Eric tightly grins as he holds a smiling Rachel.
Credit: Peacock screenshot

Roman sits with a somber Kate at the Pub. She bemoans missing her family, as Rex walks up. She jumps up to hug him. He’s there to provide follow-up data on Kate and the others’ treatment. He draws Kate’s blood and heads off for the hospital.

Alone, Kate and Roman revel in being back together and she gifts him with a trip to Zurich to see Austin, Carrie, and Noah. Roman got her the exact same thing. Rex returns and relays they won’t get the results for a few days. Roman breaks out the egg nog.

At the Hernandez house, Gabi and Ari make Mexican wedding cookies. Li walks through the door, dressed like Santa, exclaiming, “Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas!” Ari side-eyes him and pulls down his beard. She’s over her mother’s boyfriends putting on a show to get her to like them. Besides, she’s too old to believe in Santa. Li says he’s still a believer, but since she’s not, he should send the presents back to the North Pole. Ari’s eyes dart to the bag.

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Ari opens a sparkly bracelet with a charm that means double luck. Li feels lucky because when he marries her mom, he’ll have two beautiful, smart, incredibly fashionable ladies in his life. Ari says, “And I’ll have three daddies.” That makes her feel special. Ari hugs Li and thanks him for her gift. If it brings her luck, Ari will wear the bracelet every day. Li says New Year’s weddings are also lucky in China, so they are off to a very auspicious start. Ari asks if Gabi will take Li’s last name when they get married. Gabi sends her off to get ready for Daddy Sonny.

In the Hernandez kitchen, Li and Gabi peer down at Ari who bites into a cookie. Li wears an apron over a Santa suit. Gabi wears a matching apron.

Alone, Li tells Gabi he doesn’t expect her to take his last name. She talks about taking Stefan’s name and keeping it after he “died.” Now they hate each other, so she can’t wait to be her very own person again. “Gabriela Hernandez Shin. How does that sound?” she asks. “Perfect,” Li replies, and they kiss.

Later, Li dons an apron, and Gabi thanks him for being so good with Ari. He promised himself he’d be better with his own kids than his father was with him. Gabi reiterates that she can’t have any more kids. Li assures her that being Ari’s stepdad is all he needs. Ari returns and tests their latest batches of cookies. She determines Li’s are better.

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After Gabi sends Ari off, she and Li make out until Gabi gets a call from the seamstress about Ari’s dress. She hangs up in a huff and rants in Spanish as she takes off.

In the DiMera foyer, Stefan thanks someone on the phone for pulling serious strings to get something done. He hangs up and answers the door to a nervous-looking Wendy. She says she’s there to check on Johnny after the explosion. Stefan assumes he’s still asleep and then asks about her “little jaunt to Jakarta.” He can’t understand why she’d put her career on the line. Unless there’s another reason she was in Jakarta?

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Johnny opens the DiMera front door to Wendy.

As Wendy panics, Johnny comes down and tells Stefan he was being impulsive. He just wanted to impress her. Wendy stands arm-in-arm with Johnny to back him up. Stefan smirks and tells Johnny not to let it happen again. He leaves and Johnny lets out a slow exhale.

Wendy and Johnny stress about the lies they’re keeping, including the one about them dating. Johnny awkwardly says they could fake break up. She hedges and muses it would be easier to keep doing what they’re doing. Johnny agrees to keep fake dating and gives her a gift. She pulls out a patterned sheer wrap, and he helps her put it on. They both look affected as they stand close.

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With an air of intimacy, Johnny stands behind Wendy and drapes a wrap over her shoulders in the DiMera living room.

Kristen and Rachel run into Chloe in the Square, and Rachel is super rude to Chloe. Kristen smirks, and tells Rachel they should be kind to people even if they try to steal things that don’t belong to them. Rachel says a weak sorry and asks her mother when she’ll get her wish of her and her daddy getting back together. They don’t even sleep in the same room, the girl remarks. A smug Chloe cocks a brow at Kristen. Kristen sends Rachel to get hot chocolate, and the women snark and taunt each other.

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Stefan meets Chloe in the Square and gives her a present since she’ll be in New York tomorrow. She opens tickets to an opera that’s been sold out for months. There are enough for Parker, Nancy, a date for Nancy, and him — if she wants. Then they can go to Miami together. Chloe would love that. When he tells her he got Parker a gift, she kisses him just as Gabi barrels through with Li. Chloe and Stefan notice them, and the foursome shares awkward pleasantries.

At John and Marlena’s, Brady calls Eric’s suggestion to kidnap Rachel insane. Eric counters it’s insane that Kristen has his mother’s life in her hands. She has too much power and has to be stopped. While that may be true, Brady won’t put Rachel through the trauma of being kidnapped. Eric clarifies that she’ll never know. She’ll think she’s going on vacation with Uncle Eric. While Rachel enjoys a few days in the sun, Kristen will lose her mind, and Brady will get the orchid.

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At John and Marlena's, Eric starts taking off his coat as he and Brady exchange wry looks.

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Brady didn’t know Eric could be so ruthless. Eric’s tired of being the victim. Kristen drugged and raped him so he sees no reason to have mercy on her. But Eric will only do it if Brady signs off on it. Kristen returns with Rachel, who runs to Eric’s arms. Brady smiles at the two, and then glowers at Kristen, who pointedly tells him Chloe and Stefan are going to Miami for New Year’s. Holding Rachel, Eric’s features darken as he looks at Brady.

After the adults snipe at each other, Kristen goes off with Rachel. Alone, Eric tells Brady that Kristen will keep them under her thumb until they do something about it. Brady hates to admit it, but Rachel is the best leverage he has. Eric promises she’ll be safe the entire time. Brady says, “Okay. Let’s do it.”

With his back to a glaring Kristen, Brady looks forward with a loving smile.

Next, on Days of Our Lives: Eli comes home, and Thomas causes trouble for Gwen and Xander.

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Relive Eric’s past good, and bad, deeds in our photo gallery below.