In a series of flashbacks, Reid is in the hands of Tobias Hankel... Hankel plunges a syringe filled with drugs into Reid's arm... Reid pulls two vials of drugs out of a dead Hankel's pocket... Some days later, Reid hides in a bathroom and considers the two vials... Finally, Prentiss confronts Reid about his odd behavior and he uncharacteristically tells her off.
In another set of flashbacks to 2005, Hurricane Katrina roars through New Orleans. A detective is still in his home, working on a case of serial murder and talking on the phone with his son. The detective doesn't want to leave – he knows he's on the brink of figuring out the murders. His son is trying to convince him to evacuate and meet him at the Superdome when the detective notices a mark on one of the victim's hands in a photo. Suddenly, wind and waves crash through the detective's window, sending pieces of glass and wood showering down on him. Struggling to stay conscious, the detective grabs a shard of broken glass and begins carving a word onto the wall.
In the present day at BAU headquarters, JJ tells the team about three murders that had occurred in New Orleans "pre-Katrina," where the victims' throats were cut and they were eviscerated. The local police had thought the killer died in that storm, but another victim was just discovered in the French Quarter last night. Although 18 months is a very long time between kills, the police are sure it is the same unsub because he sent a letter addressed to Det. LaMontagne, the lead detective on the original case who was killed in Katrina. His son is now heading the case. Hotchner tells the team they will have to go over all the evidence from the original three murders, but everything was washed away in the storm – the bodies, witness statements, autopsy reports – everything. All they have to go on is the most recent victim – "Until he kills again."
Reid stares into space on the BAU jet. When Morgan asks him what he's thinking about he says, "I was just thinking about this old friend of mine from Las Vegas, Ethan." Ethan now lives in New Orleans. He and Reid went to school together and competed in everything. They even had the same dream of working at the FBI, but Ethan dropped out on the first day of training. When Prentiss interjects he probably "couldn't stand the heat," Reid protests, telling her "That's not really for us to judge, is it?"
JJ hands out copies of the newspaper articles from the previous murders – they only thing they have on the original cases. Gideon suggests Garcia look for offenders from the area who spent the last year-and-a-half in prison, which would explain the 18-month break between the last two murders. Reid proposes the person may have relocated after Katrina and just moved back to New Orleans. The victimology is very diverse – victims have included a mechanic, a real estate broker, and a cook – all of various ages. The latest victim is a taxi driver. The only thing they have in common is their presence in the French Quarter late at night. With no previous case files, the only place to start is with the latest victim.
Gideon, JJ, and Morgan meet Det. Will LaMontagne at the crime scene, who is immediately attracted to JJ. The detective shows them the letter he had received from the unsub, addressed to his father, and mentions his father had received two others before the storm. Gideon believes the letter is from the unsub because it gives a detailed description of what was done to the body.
The coroner shows the body to Reid and Prentiss at the morgue, explaining that he worked on the other victims as well – he is not likely to forget them. "It's like they were dissected." Reid moves around the victim, examining the wounds carefully. He finds no defensive wounds; no hesitation marks. "The cuts are methodical, almost procedural." The coroner believes the unsub has had some kind of medical training. When the coroner mentions all the bodies he's seen in the last year-and-a-half, Prentiss notices Reid's detachment, an almost hostile attitude. She seems about to speak with him about it, but doesn't.
Still at the crime scene, Det. LaMontagne explains all the crimes occurred within a 10-block radius in the French Quarter, where literally thousands of people congregate every night to party. When Gideon asks if his father told him anything else about the case, Det. LaMontagne takes them to his father's ruined home, and shows them the word he had carved before he died: Jones. Morgan theorizes it was the one piece of the puzzle that his father knew and he trusted his son to figure out the rest. The detective is frustrated that he can't finish his father's work, and JJ shows compassion for his situation.
At the police station, Hotchner views a video screen that shows the letter the unsub sent, when Prentiss and Reid walk in. The letter is addressed to "Boss" and signed "Yours Truly." Prentiss suggests they may be looking for a sexual sadist, which could mean they are looking for a homosexual male. Reid suddenly sees connections between the victims, the wording of the letters, the wounds, the crime scene areas – and a famous case in London 100 years ago. The unsub believes he is a modern-day Jack the Ripper. During this conversation, a man has come out of a French Quarter bar and gone into a nearby alley for a smoke. He offers his cigarette to someone, and then clutches at his bloody stomach before his throat is cut.
The next morning, the team investigates the new crime scene. The victim, Mark, had been out with a group of friends the night before and nothing eventful happened. Gideon asks Det. LaMontagne to gather his men for a profile briefing.
Hotchner describes the killer as a 30-35 year old man. He's friendly, agile, and is murdering men to reclaim his power. Jack the Ripper was an impetuous lust murderer, but this killer is organized and calculating – he may even stalk his victims before the kill. He identifies with Jack the Ripper because he has lost his own identity through years of child abuse or some other traumatic event. He also has some kind of medical training.
A tall man walks down a back alley nearby, nervously looking behind him at every little noise. He turns a corner and is immediately confronted by Reid, who says, "I've always been one step ahead of you." The man is his friend, Ethan, who is glad Reid called him. They step into a bar for a drink.
Garcia calls Prentiss with a trivia question: "What was the thing that Jack the Ripper took from one of his victims besides, you know, her life." Garcia ticks off the seconds as Prentiss tries to come up with the answer. Finally, Garcia tells her: "A kidney. How horrifyingly fantastic is that?" She has found an unsolved murder from four months ago in Galveston, Texas, with that same MO. Many Katrina refugees were relocated there. Gideon tells Prentiss he wants her, Reid and Morgan on a plane to Galveston that night.
In the bar, Reid's cell phone rings – it's Prentiss. He ignores it. He finally asks Ethan the question that has been bothering him – why he quit the Bureau after only one day. Ethan is sure Reid has already come up with an answer, and he's right. Reid figured Ethan was battling his own demons, and didn't want to take on anyone else's. Ethan replies, "Those days I did prefer Jack Daniels to Jeff Dahmer. They both weigh on your soul eventually." Reid's phone continues to ring, and he keeps ignoring it. Ethan says his music makes him happy, and it's easy to see that Reid isn't. "John Coltrane – he was a genius, too. He died of cancer but most people think it was the booze and heroin that did him in." Ethan recognizes that Reid "isn't well" and tells him, if he realizes it, surely the members of his team who profile people day to day must have seen it too.
Prentiss is waiting on the BAU jet that evening. Morgan arrives – alone – and they both wonder where Reid is. They can't wait for him, and decide to go to Galveston without Reid.
At another bar in the French Quarter, JJ and Det. LaMontagne are going over case files. The detective flirts with JJ. She tries to keep things business-like, but she seems attracted to him as well, especially when another woman sends the detective a drink.
The victim's fiancée in Galveston tells Morgan and Prentiss that he had been barhopping with friends the night he was killed. They were a rowdy bunch, but they all knew each other. Talking together in the car, Morgan and Prentiss wonder how the two victims, who were both out with friends, could have been picked off. Morgan uses the analogy of a lioness preying on an antelope – she cuts him out of the herd. The only person who could lure a man away from his friends would be a woman. Morgan calls JJ and tells her their conclusion.
JJ and the detective argue about the need for a press conference. Det. LaMontagne doesn't want to publicize the murders in a town that is still reeling from the aftermath of Katrina, but JJ wants to warn the public. He finally agrees. Reid enters the conference room to talk with Morgan and Prentiss. He claims he didn't have any cell reception and that's why he missed the plane. Neither of them believes him.
Another body has been found. The wounds are similar to the other victims, but his time the unsub has taken an earlobe. Reid tells them Jack the Ripper promised to cut the earlobe off his next victim. He did – and it was the only day he killed twice - the unsub will kill again before the day is out. Female serial killers come in two types: one preys on men for money, the other, like their unsub, is motivated by paranoia and fear. She lures men into nearby alleys by offering sex, and then kills them. A note left by the killer is again addressed to "Boss."
That evening, the profilers and Det. LaMontagne are in the Quarter, looking for a single female. Reid and Morgan are together, and, as they look, Morgan again tries to get Reid to talk to him about what's bothering him. Gideon and Prentiss talk about the unsub's phrase in her note "So many men, so little time," as if she's on a quest, yet she sounds almost apologetic at the same time. JJ, with Det. LaMontagne, mentions that these guys are making it easy for the unsub: "I wouldn't follow a stranger into an alley no matter how wasted I was." "Yeah," he responds, "but you're not a man." Gideon tells Prentiss he wants Reid to look at the letters again as he knows the Ripper case very well. Prentiss begins to question Reid's behavior, but brushes it off. "Come on," fires Gideon, "do you think I'm not aware something's going on with him?"
Reid and Morgan spot a suspicious woman and trail her. She is following a man into an alley, but she is actually the waitress trying to return the man's wallet. While they are pursuing her, the unsub picks up a man in a baseball cap. Later, a couple is making out in an alley, and see blood on the wall. They look down and spot the eviscerated body of the man in the baseball cap.
At the crime scene the next morning, Reid finds a note wedged into the mouth of the victim addressed to Det. LaMontagne's father. This unsub is not using notes to flaunt her latest kill, but to explain why she does it. Prentiss believes she may see herself as a vigilante – killing men who deserved to die. It occurs to Gideon that the notes may not be directed to Det. LaMontagne, Sr. because he was the lead detective on the case, but because she believes he'd understand. Perhaps it's someone he helped in the past. Reid compares the words in the notes – "he wanted it" and "I couldn't help myself" – to what rapists say – she might have been a rape victim. There are no records from Det. LaMontagne's father's days in the sex crime unit, but he had a partner – Smitty. As he turns to leave, the detective notices something on the victim's hand – a hand stamp from a bar from the French Quarter that had been called "Jones" nine years ago and is now called "Mon Cheri."
Garcia cannot find any rapes reported at Jones' Bar, but there is a record of Det. LaMontagne's father investigating a disturbance there on February 19, 1998, during Mardi Gras. Smitty meets the detective, JJ, Prentiss and Gideon at Mon Cheri. He is hostile and uncooperative. "Some girl claimed she was raped at this bar." Smitty didn't believe her and reported it that way. Det. LaMontagne had tried to get Smitty reprimanded and the two didn't speak after that. He describes the rape – the young girl was attacked by three men – but he didn't think "she was a credible witness." He doesn't remember her name, but he remembers the name of the "good kid" whom she accused. Gideon tells him the serial killer cutting up men now is that rape victim.
JJ and Prentiss interrogate the "good kid" – Ronnie Tibideaux - trying to get the name of the woman who had accused him of rape. He says he doesn't remember. Reid tells Hotchner that, after the double murder, Jack the Ripper had mutilated Mary Kelly in her flat until she was unrecognizable – his most vicious kill of all. When JJ shows photos of the murder victims to Tibideaux and suggests that he might be targeted next, he remembers her name – Sarah Danlin. Garcia comes up with her address and tells JJ she had been a med student at Tulane.
Sarah Danlin – the unsub – already has her next victim, John, in a bedroom, and he is happy to take off his clothes and have her tie him up. Morgan, Hotchner, Reid and LaMontagne raid Sarah Danlin's apartment, but she isn't there. Reid tells them some historians think Mary Kelly was killed in a flat Jack himself rented for the night, so Morgan has Garcia check Sarah Danlin's credit card accounts. Garcia sends the team to the Royal Ruby Inn – only two blocks away - where Sarah has begun to make shallow cuts in John's chest.
Morgan, Hotchner, Reid, and LaMontagne break into the room where Sarah is holding her victim, guns drawn. She is sitting on his chest, holding a knife to his throat. "Ma'am, we don't want to shoot you," exclaims Morgan, but Sarah can't let go. LaMontagne puts down his gun and tells her who he is – the first Det. LaMontagne's son. She wants to know where his father is and seems genuinely sad when she hears he was killed during Katrina. She lets LaMontagne have the knife, surrendering into his arms. Outside the hotel, JJ tells LaMontagne his father would have been proud of him. He feels empty, having finally closed the case he'd been working on for so long, and because JJ is leaving. She gives him her card, telling him "cell phones can be very good for your health."
Later, Reid is in the jazz club listening to Ethan play the piano when Gideon arrives and sits next to him. When Reid asks how he knew he was there, Gideon responds, "You're not all that hard to profile." After a few minutes, Reid admits he missed the plane on purpose because he's "struggling." He doesn't know if he's strong enough to continue in the job, but he's never even considered doing anything else. Gideon describes his own experience of being a profiler for 30 years, and all the ups and downs he's suffered. "I don't know, I guess the day this job stops gnawing at your soul and your hands stop feeling cold, maybe that's the time to leave." Finally, Reid resolves he will never miss another plane.
[Recap written by Finnegan77]