Concerned about Harrison processing Ashland's sudden death, Jack credited Diane and her special touch for communicating with children for having broken the news gently. Diane acknowledged that Harrison and Ashland had shared a genuine bond. Jack admitted he was thankful Ashland had defied the restraining order, which had allowed Harrison a final opportunity to form a lasting memory. Diane invited Jack to join her and Harrison on an outing to the park. Jack declined, explaining he had work, but Diane encouraged him to stop by if he possibly could.
At Chancellor Park, Summer joined Phyllis for coffee. Phyllis asked Summer about Harrison's reaction after being told about Ashland's death. Summer cried that it had been heartbreaking and confusing for the youngster. Phyllis assumed Jack had stayed home with Harrison. Summer explained that Jack was with Harrison while she and Kyle attended to rearrangement of work schedules. Phyllis assured Summer that Jack would know the right things to say. Summer said she was aware that her mother missed having Jack in her life. Phyllis insisted she and Jack would work things out eventually.
Phyllis boasted to Summer that in the past, Jack's face would light up whenever she entered the room and that they had once naturally gravitated to each other. Phyllis cried that her relationship with Jack had changed after she'd flown to be with him in Los Angeles, where Diane had resurfaced. Phyllis lamented that Jack's interactions with her had become intense because he was often angry. Phyllis admitted she had blurted out her true feelings to Jack. After Summer, concerned, asked her mother what she had said, Phyllis replied, "I said I love him." Jack had repeated the sentiment to her, Phyllis recalled, which made Summer raise her eyebrows in surprise.
Summer asked her mother if Jack had actually stated that he was still in love with her. Phyllis, admitting she had made mistakes and offered apologies, clarified that Jack had let her know he loved her, though he could not seem to get past the hurt. Phyllis admitted the situation pained her because Jack viewed Diane through rose-colored glasses. As if on cue, Diane approached. Phyllis immediately told Diane that she and Summer were having a private conversation. Summer attempted to smooth things over, but Diane pointed out that Summer was the only one who had put stock in her mother's so-called truce. Phyllis glared at Diane.
Diane boasted to Phyllis that not only had she been allowed to comfort Harrison, but Kyle had also informed Harrison that Diane was his grandmother. Summer noted that at the time, Harrison had responded positively to Diane, though the announcement had not been planned. Phyllis replied, "But, you see, it was planned because she is working the situation. Honestly, how low can you go, Diane? You're using that little boy's heartbreak to worm yourself back into the family."
Diane reminded Phyllis that she was part of the family. Phyllis, berating Diane, insisted she had lost her privileges when she'd abandoned her family. Phyllis, growing irate, yelled that Diane had even arranged to play dead by getting her head bashed in with a rock. Diane expressed regret and said Phyllis had no right to second-guess her motives after Kyle had offered forgiveness.
Phyllis, while angrily confronting Diane, loudly yelled, "I am somebody who saw the fallout, Diane! I helped that young man grow up, heartbroken that he lost a mother. I helped him deal with your lies!" Jack rushed in, glared at Phyllis, and asked what was going on. Jack, pointing in the near distance toward the playground, asked Phyllis if she had noticed Harrison swinging. Phyllis admitted she had not seen Harrison and blamed Diane for not having alerted her. Jack admonished Phyllis for not having shown restraint in public, noting that she could be heard across the park. Diane walked away to check on Harrison and buy him a treat.
Summer defended her mother and told Jack that Harrison likely had not paid attention to Phyllis. Jack asked Phyllis if she was aware of what Harrison was going through. Phyllis said she was aware and found it disgusting that Diane was using the situation to her advantage. Phyllis urged Summer to check on Harrison because he shouldn't be alone "with that woman." Jack, disgusted, said to Phyllis, "It just doesn't end with you, does it?"
Phyllis admitted she had not kept her truce with Diane. Jack said he had also struggled, though he had put Harrison and Kyle's needs first. Phyllis reminded Jack that he had promised not to let Diane prod and provoke. Jack asked Phyllis if she felt she could not control herself unless he controlled Diane. Phyllis insisted it was not the case.
Phyllis reminded Jack that though he had claimed to love her, he had put up a wall and shut her out. Jack said he wished he could salvage the magic they had enjoyed, though it was impossible due to her continued efforts to bring down Diane. Phyllis replied that she, too, had been concerned about Harrison and never would have confronted Diane had she known the boy was nearby. Phyllis cried that Jack had forgiven Diane for every single thing she had done, though he held Phyllis to a strict zero-tolerance policy. Jack insisted he would never completely trust Diane because he knew her too well.
Jack told Phyllis that though she was the most captivating, interesting, person he had ever met, he struggled with her behavior toward Diane. Jack expressed frustration because Phyllis refused to back off Diane. He explained that he was concerned about Kyle, Harrison, and Summer getting caught in the crossfire. Jack insisted he couldn't take risks, no matter how much he loved Phyllis. Jack walked away in frustration. Phyllis stood in the park alone, watching Jack join Diane, Summer, and Harrison.
At the rooftop lounge, Devon ordered Amanda a nutritious lunch, insisting that she take better care of herself after helping Imani get settled in Virginia. Amanda explained that she had been determined to provide for Naya during Naya's recovery. Amanda admitted she wished she could have stayed to assist her mother. Devon asked Amanda why she had not spoken up because they could have extended their stay. Amanda explained that Imani had arrived early and insisted she had everything under control, though she had seemed overwhelmed.
Amanda admitted to Devon that she felt like an unwanted newcomer, realizing that Naya, Eric, and Imani had been a tightknit family since Imani was born. Amanda acknowledged, too, that if not for her, Sutton would not be imprisoned. Devon said he did not believe Imani harbored resentment for Amanda's role in Sutton's separation from his family. Devon acknowledged that it had been a mistake for them to leave Virginia prematurely. Devon recalled having discovered that Katherine was his grandmother after she had suffered a stroke, and he'd known their time together might be brief due to her advanced age and bad health. Devon cried that because he could not immediately build trust, his hesitancy had kept him from growing close to Katherine until it had almost been too late.
Amanda sympathized with Devon, though she explained that it was not her distrust of Naya that was the problem. Instead, Amanda continued, it was Naya's distrust of her for having helped convict Sutton. Devon assured Amanda that Naya loved every second she spent with Amanda. Devon encouraged Amanda to do what she felt was best for herself. Amanda was reluctant to neglect her work, especially finalizing the merger. Devon insisted that the legal team Amanda had hired could handle things just fine, plus she could work remotely. Amanda asked Devon about sustaining a long-distance relationship. Devon assured Amanda he supported her and would be with her whenever possible.
At Chancellor-Winters, Nate left a contract on Lily's desk for her to look over when she arrived. Elena tiptoed behind Nate and surprised him. Still wearing a floral lei from her trip to Hawaii, Elena explained to Nate that she had caught an earlier flight home because she missed him and his kisses. Nate felt especially cherished when Elena told him that no beach or ocean view could compete with seeing his face again. Nate took Elena by the hand and led her out of the office, so they could spend personal time together.
In the privacy of their bedroom, Nate and Elena made love. Afterward, Nate cradled Elena in his arms and told her he had missed her. Elena reported that her presentation at the conference had gone well, having received a positive response. Elena told Nate she felt like her past experiences, training, and skills had helped her find her voice and speak confidently. Nate said he knew it was important to feel heard and respected.
Elena told Nate that she was excited to share what she had learned with her peers at the hospital. Elena asked Nate if her legal contracts with Newman Media had been settled, so she could join him at Chancellor-Winters. Nate explained that Imani had had to leave town before finalizing the legal contracts. Elena suggested that Amanda might handle the matter. After Nate returned to work, Elena arranged her lei in a heart shape atop Nate's pillow and lovingly set a souvenir ornament in the middle.
While talking on the phone to Lily, Devon entered her office to locate a file she needed. Devon told Lily he would email an image of the file to her. Afterward, Devon noticed the file folder Nate had left for Lily. Nate entered while Devon was perusing the papers contained in the folder. Devon turned to Nate and asked him to explain the information he had submitted. Nate told Devon it related to the performers set to appear at music festivals in Chicago. Devon asked Nate why Jason Santino had been included. Nate explained that Santino would replace Tessa, a plan Devon had agreed would work.
Devon, displeased, told Nate he had not signed off on the change. Devon noted that Nate had booked Santino to perform in Los Angeles on the same date as the Chicago festival. Nate complained that Devon should have been kept him the loop. Devon, frustrated, snapped that Nate should have consulted him in order to be kept in the loop. Nate assured Devon they could figure it out, suggesting switching the dates or hiring someone else to perform in L.A. Devon complained that promoting a singer to perform in two places on the same date made the company appear as if they did not know what they were doing. Nate agreed to handle the miscommunication with public relations.
Devon blamed Nate for having overstepped authority for a second time, which once again had required damage control. Devon explained that while he was away, it was crucial that the company keep its act together. Devon suggested assigning Nate a mentor. Nate, taken aback, replied, "A mentor? Don't you think you're overreacting to a minor miscommunication? I'm no intern." Devon's facial expression indicated he felt let down.
Amanda arrived and asked Devon and Nate if everything was okay. Nate claimed all was well, and he changed the subject by asking Amanda if Imani had terminated Elena's contract with Newman Media. Amanda said she was not sure. Nate said he would check with Imani, and he left. Nate paused outside the office and sent Imani a text message, stating that he hoped her mother's care had met her standards. Imani replied, "Thanks for all your support. Do you have time to talk?" Nate phoned Imani.
Faith entered Crimson Lights, carrying a bunch of festive helium-filled balloons and get-well gifts for Tessa. Sharon was impressed and told Faith she was taking her sister-in-law duties seriously. Faith told her mom she felt bad for Tessa for having to pause her career until she recovered the use of her vocal cords. Sharon urged Faith to remain positive. Sharon appeared concerned when Tessa, accompanied by Mariah, entered. Mariah explained that Tessa's doctor had said the procedure could not have gone better, though the patient would remain on complete vocal rest for a few days. Tessa grimaced.
Sharon assured Tessa she would supply soothing tea and smoothies while Tessa recovered. Sharon advised Mariah to cut down on cracking jokes, so Tessa would not be tempted to laugh. Faith interjected that Mariah's jokes were not so funny, and she gave Tessa a dry-erase board, so she could write messages. Tessa picked up her phone and demonstrated how she could employ an app to deliver customized audio responses. Tessa drew a heart shape on her whiteboard to express her love to those caring for her. Mariah explained that Tessa's recovery would be a gradual process that would take time and involve therapy. Faith noted that Tessa could still write and play her guitar.
Tessa and Mariah went upstairs to their apartment, and Mariah returned later and asked Sharon if Faith had left. Sharon explained that Faith had plans with Moses. Sharon asked Mariah how Tessa was doing. Mariah said Tessa was sleeping. Mariah took a seat at a booth while Sharon went to get coffee. Kyle joined Mariah and asked about Tessa. Mariah reported that the procedure had gone as expected. Kyle was relieved.
Kyle shocked Mariah when he broke the news of Ashland's death. Mariah acknowledged that Harrison had taken one blow after another. Kyle acknowledged that Harrison's life could have been worse had it not come to light that Kyle was the boy's father. Mariah advised Kyle not to dwell on painful what-ifs. Kyle told Mariah that observing Diane connecting with Harrison had gotten to him emotionally, so he had told Harrison that Diane was his grandmother.
Mariah agreed that doing so was a big step. Kyle replied, "She earned it." Mariah remarked that Harrison's experience with Diane had sparked Kyle's memories of being a young boy, including the grief he had suffered after losing a parent. Kyle acknowledged that he still recalled the shock, pain, and confusion, an awful experience that Diane could never erase. Kyle admitted that observing Diane's interaction with Harrison had been as close as she could get.
At Crimson Lights, intentionally away from the police station, Chance met with Kevin to discuss Ashland's death. Kevin remarked that the news of Ashland losing control of his car and driving into a ravine hadn't been met with an outpouring of grief. Chance guessed that Kevin hadn't read the whole police report. Kevin defended that he'd been up to his neck in IT support work, and he wondered what he'd missed. Chance indicated that Ashland's death was more complicated than he'd first thought.
Chance admitted that he had nothing to go on yet, but it was his job to look. Kevin figured that sometimes a car crash was just a car crash, but Chance invited Kevin to take on a bigger role in the case. Chance walked Kevin through the events that had allegedly unfolded at Victoria's house on the night in question. Kevin concluded that Ashland had walked out alive after Nick had punched him but had later lost control of his car and crashed. Chance confirmed that it was his working theory -- so far.
Kevin surmised that Ashland's accident was hitting Chance harder than the rest of them because Rey's death was still fresh. Chance considered Rey's case to be a reminder that not everything was the way it initially appeared, and they shouldn't be satisfied with a simple answer if something seemed off. Chance recounted that finding out Rey had suffered a heart attack had made the whole scenario make sense, and he was determined to delve into what Ashland had done every minute leading up to his death. Chance thought Kevin was the one to do it, but Kevin protested that he wasn't a cop.
Kevin suggested that Chance have a mechanic analyze Ashland's car, but Chance preferred that Kevin take some coffee to the medical examiner instead. Chance envisioned Kevin telling the examiner how much he liked playing a certain fantasy role-playing game and get friendly enough to make sure she knew Ashland's autopsy was their top priority. Kevin gushed about being a good sidekick for Chance and becoming a team, but Chance did not appear enthused. Kevin promised to see what he could do, and he headed out.
At Society, Victor was on the phone, ensuring that everything had gone smoothly when the cops had interviewed the security team that had been assigned to watch Victoria's house on the night of Ashland's death. Adam hovered nearby as Victor requested that he be informed if anything changed. Noah approached as Victor wrapped up his call. Noah apologized for being late, and Victor sternly stated that he was a busy man.
Noah said he appreciated his grandfather taking the time to meet with him, and he inquired whether Victor had reviewed his proposal to turn Top of the Tower into a nightclub. Victor called it a "hell of a concept," and he imagined Noah had spent a lot of time developing it. Noah shared his plans to showcase art during the day and to use sound and visuals to transform the space into different times and places. He pictured it serving as a gallery, event venue, and nightclub, and he referred to his art background and his real-world experience working at the Underground.
Victor was very impressed, but he insisted that Newman Towers was a business that needed Top of the Tower as a functioning restaurant. Noah acknowledged that his pitch had been a long shot, and Victor commended him for presenting a brilliant concept that combined Noah's artistic genius with his experience running a nightclub. Victor cited how Nick had worked on several ventures before returning to Newman Enterprises, making Victor proud. Victor expected Noah to return to the fold one day after gathering his own experience, and he urged Noah to go out and spread his wings.
Noah thanked Victor, and he passed by Adam on his way out. Adam voiced surprise that Victor hadn't asked the bartender to break out the good tequila to celebrate Ashland's demise. Victor refused to pretend to grieve the loss of Ashland for one second, but he didn't think Adam should be glib about the man's death. Adam noted that Victor was back in control of his domain, and Ashland's death was a win for the Newman family. Adam understood why Victor didn't want to seem too happy about it in public, especially since he'd gotten the sense that there were still many questions out there when he'd run into Chance. Adam taunted that he had Victor's attention.
Adam explained that he'd been about to leave town earlier that day to head to Las Vegas for a few poker games, but he'd run into Chance in the park. Adam grumbled that it was how he'd found out about Ashland because no one in his own family had told him the news. Victor defended that they'd been preoccupied, but Adam griped that he would have been the first to know if his father had needed anything underhanded or shady. Adam relayed that Chance had instructed him to stay in town because the Newman family might need support, but he hadn't bothered to clarify that he was a Newman in name only.
Victor asserted that it had been Adam's choice, but Adam snapped that his only other choice had been to let Victor continue to use him whenever Victor didn't want to get his hands dirty. Adam refused to keep trying to earn the respect or acknowledgement that Victor was clearly incapable of giving him. Victor demanded to know what else Adam and Chance had talked about. Adam recalled that Chance had qualified his statement about Ashland's cause of death by stressing that the car crash was the official version. Adam speculated that Chance thought there might have been a different ending to Ashland's story.
Adam contemplated why the police were looking into a simple car crash. Victor admonished Adam for wasting time asking questions instead of being concerned about his sister, and he assumed that Adam was only interested in twisting the knife. Adam reminded his father that just the day before, he'd warned Victor and Victoria that they'd pushed Ashland too far, but Victor had rubbed it in Ashland's face by having him arrested for simply seeing his son in the park. Adam muttered that it didn't matter that he'd tried to warn his family that Ashland had been planning to use Victoria to exact revenge on Victor, since Victor had gotten his happy ending.
Adam mused that it was a crazy coincidence that Victor had wanted Ashland gone, and Ashland was gone. Victor leaned in close. "You're beginning to piss me off, and that's never a good idea," Victor snarled. Victor insisted that Ashland's death had been due to a car accident. Adam found it funny how things had worked out for everyone except Ashland.
Victor noted that Adam had a lot of interest in the death of a man he hadn't liked. Victor acknowledged that Adam had walked away from the company and turned his back on their family, but he urged Adam to remember that when one of them was in trouble, the rest of them forgot about their differences and pulled together. Adam argued that the threat was gone with Ashland dead, and he questioned why his father wasn't acting like it. Victor asserted that just because one threat had disappeared didn't mean others weren't still lurking. Victor declared that Adam was a Newman, and it would do Adam well to remember that. After Victor walked out, Adam stared at him suspiciously through the window.
Noah met Allie at Dive Bar, and she guessed from his expression that things hadn't gone well with his grandfather. Noah shared that Victor had turned him down. Noah cooed that the whole way there, he'd been thinking that at least he'd get to see her, and somehow it would all even out. Allie asked if it had. "Almost," he replied.
Allie suggested that Noah consider the location Summer had suggested. Noah conceded that the Grand Phoenix had a trendy feel with the type of crowd he wanted to attract, but he balked at working with Phyllis. Allie pointed out that Noah didn't have to be best friends with Phyllis to lease space from her. Allie proposed a toast to the roads that had led him there and to the one that would lead him to his final yes. Noah started to lean in for a kiss, but he received a text message, and his expression darkened. Noah reported that it was about Ashland Locke, and Allie asked what the "big jerk" had done. Noah revealed that Ashland was dead.
Allie took back what she'd said about Ashland, but Noah contended that calling Ashland a jerk had been the nicest way anyone had ever described him. Noah ranted that Ashland had done abysmal things to innocent people, stealing their money, trust, and dreams. Allie sympathized that Ashland had hurt the people Noah loved. He recounted that he'd just seen his grandfather, but Victor hadn't mentioned a single thing about Ashland's death, and there had been no way Victor hadn't known about it. Noah pondered why Victor had failed to mention a gigantic event that had impacted their entire family and business, and he sensed that something wasn't right.
Allie brainstormed reasons why Victor hadn't mentioned Ashland's accident. She suggested that Victor had done it out of respect for the time Noah had put into his pitch, but Noah countered that his grandfather wouldn't do something that sweet and considerate. Allie guessed that Victor had wanted Nick to break the news to Noah, but Noah argued that Victor liked to handle things himself. Noah recognized that the way Victor handled people and situations was the reason Nick had left the company years earlier. Allie questioned whether Victor was really that bad.
Allie reflected back on Noah peddling the story about the dark, twisted Newmans and their archrivals, the Abbotts. She wondered what the exact issues between the families were, since Victor seemed to be pleasant. Noah credited his grandfather for having good manners, but he pointed out that Allie hadn't given Victor reason to put her on his enemy list. She pushed him to name one specific, horrible thing Victor had done. Noah cited Victor's hostile takeover of Jabot, noting that it had taken Jack years to get the company back.
Noah predicted that it was just a matter of time before Victor became upset with the Abbotts again, and he didn't blame Allie if she wanted to run in the other direction to avoid being caught in the crossfire. Allie thanked him for the opportunity to ditch him, but she firmly stated that she wasn't going anywhere because she didn't scare easily. Noah conceded that Victor could also be a loving, generous man who would do anything for his family. Allie murmured that family members did things to confound and confuse one another.
Noah guessed that Allie was talking about her father, and she lamented that Keemo had hidden his past and her family history from her. She admitted that she still struggled with it, but she loved her father, nonetheless. Noah felt the same way about his grandfather, but he thought she might want to get out while she could. "Not a chance," she replied, adding that she couldn't think about leaving when things were just getting good between them. They kissed.
At Newman Enterprises, Nick became distracted as he attempted to work. He flashed back to punching Ashland and not being able to find Ashland's pulse, then returning later and finding Ashland gone before Victor had suddenly appeared. Sally entered the office and announced that she'd decided to stay on at Newman Media. Nick recalled that she'd been adamant about leaving, and she explained that she'd let her personal life cloud her judgment. She admitted that she'd been reacting to what Adam had been saying and doing, and it had been a huge mistake.
Sally continued that she'd been given a unique opportunity after being underestimated her whole life, and she owed it to herself to prove to Nick that he'd been right to take a chance on her. She thanked him for being candid with her, but he apologized for being so blunt. Nick added that he was sorry Adam had been jerking her around, especially when Nick had thought Adam had been trying to change. Sally checked her phone and gasped when she learned that Ashland was dead.
Sally recognized that Ashland hadn't been at a loss for enemies, and she assumed he'd been alone in the car because the news report hadn't mentioned anyone else. Sally asked how Victoria was doing, and Nick reported that his sister was on a trip with her kids. He quickly added that the trip had been planned weeks earlier, and Sally swore she hadn't been insinuating anything. Nick replied that she'd done so with her eyes, and he cautioned that Newman Media shouldn't dig too far into the story, out of respect for his family's privacy.
Sally argued that Newman Media could tell the story like no one else, since Ashland had been the disgraced former CEO of its parent company. Nick groaned that it was a lot more complicated than that. Sally reasoned that Nick should tell her what he knew about Ashland's death before she jumped to the wrong conclusions. He insisted that his comments remain off the record, making it clear that they were not to be published or shared with anyone else. He confided that he'd spoken with the cops, and since the story might eventually get out, he would prefer if she heard it from him.
Nick told Sally that he'd had a confrontation with Ashland right before Nick had spoken to her at Crimson Lights. Sally remembered that something had obviously been weighing on Nick during that conversation, and she realized the last thing he'd wanted to deal with had been her personal problems. He joked that it was the last thing he'd want to deal with on any given night. She appreciated him giving her a lot to think about after she'd told him she was leaving Newman Media, and she hoped she could return the favor.
Sally imagined it had been a huge shock to find out Ashland had died in a car accident after Nick had wanted Ashland out of his life. Nick received a text message from Chance, asking if they could meet. Nick claimed that he had a lot of work to do with Victoria away, but he stated on the record that he was glad Sally was staying. He advised her to make sure she stuck to the facts when telling the story about Ashland, adding that it was nice to know he could count on her. Sally stepped into the corridor and looked deep in thought.
On the coffeehouse patio, Chance thanked Nick for meeting him, and the men shook hands. Chance imagined that Nick had his hands full at Newman while Victoria was gone, but Nick pointed out that he'd run the company before. Chance said he would have been happy to stop by Newman Towers, but Nick preferred to avoid any chance of rumors. Chance prepared to update Nick on the case, and he invited Nick to share the information with Victoria.
Chance mentioned that he'd talked to the security team that had been outside Victoria's house, and he found it odd that everyone's stories had lined up to the letter with what Victor had told him. Nick figured that the security team had simply corroborated Victor's version of events. Chance sensed that the security officers had been very careful with what they'd said, providing just enough information to get by, but he'd been at his job long enough to see it as a red flag. Chance entertained the possibility that it wasn't a big deal, but Nick coolly stated that Chance wouldn't have called the meeting if he didn't have doubts. Nick pointed out that he'd gone straight to Chance when he'd found Ashland's ring, and he had been nothing but open and honest. Nick demanded to know what Chance wanted from him.
Chance said he hadn't meant to upset Nick, but Nick told him to "cut the crap" because Chance hadn't needed to deal with Ashland's schemes and lies. Nick recounted that he'd seen through Ashland from day one, and he defended that it was no wonder he was wound up because Ashland was still creating chaos. Chance swore that he was trying to clear up the chaos by getting a clear picture of what had happened from the moment the security team had called Victor. Nick barked that his father was the one Chance should be consulting with, and he stormed off.
Later, Kevin returned to the coffeehouse and bragged about how far coffee, a brownie, and a smile could get him those days. Kevin revealed that he'd just sent Chance the autopsy report, and Chance anxiously checked his phone. Chance read that Ashland had died from blunt force trauma to the head that could have been caused when he'd been pitched forward into the windshield, but he wondered if the medical examiner had been able to tell definitively whether the crash had caused the injury.
Kevin reported that he'd pressed the examiner, who had indicated that she wouldn't go so far as to say it was definitely what had happened. Kevin realized that Chance was thinking about Nick and Ashland's scuffle, and Chance insisted that he was just trying to evaluate the evidence to form the correct conclusion. Kevin guessed that Chance's theory was that Nick had thrown the punch that had killed Ashland. "And if he did, how the hell did that guy end up dead in a ravine?" Chance wondered.
At Society, Nate told Amanda and Devon that reporters were hounding him about Ashland, and he didn't want them to find out that Ashland had played him for a fool because the whole world would discover he'd been Ashland's unwitting accomplice in his cancer scam. Devon said Nate was worried that his history with Ashland would reflect badly on Hamilton-Winters.
Amanda said Nate didn't need to worry about that because the "Grinning Soul's" audience already knew that Ashland had been lying about his cancer, and she assured Nate his name wouldn't be mentioned. Amanda said that everyone wanted to know how Ashland had died, and Nate had had nothing to do with that.
Devon offered Nate time off, but Nate said he wanted to get past his and Devon's disagreement and get back to work. Amanda asked if Nate had spoken to legal at Newman about letting Elena out of her contract. Nate said he'd asked Imani to forward the documents to Amanda. Amanda asked if Nate had been working with Imani on Elena's contract.
Nate said he wasn't sure what Amanda was implying. Amanda explained she hadn't been aware that Nate had been working with Imani; she'd assumed he would contact Newman Media, not Imani. Amanda said she would have a look at the documents from Imani, and she would take the next steps.
Devon asked Nate what PR was doing to fix the double booking and what Nate would do to make sure that never happened again. Nate accused Devon of micromanaging him. Devon asked how asking Nate a question was micromanaging him. Nate claimed it sounded like Devon doubted that he was on top of the situation. Amanda left.
Nate claimed he was trying to do the job Devon had hired him to do. Devon asked why he couldn't ask Nate a question about a job he'd hired Nate to do. Devon said Nate had replaced Tessa with an artist Devon had already booked at another venue, and he wanted to know how their PR team was going to fix the problem. Nate claimed that just by asking the question, Devon made it seem like Nate wasn't taking care of things.
Nate said Devon had delegated the problem to him. Devon agreed and said he wasn't going to act like the problem didn't exist because that was his job. Devon asked if Nate had never asked another doctor about their patients. Nate admitted he had, but he also said he hadn't jumped into the middle of their surgeries. Devon pointed out that it was the first time he'd asked Nate about the situation; if there was a bigger problem, Nate had to tell him so he could fix it. Nate said he was insulted because Devon had implied that Nate needed help or a mentor.
Devon asked if Nate was overreacting because he'd been second-guessing his career change. Nate claimed he wasn't insecure about his decision to switch careers because he'd needed a change. Devon stated that Nate was being sensitive about being questioned. Nate said Devon had accused him of taking things out of context, and he knew when he had a watchdog looking over his shoulder.
Devon told Nate they had to stay sharp because it was a crucial time for their company, and everyone was watching to see whether the merger was going to work. Nate said he knew Devon had a lot of money invested in the company, but Nate also had a lot invested in it and was trying to add value to it. Devon pointed out that Nate was new to the business world and out of his element, and it took time and learning. Devon said he knew the feeling of taking a sharp turn with his career; he'd done the same thing with music. Devon said he was trying to give Nate the same opportunity.
Nate claimed it felt like Devon was stifling him. Nate said Devon was used to calling all the shots, and it sounded like he wanted it to stay that way. Devon said he was sorry Nate felt that way, but that wasn't the case; he wasn't going to argue with Nate. Devon said that having a mentor was a good idea. Insulted, Nate stood up and said he wanted to spend time with Elena, and he left.
At the Rooftop, Phyllis asked Summer how the talk with Harrison had gone about Ashland. Summer said Harrison was doing as well as could be expected. Phyllis told Summer to really protect Harrison because the media would come down really hard on Ashland, and they would probably say, "Millionaire died in shame, he faked cancer, the Locke Ness Monster was finally gone." Phyllis said all hell would break loose, and the media would want comments from Harrison's parents.
Summer told Phyllis the Abbotts were doing an incredible job keeping the reporters away from Harrison. Summer said no one had stepped forward to claim Ashland's body, and it meant that she and Kyle would have to arrange a funeral, for Harrison's sake. Summer said when Harrison got older, it would be good for him to know that the man he'd called Father had been properly laid to rest. Phyllis said she was proud of Summer for being such a good parent. Summer said they all had to be there for Harrison. Phyllis agreed but said they needed to keep Diane away.
Summer asked if Phyllis was deliberately trying to avoid talking about seeing Jack and Diane in the park. Summer stated that Phyllis had said Jack was still in love with her, no matter how complicated things were, and Jack had arrived just when Phyllis and Diane had been at each other's throats. Phyllis said Jack had reacted exactly how she'd thought he would. Phyllis said it had been bad timing for her but great for Diane. Summer said Diane couldn't have set Phyllis up; she hadn't known that Phyllis would be in the park.
Phyllis told Summer that Diane might not have set her up that time, but Diane had taken advantage of the situation when she'd seen that Jack had been in the park. Summer wanted to know what had happened between Phyllis and Jack after Diane had left. Phyllis said she wanted to talk about working at Marchetti. Summer said they'd had a traumatic situation going on, and she didn't think it was the right time to broach the subject with Kyle. Summer suggested they give it time.
Phyllis informed Summer that she might sell the Grand Phoenix. Phyllis said Lily had offered to buy the hotel for Chancellor-Winters and her offer had been more than generous. Summer said she was surprised because she knew the hotel was Phyllis' baby, but Phyllis stated that Summer meant more to her. Phyllis received a text message from Ashley: "Meet tonight for operation take down Diane." The message was followed with "Please respond."
Summer admitted that it had been fun working with Phyllis previously, but she knew Kyle would object because of Diane. Phyllis claimed she wouldn't allow Diane to jeopardize her relationship with Summer. Summer said Kyle might be suspicious of the sudden career change, and he would likely think that Phyllis wanted to work at Marchetti because of Diane. Phyllis said Kyle worked with his mom and dad, the Newmans all worked together, the Winters family worked together, and Phyllis wanted to work with her family. Summer said she would talk to Kyle when the time was right, but there were no guarantees.
Chloe arrived at Newman Media, irritated about all the national media who wanted the scoop about Ashland's death. Sally reminded Chloe they were part of that media. Chloe said she was referring to the reporters who'd arrived in town to uncover some angle that no one else had discovered. Sally said all the media platforms were covering Ashland's death, and they all needed to find an angle.
Sally was shocked when Chloe said the reporters would find out that Nick had clocked Ashland at Victoria's -- probably not long before he'd died in the accident. Sally asked why Ashland had been at Victoria's. Chloe said things had gotten really heated between Ashland and Victoria, and Nick had stepped in. Sally said Nick had told her about the argument. She said he'd obviously left the rest out, and Nick's fight hadn't become public knowledge -- yet. Chloe said Nick didn't have anything to worry about, even if the reporters discovered that piece of information, because Ashland had deserved that punch if the stories about him were true.
Sally asked Chloe why it hadn't been revealed that Ashland had been at Victoria's house that night. Chloe suggested that whatever had happened at Victoria's had had nothing to do with Locke's accident. Sally claimed it spoke to Locke's state of mind. Sally claimed everything pointed to the fact it hadn't been an ordinary accident.
Sally asked Chloe if the Newmans had convinced the police to keep quiet. Chloe said Chance was the lead detective, and he couldn't be pressured. Sally asked if the public didn't have the right to know what had happened at Victoria's prior to Locke's accident. Chloe said the police had kept a lid on it because it was an open investigation. Sally asked what there was to investigate in a single car accident; she was sure there was something else at play.
Sally told Chloe she'd told Nick she would only publish the facts, but she wondered how she could exclude the new information. Chloe told Sally they had to be extremely careful with that story. Chloe left. Sally sent a text message to Nick.
At the park, Nick told Sharon things were crazy with the news of Ashland's death. Sharon said not all the news had been released, since there hadn't been any mention of what had happened at Victoria's house prior to the accident. Nick said the police probably didn't want to provide any information they didn't need to, and it didn't change the fact that he felt responsible for what had happened before Ashland had driven into the ravine.
Sharon asked if Nick had spoken to Victor, but Nick said he hadn't because he felt Victor had been lying to him. Sharon said Victor had been known to go to extremes when it came to his children, and he'd chosen not to tell Nick or the rest of the family that he'd pulled some strings.
Nick told Sharon there was a precedent for that particular situation. Sharon asked if Nick was referring to Adam accidentally killing that man on the farm when he'd been a boy. She said Victor had covered it up, and Adam still bore the psychological scars. Nick claimed he wouldn't allow history to repeat itself; the truth always surfaced.
Nick told Sharon the circumstances leading to Locke's death, indicating how messed-up the situation had been. Nick said he couldn't shake the feeling that Victor had been up to his old tricks. Nick said he knew there was more going on. Sharon said that it was possible that Ashland hadn't died; he'd gotten up, driven off, and crashed. Nick said he really hoped that was what had happened, but the police were questioning that scenario, and Chance had had a lot of questions when he'd spoken to Nick.
Sharon asked Nick if the cause of death had been determined. She said it had taken quite some time to determine that Rey had had a heart attack the night he'd been driving; that could be a similar situation, since Locke had been known to have heart issues. Nick doubted that was what had happened with Locke, and he could tell Chance was suspicious about the chain of events. Nick received the text message from Sally: "Need to talk RE Locke story and fight at Victoria's house."
Sharon asked Nick about the text message. Nick suggested that he get some answers first then they would talk again. Nick thanked Sharon for always being there for him. Nick left.
Nick arrived in Sally's office, and he asked about her message and where she'd gotten her information. Sally claimed she had a lot of reliable sources. Nick said he'd already told Sally that he'd been in a confrontation with Ashland. Sally stated that clearly there had been more to it because Nick had hit Locke. Sally asked why he'd hit Locke and why Locke had been at Victoria's house. She asked if Locke had been invited or if he had broken in. She asked how exactly Nick had figured into it.
Nick told Sally the reason he'd punched Ashland had been because Ashland had become violent with Victoria, and Nick had needed to stop it. Sally asked if Ashland had driven off at that point. Nick said he had no idea how the crash had happened and that Locke had been pronounced dead on site. Sally claimed Newman Media could beat everyone to the punch. Nick said that wasn't a good idea.
Sally told Nick that ChancComm had racked up huge numbers by covering Ashland, and Chancellor-Winters would do the same thing. Sally said they were the only ones who had the inside scoop about what had really happened, and they could out-scoop everyone by publishing the story about Locke's final night of life.
Nick told Sally he understood beating the competition to a story, but he was still reeling from Locke's violent attack on Victoria and how Locke had refused to allow her to walk away. Nick said he'd had to step in. Sally said if they didn't get ahead of the story, someone else would, and it would appear that either Newman Media didn't know what they were doing or that they were covering something up. Nick told Sally he understood; the story was in her hands, and he asked what she planned to do with it.
At Chancellor-Winters, Devon told Amanda that every time he'd asked Nate a question, Nate had claimed he was being micromanaged. Amanda asked if the dynamics between Devon and Nate could be fixed. Devon said he didn't know and that things had gotten worse after Amanda had left. Devon said he might have pulled Nate into the business world too fast.
Devon told Amanda that it might have been a mistake to put Nate in such a high-level position instead of allowing him to start slowly. Amanda said Nate had been chief of surgery, and Devon had needed to offer Nate a high-level position to make it worth it for Nate. Devon said he should have known there would be issues with such a big career change. Amanda suggested that Nate needed some guidance. Devon said Nate had refused that.
Amanda told Devon she believed that Ashland's death had rattled Nate. Devon said things hadn't been smooth sailing between him and Nate prior to Ashland's death. Devon said the whole point of the company was for it to be a cohesive family working situation, and he didn't know if they would be able to achieve that.
At Crimson Lights, Sharon asked if everything was okay with Nate. He said it would be once he got home to Elena.
Nate sent Elena a text message: "Leaving work. So I can see you." Elena responded with a heart emoji. Nate smiled. Nate received a call from Imani. Imani said she'd called because she wanted some company. Nate took his coffee to a table and left Elena's coffee on the counter. He said he would try to keep Imani entertained.
At Newman Media, Sally asked if Nick was allowing her to decide if Newman Media would publish what she'd learned or if he was sending her a message, as her boss, to look the other way. Nick said it was her decision, but he wanted a heads-up so that he and Victoria would be prepared.
Sally told Nick that no other media was aware that Ashland had been at Victoria's house and had an altercation with her and Nick before he'd been found dead in his car. Sally admitted it might be a little premature, and it was important that what she published was rock solid. Sally said she had more of the story, but not the whole story, because the police hadn't established Ashland's whereabouts prior to his death.
Sally told Nick that it would be better not to publish anything leading up to Ashland's death; however, when she had all the relevant information, she would publish the whole story. Nick said that was smart, and he wouldn't forget it. Nick left.
At Crimson Lights, Chance asked how Sharon was handling the news about Ashland. Sharon said it had been a shock, and it had brought up memories of Rey's death. Sharon said Nick had been a great comfort to her, even though he was still trying to wrap his head around the situation himself.
Chance asked Sharon if Nick had told her everything that had happened with Ashland. Sharon said Nick had told her Ashland had died. She said Nick had been a strong shoulder since Rey's death, and she'd wanted to offer whatever support she could to him. Feeling uncomfortable with the questioning, Sharon told Chance she needed to tend to something in the back, and she left.
At Society, Kevin said if Adam was looking for someone to blackmail, he needed to look elsewhere. Kevin said that since he'd been out of Adam's orbit, everything was great in his world: a great job, a great relationship, and a great family -- the three fronts in which Adam had struck out.
Adam said gloating wasn't a good look on Kevin, but Kevin claimed he'd earned it because Adam had put him through hell. Adam retorted that Kevin hadn't been an innocent victim. Kevin claimed he'd done his best to change, but Adam kept wallowing in his bad habits. Kevin said he'd assumed that Adam had heard about Ashland's death. Adam said he'd heard it had been a simple open-and-shut case, and he wondered why Kevin was working on it after hours; it appeared there was more going on than met the eye.
Kevin told Adam that when someone had died, there had to be a proper investigation; it took a little more than a look and see at a crash site. Adam questioned why, if it had been a simple single vehicle crash, there was an all-hands-on-deck approach. Kevin said a dead body of a notorious person equaled huge public interest. Kevin said there was a lot of pressure from above to make sure all the "T's" had been crossed as quickly as possible. Kevin said that since Adam had been arrested several times, he would understand how investigations worked. Kevin left.
Sally arrived at Society, and she approached Adam at the bar. Adam said he hoped Sally hadn't hunted him down again. Sally said Adam didn't need to worry about a repeat performance or her heart bleeding out all over the bar. Sally said they would see each other around town, and she didn't want any awkwardness between them every time they crossed paths.
Sally told Adam that after their last conversation, she'd realized he'd been right; they were better off apart. She'd realized she'd been putting too much energy into them and not enough into herself, given that she had a lot to deal with as CEO of Newman Media. Adam noted that Sally hadn't resigned. Sally said she couldn't sacrifice the opportunity of a lifetime. She declared that no man was worth that, not even Adam. Sally left to order her takeout.
When Sally returned, Adam said she'd made the right call because he'd always believed she was the right person for that job. Sally said that she'd had a little help from Chloe in making her final decision, and Nick had made a very strong argument for her to stay. Sally said she and Nick had a very positive and productive work dynamic. She disclosed that they'd had a meeting on how to cover Locke's death, and she had a good grip on how she would handle it.
Adam told Sally the situation with Locke should have ended when Locke had accepted the payout, given up his stake in the company, and agreed to annul his marriage to Victoria. Sally remembered how Adam had believed paying Locke off would have gotten Locke out of the Newmans' lives. Adam claimed that hadn't been enough for Victoria because she hadn't been able to settle for anything less than Locke's complete destruction. Sally said it was hypocritical of Adam to criticize someone for wanting revenge. Sally said she knew Adam had contemplated partnering with Ashland shortly before Ashland's death.
Adam told Sally he'd wanted to partner with Locke when he'd believed Locke had wanted go after Newman Enterprises, but once he'd discovered that Locke's target had been Victoria, he hadn't wanted anything more to do with Locke. Adam said he'd warned Victor and Victoria about Locke because he'd felt things would spiral, and he hadn't wanted anyone to get hurt; however, he wouldn't have predicted that the great Locke Ness Monster would meet his fate in a simple car crash.
Sally told Adam he didn't know the half of it. Adam said he knew Sally wanted to share information. Sally said she could share what she'd learned, but she would pass. Sally said she wasn't feeling magnanimous after Adam had called her pathetic and broken her heart. Sally said whatever reasons Adam had had to break things off with her, he'd been willing to hurt her to get what he'd wanted. Sally stated that her loyalty was to Newman Media, and she wasn't about to give him any information. Sally left.
At home, Ashley sent a text message to Nikki and Phyllis: "On my way to GP now." Ashley told Jack she was going out, and when she returned, they could go over her lab report. The doorbell rang; Ashley opened the door and asked what Diane was doing there -- again. Diane said she had something for Harrison. Ashley let her in. After Ashley left, Diane told Jack she'd bought some age-appropriate books for Harrison about loss and grief.
Jack told Diane that had been very thoughtful because they were all concerned about Harrison. Diane told Jack she knew Jack was thinking about something Phyllis had said earlier: that Diane would try to swoop in and do everything for Harrison, but it wouldn't make up for the pain she'd caused Kyle when he'd been a boy. She admitted she'd left Jack to guide Kyle through the most devastating experience of Kyle's life, to pick up the pieces after she'd faked her death, and that Jack felt she had no right being there for their grandson.
Jack told Diane that previously, his reaction would have been as Diane had described it, but when she'd brought the books for Harrison, Jack had wondered why he hadn't thought of that himself. Diane said she thought that had been a big step forward for them. Jack said he wouldn't question her feelings for Harrison or how quickly she'd connected with him, but at that moment, Harrison's family had to be there for him. Almost in tears, Diane said it meant a lot to be considered family again and that Harrison knew her as his grandmother. Diane promised she wouldn't let Harrison down the way she had Kyle.
Diane wiped her tears and told Jack she felt guilty being happy that Ashland was gone when it was such a sad day for so many others. Jack said not too many people would miss Ashland after all the horrible things he'd done, and the only person who would grieve for Ashland was Harrison. Diane said that made Ashland's death even more tragic, and leaving behind so little love had been a terrible way to end his life.
Jack asked if Diane was thinking about the legacy that she'd left behind all those years before. Diane said she couldn't help but compare the situation to her own. Diane said that was in the past, and unlike Ashland, she'd been given a second chance and wouldn't take it for granted. She hoped Jack believed that.
Jack told Diane he'd been touched that Diane had put so much thought into the books, and he said Summer and Kyle would be thankful. Diane asked Jack to let her know what else she could do. Jack said she'd gone above and beyond.
Diane thanked Jack for what he'd done at the park, shutting Phyllis down when she'd been going off on Diane. Jack said there was no need to get into that again. Diane said she wouldn't condemn Phyllis for what she'd said because she was used to Phyllis' attitude toward her, and sometimes, she'd probably deserved it. Diane appreciated how Jack had handled the situation. Jack claimed he'd been looking out for Harrison.
Nick arrived at Newman. Victor said Nikki would make an official statement about Ashland, and he asked if Newman Media was on the same page. Nick said Sally's source had told her that Ashland had been at Victoria's that night, but for the time being, Sally had decided not to use that information in Newman Media's coverage. Nick said there was more to Sally than Victor believed. Victor suggested they go home, since it had been a long day, but Nick wanted to talk about Ashland's death. Nick said Victor had been dancing around the issues, but Nick needed some concrete answers.
Nick told Victor that since Ashland had been found in his car, Nick had no idea what had taken place the previous evening, and he wanted Victor to tell him what had happened. Victor said Nick hadn't been responsible for "that bastard's" death. Nick claimed there were too many holes in the story to ignore. Victor said that in his opinion, the simplest explanation was always the best.
Nick told Victor that night had been playing over and over in his head. He said he'd hit Ashland, and Ashland had struck his head on the hearth. Nick recalled that there had been blood on the hearth, the man had been unconscious, and he'd had no pulse. Nick asked how Ashland would have had the strength to leave the room if he'd only had a faint pulse. Victor claimed Ashland had a history of surviving anomalous situations. Nick said there hadn't been a trail of blood. He asked if they were to assume Ashland had dressed his own wounds and avoided detection when the police and Victor's team had been looking for him. Nick asked about the ring by the French doors and said there were too many things about that night that didn't make sense.
Victor said there wasn't anything for Nick to worry about. Angry, Nick slammed his glass down on the desk and said Victor couldn't have it both ways. Nick said one minute it was family unity, and the next, he was shut out completely. Nick stated that Victor was constantly changing the rules as he saw fit, but Victor claimed he was trying to help Nick.
Nick asked Victor to stop twisting things into an alternate reality where Victor controlled what was right or wrong and Victor's version of the truth. Victor said Locke was as dead as a doornail, Victoria was safe at home with the kids, Nick was alive and well, and he should be home with his son. Nick said the fact that Victor was fighting him proved that Victor was hiding something. Nick asked how he was supposed to trust Victor when every time, it was that kind of manipulation.
Victor said that after Nick and Victoria had left the house, his team had entered, found Locke dead on the floor, removed his body, put Locke into his car, driven him to the ravine, and staged the accident.
Victor reiterated that Nick hadn't done anything wrong; he'd saved Victoria's life when Locke had gone after her to inflict bodily harm or even kill her. Victor said Locke had died because he'd hit his head on the hearth. He called it an accident and said no one cared whether Locke was dead; he was a bastard, a fraud who'd done much damage to their family and to Victoria and Nick. Victor said the cops had found the car in the ravine -- no evidence, case closed. Victor said his motive had been to protect Nick from being investigated.
At the Grand Phoenix, Phyllis said that, in light of Ashland's death, she was surprised that Nikki had shown up. Nikki said no one was shedding tears over him. Phyllis said some people were better off dead, like Diane. She asked if Nikki remembered how happy they'd been when they'd believed Diane had died. Ashley arrived and explained that she'd been delayed because "that viper" had shown up on her doorstep, and Diane felt free to pop in whenever she pleased. Ashley said Diane was using the situation with Ashland and Harrison to insinuate herself into their lives.
Ashley told Niki and Phyllis that she wanted Diane gone yesterday. Nikki said she hadn't been able to dig up any dirt on Diane in Los Angeles. Phyllis said they were going to create a situation where Diane would take such a spectacular fall that Kyle would be done with her, and everyone else would follow suit. Nikki said Diane would be forced to leave town in shame.
Phyllis told Ashley they would center it around Diane's job at Marchetti. She said they would orchestrate a situation where it would appear that Diane was trying to sabotage the company for her own personal gain, and in order to accomplish that, Phyllis would get a job at Marchetti. Ashley claimed that was a horrible idea because it was possible their plan would cause Marchetti to be jeopardized, and it was under the Jabot umbrella.
Nikki told Ashley that Jabot wouldn't suffer because they would come up with something that would harm Diane but not the company. Ashley asked if "Gloria" rang a bell when she'd tainted Jabot's face cream and claimed she'd meant no harm. She reminded Nikki that it had been a huge catastrophe. Phyllis said their plan would be more nuanced. Phyllis promised they would handle things deftly.
Ashley told Phyllis that people would be a little suspicious when Phyllis had a sudden desire to join Marchetti. Phyllis said she'd been prepared when she'd broached the subject with Summer. Summer had asked about her ulterior motive, but Phyllis said she'd handled that. Ashley asked how Phyllis could be so sure she'd handled it, and Ashley said that they couldn't afford for Phyllis to fail. Phyllis claimed she wouldn't; she would go through with the plan, and only Diane would get hurt. She asked Nikki and Ashley to trust that she wouldn't let them down.
At the coffeehouse, Kevin told Chance he had another piece of the puzzle. Kevin said they'd received a tip that a car matching Ashland's had been parked at the gas station on the road that ran along the back end of Victoria's property. Chance asked how long it had been there, which direction it had been facing, and which way it had gone. Kevin said that was all the information he had.
Chance told Kevin they had to get the video footage from the gas station to get the answers they needed because there were too many questions about how Ashland had gotten from Victoria's house to the bottom of the ravine.
At Newman, Billy told Victoria he'd returned from Los Angeles after he'd heard about Ashland. Billy asked Victoria what had happened.
Victoria told Billy that Ashland had arrived at her house because he'd wanted to salvage what had been left of their great love. She said Ashland had been out of control, and when she'd told Ashland there would never be anything between them, he'd grabbed her. Victoria said she'd grabbed something to defend herself. She said Nick had arrived, he'd put himself between her and Ashland, and she had run into the kitchen to call the police.
Victoria told Billy that Nick had punched Ashland, and Ashland had fallen and hit his head on the hearth. She said when she'd returned to the room, Nick had told her that he hadn't been able to find a pulse. Victoria said Ashland had been dead -- or at least they'd thought he had been. Victoria said after she'd called Chance and asked him to come to her home, she and Nick had gone outside to compose themselves before Chance's arrival.
Victoria told Billy that when she and Nick had returned to the living room, Ashland's body had been gone, and later, they'd been informed the police had found that Ashland's car had crashed into a ravine and that Ashland was dead. Billy said he'd known that Ashland had had a very dangerous vibe about him. Billy said he'd given Nick the heads-up, but Nick had said it hadn't been any of Billy's business.
Victoria told Billy that Nick had stopped in to check on her after that conversation, and he'd saved her life because of Billy. Billy said it had been kismet that he'd run into Nick prior to leaving for L.A. Billy claimed there was some justice, since Ashland had died the same way his persona had been born -- in a car crash. Billy was happy Ashland was out of Victoria's life for good. Victoria thanked him, and they hugged.
At Crimson Lights, Nick asked Sharon to lock the door so they could talk. Nick told Sharon he'd killed Ashland, and Ashland hadn't died in the car accident. Nick said Ashland had died after he'd fallen and hit his head. Sharon surmised that Ashland wouldn't have been able to drive.
Nick told Sharon that when he and Victoria had gone outside, Victor's team had entered the house and removed Ashland's body, placed him in his car, and then staged the crash. He said Victor had claimed he'd been protecting Nick and Victoria from an investigation that might have cast a different light on what had really happened that night because they had all hated Ashland, and there hadn't been any eyewitnesses. Sharon said that Victor thought he was protecting his children.
Nick told Sharon he'd been very shaken when he'd thought he'd killed Ashland. Nick said Ashland had been out of control and going after Victoria because he'd had nothing to lose by hurting her. Nick admitted he had hated Ashland and wanted him out of their lives, but he hadn't wanted to kill him. Nick claimed the way Victor had botched everything by breaking all the rules, Victor had made him complicit in that crime.
Nick suddenly realized he'd made Sharon complicit because he'd told her what had happened. Sharon said Nick had needed someone to talk to, and she was glad he'd sought her out. Sharon said Victor had put Nick into a very difficult position, and she asked what Nick was going to do about it. Nick said he wanted to report to the police about what Victor had done, but it would only drag the situation out and put Victoria through more hell. Nick said he hated how Victor had decided to alter the narrative.
Sharon said she was concerned about the hell Nick was going through. She said Victor always had to control things without considering how it impacted others. Nick said Victor had hoped he wouldn't ask any questions, and Victor thought he'd been protecting Nick from knowing he'd been responsible for another man's death. Sharon claimed it had been an accident. Nick claimed he was responsible.
Sharon told Nick that Ashland had put himself on a collision course that had led to his death. She said Victoria's ex-husband had shown up at Victoria's house -- uninvited, hellbent on revenge -- and Nick had arrived to protect Victoria. She told Nick to be grateful for whatever power had put him there when Victoria had needed him. Sharon told Nick never to doubt he'd done the right thing and that he'd acted in self-defense. She said that what Victor had done after that didn't change that.
Nick told Sharon he hoped Chance felt the same way because it was clear Chance suspected there was a lot more to that story. Nick said he'd been completely honest when Chance had questioned him because he hadn't thought there had been anything to hide, but obviously, Chance hadn't been satisfied with his answers. Sharon said Chance had been interested in what she knew when he'd stopped in for coffee.
Nick asked if Chance had interrogated Sharon, but Sharon said it had just been a bunch of casual questions. She said she'd told Chance what Nick had told her. Nick said Chance had questioned him about Victor's security team and why they hadn't seen what had happened at the house. Nick said he'd asked Victor about it, and Victor had finally admitted the truth. Nick said Chance wasn't going to let go, and it had put Victor in a very difficult position. Sharon said that was on Victor. She said Nick hadn't hidden anything from the police. Nick said, "Until now."
At Chancellor-Winters, Nate told Devon he'd heard Billy had returned from L.A., and he wanted to know how things had gone, since Billy was his counterpart. Nate hoped Billy would show him how to keep things on track and moving according to their mission.
Nate admitted that had he cleared booking Jason Santino with Devon first, as he should have, there wouldn't have been any issues. Devon understood that Nate had been used to having people report to him. Nate said he wanted to be the best COO that Devon would ever need. Devon said he wanted to see Nate succeed.
Amanda arrived and told Devon and Nate that Naya was in a coma. Nate asked if it had happened that day. Amanda confirmed it had and berated herself for having left Naya. Nate said she had nothing to feel guilty about because Naya was in good hands and receiving all the medical attention she needed. Amanda was afraid that Naya would never wake up and that Amanda would never get a chance to say goodbye.
Nate told Amanda that plenty of patients in similar situations had regained consciousness. Devon told Amanda to fly to Virginia immediately; there was nothing going on that couldn't be put on hold. Amanda claimed there was a lot in motion that couldn't be put on hold. Nate said if things couldn't be delegated, Amanda could handle things remotely. Devon said the most important thing was that Amanda and Imani be with Naya.
Nate told Amanda that comatose patients could hear, and they were aware of everything around them. Nate told Amanda to talk to Naya, make a playlist for her, and make a list of everything Naya could look forward to when she woke up.
A short time later, Elena arrived, and she noticed that Nate seemed to be in a daze; she asked what was wrong. Nate told her that Naya had lapsed into a coma, and they both knew that was a bad sign. Nate said Devon had given Amanda and Imani an indefinite leave of absence.
Nate told Elena he would miss them because Amanda was an amazing lawyer, and Imani was a great ally. He said Imani understood everything he'd been going through with Devon. Elena asked if Imani had been fueling the tension between him and Devon. Nate said he knew Imani wasn't Elena's favorite person, but blaming Imani for his issues with Devon was ridiculous.
Elena told Nate that she hadn't implied Imani had solely been responsible; however, if Imani was in Nate's ear, telling him he was right and Devon was wrong, that wasn't helpful. Nate said it sounded like Elena didn't care about Imani's situation. Elena said her heart was breaking for the family, including Imani. Nate said Imani and Amanda were going through a real tragedy, and he and Elena should be helping them through it.
At Society, Abby told Chance she couldn't understand what there was to investigate because Ashland had lost control of his car; that seemed open and shut. Chance said he wanted to make sure that he hadn't missed anything and it meant he had to talk to everyone who'd known Ashland, including Victoria. Abby didn't understand why Chance had to question Victoria unless Chance believed there was more to the story. Chance claimed it was just routine.
Kevin arrived and told Chance he had some... but Chance signaled for Kevin to stop. Abby asked Kevin if the matter had something to do with Ashland's car accident that had killed him. Chance said he would tell Abby everything once the investigation was done. Chance and Kevin left, much to Abby's chagrin.
In the park, Kevin told Chance he'd scanned the security footage from the gas station from the time Ashland had arrived to when he'd left; the footage was blank. Kevin said the gas station manager had said they'd had similar problems previously. Kevin said he couldn't be sure whether the footage had been tampered with or erased, but the footage from the gas station was definitely sketchy because the video was blank only in the spots where Ashland would have been seen.
Kevin told Chance that he'd checked other street surveillance cameras, and it appeared there had been more than one person in Ashland's vehicle that night. Kevin said the footage was grainy, and he couldn't tell whether it had been a male or female. Kevin said there were other indications that there had been more than one person in the spot where Ashland's car had allegedly been parked: footprints and recently smoked cigarette butts. Chance said one of Victor's guys had been smoking when they'd interviewed him.
Chance told Kevin the assumption was that Ashland had parked his car at the gas station and walked to Victoria's, but if Ashland had been there with malicious intent, it was possible he'd been the one who'd disabled the security cameras so there wouldn't be any evidence that he'd been there. Kevin said it seemed unlikely. Chance agreed.
Chance told Kevin the autopsy had revealed the cause of death had been a traumatic blow to the head; that was consistent with Nick's story about the injury suffered when Ashland had hit his head on the fireplace after being punched. Kevin said it was also the kind of injury suffered when a car crashed into a ravine.
Chance told Kevin to suppose Ashland hadn't died and that it had only appeared that way because he'd had a thready pulse that had been too weak to find. Chance asked if Locke could have gotten up after that injury, walked out of the house, and walked through the expanse of the heavily wooded property to his car. Kevin asked if Chance thought that someone had moved the body. Kevin asked why Nick and Victoria would have called the police and then moved the body.
Chance told Kevin that Nick and Victoria's first instinct had been to call him because they'd thought Ashland had died. He asked what would have happened if they'd gotten scared because it wouldn't look like self-defense. Chance also asked how Ashland's ring had fallen out of his pocket if he'd walked out. Kevin said Ashland had had a head injury, and it was possible he'd made his way to the door, stumbled, fallen, and dropped the ring out of his pocket. Kevin pointed out that Nick had approached Chance right after he'd found the ring, and that didn't sound like Nick had been trying to cover anything up.
Nick arrived at Newman, and Billy told Nick he'd returned from L.A. after he'd heard about Ashland. He said he'd wanted to make sure Victoria was all right. Victoria said she'd told Billy everything. Nick stated that because of his conversation with Billy, he'd gone to check on Victoria to make sure she was okay. Billy was relieved that Nick and Victoria were okay and that Victoria was Locke free. He declared the Locke nightmare over. After Billy left, Nick asked if Victoria had spoken to Victor and if he'd said anything about that night. Victoria said she hadn't.
Nick told Victoria that Locke's fall at Victoria's had killed him. Nick said that on Victor's orders, his bodyguards who had been watching the house had removed Ashland's body from the house, put him in his car, and made it look like the accident had caused the blow to Ashland's head. Nick said Victor had claimed he'd done it for them because he hadn't thought anyone would believe it had been self-defense. Victoria said perhaps Victor had done the right thing.
Nick asked if Victoria believed that Victor had done the right thing by lying to them. Victoria said she understood that Nick was upset because Victor had taken things into his own hands; however, in that moment, Victor had had no idea what had happened, and he might have thought she'd killed Ashland. She said Victor had been acting to protect them. Nick claimed all Victor had needed to do was talk to them, and he would have known the truth.
Victoria told Nick that Victor had done what he'd had to do in order to end the chaos Ashland had caused in their lives. Nick said there were a million ways things could go wrong; lying to the cops had been extremely risky, and Victor had put them in a position where they were forced to lie, as well. Victoria agreed they'd become complicit in the coverup. Victoria said she needed to talk to Victor.
Victoria opened the door to leave, and Chance was standing there. She asked how long he'd been there. Chance said he'd just arrived, and he asked why Victoria looked upset.
At Society, after discussing their children, Chelsea told Abby she was in a really good place since she'd stopped trying to be what everyone had wanted her to be, and she'd made some bold changes. Chelsea saw Billy, and she told Abby she felt like her life was back on track.
Billy asked Abby if Chance was investigating Locke's death. Abby admitted he was. Billy wasn't sure what there was to investigate. He said Locke had been a dangerous person, and he'd lost control of his car. Billy asked what Chance was looking for. Abby said Chance hadn't shared details of his investigation with her. Abby left.
Billy asked Chelsea if she'd had any thoughts on the ideas that he'd left for her before he'd left town. Chelsea said they had to come up with a show that would keep their audience entertained. Billy asked what she had in mind.
Abby asked if Chelsea's new gig was with Billy and his podcast. Chelsea said the new gig with Billy had come at the right time. Abby realized Chelsea had a romantic eye on Billy, and she walked away smiling.
At the coffeehouse, Amanda tearfully told Devon that since she'd met Naya, she'd kept telling herself that once they'd gotten through the rough spots, they would finally get to the good stuff like family dinners and holidays, but it felt like something was always taking Naya away from her. Devon said to just tell him if she wanted him to go with her.
Amanda told Devon she would be okay because she had her sister, and they would help each other through the crisis. Amanda thanked Devon for making it all possible, and she admitted she didn't know when she would return. Devon told her to focus on giving Naya what she needed. They kissed.