The news rolled over Opal like a steamroller---Palmer was leaving her. Fortunately things weren't as dire as Opal first believed. Palmer announced that he'd be flying to Japan to handle some trade agreement problems between the Land of the Rising Sun and Cortlandt Electronics. Opal begged her husband to have one of his assistants handle the matter, but Palmer felt that he was the only man for the job. Palmer told Opal that he'd call their son, Petey, to talk to him as soon as he settled into his hotel room. Opal's voice cracked as she tried her best to convince Palmer that he needed to stay at home and work out their problems. Palmer hushed Opal, snapping that she'd already made enough of a scene at The Valley Inn. Opal apologized for her outburst. She admitted that she'd jumped to the wrong conclusion and asked Palmer if he could forgive her mistake. Palmer explained that Opal had embarrassed herself at the restaurant---not him. And Opal's claims that she didn't feel embarrassed only made Palmer even angrier. "You're slipping through my fingers," Opal sobbed openly, "and there isn't a blasted thing I can do." Palmer stared back at Opal without a so much as a glimmer of emotion on his face. In fact, he coldly noted that his numbing of emotion towards his wife "has nothing to do with [her] taste." The problem, of course, was Opal's erratic behavior. Opal again apologized for her spectacle at The Valley Inn unaware that her odd behavior began back when she interfered in Kevin and Kelsey's love life. Opal lowered her head and continued to weep. She told Palmer that she couldn't remember the last time they touched or kissed. Opal feared that if Palmer left for Japan, he'd walk out of her life forever. Palmer assured her that he'd be back and that once he returned they could deal with their crumbling marriage. "How did we get here," Opal asked in a voice just above a whisper. "If I knew that," Palmer replied, "I'd certainly know a way for us to get back." Palmer took his coat and walked out the front door.
Hayley once again turned to God for help in bringing Mateo out of his coma. Back in Mateo's dreamlike state, the haunting sounds of demonic laughter filled the carnival atmosphere. Hayley screamed in horror as the shadowy figure lowered the sledgehammer. Mateo raced to Hayley, but he was too late. He held her lifeless body in his arms. Something in the dream poured into the real world as Mateo once again squeezed Hayley's hand. Hayley looked down at her husband's body and watched in awe as his eyes slowly opened. Although blurry, Mateo was finally able to see his surroundings. Hayley immediately fell into a frenzy as she called out her husband's name and asked him if he could hear her. Mateo remained unable to speak, but he blinked his eyes as a signal that he could, in fact, hear Hayley's voice. Hayley had faced disappointment before and wanted to make sure that Mateo's blinking was not another reflex action. She encouraged Mateo to blink two more times and every time her request was met with a blink from Mateo. Hayley asked Mateo to keep his eyes open while she phoned Jake. Hayley held on to Mateo's hand and stretch across the room towards the phone. Her arms weren't long enough to make the reach. She lunged across the room, grabbed the phone, and raced back to Mateo's side. There was no chance of Hayley losing her husband again. By the time Jake showed up, Mateo had stopped blinking. There was a marked change in Mateo's condition, but it wasn't enough to warrant celebration. Jake explained that Mateo's pupils were now responding to light. Hayley was certain that it was only a matter of time before Matt woke up. Jake, who prefaced his comments with a disclaimer about his lack of expertise in coma research, told Hayley that Mateo had made a great leap up the progress scale... but added that there was still no way of knowing when---or even if---Mateo would pull out of the coma. Jake could see that his grim outlook had stifled Hayley's jubilance. He made an abrupt one-eighty and changed his prognosis. Now, Jake assured Hayley that it would only be a matter of time before Mateo was pouring him a beer at Holidays. Mateo blinked, echoing Jake's forecast.
Erica was haunted by the possibility of having had a stranger lurking in her house. She slipped downstairs and called out to the supposed intruder. Meanwhile, Jack had rolled over in bed and realized that Erica was missing. Jack wandered downstairs and put an end to Erica's search just as she was closing in on Mike's position. In an attempt to ease Erica's concerns, Jack agreed to search the house for signs of a prowler or, as Erica believed, an obsessed fan. Jack's search turned up empty. A few seconds later, a frenzied pounding sounded on the door along with the cries of a familiar voice. Opal, distraught from her fight with Palmer, burst into the house as soon as Erica opened the door and begged her gal pal for advice. Opal looked around and eventually noticed that Erica was not alone. Now Opal had doubled her feeling of guilt, seeing that she'd probably interrupted Jack and Erica's night of passion. Erica and Jack welcomed Opal into the house and asked her to explain what had happened. "Palmer is gone," Opal said as she sobbed uncontrollably. Opal's high level of emotion led the couple to believe that Palmer had died! Needless to say, they were relieved to learn that he'd only left for Japan. Opal explained her debacle at The Valley Inn and told Erica that she believes Palmer will leave her for good. Opal was urged to go the airport and stop Palmer from getting on his flight. Opal was ready to zoom out the door until Jack demanded that he be allowed to present the male perspective on the situation. Jack explained that racing to the airport would probably only make things worse. He urged Opal to wait for Palmer to return from his trip and then work on sorting out their problems. Erica concurred and wished Opal the best of luck in getting things back on track. After Opal left, however, Erica and Jack were left to wonder if their relationship would weaken over time. That prompted Erica to evaluate her current feelings for Jack. When she realized that she didn't want marriage to ruin their love for one another, Erica suggested that they break off their engagement. Jack cocked his head to one side and assured Erica that they need not break off their engagement in order to prevent their feelings from diminishing. Content that they would remain in love for the rest of their lives, Erica and Jack went back upstairs to bed. Meanwhile, Mike stepped out of the shadows with a frown planted on his face.
Dimitri's surprise attack easily earned him the upper hand. In a desperate attempt to fend off his attacker, Jim reached for his flashlight. He waved it feverishly hoping to catch a break and connect with Dimitri's head. It didn't work, but it allowed Jim a chance to break free of Dimitri's grip and make a run for it. Dimitri caught up to Jim, but not before Jim could pull a knife from his pocket. Jim flashed the blade and made a lunge at Dimitri's chest. Dimitri stepped aside and grabbed Jim's knife-wielding arm. Dimitri twisted Jim's arm behind his back and smashed his head against a rock several times. Jim tumbled to the ground... out cold. Dimitri was about to slash Jim's throat with the knife, but Edmund's desperate pleas for help captured and diverted his attention. Dimitri raced into the viaduct to see what had happened to his brother. Upon seeing the handcuffs, Dimitri knew that he could probably free Edmund---but only if he could find Jim's keys. Dimitri raced back to Jim's lifeless body and searched for the keys but couldn't find them. Dimitri went back into the chamber to tell Edmund that he was going to head to a small, nearby town to ask for police assistance. Back on the beach, in what can best be compared to a horror movie, Jim's eyes suddenly opened and a maniacal look crept across his face. From inside the viaduct, bot Edmund and Dimitri could hear the sounds of the rusty iron gate closing. Dimitri tried to race to the entrance before Jim could padlock the gate, but he was too late. Jim, weak from this battle with Dimitri, took great pleasure in outfoxing the brothers. Jim explained that since Dimitri had botched his opportunity to kill him, it was now his turn to get a shot at Dimitri's life---and he wasn't going to let it slip by. Dimitri watched as Jim walked away from the gate. He shouted "No!" at the top of his lungs hoping that it would somehow make Jim change his mind. It didn't. In fact, it brought about the return of Jim's evil wit. For each time that Dimitri yelled, "no," Jim yelled "Yes!" Edmund was content to die as his body couldn't fight any longer. Dimitri refused to give up, but saw no way out of their dilemma. Edmund asked his brother if he still carried his "apple peeler thingamajig." Dimitri's face lit up and he pulled his pocketknife from his pocket.
Back In Pine Valley, Brooke had fallen asleep on the sofa. A hand gently rubbed her shoulder and roused her from her sleep. Brooke looked at Jim in astonishment and asked him how he'd gotten into the house. Jim held up a set of keys that he'd had made. Brooke, now fully awake, looked at Jim's bruised and bloodied face and asked him what had happened to him. Jim claimed that he'd overheard two "punks" talking about Laura's pornographic photos and that after he asked them to stop, they jumped him. Brooke then asked Jim about his meeting with Dimitri. Jim smiled and said that it seemed to go well---but added that Dimitri was acting rather strangely and oddly "chummy." Jim rubbed Brooke's hand and assured her that after tonight Dimitri would "no longer be a problem." Jim returned to The Valley Inn to wash up. Brooke knew that things had gone wrong... terribly wrong.