The episode begins in Chicago, Illinois, where a storekeeper is about to shut down for the day. Two kids arrive and ask him for some candy. Anthony Rango knows these kids and lets them in. After they leave, he prepares to leave, but a guy wearing a hoodie attacks him from behind and drags him into the store. He pulls down the shutter. Next, at the office, Garcia updates the team about their latest case.
The two victims are Michael Crowley, a repairman, who went jogging late in the night, and Anthony Rango, a convenient store owner. These both men were beaten to death. There is blunt force trauma to the back of their heads. Their jeans and their boxers were pulled down to their ankles but there are no signs of sexual assault. Hotch thinks that these men must have some secret life and the killer is trying to send a message by embarrassing them. They leave for Illinois. Morgan was raised in Illinois but he says that he doesn’t want to inform anyone because that could be a distraction.
On the flight, Reid says that since the two victims were white, it could be a racial crime. Morgan says that pulling down of the pants seems more sexual in nature. Garcia says that Rango is straight because he has a wife and kids but she couldn’t find anything on Crowley. Hotch sends Morgan and Alex to the neighborhood and the rest of them go to the PD. Morgan and Alex arrive at the convenient store and Morgan says that Rango put up a good fight. His doubts are confirmed when Garcia tells him that Rango was an amateur MMA fighter. Alex checks the security equipment and finds that the discs have been taken.
Morgan figures out that there were some kids at the store just before the killing took place. Hotch and Reid meet Capt. Stan Gordinski. Stan tells them that another killing took place when they were on their way. JJ and Rossi go to the diner which is the latest crime scene. Rossi notes that this murder took place outside a diner which is a high traffic area, while the other two took place in secluded place. The latest victim is an African-American and this shows a change in MO. JJ examines the scene and finds a message written on the dumpster: “LOOK UP TO THE SKY”. She also finds a wine bottle at the scene.
She calls Morgan and asks him if there is any message written in the store. Morgan pulls down the shutter and finds the same message. Morgan looks worried after reading the message. Morgan arrives at the precinct and tells the team that the whole thing is about Carl Buford. He says that Buford used to tell him to look up to the sky. Alongside, we see that the unsub is beating up his next victim.
Morgan tells the team that Carl Buford was a respected man in the neighborhood who taught at the community center. He used to tap into the vulnerabilities of adolescent guys and guided them on the right path. He says that after his father died, Buford locked on to Morgan and gained his trust. He also taught him to play football. He then took him to a cabin by the lakeside, gave him wine and molested him. He says that when he wanted him to stop, Buford would ask him to man up and look up to the sky. Buford was arrested for homicide but they couldn’t prove the molestation charges. Hotch tells Garcia to check the list of guys who played football at the community center 20-30 years ago. Next, they profile the victim.
They tell the PD that the unsub sees his victims as child molesters. He is a black male and was probably abused when he was a child. They also say that he suffers with BPD and this was triggered with some recent traumatic event. The unsub is talking at that moment on the phone telling the other person to let him meet his child. He looks enraged and throws away the phone and also destroys everything around him. Garcia tells the team that the renamed Damien Walters Community Center is thriving under the new Director Miss Walters who is Damien Walters’s mother. The bad news is that when Buford ran the center there was only paper work and she couldn’t find anything.
JJ and Reid go to the community center and the Director leads them to their files. Morgan tells them that he knows a guy named James Barfield who was also molested by Buford. Morgan and Alex go to meet James. James refuses to give them any names. JJ and Reid don’t find much from the files. Morgan tells Hotch that he wants to go meet Buford and Hotch decides to go with him. Elsewhere, there is another murder.
Morgan meets his mentor/tormentor Carl Buford who has now converted to Islam and his new name is Mohammed Alam. Morgan tells him that he wants a list of all the guys that he took to the cabin. Morgan promises that he wouldn’t charge him for molestation, but he threatens him by telling him that if he doesn’t give him the names, he would tell his “brothers” in prison about what he did and he would face a difficult time in prison. Buford writes down the names of those he remembers. It is a long list. Garcia works on the list and pulls out the name, Keron Bendor. He fits the profile. He also has priors in domestic violence, meth possession and aggravated assault. The team goes to the address. They arrest Keron.
Morgan talks to Keron and convinces him to talk to him. Keron tells Morgan that he recognizes the names on the list but he also says that there were older ones. He says that a guy named Rodney Harris was Buford’s favorite and Rodney got the worst of it. Morgan tells this to his team. Rodney was one of the biggest drug dealers six years ago. Garcia tells the team that Crowley was Tyler’s (Rodney’s son) swimming coach. Rodney’s wife, Sheila, had pulled Tyler out of the classes because she said that Crowley molested Tyler. Garcia tells them that Rodney’s cell shows that he is currently at his ex-wife’s place.
Next, Rodney arrives at the building and draws his gun at his ex’s new guy. He then aims it at her. The team arrives and Morgan enters the house. He tells Rodney that he knows what happened and convinces him to put his gun down. Rodney is arrested. Next, Stan makes a statement to the press about Carl Buford. Morgan arrives and tells them that people who are abused do not necessarily become criminals. He says that he knows that because he too was abused by Buford.
The inmates in the prison watch the news and they realize that Carl Buford is Mohammed’s real name. Buford tells them that he doesn’t know what this is all about. Later, when Buford is alone in the kitchen, a few men surround him and they pull down the shutter. On their flight back, Morgan receives a call from the prison. Carl Buford is dead. The episode ends.