," Ciara recalled. "Jordan had her baby in California. Do you guys really think that David's father came here [just] to kill Jordan?" Kayla argued.
"I know it's a long shot, but...I mean, given the way that Jordan reacted every time Rafe brought up David's father...[well], there has to be some bad blood between them, right?" Ciara reasoned. "A father kept from his child -- I mean, that's a possible motive..." Kayla conceded. "It's speculation," Justin stressed. "Then let's find out for sure -- I mean, there has to be some way we can track this guy down," Ciara suggested. "[And] even if [he's] innocent, he might know someone that would want Jordan dead," Kayla noted. "We may be grasping at straws here..." Justin warned. "Yeah, but if there's a chance that we can save Ben..." Ciara argued.
"Okay -- look, I will, um...I will talk to my contacts in California and, uh, see what I can find out," Justin agreed.
Ciara thanked Justin then rushed off, feeling hopeful again. "You know, a lot of people have mixed feelings about Ben Weston -- me included -- but I have to say, I am so moved by Ciara's commitment to him -- her passion, her dedication... It's really incredible," Kayla raved. "It is. When you love someone, you fight for them, and you never give up," Justin agreed.
At Statesville, Clyde entered the visitor's lounge and took a seat next to Ben, who was staring blankly at a piece of paper. "Writin' a love poem to your girlfriend?" Clyde mockingly guessed. "It's from the folks who are gonna inject me with a lethal dose of poison. They want to know what I want for my last meal," Ben numbly clarified.
"I warned you not to trust the system, not to put your faith in that hotshot lawyer and your uppity girlfriend --" Clyde tried to point out. "Save [it]," Ben snapped. "[Not until you] admit that you need your old man's help," Clyde countered. "How in God's name can you help me now?" Ben challenged Clyde. "I still plan on bustin' outta here," Clyde revealed with a mischievous grin. "You gonna join me?" Clyde challenged Ben. "I already told you -- I don't want any part of your plan to break out of here," Ben maintained, annoying Clyde.
"You were about ten or eleven years old, and I found out somebody was usin' my truck for a tractor pull -- I was sure [it] was Travis Preston's little kid, but you were so afraid of what I might do to that boy [that] you stepped up and took the blame..." Clyde randomly mused. "You knew the truth, and you still whipped my ass -- [and] made him watch," Ben bitterly recalled. "[And] that little twit just laughed his head off, 'cause he knew that you were a fool for takin' his beatin'," Clyde continued. "Yeah, Dad -- well, lesson learned," Ben grumbled. "I don't think so -- 'cause here you are, about to make the same mistake all over again," Clyde countered.
"Now, you recovered from my little beatin', but once the needle goes in your arm, there's no comin' back, so you gotta ask yourself...are you willin' to let them kill you for somethin' you didn't do?" Clyde challenged Ben. "It's over for me, Pop -- my fate is sealed," Ben maintained. "That's bull -- you still got a choice," Clyde insisted. "Yeah, I got a choice -- whether I want catfish or chicken-fried steak for my last meal," Ben countered. "I'm talkin' 'bout the choice that I'm givin' you -- let me bust us outta here, [and then] you can pick up your gal, [and we'll all] hit the road and never look back," Clyde stressed.
"Ciara is the reason why I don't want to do this with you. [See], if I bust out of here, she's gonna come looking for me -- she's not gonna stay away -- [and] what the hell do I possibly have to offer her now, huh? What, a -- a -- a life on the run, until death do us part?" Ben argued. "Call me crazy, but it sounds to me like the stuff of legend. Who knows -- you kids could be the next Bonnie and Clyde," Clyde countered. "I saw that movie, Dad -- Bonnie and Clyde went down in a hail of gunfire," Ben recalled. "Any doubt your gal would take a bullet for you?" Clyde wondered. "I'm not putting Ciara in any more danger," Ben insisted.
"Maybe someday, somehow, we can be together... I'm holding onto that hope, man -- I have to; otherwise, none of this really means anything... She is my reason for wanting to live... But I can't ask her to do this," Ben continued. "Okay, okay -- we'll leave your gal out of it," Clyde conceded. "But it sounds like you're in," Clyde observed. "I don't want to die," Ben admitted, crumbling the piece of paper. "[Then] you'll break outta here with me?" Clyde asked, and Ben nodded in response. "Trust me, son -- it's the right decision. In a few days, you'll be a free man, sittin' down to an all-you-can-eat catfish and chicken-fried steak," Clyde stressed.
Ben responded with another nod then rushed off, feeling hopeful again. As soon as the coast was clear, Clyde used the pay phone to contact Ciara, who assumed that the call was from Ben. "Don't you hang up, girly-girl -- you and I need to have a little chat," Clyde began when Ciara answered the call.
At the makeshift palace, Stefano continued pretending to be Steve while watching Marlena try to pry open a window. While Marlena was preoccupied, Stefano composed a text message for Rolf: "Getting Marlena to accept John's death is proving harder than I thought... Proceed with giving my Queen what she needs to move on from her Pawn to a KING!" After receiving the text message, Rolf quickly sent Stefano a response: "I understand. I will send confirmation as soon as it is done." Stefano smirked while reading Rolf's text message -- then jumped when Marlena turned away from the window and suspiciously observed that Steve was hiding something.
"You said your phone had no reception," Marlena recalled. "Yes... Uh, I was just trying to get another signal, but [still] no luck..." Stefano claimed. "I can tell you're lying to me," Marlena protested. "Yes, I am..." Stefano admitted. "Because I wasn't sure you could handle..." Stefano explained before handing over the cell phone, which was displaying a collection of pictures that had just arrived from Rolf. "I didn't want you to have to remember John that way..." Stefano continued. "Those can't be real," Marlena insisted. "I took them myself," Stefano countered.
"[As] Stefano's goons closed in on [me], I somehow managed to snap those pictures and escape with my life," Stefano explained, adding that it had been necessary to take the gruesome pictures because they could one day serve as evidence of Stefano's crime. "Then...it's true? He really is gone? I -- I'm never...ever going to see him again?" Marlena stammered. "Yes," Stefano confirmed, pleased that Marlena was finally accepting that John was dead. "I'm here for you. I promised John that I would keep you safe, and I intend to honor his dying wish," Stefano reiterated, again failing to notice that Marlena's grief seemed forced.
Stefano promised to help Marlena avenge John's death -- then seized a kiss.
In Prague, Roman and Rafe found John and Steve's hotel -- and learned that neither man had been seen there since shortly after an incident with Tony and Anna.
Roman and Rafe got in touch with Tony and Anna, who rushed over to the hotel together to fill the curious pair in on what had happened.
After learning that John, Marlena, and Hope were in danger, Tony promised to do whatever was necessary to help Roman and Rafe find Stefano and Rolf -- and Anna grudgingly agreed to play along.
"Anna does have a talent [for] rubbing people the wrong way," Roman acknowledged after Tony and Anna left the hotel. "That may be true, but [the behavior Tony and Anna just described] did not sound like the Steve I know, [so]...I'm thinking Hope's not the only person who's not acting [right]," Rafe countered. "Steve was brainwashed to be Stefano's soldier once before..." Roman conceded. "[And] Hope's the one who brought Steve back to Salem, [so] it's entirely possible they're working together," Rafe reasoned.
Meanwhile, at the abandoned building, Gina continued pretending to be Hope while watching John try to pry open a window. While Gina and John were both preoccupied, someone opened the building's door a few inches and slid a tray through the crack then slammed the door shut to draw attention to the tray -- and the sandwiches and bottles of water that were sitting on it.
"Sustenance would help..." Gina reasoned while picking up the tray -- but John swatted it away. "Stefano has tried to kill us on more than one occasion. From my experience at Maison Blanche, there's a damn good chance he's laced that ['sustenance'] with poison," John warned, annoying Gina. "I really don't think that Stefano would poison us [like this, because that] would deny him the sick pleasure of watching us die," Gina argued. "Knowing the old man, he probably is watching," John countered, further annoying Gina -- who quickly grabbed one of the bottles of water, ready to end the debate.
"You shouldn't have done that!" John maintained after Gina took a sip of water. "There's no point in both of us taking a chance...[but at least now], pretty soon, we'll know if this water's okay or not," Gina reasoned.
When nothing happened, John took the other bottle of water, feeling dehydrated. Gina flashed a smirk of triumph as John took several big gulps of water.
A short time later, John started to feel the effects of a hallucinatory drug -- and kissed Gina, seeing Marlena instead.
Marlena surprises Stefano
In prison, Will and Ben talked about Ben's execution. "I just thought you had more time," Will said. "So did I," Ben agreed. Ben noted that he was out of options and that he had decided to accept Clyde's offer to join him on the prison break. Will asked Ben if he had told Ciara about the plan. Ben said no.
"I can't involve her in any of this," Ben said. Ben thanked Will for his help in prison. With a chuckle, Will agreed that their friendship had been unlikely, given their history. When Will commented that it was unfair that Ben had to go on the run to avoid execution for a murder he had not committed, Ben countered that Will was innocent, too.
"Why don't you come with us?" Ben asked. Will declined the offer. "You still thinking you might let Ciara tell the truth about the accident?" Ben asked. Will said he did not want to hurt Maggie. "If I go with you, that's a decision that I can't take back," Will said. Will added that life on the run would mean no family. "I have to stay put for now," Will said. Will wished Ben luck with his escape.
"You deserve to be free," Will said. "You, too," Ben agreed. Will and Ben hugged goodbye. "Break it up," Clyde interrupted. Ben explained that he had told Will about the escape. Clyde was furious. Will stressed that Ben was his friend and that he would not tell anyone about the escape plan. "I got his back," Will said. Clyde shook his head in dismay.
Clyde and Ben went to the recreation yard together. When the guard walked away, an anxious Ben asked if they should run before the guard returned. Clyde informed Ben that he had paid the guard, Tommy, to leave them alone for father-son bonding. "As long as we move before bed check, we'll be okay," Clyde said. Clyde asked Ben to keep a lookout while he cut the wire fence.
Outside Will's cell, a guard announced bed check. In Ben's bunk, the blankets were arranged to mimic a person sleeping. "Here," Will said. The guard asked about Ben. "He's asleep," Will said. Will explained that Ben had been feeling ill and had passed out. The guard looked at Ben's bunk with suspicion. Curious, the guard entered the cell to check. Will warned the guard to steer clear in case Ben had a contagious bug. The guard was undeterred, and he poked at the blanket. The guard radioed in to the tower to announce there was an escape in progress.
In Prague, Rafe called Shawn to update him on the search for Gina and Stefano. As Rafe turned to leave the restaurant, he ran into Kate. "What are you doing here?" Rafe asked. "I wanted to join the hunt for Stefano," Kate explained. Rafe said that he was in town to track down Princess Gina.
Rafe and Kate sat at a table, and Rafe told Kate everything he knew about Gina. Kate asked why Gina was in Prague. Rafe explained his working theory that Gina was in town with John and a kidnapped Marlena. "Hope is not the only person who was infested with a new host," Rafe said. Rafe shared his fear that Steve had been brainwashed, and he told Kate about Steve's confrontation with Anna and Tony.
Kate argued that Steve had been rough around the edges before Kayla and that his temper was not strange in and of itself. "He's a good man," Rafe objected. "In my run-ins with him, he has always been kind of a jerk," Kate countered. Rafe argued that Rolf had brainwashed Steve, and Kate admitted that the idea was possible. When Rafe argued that John and Marlena were in danger, Kate sighed with resignation.
"I can tell you who Steve is," Kate said. Surprised, Rafe pressed Kate for answers. "[Steve] is not Stefano's mercenary. Steve is Stefano DiMera," Kate said. Shocked, Rafe asked Kate for details. Kate told Rafe that Stefano and Gina had been working together. Rafe was angry that Kate had not told him sooner, but Kate countered that she wanted to fix things.
In a warehouse in Prague, a drugged John imagined that Gina was Marlena. Gina encouraged John's delusion and asked him to make love to her. "Take me. Right here. Right now," Gina whispered. Gina and John kissed passionately, but John realized that Gina was not Marlena. "What the hell?" John muttered. John asked what had happened to his wife.
"She's gone. Stefano shot her. Do you not remember?" Gina asked. Gina said that John had kissed her. "You and I belong together, John," Gina said. "No. You're wrong. The only woman that I'm meant to be with is Marlena," John said. John commented on his disorientation, and Gina explained that she had drugged John to keep him calm. Gina reminded John of their evenings together when Marlena had been out of town.
"We're just friends," John stressed. "We're so much more than that," Gina argued. Gina reminded John of the last time they had been trapped together and "made love." Confused, John said he had never slept with Hope. Gina reminded John of the submarine. "You're not Hope," John whispered. Gina cried tears of joy.
"I have never stopped loving you. Not ever," Gina said. John asked what Gina had done with Hope. "She's in here somewhere, but I have complete control of her body and her thoughts," Gina explained. John winced. "You took over her body?" John asked. Gina nodded. Gina informed John that Rolf had "given us another chance at love." Gina pleaded with John to be with her.
"You drugged me! I don't love you!" John yelled as he fought against the disorientation of the drugs. John yelled that the only way he would ever be with Gina is if his brain had been wiped clear of all memory. "You don't mean that!" Gina shouted. John said he only loved Marlena. "She is gone! And I am happy that I am the one who made that happen," Gina confessed. John swore to make Gina pay.
As John walked to the door, Gina blocked it. Gina warned John that the drugs in his system had not fully "kicked in yet." Gina urged John to surrender to her. "I told you, fool. I'm never gonna be with you," John said. "You have no idea how much that hurts me, because I am certain that we belong together. I can feel it in my soul, John," Gina said. John laughed.
At the Salem Inn, Kristen was surprised to find Abigail and Chad in her room. As Kristen narrowed her eyes, Chad threw back the sheet from the Steve painting. Abigail asked Kristen if she had seen the painting before. Kristen noted that she had never seen the painting. Chad pointed out the ring in the painting. When Chad asked if the painting looked like any other paintings, Kristen shrugged.
"I guess it looks like father's [painting]," Kristen said. "It looks exactly like father's," Chad said. When Kristen asked why anyone would paint a portrait to look like Stefano, Chad smiled. Chad asked Kristen if Stefano had looked like Steve when she had talked to him face to face. Kristen played coy, and Chad and Abigail reminded her of the hints that Kristen had dropped about Stefano being a new man.
Kristen lied and said that Stefano still looked like Stefano and not Steve. "So, how come you said you didn't recognize him?" Abigail asked. "A lot of time has gone by, and people tend to be different than our memories in real life," Kristen explained. Kristen asked Chad why Stefano would want to look like Steve. Abigail scoffed. Abigail reminded Kristen that Kristen had walked around town, disguised as Nicole.
"It would take a lot more than a mask to turn Stefano into Steve Johnson. You see, Nicole and I were roughly the same body type, and Steve and Stefano, not so much," Kristen argued. Chad suggested that Stefano had taken over Steve's body. "If I knew something, I would tell you," Kristen said. Chad disagreed. Chad urged Kristen to come clean.
Kristen encouraged Chad to search her room. When Chad declined, Kristen said that Stefano had not shared his plans with her. "We're not gonna stop until we figure out what [Stefano's plans are]," Chad said. "Good luck. You're wasting your time," Kristen said. Chad noted that the painting was a gift, and he left with Abigail.
"What are you looking at?" Kristen asked the painting. Kristen apologized to the painting of her father. "I did my best to protect you, but Chad is onto you. And he may not be the only one," Kristen said.
In Stefano's loft, "Steve" promised Marlena that they would seek justice, and he promised to be there for her. "Steve" grabbed Marlena and kissed her. Marlena batted at "Steve" and pushed him away. "What are you doing?" Marlena yelled. "Steve" lied and said that he had only wanted to comfort Marlena.
"I know we're both hurting, but kissing, it's just not the answer," Marlena said. "We are friends, Steve, but it's never going to be more than that," Marlena added. "Even just to get each other through this terrible tragedy?" "Steve" asked. Marlena argued that Steve was too closely connected to Kayla for her comfort. Marlena added that she had not stopped loving her husband.
"I know my old friend [John], he would want someone to take care of his beautiful wife. He wouldn't want you to suffer alone," "Steve" said. "Perhaps anybody but Steve Johnson," Marlena countered. "Steve" stared silently at the ground for a moment. "What if I told you I wasn't Steve Johnson?" "Steve" asked. Marlena asked "Steve" what he meant.
"Steve" removed the eyepatch, and he said that he was a new man. "Your eye is fixed," Marlena commented. "Steve" explained that Rolf had fixed his eye. When Marlena asked "Steve" why he had not told everyone about his eye sooner, "Steve" explained that he had needed to play a part.
"Up until now, you and everyone else in Salem thought I was Steve Johnson. Now that you know the truth, I no longer need to pretend to be that clown," "Steve" said. "Steve" threw the patch onto the table. "Steve" revealed that his body was a vessel for Stefano. When Stefano slipped his ring onto his pinky, Marlena gasped.
"It is so good to be back!" Stefano exclaimed. Marlena asked how it was possible for Stefano to be alive. "Though my passion for life has never wavered, my body was breaking down," Stefano explained. Stefano told Marlena that Rolf had found a way to preserve his consciousness. Marlena asked Stefano why he had thrown away his second chance at life by committing new crimes. With a shrug, Stefano said he was never satisfied with the idea of living as Steve, a law-abiding citizen.
"I could never leave this earth without possessing the one thing that I have desired since I set foot in Salem all those years ago. You, Marlena. My Queen of the Night," Stefano said. Marlena noted that Stefano was not thinking clearly if he believed he could possess her.
"There is no way on God's green earth that I would ever be with you. Doesn't matter how you look, I still hate you," Marlena said. "We both know that there is a thin line between love and hate," Stefano countered. "Not so thin for me," Marlena stressed. Stefano cozied up close to Marlena and whispered that he knew there was a part of her that was drawn to him.
"I think that you like being desired and cherished, and I think you might have given in to me if you had not been so loyal to my pawn," Stefano said. "He may have been a pawn to you, but to me, he is a knight in shining armor," Marlena said. With a grin, Stefano reminded Marlena that John was dead. Stefano urged Marlena to let down her guard and give him a chance.
"Surely you have wondered what it would be like to be with someone who embraces freedom, to do what makes you feel good and not worry about the consequences," Stefano asked. Stefano leaned in close behind Marlena and whispered, "Don't you want a taste of what it is like to be with a DiMera?" Stefano argued that he and Marlena could live a life of luxury together.
"I want you, and I know you want me. Just give in. Let go," Stefano whispered as he kissed Marlena's neck. Marlena grabbed Stefano and kissed him passionately. "I have dreamt about this moment for so long!" Stefano said between kisses. Marlena ripped off Stefano's shirt. After a moment, Marlena pushed Stefano away. "I can't do this!" Marlena said. Marlena explained that she could not hurt Roman, "the man of my dreams."
"It's always been Roman," "Marlena" said. "You're not Marlena, are you?" Stefano shouted as he realized that the woman before him was Hattie. In the warehouse in Prague, Gina warned John that she would kill him if he did not give in to her. John stumbled toward the door, and Gina pulled out a dagger.
"If I cannot have you, then I cannot let you live," Gina grumbled. As Gina lunged for John, the door opened. It was Marlena. "Step away from him, you bitch!" Marlena shouted.