John admitted that it was surprising to see Justin at the hospital, of all places, when Ben's execution was scheduled to begin shortly.
"I would be [with Ben], but I have an emergency to deal with," Justin explained before telling John about Kayla's kidnapping -- and Stefano's ransom demands.
John guessed, before Justin could finish the tale, that Marlena was one of Stefano's ransom demands. "Let me be clear -- I am not suggesting that we trade Marlena for Kayla --" Justin began to explain. "No -- I never thought you would," John stressed. "We just have to make Stefano believe that I'm cooperating until we can rescue Kayla," Justin elaborated. "Trust me, I get it -- I have dealt with this bastard in one 'form' or another for decades," John replied. "I lost Adrienne -- I can't lose Kayla, [too]," Justin fretted. "Not gonna happen -- I got a plan," John assured Justin.
At the storage shed, Stefano watched as Rolf secured Kayla to a chair once again. "You almost lost us our only bargaining chip!" Stefano snapped. "Yes -- I don't know what I was thinking, letting my guard down like that... Dr. Johnson led me to believe that, uh, we shared a bond of medical and scientific expertise --" Rolf explained. "Except for [the fact that] I'm a real doctor, and you're a psychopathic madman!" Kayla stressed. "Do not disparage Dr. Rolf's skills -- I am proof positive of what he is capable of," Stefano argued. "One monstrosity created by another," Kayla countered.
"Why are you doing this? Justin gave you your money --" Kayla protested. "Money was never what this was about. I came back to Salem for something far more important," Stefano clarified. "Marlena," Kayla guessed. "You are crazy! After everything that you have done to her, do you honestly think that you have a shot with her? She is never going to love you! She loves John, and she always will! [And] you are delusional to think that Justin would ever trade her for me! [He] would never sacrifice her that way!" Kayla stressed. "Wouldn't he?" Stefano countered.
"He loves you, and I love Marlena -- it seems a fair trade to me. [And] Victor Kiriakis is as ruthless as they come -- he would stop at nothing to protect the people he loves -- [so] perhaps some of that ruthlessness flows in his nephew's veins, as well," Stefano reasoned. "Justin is nothing like Victor," Kayla insisted. "Hmm. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the notion. I'm counting on it -- and so should you, if you ever want to see him again," Stefano warned. "Justin could serve Marlena up on a silver platter, and she still wouldn't love you," Kayla maintained.
"Unless, of course, you got ol' Rolfie over there to give her a complete and total personality transplant, like he did with you, and then...well, maybe then you'd have a chance," Kayla continued. "Why am I talking to you? I don't care what you think! I will have Marlena -- and God help anyone who stands in my way!" Stefano declared. "With all due respect, sir...perhaps Dr. Johnson raises a valid point," Rolf interjected. "[After all], I was able to transform Hope into a princess -- why not transform Marlena into a queen?" Rolf suggested, intriguing Stefano and horrifying Kayla.
"I want Marlena to choose me of her own free will," Stefano decided after some thought. "Free will is a very gray area," Rolf argued. "Not in this case. I don't want to be with some robot impersonating Marlena -- I want her," Stefano maintained. "Is that supposed to be romantic?" Kayla interjected.
"I appreciate your desire to connect with the genuine Marlena, sir -- and I would never assume anything less -- [but]...given how strongly she has resisted you in the past, I would just suggest that there are different ways to...coax things along. [Look], I wouldn't have to turn her into a different person -- she would still be Dr. Marlena Evans; [she'd just be] a bit more receptive to your advances [and] a little more, um, susceptible to your considerable charms," Rolf clarified. "This is total madness! You guys are insane!" Kayla protested as Stefano considered Rolf's idea again.
At the Brady Pub, Hattie tried to assure Roman that Steve would never hurt Kayla, but Roman fretted that, for all intents and purposes, Kayla was at the mercy of Stefano, not Steve -- and Stefano had never had any concern for Kayla's well-being. Roman appreciated Hattie's attempt to provide comfort, though, as well as the extra help around the pub that Hattie had provided since Kayla had gone missing.
Roman surprised Hattie with a kiss on the cheek as a token of gratitude. "That makes two -- twice that you've done that...[but you said before] that there was, you know, no -- no future for us, [so...do those kisses mean] you've changed your mind?" Hattie asked after recovering from the shock. "[Those kisses were] just a show of appreciation," Roman replied. "Oh? Oh..." Hattie grumbled.
As Hattie tried to argue that the kisses might have meant more than Roman realized, John and Justin entered the pub and interrupted the conversation to ask for help.
"You want Hattie to pretend to be Marlena again?" Roman incredulously summarized after John and Justin finished explaining everything. "It was pretty hairy last time I did it...[but] if you need my help, I'm in," Hattie quickly agreed. "Look, I'm worried sick about my sister, but this doesn't feel right," Roman protested, delighting Hattie, who remained determined to help.
Justin soon received a phone call from Stefano, who was using Kayla's cell phone. Hattie, pretending to be Marlena, agreed to surrender to Stefano in exchange for Kayla.
At Statesville, Marlena joined the warden -- a man named Floyd -- on the observer's side of the execution chamber. "Looks like you're the only witness -- even his lawyer didn't show," Floyd reported, surprising Marlena.
Ben soon appeared on the inmate's side of the execution chamber, along with a guard and a doctor. Ben gulped while eyeing a trio of lethal injection drugs then turned to face Marlena through a window that separated the two sides of the execution chamber. "Uh...may I talk to him?" Marlena asked Floyd, who nodded and gestured toward a wall-mounted intercom panel near the window.
"I'm right here. I want you to stay strong. I'm here for you," Marlena said to Ben. "So am I," Will, who had just entered the observer's side of the execution chamber, said while joining Marlena at the intercom panel.
Ben gave Marlena and Will a nod of gratitude -- then numbly yielded to the guard and the doctor, who began working together to get Ben secured to a hydraulic gurney and connected to an I.V. line.
Marlena turned away from the window and hugged Will tightly. "I'm so, so happy to see you -- and I'm so relieved that you're free!" Marlena raved after pulling away from Will. "Me, too," Will replied. "And I'm very touched that you would be here for Ben," Marlena continued. "Well, I -- I did not expect to become friends with the man who...'killed' me...but, um...being Ben's cellmate really made prison...almost bearable," Will admitted with a shrug. "I'm glad you were able to help each other through it," Marlena said with a smile. "Yeah...and now I'm gonna be here for him...one last time," Will concluded with a sigh.
The guard soon moved the hydraulic gurney from a horizontal position to a vertical position, allowing Ben to look through the window again. Ben began trembling uncontrollably and breathing heavily as the doctor prepared to start the lethal injection procedure -- just as Ciara entered the observer's side of the execution chamber.
"Stop! You can't go through with this, okay? Ben is innocent!" Ciara breathlessly informed Floyd, who tiredly called for a second guard to remove Ciara from the execution chamber. "Listen to me!" Ciara begged, dodging the second guard. "They have evidence -- they have DNA evidence that puts the real killer at the scene of the crime!" Ciara explained, surprising Marlena and Will.
Ben, who hadn't been able to hear any of the things that had just been said, watched with obvious confusion as Ciara approached the intercom panel. "I found David's father!" Ciara began, drawing a sigh of relief from Ben.
"You've gotta hear her out!" Marlena urged Floyd, prompting Ciara to turn away from the window to explain everything, leaving Ben once again unable to hear the conversation. "Ben did not kill Jordan Ridgeway -- a man named Christian Maddox did. He's the father of Jordan's baby. The cops thought that the DNA evidence they found at the scene of the crime belonged to David, [but] they were wrong -- it belonged to his father. [And when] we searched through the database -- the criminal database -- [earlier], the evidence was a perfect match to Maddox, [who has] been living under the assumed name 'Evan Frears,'" Ciara elaborated.
"[He's] David's nanny -- [and] the guy that Sonny has been seeing!" Will summarized, stunned. "Right -- [but] he's not [just] David's nanny; he's David's father," Ciara reiterated before revealing that Evan had fled with David when the truth had started to emerge. "What if Evan hurts [David]?" Will fretted. "No -- uh, if [Evan is David's father], I don't think he will," Marlena predicted. "I know exactly where Evan is -- I just saw him...with Sonny!" Will suddenly remembered. "[But] he didn't have David with him, [and] I'm positive [about that because] I walked by his car on the way out, and there was no child in it," Will continued.
Will tried to contact Sonny, but the call went to voicemail. "I have had enough," Floyd tiredly declared. "[This] convoluted story sounds like another desperate attempt just to try to stall this execution. [And] the only way this stops is [with] a stay from the governor, [so] we're moving forward," Floyd insisted. Ciara and Marlena both tried to change Floyd's mind as Will again tried to contact Sonny, getting worried. "Sonny's not answering," Will fretted after the second call went to voicemail. Knowing that Will was desperate to check on Sonny, Marlena urged Ciara to tag along, promising to stay with Ben and continue trying to stall the execution.
Ciara approached the intercom panel again and filled Ben in on where things stood then rushed off with Will.
After realizing that Floyd wasn't going to budge, Marlena contacted Abe, who agreed to let the governor know about the new development. Still undeterred, Floyd instructed the doctor to start the lethal injection procedure. "[The first step is to] flush a saline solution through [the I.V.] to make sure [the line is] not blocked. [The next step is to administer the trio of lethal injection drugs] -- the initial injection is a barbiturate that acts as an anesthetic, so you will not feel what's happening; the second is a muscle relaxant that will diminish your breathing; and, finally, the third injection stops your heart," the doctor explained as Ben listened numbly.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny nervously eyed Evan's cocked gun. "Please don't point that at me -- put [it] down!" Sonny begged. "Look, you -- you don't need to be scared of me," Evan insisted, lowering the gun but leaving it cocked. "I would never hurt you, Sonny; I -- I just -- I needed to get your attention," Evan explained. "Okay, well...you have my attention," Sonny replied.
"[Look], there was an attraction between us...and maybe, if things were different between me and Will, [you and I] could have a real shot, but Will is the love of my life -- he's my husband -- and we are getting back together. Now, I know that's hard for you to hear --" Sonny continued. "That's -- this isn't about you breaking up with me! I am in trouble, Sonny -- and I need your help!" Evan clarified. "What happened?" Sonny wondered. "Rafe fired me," Evan revealed with a sigh while sitting down on the desktop. "Because he found out you have a gun?" Sonny assumed. "It has nothing to do with the gun," Evan insisted.
"It's about David..." Evan began to clarify. "They found something in my background check... I did my best to hide it from Rafe, but...when he discovered what it was, he let me go..." Evan continued. "What did he find?" Sonny wondered with a hint of concern while glancing down at Evan's cocked gun. "He learned that I changed my name," Evan elaborated, stunning Sonny. "Look, I changed my name because I -- I couldn't let Rafe know who I really was," Evan explained. "Who you really are?" Sonny repeated, still confused. "I'm David's father," Evan admitted, stunning Sonny again.
"I know how much you love David --" Sonny began to reason as Evan rose from the desktop and started pacing around the living room. "More than anything in the world!" Evan stressed. "And, as a caregiver, you've spent just as much time with him as anyone. [You know], my friend Lani used to take care of David when Rafe was looking after Jordan in the hospital, and she fell in love with David, too --" Sonny continued. "It's not the same thing!" Evan insisted, stopping near the bar and turning to face Sonny. "Evan, you may love David like a son, but --" Sonny tried to argue. "You're not listening to me!" Evan tiredly snapped, silencing Sonny.
"I'm not saying David is like a son to me! He's my flesh and blood!" Evan clarified, stunning Sonny yet again. "Jordan and I had a child together. David is my son," Evan explained. "So...wait, you -- you slept with Jordan?" Sonny incredulously summarized. "Remember when I told you I was in a relationship out west that ended badly?" Evan shakily wondered while starting to pace the floor again, this time staying in front of Sonny instead of using the whole length of the living room. "I -- I just assumed that you were talking about a man..." Sonny admitted. "[And] it was easier just to let you think that," Evan reasoned.
"Easier than telling me that David is your son?" Sonny summarized, still confused. "Look, I've been with both men and women. I was attracted to Jordan from the moment that we met -- [I mean], she was beautiful, [and] there was something really...offbeat...about her that I just really fell for --" Evan began to explain. "'Offbeat'? Is that a euphemism for 'clinically insane'? You do know she almost killed Ciara and Ben, [right]?" Sonny countered. "Look, I know that she wasn't the most stable person, but it wasn't until the end that I -- I finally realized what a psycho she truly was," Evan stressed, rooting in place at a new spot.
"What did you do?" Sonny wondered with another hint of concern while again glancing down at Evan's cocked gun. "I didn't 'do' anything, okay? We broke up, she moved away... I -- I didn't even know she was pregnant at the time -- she never told me. [And then, one day], I saw pictures on her social media, and she was -- she was beaming, holding this little baby... It -- it wasn't hard to do the math," Evan explained. "So, then...what, you just tracked her down here to Salem?" Sonny assumed. "Yes -- and I found out she was living with Rafe," Evan confirmed.
"Why not just announce yourself? Why -- why would you create a -- a fake name and then take a -- a position as a nanny?" Sonny argued. "I didn't have any choice! No court was gonna let me have my son!" Evan insisted. "Why not?" Sonny wondered. "Because I have a criminal record!" Evan admitted. "What? W-w-w-w-what crimes did you commit?" Sonny replied while glancing down at Evan's cocked gun yet again, growing more concerned. "It doesn't matter, Sonny! All that matters is that I did what I had to do to -- to be close to my son!" Evan stressed.
"[And] it was heaven -- to be with him every day, to care for him, to see how much he relied on me..." Evan continued. "But it was -- it was all a lie..." Sonny argued. "Yeah, but our relationship is real!" Evan countered. "[And] I didn't think it could get any better...until I met you, and I saw what a perfect family we could become -- you, me, David, and Ari..." Evan admitted with a wistful sigh. "But now everything's falling apart, and that's -- that's why I -- I need your help! I -- I just -- I just need enough money to leave Salem with my son --" Evan began to request.
"Wait -- where's David?" Sonny suddenly realized while glancing down at Evan's cocked gun one more time, showing a new type of concern. "David is safe," Evan replied. "What does that mean? Where is he?" Sonny wondered. "I can't tell you that -- not right now!" Evan insisted. "But you believe me, don't you?" Evan continued, eyeing Sonny hopefully. "I believe that David is your son," Sonny carefully answered. "And you understand why I lied?" Evan assumed. "I understand why you pretended to be his nanny," Sonny responded.
"But you -- you can't leave town with David; you need to go find Rafe, and you need to explain yourself to him and the authorities --" Sonny advised. "They'll never understand! I won't lose my son again!" Evan countered. "Please -- I need your help, okay? Just enough money for a fresh start -- I mean, you have plenty to spare!" Evan continued, gesturing broadly to the mansion's opulent furnishings.
"Is that what this was about -- my money?" Sonny snapped. "No!" Evan insisted. "And I hate asking you, because I really care about you!" Evan stressed. "I just thought... I -- I hoped..." Evan tried to explain, stammering awkwardly. "You'd care enough about me now to help me," Evan eventually managed to conclude with a shrug and a sigh.
"Evan --" Sonny began to respond -- just as Will and Ciara burst into the mansion. "He's got a gun!" Sonny warned as Will and Ciara entered the living room. "Get away from me!" Evan demanded, turning away from Sonny and aiming the cocked gun at Will and Ciara. "Evan, don't!" Sonny begged. "His name isn't Evan Frears -- his real name is Christian Maddox, and he's David's father!" Ciara revealed. "I know. He just -- he just told me. I know that he was with Jordan before he came to Salem. I know," Sonny reported. "He wasn't just 'with' Jordan, okay? He killed her!" Ciara clarified, stunning Sonny.
"He killed Jordan, and he let Ben take the fall -- isn't that right, Christian?" Ciara continued, glaring at Evan. "Is this true?" Sonny demanded to know while stepping in front of Evan. "Don't listen to her!" Evan begged Sonny. "[It's] indisputable," Ciara insisted before telling Sonny about the DNA evidence from Jordan's body that had originally been misattributed to David.
"She's right, Sonny -- he's a murderer," Will summarized after Ciara finished explaining everything. "Evan?" Sonny began, stunned. "Don't look at me like that!" Evan protested, hurt. "All I ever wanted to do was protect David! [Look], Jordan was crazy -- you all knew that!" Evan explained. "We all know what you did," Will stressed.
"Then you know what I'm capable of," Evan countered with a scowl, shoving past Sonny to aim the cocked gun directly at Will.
Meanwhile, at Statesville, the doctor finished clearing Ben's I.V. line and prepared to administer the first of the three lethal injection drugs -- just as Floyd received a phone call from the governor.
"The governor spoke to Mayor Carver, who made a very impassioned plea on behalf of Mr. Weston," Floyd began to explain after ending the call, drawing sighs of relief from Ben and Marlena. "But...without proof of new evidence, the governor has decided to not stay the execution. We'll move forward as planned," Floyd elaborated before instructing the doctor to proceed, drawing helpless objections from Ben and Marlena.
Ben's execution begins
In the town square, Kristen apologized to Brady for lying to him about Stefano. Brady said he understood. "I still feel this loyalty to him, this need to protect him," Kristen admitted. Brady suggested that he and Kristen agree not to lie to one another anymore. Kristen agreed.
Kristen changed the conversation to Mackenzie, and she noted how happy she was to know that Eric and Sarah's baby would survive her illness. As Brady and Kristen walked through the square, they ran into Kristen's doctor, Dr. Raynor. Kristen thanked Dr. Raynor for the condolence card she had sent Kristen. Dr. Raynor thought about the night Xander had bribed her to pretend that Kristen's daughter Rachel had died.
"A card was the least I could do," Dr. Raynor said as she shifted her eyes away. Brady sensed the awkwardness, and he assured Dr. Raynor that he and Kristen did not blame her for their daughter's death. Brady told Dr. Raynor that he and Kristen were grateful that Dr. Raynor had given them a few moments with their daughter before her death. Dr. Raynor thought about Xander's bribe to leave town. Dr. Raynor excused herself and ran off.
Kristen asked Brady if he had noticed how uncomfortable Dr. Raynor had been with them. Brady reasoned aloud that Dr. Raynor was accustomed to dealing with healthy children and that she might not have been comfortable talking to Kristen and Brady about their loss. With a sigh, Kristen told Brady that she only felt safe in his arms.
"Then I'm never going to let you go," Brady said as he hugged Kristen tight. Kristen admitted that she was anxious to hear from Eric about Mackenzie. Brady said he was going to check on Eric at the hospital. Kristen asked Brady if she could join him. Kristen explained that because Marckenzie had been born the same night as Rachel, Kristen felt drawn to Mackenzie. Kristen said she wanted to support Eric and Sarah.
At the hospital, Sarah informed Eric, Nicole, and Xander that Mackenzie was ready for the procedure. Frustrated, Sarah complained that Gabi was late for the procedure. "Why did we trust [Gabi]? What if she really did flee the country?" Sarah asked. Gabi walked in. With narrowed eyes, Gabi explained that she was late because of traffic. Nicole made a comment about Gabi's extortion plot to use Mackenzie as a bargaining chip. Nicole argued that Gabi was heartless.
"I know I don't have one. It was ripped out of me when my husband's heart was given to Julie Williams. Anybody want an organ? Some tissue? A pound of flesh?" Gabi asked. Sarah offered to escort Gabi to her room. Gabi scowled at Nicole as she followed Sarah down the hallway.
Once Gabi was settled in her room, she complained to Sarah about the side effects of the procedure. Sarah reminded Gabi that the best side effect was that the procedure would keep Gabi out of prison. When Sarah mentioned the low risk for complications, Gabi muttered that she would call her lawyer if there were any complications.
As Gabi complained about her low pain tolerance and the reputation of the hospital, Sarah lost her temper. Sarah argued that Julie had to have a high pain tolerance to have survived the multiple shocks that Gabi had given her heart. As Sarah continued to yell at Gabi, Eric walked in. Sarah fell silent.
"Just because I'm getting something out of it, doesn't mean I don't want to help [Mackenzie]," Gabi said. Sarah apologized and told Gabi that she was grateful for her donation. Eric noted that he and Sarah were on edge because they had been up all night with their daughter.
"And your mom being a hit-and-run killer," Gabi added. Sarah was livid. Gabi reminded Sarah that Maggie's actions had confined Arianna's father to prison for a crime he had not committed. Eric asked Gabi to look at the situation as a fresh start, and Gabi agreed. Dr. Raynor walked in. Sarah and Eric thanked Gabi again for her help, and they left. When Gabi asked if the procedure would hurt, Dr. Raynor pulled out a large needle and noted that there would be discomfort.
After the extraction, Gabi was alone in her hospital room when Brady and Kristen walked in. Brady explained that he was there to see Eric. Gabi muttered that no one would return to the room, since Eric and Sarah had what they wanted. Gabi complained that she was in pain. With narrowed eyes, Kristen accused Gabi of milking the situation. Kristen added, "You deserve to suffer a little. You're not a selfless martyr."
With a scoff, Gabi pointed out that Kristen had done the same thing the last time Kristen had faced prison time. Kristen countered that she was a changed person. Gabi asked Brady if he believed Kristen. With a nod, Brady said he had seen firsthand that Kristen was a better person. Kristen warned Gabi to appeal to God and change her ways. Gabi countered that she had prayed to God her whole life. "Where was God when I was sent to prison for a crime I didn't commit? Where was God when your baby died?" Gabi asked. Kristen gritted her teeth.
In the waiting area outside Mackenzie's room, Xander grumbled to Nicole about Gabi. "You definitely know a thing or two about extortion, don't you?" Nicole joked. Nicole questioned Xander about why he had pushed to test Theresa and Tate. Xander insisted he had wanted everyone to get tested for Mackenzie's sake. Nicole argued that Xander had been insistent, but Xander rolled his eyes and argued that he had been worried about "my daughter."
"Not your daughter," Nicole corrected. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Xander asked defensively. Nicole argued that it upset Eric to hear Xander say he was Mackenzie's father. Xander argued that there was more to being a father than biology.
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm very much that little girl's father," Xander said. Eric and Sarah exited Mackenzie's room and overheard Xander. Xander started to apologize, but Eric said he understood. "We all love Mackenzie, and we all want what's best for her," Eric said. Sarah informed Xander and Nicole that the doctors were starting the procedure on Mackenzie. While Nicole left to pick up food, Eric and Sarah went to the nurses' station to fill out forms. Xander stood outside Mackenzie's door and prayed to God to save her.
Across the waiting area, Xander spotted Dr. Raynor. Panicked, Xander rushed over to Dr. Raynor and asked her why she had not left town. Dr. Raynor explained that she had patients to look after. With a furrowed brow, Dr. Raynor admitted that she had run into Mackenzie's real parents in the square and that she was having second thoughts about keeping Xander's secret. Nicole returned with food and overheard Dr. Raynor's comment.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Ciara and Will told Sonny that evidence that Evan had murdered Jordan was indisputable. At first, Evan denied the accusation, but then he relented. "Jordan was crazy -- you all knew that. All I ever wanted to do was protect David!" Evan yelled as his shaky hand continued to point the gun at Sonny, Will, and Ciara. Will argued that the police knew about Evan's part in Jordan's murder and that he would not escape justice.
"I was trying to make it right, start a new life, but I need money to do that," Evan yelled. Sonny offered to get money from the safe. Worried, Ciara argued that if they let Evan go, it would doom Ben. Ciara asked Evan how he could let an innocent man die for Evan's crimes. Ciara begged Evan to confess to the police. As Evan grew more agitated, Sonny pleaded with Ciara not to antagonize Evan further.
"Do the right thing. Admit what you did. Save a man's life," Will said. "Shut up before I blow you away!" Evan screamed at Will. Evan blamed Will for destroying his chance at happiness with Sonny. Will asked about David. Evan assured Will that David was safe. When Evan was distracted, Will tackled him to the ground. The gun fired. Ciara grabbed the gun off of the ground and pointed it at Evan.
"Take one step, and it will be your last!" Ciara shouted. Sonny checked on Will, and Will confirmed that the bullet had missed him. Ciara pointed to a bullet hole in the wall. Worried about the hit Will had taken to the head, Sonny said he wanted to take Will to the hospital. Ciara ordered Evan to go with her to the prison. Sonny offered to drive, but Ciara ordered Sonny to stay with Will. Ciara ordered Evan to drive her to the prison to stop Ben's execution.
After Ciara and Evan left, Sonny fussed over Will. Will insisted that they talk to the police before they go to the hospital. As Sonny worried aloud, Will assured his husband that he would not lose him. Sonny blamed himself for getting involved with Evan, but Will told Sonny it was not his fault. "I take it back. I have excellent taste in men," Sonny said as he smiled at Will.
At the prison, the governor called the warden. The governor refused to grant a stay of execution for Ben because "there was no proof of new evidence." Marlena pleaded with the warden to consider the new evidence, but the warden refused. "I'm sorry," Marlena mouthed to Ben through the window. As the doctor administered the first injection, Ben struggled to stay awake. Ben imagined that Ciara was in the room with him and urging him to fight.
In the next room, Marlena begged the warden to postpone the execution to the next day, but he refused. "[Ben] is hardly innocent. He's already killed," the warden said. The warden warned Marlena to be quiet, or he would have an officer throw her out. On the other side of the glass, Ben thought about the first time he had seen Ciara when she had crashed her bike near his cabin.
"It's my turn to save you," the vision of Ciara told Ben. Ben thought about the first time he had kissed Ciara. The vision of Ciara disappeared, and Ben called out frantically for her. Ben then thought about when he had told Ciara that he was no good for her after Jordan had attacked Ciara. Across the room, Marlena called Abe to update him on the situation with the execution.
As the doctor administered the second injection into Ben to paralyze him, Ben thought about when Ciara had washed his feet at the hospital. "I can't move," Ben said. Marlena urged Ben to keep breathing. Ben thought about various moments from his relationship with Ciara, including the first time they had made love.
The prison alarm blared. The warden told Marlena that there was a security breach. Ciara burst into the room with a gun pointed at Evan's head. "Stop the execution!" Ciara yelled.
Evan reveals what really happened to Jordan
At the hospital, Nicole curiously observed that there was some obvious tension between Xander and Raynor. "Did he try to lock you in a cage?" Nicole asked Raynor, who didn't understand the question.
"She's one of Mackenzie's doctors. I was just telling her this procedure better work," Xander claimed. "Threatening a woman -- that is so...you," Nicole mused with obvious disapproval. "If you'll excuse me..." Raynor awkwardly interjected before rushing off. "Damn it, Nicole -- why don't you just mind your own business for once?" Xander grumbled before storming off.
Meanwhile, Kristen wandered into an otherwise unoccupied break room while thinking about what Gabi had said earlier. "Gabi's right -- I am no saint..." Kristen conceded with a sigh before taking a look around the break room -- and gasping in shock at the sight of Haley's memorial plaque. "I...I am so sorry for what I did to you, Haley... If I could change things...if I could change things, I would, but I can't... When you told me...when you told me that my baby was dead, I just -- I just lost my mind...and I...I am so sorry -- I am...so, so sorry..." Kristen stressed before collapsing onto a couch and breaking down.
Raynor eventually entered the break room -- and froze in shock at the sight of Kristen. "I wanted to see how Mackenzie Horton was doing," Kristen explained to Raynor while wiping away tears. "She means the world to me, [because] she was born on the same night my baby girl was, and I just...I want to watch her grow up, and I...I want her to live a long and happy life with her mother and father..." Kristen continued as Raynor squirmed. "You know, what could have been..." Kristen concluded with a wistful sigh before starting to rush off, realizing that Raynor was uncomfortable. "Please -- hold on," Raynor called out, stopping Kristen, who was crying again.
"There's something you should know -- about Mackenzie..." Raynor began -- but Nicole entered the break room just then. "Sorry -- I was just gonna wait in here for Eric..." Nicole explained. "It's okay -- Dr. Raynor was just...was going to tell me, um...something about Mackenzie," Kristen replied. "I was just going to say that, uh...there's...every reason to be optimistic..." Raynor claimed. "Maybe you should -- you should tell her parents that..." Kristen suggested before rushing off in tears. Raynor started to follow Kristen out of the break room, but Nicole objected, wanting to talk about what had happened with Xander earlier.
"I know [that] guy better than most [do] -- he's an animal, and if he's been giving you a hard time, I'd be more than happy to deal with him for you," Nicole offered. "He wasn't," Raynor claimed. "Well, what was the secret you were talking about?" Nicole wondered. "I was explaining confidentiality to him -- as he's not related to Mickey, I can't discuss her prognosis with him," Raynor claimed. "But you didn't say 'confidentiality'; you said secret," Nicole noted. "He wanted me to keep it a secret from her parents that he was talking to me, and I told him I wasn't comfortable with that," Raynor claimed before rushing off. "I don't buy it..." Nicole mused.
A short time later, Nicole found Kristen in another one of the break rooms. "So...that doctor you were talking to before...[I mean], you know her, right?" Nicole asked. "Yeah, of course -- she was my baby's doctor...[and] was with her when she died," Kristen replied, surprising Nicole. Kristen, who was still quite emotional, soon rushed off to freshen up, leaving Nicole alone to ponder the implications of everything that had just happened.
At Julie's Place, Victor observed, between bites of food, that Maggie hadn't started eating yet. "Is your salad all right? Should we send it back?" Victor asked. "Hmm. That's right -- let's just send back the food, and [then] everything will be fine, [because it's not like] I should be behind bars [right now] instead of sitting in a restaurant with a salad," Maggie replied. "There's no reason for that," Victor insisted, objecting to Maggie's sarcasm. "Victor, the reason I didn't want bail was because I want to pay for what I did, [but you took] that decision [from] me -- you're very good at playing God with my life!" Maggie snapped.
"Maggie, I know you -- you don't need a prison sentence to pay for what you did; you'll punish yourself more than any prison sentence ever could," Victor predicted. "Well, I'm not like you -- I have a conscience," Maggie countered. "I can't stand that my drinking killed Adrienne -- and that Will spent all that time behind bars because you decided that he should take the fall for something that I did," Maggie fretted. "Well, he's free now -- [and] home with Sonny," Victor grumbled with a dismissive shrug. "Thank God," Maggie declared, clearly happier than Victor was about the outcome.
"Let me be clear -- this is not your call. If I have to, I'll fire your lawyer, and I'll walk into court alone and plead guilty," Maggie stressed. "That's not going to happen," Victor insisted.
"I got drunk, [and then] I drove, [and] I killed someone -- do you have any idea what that feels like? No, you don't, or you wouldn't be acting like this -- [like] it's just a dumb mistake; [like] it's no big deal!" Maggie snapped. "I never said it was not a big deal," Victor tiredly protested. "Yeah, but that's what you think, isn't it?" Maggie guessed.
"Admit it, Victor -- you just can't wait for me to forget [the] horror of what I've done, so you can get back to your cushy life, [and] everything can get back to 'normal,' [and] you can resume your role as a happily married man, married to this adoring wife..." Maggie continued. "Who just happened to be driving drunk one night and killed someone!" Maggie concluded with a sigh, fighting back tears.
"Please. You had a traumatic experience. One of your daughters came home from out of the blue and informed you that she was dying. She was very angry with you. She was abusive. Of course you had a relapse. But you are not a murderer. [This] could have happened [even] if you were stone-cold sober. Accidents happen," Victor argued with another dismissive shrug.
"There you go, making excuses for me [again]! I just don't want to hear them, because no, there wouldn't have been an accident if I hadn't downed a bottle of vodka! So, stop lying to me -- [and] stop lying to yourself!" Maggie snapped. "Look, I understand that you feel guilty about Adrienne's death, [but that] doesn't mean you can't mount a defense," Victor reasoned. "What I did defines 'indefensible'! I killed someone!" Maggie reiterated. "And we can't change that, but you don't have to throw away the rest of your life [because of it]," Victor maintained. "Once again, it's not your call!" Maggie countered.
"[And, you know], I didn't just kill Adrienne -- look what I did to Will and Sonny! Not to mention, I could have killed Sarah -- a-a-and Mickey, too!" Maggie fretted, drawing a reaction from Victor that went unnoticed. "Stop beating yourself up. Think about all the wonderful things that you've done -- the wonderful work that you do at your meetings --" Victor advised. "Do you think that can compensate for my killing someone?" Maggie countered. "[And] I didn't just kill anyone; I killed a friend, a mother, a wife, an angel --" Maggie continued. "You are an angel," Victor stressed.
"I can't listen to this anymore!" Maggie insisted while standing to leave, drawing an objection from Victor -- one that Maggie reluctantly entertained. "I won't ask you to think about how much I need you, but what about Sarah? She spent all those months, worrying about the baby, only to have a miracle happen, [and now]...what, [she gets to] watch you go off to prison?" Victor argued. "Thank God I didn't hurt [Mickey] or Sarah on that horrible night..." Maggie mused, drawing another reaction from Victor that again went unnoticed.
"You know, as much as Adrienne and I didn't get along --" Victor began. "That is an understatement," Maggie interjected. "We do have some things in common -- [for instance], we both put family first. You think she would want you taken away from Sarah and Mackenzie? No -- [because] what possible good would that do? [She] would want you to forgive yourself and go on doing the things that you do so well -- being a supportive, compassionate woman --" Victor continued. "A drunk," Maggie interjected. "A woman who's needed by her daughter, [and] her grandchildren, [and] her husband -- jerk that he is," Victor concluded.
Before Maggie could respond, Xander entered the restaurant and hinted that Sarah could use some company at the hospital. After Maggie took the bait, Xander told Victor that Raynor was back in Salem -- and seemed to be having an attack of conscience. "We sent her to the Dominican Republic! She was supposed to stay [there]! We had a deal! She took the money! Has she no sense of decency?" Victor incredulously protested without a hint of irony. "So, what do we do now?" Xander wondered. "Isn't it obvious? We have to get rid of that doctor!" Victor replied.
"Maybe we could just pay her more money --" Xander suggested. "Because it worked so well the first time? No, this is [someone] who doesn't stay paid off. We need...something more like closure...[and] right away," Victor maintained. "I told you -- I'm not going to kill anyone," Xander stressed. "Oh, right -- no more Mr. Bad Guy," Victor summarized. "If Dr. Raynor ends up dead, there could be an investigation!" Xander whispered. "And if she doesn't end up dead, she could turn us in! She's a loose end -- and I hate loose ends!" Victor countered, not bothering to match Xander's tone.
After Xander left, Maggie returned and apologized to Victor. "You did everything you did out of love. You've always done anything that you could to take care of me," Maggie conceded. "And I always will," Victor promised.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Xander tracked down Raynor, who had decided to reveal the truth. Xander offered Raynor another check and advised that it would be best to reconsider. "Think about who you're dealing with, because whatever Nicole told you about me...I'm Tom Hanks compared to Victor Kiriakis," Xander warned, rattling Raynor.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny handed Will an ice pack. "I know [your head] hurts, but at least you didn't get shot," Sonny cheerfully summarized. "Well, that's a silver lining..." Will dryly conceded.
Rafe soon burst into the mansion with a gun drawn, expecting a confrontation with Evan. "He had a gun?" Rafe incredulously interjected as Sonny and Will were taking turns recapping everything that had happened with Evan earlier. "Yeah -- until Will went all Captain America," Sonny proudly continued. "Eh, well...good thing I did, 'cause that's how Ciara got the gun," Will humbly continued. "Ciara was here?" Rafe incredulously interjected again. "Yeah -- she dragged him out at gunpoint, and she took him to the prison," Will continued. "Yeah -- see, she's trying to stop Ben's execution," Sonny continued. "If...it's not too late..." Will concluded.
"So, if Ciara has Evan, [then] where the hell is David?" Rafe wondered. "Evan didn't have him [but] said he was safe," Will reported. "[Evan] was doing all this to get his son back, okay? He's not gonna hurt David," Sonny tried to assure Rafe, who wasn't convinced -- and was quick to point out that, even if Evan truly didn't intend to hurt David, leaving a young child unattended for any length of time was a recipe for disaster.
Will, Sonny, and Rafe did a thorough search of the entire Kiriakis property with help from the staff, but David was nowhere to be found. After checking in with the parents of David's friends, none of whom had seen the child that day, Rafe rushed off to Statesville in search of Evan. Alone together again, Will and Sonny went back to worrying about each other. "I'm fine -- I mean, you're the one that was hit in the head," Sonny protested. "[But] you're the one who just found out that someone you cared about and trusted was, uh...a murderer..." Will countered.
"Yeah..." Sonny conceded with a sigh. "First, it was Leo, who wanted my money and the power...and now...Evan -- Christian..." Sonny summarized. "I think this -- this is worse, because he's an actual villain; I mean, he killed Jordan and was gonna let Ben die so that he could get away with it. And I thought he was all that...why, because he gave me a rose?" Sonny concluded with a shake of the head. "Eh, the -- the way that he was with David made you trust him, you know? That -- that seemed real to you," Will reasoned. "I don't know -- I'm not sure... I didn't even really know him..." Sonny admitted.
"And I let Ari around him -- I even left her alone with him and David --" Sonny fretted. "Stop it! [Look], this is not your fault, okay? Stop beating yourself up!" Will advised.
At Statesville, Floyd glared at the two guards who, with guns drawn, had followed Ciara and Evan through the entrance to the observer's side of the execution chamber. "How the hell did she get in here?" Floyd demanded to know, but neither guard responded. "Stop the execution!" Ciara begged, keeping Evan's cocked gun drawn. "Ben did not kill Jordan Ridgeway! [This man's] name is Christian Maddox, and he's the real murderer!" Ciara explained as Ben, who could see but not hear what was going on, continued succumbing to the effects of the second of the three lethal injection drugs.
"Put that gun down!" Floyd ordered Ciara. "I will put the gun down -- when you stop this execution!" Ciara promised, keeping the barrel of the gun pressed against Evan's neck. "You're only making this worse -- for you and [Mr. Weston]!" Floyd warned. "You're already killing him, Warden -- how could you possibly make it any worse?" Ciara countered. "I could have [these guards] shoot you!" Floyd suggested. "Shoot the person who is bringing you the real killer while you're killing an innocent man?" Ciara incredulously summarized. "That'll make a great story -- maybe [even] go viral..." Marlena helpfully interjected.
Floyd backed down, but Evan remained silent. "Look at him!" Ciara snapped while slamming Evan against the window that separated the observer's side of the execution chamber from the inmate's side, where Ben was getting closer to death with each passing minute. "He's about to die for something that you did!" Ciara stressed, pressing the barrel of the gun against Evan's left temple. "Tell [the warden the truth] now, or I will make sure your little boy grows up knowing his daddy was a sniveling, murderous coward!" Ciara warned. "No!" Evan begged.
"She's right -- my name isn't Evan Frears; it's Christian Maddox. I met Jordan a couple years ago in California. We were -- we were together for a while... It -- it wasn't -- it wasn't great, and it ended badly... But she never told me that she was pregnant -- I only found out later that I had a son... So, I came back to Salem to find her -- no, no, to find...to find him -- but she didn't seem to have him, so I followed her -- I thought she would lead me to him, but she didn't... So, I caught her breaking into some cottage or something --" Evan tearfully explained. "The DiMera [guesthouse], where Ben found Jordan's body," Ciara helpfully translated.
"Go on," Ciara prodded Evan, who was reliving that fateful encounter.
Jordan entered the DiMera guesthouse through the front door and called out for Ciara -- but received a response from Evan, who had entered the guesthouse through the back door. "Christian?" Jordan realized with a gasp. "Hey, Jordan -- long time no see," Evan replied with a scowl, which Jordan returned after recovering from the shock of the encounter. "What do you want?" Jordan wondered. "I want my son," Evan demanded.
"You are not his father -- [at least] not as far as I'm concerned!" Jordan, who was wearing a scarf, insisted. "[He already] has a father -- [a man named] Rafe Hernandez, [who] is taking care of him [and] is a better father than you will ever be!" Jordan continued. "You have lied to me about so many things -- and with your record, no judge is ever gonna give you custody! You're never getting anywhere near my son -- [at least] not as long as I'm alive!" Jordan concluded, prompting Evan to grab one end of the scarf in a fit of rage and start tightening it.
Jordan tried to get away from Evan but eventually collapsed.
"I swear -- I never meant to kill her; it just happened..." Evan tearfully explained. "Did you hear what he just said? [And] this isn't even my gun -- it's his gun, [and] he was waving it around an hour ago, threatening to kill [more people]! Now, stop this!" Ciara snapped at Floyd. "Do you really want to be responsible for executing an innocent man?" Marlena challenged Floyd. "[This] doesn't prove the prisoner's innocence," Floyd insisted, drawing a sarcastic retort from Ciara that Marlena was quick to condemn. "It's enough information to reopen the investigation [and] stop the execution," Marlena argued, showing Floyd a bit more respect.
Floyd gave the matter some thought then walked over to the intercom panel and informed the doctor that Ben's execution was being put on hold -- at least for the time being. "Your crazy girlfriend may have just saved your life," the doctor said to Ben, who was drifting in and out of consciousness, as Ciara and Marlena breathed sighs of relief. "[Now], give that gun to [a] guard," Floyd ordered Ciara, who quickly complied.
Evan tried to rush off while everyone who had a gun was distracted, but Rafe entered the observer's side of the execution chamber just then, also holding a gun.
"Tell me where David is!" Rafe demanded. "I have nothing to say to you," Evan replied. "He just confessed to killing Jordan!" Ciara revealed. "Get him in the squad car," Rafe said to the two guards. "You could've been killed!" Rafe said to Ciara as the guards led Evan away in handcuffs. "But I wasn't...[and] I stopped them from killing Ben!" Ciara countered. "I'm really ticked off, but I'm proud of you," Rafe stressed.
After giving Ciara a hug, Rafe rushed off -- and Ben suddenly passed out. "His respiratory functions are failing, and his heart is stopping. The only way to reverse is it to flush his system with a counter fluid," the doctor explained after quickly examining Ben. "Then do it!" Ciara tearfully demanded. "Too late -- his heart has stopped," the doctor declared with a shrug. "Do it, damn it -- you took an oath!" Marlena snapped.
After Floyd joined the chorus of demands for medical intervention, the doctor unbuttoned Ben's shirt and reached for a syringe. "That's adrenaline -- he'll give [Ben] a shot right into the heart," Marlena explained to Ciara just before the doctor plunged the needle of the syringe into Ben's chest. Floyd opened the door to the inmate's side of the execution chamber so Ciara and Marlena could be with Ben.
At the police station, Rafe again tried to convince Evan to reveal David's whereabouts. "Trust me -- he's fine. My son is just fine. [And] all you need to know is...he's in very good hands," Evan stressed.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Sonny received a phone call from someone who worked at Justin's office. "Ben's execution is on hold," Sonny excitedly summarized after ending the call, drawing a sigh of relief from Will.
At Statesville, Ben's heart started beating again, prompting the doctor to administer the counter fluid.
Things looked hopeless for a while, but Ben eventually regained consciousness and weakly thanked Ciara for stopping the execution.
Stefano prepares to exchange Kayla for Marlena
At the DiMera mansion, Chad inspected Stefano's phoenix ring then read Stefano's note again, this time in its entirety:
"My dearest son, I know that I have kept you at a distance since my return, but the time is coming when you must know and understand my plan. Until we can meet and discuss it face to face, please believe that I have chosen you as the one who will be by my side as I retake control of my empire. I cannot stress this enough, my son. As a father, I have learned a hard lesson from the loss of some of your siblings. I now know that my children are the future. Andre may be dead and gone, and he and I didn't always see eye to eye, but we did agree on one thing -- the most important thing in life is la famiglia."
Chad soon winced in pain and reached for a bottle of aspirin -- just as Jack entered the mansion. "You all right?" Jack asked as Chad popped a few pills. "Hey -- you're back!" Chad replied before giving Jack a hug. "Yeah -- I just came from the airport," Jack explained. "Abby with the kids?" Chad assumed. "No -- uh, actually...Abigail didn't come back," Jack revealed, stunning Chad. "J.J. decided he wasn't ready to come back yet -- [he] wanted to go see Theo [first] and, uh, get himself straightened out -- [and], at the last moment, Abigail decided [that] she was gonna stay [long enough to] help him get settled," Jack elaborated.
"She didn't call you?" Jack asked incredulously. "I don't know -- [see], I'm kind of in between phones right now, so..." Chad sheepishly replied. "I don't understand," Jack admitted. "Um...Charlotte -- she, uh...she, um...she likes to hide my phone...and, unfortunately for me, she's very good at it... Yesterday, she threw it in the dishwasher, [so...you know], it's very clean, which is great, but... [Anyway], the new one's charging," Chad clarified, showing hints of distraction. "Oh! Well, uh, I'm -- I'm sure that Abigail's a little worried that you haven't called her back, [so] I'll let her know what happened," Jack offered.
"Um, she...I know she was worried about, um...I bet she's been worried about J.J. -- how...how long is she staying?" Chad asked, still apparently finding it difficult to focus. "Oh, not long at all -- [see], she just wants to, you know, help him, and then she wants to get back to the kids," Jack replied. "I'm gonna...I have to call her..." Chad decided before starting to rush off to another room to grab the new cell phone.
"Uh, one other thing..." Jack began, stopping Chad. "What's with this news that your father's back in Salem -- [and], apparently, in my brother's body?" Jack continued. "[You know], this is a really weird development, but it explains a lot -- [I mean], Kayla kept telling me she couldn't understand why Steve was doing the things he was doing, [but]...turns out, it...wasn't...really...Steve... [So], I guess if there is a silver lining to this rather dismal situation, it's that Steve never really turned his back on everyone who loved him," Jack concluded.
"I'm not sure how that helps Kayla right now..." Chad countered. "Right... You -- you got any leads on where he might have taken her?" Jack replied. "I don't...[but] he was here today..." Chad admitted. "You saw him?" Jack assumed. "No...but, uh...nobody else could have left this for me," Chad clarified, showing Jack the phoenix ring. "Chad...you don't really believe that Steve is your father...do you?" Jack argued after Chad also revealed Stefano's note. "You know, you're not the first person to, uh...to ask me that... [And], in my head, I know that it, um...I mean, that it can't be..." Chad admitted.
"But...if it is Steve, he's got my father down pat -- [I mean], the way that he talked to me, the tone of voice... [You know], it was like I had this connection with him -- it was like I had my father back..." Chad continued. "I don't know why you're so skeptical -- if anyone knows what Dr. Rolf is capable of, it's you," Chad noted, and Jack conceded the point. "I think he made a mistake [in] choosing Steve for Stefano to 'inhabit' -- [I mean], my brother is incredibly stubborn [and] stiff-necked, [so] this can't be sitting well with him," Jack argued. "Yeah? [But] what can he do [about it]?" Chad countered.
"You got a soft spot for your father," Jack summarized, understanding Chad's mixed emotions about the matter. "[But you once] moved your whole family to Paris to get yourself out from under being a DiMera, [and] you'd be there still if Jennifer hadn't fallen off a balcony and gone into a coma," Jack pointed out. "Are you saying that we should go back?" Chad wondered. "I'm warning you not to let yourself be pulled into this craziness," Jack clarified. "Throw that ring in the river, burn the letter -- I don't care, [but do] whatever it takes to keep your distance from him. It's the only [way to] protect you and your family," Jack advised.
"I'll think about it," Chad promised. "Please do," Jack requested.
After Jack left, Chad read Stefano's note once again -- then winced in pain again. "Put the ring on, son," Chad heard Stefano's portrait advise. "Yes, Father," Chad robotically replied before complying.
At the police station, a guard led Gina from a holding cell to a conference room, where Shawn was waiting. "You again," Gina grumbled. "Yep...and you're gonna be seeing a lot more of me --" Shawn began to respond. "Poor me," Gina fretted. "My sister and I want our mother back --" Shawn continued. "Well, you have tried everything you could think of to reach her, and you have failed -- miserably. Your mother is gone, Shawn -- as I have informed you of many a time," Gina stressed. "[So], go ahead and give this a read...'Your Highness,'" Shawn concluded before shoving a document at Gina.
Gina shoved the document back at Shawn without bothering to read it. "They didn't teach you to read in the palace?" Shawn assumed. "I was born to rule an empire," Gina wistfully declared. "You were not 'born' at all -- you're [just] one of Stefano DiMera's little toys, and that's all that you're ever gonna be," Shawn tiredly countered. "This is a court order, and it says that you have to submit to an MRI --" Shawn began to explain. "I will not 'submit' to anything...except John, perhaps," Gina insisted. "Well, the judge says that you don't have a choice," Shawn stressed.
"[And], with any luck, that test is gonna show us exactly how Rolf turned my mom into a homicidal windup doll, [and then we will] undo what he did, [and then I will] have my mom back, [and you will] end up in a bucket on the operating room floor," Shawn warned. "Your document -- it is for Hope Brady, a person who no longer exists. I do not recognize nor submit to any authority in this country -- nor any other country, for that matter," Gina argued. "[But] that body that you're, uh...you're 'occupying'...it belongs to my mother, [and] she's an American citizen," Shawn countered.
"[So], she is legally obligated to abide by this order...and wherever she goes, you go," Shawn concluded with a grin of triumph before rushing off to arrange Gina's trip to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Jennifer entered the police station and spotted Kate, who was in the midst of a phone conversation with a lawyer. "You expect gratitude because you bailed me out? I just spent three nights in a jail cell while you were playing golf [and] billing me by the hour! Oh, [so you want to talk about the] 'seriousness of the charges' [now]? I told you, I was dealing with two lunatics -- one who thought she was a princess, the other the 'essence' of Stefano DiMera! I mean, am I going to take that seriously? There's not going to be 'a long trial' -- as soon as you put the two of them on the stand, you're going to be drowning in reasonable doubt!" Kate said.
After ending the call, Kate tried to sidestep Jennifer and exit the police station. "You're not going anywhere until you deal with me," Jennifer insisted, stopping Kate.
"You knew what Rolf had done to Steve and Hope's [minds, and...what], you thought that it was amusing?" Jennifer snapped. "No, that's not --" Kate tried to clarify. "You helped him, didn't you? You knew that Gina threw me off of that balcony --" Jennifer continued. "No, I didn't know that -- and there's nothing I could have done for you --" Kate tried to clarify. "You could have told me when I came to! Gina was [still] free [then] -- she could have taken another crack at me if she wanted to!" Jennifer pointed out. "I am truly sorry," Kate stressed.
"But I did do the right thing [in the end] -- I saved John from Gina, [and now] she's in custody, [and] hopefully, maybe they can rescue Hope --" Kate continued. "And what about Steve? He's not in custody! And he still thinks that he's Stefano! And did you know that he's taken Kayla hostage? God only knows if he will ever let her go!" Jennifer countered. "If anyone can handle Steve, it's Kayla," Kate assured Jennifer. "He's Stefano now," Jennifer reminded Kate. "Not so much -- he's more like Stefano Lite," Kate insisted.
"This isn't funny!" Jennifer snapped. "I'm not trying to be 'funny'; I'm -- I'm just trying to make you understand that Steve thinks he's Stefano [right now, but] I spent time with him, [and] there's still a lot of Steve there. And he and Kayla love each other so much [that] I'm sure that bond is going to be what breaks the hold that Stefano has on him," Kate clarified.
Kate again tried to sidestep Jennifer and exit the police station. "What is Lucas gonna say to you when he finds out what you've been doing?" Jennifer wondered, stopping Kate again. "Frankly, I haven't talked to Lucas in a while, so..." Kate admitted with a hint of discomfort. "Then...you don't know what's happened?" Jennifer assumed, confusing Kate. "Our father passed away," Jennifer clarified, stunning Kate. "And it was...it was just really sudden, and..." Jennifer elaborated. "When's the funeral?" Kate asked. "You missed it -- you were locked up," Jennifer replied.
"I'm so sorry..." Kate stressed before rushing out of the police station in tears.
Jennifer soon found Shawn, who seized the opportunity to offer condolences. Jennifer thanked Shawn then changed the subject, explaining that news of the court order for Gina's MRI had reached the Spectator office. Jennifer requested some time alone with Gina before Shawn's planned trip to the hospital. Shawn warned that Gina loved pushing people's buttons, but Jennifer insisted it wouldn't be an issue.
"I have been expecting you," Gina began with a smirk when Jennifer entered the conference room. "I was curious when you would arrive to scold me for that...little mishap...you had on your wedding day. [But] it was not personal, [you know] -- you really left me no choice. [And then] your daughter started asking far too many questions, [so]...at one point, I did think... [Well], I came so close to pushing her off that very same balcony, in fact. Pity I did not follow through -- she does drone on..." Gina continued, still smirking. "You are the one who deserves to die!" Jennifer snapped, grabbing Gina.
Shawn heard the commotion and quickly intervened. Jennifer explained what had just happened and admitted that it would have been best to heed Shawn's warning about engaging with Gina. "I shall instruct my attorney to file suit against her at once!" Gina promised Shawn after Jennifer left the police station. "Can it," Shawn demanded before dragging Gina off to a waiting vehicle.
Jack rushed over to the police station to pick up Jennifer, who was too upset to drive, and they discussed what Gina had just revealed.
At the storage shed, Kayla again tried to get through to Steve, prompting Stefano to reiterate that Steve was gone for good.
Changing the subject, Kayla again predicted that Marlena would never love Stefano, who again refused to listen. "I know what's driving you -- you cannot stand the thought that Marlena will soon have what you cannot," Stefano concluded with a chuckle. "You still want him, don't you, 'Sweetness'? And it's killing you to know that I am about to give his body to another woman," Stefano confidently summarized. "I don't care whose body you inhabit -- you won't even get to first base with Marlena unless you brainwash her!" Kayla maintained.
At the Brady Pub, John, Justin, and Roman continued conferring with Hattie about the plan to trick Stefano into releasing Kayla. "Are you sure that you can go through with this?" John wondered. "Oh, sure, I'm sure!" Hattie insisted. "It's a bad idea. We used Hattie once before to fool [Stefano]; he's not gonna be stupid twice," Roman maintained.
"You got that right," Marlena agreed while approaching the group's table. "Whoa -- sweetheart, I thought you were at Statesville," John admitted. "Yeah -- just got back," Marlena explained before telling the group about what had happened during Ben's execution. "Ben's in the prison infirmary [now]. He's stable [and] should be released very soon," Marlena reported at the end of the tale.
"[Anyway], I didn't quite hear the details of what you were talking about [earlier, so]...what's going on?" Marlena continued, prompting the group to explain Kayla's predicament. "It's not going to work [this time] -- if Stefano 'needs' me, [then] it has to be me," Marlena insisted after hearing the group's plan to trick Stefano into releasing Kayla. "[No], I should be the one going in there -- [after all], if Chad and Abigail hadn't burst in there and saved me [the last time I was with Stefano, he] would have just wrung my neck, so I have the right to go in there and do the same -- [you know], just wring his little neck!" Hattie argued.
"I'm so grateful for everything you've done, Hattie --" Marlena began to respond. "Okay..." Hattie grumbled, recognizing Marlena's polite way of dismissing an idea. "[Then] we go to plan B -- we both go in and help rescue Kayla!" Hattie suggested. "No -- Steve told me to bring Marlena only. [I mean], it's risky enough that John's going [with us]. If Steve thinks that I've set him up, he could kill Kayla," Justin objected, and Marlena agreed. "Let's go," Marlena said to John and Justin. "You don't even know the plan [yet]!" Justin pointed out. "You can tell me on the way," Marlena countered.
Shortly after Marlena left the pub with John and Justin, Kate entered it and approached Roman, who didn't exactly offer the warmest of greetings. "I don't know what you've heard, but I can explain --" Kate began. "There is no possible explanation for what you did," Roman insisted. "I thought [that, you know, because Steve and Hope] were under so much stress, that's why they were acting so crazy. I had no idea about what had happened," Kate claimed. "There's something in this for you, isn't there? Stefano offered you a job once he takes over," Roman guessed. "No," Kate maintained, but Roman wasn't convinced.
"Do you have any damn idea how much pain and damage you've caused?" Roman snapped. "Yes, I do -- the police made that very clear while I was in jail, okay? And then I run into Jennifer, and she elaborates, so I am absolutely up to speed, and I don't need to hear any more about it from you!" Kate replied. "Okay -- what I say is not gonna make a difference, anyway; it never has," Roman conceded. "[So], why don't you go upstairs, pack your things, [and] get the hell out of here, okay? You're fired!" Roman continued. "You can't do that to her!" Hattie, who had been listening from the bar, protested.
"If Kate says she didn't know what was -- what those people were up to, well, then, I believe her!" Hattie stressed. "This is between me and Kate," Roman snapped, pointing Hattie toward the kitchen.
"You can keep your minimum-wage job, [because] the allure of the simple life has faded," Kate said to Roman after Hattie left. "Good, 'cause I already put an ad in the Spectator for your replacement," Roman replied.
"And I meant what I said -- get upstairs, pack, and get out," Roman continued. "I can't stay the night? [Come on] -- are you forgetting that I helped rescue Marlena?" Kate protested. "Are you forgetting that your pal Stefano kidnapped my sister?" Roman countered. "Steve is not going to hurt Kayla," Kate insisted. "I didn't think Hope would push Jennifer off a balcony, either, but she did -- 'cause she's not Hope anymore. So, I don't give a damn what you say -- Steve Johnson is just as dangerous now," Roman argued. "There's [still] a lot more of Steve Johnson there than you think," Kate maintained.
Roman didn't respond, focused instead on the kitchen door. "You have a thing for [Hattie]," Kate realized with a scoff. "No, but I sure as hell respect her. She put her life on the line to try to help Marlena. You could learn a thing or two about courage from that woman," Roman clarified. "You do have a thing for her," Kate translated, scoffing again.
After Kate moved out, Hattie fretted to Roman about the situation. "It just seems like...no matter what happens to Kate, she always ends up alone," Hattie mused. "She doesn't need anybody else," Roman countered.
John waited outside as Justin and Marlena joined Kayla and Stefano in the storage shed. "My queen!" Stefano raved, gasping at the sight of Marlena. "I realize that my appearance may create some doubt in your mind as to who I really am, but I have no such doubt about you -- it really is you this time!" Stefano decided at once. "Hello, Marlena," Stefano said with a smile. "Hello, Stefano," Marlena said with a scowl.
"The grand gestures I have made to you over the years to convince you of my devotion -- they meant nothing to you, but now you see that my love for you transcends even the limits of my mortality. [So], here you are -- seemingly of your own free will," Stefano mused. "Justin didn't have to drag me in here," Marlena confirmed. "[Then]...does this mean that you are finally willing to submit to me?" Stefano wondered.
"I'm surprised you have to ask why I'm here. You -- you said you're here because of love. That's why I'm here, [too]," Marlena explained. "I have waited so long to hear you say those words --" Stefano excitedly began to respond. "I'm here because of all the people that I love that you've hurt -- John, Hope, Kayla, Steve, Hattie, and so many more. The only thing you really love is hurting innocent people. [So, yes], I'm willing to go with you now -- we can leave Salem forever -- because that way, I know that you will never hurt the people that I love again," Marlena coldly clarified.
Kayla warned Marlena about Stefano and Rolf's plan, but Stefano insisted that Kayla's claim was nonsense. While keeping a gun pressed against Kayla's left temple, Stefano extended a hand to Marlena, who reluctantly accepted it -- while silently wondering why John hadn't intervened yet. Meanwhile, outside the storage shed, John lay unconscious on the ground.
Chad is hypnotized
Gabi slept in her hospital bed as Julie marched into the room and yelled at her to wake up. "You're gonna pay!" Julie barked. A groggy Gabi told Julie that she had just donated her bone marrow to Mackenzie. "You should spend the rest of your miserable life in a prison cell!" Julie continued. Julie said that the only justice was that everyone in Salem knew that Gabi was a sociopath, including Rafe.
"And it's only a matter of time until Arianna knows that her mother is a monster," Julie said. Julie threatened to destroy Gabi if she hurt or bothered any member of Julie's family. Julie added that Eli had already been hurt enough.
"That was never my intention," Gabi said. Julie argued that hurting Eli had been central to Gabi's plan. "I know that you're not going to believe me when I say this, but I really did love [Eli]," Gabi said quietly. Gabi added, "Eli hates me, and it is killing me." Julie argued that Gabi's friendship with her had been an act. With lowered eyes, Gabi told Julie that her friendship with Julie had not completely been an act, and she had felt guilty about the pacemaker app.
Julie scoffed at that admission. Julie reasoned aloud that if Gabi had truly felt guilty, then Gabi would have taken the opportunity to make things right and would not have altered the second pacemaker. Gabi explained that she had been afraid of losing Eli.
"And afraid of losing you," Gabi whispered. Julie raised a skeptical eyebrow. Julie told Gabi that she was not gullible. Gabi admitted that she had enjoyed spending time with Julie and her family over the past year. Gabi explained that she had grown up with a large family and one by one had lost them except for Rafe. Gabi said she had enjoyed being a part of a big, loving family again.
"It was nice to have someone in my corner," Gabi admitted. "Then you really blew it, dear, because now you're going to be alone for the rest of your life," Julie said. With a nod, Julie walked out.
In J.J.'s apartment, Lani and Eli continued their 24-hour love affair. As Eli and Lani rolled around in bed, her phone beeped. Lani reached for the phone, and Eli playfully swatted her hand. After Eli and Lani made love again, Lani asked Eli if he had any residual anger toward her.
"Everything that I thought about you was wrong," Eli said. Eli admitted that although most of his anger was gone, he still had a little bit left for her. Eli explained that because his mother had lied to him for most of his life about his father, he was sensitive to lies. Eli told Lani that he wished she had confided in him from the start. With a grin, Lani gave Eli her pillow, and she urged him to hit her. Eli tapped Lani. Lani laughed, and the two batted each other with their pillows.
"We're good, I mean it," Eli said as he stopped to catch his breath. Lani's phone beeped again. Lani lunged for it before Eli could stop her. "It's from J.J.," Lani said. Eli wanted to ignore the message, but Lani reminded Eli that J.J. might have called to tell them that he was on the way back to his apartment. With a nod, Eli hopped in the shower while Lani returned J.J.'s call. J.J. informed Lani that he was staying with Theo indefinitely. J.J. also broke the news about Gabi's plea deal.
After his shower, Eli joined Lani in the living room. Lani told Eli the news about J.J. and Gabi. Eli was furious. Eli yelled that he could not stand to see Gabi get off scot-free and that he wanted to "throttle her." Lani urged Eli to calm down before he did something that would land him in prison.
"It's not right," Eli said. Eli added that he understood how Chad had had felt after Gabi had been able to gaslight Abigail without any punishment. With a sigh, Lani said she would settle for not having Gabi in their lives. Lani suggested that they continue to stay in their love bubble. Calmed, Eli kissed Lani. As things grew heated, Julie knocked on the front door. Reluctantly, Eli let Julie into the apartment. A frazzled Julie asked Eli and Lani if they had heard the news about Gabi. Eli said he knew. "I wish someone would put [Gabi] out of her misery," Julie grumbled.
At the DiMera mansion, Chad read a letter from his father. Stefano had written about his children and how even though he had argued with Andre, Andre had agreed with Stefano about the importance of the family business. "The most important thing in life is La Famiglia," the letter read. "La Famiglia. La Famiglia," Chad repeated. Chad's face went blank. Like a robot, Chad rose to his feet and walked over to Stefano's portrait. In Chad's head, he heard Stefano's voice tell him to put on the family ring.
"Yes, father," Chad said as he slipped on the ring. Stefano's voice told Chad that he needed Chad's help in the "endgame for the family." "I won't let you down," Chad said to the painting. "Who are you talking to?" Kate asked as she walked into the living room. Chad plastered a fake smile onto his face. Chad asked Kate why she was there. Kate apologized for her past lies about Stefano.
"Don't worry about it. You can't help yourself," Chad said. Kate looked puzzled. Chad said that Kate had acted in the best interests of the DiMera family and legacy. "I can't fault you for that," Chad said. As Kate talked about the texts she had received from Steve, an agitated Chad corrected her.
"It's not Steve! It's Steve's body, but it's my father's soul," Chad said. Taken aback, Kate stared at Chad. "He's the Phoenix. He's risen again!" Chad added. Kate admitted that she was skeptical that Stefano was alive in Steve's body. Chad said he was certain that his father was truly alive. With a shrug, Kate argued that point was moot, since the police would turn Stefano back into Steve.
"That's never going to happen. Tell her," Stefano's voice echoed in Chad's head. "That's never going to happen," Chad said to Kate. Kate looked at Chad with suspicion. Kate noted that Chad had always been Stefano's fiercest critic. Kate asked Chad why he was not concerned about Steve, if for no other reason than because Steve was Abigail's family.
Chad argued that he needed Stefano to remove Gabi from the company. Chad added that he would make Abigail understand why he needed to work with his father. When Chad stressed the importance of the family, Kate twitched.
"It's uncanny how much you sound like your father right now," Kate said. Chad asked for Kate's help. When Kate noted that she owed Chad, he asked for her company shares. Kate laughed. Kate stressed that she would not give up her economic security. Chad pushed Kate to make the sale.
"I'll make sure you don't spend one day in prison for helping my father," Chad promised. Kate said she did not believe that Stefano could help her, especially since he was on the run from the police. Chad noted that Stefano had sneaked into the mansion earlier to leave him the ring. Chad said that he wanted to be more like Stefano and that he had Stefano's voice in his head, guiding him in what to do to save the business.
When Kate told Chad that Roman had kicked her out of the pub, Chad offered Kate her old room in the mansion. "You've had my back. Most of the time," Chad said with a smirk. The Stefano voice told Chad to leave. With a nod, Chad announced that he needed to go out. After Chad left, Kate looked at Stefano's painting. "What have you done to him?" Kate asked.
When Chad left the mansion, he went to the hospital. Gabi slept in her room. Chad walked in and stared at Gabi. The Stefano voice told Chad to eliminate Gabi and save the family. Chad stared at a pillow and loomed over Gabi's sleeping form.
In the warehouse hallway, Rolf knocked out John and prevented him from providing backup for Justin and Marlena. "Nothing will keep Stefano from his beloved Marlena," Rolf said. In Kayla's room, Marlena reluctantly took Stefano's hand. Justin ran over to Kayla as Stefano grabbed Marlena and pointed a gun at her. Justin whispered to Kayla that something was wrong because John was not there.
As Stefano started to leave, Justin stepped between him and Marlena. Justin argued that Steve was too stubborn to succumb to a microchip, and he pleaded with Steve to fight back. Stefano scoffed. Stefano argued that Justin should reconsider his concern for Kayla's feelings about Steve and let the competition go. Justin tackled Stefano, and they wrestled for the gun. Stefano got the upper hand, and he knocked Justin out by hitting him with the butt of the gun.
Stefano grabbed Marlena by the wrist and dragged her into the hallway. Marlena gasped as she saw John lying on the floor. Rolf informed Marlena that John was still alive. Annoyed, Stefano suggested that they should kill John "once and for all." Marlena warned Stefano that she would make it her mission in life to destroy him if he murdered John. "I should have gotten rid of him years ago," Stefano grumbled.
Rolf, Stefano, and Marlena left the warehouse and traveled to the guesthouse on the DiMera grounds. Stefano explained that he knew the terrain and would be able to hide out there until they were ready to leave town. Rolf left to prepare the next phase for Marlena's transformation. Marlena made an appeal to Steve.
"Except for his physical presence, Stephen Johnson is gone," Stefano said. Marlena yelled that she would never submit to Stefano, and that he should know that after all his attempts through the years. "I didn't [submit] then, and I won't now," Marlena said. "That, my dear, is about to change," Stefano said. Stefano explained that he had no option but to microchip Marlena in order to give her the push she needed. Marlena asked Stefano not to force her to his will.
In the warehouse room, Kayla roused Justin from unconsciousness. Kayla noted that she did not have a cell phone. Justin checked his, and he realized it had been broken during his fight with Stefano. John stumbled into the room. The door locked behind him. Frustrated, John reached for his phone and realized that someone had taken it from him while he had been knocked out. Justin reasoned aloud that Roman would send someone for them when they did not return to the pub. A hiss filled the air. A look of panic crossed John's face. "It's colorless and odorless gas," John announced.