Smoke and debris fill the church. A battered Nicole leans back on EJ. Johnny crouches near them.
Credit: Peacock screenshot

In the Square, Eric asks Brady what Kristen is holding over his head. Brady wants his brother to just forget their conversation, but Eric can’t. Brady fesses up about Kristen using Marlena, Kate, and Kayla’s lives to blackmail him. Eric promises not to tell a soul, and vows they’ll figure out a way to stop Kristen from hurting Brady and the people they love.

At home, John tries to get Kristen to open up to him about what’s weighing on her conscience. She tells him all she wants is to be a good mom and loving wife. Mainly, she just wants Rachel to know she’s loved and safe. Kristen remarks on how kind John’s being. He declares he’s there for her whenever she wants to talk. Kristen thanks him and leaves to pick up Rachel.

John calls Marlena and leaves a message about his talk with Kristen. He’s even more convinced now that she’s hiding something and he’s determined to find out what it is.

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Steve joins Rafe drinking at the Pub. He asks if he’s made any progress on nailing EJ for kidnapping Tripp. Rafe says not yet, but assures him he wants to nail EJ as much as Steve does. Kayla calls Steve to tell him Tripp flew to Salem. She’s convinced he came to confront EJ.

After the bomb goes off in the church, Marlena, Ava, Tripp, Nicole, EJ, Marlena, and Johnny lie motionless under debris. Tripp is the first to stir, followed by EJ who yells out for John Roman. Johnny answers and EJ helps him out of the debris. Johnny yells for Marlena, who struggles to rise. EJ asks where Nicole is. She calls out, but her arm hurts like hell. EJ rushes to her and she lies back on him. Tripp scrambles to Ava, who isn’t breathing. He performs CPR and revives her.

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When EJ tries to help Nicole up so they can go to the hospital, Nicole realizes her leg is stuck under a beam — a beam that was holding up the ceiling. The men try to lift it to no avail. Debris falls from the ceiling and Nicole urges everyone to leave. There’s no way they’re leaving without her and they work to successfully remove the beam. EJ and Marlena help Nicole out of the church, while Johnny reluctantly helps Tripp carry Ava to safety.

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Sarah walks out to the nurses’ station to Xander and the staff yelling surprise. Xander says she deserves to be celebrated every day, but especially on her birthday. He presents a cake and she blows out the candle. Sarah tells Xander her wish was that he’d forgive her for accusing him of being the kidnapper. He assures he already has. When she continues to beat herself up, a guilt-ridden Xander tries to tell her the truth. However, she gets notified about victims coming in from the explosion and runs off.

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Brady returns home to John and tells his dad about Eric’s woes. Kristen walks in, relaying that Rachel went to a playdate. Next, a dirty and disheveled Marlena ambles through the door. John rushes to her and she tells them what happened. As John fawns over Marlena, Kristen notes they’re already kissing and making up. Brady asks what she’s talking about. A snarky Kristen tells him his parents fought over Marlena wanting to kick her out. Kristen asks what Brady wants. He reluctantly says he wants her there. Kristen gloats.

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At the hospital, Ava lies in a bed, with Tripp by her side. She opens her eyes and hugs him. He asks why she put a bomb in the church. After getting a call at the Pub, Rafe and Steve enter, wondering the same thing. Rafe arrests Ava for five counts of attempted murder and handcuffs her to the bed. Steve takes a coughing Tripp to get checked out, as Rafe warns Ava she’s going away for a long time. Ava retorts, “We’ll see about that.”

EJ rushes off the elevator and runs to find Nicole. He enters a room as Sarah tells Nicole she’s going to be all right. EJ grins and says, “Thank God for that.” After Sarah gives EJ the all-clear as well, she leaves. With her arm in a sling, Nicole tells EJ how scared she was that the roof might fall in. He holds her, as Eric walks in. She assures him she’s fine and EJ pointedly says she’ll come home with him to rest. He thanks Eric for stopping by and a brooding Eric leaves.

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In the lobby, Xander learns from Johnny that Ava is alive and tried to blow them all up. Later, Sarah finds Johnny, who tells her a spooked Xander took off after learning Ava is alive. Sarah tenses.

Xander comes to Ava’s room. She tells him he needs to get her out of there or else she’ll tell Sarah he was her accomplice in the kidnappings.

Next on Days of Our Lives: Xander turns to Gwen, and Sonny helps Leo.

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Take a look at our ranking of daytime’s best villains in the photo gallery below.