The BAU are still mourning Prentiss' death, but celebrate Seaver's graduation. As all on the team, including Seaver, realize that she is not a replacement for Prentiss, Hotch is on the search for another profiler as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, they travel to Portland, Oregon, where two murders have happened. The victimology is different, with the similarities between the deaths being the victim first being bludgeoned then stabbed multiple times. The nature of the stab wounds and the petty theft involved with the murders make the team believe they are dealing with a gang. But when they view the site of one of the murders, Hotch believes that they are dealing with only one unsub - a schizophrenic - which is confirmed by other evidence at other sites. With subsequent similar murders, the team learns more about the unsub, which includes religious exorcisms. This case is especially difficult on Reid, who sees some similarities of the unsub in himself.
The BAU travels to Portland to investigate a suspected gang of murderers targeting a new victim each night.
- Four young people go through the checkout line at a grocery store. One of them, Ben, trembles. Something is wrong with him. He notices a pretty nurse in an adjacent line. "Let's do this, then you can sleep," the others tell Ben, who hesitates ... and then agrees. CUT to the home of the nurse. It is night. She munches celery when the door suddenly BREAKS open. Ben comes rushing in ... with a raised knife. Not good.
Derek and Garcia, meanwhile, look at the framed picture of Emily on the wall of BAU headquarters. They are very sad but Garcia tries to lighten the mood a bit by showing Derek the cupcakes she made to celebrate Ashley's graduation. Later, Hotch tells Rossi that he is looking for a more "experienced" profiler for the team. The team then assembles to check out the latest case: a serial killer is on the loose in Portland. Two people are dead, including the nurse, who was stabbed 40 times with eight different weapons. "That's too many weapons for one person," Rossi says. A gang then?
CUT to Ben, who wakes up to the sound of his three buddies partying -- listening to music and doing drugs. He begs then to keep it down so he can sleep, but they don't listen. Hotch and Rossi, in the meantime, visit the home of the nurse. Why the overkill from multiple unsubs? "The fact that others are involved helps each of them rationalize their own violent behavior," Hotch explains. But something isn't right. All the bloody footprints are the same. Is this wild group so organized that it wears the same shoes? Doubtful. "I think it's one very erratic killer," Hotch concludes.
Hotch calls Rossi, who is interviewing a clerk at the grocery store. The clerk says that a strange young man came into the store the previous evening -- he was alone and talking to himself. Hallucinating, in other words. The team suggests drug use and blames it for the overkill. CUT to Ben, who sits in a truck holding a hammer. His three "friends" browbeat him into going after another victim. Later, Ben calls his mom, begging for help. "They're back," he says. She suggests he go to church as that supposedly helped him before.
The next morning, the team finds a third victim with 41 stab wounds. The upstairs neighbor heard screaming around 3:30 a.m. -- a full hour AFTER the victim was killed. In short, the neighbor heard the unsub screaming. And what was he yelling? " 'I was just a kid -- I was a kid then,' " she repeats. " 'I don't want to kill anymore.' " Derek suggests the unsub is talking to his hallucinations. "He sounds like a paranoid schizophrenic to me," the agent observes. That usually begins in the early 20s. The team then delivers its profile: the young unsub is likely a loner and is haunted by a childhood incident. "It is our belief that the incident involved close family," Derek says. But what was it?
CUT to the Ben entering a church. A priest lights candles, which seems to upset the unsub. "I'm seeing things," a shaken Ben explains. "They're blaming me for the fire." Ben then explains to the priest that, as a 10-year-old boy, he underwent a kind of exorcism organized by church members. "Churches don't perform exorcisms anymore," the priest says. This makes Ben VERY angry. CUT to Reid, who explains to Derek that his mother suffered from schizophrenia -- and he worries that he might be susceptible. Apparently, boy wonder has had trouble sleeping as of late. Derek suggests that Reid give himself a break -- and acknowledge that he is likely still grieving for Emily.
Later, Reid notes that the victim was buying water and salt at the grocery store -- elements common in an exorcism. He suggests looking at area churches. Derek and Reid soon find the priest, who explains that the unsub was in the church just two hours prior. The priest tells the team members that the young man asked for an exorcism and mentioned starting a fire. Also, he stuttered. Hours later, Derek and Reid are called to the scene of a fourth victim -- a woman much older than the others. "She must represent something to him," Reid says. The obvious answer: the mother who had him exorcised. They also notice an outline of a body next to the victim. The unsub laid down and slept next to the woman. Reid then has a brainstorm. All the signs, including the stutter, point to insomnia. "His hallucinations are so clear that sleep is the only release he has from them," boy wonder observes. He kills so that he can get brief periods of rest.
Garcia takes that information and crosschecks it against arrest records. A name emerges: Ben Foster, who has prescriptions for a sleep aid. "He probably uses the stolen money to buy pills," Derek theorizes. When the young man was 10 years old, he was arrested for starting a fire that killed three of the people who helped perform his exorcism. Garcia pulls up pictures of the three folks -- and viewers recognize them as Ben's hallucinations. Just two months ago, Ben was living in an apartment that caught fire. This recent event likely restarted the visions. The team then heads out to the SUVs. Time to visit Ben.
Ben, meanwhile, is literally wrestling with his "friends," who continue to taunt him and urge him to find new victims in exchange for sleep. Just then, Hotch breaks down the door to the house. Ben and his hallucinations race out the back door and head into a neighbor's house. He finds two children -- a boy and a girl -- and demands that they close the curtains. Hotch just happens to be right outside the house and sees the curtains close. Inside, the hallucinations tell Ben to kill the children. Suddenly, Hotch and Reid enter. "We're the only people in this room, Ben," Reid says softly. Reid then urges Ben to put down the knife ... but the confused killer hears Reid requesting that Ben stab him in the neck. Ben tries to do just that -- and is SHOT by the team.
On the plane ride home, Ashley looks at Ben's file -- and notes that the boy has heard voices his entire life. So it probably isn't just schizophrenia. He was born tortured. CUT to Ben, who survived the shooting, being wheeled through a hospital. A doctor explains that the electroshock "worked" and that he shouldn't hear the voices anymore. Of course, Ben does hear the voices -- and sees his three tormentors. Here we go again.