Paul was in his hotel room in Prague, staring at a flier for the masquerade ball, when someone knocked on his door. He assumed that an impatient Rafe had returned once again to ask if he had managed to score tickets to the event yet, but his visitor turned out to be someone else he knew -- Sonny.
"As you requested, five tickets to Un Ballo in Maschera," Sonny said, handing over the tickets. Shocked, Paul admitted that he hadn't expected Sonny to deliver them personally. "Well, because it's an exclusive event, I couldn't transfer the tickets to someone else's name," Sonny explained. He teasingly added, "Wait, you [didn't] think I came all the way here just to see you, did you?"
Meanwhile, at a nearby café, Steve, Kayla, Marlena, and Rafe were going over their plan to lure Stefano out of hiding. When Paul arrived, they were surprised to see that Sonny was with him. Paul explained that Sonny was the one who had helped him score tickets to the masquerade ball. "You couldn't have just had 'em messengered?" Steve asked. "Good to see you, too, Uncle Steve," Sonny replied.
Relieved to finally have tickets to the event secured, Rafe told Sonny, "We owe you big-time." Sonny said he had been happy to do his part to help clear Hope's name. Steve assumed that Sonny would be on the next flight back to Salem, but Sonny clarified that he would actually be joining Steve and the others at the masquerade ball later that night, explaining, "My name is on the tickets, so all of you are my guests." Concerned, Kayla warned that things could get dangerous during the event. Sonny insisted that he was willing to take the risk, and Paul added, "I don't think you people get it. If Sonny doesn't go tonight, neither do we."
Steve filled Sonny in on the plan. Sonny wondered how anyone would be able to recognize Stefano in a mask. "That's where Marlena comes in, 'cause once Stefano sees her, mask or no mask, he's not gonna be able to resist revealing himself," Rafe explained. Steve assured Marlena that he and the others would keep her safe -- and Shane would be at the masquerade ball with members of the ISA for additional protection.
Later, while helping Marlena choose the perfect dress for the event, Kayla expressed concerns that Stefano might actually be setting a trap of his own. Although Kayla trusted Steve and Rafe to do their best to keep Marlena safe, she admitted that she would feel better if John were part of the operation. "I mean, he just -- he knows Stefano better than anybody else. I mean, he has rescued you from the clutches of that bastard over and over again, and..." she mused before letting her voice trail off. Sighing, she apologized to Marlena for having dredged up the past.
Recalling some of the times Stefano had kidnapped her in the past, Marlena admitted that there was nothing to dredge up because her history with Stefano was already at the forefront of her mind every single day. "I think I need some air," she added, reaching for her coat. "Or maybe you need to not do this," Kayla suggested. Kayla assured Marlena that no one -- including Hope -- would blame her if she decided to back out of the plan to lure Stefano out of hiding. "I'm not backing out," Marlena insisted. "But you're having second thoughts," Kayla guessed.
Marlena admitted that she was worried about going through with the plan without the help of the person she trusted most in the world. Kayla understood, knowing she would feel the same way if she were about to embark on a similar mission without Steve's help. Kayla started to reiterate that there was still time for Marlena to change her mind, but Marlena insisted, "I'm so grateful for your concern -- I'm so grateful for you -- [but] don't you see? I have to go through [with] this -- I have to, [not just for] Hope [but also] for myself, because if I don't, we'll never be free of Stefano."
While waiting for Marlena and Kayla to finish getting ready for the masquerade ball, Sonny and Paul went for a walk together. Paul recalled that Prague was one of the places Sonny had visited during the year he had spent handling Titan's European division. Nodding, Sonny admitted that he would like to revisit some of his old haunts in Prague before returning to Salem. Paul was pleased when Sonny invited him to tag along.
"I'd like that. It'd be nice to spend some time together...away from home, and all the...things...that get in the way of us...having time," Paul mused. Sonny noted that it felt like he and Paul were a million miles away from those things. When Paul didn't respond, Sonny changed the subject, suggesting that it would probably be a good idea to start heading back toward the café to rejoin the others. Sonny started to walk away, but Paul didn't follow him. "You okay?" Sonny asked as he returned to Paul's side. Paul gave Sonny a tender kiss on the lips then replied, "I am now."
Theo found Ciara in the living room of their apartment, staring at something on her tablet computer. When he realized that she was crying, he wondered what was wrong. She revealed that she had been reading an article Jennifer had written about Hope. He comforted her with a hug and assured her that everything was going to be okay.
After calming down, Ciara thanked Theo for always being there for her. Admitting that she hadn't always made it easy for him to be her friend, she stressed that she was sorry for the way she had treated him the previous year. "I was totally messed up [back then]. I was just all twisted up inside. You don't know how much I regret the way I acted -- especially to you," she added.
Confused, Theo tried to get Ciara to clarify exactly what she regretted, but she told him to forget about what she had just said, explaining, "I'm a mess." She abruptly excused herself, suddenly remembering that she was late for her volunteer job at the hospital. However, she learned, after leaving the apartment, that her shift had been canceled.
Instead of returning home, Ciara went to a secluded section of the town square to think about things. Julie soon spotted her and guessed that she was thinking about Hope. Julie admitted that she and Doug were worried about Hope, too -- but they were also worried about Ciara. "Are you still hung up on that boy that was dating your BFF?" Julie wondered. Ciara confirmed that she was, despite all her efforts to get over her feelings for the guy. "Well, you can't control feelings," Julie pointed out with a sympathetic chuckle. Ciara grudgingly conceded the point.
Julie warned that if Ciara tried to make the guy fall in love with her, she would probably just end up pushing him away instead. "So, I should just accept this guy's relationship with my friend and be happy for her," Ciara concluded. Scoffing, Julie clarified that she wouldn't suggest going that far. "If you were happy for her, you would be bucking for sainthood. No, she has what you want, so you resent her some, and you feel a little jealous, and that's all perfectly natural," Julie continued.
Julie explained that Ciara was going through the unrequited kind of young love. "Been there, done that," Julie admitted. Julie advised that it was never a good idea to choose a guy over a friend. Ciara assured Julie that she had no intention of trying to break up the couple. She added, however, that she wished she could get over her feelings for the guy. Julie suggested that it might be a good idea for Ciara to talk to the guy about her feelings for him, just to get everything out in the open. Ciara thought that would make things really awkward. "Oh, it probably will, but once the awkwardness passes, it could be very cathartic for you, Ciara. Couldn't feel any worse than you do now, could you?" Julie reasoned.
Later, Ciara returned home and told Theo that she needed to talk to him about something. He wondered if he could first ask her for advice about a Valentine's Day gift he was thinking of buying for Claire. He handed over his tablet computer to get her take on a rose gold watch he had picked out, explaining, "It won't die like normal roses do, and then she'll have it forever."
Ciara guessed that Claire would love the gift. "But you don't?" Theo asked. "No. I mean, yes, I -- I do love it," Ciara replied. Unconvinced, Theo wondered why Ciara had grown quiet after he had shown her the watch. She said she was just thinking about how lucky Claire was to have such an amazing boyfriend. She handed the tablet computer back to him then started to retreat to her bedroom. When he pointed out that she had said earlier that she needed to talk to him about something, she told him, "It's not important."
At Eric's place, Hope -- who was starting to look and feel better -- called Statesville, using a burner phone Eric had picked up for her. "Yeah, I want to talk to Hattie -- Hattie Adams. I'm her sister, Haley," she told the operator, mimicking Hattie's distinctive way of speaking. She was disturbed to learn that Hattie had been attacked during a recent riot.
Eric expected Hope to take comfort in the fact that Hattie had been taken to a clinic in a nearby town for treatment because the prison's infirmary hadn't been big enough to hold all the injured inmates, but Hope knew that Hattie was only safe for the time being. Hope wanted to go to the clinic to talk to Hattie, hoping to get confirmation that Andre was Alfie so she could prove Hattie's innocence before Hattie was released from the clinic and sent back to Statesville, but Eric refused to let that happen, reminding Hope that she was a wanted fugitive.
Conceding the point, Hope assured Eric that she wouldn't go anywhere. Satisfied, he went to the kitchen to make her some food. When he returned later with soup and a sandwich, he was annoyed to discover that she was gone.
Hope disguised herself as a nurse and sneaked into Hattie's room at the clinic. Hattie was pleased to see that Hope was all right. Hope thanked Hattie for having helped her escape from Statesville. Hattie assured Hope that no one knew how the escape had been orchestrated. She admitted, however, that Coco and Sheila had been pretty suspicious about her involvement in the escape and had made her suffer for it.
After learning that Hattie would only be kept at the clinic for a couple more weeks before being sent back to Statesville, Hope vowed to turn herself in so she could help Hattie deal with Coco and Sheila. Hattie refused to let that happen, insisting that Hope was too frail to survive another attack. "I can't lose you, Hope. You're the only real friend I ever had," Hattie tearfully admitted.
Hope revealed that she might have a way to keep Hattie from having to return to the prison. Assuming that she was about to receive an invitation to go on the run with Hope, Hattie insisted that she wasn't strong enough for that kind of life. Hope clarified that she might have a way to prove Hattie's innocence. Hattie was shocked when Hope showed her a newspaper clipping that included a picture of Andre. "Holy smoke! That's my snake!" Hattie exclaimed, recognizing the man as Alfie. She was disturbed to learn that she had fallen for a DiMera. "I may have to have the doctor give me something to keep from puking every time I think about that!" she grumbled.
Realizing that someone could enter the room to check on Hattie at any time, Hope started to excuse herself, but before she could sneak back out of the room, Lieutenant Raines arrived to question Hattie about Hope's whereabouts. Hope kept her back turned toward Raines, who ignored her, assuming she was a nurse. Hattie nervously insisted that she had no idea where Hope was hiding.
Raines finds Hope
In the town square, Deimos brooded when Nicole failed to answer her phone. Deimos checked in by phone with a henchman who was keeping a watch on Gabi and Chad. Deimos said they had 48 hours for the Hernandez or DiMera families to deliver the key.
In the Kiriakis living room, Nicole smelled a blanket that had been left behind by Deimos. Deimos called Nicole's phone, and she thought about when she had broken up with him. Walking into the living room, Brady saw Nicole staring into the distance, deep in thought. Brady told Nicole that Deimos was not in the house. Shaking off her memory, Nicole said she was at the house to see Brady. Fighting tears, Nicole ran into Brady's arms. Nicole told Brady about her fight with Chloe in the Brady Pub after she had found Chloe breastfeeding Holly.
Nicole explained that she had offered to leave Deimos, and Chloe had not changed her mind about Holly. When Brady asked what had happened with Deimos, Nicole explained that Deimos had attempted to murder Andre and Dario. Brady was furious. Worried about Nicole, Brady said he wanted to keep her safe. Nicole admitted that she still loved Deimos. Brady warned Nicole that the war was "far from over."
"Even if I could forgive him for what he has done, I just keep thinking, what other horrible things is he doing right now?" Nicole wondered aloud. Nicole lamented that she had been so close to having everything she wanted and did not want to give it up so easily. Brady asked Nicole what the most important thing in her life was. Unseen by Brady or Nicole, Deimos stepped into the room as Nicole said that Holly was the most important thing to her because Holly was the baby that she and Daniel had wanted.
Nicole and Brady talked about the pending custody court fight. In the corner, Deimos listened as Nicole worried aloud that Belle would use Deimos' past to paint her as an unfit parent. Brady reminded Nicole that she was not Deimos. Nicole countered she had agreed to marry Deimos, and from an outsider's perspective, it was an unsafe environment. Brady told Nicole that she needed to decide what she wanted. Crying, Nicole thanked Brady for his support. Brady assured Nicole that Chloe was wrong and that he was on Nicole's side.
Deimos stepped out of the shadows and greeted Nicole. With a nod at Brady, Deimos thanked him for sitting with Nicole. Brady asked about the war of the families, but Deimos said that the situation had been handled. Curtly, Deimos asked Brady to leave so that he could talk to Nicole. After Brady left, Deimos offered to help Nicole. Deimos said he did not enjoy hurting people, but he wanted to protect the people he loved.
Deimos begged Nicole to fight for their life together. Shaking her head no, Nicole said she did not believe that the war was over. Deimos stressed that the fight was done. Nicole said she did not believe the violence was over. Deimos begged Nicole to trust him. With a sigh, Nicole said that Deimos needed to earn her trust. Nicole said that if Deimos committed any more acts of violence, she would walk away.
After Nicole left, Victor walked into the living room to pour a drink. On noticing his brother stewing in the corner, Victor offered his drink to Deimos. Victor asked about Andre and Dario. When Deimos scowled, Victor counseled Deimos to finish the job if he wanted to eliminate his enemies.
In the town square, Nicole ran into Brady, and he asked her about her talk with Deimos. Nicole shrugged. As Nicole started to walk away, Brady grabbed her arm causing her to drop her bag. Brady was alarmed to see that there were things for the baby in the bag. Brady reminded Nicole that she needed to keep her distance from Holly until the court decided custody. Frustrated, Nicole said she could not stand to know that Chloe was bonding with her daughter. Brady pulled Nicole into an embrace until she calmed down.
Brady reminded Nicole that she could not provide evidence that she was emotionally unbalanced. When Nicole worried aloud that she would not be able to keep her emotions in check, Brady urged her to depend on him. Brady asked Nicole to let him be her guide through her court case. Smiling through tears, Nicole nodded in agreement.
In the Kiriakis living room, Deimos called someone to talk about the judge assigned to Holly's custody case. Victor sat on the couch and listened to Deimos on the phone. Deimos urged the caller to dig up all the information he could find to see if they could buy or blackmail the judge. Victor chuckled. As Deimos hung up the phone, Victor asked Deimos if he needed to worry about his or Maggie's health. Deimos said there would be no more violence, but he declined to give details. With a scowl, Deimos swore to get custody of Holly and convince Nicole that she belonged with him.
At the masquerade in Prague, Kayla, Steve, Paul, Sonny, Rafe, and Marlena prepared to take down Stefano. Agent Reznik stayed in contact with Steve and the group on ear communication devices. Steve urged everyone to be on the lookout for Stefano. Noting Rafe's tenseness, Marlena warned Rafe to relax so that he would not stick out. When Rafe grew prickly, Marlena ordered him to dance with her. As they danced, Rafe glanced around the room. Marlena told Rafe that the next time he danced would be with Hope.
In the corner, Steve and Kayla looked across the room at Paul and Sonny. Steve asked Sonny through the earpiece to check and see if Stefano had checked into the dance yet. Sonny agreed. Chuckling, Paul asked Sonny if he was enjoying himself. Grinning widely, Sonny said he loved being a secret agent. Sonny approached an attendant in the corner and asked if his friend Rudolfo had checked in. Rolling his eyes, the attendant said there was no check-in.
After his dance with Marlena, Rafe lamented that Stefano had not shown his face at the masquerade yet. Marlena said she had a feeling that Stefano would appear and that they needed to be patient. In the corner, Steve urged Kayla to relax. Steve reminded Kayla that life was short, and they needed to enjoy their time together. Smiling, Kayla kissed Steve.
Across the room, Sonny gushed over Paul's exciting lifestyle. Paul reminded Sonny that his last job had been staking out the docks near rotting fish heads. After sharing a laugh, Sonny told Paul that he hoped to hang out with him more often. Paul agreed. After fetching drinks, Sonny and Paul toasted to spending an evening together.
Across the room, Kayla sipped Champagne and thanked Steve for taking her out of her comfort zone. Steve said he was thankful that Kayla kept him grounded. Reznik warned Steve on the earpiece that a suspicious vehicle had pulled up outside the ball. On alert, Marlena said she was anxious for the madness to end. The attendant by the door pointed at Sonny. Worried, Sonny said that Stefano might have discovered them.
Rafe went to the entrance by the attendant to investigate. Marlena thought she saw Stefano by the east exit, but Steve warned her stay put. Anxious, Marlena said she could not risk losing sight of Stefano. Marlena rushed over to the east exit, against the advice of the rest of her group.
After following the man that had been talking to the attendant, Rafe reported in that he had not found Stefano. Kayla worried that Rafe had followed a diversion and that Marlena was in danger. When Rafe called after Marlena on the earpiece, she reported from a hallway that there was no one there. A hand reached out for Marlena. As Marlena spun around, she gasped. Worried, Steve, Kayla, Sonny, Paul, and Rafe rushed over to the east exit.
At Salem hospital, Raines questioned Hattie about Hope. In the corner, a disguised Hope, in doctor scrubs, pretended to review a hospital chart. Raines turned to Hope and asked the "doctor" for help. A frantic Hattie called out to Raines that she would answer any of his questions. While Hattie distracted Raines, Hope kept her back turned. Hattie urged the "doctor" to leave so that she could have a private conversation with Raines. Keeping her face turned away, Hope hurried out of the room, avoiding Raines's gaze.
Once they were alone, Hattie told Raines that she felt safe with him. Exhausted by Hattie's chatter, Raines pushed her to tell him what she knew about Hope, but Hattie babbled nervously. Suspicious, Raines asked Hattie why she was stalling. Suddenly, Raines looked around the room to where Hope had been, and he groaned. Raines took off down the hallway after Hope.
At Eric's country house, an officer delivered a warrant to search the home. Eric grumbled, but stood by as the officer searched the house. Nearby, a photo of Hope and Ciara peeked out from under a box on the desk. Eric shifted uneasily, hoping the officer would not see the picture. Eric pointed out the bedside table. While the officer searched the bedside table drawer, Eric snatched the picture from the desk and hid it behind his back. The officer opened the bedside table and found a bible. When Eric quoted a verse, the officer warned him that police would find Hope.
Outside the hospital in an alley, a breathless and hurting Hope hid behind some boxes while Raines searched with his gun drawn. As Hope crept out from her hiding spot, Raines ran toward her and warned her to put her hands up. Slowly, Hope raised her hands. Hope said there was evidence that Stefano was still alive. Raines did not want to hear anything from Hope about her innocence.
When Raines ordered Hope to turn around, she refused. Hope said she would be killed if she returned to jail. Raines said he would not let a murderer go. Frowning, Hope said Raines would have to shoot her. As Hope backed away, Raines fired his gun.
Abigail decides to save Chad and Gabi herself>
Chad repeatedly slammed his body against the door of the meat locker he and Gabi were trapped in, hoping to force it open, but it never budged. Gabi eventually stopped him, pointing out that he was a human being, not a battering ram.
Noting that she and Chad had been trapped in the meat locker for thirteen hours, Gabi fretted that death might arrive before help did. Chad tried to assure her that everything was going to be okay. She pointed out that he couldn't guarantee that, but he countered that he had made her the same promise when they had been trapped together in the DiMera mansion's panic room, and he had been right then. "You know what? If we get out of here alive, I'm gonna take my baby, and we're gonna go somewhere where people don't have to have panic rooms!" she vowed.
Chad and Gabi started to reminisce about how they had bonded while trapped in the panic room, but they quickly stopped themselves, acknowledging that a lot had changed since then. Changing the subject, Gabi complained, "I can't believe we're stuck in a meat locker, and there's nothing to eat!" She started shouting requests for food to no one in particular, and Chad soon joined in, making a point of adding beer to the wish list.
Chad and Gabi were surprised when a man entered the meat locker a short time later with a bag of food for them. However, when Chad tried to shield Gabi from the man's lascivious advances, the man punched Chad in the stomach and face then left with the bag of food after Chad collapsed. Concerned, Gabi rushed to Chad's side and tried to revive him, but he didn't respond.
At the hospital, Abigail demanded to know why Andre, who had never cared about following the rules before, was wasting time waiting for a doctor to officially release him when he could be searching for Chad and Gabi instead. She vowed that she would find them on her own if necessary. He warned her to stay out of the matter, pointing out that she had no idea how to handle someone like Deimos. "And you do? Because you're the one who got poisoned," she countered. He maintained that she was far too fragile to deal with such a serious situation on her own. Annoyed, she shoved him to prove her strength then stormed off to begin her search.
After being released from the hospital, Andre went to Club TBD to try to forge an alliance with Eduardo so they could go after Deimos together. Eduardo wasn't happy about being approached with such a proposal while preoccupied with concern for two of his children. Andre tried to ask about Dario's condition, but Eduardo snapped, "Oh, don't play me, man!"
"Well, at least he survived," Andre reasoned with a shrug. He stressed that he and Eduardo needed to work together to ensure that the same could eventually be said about both Chad and Gabi, warning, "We both know Deimos, [and] if he can't use them to his advantage, he's gonna kill them." Eduardo pointed out that handing over the key to Deimos would be the quickest way to save Chad and Gabi, and Andre agreed. Each man suspected that the key was in the other man's possession, but when they realized that wasn't the case, they grudgingly concluded that they were going to have to work together -- and trust each other -- to locate it.
After a phone conversation with Camila, Jennifer returned to her room at the Salem Inn to assure Drew that everything was okay. He argued that Camila might just be saying that because Deimos had a gun to her head, but Jennifer assured him that wasn't the case, stressing that Camila had found a safe place to hide and had also hired security guards for protection. He still wasn't entirely convinced, suspecting that Jennifer might just be trying to make him feel better. Jennifer insisted that he needed to stop worrying about Camila's safety and start worrying about his own, pointing out that he would remain in danger until he managed to finish the virus that would destroy the Orwell device.
"Oh, I've already done that," Drew casually revealed before asking Jennifer for more assurances that Camila was all right. Stunned, Jennifer tried to get Drew to focus on telling her about the progress he had made while she had been gone. He explained that he had finished the virus and had even tested it out. "Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get past the Titan firewalls to implant it," he added.
Jennifer wondered how long it would take Drew to hack into Titan's server. "Too long, I'm afraid," he admitted with a sigh. He wondered if she could somehow gain access to one of Titan's laptops so he could use it to bypass the security measures. "Maybe," she replied with a shrug, explaining that she might have a contact who could enter the Kiriakis mansion without raising suspicion. "Well, I suggest you contact your contact," he advised. Before she could reply, she received a phone call from Abigail, who wanted to see her at the Brady Pub right away. He promised to keep trying to get past the firewalls while she was gone.
Jennifer arrived at the Brady Pub a short time later. Abigail stressed that what she was about to reveal couldn't be repeated to anyone -- including J.J. After Jennifer agreed to the terms, Abigail explained that the DiMera, Kiriakis, and Hernandez families were fighting over some sort of highly valuable technology, and Deimos had kidnapped Chad and Gabi because he believed that either Andre or Eduardo had stolen something from him that would make the technology work properly. "It's supposed to be some kind of key," Abigail continued as Jennifer listened in stunned silence, realizing that she knew exactly what Abigail was talking about.
Eric found Hope and took her back to his place. Noticing that it was in disarray, she wondered what had happened while she had been gone. He insisted that he wanted to know what had happened to her first. She explained that Lieutenant Raines had shown up at the clinic during her visit with Hattie. "He cornered me in [an] alley [and] fired off a warning shot, [but] I got away," she continued.
Keeping up his end of the bargain, Eric told Hope that a police officer had searched his place for her while she had been gone. Feeling guilty about having upended Eric's life and his home, Hope decided that it would be best for her to find a new place to hide. He insisted that she wasn't going anywhere. "You make me feel useful," he admitted when she tried to protest.
Eric asked for Hope's burner phone so he could destroy it. As she handed it over, she wondered if he had Internet service at his place. "Spotty," he confirmed. Knowing that she would go crazy if she didn't find some way to pass the time, she requested access to his computer so she could go online and try to find ways to prove Hattie's innocence. He admitted that he didn't have a computer at his place. "[But] it's time that I did," he added, excusing himself so he could go to a computer store in a nearby town to purchase one. She promised that she wouldn't go anywhere while he was gone.
After Eric left, Hope decided to start cleaning, since it was her fault that his home had been trashed in the first place. She soon found a black-and-white photograph of Jennifer among his belongings.
At the masquerade ball in Prague, Rafe found Marlena's earpiece and concluded that Stefano had taken her. However, she soon appeared with the person who had actually prompted her earlier gasp -- Austin, whom she had spilled a drink on when he had approached her from behind. She apologized for her abrupt disappearance, explaining that she had taken Austin to the nearest bathroom so he could get cleaned up.
Austin told Marlena, Rafe, Steve, and Kayla that he had sneaked past security to join their operation because getting involved had been the only way to prevent Anna from crashing the masquerade ball to confront Stefano herself. Rafe wasn't happy about Austin's interference, but Austin warned that if he didn't stick around to provide Anna with constant updates, she would probably show up with a gun and start shooting again.
Rafe soon received a phone call from J.J., who filled him in on Hope's close encounter with Raines. Rafe contacted Raines and began admonishing him for having fired at Hope. Raines dismissively insisted that he had merely fired a warning shot -- and he didn't have to explain himself to an underling, anyway. "I'm gonna kill him," Rafe angrily vowed after Raines hung up on him.
Marlena reminded Rafe that Hope was resourceful and knew how to take care of herself. Steve agreed, adding that staying focused on the search for Stefano would be the best way to help Hope. "Okay, but if we don't get Stefano tonight, I am on the first plane back to the States tomorrow. Hope cannot keep doing this alone. She needs me," Rafe insisted.
Austin pulled Rafe aside and noted, "I'm getting a lot of hostility from you." Rafe explained that he simply wanted to get through the night without an untrained person screwing things up. "Is that all it is?" Austin wondered, suggesting that Rafe's hostility might also have something to do with Carrie. Rafe insisted that his past with Carrie was ancient history, adding that Hope was the only woman he wanted to be with.
Meanwhile, a new song began playing in the ballroom. Paul and Sonny instantly recognized it as the one that had been playing when they had danced together for the first time years earlier. They had been alone in a hotel room back then, and Paul recalled with regret that he had refused when Sonny had asked to take him to a club so they could dance together in public. Sonny said he understood why Paul had been unable to grant that request. "That's not what you said back then," Paul pointed out. "Well, those days are over," Sonny countered. They decided, however, that they needed to focus on the task at hand instead of indulging in another dance.
Later, a man approached Marlena from behind and began to remove his mask -- just as all the lights went out. When the lights blinked back on a short time later, Marlena was alone in the center of the ballroom. Rafe and Steve rushed off to search for the man, who Marlena was certain had been Stefano. Marlena wanted to go after Stefano herself, but Paul warned that John probably wouldn't like that idea. "He's not here, so he can't stop me," Marlena countered. As she started to leave the ballroom, Rafe returned and triumphantly announced, "We got him. We finally got him."
Stefano is finally apprehended
While passing through Horton Town Square with Holly, Chloe ran into Anne, who greeted her with a hug and mused with a wistful sigh, "Oh, Chloe, I have such fond memories of helping you stick it to Jennifer Horton -- you know, back when you were trying to win over Daniel." Chloe admitted that she "kind of" regretted that phase of her life. "Yeah. Yeah, yeah, me, too," Anne replied.
Forcing a laugh, Anne admitted that she was actually working for Jennifer at the Spectator, adding, "Ugh, ugh, and ugh!" She then turned her attention to Holly, asking if Chloe had remarried since their last encounter. Shaking her head, Chloe vaguely explained that the child's father wasn't in the picture. "Oh. Well, she is a really pretty girl, huh? As pretty as her mother," Anne observed.
As Chloe began to thank Anne for the compliment, Brady approached and agreed that Holly was just as pretty as her mother, adding, "But her mother isn't Chloe." Anne expressed confusion, but Brady didn't bother to explain everything to her, instead asking to speak with Chloe privately. Chloe insisted that she had nothing to discuss with Brady. Nevertheless, Anne decided to excuse herself.
Once the coast was clear, Brady warned that Chloe was going to end up heartbroken once Holly was returned to Nicole's care. "Then back off, Brady. Stop trying to help her take my baby away," Chloe suggested. Brady reminded Chloe that Holly wasn't her child. Snatching a shopping bag out of Chloe's hand, Brady added, after finding summer clothes for a one-year-old inside, that it was clear that Chloe was planning a future with Holly. Chloe insisted that Nicole was never going to win the custody battle, but Brady disagreed, pointing out that Chloe no longer had a case against Nicole because Nicole was willing to leave Deimos.
Seizing the shopping bag from Brady, Chloe argued that Nicole couldn't be trusted to be a good mother to Holly, given her history as a "former porn queen [and baby-napper] who [had] slept with or married every man in Salem." Brady pointed out that Chloe wasn't exactly Mother Theresa. Chloe countered that her record as a mother was spotless, stressing, "I've never missed a teacher's meeting [or] dentist appointment; I have sat up with [Parker] when he's had the stomach flu [or] an ear infection. I will be just as good a mother to his little sister. Now, Nicole, on the other hand? She's just gonna leave [Holly] with nannies while she jets around the world with Deimos." Brady reiterated that Nicole was planning to leave Deimos, but Chloe insisted that was just what Nicole wanted her to believe.
Brady warned that if the custody case went to court, Nicole's lawyer would dredge up all the unsavory parts of Chloe's past. Chloe dismissively insisted that people could say whatever they wanted to say about her because the bottom line was that she was doing what was best for Holly, and that was all that mattered. Brady didn't agree that Chloe was doing what was best for Holly.
Brady predicted that Holly would eventually grow to hate Chloe for having kept her away from her biological mother her entire life, but Chloe insisted, "No, she will not, because I will tell her that I'm the one who carried her, gave birth to her, has taken care of her, and [has kept] her from becoming a victim of her biological mother's mobster boyfriend." She then excused herself, explaining that she was late for a meeting with her lawyer. "You know, Belle believes in me one hundred percent. I'm just sad that I'm finally finding out who my real friends are," she spat before walking away with Holly.
At the Kiriakis mansion, Deimos was on the phone with the goon who was keeping an eye on Chad and Gabi. He didn't mind that the man had "roughed up" Chad, but he insisted that Gabi was off-limits. As he was ending the call, Nicole joined him in the living room and wondered why he had asked to see her. He presented her with a folder that contained the initial plans for the nursery he was going to have added to the mansion -- the kind of nursery that Chloe would never be able to provide for Holly. Nicole appreciated the gesture but pointed out that the nursery would be useless if she decided not to continue living with him at the mansion. "I will take my chances. I'm gonna prove to you, Nicole, that I'm still the man that you thought I was," Deimos vowed.
Nicole admitted that she hadn't even thought about designing a nursery yet because she had gone through that process once before, back when Sydney had been in her care, and it had ultimately served as nothing more than a constant reminder of what she had lost. Deimos assured Nicole that, unlike Sydney, Holly really was her child. "[And] Daniel's," Nicole pointed out. Deimos insisted that he didn't care about that, stressing that because Holly was a part of Nicole, he would love the little girl as if she were his own.
"Nicole, I promised you, when I asked you to marry me, that I would make all your dreams come true, and I will," Deimos stressed. "Yeah? And what about my nightmares -- the ones I keep having since I saw Dario in the hospital [and] found out the man I love is the one who [put him there]?" Nicole countered. Deimos insisted that had been a one-time thing, adding that he would change his ways if Nicole agreed to give him another chance. "You can do that?" Nicole asked skeptically. "Once I tie up a few loose ends, absolutely," Deimos promised.
Nicole tearfully admitted that although Deimos sounded sincere, she wasn't sure that his assurances were enough for her at that point. He urged her to give the matter some thought while inspecting the room he planned to convert into Holly's nursery. After she left the living room, he closed the door and contacted the judge who had been assigned to the custody hearing. "I have a proposition for you -- one that'll make sure that justice is served," he told the judge.
When Nicole returned a short time later, Deimos was staring at his cell phone. He set it aside as she admitted that although the proposed room seemed perfect, she still had reservations about designing a nursery while the matter of custody was still up in the air. She feared that the judge might not rule in her favor due to her checkered past, but Deimos assured her that everything was going to work out. "Why do you say that?" she asked.
Before Deimos could respond, Brady returned home and wondered what Nicole was doing at the mansion. Nicole explained that Deimos had surprised her with plans for a nursery, leading Brady to conclude that the couple had worked things out. "Brady, I just looked at a couple of swatches. I mean, it's not really a big deal," Nicole insisted. Brady disagreed, reasoning, "As long as you're not throwing swatches in his face, then that means things are looking good for the two of you." Deimos assured Brady that, per Nicole's wishes, he would not be issuing any more orders of violence.
After Deimos left the living room, Nicole reiterated, "I'm not back together with him, Brady." Nevertheless, Brady guessed that Nicole wanted to get back together with Deimos. He pointed out that Holly could probably make her happier than any man could, including Deimos. She defensively insisted that she wasn't stupid; she was simply trying to have hope for the future. He conceded that he could understand that mindset.
Nicole could tell that something was bothering Brady, so he hesitantly admitted that he had seen Chloe in the town square earlier. "She had bags full of baby items, Nicole. She's digging her heels in," he continued. "Yeah? Well, so am I," Nicole vowed through gritted teeth. He expressed his belief that Nicole would win the custody battle and would be an amazing mother to Holly. Touched, she gave him a hug and thanked him for his support. Deimos watched jealously from the foyer as Nicole and Brady stayed wrapped in each other's arms.
Chloe went to the Brady Pub to see Belle, who was celebrating Stefano's capture with Shawn. Chloe congratulated the couple, having heard a rumor about the shocking development. She offered to reschedule her meeting with Belle, but Belle insisted that wasn't necessary. As Chloe took a seat at the couple's table, Shawn hesitantly began to question her decision to fight for custody of Holly, believing that it was wrong to keep the child away from Nicole. Chloe argued that Nicole was never going to change and would always value a relationship with a man more than the well-being of a child. "Now, I may date every once in a while, but Parker will always come first with me, and so will Holly," she stressed.
Shawn conceded that he could see Chloe's point. He still had concerns about what she was doing, but he promised that he would try to find a way to support her because he still thought of her as a friend. Belle added that she planned to continue representing Chloe -- and she truly believed that Chloe's chances of winning custody of Holly were good. Relieved, Chloe thanked Belle and Shawn for their support.
After Chloe left, Shawn told Belle, "'Fraid this isn't going to end well." Belle agreed, acknowledging that although Nicole wasn't exactly a paragon of virtue, Chloe wasn't, either. Shawn stressed that he was certain, however, that no one was more capable of winning the case for Chloe than Belle was. She thanked him for the vote of confidence. "Always," he replied before giving her a kiss.
At a police station in Prague, Marlena decided that she wanted to talk to Stefano one last time. "He's not gonna talk back," Steve warned. "That's okay. As long as he can listen to me," Marlena replied, explaining that she simply needed some closure because she had realized months earlier, back when she had believed that Stefano was dead, that there were many things she still needed to say to him. "Well, you're gonna have to take a number, honey, because family comes first," Anna insisted as she entered the police station with the urn containing Tony's ashes.
Marlena agreed to let Anna talk to Stefano first. When Kayla wondered why Marlena had done that, Marlena explained, "If I hadn't, she would have made a terrible scene, 'cause we know Anna. And [besides], I've been waiting for so long to say these things to [Stefano]. Waiting a while longer didn't seem to matter." Kayla supported Marlena's decision to talk to Stefano one last time but stressed that she had no desire to do so.
After ending a phone call, Rafe announced that although Roman would not be able to call off the search for Hope, he would be able to force Lieutenant Raines to apprehend her without the use of excessive force due to the fact that new evidence had been found that proved that she had never murdered anyone. Carrie, who had arrived with Anna earlier, noted that it seemed like Rafe and Hope would finally be able to live happily ever after together. Smiling, Rafe confirmed, "That's the plan."
Sonny and Paul ditched the rest of the group and went to a nearby café for drinks. Paul admitted that he never could have guessed, after his baseball career had ended, that the next phase of his life would involve chasing after bad guys. Sonny wished he could say that his job involved making a difference in other people's lives. Paul wanted Sonny to elaborate, but Sonny insisted that he couldn't get into the details; all he could say was that the investigation into Eduardo and Dario's shipping activities had turned into something much bigger than he ever could have anticipated.
Changing the subject, Sonny presented Paul with a gift -- a vinyl copy of the song that had been playing the first time they had danced together. Sonny explained that he had sneaked out to buy the gift while Paul had been busy at the police station earlier. Paul appreciated the gesture but felt guilty because he hadn't bought anything for Sonny. Sonny assured Paul that Stefano's apprehension was enough of a gift for him.
After an awkward silence, Paul laughed nervously and started to excuse himself so he could get back to the police station. Sonny stood and said goodbye to Paul with a tender kiss on the lips.
At the police station, Anna confronted Stefano, who laughed as she showed him the urn and complained that it was all she had left of Tony. "Oh, what are you smirking at? You're the one sitting in a jail cell," she pointed out. He continued laughing, prompting her to demand, "Say something, damn it! But then, what can you really say, hmm? 'Cause you have nothing. Tony is dead, E.J.'s dead, Lexie's dead, Kristen's dead. And you're going to prison. At least I know my Tony is in heaven, and I'll get to see him there again someday. But you? You're headed straight for hell." Stefano's smile faded as Anna walked away.
When Anna rejoined the group in the main section of the police station, Kayla wondered, "Did you get what you wanted?" Anna explained with a sigh of frustration that Stefano hadn't said a word to her; he had just stared at her the whole time, acting like she was speaking Martian. She suspected, however, that he had heard what she had said to him. "And seeing him sitting there in a cell, so down and out -- that was actually more satisfying than putting a bullet in him," she added. After giving the matter a bit of thought, she concluded that she probably had gotten what she had wanted.
Steve could tell that something was bothering Kayla, so she admitted that she was worried that Stefano might somehow manage to avoid his fate yet again. "Listen, he pulled off this one last thing, [and] it took a lot out of him. Believe me, the Phoenix doesn't have it in him to rise from the ashes one more time," Steve assured Kayla.
Marlena went to see Stefano, who perked up a bit when he saw her. She mused that she had concluded, after some contemplation, that fear was what had always made Stefano tick. "You know, you're going to hate prison. Hope won't even be there to welcome you, because she'll be home, with Rafe and her children. Did you know that Steve and Kayla are going to remarry? Valentine's Day -- isn't that romantic? And me? I'm going home to John, the great love of my life. You know, at your memorial service -- well, what we called it was a celebration of your death -- John spoke, [and] he said that all the things you had done to us to hurt us and separate us had only made us stronger. That was very true," she continued. She retrieved a chess piece from her purse -- the white queen -- and balanced it on one of the bars of the cell. "Checkmate," she said before walking away.
Stefano soon received another visitor -- Rafe, who bragged that he and Hope were going to have a long, happy life together. "We won. You lost," he added. He hoped that Stefano's capture might even allow Sami to finally reunite with her loved ones. Before walking away, he noted, "Oh, by the way, I hear there's lots of rats in here, so...you should feel right at home."
Steve and Kayla invited Austin and Carrie to their wedding. Assuming that she was also invited, Anna said she would love to attend the ceremony. When she realized that she wasn't invited, she decided that she was going to travel to Salem regardless, explaining that she wanted to see someone there. Meanwhile, Marlena received a phone call from John and delighted in telling him that Stefano had been captured. "The end of a very long and difficult nightmare. It's finally over," she mused.
Later, Steve and Paul went to Stefano's cell and found it empty. "I don't believe it. He did it again," Steve observed with a sigh.
Sonny learns about the kidnapping
In Salem hospital, Eduardo sat at Dario's bedside and said that he would get revenge for Dario and Gabi. Dario slept on, oblivious. After Eduardo left, Abigail arrived as Dario woke up. Dario said that Deimos would know what a beating felt like. Abigail implored Dario to keep his calm for Gabi's sake. Worried, Dario asked what had happened. Abigail told Dario that Deimos had kidnapped Gabi and Chad as leverage to force the return of the key. Upset, Dario struggled to get out of bed. Abigail begged Dario to get back in bed, but he refused. Worried, Abigail followed Dario out of his room.
In the town square, Andre and Kate made calls about the key, but they could not find any information. Frustrated, Andre swore that he would kill Deimos if Chad was hurt in any way. Kate urged Andre to focus on finding the key so that they could get Chad back. Andre warned Kate that they were at war.
After Andre stepped aside to make a call, Eduardo sat down at Kate's table in the square. Eduardo told Kate that Dario was doing well but that Arianna missed her mother. Kate admitted that she had no news about the key. Eduardo wondered aloud if Deimos knew what would happen to him if he hurt Gabi. Glancing over at Andre in the corner of the square, Kate told Eduardo he would need to take a number.
Kate asked about Eduardo, and he said he was not good. Eduardo thanked Kate for asking about him. After his call, Andre rejoined the table. Kate advised the men to treat Deimos with kid gloves. Furious, Eduardo said that would be difficult. Kate suggested that they use Sonny as an intermediary. With a nod, Andre agreed that Deimos would listen to his nephew. The three agreed to reach out to Sonny.
At the police station in Prague, Marlena worried aloud to Rafe that Stefano would fight extradition. Rafe said he would feel better once the DNA evidence was sent to Salem. Kayla agreed. Rafe talked to Agent Reznik on the phone about expediting Stefano's extradition. Marlena's eyes sparkled with hope, and Kayla told Rafe he had saved Hope's life.
Downstairs, Steve and Paul went to talk to Stefano and found that he was not in his cell. "I don't believe it. He did it again," Steve said hollowly. Steve called Shane to inform him that Stefano had escaped. Steve and Paul went upstairs to inform the group that Stefano had escaped. The alarms blared throughout the station. Lashing out, Rafe yelled at an officer for allowing Stefano to escape.
Paul apologized to the officer, and the officer said he understood. The officer promised to keep Rafe updated. As the officer walked away, Marlena held Rafe back and warned him not to accuse the local police of corruption. Kayla agreed. When the officer returned, he informed the group that the CCTV surveillance camera had blacked out during the moment that Stefano had escaped. Paul asked to review the footage, and the officer escorted Paul and Sonny to look at the tapes.
Fuming, Rafe said that Stefano was laughing at them. Steve suggested that they might have enough evidence to vindicate Hope in a court of law. Steve promised Rafe that Hope would be set free. Kayla agreed. Shaking his head, Rafe complained that he had wanted Stefano to pay. Steve said that the thing they'd wanted most had been to expose Stefano, which they had accomplished.
Kate worried aloud about Arianna. Setting his jaw, Sonny growled that he would handle Deimos. After hanging up the phone, Paul asked what had happened. Sonny told him about the kidnapping. Across the police station, Steve returned and informed the group that a man matching Stefano's description had been spotted boarding a private plane. There was no flight plan filed, so there was no way to track the man.
Paul and Sonny explained that the CCTV camera had been scrambled remotely. While Steve went to call Agent Reznik, Sonny's phone rang with a call from Kate. Kate explained that Deimos had kidnapped Gabi and Chad as leverage for the key. When Kate asked Sonny if he knew what the key was, Sonny promised to return to Salem to help.
Sonny added that he would call Deimos as soon as he hung up with Kate. Kate asked about Prague, and Sonny gave her a quick recap of what had happened with Stefano. Discouraged, Kate said she did not have a lot of faith in Interpol. Sonny added that Austin had tracked down the missing DiMera money.
Across the room, Kayla reminded Rafe, Steve, Marlena, and Paul that Stefano was terminally ill and would die on his own soon. With a nod, Rafe said he was ready to return to Salem. After Sonny left a voicemail for Deimos, Paul talked to him in the corner. Sonny said he did not want to tell Rafe because Deimos did not play well with the police.
In the other corner, of the station, Steve talked to Kayla about staying behind to work with Reznik. With a nod, Kayla told Steve she understood, but he needed to be home in time for their wedding. Grinning widely, Steve said he would never miss his wedding to his Sweetness. After making arrangements, Marlena announced that she had secured a plane for them to return to Salem. When Marlena told Rafe he had done well, Rafe scowled and left the station.
In the meat locker storage in Salem, a worried Gabi roused an unconscious Chad, who had been punched out by their guard. As Chad chuckled, Gabi asked Chad not to defend her honor with the guard anymore. Gabi said she would not know what to do without Chad. Chad apologized. Shaking her head dismissively, Gabi admitted that she was scared. Chad encouraged Gabi to be herself, but she said she could not do that because she needed to move on with her life without Chad.
Gabi admitted that she resented Chad because she had thought about what a life with Chad would have been like. When Chad started to apologize, Gabi said she understood why Chad had chosen Abigail, but her heart was still broken. Gabi thanked Chad for helping her feel smart and competent. Smiling sadly, Chad said she was all those things.
"I don't feel strong and confident most of the time. I did around you," Gabi said. "Well that wasn't me telling you that you were strong. That was just you being strong. You need to own that," Chad countered. Gabi admitted that she still dreamed about Chad, and it made her sad. When Gabi said she still loved Chad, he asked her to stop. Chad admitted that he wanted to say the same thing.
As Gabi shivered, Chad put his jacket around her shoulders. Chad rambled a bit about saying "I love you" until he sheepishly admitted that he still loved Gabi. Chad added that he loved Abigail too. Gabi nodded. Chad said he felt terrible, but he needed to work on his marriage. With a smile, Gabi said that if they died in the storage room, she was happy she would be with Chad. Chuckling, Chad said he was still hungry.
At Club TBD, Dario stumbled into the office with Abigail, and he pleaded with Myron to get the technology to work. Dario said his sister's life was at stake. Myron swore he was working as fast as he could. Abigail warned Dario to take it easy. Dario grimaced and fell into a chair. Abigail rushed to help Dario, but he waved her off. Dario rose to his feet then passed out.
In the town square, Kate informed Eduardo and Andre that Sonny had agreed to help them. With a sympathetic look, Kate told Andre that Stefano was alive, but he had escaped. Andre registered no surprise. Kate added that Austin had found some of the missing money. With a nod, Andre said the money was good news. Raising an eyebrow, Eduardo asked if Andre was happy to hear about his father. With a shrug, Andre said it was a mixed blessing.
While Kate stepped aside to take a phone call from Austin, Andre asked Eduardo if they should detain Sonny and use him as a bargaining chip. Eduardo asked if Kate would be okay with taking Sonny. Andre explained it was fine as long as Chad and Gabi were unharmed. "An eye for an eye. You know what I mean?" Andre said with a grin. Eduardo said he would make arrangements. "Just don't hurt Sonny. Yet," Andre said.
When Kate returned, Eduardo said he needed to check on Dario, and he left. Andre asked about Kate's call to Austin. When Kate mentioned that the funds were under one of Stefano's aliases, Andre grunted. Andre said he should be used to Stefano destroying everything in his path and leaving his family behind. Kate nodded. "I still love him," Andre admitted sadly.
Andre said he was not overjoyed to know that Hope would be released, because she had sent him to prison. Quietly, Kate reminded Andre that Hope had also gone to prison. Andre did not think Hope had paid enough for her crimes. Changing the subject, Andre said he wanted to focus on rescuing Chad and Gabi.
In Prague, Steve walked into a mansion and stared at a man in a prison uniform standing before him. "You crafty son of a bitch. Our plan worked like a charm," Steve said. Shane turned around and grinned. "Just like you said it would," Shane chirped.