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Credit: Jill Johnson/JPI (4)

Plus, have we seen the last of Gwen?

“We are definitely in the final arc of the devil story,” says Days of Our Lives headwriter Ron Carlivati. “Everything is coming to a head, Ciara’s giving birth and the stakes could not be higher. We will see all of her loved ones coming together in an effort to stand between the devil and his ultimate plan for not only the baby but the town of Salem.”

But of course, with the May Sweeps period having just started, there’s big things happening all around the supposedly sleepy burgh of Salem. Couples will be reunited, revenge plans will be hatched a villain’s true stripes will be revealed. Ready for more? Read on for all the details!

At home, a shirtless Ben wraps his arms around Ciara's belly from behind. He nuzzles her neck. Days of Our Lives

Satan’s Last Stand

“From the beginning, we knew that the climax of the story would be Ciara giving birth,” the scribe says. “We also knew that this was a story we would tell in three arcs, all of which would center on Marlena and her family. First was the possession of Marlena herself, followed by the the devil jumping into first Johnny and then Allie.”

More: Big Beyond Salem plot twist revealed

Now, the race is on to prevent the devil from brining his evil plan to fruition. “Everyone is on the line,” previews Carlivati. “These are life-or-death stakes, with many of our beloved characters coming together to save not only the baby and Ciara, but Allie’s soul.”

Johnny, in his red suit, looks seriously at Paulina. Allie, Chanel and Lani surround them in the DiMera mansion. Days of Our Lives

Three’s Company

One of the most interesting consequences of the devil’s latest visit to Salem is how it complicated Chanel’s love life! “In a sense, we will eventually return to where this story was before the devil stirred things up,” says Carlivati. “Chanel is, essentially, in love with both Johnny and his twin sister, which I think is a first for daytime.”

Chanel’s brief marriage to Johnny was torpedoed during his possession, which propelled her into the bed of his sister, Allie. “Chanel has genuine feelings for each of them,” insists the writer. “It’s not like she stopped loving Johnny when he dumped her. And remember, she was drawn to Allie even before she met her brother. Because of the unique circumstances which unfolded over the past few months, Chanel’s had good reason to turn from one to the other. But what happens now that she knows neither of them actually set out to hurt her?”

As for Tripp, while “he and Chanel did bond over their mutual heartache,” Carlivati says the writers deliberately had Paulina intervene before the pair could hit the sheets. “At least for now, they’re better as friends who can understand this situation better than anyone else.”

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Love Under Fire

“Chad and Abigail are probably feeling pretty proud of themselves,” laughs Carlivati. “They managed to prevent both Gwen and Leo’s marriages.” Of course, doing so as put the happy couple atop two hit lists… at least one of which is a literal list!

“With Craig no longer in his life, Leo sits down and makes a list of all the people he blames and against whom he wants to seek revenge,” he continues. “At first, it maybe starts almost as a joke. But this is Leo, and we know that he’s a master schemer. The only real question is how far he’s willing to go in order to pay back the people he thinks did him dirty!”

Meanwhile, Gwen shocked the heck out of Abigail (and viewers) by admitting that she killed Laura on purpose. “That’s definitely difficult to bring a character back from,” admits Carlivati. But maybe not every character is meant to “come back” from the dark side. “Gwen is a great villain. For a while, it looked like perhaps she’d found redemption, or that it was at least possible. But what she did to Sarah was pretty dark.” Speaking of Sarah…

Sarah and Xander's fantasy wedding on Days of Our Lives

Happy At Last? 

“We’ve put Xander and Sarah fans through a lot,” concedes the scribe. “But we’re finally moving the couple closer to where they were before all of this started.” Which was, you might recall, their wedding day. What should have been the happiest of occasions instead saw a series of events set in motion which kept them apart and drove him into the arms of another woman.

More: New competition for Xander’s heart? 

“Gwen has lost everything and everyone at this point,” says Carlivati. And then there’s that confession she made to Abigail. “Even now that she has admitted to killing Laura, it’s not entirely clear as to whether she meant it or was just saying it in the heat of the moment. Gwen is a very impulsive creature, and she doesn’t make the best decisions when backed into a corner.”

Gabi Li Days office

In Other News… 

The battle for control of DiMera Enterprises turns into an emotional hotbed when business and pleasure collide. Just seeing Jake with Ava makes Gabi’s blood boil and, as will happen with the fiery young woman, set her to scheming. “Gabi decides to flirt heavily with Li in order to make Jake jealous,” teases Carlivati. “But she may find herself in over her head, because there’s more to Li — a character the audience has really wanted to see more of — than meets the eye.”

More: First pics of the Hope/Ciara reunion

Gabi’s brother Rafe, meanwhile, will yet again find himself in love with a woman whose heart may not belong entirely to him. “The history between Nicole and Eric can’t be ignored,” says the scribe. “They’ve been through good times and bad. And although they currently are telling one another they’re better as friends, they might be trying to convince themselves as much as anyone.”

Brandon Beemer, Martha Madison, Heather Lindell shawn, belle, jan days jpi

Jan is exactly where she wants to be, which is firmly entrenched beneath Belle’s skin! “Shawn is in a difficult position,” acknowledges Carlivati. “Belle is maybe being a little bit tough on him, especially given that he never choose to sleep with Jan. Yes, he kept Belle in the dark, but there’s a case to be made that he did that for her own good.”

As Jan continues to be a presence in their lives, it pushes Belle ever closer to another lonely local. “Of course, EJ is probably the last person Belle should get involved with,” laughs the writer. “The history between Sami and Belle is contentious under the best of circumstances. So we’ve set up this situation where Sami is off with Lucas, unaware that he’s actually the man who kidnapped her. If and when that comes out, she might go from having to deal with that shock to coming home and finding out who EJ has gotten closer to!”

Jackee Harry, William Christian TR paulina jpi days

Finally, even as Eli finally awakens from his coma, a new threat looms on the horizon. “Paulina is getting closer to TR, whom the audience knows is after her money and hasn’t changed a bit,” says Carlivati. “TR is the same man who abused her all those years ago.”

More: Days legacy character recast

He’s also the person responsible for Eli’s brush with death. “As it looks as if the walls could be closing in on TR,” warns the writer, “he will present a real threat to not only Paulina, but everyone she loves.” Could Abe, who is slowly changing his attitude when it comes to the idea of forgiving Paulina, be the only person capable of preventing tragedy?

Check out our Dream Daytime Emmy Award Winners, from Outstanding Scene Stealer to Most Pointless Death.