Joey: Admit it, Tess. Niki Smith is back.
Joey is “on duty” at Clint’s bedside, and he thanks Aubrey for staying by his side, as Cutter spies on them. Natalie arrives, and Joey takes her in to see a stable Clint, but they’re both concerned by Viki’s absence. Natalie mentions her run-ins with Ford and Tess, and she’s amazed at how Ford is “wrapped in excuses.” She tells Joey about Viki “channeling” Niki, explaining the Jean/Bess ruse a few years ago, but Joey worries that their mother has actually split. Tess may hate Niki, but if Niki has no interest in Ryder, Niki is useful to Tess’ case. Natalie is skeptical, noting that Viki’s alters have been dormant for years, but Joey thinks the inordinate amount of stress and pain Viki’s currently battling is the perfect trigger.
Cutter appears jealous of Aubrey and Joey’s growing connection, but she balks when he accuses her of such. She dismisses his concerns until he reveals that Kelly knows the truth about them. She panics, but he insists Kelly’s had a change of heart on outing them, believing they will self-destruct thanks to Aubrey’s feelings for Joey before their plan reaches fruition. Aubrey offers to stay with Clint, as an appreciative Joey and Natalie race to the courthouse.
Cutter thinks they’re plagued by too many unpredictable variables and he wants to cut and run, but when Aubrey refuses, he suggests assisting Clint to an early grave. Aubrey is aghast and she hopes he’s joking, but once alone, Cutter contemplates taking care of Clint himself.
At the courthouse, Ford stresses, but Tess wants him to “chillax”, because she has a secret weapon. He doesn’t trust her, but Tess promises to call “her” to ease his mind. She leaves a message for Niki, and Ford overhears, wondering what Tess has affected. She admits that “the bitch is back,” and she explains that Niki is going to help them by throwing the case as Viki. Ford doesn’t think the plan is terribly foolproof, considering Niki’s a no-show. However, an angry Tess insists Niki owes her, and Tess vows to out Niki should she fail. As Ford loudly freaks out over their dependence on Niki, Joey and Natalie arrive to confront Tess about Niki’s return.
Echo returns to her room with lunch only to be greeted by Niki, who introduces herself. Echo is a bit slow on the uptake, but Niki explains that she emerged thanks to the vast amount of pain caused by Tess, Echo and Charlie. Echo makes a move to rat out Niki to Charlie, but she freezes and hangs up the phone when Niki plays Echo and Clint’s recorded conversation. Echo is upset Clint lied to her and she panics, getting into a physical fight with Niki over the recorder.
As an amused Niki gains the upper hand, Charlie knocks. Echo lets him in, lying that the noise was caused by the television and moving furniture. When he steps into the bathroom, Echo sneaks out Niki. Echo cries about “[his] wife,” squealing that “Viki” said mean things and made threats, and though Charlie finds that uncharacteristic, he determines it’s because he hurt Viki so badly. Niki eavesdrops, pleased by Echo’s cover and eager for her date with “freedom.”
Starr and Blair have a heart-to-heart. Deanna posed a problem, but Starr’s delighted she’s not staying long in Llanview. Though Starr trusts her boyfriend, she doesn’t trust Deanna. Starr fears she’s acting like a “paranoid bitch,” but her senses are heightened following Hannah, and Blair encourages her to trust her instincts. Starr knows James and Deanna shared something very real, because Deanna had the power to hurt him deeply. Even though Blair advises her to go get answers, Starr refuses to cling, choosing instead to allow them to say goodbye in peace.
James is angry when Deanna blames Eddie for their breakup, but she explains via flashbacks. James and Deanna planned to run away together, but after Eddie abused James in her presence, he went on to threaten Deanna. He claimed to know a lawyer who had information on her missing mother, and possessive of James, Eddie would only give her the number if she broke up with James. She did, viciously breaking James’ heart, but she later confronted Eddie after getting swindled and gleaning nothing. James is upset Eddie tricked her and he feels guilty for leaving, but now that he’s found Starr, he’s torn. She apologizes for taking so long to return to him, but Deanna admits she always loved James and still does.