The episode begins three months ago, at Winslow, Arizona where a crazy old man who is in great pain, tries to taunt the male nurse who is attending to him. He is really mean and calls the nurse’s wife a whore. The nurse is angry and tells the old man that if he turns up the morphine, he will be a dead man. Looks like the old man wants him to do that! Just then the man on the next bed, who has been in coma for a long time, suddenly wakes up and his body begins to jerk. The nurse rushes to him and asks him to relax.
The old man has a small tattoo next to his thumb cut to the present day, the man with the tattoo is doing some work and a midget named Conrad walks up to him and tells him that the girl they have tied up is making a lot of noise and that people can hear her. The man says that she is perfect for the job. We then see a girl tied up and she is in tears. Next, Reid is talking to his mystery woman and she tells him that she feels that her stalker is gone. There are no more phone calls or emails. She thinks that it is time for them to meet. Reid is dumbstruck. At the unit, Garcia briefs the team about the latest case; Bruce Philips who was found in a box with his blond hair dyed black. Rossi points out that it is a custom made box. The pictures show that Bruce has been folded in half.
And also he has being hung and strangled. But the plot thickens; yesterday Justin Marks and his girlfriend Connie went missing two miles away from the first abduction site. And this morning Justin’s body was found; he was stuffed into a box and was left in an alley and his hair has been dyed black. Connie is still missing. Connie is the same woman we see who is tied up. The unsub had rejected Justin overnight but kept the first victim for two days. Justin was hung multiple times! JJ feels that Connie might be his object of his desire. They need to find Connie. We then see that the unsub ties a big bow on Connie’s head and clicks her pictures. The midget, Conrad is sitting on a chair and watching the show. On the flight, the team ponders as to what the unsub’s motives are and how does Connie fit into his fantasies.
And moreover the unsub is escalating. Meanwhile, the unsub gets some items from the store and he tells Conrad that they need a perfect guy for the job; someone with black hair. Just then they see a man get into his car. He is perfect! They follow him and the unsub stages an accident and gets inside the man’s house and pulls out a syringe from his pocket. The team arrives to see Justin’s body. They see that his hair is cut and his nails are painted red. But Detective Martin tells them that he did not paint the nails of the first victim. This is to emasculate them; a part of the unsub’s fantasy. The unsub gets the new guy to his work place and he then cuts off Connie’s clothes from her body; that is how “it” works. He also tells her that Justin wasn’t right; the new man is. Morgan informs Hotch about the new abductee.
He is from the same neighborhood and his hair is naturally black. Morgan sees a red stain on the window and realizes that it is not blood. In the morgue, the coroner tells Rossi and Reid that Justin was hanged with a leather strap with a V on it. The bones were dislocated anti-mortem. Why is doing this? There is a particular drug found in the victim’s body and this was used to get close to the ruse. Reid says that there is a sort of medieval torturing which use particular devices to dislocate the bones. We then see that Connie has her hand tied back in some sort of an entrapment and the unsub is used that to twist and turn her bones! It is painful even to watch. Poor Connie! Her shoulder blades jut out in a weird fashion and the unsub is happy that he got is right this time.
Connie and the new guy are lying next to each other and the unsub arrives with a nail and hammer and hammers the big nail into the man’s wrist. Next, the team finds the man’s dead body; the box is wrapped this time but there are not strangulation marks. Reid looks at the holes bored in his hands and feet and exclaims, “Stigmata”. He is still keeping Connie and something about her is working. They profile the unsub. They feel that the unsub is sadistic and making someone watch the torture is the ultimate torture. We see that the unsub is trying to draw the Vetruvian Man. The team feels that something from the unsub’s fantasy is not working out; that is why he discards the men and that he values the men mostly after they are dead. Meanwhile, the unsub, Adam, is sitting and crying about the fact that “they” are ruining it.
Conrad comes in and tells Adam that he is ruining it. He tells him to take charge and find a Father and a Son. He gives Adam a revolver. JJ and Morgan arrive at the store where the last victim had bought his clothes from. The storekeeper Tucker tells them that he doesn’t realize the dead guy. He says that he can help them with when the purchase was made and goes to check. But moments later Morgan sees that Tucker driving away! Alex asks Reid why is he behaving weird and Reid tells her that his girlfriend wants to meet. He is afraid that she might not like him as he looks weird. Alex tells him that meeting her would only make the relationship better. Tucker arrives to meet Adam. He tells him that the FBI came by to ask about the dead guy. We learn that Tucker had sold Adam all the eight sets of the same pair of clothes.
He thinks that Adam has been acting weird since his car accident. Adam invites Tucker in for tea and locks the door. At the precinct, Rossi learns that the victim’s jaws were dislocated as well. Reid feels that the unsub is trying to make his own human Marionette. And he is right!! We see that Adam has turned Connie into a Marionette with a strange, horrible looking mask on her face. And he is making her perform. The team learns that a father and son have been kidnapped. We then see that Adam tells Connie and her male partner that they have to do it right this time. They have to save the father and son from the robber (Conrad). The team is looking for puppeteers. But no luck as Garcia finds no match.
At the play, Adam shoots the father in his leg and tells his male puppet that if he doesn’t do as he is told, the father and the son will die. Rossi tells Garcia to find if there is any puppeteer with the story that involves a father and son and she finds a match; he is an old puppeteer named Alex Rain and he was murdered in a robbery and his son Adam Rain witnessed his father’s murder. So this is what Adam’s play is about!! Garcia tells them that his father’s play involved two puppets and the male has dark hair and the girl is a brunette. Also, Adam called Tucker forty times last month. She gives them the address to his father’s theatre. She also tells them that Adam was in a coma for a year and he woke up and started behaving like a child asking for his father.
As the play is on, Adam thinks about the moment when the robbers killed his father and how he asked the puppets for help, who did nothing!! The FBI arrives at the theatre and stop Adam. Adam tells them that the puppets are supposed to save his father from the robber and points out to Conrad. But actually, there is no Conrad; it is a puppet! They tell him that his father never told him that the puppets were not real and that is why they could not save his father. They tell him that he can save these people by not doing what the robbers did to his father. Adam surrenders. Case Closed. Next, Reid goes to the restaurant where he was supposed to meet his girlfriend.
But he spots a suspicious looking man there and he tells his girlfriend, who is just outside the restaurant, to go home as her stalker is there. She leaves. Reid walks up to this guy but he is relieved to see that the guy was actually waiting for someone and is not the stalker. Just then the receptionist arrives and gives him a bag that a woman left for him. It is a book; the exact same one, he brought as a gift for her. The episode ends.