While passing through the town square, Belle and Brady traded updates on her troubled marriage and his departure from both Titan and the Kiriakis mansion. Belle kept glancing over her shoulder, and when Brady wondered why, she hesitantly filled him in on what was going on between Sami and the DiMeras -- and how she had been dragged into it.
Brady suggested that Belle could give the money in her offshore bank account back to Stefano. "Hmm. Would I rather cross Stefano DiMera or Sami Brady?" Belle mused. "Tough call," Brady conceded. Belle wished Sami had learned her lesson the last time -- or the time before that, or the time before that.
"Everybody knows you don't cross Stefano DiMera, or you and everyone you love will pay," Belle fretted. Belle didn't want to get John and Marlena involved, but Brady urged her to reconsider, arguing that she was going to need all the help she could get, especially if she planned to keep the money. Brady promised, however, that he wouldn't say anything to John and Marlena himself.
Changing the subject, Belle wondered what Brady's next career move was going to be. Brady said he planned to see how the Basic Black relaunch went then take things from there. Belle predicted that Victor was going to be hurting at Titan without Brady around to run things, prompting Brady to reveal that Victor had actually already replaced him -- with Philip. Belle was shocked to learn that Philip had moved back to Salem, but when Brady asked, she claimed that she wasn't upset -- and that seeing Philip around town wouldn't be weird for her at all.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Philip tried to convince Victor that they needed to find a way to monetize the drug that had been used on Caroline -- before someone else beat them to it. "I've kept this under wraps for a reason. Now, until we know exactly what we have, our number one job is making sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands," Victor stressed, adding that the drug couldn't even be presented to the FDA without first conducting a double-blind study, anyway. Philip argued that the drug could be marketed as a supplement to circumvent the need for the FDA's approval, but Victor refused to take shortcuts that could tarnish what was, to him, part of Bo's legacy.
Later, Philip received a visit from Kate, who was thrilled to have him back in Salem. Philip and Kate's talk quickly veered toward the subject of business, and he vowed that he was going to do great things with Titan. Philip assured Kate, however, that he wasn't particularly focused on the fashion line Titan had recently launched, meaning she wouldn't have to worry about Basic Black having Titan as competition. "You go and play with your fun clothes and handbags and stuff, and I'll rule the world," Philip declared.
Smiling, Kate admitted that she liked the idea of being the mother of the king of the world. Although he knew that Kate would love to see him do such a thing, Philip claimed that he had no intention of staging a coup and usurping Victor. "Really? Well, we'll see about that," Kate skeptically replied. Philip said he needed to get back to work, and Kate took the hint and showed herself out. Once he was alone, Philip contacted someone and asked if he could talk to the person off the record. "I need to figure out a way to fast-track a pharmaceutical in development -- with or without FDA approval," Philip explained.
Later, while Philip was messing around on the basketball court, he missed a shot -- and Belle caught the basketball as it bounced away. Elsewhere, Brady returned to his and Theresa's townhouse and was surprised to find that it had been fully furnished while he had been gone. "Wow. Theresa, you move fast," Brady muttered to himself before going to check on Tate.
At the abandoned warehouse, a distorted voice greeted Hope over a loudspeaker, promising to free Ciara in exchange for information about the experimental drug Victor had been funding. Hope reluctantly revealed what she knew about the drug, and she also gave up the name of the doctor who had developed it. As soon as Hope explained that she didn't know where Salinas' lab was located, the television shut off, leaving her unable to see what was happening to Ciara.
Hope angrily knocked the television off its pedestal, shouting that she had already revealed everything she knew. When she didn't receive a response, Hope sank to the floor in despair, sobbing as she begged for Ciara to be released unharmed. Again, no one responded, but after a few seconds, Ciara emerged from a nearby room and rushed over to Hope. As Hope and Ciara embraced, a hooded man quickly gathered up Hope's cash and left with it. Hope didn't bother trying to stop the man, who removed his hood once he was a safe distance away from her.
Hope took Ciara home and tried to ask her about what had happened, but Ciara was too shaken to talk about it. Hope stressed that Ciara couldn't tell anyone else about what had happened because she needed to be the one to deal with it. Hope felt guilty for revealing information Bo had fought hard to protect, even after Ciara pointed out that Hope hadn't really had a choice in the matter. Ciara wondered if Hope was going to try to go after the kidnappers and make them pay. Hope replied that Ciara was never going to lose her -- and that was all Ciara needed to know.
Later, while Ciara was asleep on the couch, Victor arrived with a team of three men he had instructed to shadow Hope and Ciara until the matter was resolved. Victor assured Hope that he wasn't upset that she had revealed information about the drug, adding that no one would ever be able to find Salinas, anyway, because he had the doctor hidden away at a very secure location.
Victor was sorry that Hope had gotten involved in the whole mess, but she stressed that she wanted to be involved. Hope asked Victor to stay with Ciara for a while. Victor agreed and didn't bother to ask any questions, knowing that Hope wouldn't answer them -- and that he wouldn't be able to talk her out of whatever it was that she was planning to do. Victor offered to send someone with Hope, but she declined.
At the police station, Rafe contacted the Martin mansion and asked the receptionist if Malcolm was still a guest there. The receptionist reported that Malcolm had just checked out -- and that someone else had just called to ask the same question but hadn't identified herself. After thanking the receptionist, Rafe hung up and tried to contact Hope, but the call went to voicemail.
Malcolm passed through the park while talking to someone on the phone, promising that he was getting ready to leave town -- and that no one had any idea that he was connected to the person on the other end of the call. "Thank you for your mercy," Malcolm added before hanging up. As Malcolm stuffed his cell phone back in his pocket, someone shot him once in the chest and calmly walked away.
Ciara was still sleeping when Hope returned home. Hope took Ciara upstairs then returned to the living room, removed her gun from the waistband of her pants, and stuck it in a lockbox that was built into one of the desk drawers. Meanwhile, someone knocked on the front door. Hope wasn't particularly surprised to see that the visitor was Rafe. Hope told Rafe that she didn't feel like talking to him anymore that night.
"If you don't want me here as a friend, fine; I'll just be here as a cop. Seth Malcolm's dead. He was shot while walking through the park. You want to tell me where you've been the last two hours?" Rafe asked.
As Brady and Theresa unpacked their belongings in the new apartment, Tate cried in his room. Brady wanted to hold his son, but Theresa assured Brady that the pediatrician has stressed that they needed to let the baby "self soothe" in his new room. As Brady said he wanted to check on his son anyway, Tate stopped crying. Theresa and Brady smiled as they looked at their son on the video monitor.
Brady and Theresa returned to unpacking and chatting about food. Theresa laughed about Brady's fondue pot. When Theresa suggested that they swing by Marlena's apartment in their building to raid their pantry, Brady laughed and showed Theresa his key to the apartment. Theresa grabbed the video monitor of the baby, and the two left for Marlena's place.
After returning from their raid, Theresa and Brady ate fondue. Theresa looked over at Brady's coat and was inspired. As Theresa started to draw, she stopped and apologized for getting distracted. Brady told Theresa he was happy to see her excited about designing. When Brady stared quietly into the distance, Theresa asked him if he was thinking about Victor. Theresa apologized for placing a wedge between him and his grandfather. When Theresa suggested that Brady return home to Victor and his job at Titan, Brady raised an eyebrow in surprise.
Brady asked why. Theresa explained that she could see Brady's negative reaction to learning that Philip would be running Titan. Fighting tears, Theresa noted that Philip was nearly a saint compared to her lies and exploits. Theresa rattled off her past misdeeds, but Brady interrupted her to argue that, unlike Philip, Theresa was sorry for the bad things she had done. Theresa fretted that she had ruined Brady's life, but he disagreed. Brady and Theresa made love in their living room.
In the town square, J.J. and Gabi talked about movies. After reenacting the Rosebud scene from Citizen Kane, J.J. dropped his box of popcorn on the ground. Giggling, Gabi helped J.J. clean up his mess. The two joked that they had odd things in common, like court-mandated community service. J.J. pointed out the places in the square that he had broken the law. Gabi countered that J.J. had not committed murder though.
J.J. mentioned Paige, and Gabi reminded J.J. that he had helped catch Paige's killer. J.J. said he regretted how much he had hurt Paige. When J.J. noted that Paige had been out of his league, Gabi talked about all the men that she had liked that had been out of her league. J.J. playfully rolled his eyes and assured Gabi that she was a catch. Talk turned to Rafe. Gabi talked about how much her brother had anchored her through the years. When Gabi said that she felt like she continually disappointed her family, J.J. said he felt the same way with his family.
"That's another thing we have in common," J.J. joked. J.J. added that they were not on a date but in a self-help group. Gabi reminded J.J. that she did not want anything serious, and he countered that he was the least serious guy on the planet. As J.J. and Gabi walked through the park, he straightened her jacket and looked into her eyes. Gently, J.J. and Gabi kissed.
In the park, Belle ran into Philip on the basketball court. When Philip asked Belle why she was wandering the park alone, Belle said she could not sleep. Philip said he had the same problem. When Philip asked about Shawn, Belle admitted that Shawn had returned to Maine. Belle added that she and Shawn were on a break. Philip asked if Shawn had cheated, and Belle asked Philip to butt out.
Belle suggested a game of horse. While they played, Philip admitted that he was worried about Victor after Victor had lost Bo. Belle accused Philip of hiding something from her. "Feels like we're still married," Belle joked. Philip asked Belle if she planned to stay in Salem. Belle shrugged. When Belle pointed out that Philip kept turning the conversation back to her, she noted that Philip was avoiding talking about himself, as usual.
"It's scary you still know me better than anyone," Philip said. After Philip won the game, Belle challenged Philip to open up to her. As Philip donned his jacket, a coin fell out of his pocket onto the floor. Belle picked it up and asked about it. Philip noted that it was a challenge coin from the Marines. Philip explained that it was his lucky coin. As Belle said goodbye, Philip asked Belle to dinner. Belle declined, commenting that they both needed to figure out what they were doing with their lives.
After the doctor confirmed that Thomas was doing well, an overwhelmed Abigail collapsed in a chair at the hospital. Abigail wanted to nap in the on call room, but Chad convinced her to leave the hospital with him. Chad escorted Abigail to a nearby hotel so that she could rest. Chad offered to alert Abigail if her phone rang. As Abigail handed Chad her phone, she smiled through her exhaustion.
Abigail sat on the bed with Chad and talked about her son. When Abigail said that she had held back telling Ben that she had wanted to name their son Thomas, Abigail chided herself for not recognizing then that something had been wrong with her relationship. Chad promised to keep Abigail safe. As Chad added that he would sit with Abigail while she slept, Abigail thanked Chad for not giving up on her. Chad said that he never would.
Chad and Abigail kissed and began to take off one another's clothing. Chad pulled away. When Abigail asked what was wrong, Chad noted that he needed to back off because they were both too exhausted to think straight. Abigail nodded in agreement. Chad took Abigail's hand and reminded her that she was strong. With a smile, Abigail thanked Chad for being her friend.
"I want you to know that that is as special to me as everything else," Abigail said. After a yawn, Abigail curled up in the bed to sleep. "I think it's going to be okay. I feel safe now," Abigail said. Abigail slept while Chad kept watch at her side. When Abigail woke from a nightmare about Ben, Chad held Abigail and reminded her that she and her son were safe. Abigail breathed deeply and slowly calmed down. Chad pulled Abigail into his arms and soothed her with a bedtime story. Chad swore to make sure that they lived happily ever after.
At the DiMera mansion, Stefano grumbled that he'd had to sell some of his stocks and bonds at a discount. Andre was confident that they would get their money back -- by getting Chad to seduce Belle Brady.
Belle and Marlena were catching up over breakfast in Horton Square. Belle told her mom that Claire would arrive that afternoon unless she decided to stay with Shawn for Christmas. Marlena assured Belle that Claire would survive the divorce just fine. Marlena revealed that John hadn't been able to find out a thing about Sami, which indicated to John and Marlena that the DiMeras would never be able to find Sami -- or the money she'd taken.
Abigail was awake when Chad awakened in the hotel room he'd gotten for them the previous night. Abigail happily reported that she'd learned from a nurse at the hospital that Thomas was doing well. She added that Chad had helped her feel safe again. Chad proposed spending the following evening together, as well, and Abigail readily agreed. When Abigail said she was heading to the hospital to feed Thomas, Chad offered to go with her so he could ask Marlena if she would arrange some more hypnotherapy sessions for him to try to get some of his memories back. Chad added that despite his memory gaps, he did remember that Abigail had never lost faith in him or his innocence.
When Chad and Abigail arrived at the hospital, a nurse reassured Abigail that Thomas was fine; he was just having some follow-up tests. She added that Abigail should be able to take her son home as soon as he no longer needed the incubator. "He's actually in terrific shape for a preemie. The woman who delivered him did an excellent job," the nurse said before she left to see how much longer Thomas' tests would take.
Abigail had to fight back tears because the nurse had mentioned Wendy, the midwife. Abigail remembered how kind Wendy had been and how Abigail had begged Ben not to hurt Wendy. Chad interrupted before Abigail could become too upset and suggested they do something for Wendy's family, to help them remember her. The nurse returned and told Abigail that Thomas was back in the nursery, so the two women went that direction, and Chad headed toward Marlena's office.
Marlena and Belle had just arrived at Marlena's office when Chad arrived. After Marlena introduced Chad to Belle, Belle left to do some holiday shopping. Chad explained to Marlena that he wanted to do some more hypnosis with her soon to try to retrieve his missing memories. Marlena asked Chad to return in an hour, and they could begin then. On his way out, Chad paused in the hallway to send a quick text message to Abigail to let her know that he would catch up with her after his appointment with Marlena in an hour.
When Chad went to the DiMera mansion to retrieve some of his things, Andre said he and Stefano needed to discuss something with Chad. Chad cheerfully maintained that the family would have to get back the stolen money on their own because he was busy with Abigail and the baby. Andre asserted that the key to getting the money back was Belle Brady. Chad said he'd just met Belle, but very briefly.
Andre purred that divorce was difficult for women, who were vulnerable and just needed affection. Chad asked incredulously, "You want me to seduce Sami's sister so I can get her to tell me where Sami stashed the cash? Talk about sleazy and disgusting, big brother." Andre snapped, "Not if it works, damn it!" Chad predicted that Belle would immediately see through the ruse. Andre urged Chad to at least consider doing it, but Chad refused. Pointing out that he and Abigail had been through a lot and finally had a future, Chad said, "You made the mess. You clean it up."
In the nursery, Abigail sat in a rocking chair, holding her son and speaking quietly to him. She promised that, even though his first few days had been rough, she would never let anything bad happen to him again. "I know you're not going to have a daddy, but you know what? I think you're really going to like Chad... We are so lucky that he found us and he saved us. He's going to be with us from now on," Abigail murmured, blissfully kissing her son's forehead as he made happy burbling sounds.
At the police station, Lani dropped off an envelope with Rafe and told him that it was the ballistics report on the gun that had been used to kill Dr. Malcolm. Rafe grimaced and let out a disappointed sigh when he saw the results.
Jennifer arrived at the Brady house, and Hope thanked her profusely but apologized for requesting Jennifer's help after everything that had happened with Abigail and the baby. Jennifer reassured her cousin that Abigail and the baby were fine.
Rafe called Hope and asked if she would head down to the station to answer some questions. Hope told him that she would be right there. As she pulled on her jacket, Hope explained to Jennifer that she'd also called Jennifer because she didn't want Ciara and Chase to wake up alone, and Hope needed to go to the police station to go over an old case with Rafe. Hope cautioned Jennifer that Ciara might seem a little on edge. Jennifer assumed that Ciara was still grieving, as was Chase. "I love you, cuz. Never forget that," Hope said, her voice breaking, as she headed out.
Ciara grew a little panicky when she went downstairs and her mom wasn't there. Jennifer rushed out of the kitchen and breezily explained that Hope had gone to the station and had asked Jennifer to make breakfast for Ciara and Chase. Ciara didn't buy it, but Jennifer reassured her that Hope was just working on an old case with Rafe. Chase went downstairs after overhearing Jennifer and Ciara's conversation, and Jennifer headed back to the kitchen to finish making breakfast.
Fumbling for words, Chase awkwardly apologized to Ciara for trying to kiss her. Ciara admitted that it had freaked her out a little because Chase was like a brother to her. Chase noted glumly that his life seemed chaotic, and Ciara agreed that she felt the same way after all the bad things that had happened to them. She added that she needed Chase because he was her best friend.
Chase asked Ciara to tell him what was obviously bothering her. Ciara confided that something horrible had happened to her. She told Chase about the kidnapping, and Chase wondered why it had happened. Ciara said her mom thought it had been connected to why her dad had been imprisoned in Mexico. Ciara asked Chase not to tell anyone about it, and he assured her that he wouldn't. Jennifer returned from the kitchen just as Chase took Ciara's hand sympathetically. Jennifer guessed that something was wrong. Chase and Ciara maintained that everything was all right and hurried into the kitchen.
When Lani led Hope into the interrogation room, Hope thanked Rafe for allowing her to go to the station instead of questioning her in front of her daughter. Lani stayed to observe. After some polite chitchat, Rafe asked Hope where she'd been when Dr. Malcolm had been murdered. Hope insisted that she hadn't killed Malcolm, but she couldn't tell Rafe where she'd been. She cautioned Rafe to handle his investigation of her by the book, because Internal Affairs would be watching him very closely.
Rafe wanted to protect Hope but reminded her how she'd held a gun on Malcolm and pulled the trigger. Lani gaped in surprise. Hope firmly reiterated that she hadn't killed Malcolm. Rafe informed Hope that her gun had been the one used to murder Malcolm. "Give me something so that I can protect you," Rafe pleaded in a whisper. Keeping her voice low, as well, Hope said, "I can't! You're not the only one who needs protecting, Rafe." Taken aback, Rafe asked, "How deep does this go? Who else is involved?" Hope wouldn't say anything further, but she understood what Rafe had to do next.
After Rafe read Hope her Miranda rights and left her in Lani's custody, he left. Roman, who had observed Rafe's arrest of Hope, demanded, "What the hell is going on?" Rafe quickly caught Roman up. Neither Rafe nor Roman believed that Hope had been so hellbent on revenge that she would have murdered Malcolm. "This has 'setup' written all over it, but she's hiding something. Something big. And now we gotta fall for the damn setup," Rafe asserted.
Belle was in Horton Square when Hope called her from the police station. "Belle, I need help. More specifically, I need an attorney," Hope said. When Belle arrived at the station, Hope explained that she'd been arrested for murder and was being arraigned in a few minutes. Lani advised Hope that the judge had agreed to handle Hope's arraignment before the court opened to the public. Hope asked Lani to thank Judge Bowers for her.
After Lani left, Hope quickly told Belle what had happened -- but Hope insisted that she was being framed. Before Hope and Belle could get much further, Lani returned and informed Hope that Judge Bowers was ready. After Hope's arraignment, Belle learned from Justin that the judge had issued a gag order -- but Belle encouraged Hope to tell Ciara what was going on before word got out. As Belle and Hope were leaving, Rafe apologized to Hope, who understood that Rafe had just been doing his job.
Later, Roman expressed his hope that Belle could talk some sense into Hope so he and Rafe would know what was going on. Rafe repeated that Hope had to be hiding something. Roman understood Hope's need for revenge on Malcolm, but he asserted that was not what Bo would have wanted for her or their family.
In Horton Square, Chase and Ciara joined the other kids hanging ornaments on the Christmas tree, their moods visibly lighter than before they'd left the house. Theo showed up and apologized for being late, but Ciara and Chase reassured him that it was okay. Chase seemed uncomfortable and a little irritated as he watched Ciara showing Theo some new ornaments. Chase walked away without a word.
When Theo noticed that Chase was missing, an annoyed Ciara explained that Chase had a habit of disappearing without telling anyone that he was leaving. Theo got a text message just then, and Ciara observed him staring at it. She asked him about it, but when he remained silent, she gently took the phone from him and read the one-word text: "Retard." Ciara demanded to know who had sent it, but Theo shook his head. Ciara promised a reluctant Theo that they would work together to find the "dirt bag" who'd sent Theo such a mean message from a blocked number.
When Hope and Belle arrived at Hope's house, Jennifer reminded Hope that Chase and Ciara were going to the square to decorate the tree as part of their service project. Jennifer expressed concern about how the kids had acted, but Belle and Hope laughed it off as typical teenage behavior. Jennifer cautioned Hope that J.J. had made some really bad decisions after Jack had died. Hope promised to keep an eye on her daughter.
After Jennifer left, Belle asked Hope to tell her the whole story leading up to Hope's arrest. Hope told Belle everything that had happened, ending with Ciara's kidnapping, and Belle sympathized with Hope's worry and panic. Answering Belle's question, Hope said Malcolm had admitted to torturing and Bo holding him prisoner. Hope maintained that her gun had been taken while she'd "tangled with" Malcolm the same night she'd promised to pay him for information about who had really orchestrated Bo's kidnapping. "And then Malcolm was killed, obviously to shut him up and frame me for the murder, using my gun," Hope asserted.
Belle cautioned Hope that it appeared as if Hope had the means, motive, and opportunity for Malcolm's murder -- but Belle believed they might be able to find the real killer. Hope was eager to continue that investigation, but Belle contended that Hope had to stay out of it or Belle would never be able to get the case dismissed. Hope argued with Belle, who tried to remain firm, but Hope became more and more insistent, her voice increasing in volume, until Belle commanded, "Stop! Do you hear what I'm telling you?"
Jennifer headed to the hospital to check on Abigail and Thomas. "Now you know just how much I loved you when you were this small," Jennifer said, kissing her daughter's cheek. Abigail marveled at how tiny and amazing her son was. "I never thought I could love something this much, ever," Abigail declared. "And, just so you know, it never, ever goes away," Jennifer said, beaming at her daughter. Abigail intended to check on Chad's progress with Marlena shortly. "He means a lot to you," Jennifer acknowledged. "He saved us," Abigail reminder her mother, who didn't look pleased that Abigail had gotten involved with Chad again.
When Chad arrived at Marlena's office, she told him that she wanted to continue the hypnotherapy sessions until he'd recovered all of his memories -- which she believed was entirely possible. Chad settled into a chair and closed his eyes. While Marlena was focused on guiding Chad to full relaxation, Andre crept into the room and chloroformed Marlena. Once Marlena was unconscious, Andre stuck Chad in the neck with an enormous needle and injected him with something. Andre picked up Marlena's tablet from the floor and muttered, "Chad, you chose the wrong doctor. Fortunately, it works perfectly for me and the plans I have for you."
While out with Tate, Theresa ran into Kate, who complained that Theresa was taking too long to respond to an email about the things she needed to get done before Basic Black's New Year's relaunch event. Theresa returned home in a bit of a foul mood, particularly because Kate hadn't even bothered to say anything about Theresa's latest designs.
Brady, who hadn't had a chance to talk to Theresa since she had furnished the townhouse, told her that the place looked great. Brady also said he couldn't believe that Theresa had already finished everything, prompting her to clarify that there was actually still a bit more work left to do. As if on cue, two men arrived with a tree and, after consulting with Theresa and Brady, placed it in front of the window.
"Our very first Christmas tree. I hope you're as excited as I am," Theresa said to Brady after the workers left. After confirming that he was, Brady quickly changed the subject, wondering why Theresa had been upset earlier. Theresa blamed "work stuff" but said she didn't really want to talk about it at that time. While on the topic of work, however, Theresa added that she was glad Brady was done with "that annoying job" at Titan and was free to do whatever he wanted with the rest of his life. Forcing a smile, Brady hesitantly agreed that he felt liberated.
Later, Brady received a visit from Belle, who wanted to talk to him about the money she had received from Sami. Theresa listened from another room as Belle explained that she was finding it hard to justify holding on to the money -- and she also didn't want to jeopardize her career. Brady assured Belle that Stefano would never report such a thing, but she still wanted to get rid of the money, and she wondered if Brady thought it would be crazy for her to simply donate it to a bunch of different charities.
Theresa entered the living room before Brady could respond, so he proceeded to introduce her to Belle. After a bit of somewhat awkward small talk with Theresa, Belle abruptly excused herself. Brady walked Belle out and told her he was confident that she would make the right choice. When Brady rejoined Theresa, she admitted that she had overheard part of his conversation with Belle. Theresa suggested that Belle could buy Kate out of Basic Black. "[Then I could say] 'hello, new silent partner' and 'goodbye, Mistress of Darkness and Misery,'" Theresa summarized.
Brady said he had been under the impression that Theresa, Kate, and Nicole had been getting along with each other lately. Theresa admitted that hadn't lasted very long. Brady guessed that Kate was the reason Theresa had been in a bad mood earlier. "God, seriously, Brady, I think -- you know what, if that bitch thought she could get away with it, she would kick me out on my butt the first chance she got," Theresa predicted.
Theresa reasoned that investing in Basic Black would be a great way for Belle to quickly park her money and get on with her career as a lawyer. Theresa added that Brady could even partner with Belle and use the opportunity as a way to reconnect with her. Brady seemed to like the idea but stressed that he couldn't tell Belle what to do with her money. Brady promised, however, that he would think about at least suggesting the idea to Belle.
Meanwhile, someone knocked on the door, and when Theresa opened it, Nicole entered the apartment and wondered if she was interrupting anything. Theresa started to say yes, but Brady jumped in and said no, adding that he had been about to go for a jog, anyway. Nicole teasingly wondered if Brady was taking the day off. Brady informed Nicole that he had left Titan -- and that Philip was his replacement. Nicole was stunned, but Brady insisted that the change was a good thing.
After Brady left, Nicole suggested that she and Theresa could call Kate and get her to join them so they could talk about the relaunch. "You know, if you feel like being insulted, and talked down to, and treated like something that you can just scrape off the bottom of your shoe, and not getting anything done, then sure, yeah, let's call Kate [and] tell her to swing by," Theresa sarcastically replied, prompting Nicole to concede that they could probably handle things on their own for the day.
Nicole was eager to talk about Theresa's relationship with Brady first, so Theresa reported that things were going really well. Nicole was happy for Theresa, Brady, and Tate, but she admitted that she had never expected Brady and Theresa to get back together. Theresa understood but reasoned that her rekindled relationship with Brady was proof that great things could happen if a person worked really hard to make positive changes in their life -- something Nicole could probably relate to because of her own rekindled relationship with Daniel.
Returning to the topic of work, Theresa asked for feedback on her latest designs, and Nicole praised them but warned that Theresa would need Kate's approval, as well. Theresa started complaining about how annoying that was, and she wondered why she and Nicole were even putting up with Kate in the first place. "Because we have no choice," Nicole reminded Theresa, who countered that there might actually be a way to change that. Although she found Theresa's idea appealing, Nicole reasoned that, with the relaunch event looming, it wasn't the right time to make major changes to Basic Black's management team.
Miriam approached Eduardo at Club TBD and reminded him that she was still waiting for confirmation that he was working on his new assignment. Eduardo maintained that he was done with that life for good. "You expect us to just sit back and allow you to reconnect with your family, and ask nothing in return?" Miriam wondered.
Before Eduardo could respond, Kate approached and wondered if she was interrupting anything. Miriam said no, and she proceeded to introduce herself to Kate, whom she was already familiar with because they shared something in common -- Eduardo. Miriam assured Kate that she was just in town on business and wasn't a threat. "I do hope you two are happy together -- and that nothing gets in the way," Miriam added before excusing herself.
"So, how many more exes are going to come slithering out from under the woodwork? Please tell me you don't have children with that one," Kate said to Eduardo after Miriam left. Eduardo clarified that he hadn't had that kind of relationship with Miriam -- and that she was completely in his past. Kate said she would need a lot more information than that in order to be reassured. "Well, maybe you shouldn't be," Eduardo replied.
Kate informed Eduardo that she had been using her "ironic voice" earlier -- and that she wasn't going to run for the hills unless he wanted her to do so. Eduardo pointed out that Kate didn't really know anything about him, and he warned that it paid to be wary of certain people. "No problems, then; that's my default position, especially when it comes to your gender," Kate replied. Eduardo stressed that he would understand if his life was starting to seem too complicated for Kate. "You might want to give it some thought," Eduardo advised before leaving.
Later, Kate ran into Belle, who wondered how things were going at Basic Black. "Couldn't be better. Although there is one thing..." Kate replied.
John found Marlena passed out in her office, and when she regained consciousness, she was only able to recall that she had been in a session with Chad before she had blacked out. John found a handkerchief on the floor and detected the scent of chloroform on it. John suspected that Chad had scheduled a session with Marlena as a diversionary tactic so Andre could knock her out and search her office for information about Sami's whereabouts, all in an effort to recover Stefano's money. "Leave it to that damn family to stick together in a time of crisis," John mused.
Marlena wanted to find Chad and confront him right away, but John stopped her, pointing out that she didn't have any proof of what had happened yet. "I have all the proof I need," Marlena insisted. Meanwhile, John received a phone call from Eduardo, who asked to see him. When John said he was busy, Eduardo stressed that John needed to make time for him. After John ended the call, Marlena wondered what it had been about. "Just...something I need to take care of," John replied.
John met with Eduardo in a secluded section of the town square. John guessed that Eduardo had remembered something about Winterthorne Academy. "I never forgot...much as I wish I could," Eduardo replied. Eduardo said that John was lucky to have no memory of the place. Eduardo added that John's search for answers had alarmed certain people -- people who preferred for their secrets to remain secrets. "It's put your life in danger," Eduardo warned. John wondered how Eduardo could be certain of that. "Because I'm the man they've ordered to kill you," Eduardo explained.
Chad found himself trapped in a contraption that seemed like it had been pulled straight out of a scene from A Clockwork Orange, unable to shut his eyes as he was bombarded with images that conditioned him to associate Abigail with terrible things -- war, spiders, savage lions, explosions, maggots, and death -- while associating Belle with wonderful things, such as sunsets and kittens. Andre watched, muttering that Chad needed to be turned into more of a team player. "You're going to save our family. And the way you save our family is: you leave Abigail [and] go after the lovely Belle Brady [instead]," Andre added.
"Nothing, and no one, is more important than your unswerving devotion to the DiMeras. No matter how much you think you love Abigail, your family comes first. Focus on Belle, not Abigail. Don't fight it, because you can't win. You've got to let go of Abigail forever. Let Belle into your heart," Andre continued. A single tear rolled down Chad's cheek as he struggled to ignore what he was being shown and told.
When Stefano arrived, Andre insisted that he was doing what needed to be done in order to recover the money Sami had stolen. "Now, I regret having to put Chad in a compromising position --" Andre began to add. "'Compromising position'? You're brainwashing him, you fool!" Stefano angrily countered.
Later, Andre took a submissive Chad back to the Salem Inn and told him to get some rest. "When you wake up, you'll feel worlds better -- refreshed, restored -- and you'll know what to do next, won't you?" Andre asked, and Chad confirmed that he would. Chad found a note from Abigail -- "Thank you for being my hero and the love of my life. Love, Abby" -- and, after reading it without a hint of emotion, he crumpled it up, dropped it on the floor, and stretched out on the bed to take his nap. Andre picked up the note and left with it.
When Andre got back to the DiMera mansion, he informed Stefano that everything was going according to plan. Stefano didn't like the way Andre was using Chad, but Andre reasoned that he was only using Chad to help the family -- which would ultimately help Chad, as well. Andre insisted that if Stefano wanted to get his money back, their only recourse was to use Chad to do so. "When you come to your senses, you will realize that, [and] you will thank me," Andre confidently predicted.
Someone met with Ava in the park and handed her a brown paper bag, fretting that he wasn't sure about what they were doing because it seemed a bit strange. Ava reasoned that, technically, no laws were being broken, and she handed the man a wad of cash to further ease his concern. "Oh, and one more thing -- forget that you know me," Ava added before shooing the man away.
At the Johnson house, Joey chuckled as he watched Kayla try to find the perfect place to put a poinsettia. As Joey assured Kayla that the plant looked fine right where it was, Steve arrived with his luggage -- and a poinsettia of his own. Steve said that the place looked nice, and Joey teasingly agreed that the positioning of the poinsettias had made all the difference. Joey added that it was a nice house, and he predicted that Steve would like it. Steve said he already did, because Joey and Kayla lived in it. Steve observed, however, that it was missing one thing -- a Christmas tree.
Kayla explained that she and Joey had been waiting for Steve to arrive so they could pick one out together. Steve was eager to do that right away, so Joey rushed off to his bedroom to grab his jacket. When Joey returned to the living room, he caught Steve and Kayla kissing, so he ducked back into the hallway and sent Ava a text message to let her know that Steve had just moved in and that they were headed out to buy a Christmas tree. "It's all coming together!" Joey added to the end of the message, along with a smiley face.
Later, while Joey was checking a tree to make sure it didn't have any bare spots, Kayla asked Steve if he really thought someone had been working with Joey to get them back together. "Maybe, but I don't know who would be crazy enough to sign off on a stunt like that," Steve replied. Meanwhile, Joey sent Ava another text message to thank her for everything and let her know that he and his parents would be back home soon. "Showtime," Ava muttered as she finished applying makeup to give the impression that she was sick.
Ava waited a sufficient amount of time then sent Joey a text message to suggest that it might be a good idea for him to give his parents some alone time. Joey, who had just finished decorating the tree with Steve and Kayla, thought that was a great idea, so he quickly excused himself, explaining that he was going to hang out with a friend for a while. Joey soon sent Ava another text message to let her know he was out of the house. Ava removed a bottle of pills from the paper bag, swallowed a few of them, and rushed out of her hotel room.
Steve left the house to pick up some items so he and Kayla could have a romantic picnic next to the fireplace. Shortly after Steve left, someone knocked on the front door. "I am going to have to pin a key to your shirt," Kayla said with a laugh as she opened the door, expecting to see Steve -- and instead found herself face-to-face with Ava.
Eduardo warned that, while he didn't intend to kill John himself, John's life was still in danger because the people who wanted him dead weren't in the habit of giving up easily. "They hired someone to kill me because I asked questions about a school?" John asked incredulously. Eduardo clarified that Winterthorne Academy wasn't really a school; it was a cover for a much more nefarious type of institution.
"They recruited kids -- especially kids without parents; orphans, like me. We were watched twenty-four-seven. We were constantly evaluated -- how we did in school, how we did in sports -- [and] those who did well in both were pushed...hard...to see who would break. You and I didn't break, so we were handpicked to be lifted out of the program and sent to a secret training facility," Eduardo explained.
"A training facility for assassins," John guessed. Confirming the suspicion, Eduardo regretfully muttered that he had plenty of blood on his hands -- and had also left a trail of abandoned families in his wake. John realized that the families Eduardo had started and later abandoned had been covers for his real life as an assassin. "Who'd believe that a loving husband and father was actually a killer by profession?" Eduardo mused, adding that he was most ashamed about the ease with which he had been able to walk away from each family -- as if they were props, not people.
John suspected that orphans had been recruited specifically because they had never known the true meaning of family -- and would therefore have no regrets about walking away from one. Eduardo recalled that John hadn't been an orphan himself. "Only in spirit," John confirmed. Realizing just how much Eduardo's past still haunted him, John mused that he apparently owed Stefano some thanks for the gift of amnesia, if nothing else. "[But] now, thanks to you, it just makes me wonder...how much blood do I have on my hands?" John added.
John assumed that Eduardo had moved to Salem to kill him, but Eduardo clarified that he had actually gone into hiding for a while in an effort to escape his life as an assassin -- and he had moved to Salem, under the mistaken assumption that he had been off the radar for long enough to be safe, because he hadn't wanted to miss his daughter's funeral. "They found me, John, [and] tried to force me to kill you. But I won't do it. I will never do their bidding again," Eduardo vowed.
John appreciated the warning but wasn't willing to end his quest for answers, especially since he finally had a solid lead again. John assured Eduardo that he would be careful -- and would find some way to neutralize the threat against his life. "I'm already working on that," Eduardo revealed. Later, Eduardo ran into Gabi and wondered if she would be okay with him dropping off a Christmas gift for Arianna later. Gabi said she would only agree to that if Eduardo promised to stick around for a while afterward to get to know Arianna better. Eduardo happily accepted the offer.
Abigail went to see Chad, eager to tell him that Thomas was going to be released from the hospital later that day -- and that she wanted Chad to be there with her when that happened so they could start their new life together as a family. Insisting that wasn't going to happen, Chad advised Abigail to slow down and focus on her son -- and let him focus on his own family, which was in crisis at that time. Stunned and confused, Abigail observed that it seemed like Chad was choosing his family over her. "I guess I am," Chad unapologetically confirmed.
Abigail reminded Chad that he had told her he loved her the previous night. "You were a mess. I told you what you needed to hear," Chad explained. Abigail found that hard to believe, because it wasn't just what Chad had said that had made her certain that he loved her; it was what he had done, as well. Chad said he had simply done what he had needed to do to ensure that Ben's crimes wouldn't go unpunished. "Don't romanticize it, Abigail. Realistically, this just isn't the right time for us," Chad added.
Abigail suspected that Chad was trying to push her away in order to protect her from his father, as he had done once before, but he insisted that wasn't the case. Chad reasoned that he and Abigail could never be a family with Thomas because the boy -- whom he referred to, more than once, as "it" -- wasn't his. "I know you've had a horrific time, but now that the dust has settled, I realize that I -- I can't -- I can't be with you," Chad added. Fighting back tears, Abigail left the hotel room, angrily smacking Chad's chest on the way out.
Abigail ran into Gabi in the town square and told her about what had just happened. Gabi reminded Abigail that Chad had always had a colder side, but Abigail insisted that Chad hadn't just displayed a colder side during their conversation -- he had acted like a completely different person entirely. "The things that he said, and the way he said them -- he doesn't even sound like himself. It doesn't... It doesn't make any sense," Abigail mused. Abigail added with certainty that something was seriously wrong with Chad.
At the DiMera mansion, Andre confirmed his understanding of the repercussions Stefano would inflict upon him if his plan failed. Meanwhile, Chad entered the study and, with the help of a few leading questions from Andre, reported that he had told Abigail that they couldn't be together anymore because of her baby. Satisfied, Andre wondered if Chad had met Belle yet. As Chad started to confirm that he had, he stumbled backward and grabbed his head, alarming Stefano.
Chad quickly recovered and assumed that something had happened to him during his earlier session with Marlena -- which he couldn't remember. Andre explained that he had used Chad's session with Marlena as an opportunity to disable her so he could search her office for evidence. "To find Sami? We need to find Sami!" Chad guessed. Andre confirmed that finding Sami was imperative. "For our family. I have to do whatever you ask. For our family," Chad agreed.
At Club TBD, Marlena told Belle about what had happened to her earlier. Belle struggled to understand why Marlena hadn't told the police about the attack -- until Marlena explained that she didn't want to have to answer questions about why she had been attacked, at which point Belle realized that the police would have to issue a warrant for Sami's arrest if Marlena told them the truth about what was going on.
Changing the subject, Marlena wondered how things were going between Belle and Shawn. Belle reported that she and Shawn had been playing phone tag lately. "We're trying to figure out how to make Claire's Christmas not suck, but I don't think that's gonna be possible," Belle added. Marlena suggested that it might be best for Belle to return to Maine and talk to Shawn face-to-face, but Belle insisted that she couldn't do that because opening her office in Salem was a full-time proposition -- and a necessary one, if she wanted to be able to take care of Claire.
"Shawn and I -- we know it's over; it's just...coming back here to start over... I even told Philip, it just feels like a defeat," Belle mused. Marlena was surprised to hear that Belle had confided in Philip, but Belle stressed that she had simply had a chance encounter with him. Realizing that Marlena was skeptical, Belle added that she had made it clear to Philip that putting her life back together -- for her daughter's sake -- was her sole priority.
Chad entered the club and approached Marlena and Belle's table to apologize for what had happened earlier. Chad stressed that it had been Andre's idea -- and that he had known nothing about it until after the fact. Marlena stressed that she didn't know -- and didn't want to know -- where Sami was. Chad promised to tell Stefano that. "And you tell him to back off, or there will be repercussions -- serious, legal repercussions," Belle warned.
Chad theorized that the earlier stunt had been Stefano and Andre's way of acting out because they knew that Sami had won, and there was nothing they could do about that. "And we know that Stefano DiMera always graciously accepts defeat," Marlena sarcastically replied. Marlena stood to leave, and Belle started to do the same, but Chad stopped her and asked if he could talk to her about a legal matter first. "Well, I wouldn't be in business with DiMeras, but if you decide you want to do that, you need to be careful," Marlena advised Belle before exiting the club.
Chad started to thank Belle for agreeing to hear him out, but she clarified that she had only agreed to stick around so she could make a few things clear to him. "I get that Andre doesn't have a soul or a conscience, but what he did was not only cruel; it was criminal. So you tell him if he comes near my mother again, I will tear his head off," Belle said. Smiling, Chad observed that Belle was clearly a formidable adversary. "That's exactly what I'm looking for," Chad added.
Chad explained that he wanted to sue the district attorney's office for false arrest and wrongful incarceration. "Boy, I can't think of a better first case -- representing a DiMera against the D.A.'s office," Belle sarcastically mused. Declining the offer, Belle stood to leave, but Chad stopped her, stressing that he didn't want to be her -- or her family's -- adversary. Chad urged Belle not to hate him because of his family's actions.
"Is there a better reason?" Belle replied. Grabbing Belle's hand, Chad advised that his case would be the perfect way for her to show all of Salem that she was an amazing lawyer. Meanwhile, Abigail entered the club, saw Chad holding Belle's hand, and ducked back outside in shock.
At the police station, Justin fretted -- at the risk of sounding cold and heartless -- that Hope's arrest was bad for the police department. Rafe wasn't concerned, believing that the case would never make it to trial. "Well, I hope you're right -- about everything. But don't just tell me she didn't do it; get off your butt and find out who did," Justin impatiently replied.
Ciara returned home and found Hope going over some documents -- which she quickly hid behind a pillow. Ciara's suspicions were aroused, but she didn't give the matter much thought because she was accustomed to Hope keeping secrets during the holidays. While on the subject, Ciara pointed out that she and Hope were seriously behind schedule on their holiday preparations. Hope tried to suggest that it might be best to just skip Christmas, but Ciara didn't want to do that, and she eventually managed to change Hope's mind.
As Hope and Ciara were preparing to leave to pick out a tree, Rafe arrived and asked to talk to Hope for a few minutes. Hope told Ciara to go pick out a tree herself so they could decorate it later. After Ciara left, Hope tried to talk to Rafe about the research she had been doing on Malcolm, but Rafe stopped her and urged her to let him handle the investigation himself.
Steve ran into Justin in the town square and began chastising him for betraying Adrienne. Justin stressed that he was sorry for what he had done to Adrienne -- and that he had paid, and was still paying, for his actions -- but that didn't mean much to Steve. Justin implied that Steve had no room to talk, but Steve countered that Justin didn't know all the facts about his separation from Kayla. "No one ever does, do they?" Justin mused. Justin asked Steve to refrain from fanning the flames during conversations with Adrienne, explaining that they were both trying to move on with their lives, and it would be best for Steve to help Adrienne look forward, not backward.
"Well said, Mr. District Attorney. You know, you could have a second career as a motivational speaker," Steve sarcastically replied. Justin seized the opportunity to point out that one of his responsibilities as the district attorney was to make sure that the police department was running smoothly at all times. Justin warned that if Steve and John's venture into the world of private investigating ever got off the ground, it would be in their best interest to refrain from interfering with the police. "Adrienne told me about you cheating on her. She didn't say you'd turned into a pompous ass," Steve mused. "Whereas you haven't changed a bit...unfortunately," Justin countered before walking away.
Ciara returned home with a tree, and Rafe quickly excused himself so she and Hope could start decorating it right away. Ciara, who had enlisted Steve's help to get the tree back to the house, insisted that Rafe had to stay because a man's help would be needed during the decorating process, and Steve had other things to do. Hope also thought it would be nice for Rafe to stick around and help out, so he agreed to do so.
While Rafe was helping Ciara retrieve the decorations from the attic, Hope told Steve everything about the mess she was in. Steve insisted that Hope needed to take a step back, focus on Ciara, and let Roman and Rafe -- and even Victor, if necessary -- clear the mess up themselves.
Later, after Steve left, Ciara found a snow globe while she, Hope, and Rafe were decorating the living room. Ciara excitedly started to tell Rafe the story behind the item, which Bo had given to Hope years earlier. "Mom and Dad had, like, this big adventure where they were looking for a prism or something, and Mom was ice-skating --" Ciara explained before letting her voice trail off, realizing that Hope seemed a bit distant. Ciara apologized and started to put the snow globe back, but Hope stopped her and urged her to place it in its usual spot.
Later, as Rafe was preparing to leave, Hope thanked him for everything. Ciara was in another room, so Rafe assured Hope that he was going to prove that she hadn't murdered Malcolm. Rafe urged Hope to just focus on helping Ciara get through the holidays in the meantime. Nodding, Hope gave Rafe a hug then walked him out -- and quietly locked the door behind him.
At the Johnson house, Ava begged Kayla to hear her out. "How about instead of talking, you turn around and get the hell off my property?" Kayla replied. Forging ahead, Ava explained that, while she realized that she had done some terrible things, she was hoping to convince Kayla to forgive her. "Terrible things? Let me see -- uh, kidnapping three people, shooting Hope, sabotaging an airplane; those aren't terrible things, Ava. Those are sick, depraved, sociopathic things. And just a little hint -- if you're looking for forgiveness, maybe just skip the woman whose father you killed," Kayla spat.
Ava insisted that she had never intended for the plane to take off -- or for anyone to get hurt as a result of her actions. Unmoved, Kayla threatened to call the police so Ava could finally pay for her crimes. "Kayla...I'm dying," Ava revealed. Kayla skeptically replied that she would need a doctor's note before offering her condolences. Nodding, Ava reported that she had leukemia and had been told she only had a few months left to live, which was why she was trying to make up for the things she had done in the past, while she still had the chance to do so.
Kayla said it would be impossible for Ava to make up for the things she had done in the past. Ava begged Kayla to at least give her the chance to try. Kayla studied Ava skeptically. "I'm just trying to figure out -- is it leukemia, or the Italian Academy of Dramatic Arts?" Kayla mused. Ava stressed that, while she was willing to own the things she had done in the past, her father had fed her medication that had made her do those things -- as Kayla had figured out years earlier -- and she was no longer on those medications. Ava added that she also wasn't lying about being sick.
Meanwhile, Steve entered the house and demanded to know what Ava was doing back in Salem. Without giving Ava a chance to respond, Steve grabbed her and started to forcibly remove her from the property, but she collapsed at his feet on the doorstep.