Episode #449

- Nick revealed that Ryan shot him because Nick had learned that Ryan sold him out to the police in the Objection drug bust. Tim and Claire took their turns decrying Ryan for allowing Tim to be blamed for the shooting.
- In his attempts to create diversions, Brent was beaten and injured by Nick's guards.
- Sarah escaped from the basement and raced to find the bomb so that she could defuse it. She found it hidden among the wedding presents, but Nick's guards found her before she had the chance to disarm it.
- With the bomb package in Sarah's hands, Nick detonated the bomb.


It might be beautiful if it weren't so horrible.

Sarah throws the box out of her hands as soon as she realizes what is happening. It explodes in mid-air, and in an instant, its force rattles the entire building. Pieces of the ceiling fall toward the ground; chairs leap into the air; fire erupts someplace nearby. As Sarah is thrown backward, she cannot help but think that the whole thing is some majestic, otherworldly show.

That awe fades as she slams into the ground. A sharp pain scorches her spine, and her head thumps against something hard. A table? A post? She lifts a hand to her head, but her body will do no more than move in excruciating slow motion, as if the explosion has filled the entire place with a thick, nearly impenetrable syrup.

The building roars all around her. She manages to cover her head, but it barely makes a dent in the sound. She cannot pinpoint where the noise is coming from--fire, things breaking, pipes bursting--but it is the sound of destruction.

The pain in her head threatens to keep pace with the roaring of the building. She cannot even make out the things going on around her anymore. All she sees is a wall of burning and crumbling.

But she can see, with frightening clarity, a series of visions even more horrific: Matt, growing old without her; Tori, struggling to find her way in the world without a mother; the baby inside her, never having a chance at life.

She wants to live. She might not be able to discern what is going on around her, or to figure out why this has happened to her family, but she knows one thing for certain: she is not ready to die. Not now, not yet.

The universe, however, seems to have different plans entirely. The blurry images that surround her, the wall of terror and destruction, fades even further, until she cannot even make out broad shapes or colors. A hazy blackness floats in front of her eyes, and finally, no matter how hard she tries to block it out, Sarah has no choice but to let it overtake her.


She knows that something is wrong before she even opens her eyes. In that first instant of waking, before she even has the awareness of being awake, alarm strikes her. It takes another moment for the reasons to come back to her, and as soon as it does, Claire's eyes are open and her head is upright.

Immediately she doubts her sanity. She could swear that she was in the basement of Bill's restaurant, but what sees around her is… not the basement. Chunks of wall, shards of support beams, piles of crumbled rock, and pockets of dancing fire surround her. But this is not the restaurant.

She can see the pier stretching out clearly beside what remains of the building. Random pieces of the first floor hang above her, and judging by the enormous gaps in it, she suspects that her first order of business should be to get out of here as soon as possible.

"Travis," she says, a name and a gasp all at once. Her eyes dart around for her son and Samantha. The frantic movement makes her realize how heavy her head feels, but she fights against it and struggles to her feet.

"Travis!" she calls out over the rubble and through the fire. She can see bodies nearby: Tim, Diane, Matt, Tori… she cannot tell if they are okay, but right now, she has to find the kids. Where are her kids?

A few feet away, Brian lifts his head. She recognizes the moment of disoriented waking, followed swiftly by panic. They share a moment of eye contact: both grateful to be alive and terrified of what discoveries lie ahead.

"Travis! Samantha!" Claire yells. In an effort to get a better view of the scene, she takes a step onto a mound of crumbled building. The mass shifts beneath her, and with nothing to catch herself on, she falls hard onto her left side.


The sound of her son's voice makes the pain shooting through Claire's body irrelevant. She scrambles to her feet but only makes it as far as her knees before Travis is in front of her. There is ash in his hair and a gaping cut on his arm, but here is he. She reaches desperately for him.

"I'm okay," he says, and the determination in his voice surprises Claire. He sounds so grown-up, like a young man, not a little boy.

Claire pulls back to look him in the face, preparing to ask a question that she suddenly dreads.

"Sam, too," Travis says, anticipating the question. He points behind Claire, and she turns to see Samantha, disoriented but on her feet.

"Your mom and dad are over there!" Claire calls to her. Samantha's attention goes immediately to locating Tim and Diane.

With a helping hand from Travis, Claire is ready to move, to help others out of this disaster area and get help for them. She hears the sirens nearing, and her heart thumps faster. They will be okay… if they can just get out of here…

She makes it only a few feet before she walks right into another familiar body. She nearly trips over it, but an instant later, she is kneeling in the rubble.


She shakes him, but he is motionless.

"Brent, it's Claire. Wake up!"

She recognizes in him none of the confused, woozy stirring that she experienced herself. He is frighteningly still, his body limp among the ruins of the restaurant. Remembering the beatings that he took even before the explosion occurred, Claire has a thought that she doesn't want to have--but as much as she tries to ignore it, Brent's current state suggests horrible things.

The sirens cannot arrive fast enough.


This had better be Hell.

In the moment after Ryan opens his eyes, what little he can see supports that hope. However, it quickly occurs to him that the fire and rock are the natural effects of an explosion. This isn't Hell.

He would rather be there. He would rather just be dead, actually, but after what he has done, he suspects that Hell would be the natural next step. Still, the thought of burning for all eternity seems favorable to facing the life that he has decimated through his own stupid actions.

His brain, it turns out, is feeling more dexterous than his body. When he tries to initiate movement, all he gets are a few dull aches and a sharp crackle in his right arm. The culprit could be any number of fallen beams or chunks of ceiling sprawled nearby. It takes every drop of physical energy that he can muster to pull himself to his feet.

There are bodies everywhere. People he has come to care about--to love, even--lie, twisted and groaning, or even worse, not moving at all. Before he can even think the worst, he sees Claire on her feet, Travis at her side, and his panic subsides ever so slightly. But there are so many more to worry about: Paula, Bill, Sarah…

Sarah. Maybe she got out. Not that it improves any of the others' predicaments, but if even one person were able to make it away from this unscathed, maybe Ryan's own soul will allow him to rest just a little easier.

Stupid thought, he reasons. Rest is not going to be an option for a long time now.

He wades through the ocean of lumber and rock. He finds it difficult to believe that this is real; it looks too fantastic, like something out of a movie. The closest he has ever seen is Katherine's mansion, back when it burned to the ground, but even that still resembled a building more than a pile of materials. Ryan can see out all four sides of the above-ground basement. A crowd has accumulated at the closest safe distance along the street. If only they knew what had happened here.


The sound of his name draws his attention downward, but it takes him a second to locate Jason beneath two crossed beams and a generous serving of unidentifiable burned matter.

"Help," Jason says, more a desperate breath than a word.

Ryan is already fumbling with the beams. The first one goes quickly, but the second is much denser. He struggles to move it, but it barely moves an inch.

Still pushing and pulling the beam, Ryan looks down into his brother's face. He finds Jason looking directly up at him, examining him, maybe trying to render a verdict on their relationship. The inroads that they have made in the past year were so natural and so unforced, especially after their rocky start, and now Ryan fears that recreating that bond might be impossible.

With a pained grunt, he shoves the beam far enough away so that Jason has room to move. Ryan extends a hand, but Jason ignores it and pulls himself up.

"Are you okay?" Ryan asks. "Where did they hit you?"

"I've been better," Jason says before turning his back on Ryan. Jason wastes no time with contempt--a barbed answer and he's on to something else, that's all.

If this is how it is going to be, Hell is really not looking too bad.


As Tim moves through the rubble, he cannot get the thoughts bouncing around inside his head slow down enough so that he can focus on any one of them. The kids--are they okay? The place is destroyed--this could kill Dad. If the bomb didn't. What about Claire?

Diane is beside him, awake and moving, and for that he is grateful. He can see others up and moving around. In the moment that Nick pressed the button and the bomb went off, Tim was sure that he was experiencing the end of his life. Things seemed to slow down a little, but it was still so normal. No great revelations, no flashbacks to every pivotal moment in his life. Just resignation and sadness for things left unsaid and undone.

Diane's hand juts out, and Tim follows her pointing finger to see Samantha, standing with Travis and Claire.

"Thank God," Tim mutters. They move as quickly as they can--no easy task, given all the debris surrounding them--to the kids.

"You're all right?" he asks Claire after confirming that Travis and Samantha are fine.

Claire nods, and a little piece of Tim relaxes. But there are still so many people to worry about…

"Brent--he's not moving." Claire directs their attention to the motionless body, lying several feet away. "We have to get him outside."

"Get the kids out there," Tim tells her. "The medics, or whoever is here, they can help us get him out."

Claire motions for the kids to join her, but Diane is not through with Samantha yet.

"Where is that bastard?" Diane demands, brushing a thick coating from dust from Samantha's face and hair. "I am going to kill him myself."

"That's how we got into this whole mess in the first place," Tim says. The comment feels completely inappropriate, but both Diane and Claire acknowledge it with genuine smiles. He has his life back. Celebrating seems wrong given the circumstances, but he tucks away that excitement for later. He has his life back.


Samantha, unmoving, looks past Diane. The rest of them follow her eyeline…

…to the wheelchair, tipped onto its side, and the headless body spilling out of it.

Diane clamps a hand over Samantha's eyes, and the girl does not resist. Claire tries to do the same with Travis, but he tries to get a peek anyway.

"Come outside with me," Claire says, taking her son's hand.

"Get him checked out," Tim says, though he knows the reminder is unnecessary. "And send someone in here to help me with Brent."

Diane leads Samantha out behind Claire and Travis. Tim prepares to help Brent, but he cannot take his gaze off the sight of Nick Moriani, finally, truly dead. The decapitated body is almost so horrific that it seems unreal, cartoonish, but there is no mistaking it this time: the old man is gone for good.

Uncertainly, Tim moves over to Brent. He kneels beside his brother-in-law and, after a few unsuccessful attempts to revive him, struggles to lift him. Brent's body feels like it weighs ten times its normal mass.

"Here. Let me help."

Tim is grateful for the assistance--until he looks up and sees that it is Ryan, already moving to take Brent's feet.

Now is not the time to get in his digs, as much as Ryan has them coming. Clamping his lips together, Tim lifts Brent's upper body and allows Ryan to help him.


Christian and Caleb, who have been remarkably quiet throughout the entire hostage ordeal, now wail with abandon as Molly and Danielle hustle out of the decimated building with the twins in their arms. Molly is not surprised that they are crying, given what has happened, but she has no idea what the crying means.

"He didn't hit anything, did he?" Molly asks Danielle, who is carrying Christian.

Danielle shakes her head. "I don't think so. I held onto him."

Molly managed to keep a hold of Caleb as she went down, too, but maybe she fell too hard. Maybe she struck him herself as she was going down. Maybe the crying has more to do with some pain that her son cannot explain than it does with all the noise and chaos around them.

She makes a beeline for the emergency crew climbing out of the ambulance.

"Please! My sons--"

The medics are already on top of it, taking the twins to look them over. Molly tries to answer questions as best they can, but she is too distracted by looking at what remains of the restaurant, seeing who is up and moving… and who isn't.

"Did you see Brent?" she asks Danielle during one of the lulls between the medics' questions.

Danielle seems to consider her response before finally shaking her head.

"Molly, if we're fine, and the babies are fine," she begins, but she does not seem capable of finishing the thought.

"He was already hurt. The guards beat him up. He was already weak." Molly can tell that the words are spilling out of her faster than they should, but between the panic about the twins and the panic about Brent, she cannot help it.

She watches firefighters scramble into the building, and she watches Claire and Diane lead Travis and Samantha out. She knows that these are good signs, but still, until she sees Brent, nothing will relax her.

She doesn't see him at first. All she sees is Tim and Ryan, moving together, and she finds the sight so surprising that she has to watch. Only when she looks closer does she see what they are carrying: her husband.

She knew that she was right to worry.


Matt clutches Tori in his arms as he navigates his way out of the broken building. She is getting bigger every day; he can tell now, carrying her, how much bigger she has gotten. It seems like a weird time to reflect on how much his daughter has grown, but then it occurs to Matt that he is lucky to be able to reflect on such a thing.

"Where's Mom?" Tori asks for what has to be the thousandth time since she shook Matt awake. He wants to respond, but he has no idea how to do it, and the cobwebs in his head are too thick to work out some way to answer her without actually answering, so he avoids the question entirely.

"Everything's gonna be fine," he says instead.

"Why did he do that?"

"Who?" Matt steps over a fallen beam. They have a clear path to the ambulance in front of them. He begins to relax, now that they are out of the worst area, but it does not even last a full second; he still has no clue where Sarah is.

"That man. Why did he do that?"

"Because he's a horrible man."

Matt sets Tori down as they reach the spot where Paula and Bill have joined Molly and Danielle.

"Thank God you're both okay," Paula says. "Tori, does anything hurt? Maybe you should let this man look you over."

Tori allows herself to be moved along without so much as another question, which tells Matt just how shaken she is by this entire situation.

"I'm so sorry," Matt says to Bill as they gaze at the burning, crumbling ruins of the restaurant.

"The restaurant doesn't matter, as long as everyone is okay," Bill says, but Matt can tell that it isn't that simple.

Matt stops one of the firefighters who is coming back from the building.

"My wife--she's blonde, 5'4"--she was on the main floor when the bomb went off." He spits out details without prompting, hoping that any of them will be the one to launch the firefighter into some reassuring speech about how Sarah has been found and is fine.

Instead, the man's eyes shift uncomfortably.

"What is it? Did you find her?" Matt demands. "Is she…"

The firefighter shakes his head. "No. We don't know. We didn't realize anyone was up there."

"We need to find her," Matt says. He is ready to take off, but the firefighter gently holds him in place.

He is forced to stand back as the firefighter calls out orders and a horde of other people go in to look for his wife, leaving him standing here, helpless. He tries to busy himself, by checking up on Tori, by taking stock of who is standing and who is on a stretcher, but none of it penetrates the thick haze inside his head.

And then he hears it.

"We've got a body!"

He looks to what was once the entrance of the restaurant, and sure enough, the firefighter who called it out, a woman, is holding Sarah's limp, lifeless body in her arms.

Matt's first move is to cover Tori's eyes. He only wishes that someone would cover his, too.


Is it over for Sarah and Brent?
How will Tim move forward now that his name has been cleared?
What about the people we have yet to see?
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