It's a cold, rainy, miserable day outside, but I feel like I have the warm sun sitting right here next to me on the couch. Why? Two reasons.
One - EJ and Stefano scenes!
Two - No Rafe!
Also, yet another plot point gets met then tossed by the wayside like a marathon runner hitting a mark, taking a sip of water and then whipping the paper cup over his shoulder before dashing off towards the finish line.
Jesus, will we ever get to the finish line?
Anyways, here we go.
At the DiMansion.
Stefano has returned from his business trip, overnight bag in hand. He's happy to be home.
Stefano (cheerfully): Katarina! I'm home!
He makes a move to put down his coat and bag and almost trips over one of Johnny's toy trucks. EJ rushes in to pick it up.
Stefano: What the hell is all this?
EJ: Watch your step! Please!
Stefano: What is all of this?
EJ holds the red truck up with both hands, looking triumphant.
EJ: This is evidence that Sydney and Johnny are back where they belong.
Stefano's jaw drops. Suddenly he's beaming.
Stefano: They are here? They are living here?
He tosses his coat aside and hugs EJ.
Stefano: This is the best news of all! (He holds EJ out at arm's length) You don't know what a happy man I am!
EJ: Maybe. But I'm not sure how long it's going to last. We'll see.
Now the characters are doing the forshadowing themselves.
Brady and Nicole have sex. It's all pretty much a set-up for things to come. That was not meant to be a double entendre, but it can be if you want it to.
I had to stick this in here because I thought it was just too damn unintentionally funny.
Jen: You know, Bo - sometimes you have to wonder how much more a family can go through.
Bo: Yeah. I'd pay a thousand dollars to be bored for maybe five minutes.
Go nuts with that, guys.
In Brady's bedroom, post pelvic-affiliation.
Naked Nicole is wrapped around Brady like a boa constrictor on a branch after keeping her promise to make Brady forget about his sarcophagus woes. But this is a soap opera and Nicole hasn't paid her thousand bucks yet, so...
Brady: Well, that was classic guy behaviour.
Nicole: You are too hard on yourself.
Nicole: Whatever gets you through the night.
Brady (smiling): Well, I did forget about it for a little while, so thank you.
He kisses the top of her head and strokes her hair.
Nicole: You're welcome. Brady, look. I know it's not fair. You're worried about everything, and I haven't been this happy in so long, since...
Brady: Lemme guess. Since you were on top of the world believing that Sydney was your daughter.
Nicole ignores the little jab and continues to smile.
Nicole: You know, earlier I got to tuck her in for her nap. But before she fell asleep, she looked up at me, Brady. She looked up at me with that smile of hers that just makes me melt.
Brady: I know it does.
Nicole: I'm just afraid that EJ is going to back out of his end of the bargain.
Brady (chuckling): Now why would you ever doubt EJ's word on anything, Nicole? Really. I mean, given your history together I'm sure this new arrangement of yours is gonna work out great. It's gonna work out just splendidly.
Nicole cuts his slalom down Sarcasm Slope short.
Nicole (laughing): Okay, okay. I get it. We can't trust EJ. But I'm getting someplace. I think he's beginning to see...
Brady: ...see what?
Nicole: That if he wants this to work, he needs me.
In the DiMansion livingroom.
EJ swoops in and pours himself a drink. Stefano follows.
Stefano: My grandchildren are back in my house and you are acting like it is bad news.
EJ: It's not bad news. It's just not good news across the board.
Stefano pauses for a moment, hands on his hips, looking somewhat bemused.
Stefano: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. If you have the children --
EJ: Oh, yeah. I have the goods. I can prove Samantha shot me.
He hands Stefano a drink and they clink their glasses together.
Stefano: So, you finally found what Arianna had left for you.
EJ: I did. (He hesitates) How I found it is what is interesting.
Stefano's eyes narrow suspiciously. He's all ears.
EJ: That's the part I don't think you're going to like too much. (He takes a quick sip of his drink) Nicole gave it to me.
EJ: She went through the things Arianna had left Brady. It turns out Arianna had made a video recording of Samantha confessing.
Stefano: And so Nicole gave you the recording.
EJ: I wouldn't so much as say she gave it to me --
Stefano (chuckling): I'm sure there was quite a price on it, right? Wasn't there.
EJ: Let's just say we came to an arrangement.
Stefano: Oh no. She was out of your life, Elvis. More importantly, she was out of Sydney's life.
EJ pats Stefano's shoulder and turns away from him.
EJ: Yeah. Not anymore.
Stefano rolls his eyes tiredly.
The DiMansion livingroom.
EJ sits down on the arm of one of the chairs, ready to explain himself.
EJ: Father, Nicole was insightful enough to make a very good point. Which is that I don't just want custody of Sydney and Johnny. I also want them to be happy.
Stefano: Then by them a pony.
I like the way this man thinks.
EJ: Sydney loves Nicole, father.
Stefano: Sure. Because they had so much fun when they were in Cleveland after she kidnapped her. You know, I don't understand. Elvis, how can you even let that woman anywhere near your daughter?
EJ: Because she's not going to take her away again, father. I'm watching closely.
Stefano: Oh, I'm sure. Of course. You watch her closely. You know what's going to happen? Sydney is going to become attached to her. Now, you're not going to want to hurt Sydney, so what's going to happen? Nicole gets the upper hand.
EJ (sarcastically): Thank you. I appreciate all of your support and understanding.
He finishes off his drink then goes to stand by his desk, leaning forward on it heavily as Stefano goes all mom on him in the background.
Stefano: Ah, I see. I'm supposed to support and understand everything that you say, right? I mean, especially when you are acting like an idiot. I don't understand any of it. You know something? Elvis - you almost lost your children. You almost went to jail. Somehow or another you got through all of that, and you have the upper hand on Samantha. Now you are bringing Nicole into the deal. (Exasperated) You know, sometimes I think you have a deathwish.
EJ straightens and glares at him.
EJ: Yeah, well. I think you live in a glass house.
Stefano turns to look at him.
Stefano: What is that supposed to mean?
EJ: Oh, I don't know. Maybe it means that throwing stones could be a little bit risky for you, as you're married to a lying, traitorous bitch.
At the hospital.
Kate is hanging around with Phillip, claiming that she's there out of concern for Melanie, but her son is on to her. He suggests that maybe she's actually hanging around because she's afraid to go home. He's not wrong.
Kate (on her cellphone): Sami, it's me. This isn't the message I wanted to be leaving. I tried to neutralize EJ but it didn't work. So in short, you're screwed. And so am I.
Anyone want to tell me why I had to sit through those stupid, mind-bending scenes of Kate plotting with Sami and Rafe? Anyone?
In the DiMansion livingroom.
Stefano stands with one hand on his hip and a black cloud over his head.
Stefano: I'd be very, very careful what you say about my wife.
EJ (unfazed): Really. Okay. Let's talk about you, shall we? You're getting soft. Sentimental.
Stefano: What are you saying?
EJ: You may have blackmailed Kate into marrying you, which - I'll be honest - I didn't really mind at the time because I like anything that sticks into Phillip. She was nice to have around the house. But she sold you a bill of goods, father. And she's been scheming to get out of this house since she said, "I do". Actually, since she said, "I have to".
Stefano considers his words for a second.
Stefano: That's not true.
EJ: Do you know why she shot me that night? And I mean that night.
Stefano (quietly, turning away): No.
EJ: She had no reason to shoot me that particular night, father. Unless... (he waits for Stefano to finish his sentence, smacking his hands together in frustration) Come on! You did such a great job figuring this out the first time around. Unless...?
Stefano: Unless she knew that you were going to take the children.
EJ: Right. And she did know. She knew because your Katherine told her. (Brushing past Stefano) So who's the idiot now?
Too many to list.
Back in bed with Brady and Nicole.
Nicole: Brady, you don't look happy.
It's the grief beard. It sends mixed messages.
Brady: Is that important to you?
Nicole: Yes, it is! I want you to be as happy as I am.
Brady: Nicole, a woman that I loved just died. Melanie, someone that I look at as a sister, could die. And I just stuffed a woman in a box and left her to die. You know, if I was a happy guy there'd be something really, really wrong with me.
Or you'd be Rafe.
Nicole: I just wish there was something I could do.
Brady: Nicole, I get that you're happy to see Sydney again, but I can't celebrate the fact that my niece was ripped away from her mother and handed over to Elvis the Sociopath.
Nicole: I didn't do that. Sami lost her kids because she shot EJ. You can't blame me.
Brady (reaching out to stroke her hair): Nicole, you and I - we're way beyond blame. Way beyond.
In the DiMansion.
Stefano is slowly cluing in. Very, very slowly. Speed of sloth slow.
Stefano: Katherine...told Samantha?
EJ: I imagine she thought she was ... and, of course, she was wrong.
Stefano: She would not do that.
EJ: Why? Because she's a devoted wife, father? Because she loves you so much? Once a hooker, always a hooker. She certainly knows how to fake it.
Stefano (disgusted): Shut up.
EJ: I don't think I could stain her honour if I tried.
Stefano turns to glare at EJ, knocking a fist against the table to get his attention.
Stefano: You enjoy mocking me on this, huh? I, who have backed you up after one disastrous mistake after another.
EJ stares back at him silently.
Stefano: I chose you above everyone else, alright? And you think that this is funny?
EJ sits down, quiet now.
EJ: What I think, father, is that there need to be consequences for Kate.
Stefano: That's my decision. Mine only.
EJ: Well, don't forget - she betrayed you just as much as she betrayed me.
Stefano: Elvis, I do not have to be reminded of that.
Still in bed with Brady and Nicole.
Brady is staring off into space while Nicole rubs his very waxed chest.
Nicole: Brady...you get like this, and it scares me.
Brady comes back to life and reaches for Nicole's hand, placing a kiss on the inside of her wrist.
Brady: Hey. I don't want to take my problems out on you, alright? But I'm not like you. I can't do what you do. I can't pretend that we're this cute, young couple
Nicole's face scrunches up.
Nicole: I don't want that.
Brady: It's what you want.
Nicole (insistent): No, it's not.
Brady: I think it is what you want, and I don't have your brand of amnesia, Nicole.
Nicole: You are too hard on yourself.
Brady: I think you're wrong there. Look, I know who you are.
Nicole arches an eyebrow and smiles.
Brady: I do. I know why you do what you do, and I don't want to change that. And I'm not gonna judge that. I can't because it would be a little hypocritical of me to do that --
Jesus Christ! Did he actually say that?
Brady: -- but I'll tell you what - I can't pretend that you wanting Sydney in your life again is a good idea. For you, or for her.
In the DiMansion livingroom.
EJ and Stefano are both calmer now. EJ sits on the arm of a chair, shrugging his shoulders.
EJ: It's not up to me. You deal with Kate as you see fit.
Stefano: That's right. And you deal with Samantha.
EJ: Of course.
Stefano: "Of course". I'm not so sure about that.
And it begins again.
EJ: What do you mean by that exactly?
Stefano: What I mean is this - One day you want to marry her. The next day you want revenge. Then - BABOOM! - it all changes again. She is the sun in your solar system. Look, you've got to...you've got to give this up. Let it go.
EJ stands up, angry again.
EJ: No! Absolutely not, father! I want to see her pay! And prison - it's too easy. It's painless. She has to watch me and Nicole bond with her children. (He laughs, suddenly enjoying himself) See, because for Samantha that's a living hell.
He continues to smile, proud of himself. Stefano looks on warily.
Near the park bench (Seriously, what do we call that set?)
Enter Brady and Nicole. Brady is on his cellphone.
Brady (on phone): Really? Seriously? That is so wonderful! Thanks so much for calling me. Alright, bye.
He hangs up the phone.
Brady (to Nicole): They think Melanie is going to be alright.
Nicole (smiling): Oh, Brady. You deserve good news.
Brady smiles back, sighing with relief.
Brady: I'm gonna go down there. Is that alright?
Nicole: Yeah. (She reaches out and puts her hand to his cheek) Of course. It's so good to see you smile.
Brady: Thanks. Will you find your way back okay?
It's about fifteen steps that way.
Nicole: Uh-huh. Go! I'm fine!
Brady waves at her one last time then rushes off. While Nicole is enjoying the last bits of the Bricole post-coital glow, EJ slowly rounds the corner. The music turns decidedly dramatic.
EJ: Saw you and Brady together. I think it's about time you and I set some ground rules.
Nicole looks back at him nervously.
In the DiMansion.
Stefano sits in one of the armchairs, his back to the doors, sipping his drink, when Kate walks in. Stefano doesn't look at her.
Kate slowly walks past him, sensing he already knows. It sort of looks like a death march. The only thing that's missing is 'The Song of the Volga Boatmen' playing in the background.
Kate stands in the middle of the room, clutching her hands in front of her. I think it's the first time I've ever seen her look nervous, and she's dressed to the nines for it.
Kate: You know, don't you.
Stefano stares at her, looking grim.
Stefano: Yes. I know.
Kate finally sits down in the armchair across the room from him. She quickly tries to pull herself together. She eases into the chair and crosses one leg over the other. She tilts her head to one side, smiling calmly.
Kate: So...what are you going to do?
Stefano: Well, my darling. You're just going to have to wait and see.
It's a good thing Kate is wearing so many skirts because I'm pretty sure she just crapped herself, and I'm certain that staining the upholstery will just get her in deeper with Stefano.
The park bench.
EJ begins laying out "the ground rules" for Nicole.
EJ: What you do on your time is your business. But when it comes to Sydney I have to consider my daughter's best interests.
Nicole's eyes narrow as she tries to figure out what the hell EJ is talking about.
EJ: Now I have been letting you become a part of Sydney's life, but you are going to have to make a choice. Either you can have Brady in your life, or you can have Sydney. Not both. You think about that.
With his hands in his pockets, he casually strolls away. Nicole turns and watches him leave, looking perplexed and somewhat devastated.
In the DiMansion.
Stefano (yelling and waving a fist at a crying Kate): You betrayed me!
At the pub.
Sami (to who the hell knows who): This fight is far from over.