A barely alive young Jane Doe is found on a cliff-side road outside of rural Lake Worth, North Carolina, she who seemingly jumped or fell off the cliff. The BAU are called in because many of her pre-fall injuries - stab wounds - are consistent with another Jane Doe body found in the area three years earlier. The BAU quickly come to the conclusion that the unsub is a sexual sadist and predator who is abducting these women and holding them captive, this latest Jane Doe who probably saw an opportunity to escape. Upon arrival in the area, the BAU discover a recently tampered with mass grave filled with other young, primarily blond, women. The latest Jane Doe, who eventually succumbs to her injuries, is ultimately identified as Angela Proctor, who was traveling with her best friend, Marcy Owens, who is also missing and presumed held captive by the unsub. The BAU come up with a suspect named Marcus Talbot, a known past sexual predator who is currently a high school art teacher in Lake Worth. The more the team searches through Talbot's possessions, the more he looks to be the unsub, despite he professing his innocence. But it's what is found buried in his yard that provides the strongest clue to Talbot's guilt or innocence, which in turn hopefully will lead to a still alive Marcy. On a lighter note, Hotch has been asked to coach Jack's soccer team.
The BAU is called to a North Carolina mountain town after a woman is found badly injured and another is missing, and they discover that these two are not the only victims.
- A soaked Derek gives an unidentified body CPR. "Stay with me!" he yells. But who is Derek attempting to revive?
Three days earlier ...
A young woman -- whose clothes are torn and tattered -- races through the woods. Someone pursues here. Desperate, she leaps from the top of a tall rock -- and lands with a SMACK on the asphalt road below. CUT to BAU headquarters, where Garcia gives the details of the case. Amazingly, the woman survived. Another woman, however, was found three years ago -- and had similar stab wounds. "Raped repeatedly and tortured," Reid observes. The team concludes that the women are victims of the same man.
Hotch, Rossi and Reid soon arrive at the hospital to examine the unconscious victim. Reid examines the woman and deduces that she is an athlete -- and perhaps capable of outrunning the unsub even while injured. Suddenly, the victim opens her eyes. She whispers a few words -- "he has mercy" -- before fading away ... and dying. Derek and Ashley, meanwhile, search the woods. It's not long before they find a freshly dug hole in the ground. More remains. In fact, they soon discover more graves going back at least 10 years. The unsub, in other words, has long been busy. Garcia then calls to report that two young woman have recently gone missing while driving from college to spring break. One matches the description of the most recent victim. The other is named Marcy. "She wasn't saying, 'He has mercy,'" Hotch notes. "She was saying, 'He has Marcy.'"
Later, Garcia looks up names of sexual offenders in the area -- and finds that one, Marcus Talbot, is currently teaching art classes at a nearby high school (his superiors didn't do their homework, Garcia notes). Hotch and Rossi go pay Talbot a visit at the school while Derek and Reid search the man's house. Derek finds a bloody sweatshirt. Hotch immediately arrests the art teacher. "You're making a mistake!" Talbot yells. Back at police headquarters, Sheriff Montell gets rough with Talbot until Hotch intervenes -- and politely yet firmly tells the sheriff to stay away from the suspect. Derek and Reid, meanwhile, find a photo lab in Talbot's basement with 50-some photos of young woman. Back at the jail, Talbot tells Rossi that they're pictures of his students -- a "hobby."
Later, Hotch interviews Marcy's parents, who explain that the girl once took a photography class with Talbot while vacationing in the area. It looks bad for Talbot until Reid and Derek find a fresh grave on the teacher's property. It's messy -- not at all like the obsessively-organized Talbot. Also, the grave is too fresh. Something is wrong. "Someone's framing Talbot," Reid concludes. Asks Derek: "Yeah, but who?" Good question. Another good question: Who would know Talbot had a hidden criminal history and a connection with the missing girl? Derek and Rossi start with Talbot, asking for the names of everyone who stepped foot inside the teacher's home in the last five months.
Ashley, meanwhile, interviews Marcy's parents and discovers that the girl was a star in the church choir. Garcia then compares Talbot's list of visitors with church members and discovers five matches -- none with records. Reid then arrives with a coroner's report that shows traces of lead in the victim's body. It could be consistent with stained glass -- and one of the five men on Garcia's list, restaurant owner Robert Bremmer, works with the stuff. "He travels all over the state to craft fairs," Garcia explains. Turns out that Bremmer's wife and stepdaughter were killed a number of years ago in a car accident. The stepdaughter is blonde -- and looks an awful lot like Marcy. "Where the restaurant?" Hotch asks. Moments later, Rossi and Hotch arrive at the diner to find Bremmer has fled.
Garcia continues to delve into Bremmer's past and discovers that he was accused of abusing his 10-year-old stepdaughter. The mentally unstable mother tried to flee with her daughter, but Bremmer tracked them down. The mother then drove her car into a nearby lake in a misguided attempt to escape her husband. Hotch and Rossi race to Bremmer's house, where they find stained glass depicting a drowning blonde girl -- and quickly deduce that Bremmer plans to drown himself and Marcy in the same lake.
CUT to Bremmer, who drives a terrified Marcy in an SUV. "We can all be together now, Rose," Bremmer tells Marcy. The car slows as it approaches a police checkpoint. Ashley and Derek roar up behind Bremmer who SLAMS on the gas. The SUV races for the lake and PLUNGES into the water. Derek dives in after the car and pulls Marcy from the passenger-side window. Just then, Bremmer opens his eyes and grabs Marcy's legs. Out of nowhere, Hotch appears and FIRES his gun underwater, killing Bremmer. Moments later, Derek administers CPR on Marcy. "Stay with me!" he yells. Suddenly, the girl GASPS and spits up a stream of water. She will live. Case closed ... or is it?
CUT to Talbot, who develops a photograph of Marcy in captivity. He files the photograph in a folder marked "Bremmer."