Murder is neither abstract or figurative,
but when it’s your own, it's both.
The receptionist arrives at Value Vision with Coffee Barn in one hand and the newborn baby in the other. It's his second day of work. He checks the office email and finds a message from the former Receptionist claiming that the office is being watched and that they should meet but not now. An Anti-Ned advertisement in the form of a video attachment in the email shows the former Receptionist claiming that Dr. Ned Charles is not a real doctor and that people should stay away from Value Vision . The Receptionist isn't buying this because he shadowed the doctor all afternoon yesterday and remarks on the doctor's carefully considered handling of patients. If Dr. Charles is an imposter he's a good one. The Receptionist writes the email (and attached video) off as the rantings of a disgruntled employee. The Receptionist peruses Dr. Charles's television script and finds characters named Gideon and Ned.
A dour Dr. Charles rolls into the waiting room expecting the Receptionist to have been reading his mind . Dr Charles wonders if the Receptionist was reading his script and says he didn't mean to leave it there. He claims to dabble but not be a writer . Dr. Charles seems offended when the Receptionist doesn't know the day's agenda and then pokes around looking for his Days cd. The doctor steps out for a minute. The Receptionist finds a browser tab open to an Art Stack page with a painting by a guy named Julian and wonders if it's the same Julian who emailed the Receptionist. The Receptionist records his to-do list : research glaucoma, get more skinny can water, read and give feedback on Dr. Charles television show script, also read Jack’s book.
Dr. Charles returns and the two greet each other again with a good morning. The doctor asks if the Receptionist read his script then remarks that he writes but isn’t a writer. When questioned if there’s something different between them , the Receptionist claims to be the same man he was yesterday. Dr. Charles suggests leaving the script out so that he can get feedback. The Receptionist offers to make a feedback sheet. Dr. Charles asks if the Receptionist went to Coffee Barn and the Receptionist holds up his cup in the affirmative. When the doctor asks what is on the docket, the Receptionist tells him he has house visits, then explains the logistics of a shared office calendar which the doctor does not begin to comprehend . Dr. Charles wants to know if Julian is coming in later. The Receptionist then asks if they could review the list of acceptable content for Julian and the doctor wants to know how he knew he would asks that. Dr. Charles wants the cat to wear glasses and inquires as to Julian’s ability to paint things other than cats. Dr. Charles wants one painting where the glasses are moving , though not any kind of animated painting, but suggests the sexiness remain . Zoning out while the Receptionist types, Dr. Charles pokes himself with a dagger. The Receptionist informs the doctor that he found the email from Dr. Charles’s original purchase of the Days of Our Lives soundtrack and identified the download code which he took to the indicated website and now the full soundtrack is now on the computer. A track from the first disk starts playing and the doctor asks if Doris has or will be returning. When the Receptionist asks about the doctor’s afternoon schedule, Dr. Charles informs him that he’s doing house visits and will be working right through lunch. Dr. Charles makes it clear that he’s not a man who changes his mind when the Receptionist asks again about another job shadowing opportunity. Dr. Charles asks about his script on the desk and if it should be there and if the Receptionist has read it . The Receptionist recounts an earlier conversation in which the doctor indicated he left it last night and that it’s ready for feedback now and people in the waiting room could read it. The Receptionist thinks this is a logical next step for moving forward. Not wanting to put it on the table so close to Jack’s book, the Receptionist recommends putting it where the water is or moving the non-working omelette maker to the back. The Receptionist makes a note to fix the omelette maker. When Dr. Charles indicates the the television script is just a little something he’s working on, and asks if he left it in the office the night before, the Receptionist says he’s pretty sure the doctor left it there last night. When asked if the Receptionist has had a chance to read it, the Receptionist reminds the doctor that he gave him the night off and permission to come in late. Dr. Charles thinks that the script is at a good place for feedback. The Receptionist agrees that feedback is helpful for something like writing- you work through it, pause , step back, and work through it again. Dr. Charles asks how the Receptionist feels about giving it a read . The Receptionist says yes, but that he can’t reach it . The doctor doesn’t want writing in the script directly so the Receptionist offers to make a feedback sheet and paperclip it to the script. Dr. Charles thanks the Receptionist for the coffee this morning, cracks open a water and proceeds to spill it on himself . The Receptionist quietly records a message on his recorder , the doctor laughs, the Receptionist remarks that it’s a great day, and the doctor pumps his fist and leaves . The Receptionist leaves a voice memo with instructions to a future person listening in the wake of a terrible event he fears is imminent, then muses on the future of his employment at Value Vision and his relationship to Dr. Charles, a man who seems to be a different man today. He’s glad he arrived prepared, wearing his rain slicker.
Days is about to start but the Receptionist doesn’t want to watch alone. He wishes Ben would be caught , but knows that people never go away. They keep coming back. The Receptionist receives another email from the former Receptionist. This one has no punctuation and a tragic ending. Having lost himself in thought, the Receptionist is forced to hurry in setting up the television . The former Receptionist texts to say that it’s not too late to get out, but the current Receptionist elects to take his chances since the show is about to start and both doctors are out. Abby needs help but she has Chad and JJ. Her mom won’t be much help until she kicks her addiction to pills. Chad tells Abigail that everything’s going to be okay. The Receptionist records a voice memo , then Gideon in his slicker bursts in and orders silence . Once clear on the security camera hack , Gideon informs the Receptionist that lots of people are forming outside. What Dr. Charles optimistically referred to as an angry tailgating party, Gideon calls a protest verging on a riot. He then reveals that Dr. Charles is deep into some stuff. Gideon wants to know if Maggie is alright. On learning that the Receptionist missed the first few minutes of the show, he encourages getting a Tivo. Gideon apologizes for not connecting last night and failing to hand off the phone, which he does right then. Gideon mentions the police staking out the plaza and expresses worry about what the doctor’s up to. He needs the Receptionist to maintain order . On learning that Doris saw the doctor the previous day, Gideon is worried further, then wonders if that’s a golf cart that a man is riding. Gideon gives the Receptionist the phone he'd promised days ago. They eat tortellini that the Receptionist’s wife made and Gideon admits to not having a family. They discuss the logistics of getting to the back door and unlocking it in a timely manner when the call goes out. The pasta is quite saucy. They detail possible side effects of Maggie’s poisoning and the Receptionist expresses surprise at the amount of free time Gideon has to be able to stop by and watch Days. Gideon describes it as a holding pattern . Most of what needs to be done is done, it’s just a matter of being present when the time is right. Gideon reinforces the importance of placating Dr. Charles and ensuring things run smoothly. People in Salem don’t know much about babies, but the Receptionist is learning on the job . Gideon insists he is not here, and slips out while the Receptionist talks on the phone to Heather who seems to not hear a word he says.
Protests outside Value Vision grow, as does the Receptionist’s worry about his own fate . Feeling trapped inside his own place of work, the Receptionist talks to himself more than usual. His bond with the newborn baby grows as they weather adversity together . Later in the afternoon, following a protester’s intrusion into the Value Vision lobby, the Receptionist locates a gun and plans for its potential use should a malicious protestor enter and threaten harm to himself or the baby . He makes a lengthy list of the pros and cons of staying, then the pros and cons of leaving. Fearing retaliation, he turns off the lights for a while hoping the protestors will assume the office is closed. The Receptionist wears a headlamp on his head. He starts Dr. Charles’s script but quickly puts it aside finding it to be poorly written.
The man in the basement moves but does not wake.
Julian is seen repeatedly , walking about through town carrying a fresh oil painting.
Following his home visits, Dr. Charles returns to Value Vision incognito in order to sneak past the protesters. He arrives toting two cases of his much preferred fat can bubbly water. Sensing that even his own Receptionist doesn’t recognize him , he signs in and takes advantage of the opportunity to get an honest assessment of his television script. After a few dodges the receptionist calls the script cliche. When the doctor takes offense , and thus reveals himself , the Receptionist apologizes and admits to having only read part of one scene. The Receptionist asks about the Ned character but the doctor admits to nothing more than it being a name like any other name. The Receptionist feels disrespected regarding the sanctity of the sign-in sheet , on which Dr. Charles wrote a “fake” name. Dr. Charles apologizes for the identity trick. The doctor is distracted by his spilled water as they review the list of acceptable content for Julian's painting. Dr. Charles throws a wad of wet napkins on the desk. The Receptionist proudly shows Dr. Charles the sexy cat painting image which he has tiled on the computer desktop so that you get three full cats plus six additional partial cats. While the Receptionist finishes sending the list to Julian via email, Dr. Charles spaces out until addressed regarding Ernest Turrl's apology email. They decide to be passive about the email and not respond. The Receptionist says that it's already done. They both admit to feeling lost now that Value Vision never closes. Dr. Charles says the days have been blurring together lately: Mondays feeling like Fridays, Tuesdays like nothing, Wednesdays a void of Tuesday’s nothingness. And so on. Not knowing what day it is, or distinctions between am and pm, they decide to fully commit and turn the clock around and tape a paper plate to the back . The Receptionist fears it may be shocking for patients to come into a waiting room where time is of no consequence. Once the clock is covered with a paper plate, they worry that someone may attempt to use it as a plate so they write "hands off" on the plate . Additionally they realize that they will be required to eliminate all time-based infraction fees as there would be no basis for their enforcement. They concur that Julian could be helpful in the clock matter because they are both too close to it. Dr. Charles isn't convinced pink is the right color for the "hands off" text and says they should let it sit for a minute. The Receptionist asks how they know when that minute will have passed , then he puts a piece of tape over the clock on his computer monitor. The doctor thinks the Receptionist should have asked if any of the protesters were interested in an appointment. Quickly deciding that would be a bad idea, they split up to ensure that all points of entry to the office are secure.
Hope stews on the couch in her living room waiting for Aiden to get home. She knows a fight is coming. She tries to organize her thoughts while things are still quiet: Stefano’s dagger, Aiden’s gym bag, why the workers still aren’t finished in the living room. Aiden bursts through the door, surprised to see Hope still awake. He wants answers. He admits to spying on Hope through the living room window the other night as she talked to Rafe on the phone. He accuses her of lying about the trips to Walgreen’s for Advil . Hope brushes off his allegations and presses him on his connection to Stefano. Aiden dodges the questions , claiming that it’s far too complicated of a situation. Hope pleads with him to open up, that they’re in this together and they can get out of it together . Aiden seems hesitant and Hope stabs Stefano’s dagger into the wall . Just at that moment, Julian arrives to drop off Hope and Aiden’s portrait . The tension briefly subsides as Hope and Aiden revel in Julian’s work - a painting that is both figurative and abstract at the same time, much like their lives. Julian hangs the painting and shows himself out . Hope takes the dagger out of the wall and demands Aiden give her answers , once and for all. Aiden gives a little . He reveals that the dagger is the same that Clyde used to stab Sonny, and that in covering up Meredith’s accidental murder by Chase , he went into massive amounts of debt. Stefano stepped in and provided for Aiden - and by extension Hope, Ciara and Chase. Aiden hugs Hope , apologizes and flees the house. All the while, someone watches the scene play out through the living room window.
Ernest Turrel arrives at Value Vision, nervous and apologetic. He explains that he visited the office earlier in the week to promote ICareEyeCare, the pharmaceutical drug company he represents, and made quite a fool of himself. He was soaking wet, his clothes ripped and dirty, his presentation incomprehensible . Today, however, he is well dressed and well spoken. He offers his sincere apologies to the Receptionist and hopes to put the past behind them and potentially do business together soon . Moments after Ernest leaves, Julian arrives to discuss the new artist-in-residence program at Value Vision. The Receptionist isn’t happy that Julian didn’t bring in examples of his work. He discusses the marker board , as well as the list of acceptable image content: sexiness is good but must walk a fine line, glasses should be present but not necessarily on subject’s head , glasses in motion - okay, animals are a safe substitute for people, smoke - but not from cigarettes, flowers - people smelling/holding them possibly with pets, water, Days of Our Lives characters (not Ben), futuristic, local themes - swimming, steel guitars, vegetables, burritos, poodles, fitness, coffee, trees . Ernest returns to retrieve the glasses he left behind and is extremely distressed to see Julian, who laughs in his face . The two went to drug rep school together and have a troubled history. Julian also worked for ICareEyeCare before giving up the life to pursue his artistic endeavors. Julian is condescending towards Ernest, calling him a mess. Ernest recounts being bullied and railroaded countless times by Julian in the past. He rushes out of the office. The Receptionist assures Julian that he has his support in this matter. Ernest bursts back into the office with an overhead projector. He is soaking wet, his clothes ripped in dirty . He claims to have slipped and fallen in the parking lot. Ernest begins a presentation on White Spot Syndrome . He knocks the clock off the wall while setting up his projector. His presentation is incomprehensible. The Receptionist asks Ernest to please shine the projector away from the newborn’s eyes. Julian combats Ernest’s presentation with one of his own, on whiteness , a whiteness which is overpowering, and also attributes of the terrible. They go back and forth , stepping over each other’s presentations until the Receptionist intervenes. He praises Julian’s work and chastises Ernest’s pathetic attempts. Ernest explodes in a fit of rage, pulls a loaded gun out of the newborn baby and shoots Julian point-blank several times. After grabbing his overhead projector, Ernest rushes out of the office before the Receptionist can move a muscle. The Receptionist calmly places a phone call to Detective Hope Brady. He cradles the newborn and waits.
Something’s got to give, and Dr. Charles wants to be the one to do it.
Aiden shifts course and steers closer to his true self.