Previously: a terrorist plot is afoot. Hooded unsubs are shooting civilians near bridges and public transit stations in order to test police response times. But that's not the end of their vile scheme, folks. The would-be terrorists seem to have something personal against the BAU team. The members climb into SUVs and one of the cars BLOWS UP. But which one?
Hotch, his face scratched and bleeding, stands in the middle of the street. Debris falls in slow motion. Somewhere, seemingly far away, an emergency bell rings. He turns around to see an SUV on fire. "Kate!" he screams. Hotch tries to see into the vehicle -- and then notices Kate lying in the street.
Her body has been thrown from the vehicle. "Am I moving my legs?" she asks. No, her legs are NOT moving -- but Hotch doesn't have the heart to tell her. Cop cars and an ambulance scream around the corner, but stop well shy of the scene. Hotch screams at the police. Why aren't they coming to help?
FLASHBACK: "The goal is always to take out a first round of civilians, followed by a second wave of emergency responders," Kate explains to the team.
Hotch understands. The BAU was the initial target. The second wave can come no closer. A bystander offers to help, but Hotch says there is nothing for him to do.
Back at NYPD command center, Rossi and Spencer kindly let viewers know the stakes. "If our profile is correct and all eight murders were to gauge response time, then we're looking at eight suicide bombers, who are about to hit every one of those locations," Rossi says.
"Actually, if we're correct, it will be 16 suicide bombers," Spencer says. "We predicted that they'll hit the second wave of emergency responders also."
The two see a news report on TV: A black SUV has exploded. Rossi and Spencer look at each in horror. Garcia watches video of the explosion. Hotch and Kate approach the SUV and are blown backwards when the car explodes. Garcia wisely rolls the tape back and spies a man in a hooded sweatshirt planting the bomb under the SUV. She looks at another angle: The unsub walked away from the SUV and then stopped to watch.
The unsub is the bystander.
Derek pulls up to the scene and rushes through the emergency responders. He is told that he can go no closer to Hotch and Kate, who sit in the middle of the road some 100 yards away. The order doesn't sit well with the D-man. "I don't give a damn what your orders are!" Derek screams. He leaps the barricade and runs to help his boss.
Kate, meanwhile, has passed out. "She's going to bleed to death if we don't get her out of here," Hotch says. Derek gets a call from Garcia: the bystander is the unsub! Derek takes off running after the man. The foot chase is on! The SUV bomber runs into the subway and Derek, pulling his gun, follows.
Back on the scene, an ambulance has finally arrived from the opposite end of the street. "My partner was too scared to come in here with me," the driver explains. Hmm, we smell another rat. But does Hotch?
Back in the subway, Derek continues to chase down the unsub. He follows the man down a track tunnel. "Show me your face you coward!" Derek screams. As if on cue, the young man emerges from the darkness. He is barefoot.
"You will lose in the end," the terrorist says. "You want to know why? Because you fear what we embrace." The man steps onto the third rail and electrocutes himself. Derek turns his head in disgust.
Back on the scene, Kate's body has been loaded into the back of the ambulance. The ambulance driver works on her while Hotch drives to the hospital. Outside the hospital, the ambulance is stopped. "No one is to be let through," says a gruff Secret Service agent. The hospital is under bypass orders. Why? Who is the Secret Service protecting inside the hospital?
"We're losing her!" the EMT screams from the back of the ambualnce. The secret service agent reluctantly relents -- and the ambulance is allowed to pass. Inside, Kate is taken away on a gurney by ER doctors as Hotch wobbles and collapses onto the floor.
Back at NYPD headquarters, the team examines the video of the unsub. He seems to trigger the bomb early before Hotch and Kate can get into the SUV. Why? Were Hotch and Kate a diversion too?
The team arrives at the hospital. Hotch is up and theorizing about the bystander/ unsub. "His only one reason to stick with us ..." Hotch starts. "To make sure the ambulance got to you," Rossi finishes. Says Hotch: "This hospital is their target."
Indeed. The ambulance driver also happens to be a bomb expert. How do we know? Because while the team is upstairs figuring things out, the driver is arming a doozy of an explosive device in the back of the ambulance.
Derek finds the gruff Secret Service agent and tells him about the bomb. Whoever the Secret Service is protecting -- and we suspect its someone very high up in the U.S. government -- is currently undergoing surgery and can't be moved. It's up to the team to keep the bomb from being detonated.
Derek, ever the loner, breaks off from the group and goes after the bomb himself. He arrives in the parking garage, opens the door to the ambulance and sees the bomb blinking red. "Oh my God," he says. Not much time now. "I'm going to have to get this ambulance out of here," he says.
Derek hotwires the ambulance and gets on the horn to Garcia. "I need you to find an area I can drive this thing to," he says. "Talk to me, Garcia!" As the ambulance speeds out of the hospital garage, the terrorist emerges, shooting. But he is too late. The bomb is gone. "Noooooo!" the frustrated unsub screams. He tries to trigger the bomb using his cell phone -- but Garcia has blocked all cell signals.
Not for long, however. "Signals coming back on line," she tells Derek. "Get out!"
Back at the hospital, the terrorist gets a signal on his cell phone. He pushes send. The ambulance, driving across an open space, EXPLODES! Was Derek inside? Garcia fears the worst for her not-so-secret crush.
The team, meanwhile, approaches the bomb maker, who sits cross legged in the garage. He holds a knife to his own neck. "Put it down," Hotch says. "It's over." Indeed, it is. The man cuts his own throat. Hotch looks on in horror.
We see the flaming ambulance... and then Derek stands up in the foreground as the camera pulls back to reveal that he had somehow managed to get the ambulance to an open area inside Central Park.
Derek managed to leap from the vehicle before the explosion, after all. "Woman, you promise me one thing," He tells Garcia. "No matter what happens, don't you ever stop talking to me."
Hotch returns to check on Kate, but the woman is dead. "I'm so sorry," the ER doc says. Hotch takes the dead woman's hand. Later, Hotch and Derek leave the hospital.
"Did we ever find out who the Secret Service had in the hospital?" Derek asks.
"Does it matter?" Hotch counters.
Derek agrees. Then Hotch drops a bomb of his own: "Quantico has requested that you transfer to run the New York office." But Hotch has withheld his recommendation. Why? "Your actions, as incredibly brave as they were, were still the actions of an agent who doesn't really trust anyone," Hotch explains.
Derek is hurt. But Hotch explains that his opinion doesn't really matter anyway. Derek can take the job if he so chooses. Will he? Stay tuned.