Kate Mansi left the show. She is only airing for another month or two at max. We don't know how Abby exits but there are rumors...
I didn't like Ciara's rape since it was all so poorly written and the aftermath has been awful (like all of Josh Griffith's shock events), but I don't think her being a Brady or the child of supercouple Bo and Hope should protect her from certain stories.
He did not hire anyone to kill EJ. Clyde talked to EJ's henchman Miguel about expanding the drug business. Later during a confrontaton, EJ punched Clyde. Miguel shot EJ and Clyde was furious that Miguel acted on his own. Clyde later had Jeremiah kill Miguel.
I don't understand why so many fans feel the need to rewrite stuff that we saw play out on-screen. It's bad enough when the writers do it.
I think the point was to have John realize that the important thing is the present and future, his family with Marlena and the kids. Some things are better left in the past.
I hope they stick with this backstory. Hell no to making him Santo and Colleen's baby again, that was awful and didn't make any sense. All of the other John related retcons over the years have been fine. The only thing I didn't really like with this one was that John was trained on Winterthorne. One thing that has been consistent throughout all of John's different backstories was that Stefano trained him, I don't like that they undid that.