Carroll's recruit, Jordy Raines, approaches Linda outside the Delta Rho Gamma Sorority at Winslow University, VA, posing as a campus security guard. He offers to check their doors and windows and Linda invites her in. Jordy goes to an upstairs room where a girl is out and tells Linda that he's studied the room a lot. He then opens the window and brings in a leather bag that he tossed there earlier. Linda wonders what it is and Jordy says that it's important to have the right tools as he takes out a knife and explains that he's been planning for a long time.
Claire is at home watching broadcasts about her ex-husband Carroll's recapture and the abduction of her son Joey. Ryan arrives with Reilly and Claire runs to hug him. She then asks why Emma, the woman she knew as Denise Harris abducted Joey, and Ryan explains that Carroll put Denise there. When she insists that she has the records on her nanny's background, Ryan asks to see them. Mike confirms that Emma drugged the guards and Joey, took him out, and abandoned the car 45 minutes later. Claire gives Ryan the background files and admits that Emma kept to herself and read in her room a lot. She blames herself for not seeing what Emma really was and Ryan tells her not to think that way.
Emma, Jacob, and Paul drive Joey to an isolated house in the forest. Joey runs across the lawn and Jacob runs after him and playfully tackles him. Emma comes over and tells Joey that the house belongs to a friend of a friend. As they go in, Joey asks to call his mother but Emma claims that Claire said that she doesn't want anyone to call. Meanwhile, Jacob talks to Paul, who is uncomfortable with abducting Joey. Paul half-seriously says that he wants to break Joey's neck. They walk over to Emma and Paul insists that he likes Joey. Once Paul goes inside, Jacob tells Emma that Paul has a rough night and then Emma says it's good to have him back and they kiss.
At the Federal detention center, Mike briefs Ryan on their search for Joey and introduces their consultant to Agent Mitchell with cyber forensics. She explains that "Denise Harris" doesn't exist, but they have identified Jacob and Paul by their real names. Paul is a computer consultant with a history of fraud. When Ryan asks where Agent Mason is, Mike sends him to Reilly, who is talking with Deputy Marshal Turner. Turner wants Ryan off the case, well aware of how he cracked after the Carroll case. They're meeting with Agent Debra Parker, who introduces herself as Mason's replacement. She explains that Mason has been taken off the case because she let Ryan talk to Carroll privately and Ryan then broke three of his fingers. Debra is willing to give Ryan the benefit of the doubt and figures that they have to keep Ryan on as long as Carroll has cast him in his new story.
Ryan asks to be deputized, insisting that Franklin was the one who wanted him on the case. Debra only says that she'll take it under advisement and asks about first his drinking and then his heart. Ryan tries to focus on the case and explains how Carroll solicited people like Jordy via the Internet. Debra asks about the letter that Carroll mentioned in the interrogation and Ryan tells her that Claire received a personal letter from Carroll questioning her relationship with Ryan. Reilly comes in to tell them that they have more bodies.
The team goes to the sorority house where Jordy killed all nine girls in the house. The killer removed the eyes and wrote "Nevermore" on the walls, just like Carroll, and Ryan figures that Jordy is Carroll's acolyte. He speculates that they abducted Joey as a sacrifice, and warns that Carroll won't tell them where they can find the boy. Reilly suggests that Carroll might tell his wife and tells Ryan that he asked to see Claire.
Before they send Claire in, Ryan suggests that she address Carroll's paternal instincts. He asks if she wants to do it and realizes that she doesn't, but she doesn't have a choice. As she goes in, Claire briefly touches Ryan's hand.
Ryan visits Claire at her new place and she tells the agent that she doesn't want to see Carroll again. He assures her that she doesn't have to.
Claire goes into the interrogation room and he starts to talk about how beautiful she is. She demands to know where Joey is but Carroll talks about a trip to Antigua that they took. Claire focuses on Joey but Carroll expresses his sympathy for her feelings and then asks if she got his letter. He refuses to discuss Joey until Claire answers her questions, and she says that she received the letter. Claire admits that they had an affair for two months after the divorce, and Carroll asks if the sex was good. She says that it was and Ryan, watching the monitors with the team, says that they have to get Claire out of there. Debra refuses and they watch as Carroll asks if she loves Ryan. Claire slaps her ex-husband and he chokes her, insisting that he'll always love her. Reilly and the guards go in and get Claire out.
As Ryan checks Claire's throat, she apologizes for what she said to Carroll and asks if they have any word on Joey. Ryan promises that they'll find her son.
Joey and Emma check out the house and discover that they set up a room just like the one at home. He asks to call his mother and Emma insists that they have to wait. Joey asks why her father is such a bad man and Emma suggests that he's not so bad and they don't understand him.
Emma listens to Carroll reading at a book signing, fascinated. Later, he signs her book and Emma says how beautiful it was. Carroll moves her hair out of her eyes and compliments Emma on them, and she asks if the protagonist, Gwendolyn, died. Carroll asks what she thinks and Emma talks about how she died, swimming toward hope. Emma's mother Sharon Cooper comes in to pick her up and flirts with Carroll, who signs the book "Hopefully yours."
Paul comes by and asks which room is theirs, and Emma tells him that he'll be sleeping alone while she and Jacob take the master. He objects but claims it's only because of what Joey might think, and Emma tells him not to worry about it.
Mike goes over the video logs and confirms that Emma visited with Jacob, and later Jacob visited with Paul. Ryan has him check the first time Emma visited to see if she used her real name and Mike confirms that her last name is Hill and she has a home address in nearby Petersburg. Reilly doesn't believe Carroll would risk hiding Joey there but Debra sends him to check it out with Ryan and Mike.
In Petersburg, the FBI calls in the local authorities and approaches the house. The place is seemingly deserted and Ryan checks out the back. He breaks in while Mike listens nervously, and goes inside. There are discarded carryout boxes in the kitchen and Poe's works and pictures on the walls. In the bedroom are a collection of Poe masks and a copy of Ryan's book. A man wearing a Poe mask charges out at Ryan, draws a gun on him, and says that he shouldn't be there. The attacker promises that Ryan will die later and knocks him unconscious.
Later, the FBI secure the house and Ryan tells Debra that the man didn't match Jordy's height and build. He figures they weren't supposed to find the house, and Debra realizes that Carroll has created a religion around Poe's works. She analyzes it in some detail and explains that she runs the Bureau's alternative religion branch and specializes in cults.
Paul gets them online via wireless wifi and uses an untraceable connection to log onto Carroll's board. They confirm that Jordy pulled off a serial killing despite his relative incompetence. Emma comes in and tells Paul to check on Joey. Once they're alone, Emma asks Jacob if Paul is really gay, and Jacob explains that it was just the two of them for a long time. She says that Paul needs to adjust and insists it's what Carroll wanted.
Emma comes to visit Carroll and shows off her new, shorter haircut. Carroll compliments her on it and offers to put her in touch with a guy who he thinks would like her. He suggests that she go out and have some more fun. Later, Emma meets with an equally shy Jacob and they immediately hit it off.
Jacob and Emma make out on the couch.
At the Hill house, Debra tells Reilly to run handwriting analysis on all the writings. Ryan looks at the wall and finds a clipping about Claire.
Claire asks if she should be happy that she's divorced and Ryan tells her that she deserves some happiness in her life. They share a toast and then Claire tells Ryan to kiss her. He asks if she's sure and Claire says that she's been sure for a long time, and they share their first kiss.
Paul tells Jacob that Rick sent them an update that the FBI found Emma's house. Rick wants Emma to call because she's in charge. Jacob says that he has to stop fighting with Emma because it's awkward, and Paul warns his friend that Emma is out of his league. Jacob turns toward Emma, who has overheard the whole thing, and says that she's amazing.
Jacob has supper with Emma and Sharon, and Sharon flirts with him. She admits that she's surprised that they're dating, and Jacob says that Emma is the most amazing woman he knows. When Sharon puts down Emma, describing her as plain-jane, Emma stabs her in the back. Jacob looks at her and says that she finally did it.
Emma and Jacob smile at each other for a moment.
Ryan checks out the attic of the house and finds the names of women written on the wall. He tells Reilly that they are all women in Poe's life who died. Among them is a photo of Sarah. Mike finds a hollow space behind the wall and pries a board loose, and Sharon's mummified corpse falls out. Ryan points out that burial behind a wall is c Poe, while Debra finds a photo of Claire. She has her people call Claire's residence to make sure she's safe.
The team go to Claire's house and Detective Morales confirms that Claire is safe and there's no sign of forced entry. Ryan tells Claire about Emma and how she was visiting Carroll in prison. As Debra watches, Claire takes Ryan's hand for a moment. He goes outside and complains to a couple of officers who are drinking coffee.
Inside, an officer escorts Claire upstairs and checks her room. Once he's done, he takes up watch outside in the hallway.
Reilly informs Debra that nine different handwritings were found at Emma's house. Four match Emma, Jacob, Paul, and Jordy, but five remain unidentified. They have confirmed the dead body is Sharon and Debra wonders how Jordy managed to disappear despite his low IQ.
As Claire washes up, the cop notices something down the hall and goes to investigate. Jordy drops down behind him and shoves him into a room. Once he disposes of him, he goes into Claire's room and closes the door behind him. She sees him in the mirror just as he charges at her.
Outside in the command van, Ryan brings up blueprints of Sarah's house that were written on the walls at Emma's house. Among them he finds a blueprint of Claire's basement and, realizing what it is, runs back into the house. He runs upstairs to Claire's bedroom and Jordy, holding Claire hostage, shoots at him. Ryan ducks back and Jordy says that they've been waiting for him. He tells Ryan to keep everyone out and the others back up. Ryan comes in while Reilly slips a gun underneath his belt, and then Ryan closes the door.
Jordy insists that he has to kill Claire and make Ryan watch, or Ryan has to kill him. Ryan insists that nobody has to die and that Carroll doesn't want Claire dead, but Jordy insists that it's his chapter and he can write it anyway he wants. The ex-agent suggests that they call Carroll and points out the phone. As soon as Jordy looks at it, Claire shoves her captor away and Ryan shoots him in the shoulder.
Later, Reilly and Mike complain to Morales about her failing to allow for Jordy having inside help. Turner orders the cops out while Debra checks on Ryan and Claire. After a moment, Ryan releases Claire's hand and goes outside with Debra, who tells him that they'll question Jordy as soon as he wakes up. Ryan insists on seeing Carroll and Debra reluctantly lets him.
At the detention center, Ryan enters the interrogation room with four armed guards accompanying him. Carroll points out that Ryan looks tired and tells him to take care of himself. Ryan points out that Claire almost died but Carroll says that he figured Ryan would arrive to rescue her. He tells Ryan to toughen up because Jordy is nothing compared to some of his cult members. When Ryan asks why he's doing it, Carroll tells him to accept the challenge and tells him that he'll have to figure out his end game. He asks Ryan how it feels to kill the villain and win, and Ryan tells him that Jordy is alive and well and confined nearby. Carroll admits that his survival wasn't part of the plan but dismisses Jordy as a halfwit. Satisfied that he's put Carroll off of his game, even momentarily, Ryan leaves.
Ryan goes back to Claire's place and offers to take her somewhere else, but she doesn't see the point. When he starts to leave, Claire asks him to stay, insisting she doesn't trust anyone but him. Ryan assures her that he's not going anywhere. Claire curls up on her son's bed, holding his stuffed animal.
Paul looks in on a sleeping Joey, and then looks into the master bedroom. Emma and Jacob are making love and after a moment, Paul walks away.
Debra goes to Carroll's cell to give him the book he requested: the complete works of Poe. He peers out at her through the window and she shoves the book through the slot.
Ryan watches over Claire until she dozes off.
The next day, the masked man from Emma's house walks up to a man getting food from a vendor. He pours gasoline on him, sets him on fire, and walks away.