The morning after the cult's attack on the evacuation center, Mitchell checks security cameras in the area and finds footage of Alex and his lieutenant abducting Debra. They run an ID check and discover that Alex is Alex Lipton, a sniper with a militia group. As Mike and Ryan try to work out the significance of Carroll's choice of literary works, a young boy wearing a Poe mask walks up to the sheriff's station. Ryan and the others go out to check on him, and Ryan removes the mask. The boy, Jack Foster, says that Emma paid him $20 to put it on. Ryan checks the mask and realizes that there's a phone number inside.
Mitchell calls the number and discover that it's the phone that Alex gave Debra before he buried her in the coffin. She tries to describe the route that Alex took him and Ryan promises that they'll find her. Mike works out her directions on the map but warns Ryan that there are over 3,000 acres of woods to search, and only a few hours until Debra runs out of air. Turner gets a report and tells the others that they've found Alex's car in the woods.
Claire wakes up in a cabin near the ocean and runs outside. The cabin is at the base of a lighthouse and Carroll is waiting for her, holding a gun. He takes her inside and Claire complains that the lighthouse is too predictable for his story. When she tells him to kill her and get it over with, Carroll refuses because he wants Ryan there to witness her death, confident it will break him. When Claire tells her ex-husband that it won't work, Carroll says that he's had enough of her and shoves her in a room. As he locks the door, a man in the room staggers toward her.
Ryan and the others check out Alex's car and realize that he deliberately cut the tires and left it there. Alex opens fire on them with a sniper rifle, missing Mike and hitting a FBI agent. The others provide cover fire while Ryan circles around and gets the drop on Alex. Ryan pistol-whips the cultist when he claims that he doesn't know Debra's location, and takes him back to his SUV. When Turner wonders what they're going to do with Alex, Ryan says that he and Mike will take him back to the station by themselves. Realizing what Ryan plans to do, Turner tells him to do what he has to.
Claire talks to her fellow prisoner, Neil Meyer, and he explains that two of the cultists hired him to pilot a boat to the lighthouse. Once he was there, they took him prisoner and broke his ankle so he couldn't run. When Claire tells him that Carroll is holding them both prisoner, Neil figures that they're dead.
Ryan and Mike take Alex to an abandoned building and warn him that they'll beat him until he talks. Alex figures that they're bluffing but they beat him and break his leg. When Ryan all but gouges out of one of his names, Alex breaks and tells them how to find Debra. As they leave, Ryan tells Alex that if lying then they'll kill him.
At the lighthouse, Claire and Neil try to break through the boarded-over windows without any luck. Carroll drags Claire out, locking the door behind him, and wonders if he should kill Neil. Claire warns him that Ryan may not arrive in time but Carroll is confident that Ryan will follow the clues that he's left and get there in time to watch Claire die. Carroll says he and Claire were good together, but she refuses to accept that and he says that he'll miss her when she's gone.
As Ryan and Mike drive to Debra's location, Mitchell patches Ryan through to the agent. She asks Ryan to tell her sister Beth that she loves her and to have Beth pass the message onto her parents. Debra says that her only regret is that she isn't close to her family, and tells Ryan not to blame herself because she knew what she was getting into.
Mike pulls up to the location and they drag Alex out to the spot. Gloating, Alex tells them to hurry and the two men finally manages to dig up the coffin. They open it but too late: Debra is dead. Ryan tries to revive her without success and turns to Alex, who is boasting about how he killed Debra. Disgusted, Ryan walks over and shoots him in the head, ignoring Mike's objections.
When Ryan walks back to Debra's body, he notices that there's a package in the coffin. Inside it is the manuscript for Carroll's book, describing how Ryan would arrive too late to save Debra. However, Carroll incorrectly predicted that Alex would shoot and kill Ryan earlier. Ryan finds the address that Carroll wants him to go to, and tells Mike that it's his fight. When Mike tries to go with him, Ryan threatens to shoot him in the leg and fires a warning shot into the ground, and then drives away.
Carroll asks Claire if she realized that he was a serial killer and she admits that she blinded herself to the facts. She insists that she didn't know he was a killer until he was arrested, and only talked to Ryan to send him to Carroll. Claire blames herself for all of the deaths and Carroll tells her that he's the victim. To prove it, he drags Neil out of the floor and stabs him repeatedly. Once he's done, he tells Claire that's what it feels like to kill someone, and refuses to let her take any credit for his actions.
Ryan drives to the address that Carroll gave him and goes to the end of the manuscript, and discovers that the final chapter isn't there. When he gets out of the SUV, Emma steps out of the garage and tells him to drop his gun and phone. Once he does, Emma orders him to kneel and warns Ryan that Carroll has given her permission to shoot him if he doesn't obey. When Ryan still refuses, another cultist grabs him and jabs a syringe into his neck, knocking him out.
When Ryan wakes up at the house, Carroll greets him and Ryan tells Claire that everything will be okay. Carroll tells Ryan that the final chapter isn't written because the two of them will create it together. The cult leader points out that the two of them are alike and that Claire fell for both of them. Carroll demands to know when Ryan first fell in love with Claire, insisting that he and Ryan are connected, and Ryan says that they're not connected by love. He finally admits that he fell in love with Claire after using her to get to Carroll. Angry, Carroll says that knowing Claire and Ryan love each other will make it easier for him to kill Claire.
As Carroll advances on Claire, Ryan tells him that an ending where Claire dies would be too predictable. He suggests that Carroll kill him because no one will expect the hero to die. Carroll insists that Claire has to die to prove Ryan's death curse, and Ryan tells him that he's sick of Poe and that the writer was nothing but an overrated morphine addict. Furious, Carroll lunges at Ryan, who manages to fight him off and grab his gun. Carroll runs out and Claire tells Ryan to kill him.
Ryan chases Carroll to the nearby boathouse and the two men struggle. Carroll's gun goes off, hitting a gas barrel and starting a fire. Ryan manages to throw Carroll into the flames and the ceiling comes down on top of him as he screams in agony. Ryan runs outside and finds Claire, and they both watch as the boathouse explodes.
The next morning, the FBI arrives and secure the area. Teams dredge the waters and find a corpse that could be Carroll's. Mike tells Ryan that they have a dental match but won't have confirmation until the coroner gets done. He confirms that they've reached out to Debra's family, and that they have seven cultists in custody. Claire takes a call from Joey, who is in protective custody in DC, and Ryan says that he'll take Claire there after they stop at his apartment in New York. As Claire goes off to talk to Joey privately, Ryan asks Mike if he's okay, and Mike says that he isn't.
When they arrive at Ryan's apartment, Claire watches the newscast about Carroll's death. Meanwhile, the coroner calls Ryan and tells him that they've positively identified the corpse as Carroll. Ryan kisses Claire for a moment and then she goes to clean up while he orders some food.
In Mobile, AL, a disguised Emma watches the newscast about Carroll's death. She bursts into tears and then runs out of the restaurant.
As Ryan puts some music on, there's a knock at the door. He answers it and finds the FBI agent assigned to watch his apartment, holding the takeout food. The agent thanks Ryan for everything he's done and leaves. As Ryan goes to the kitchen, he grabs a knife and prepares to cut open the bag. There's another knock at the door and he puts the food and the knife down to answer it. There's no one there, but when he comes back, the knife is gone. Molly lunges out of the shadows and stabs Ryan in the stomach, screaming that Carroll gave him to her. Claire comes out and Molly ducks back into the shadows, and then stabs Claire in the back as she goes to Ryan.