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John says good-bye to Ava and hello to his old enemy, Stefano, this week. Drake Hogestyn explains why John won't let the Phoenix rise again.

SOW: Why does Ava leave town?

DH: John planned to make a generous contribution to Judge Fitzpatrick's campaign, since she was presiding over Ava's trial. All of Ava's men were going to be quiet. All of a sudden, one of her men turns. And another one turns. They say they are going to tell all about sabotaging the airplane in Ireland under Ava's instructions - and Judge Fitzpatrick has been dismissed from the case. Now they've got a real hard-liner who is going to make sure Ava gets the maximum. EJ says there's nothing he can do. Ava tells him not to tell John.

SOW: Why not?

DH: Ava takes John by the hand, and she and John go upstairs for some extra-curricular activities. Then she sneaks back downstairs and writes a Dear John note.

SOW: How does John react?

DH: He's says, 'Big mistake, Ava,' because he could have taken care of things. John's disappointed that Ava didn't trust him. Although there isn't a moment to explore any of this, because there's a knock on the door - it's Marlena.

SOW: Saying...

DH: Stefano had a seizure. He may be coming around. John says, "If you want a job done right you've got to do it yourself." John's out the door.

SOW: Does Marlena warn him about tangling with Stefano again?

DH: Marlena says Stefano's will power is stronger than she thought. John says he thought she would have learned her lesson by now. and asks if she's terrified. Marlena says not really. She can take care of herself. She's more worried about John; he has a big bulls eye on his back. John says, "You're still my wife, correct?" He wants to make sure they can't testify against each other. Marlena doubts there will be a trial, since Stefano likes to mete out his own punishment. John says, "There very well may be a trial after I kill him." Marlena won't condone him by doing something against the law. John says, "Oh, you mean like you did? That's a little hypocritical." Marlena admits she had to find some way of neutralizing Stefano. John points out that it didn't work.

SOW: Why does John consider killing Stefano?

DH: John's programming was not complete, which was a failure on Stefano's part. Now John is his enemy. Stefano threatens the existence of who John is now. He will threaten to come back and take John's money, which was his money, John's mansion, which was his mansion, and all of John's business interests. That will not happen.

SOW: So will John succeed where Marlena failed?

DH: Oh, yes. John doesn't have an emotional center, so he doesn't have any problem eliminating Stefano. In fact, I'm shooting some scenes where John menacingly picks up a pillow while Stefano is laying there...

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