Jennifer was passing through Horton Town Square with Eric when she received a phone call from one of her reporters. "Yes, I did read the piece you filed on Ben Weston. [And] it was very solid, but we need a little bit more -- we need to really nail it down, all right? I do not want to jump the gun on this one," she told the person before ending the call.
Jennifer explained to a curious Eric that Ben hadn't been definitively linked to the cabin fire yet -- and she didn't want to approve any articles that blamed him for it until she was absolutely certain that he was actually responsible. "With all this drama with J.J., I've learned to reserve judgment. I'm not gonna jump to any conclusions about anything," she continued.
Eric optimistically assured Jennifer that the EMT office was doing an internal investigation that would surely result in J.J.'s name being cleared. "Oh, no -- I am not gonna sit around and wait for that. I am gonna do everything I can to find out who put those drugs in his apartment," Jennifer replied -- just as Eve passed through the area.
Eve insisted that there was only one explanation for the bag of cocaine that had been found in J.J.'s apartment -- and that explanation was that J.J. and Theresa had fallen back on old habits. "[And] I just can't believe that the judge granted Theresa custody [instead of] Brady! [I mean], a selfish, spiteful woman who shacks up in a coke den? Over a man who has proven to be a very wonderful father?" Eve added, incredulous. Jennifer maintained that someone had planted the cocaine in J.J.'s apartment. "You wouldn't happen to know who that someone is, would you?" Jennifer asked Eve curiously.
"You should get your facts straight before you start throwing around accusations!" Eve defensively countered, adding that Brady wasn't responsible. Jennifer agreed that Brady was most likely innocent. "[But] whoever did plant those drugs has a vested interest in this custody case," Jennifer continued, prompting Eric to suggest that Victor might be the guilty party. Jennifer dismissed that theory, explaining that Brady and Victor weren't even on speaking terms at that time. "[But] you would do just about anything to help Brady, wouldn't you?" Jennifer mused, eyeing Eve suspiciously.
"You are accusing me of planting those drugs!" Eve concluded with a scoff of indignation. "Just making an observation. I know how much you care about Brady and Tate -- and how much you want them together. And I [also] know from past experience that you can be ruthless when it comes to getting what you want," Jennifer replied with a shrug. "You don't know anything about me, Jen, so why don't you stick to what you do know? [Just] go home and bake doughnuts for your boyfriend!" Eve dismissively countered. She considered distracting Jennifer and Eric with the truth about Deimos' murder but ultimately decided not to do that.
"J.J. should have minded his own business and not gotten involved in the custody case...but I guess when you're a holier-than-thou Horton, you just can't help yourself!" Eve spat before storming off. "What the hell was all that about?" Eric wondered, watching as Eve disappeared from view. "I don't know...but I am gonna find out," Jennifer replied, clearly intrigued.
Eric agreed with Jennifer's observation that Eve's behavior had seemed oddly defensive. "And she never specifically said that she didn't plant those drugs," Jennifer curiously noted. "[But] Eve didn't have access to J.J.'s apartment. J.J. said Brady was the only person that was there before the Child Services [worker] showed up for the surprise inspection," Eric pointed out. "[So] what if the Child Services worker planted the cocaine and then pretended to find it?" Jennifer theorized, adding that some people would do anything if the price was right. Jennifer immediately contacted Adrienne, sensing that was an angle worth pursuing.
Maggie went to the Salem Inn to see Brady, who was still struggling to adjust to not having his son around all the time. He showed her a child's watch and sadly explained, "Remember the -- the -- the grandfather clock that is right outside of [Tate's] room at the mansion? [And how] he said it ticked so loudly, [and] he always talked about [it]? [Well], he's never had a watch before, so I thought I'd give him his first watch, and...I don't know, I thought it might remind him of [that] clock [and] make him miss his old room [less]...and his old man, as well." She declared that it was a lovely gesture.
Maggie offered to take Brady to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, but he assured her that he wasn't the least bit tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol at that time because he knew that would just make things even worse. She was glad to hear that but maintained that he was entering a difficult phase of his life and would need the support of loved ones to get through it. She wanted him to move back to the mansion, but he insisted that he couldn't do that. "Eve is not welcome there, [and] she has been with me throughout this whole process, [so] I'm gonna show her the same loyalty," he explained.
Meanwhile, at the Brady Pub, J.J. comforted Theresa, who was still struggling to absorb the devastating news that Roman had just shared. "I've always had a really complicated relationship with my mom, [and] it's crazy, 'cause until I had a kid of my own, I didn't realize [that] being a mom is a hell of a lot harder than it looks. I never told her that, and now...it may be too late," Theresa mused, fighting back tears.
"I'm shocked, you know? I mean, my mom was in remission for so long, and then...all of a sudden, the leukemia's back. [And] I kept wondering why they didn't rush back to Salem as soon as they found out I was back from Mexico, [and] I was so upset about it, [and] I kept asking why, and my dad [just kept saying] they were busy, but [now I know] it was because they were waiting for a definitive answer from my mom's doctors," Theresa added, feeling guilty. J.J. guessed that Theresa's parents had simply wanted to avoid worrying her until there was no longer any doubt that the cancer was back, since she had already been through so much lately.
"Ironic, isn't it? I got my son back, and now I'm losing my mom," Theresa noted before breaking down in J.J.'s arms. She eventually regained her composure and apologized for staining his shirt with tears and makeup. He dismissed the concern, joking that her son had already stained the shirt with cereal the previous week. She managed a laugh and assured him that neither she nor her son would be ruining any of his other shirts anytime soon, since they were moving to Los Angeles that day -- for good. "My dad said my mom needs to start chemo right away, [and] there's no guarantee that it'll work, so, um...I'm gonna go be with her," she sadly explained.
Later, while J.J. was helping Theresa pack, Brady entered the pub with Maggie, who had insisted on treating him to lunch. "What is this?" Brady demanded to know when J.J. and Theresa returned to the main section of the pub with suitcases and Tate's stroller. "Tate and I are leaving Salem," Theresa explained. "Like hell you are!" Brady snapped, prompting J.J. to warn that Tate was with Roman and Anna in another room and would be able to hear raised voices. Theresa calmly reminded Brady that she no longer needed his permission to take their son out of Salem. Brady countered that the custody ruling was already in the process of being appealed.
Brady lashed out at Theresa, assuming that she was once again trying to punish him for choosing her sister over her -- and that she was also trying to run from her problems, as usual. "Theresa is not 'running'; she is going to be with her mother. Kimberly's cancer's back, [and] she might be dying," J.J. clarified for Theresa, who was in tears again. Stunned, Maggie offered Theresa a few words of support then went to say goodbye to Tate. J.J. followed Maggie, wanting to give Theresa some time alone with Brady, who had quickly softened after hearing the bad news. Brady apologized for having automatically assumed the worst about Theresa once again.
"It's okay. I'm kind of getting used to it," Theresa replied with a shrug. "Listen, Brady, I know California's a long way away, and I know you love Tate like crazy, and that you're gonna miss him so much, but...I just -- I don't know what else to do, you know? It's just...life is short, and, you know, you can lose the people you love at any moment," Theresa tearfully continued. "What kills me is that I was so selfish, and the one time I wasn't, Brady -- the one time I wasn't -- I lost you," Theresa concluded, taking Brady's hand. Eve arrived in time to witness the moment between Brady and Theresa. "What's going on here?" Eve asked curiously.
Brady explained to Eve that Theresa and Tate were moving to Los Angeles to be with Kimberly, whose cancer had recently returned. Eve was sorry to hear about Kimberly's bad news but gently suggested that it might be best for Theresa to leave Tate with Brady, since Theresa was going to be busy helping Shane take care of Kimberly -- and Caroline, for that matter. Theresa seemed to realize that Eve had a point -- and even started to say goodbye to Tate when Maggie and J.J. returned with the boy. However, Brady quickly interrupted, insisting that Tate needed to stay with Theresa for the time being.
"[Your mommy] needs you right now. [I know because] your daddy went through this with his mommy -- your grandma, Isabella -- and you didn't get a chance to know her, [but] I think you should get to know your [other] grandma in California. I think she should get a chance to spend as much time with you as she possibly can," Brady told Tate before turning to Theresa. "Despite everything that's happened, you are a great mom, and I know you'll take care of him," Brady assured Theresa, who insisted that Brady was welcome to visit Tate in Los Angeles anytime, regardless of the judge's ruling.
Theresa stepped aside to talk to Eve, who was standing in a corner of the pub, refusing to watch Brady say goodbye to Tate. "I can't [do goodbyes], you know, after Paige and everything," Eve explained to Theresa, fighting back tears. "[But] I will call him every day, all right? And I'll remind him to brush his teeth, and I'll read to him over the phone...[I mean], if that's okay with you," Eve added. "Of course," Theresa replied. "Take care of Brady for me, okay?" Theresa added, also fighting back tears. Nodding, Eve apologized to Theresa for everything that had happened. Theresa returned the apology and gave Eve a hug.
Meanwhile, Tate refused the watch, wanting Brady to keep it. Brady promised to use it to count down the minutes until Tate would be in his arms again.
Later, Eve ended a phone conversation with Shane then rejoined Brady, who had been sitting alone at a table, staring sadly at the watch. Meanwhile, outside the pub, J.J. kept Theresa and Tate company as they waited for a taxi to arrive to take them to the airport. Theresa thanked J.J. for everything. "Kind of blows my mind -- you know, that we became friends. We...are friends, right?" she asked. "Yeah, I guess we are," he confirmed. She declared him "one of the good guys" and gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "You're gonna be all right," she added before heading toward the taxi, which had just arrived. "So will you," he quietly replied.
Ciara unexpectedly returned home while Claire was in the middle of a phone conversation with Tripp, who was at the hospital with Steve and Kayla. "You didn't have to get off the phone with your boyfriend just because I walked through the door," Ciara said as Claire ended the call. "Tripp isn't my boyfriend," Claire insisted. "Whatever," Ciara dismissively replied.
Claire maintained that Tripp only had feelings for Ciara. "[And] I am so sorry about what you saw between me and Tripp, but it did not mean anything, okay? It just happened," Claire added. "Things don't just 'happen' with you, Claire -- you make them happen. You went after Tripp on purpose [because that's] what you do. I start caring about a guy, and the next thing I know, you're trying to get him into bed. [So] stop pretending that you care [about me when] the truth is [that] you'd do just about anything you could to hurt me," Ciara bitterly countered.
Claire tried to deny the accusation, but Ciara remained convinced that Claire wanted Tripp. "[And] you can have him, [because] I'm moving on," Ciara announced with a shrug. "With who -- Ben Weston?" Claire asked incredulously. Claire was quick to point out that Ben had tried to kill Ciara, but Ciara insisted that Ben had actually saved her life. "How can you be so naīve? [Unless] maybe you're not -- maybe you wanted to play house with a serial killer. [I mean], maybe you were so damaged by Chase that you've convinced yourself that you don't deserve to be with a good guy," Claire gently mused.
"I don't need your advice -- on anything," Ciara told Claire. "If you want to help me...stay out of my way," Ciara added before retreating to her bedroom on her crutches.
Meanwhile, at the police station, Hope gave Ben his meds then started interrogating him again, still convinced that he was responsible for the cabin fire. He maintained his innocence. "It was an old cabin. The electricity was running off of a generator. It's possible maybe some of the wiring frayed, [and] it caused a spark, [and] maybe [that] caught some of the brush that was overgrown outside," he suggested with a shrug when she practically forced him to explain how the fire could have started without his help. "You're lying," she concluded without giving the theory even a second of thought. "I'm not lying!" he insisted, clearly frustrated.
"I care about Ciara! I'd never hurt her! When I first smelled the fire, I was, like, a mile from the cabin, [and] I ran back as fast as I could [because] her leg was broken, [and] I knew she wouldn't be able to get out of there without my help! That fire had to have been an accident!" Ben maintained. "Except...it wasn't," Rafe countered, joining the interrogation.
"The fire marshal's preliminary findings," Rafe explained while tossing a file at Ben. "He found the blaze at the cabin to be 'suspicious -- perhaps even set intentionally,'" Rafe continued as Ben read the report in disbelief. "[Well], there were only two people anywhere near that cabin, and we know that Ciara didn't do it...so that only leaves you," Hope triumphantly reminded Ben, who insisted that the fire marshal's findings didn't make any sense. Hope argued that Ben had probably set the fire without even realizing it, since he had been off his meds at that time and had even been hearing voices -- voices that might have been telling him what to do.
Ben seemed to be considering Hope's theory at first, and she egged him on, sensing that she was close to getting a confession out of him. However, he eventually remembered something that had happened at the cabin.
"No. I didn't set the damn fire," Ben confidently insisted, smiling at the memory of the moment that Ciara had decided that she could trust him. "I would never hurt Ciara. I told her that, and she told you that she believes me. That's all I have to say," Ben told Hope, who was clearly annoyed to hear that. "I want my phone call," Ben added as Hope exited the conference room with Rafe.
Rafe quietly warned Hope that there still wasn't enough hard evidence to definitively prove that Ben was the person who had started the fire. "Don't you worry about that. I'll find it. I'll do whatever it takes to make sure that he never gets anywhere near my daughter again," Hope vowed. Meanwhile, back in the conference room, Ben dialed Ciara's cell phone number and asked for her help.
• Brady says goodbye to Tate.
• Theresa decides to leave Salem.
• Claire questions Ciara about Ben.
• Hope and Rafe continue to blame Ben for the fire.