Julie Williams expressed her nervousness at allowing Tony DiMera to announce the name of the Salem Stalker during the Horton fundraising circus. Her husband Doug was hopeful that Tony's announcement would mean the end of the fright and terror that had been inflicted on the people of Salem. In the grandstands nearby, Sami told Lucas that she hoped Tony did reveal the killer's name so she could personally eliminate the person that killed her father, Roman and grandmother, Caroline. Will overheard his mother's threat and ran away. Sami and Lucas followed close behind and Julie and Doug hurried off in the other direction in hopes of heading off the hurting boy. When Sami finally caught up to Will she assured him that she would never kill anyone. Will reminded her that her previous lashing out only came back to haunt her eventually. Just then, Lucas arrived and agreed with Will. Sami balked that Lucas wouldn't back her up, but he stopped her and explained that her behavior was understandable considering her recent circumstances. While Sami and Lucas joked with Will about his clown costume, they heard a tiger growl behind them. Will looked from his perch on the catwalk ladder and saw the tiger ready to attack his parents. Lucas ordered Will to climb higher up the ladder and stay on the catwalk until they came to get him. On the count of three, Lucas and Sami leapt into the clown car behind them and waited until the tiger left. As Lucas started to exit the car to warn the others, Sami stopped him and said, "You can't go, because I love you!" She tried to cover by saying she meant Will loved him and couldn't live without his dad if anything happened to him. The two decided it was time to rescue Will, but before they got out of the car Lucas had something he wanted to do...he leaned over and kissed Sami. When they finally retreated from the clown car, they climbed to the catwalk to find Will and witnessed the mayhem below in the center ring.
Standing by the side of the ring, Celeste remembered her visions when she wore the killer's mask. She also remembered seeing the tiger's eyes and recalled the bloody tiger's teeth Tony had once held. Just then, Lexie arrived and Celeste informed her that Tony was about to reveal the Salem Stalker's identity. Lexie listened, interested in what Tony had to say, but Celeste worried that he was making a mistake he wouldn't be able to recover from. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, the killer crept into the tent holding the tiger's cage and unlocked the three padlocks while the tiger paced restlessly. The stalker opened the cage door and the tiger leapt out. Then the killer pulled out a remote control device and while working the buttons, a bucket dripped blood over Tony's head.
Standing on the sidelines, Belle wondered if Tony wasn't the killer, then who was? She hurried off unable to deal with the fright and suspense of the situation. Shawn followed close behind and found Belle crying in a side-tent. She told him that she couldn't take much more, and that if Tony named the killer, they could retaliate and murder someone else close to them. "No one is safe," she told Shawn. Belle worried about her parent's relationship and Celeste's premonition that her father would kill her mother. Shawn tried to reassure her that John would never hurt Marlena, to which Belle replied, "unless there was a freak accident."
Brady rushed into the tent to tell Victor that Tony had taken control of the center ring and was about to reveal the killer. They both wondered where Nicole was, and Brady left to find her. He finally found her holding a plastic bag that she claimed she had found on the ground. He pulled out the contents to find black clothing, but before he could accuse Nicole of anything, they heard a tiger growl behind them. They counted to three and then both jumped into a nearby wardrobe. While the tiger raged outside, the two waited out the storm. After the tiger left, Brady tried to open the doors but found they were stuck shut. Realizing they were stuck in the tight quarters, Nicole took advantage and tried to seduce Brady into making love to her before she was killed by the tiger. After a passionate kiss, Brady pulled away and told Nicole that he loved Chloe. Nicole tried to convince him that Chloe would never find out, but just then, Victor opened the wardrobe doors. Brady rushed out and told Victor they had tried to escape the tiger before hurrying off to warn his dad. Victor grabbed Nicole by the arm and accused her of releasing the tiger. He proceeded to inform her that if Tony didn't name her as the killer then he would. Nicole secretly vowed to never let that happen.
Tony began to announce his big secret and told John to make sure that the real killer was caught as she was there among them. Before he could go any further, Hope stopped Tony and asked him if he had any evidence. Tony replied that they would be shocked when they found out who had betrayed them. The music started and Tony tried to build the crowd up for the climax of finding out who the Salem Serial killer is. John decided he had had enough and tried to drag Tony off, but Tony reminded him that the people would only demand their money back and the fundraiser would be a failure. When Hope suggested that he was putting his life at risk, Tony admitted that he was ready to go head-to-head with the killer. Just then, a guard interrupted them saying that the tiger was loose and all the radios were dead. John and Hope hurried off and found the empty cage. John sent the guard to have Mickey evacuate the tent and he and Hope went to the supply tent to find larger guns to ward off the animal. The guard met up with a friendly face in the next tent and asked them to relay the message to Mickey, but when he turned the person knocked him unconscious. Meanwhile, Hope and John found a tranquilizer gun and tried to get it to work. Just as they had a direct aim on the tiger, Marlena came in and whimpered when she saw the tiger nearby. John's gun misfired and he leapt on top of Marlena as the tiger pounced. John realized that Marlena was bleeding and worried that the scent of blood could bring the tiger back. He cleaned her wound, but the tiger returned anyway. John reloaded and shot, but hit a balloon instead. However, the tiger suddenly turned and walked away. John offered to stay with his wife, but Marlena insisted that he help get the tiger. Before he left, John kissed Marlena.
Bonnie Lockhart flirted with a mime and told the unfortunate happenings of her day at the circus from her daughter dunking her in the dunk tank to losing her contacts and being forced to wear clown glasses that were dirty. The mime took her glasses to clean them and when Bonnie offered to buy him a drink, he backed out and dropped her glasses. Bonnie fell to her hands and knees and began searching the tents for her glasses. She crawled around and after meeting face-to-face with the tiger, and then tripping over an unconscious guard, Bonnie happened upon a remote control device. She pushed the buttons, but then a gloved hand took the device from her and handed her the glasses she had been searching for before ducking away.
Tony told the crowd that the killer was a woman that was part of an upstanding family in the Salem community. He explained how he had come to the conclusion that he held the answer Salem had been searching for, but before he announced the big secret Tony asked for a moment of silence for the dead. Just as Tony began to reveal the killer's name, the bucket overhead dumped and Tony was covered in blood. Tony yelled that even blood and a tiger would not keep him from revealing the killer's name. He pulled out his sword, but was stopped when the bucket overhead fell and hit Tony on the head. Tony staggered and the tiger closed in. Tony was helpless to fend off the tiger and was mauled.
At the circus, Tony seemed mortified when a pail of blood was poured on him, as he was about to announce the Killer's name. Tony refused John's warnings to leave the ring because the tiger on the loose. Regrouping, Tony called out, "A crafty killer, but not even blood or a tiger are going to stop me from bringing you down." As he withdrew his Samurai sword, Tony defied the tiger saying, "Come and get me!" But the pail tipped off the ledge above, hitting the Count on the head. A now unsteady Tony was no longer a match for the ferocious predator. Tony's sword flew into the air as the tiger savagely attacked him. Celeste realized she was seeing her premonition come to life. In disbelief, Sami shielded Will's face from the horrific scene in front of them.
Tony's screams continued as John retrieved the sword, but the Killer's hand pulled the lighting cable as John swung a blow at the tiger. After the blackout, John found the tiger had carried Tony's body away. The next minutes were filled with a frenzied search for the tiger and the Killer. Hope sent the screaming crowd out of the tent, and Marlena rushed in to John, who told her he believed the Killer was still there. Once alone, Marlena found herself face to face with the tiger briefly. When he walked away, she refused workers' suggestion to leave the tent. Instead of mentioning the tiger, she went further into the tent after watching the workers take the same direction the tiger had.
In their search for Tony, Lexie and Celeste came face to face with the tiger. Retreating, they found themselves trapped between the predator and the masked Salem Killer. As John arrived, both the tiger and the Killer disappeared, but Lexie and Celeste continued searching for Tony despite John's advice. Recalling her deadly warnings to a confident Tony, Celeste saw the same determination in Lexie who refused to abandon her brother. Believing she might be fated to save her Tony, Lexie convinced her mother to overpower the evil she sensed.
Belle, Bonnie, Julie, Kate, Mimi, and Sami took refuge in the tiger's cage for safety. Sami renewed old arguments while Kate said she would have given her life for Roman. Finally, Julie threatened to put a muzzle on Sami if she didn't stop. No one noticed Belle slip out. But they did see the Killer approach the cage shortly after. With Kate screaming at the knife-wielding figure, Sami locked the cage. Finding they were now trapped, Bonnie pulled a small flame-throwing device, which chased the Killer away. But Bonnie's lit cigarette started a fire in hay surrounding the cage. While some of the men answered their screams for help, Doug ran for fire extinguishers and to evacuate remote areas of the tent. While looking, he saw a figure run out and then found a roustabout worker who had been knocked out by the Killer for the cage's keys.
Belle was wandering through areas of the tent unaware the tiger was behind her. Whispering a warning to her, John waited to shoot the tiger when Shawn began distracting it. A moment later, the tiger attacked John. Shawn's shot at the tiger scared it away. Marlena rushed in to find John alive, but severely scratched on the face. A sudden piercing scream from Lexie and Celeste brought everyone to Tony's mangled body holding on to life. John told a wide-eyed Marlena that Tony had to survive - at least long enough to name the killer.
Reliving the events of the tiger's rampage, Doug remembered bumping into the killer.
Doug told John about seeing someone in black, assuming it was a mime but now realizing it might be the killer. Julie worried that if Doug was able to recognize the Killer, he could be the next victim.
Doug overheard Marlena tell John she was in a backstage dressing room during the entire rampage. Suspicious, Doug asked Marlena why she had lied, since he had found all the dressing rooms empty after the fire broke out. Marlena changed her story, now claiming to have taken cover in a supply room on the other side of the tent. She said the "chaos and panic" made her unaware of where she was. Hope finished her investigation at the scene by reviewing a list of all the women in attendance at the event. Based on Marlena expertise as a psychiatrist, Hope asked what other woman besides Nicole could be the Killer. Marlena said she couldn't see anyone else besides Nicole.
Nicole returned to the Kiriakis Mansion with Brady, but she was apprehensive about facing Victor. Addressed as "my wife, the murderess" by Victor, Nicole found a police officer waiting. Officer Ruiz had been sent by Hope to keep an eye on Nicole in case she was needed for questioning. Victor taunted Nicole calling her the Salem Stalker, and although Brady gave Nicole an alibi during the tiger attack, Victor said he could supply evidence of his wife's guilt. But Nicole was relieved and grateful to learn that Brady believed in her innocence of the Salem Serial killings.
Arriving at University Hospital, Lexie attended to Tony's "substantial blood loss, severe muscle and tissue damage..." as his pulse weakened. Speaking to her unconscious brother, Lexie apologized for doubting him. As she looked forward to his waking, Lexie felt Tony squeeze her hand when she mentioned his identifying the Killer.
Shawn went to University Hospital after suffering smoke inhalation, accompanied by Hope, John and Marlena. To get Mickey's attention, Bonnie pretended to faint not anticipating he would bring her to the hospital as well. While Bonnie flirted with her doctor to get out of medical costs, Julie confronted Mickey at the hospital about his relationship with her, so soon after Maggie's death. Sensitive about talking about it, Mickey said there was nothing between them. Julie's concern was Mickey's vulnerability, telling Doug that Bonnie is a gold digger. Minutes later, Mickey found Bonnie pilfering medical supplies before she asked to spend the night at his house.
Meanwhile, a figure in physician's coat, wearing medical gloves carried a medical bag to the Hospital Pharmacy Storeroom. Having the necessary keys for access, the figure entered the Pharmacy and disposed of a mask and black clothes from the bag. Unlocking a cabinet, the figure filled a syringe with a liquid substance, placed it inside the bag, locked the Pharmacy Storeroom door, and left.
At Tony's bedside, John admitted to his half-brother that he was wrong. Hoping for Tony's forgiveness, John mentioned learning about the killer. Waking, Tony struggled to speak the name, "It was ...", but was interrupted by Lexie who insisted they leave rather than upset him. Lexie refused Tony's attempts to tell her, preferring to wait until his condition was stable. But Celeste whispered to herself that Lexie was wrong, and that there was very little time left.
Marlena's assurance that Shawn would be fine, only cause Belle to say not everything would be fine until her parents were reconciled. Telling Belle it wasn't that simple, Marlena agreed to speak with John. But later, Marlena told John that a reconciliation was more complicated than just loving each other and only spoke of being supportive of Belle.
Hope told John the forensic tests showed the syringe found on the scene contained remnants of a very powerful drug intended to send the tiger into its rampage. The missing keys helped confirm the entire scenario was premeditated. While John said Tony was lucky to be alive, Celeste added her sense of great danger. Lexie spoke briefly with her brother again, unaware of the mysterious figure outside the curtain. Telling Hope soon they would know who the killer is, Celeste declared Tony's time was running out.
A Police Guard allowed the white-clad figure access into Tony's cubicle. Tony awoke to the sight of a syringe over him held by the white-clad, gloved figure. Trembling, he said, "Oh, my God...I knew it was you. I knew it was you." Preparing the syringe, Marlena coldly replied, "You're just too smart for your own good, Tony."
Jan stalked Shawn and Belle from outside a window, fantasizing about making Shawn happier than Belle could and someday living together with him.
At the Kiriakis Mansion, Victor called University Hospital for Tony's condition, eager to have him name Nicole as the Killer. Meanwhile, Nicole opened up to Brady, saying Victor was framing her after making a deal with Tony. Admitting to her affair with Colin Murphy, and the blackmailing afterwards, Nicole said Victor had killed Murphy. Brady found it unbelievable that Victor was holding evidence to frame her. Brady confronted Victor, but they found Nicole had slipped out past Officer Ortiz.
At University Hospital, Hope and Lexie tried to convince Celeste that Tony was in critical condition, but safe. But Tony was now at the mercy of Killer Marlena. "You've beaten death so many times; Now, you're flat out of luck." she told him. As Tony struggled for the nurses' pager button, Marlena smiled saying, "Prepare to meet your Maker, Count."
Resting in Lexie's office, Celeste saw herself at Tony's bedside in half-dream, half-premonition. Celeste heard Tony try to reveal the killer saying it was already too late. As Celeste saw the masked Killer enter Tony's cubicle, she couldn't believe it was real. Tony scolded Celeste that it wasn't a dream but that he would be dead in a few minutes. A hysterical Celeste awoke finding herself locked in the office. The lights blacked out as she sank to floor sobbing Tony's name. Celeste noticed a photo of Tony in Lexie's office had changed to a skeleton, later telling Lexie, it is finished.
In Tony's cubicle, Marlena taunted DiMera regarding her motives, saying "You'd like to ask me why ... Our beloved Cassie had the same question as she was pleading for her life. She just wouldn't understand, Tony. Neither would you." Impressed that Tony had found her out, Marlena continued, "Nobody else did ... except for Cassie. And you would have caught me, too, if it hadn't been for your Big Top ego getting in the way. You're just like Stefano ... the image of him..." But Marlena's chilling words were interrupted as she caught Tony's hand trying to ring for help. "Nobody is going to save you this time ... Not even your heroic half-brother, John."
Hearing John's voice outside startled Marlena and brought hope to a nervous Tony. When the Police Guard said an unidentified female doctor was with Tony, John looked in to see only the Count, who tried unsuccessfully to convey that Marlena was hiding behind a curtain.
Feeling safe once John left, Marlena taunted the Count further. Preparing the syringe, she said it wouldn't be half as much fun as watching tiger take Tony apart, and added laughingly, "But I'm sorry. It will be lethal." Marlena chillingly described the excruciatingly painful drug would slowly paralyze his body. The Count coughed and wheezed in desperation, as Marlena predicted the collapse of his lungs and his heart stopping, while leaving enough blood and oxygen in his brain to know every second he was dying. "Pretty creative, huh?" Marlena laughed and then said, "I'll bet you wish you'd never come back to Salem." Summoning his strength, Tony spit at her. Inserting the syringe into his I.V., Marlena said, "This Phoenix has risen before, but it's never, ever going to rise again." Tony could only watch as she injected the drug. As it coursed through his veins, Marlena said, "Go to hell, Count" and then bent over and kissed him on the lips.
Finding herself trapped in the cubicle with John outside, Marlena finally got away unnoticed when the Guard took a call. Changing her clothes in the Pharmacy, Marlena lied to a suspicious John outside the door, saying she was in the Chapel. Tony was suffering when Nicole slipped in to ask if he was planning to name her as the Killer. Dropping a piece of jewelry on the floor, she didn't see Tony mouth Marlena's name. Monitors signaled as Tony went into cardiac arrest, sending a frightened Nicole out. Bumping into Victor, Nicole denied she was there to harm Tony. Marlena protested as Lexie revived Tony long enough to identify the Killer. As John asked him, "Who's the Killer?", Tony eyed everyone in the room as his head turned and fixated on Marlena.
News Correspondents reported from University Hospital, while Tony was near death. Unsure why his stable condition changed so radically, Lexie administered a shot of adrenaline to keep Tony alive long enough to identify the Killer. Though his mind was clear, the now-paralyzed Count couldn't speak Marlena's name. With Celeste's encouragement to focus, Tony grabbed Marlena's hand, causing her to jump.
Nervously covering her feelings, Marlena said, "Tony, it's Marlena. I'm right here. You're holding my hand. Was there something you wanted to say?" But Tony could only answer mentally, "It's you! You're the killer! That's what I want to tell them." "John, your precious Doc is Salem's Serial Killer." Marlena told Lexie that Tony's grip was growing weaker. Pleading for her brother to hang on, Lexie tried to revive Tony when his monitor flat-lined. Marlena watched and whispered, "Time of death, any minute now."
Outside, Victor questioned Nicole's reasons for being at the hospital, while she denied going near Tony. John mumbled aloud, wondering what Tony was thinking when he grabbed Marlena's hand. Marlena explained it away as Tony's memory of past feelings for her. Lexie declared her brother dead at 9:29 pm. But as she gave the news to everyone waiting outside his cubicle, Tony's covered body twitched. Sitting up, he looked out at Marlena comforting Lexie. Cursing Marlena, Tony said, "You're not going to get away with this." As Tony's body was wheeled past Celeste for an autopsy, she heard his voice calling her.
At the loft, Belle and Shawn honored their chastity promise, while Belle fantasized about more intimate moments together. Next door, Rex was blaming himself for not trusting Tony. Just as Mimi convinced him to visit Tony, Shawn and Belle brought the bad news.
Lexie explained to the Blacks that Tony's sudden lack of responsiveness seemed to be a toxin reaction. Attending the autopsy, Lexie would later confirm her theory of toxic poisoning. Overhearing this, Victor felt sure Nicole had a hand in Tony's death. Looking around the cubicle, he found Nicole's hairpin on the floor confirming she had been there. Nicole had just hinted that the one thing that she could give up Victor and his fortune for was Brady. As Victor arrived with the hairpin, Nicole became hysterical at being falsely accused by her husband and found out by Brady that she had lied about seeing Tony.
John surprised Marlena saying he thought she knew who the next victim would be. But he was referring to her work with the Salem PD doing psychiatric profiles. Delighted she hadn't been found out, Marlena turned cold when John suggested discussing their marriage. Passing Lexie's office Marlena listened at the door to Celeste speaking inside. Appearing in Samurai garb and sword, Tony's ghost appeared to Celeste saying she would bring the Salem Killer to her knees with his assistance. Not wanting to die, Celeste was afraid to accept the deadly task. Tony assured her she would not die if she used the knowledge she already possessed. Quoting his Samurai teacher, Tony said, "Reach inside, and look within"...Stepping back, The Ghost of Count DiMera disappeared. Marlena knocked and asked if Celeste wanted to talk. While Celeste said Marlena wouldn't believe her, Marlena closed the door saying, "Why don't you give me a try."