In San Diego, California, a woman is watching an exercise program on television and doing step-aerobics in her bedroom. She can't hear that a man is breaking in through a back window downstairs. He walks through her kitchen and turns off a dripping faucet. He seems to be noticing everything – her appliances, silverware, family photos - before he makes his way up the stairs. She doesn't notice the door to the bedroom being opened slowly behind her. As she turns, the man clamps one gloved hand over her mouth to stifle her scream.
At the crime scene, Capt. Griffith is collecting evidence and tells the photographer to get a good picture of the victim's face. She is lying face down on the bed with her head turned to the side. Her eyes are wide open.
The BAU is celebrating Reid's 24th birthday – with cake, candles and a very funny hat for the birthday boy. Morgan and Elle tease him for not being able to blow out the candles, but JJ has mercy on him, telling him, "They are trick candles, Spence. They're going to come back on every time." As JJ and Elle move in from either side to cut the cake, an uncomfortable Reid stands up and approaches Gideon, who is watching from a distance. When he asks Reid if he's having fun, he replies, "Yes, definitely, I am definitely having fun." JJ holds out the first piece of cake for him, and Reid leans in to whisper to Gideon that she is "the only person in the whole world who calls me Spence."
Hotchner hangs up from a call and tells the team, "The party's over," leading them into the conference room to discuss the San Diego case. The same man has raped and murdered six women in three weeks with increasing frequency. Morgan asks why he's being referred to as the "Tommy" killer, and Hotchner tells the team the killer glues his victims' eyes wide open. Reid remarks, "He wants them to see him." "And feel him," Gideon adds.
On the jet, Hotchner describes Brenda Samm's murder scene. She had been strangled with a very thin ligature, and her hands and feet had been duct-taped together. The killer brought everything he used with him and took it with him when he left. Messages had been left on mirrors beginning with the fourth victim. Hotchner reads the message, "Fair lady, throw those costly robes aside, no longer may you glory in your pride…" Reid recognizes the poem as a 17th century love ballad, Betwixt Death and a Lady, where the lady begs Death for her life. Elle wonders if they are looking for a literature professor, but Reid assures her that anyone with an internet connection can find it by typing 'death' into a search engine. "Reid, no wonder you can't get a date," remarks Morgan.
Gideon is sketching eyes on a tablet. Gluing the eyes is the signature that isn't necessary for the murder, but is necessary for the emotional release of the unsub.
At another home in San Diego, Mrs. Gordon is preparing a gourmet meal and goes outside to pick a lemon from her lemon tree. Someone is watching her.
At the Task Force Headquarters at the San Diego PD, the BAU arrives. Capt. Griffith, Task Force Commander, introduces himself to Hotchner and JJ, and thanks them for coming out to help. Gideon goes immediately to the board to look at photos of the victims. He seems to be absorbing not just the deaths of the victims, but also their lives and all the comments the members of the team have already made as he concentrates on the images. Reid is examining the different verses of the ballad that had been left at the crime scenes. JJ describes it as "creepy," but Reid points out that conversations with Death were a pretty common literary device throughout the Renaissance. Seeing her facial expression, he finally agrees. "Yes. Creepy."
Morgan and Gideon discuss the killer's decision to attack high-risk victims at a high-risk time – higher-status women during the day. Det. Martin offers to take them to the last crime scene – nothing has been touched because the husband won't go back inside. Hotchner asks Elle to determine what kind of rapist the man is – what does the evidence tell her as a specialist in sex crimes? Reid tells them the verses left at the scenes are only part of the conversation – Death speaks but the lady never answers.
Mrs. Gordon puts the finishing touches on her dish as the man enters through a back door and attacks her.
Det. Martin seems skeptical of profiling – he feels his officers had gone over the scene very well already. Gideon explains local officers aren't trained to look for the things profilers look for, such as hate, insecurity, fear and anger – these are all in the unsub's behavior. The detective tells them police had increased patrols in the neighborhood after the fourth murder. Even with the increased police presence, the unsub has still been able to come and go without detection. He must blend in. Gideon's phone rings – it's Hotchner telling him about the attack at the Gordon home – the husband came home and the attacker got away. Det. Martin leaves the keys to the crime scene with Gideon and Morgan while he heads over to the Gordon's house. Morgan goes around the house to check out how the unsub got in. He climbs in the window and notes the unsub must be a little bit athletic. Gideon goes upstairs to the bedroom. They both wonder why the unsub took the time to collect items from the house, take them upstairs to the bedroom, and smash them.
At the Gordon home, Morgan comments to Elle that Mrs. Gordon is very lucky. She replies, "She's probably not feeling so lucky right about now." In the living room, Mrs. Gordon is surrounded by male police officers, questioning her. The attacker is described as black, 6 feet tall. Hotchner warns Capt. Griffith that interracial serial sex crimes are very rare. Elle goes in to rescue Mrs. Gordon and takes her outside for a moment.
Gideon reads the verse left by the unsub on the mirror. One of the lines is about leaving her riches, gold and jewels, and how her treasures must be left to others. As Morgan enters, Gideon tells him about Mrs. Samm's step-aerobics video and he wonders where the platforms are. They find them neatly under the bed. The unsub had spent a lot of time at the house – the riches and jewels were collected and destroyed - and he even vacuumed the carpet. Gideon feels as if he's missing something.
Elle tries to calm Mrs. Gordon, giving her time to collect her thoughts. She doesn't ask her any questions, and won't ask any until Mrs. Gordon is ready. Then Mrs. Gordon begins to talk about the man who attacked her. He had slapped her from behind and pulled her down; she had tried to struggle, but he was strong. When her husband arrived home and screamed, the unsub ran out the door. Her husband was sure he was black, but all she could remember were his eyes. She stared at his eyes and he kept staring back at her. She suddenly remembers he had been wearing a ski mask.
Back at the police station, Reid comes to Gideon with a question about the verses. If they are something he's leaving for emotional reasons, why didn't he leave any verses at the first three crime scenes? Gideon wonders if the unsub hadn't gotten enough attention after the first three murders. The story wasn't in the press until after the fourth victim was found, and that was also when the extra police were assigned to the area. The unsub had left the verses to tell the police and the press that they were dealing with a serial killer. Elle and Hotchner arrive to tell the team she'd learned the attacker had worn a ski mask during the most recent attack.
Gideon gives the profile to law enforcement. He tells them about the murder kit the unsub takes with him to his attacks. Hotchner explains organized killers have a steady job, sometimes technical, which requires use of his hands. And his vehicle will be well kept – he uses it for his crimes during the day so it may be a company car or truck. Morgan believes he watches his victims and schedules his crimes carefully. He destroys symbols of wealth in the victims' homes because he hates people of a higher social caste – he feels invisible around them. That is also the theme of the poem he has left. He blends in into the area. He glues the victims' eyes open because he is an exploitative rapist. Most women close their eyes during rape, which ruins the fantasy for him. Gideon also insists the Tommy Killer is white and Mrs. Gordon's attacker was not the Tommy Killer. Her attacker was a young man who is just beginning a career in sexual crime.
Hotchner tells Capt. Griffith of their plan. They will have Mrs. Gordon's attacker's arrest as the Tommy Killer on the 11 o'clock news. The unsub will not want someone else getting credit for his crimes, so he will call the tip line they have set up. Garcia will be waiting for him to trace his call and find him. JJ's press conference identifies the young man as the Tommy Killer, and the team waits. Finally, Det. Martin receives the call they've been waiting for, and Garcia begins the trace. "I don't make mistakes, I am Death, I AM Death! You'll see now, tomorrow, you will see. And while I'm taking her, I'm going to be thinking about you." Garcia cannot believe it, but the trace had revealed nothing. They missed him.
The next morning, the killer is watching a woman from his vehicle. The team, as well as every police officer, is out in the neighborhood, hoping the unsub will make a mistake because of his anger. Every work truck is under scrutiny – mail carriers, yard workers, package deliverers. Elle and Gideon are parked near the last home the killer attacked. He is still puzzled about the eyes, "There's something not right about the eyes." Reid and Morgan are parked on the main artery through the neighborhoods. They are both edgy, wondering if it is a good spot. Morgan remarks it's like looking for a needle in a haystack. Reid responds, "It's actually like looking for a needle in a pile of needles. A needle would stand out in a haystack."
Elle notices a beautiful bird light on a telephone wire. Gideon tells her it is a black-headed grosbeak. Another plainer bird perches next to it. Gideon explains it is the male birds that have beautiful plumage, as if to be constantly screaming, "Look at me, look at me!" He realizes this is what is missing from his profile. Garcia calls to tell them she couldn't get a fix on the call because it was routed through 25 different sub-stations. Gideon leads Elle back into the home and upstairs to the bedroom. Since nothing is an accident in his crime scenes, the unsub had positioned the victim exactly the way he wanted. In the position he'd placed them, they wouldn't be able to see him during the attack. He wanted them to see him afterwards. Gideon lies on the bed in the same position as the woman. Out the window he sees only the telephone wires.
Elle has Garcia cross-reference telephone repairs with the murders. Gideon calls Hotchner to tell him the unsub is a phone technician. He has tape and wire available to him, he can check on police cruisers from up on the pole, and even call and see if a victim is home.
In a kitchen nearby, a woman is feeding her son in his high chair. Turning back to the baby after getting his juice, she sees a man has entered the kitchen and is standing next to her son, feeding him. Morgan and Reid are at the local phone company office, demanding to know the location of technician Franklin Graney.
The teams rushes towards Orange and Chandler Streets. Gideon, Elle and Hotchner find the truck and spread out to try to find him. Gideon finds an open gate in a fence and hears a baby cry. He enters through a back door in the kitchen and sees a technician's tool belt on the counter. He calls Hotchner and gives him the address before proceeding carefully upstairs with his gun drawn. He steps on a creaking floorboard before going into the bedroom. Franklin is standing behind the woman, aiming a gun at her head. Gideon tells him if he shoots her, Gideon will kill him and claim Franklin was only a low-level burglar and he won't get the credit for being the Tommy Killer. The Tommy Killer will remain uncaught, until people forget about him altogether. If he puts the gun down and walks out with Gideon, he promises the whole world will know who he is. Franklin makes Gideon promise and then he gives himself up. Gideon comforts the woman, and sees the grosbeak flying past the window outside.
On the jet, Reid and Gideon are playing chess when Gideon remembers to give Reid his birthday present - two tickets to a Redskins game, VIP box. Reid doesn't even know it's football until Gideon tells him. Assuming Gideon is going with him, Reid is surprised when Gideon tells him someone else on the plane is a huge 'Skins fan. "The only person in the world who calls you Spence." Reid is nervous about asking JJ to go with him, but, before he goes back to speak with her, he moves a chess piece and claims, "Checkmate." Gideon smiles.
[recap written by Finnegan77]