The episode begins in the flashback, where Wescott arrives to get his men and Private Hall tells him that his wife is pregnant and he is going to become a daddy. This was before the ambush. At night, during the ambush, Joe watched helplessly as Hall was being dragged away by the enemy. Cut to the present, Gibbs arrives to meet Joe. His brother and father are with him as well. Gibbs tells them that Joe was right about Kersey. He has now gone off grid. NCIS needs his help to find Kersey. Joe remembers the night at the convenient store and Kersey did not look like he was there to buy something.
Gibbs points out that the after action report says that Torres and Joe were inside the enemy HQ after the ambush. But Joe says that he doesn’t remember much about that. He said he put that in it as Torres told him that is what happened. He remembers that Kersey wanted to capture the PFC hall. He also remembers a guy named McCartney being there. His real name is Paul Patterson. But he doesn’t know what Paul was doing. Gibbs wants to talk to Paul and wants Joe to go along with him. George has to get back to work and Evan, his brother agrees to stay back with Joe. At NCIS, Tony and Ziva tell Gibbs that Kersey studied grew up in LA and studied philosophy but then he went to India to study further and got hooked up with terrorists. He has a girlfriend, Brooke Fenten who he has registered as an emergency contact. McGee tells the team that Abby has found that Kersey has two IEDs.
Joe and Gibbs go to meet Paul and he is not happy to see Joe. He tells him that he needed him before, not now. Flashback to the ambush, where Joe remembers Paul went after Hall to get him from Kersey. He also remembers the HQ. Joe starts running but Gibbs tackles him. In the lab, Abby has recreated the ambush using virtual reality. She hands a gun to Joe so that this would help him remember better. At the same time, she is also running the blueprint scrap they found at Kersey’s house and is running it through the database. The computer starts and Joe is inside the HQ and he tells Abby the details of things that he saw inside the room. He saw lot of documents and maps on the wall and that is when he saw IJIL. He also sees Kersey’s picture on the wall and that is it.
The ambush has begun and the shooting is too overwhelming for Joe. He takes off his helmet. Tony is talking to Brooke and she is surprised that he is not on chat. She tells Tony that Kersey came over to her place to say a good bye as he is going on a business trip and that he might even go to India. And he was going out this noon. Tony tells her that he needs her laptop to check their chat. She tells Tony Kersey’s uncle’s name through which they could trace the blue sedan; Daniel Kersey. Later, they find nothing on Kersey. Ziva tells Gibbs that Kersey did not fly anywhere like he told his girlfriend. Gibbs visits Duckie for a profile. He lost his parents and kept changing his foster care. He wanted a permanent family and he felt that the terrorist group gave him that feeling. Gibbs tells Duckie that he might have pushed Joe a little too hard by letting him relive the ambush once again.
Joe and Evan are in a bar and Gibbs arrives. Joe tells him that he is not his father to check on him. Evan tells him that he understands what Joe is going through as he too got back from Iraq. They end up in a fight. Joe tells him it is different because Evan came back and he is OK. At NCIS, McGee is going through the chats and he finds a picture of Brooke and Kersey leaning on his car and they have his license plate. Gibbs talks to Joe’s therapist and Dr. Dan tells him that Joe needs to find a purpose and rebuild trust. Gibbs goes to Joe’s place and finds that he is leaving town. Gibbs tells him that he can stay with him. Evan apologizes to Gibbs for letting Joe drink. Gibbs tells Evan that he should try to love his “new” brother. Gibbs takes Joe to the store where he saw Kersey. He remembers that Kersey was shifty.
A blue haired girl walks in and Torres is urging him to leave. He then remembers that Kersey handed over a note to that girl. Tony manages to get a sketch of the blue haired girl. McGee tells Gibbs that Kersey’s car has gotten spotted with a guy inside it. They reach the car and find someone inside; but it is not Kersey. The guy looks terrified. He tells them that Kersey gave him $200 to take the car and keep driving. At NCIS, Gibbs feels that Kersey is not on the run. He is underground. The car stunt was a distraction. Since the store manager has told them that the blue haired girl is a regular, Gibbs send Tony and Ziva to stake it out. During the stakeout, Tony tries to get information from Ziva about her opera date. She tells him there is no guy. It is her dead sister’s birthday and she always wanted to be on stage.
Ziva goes to the opera every year to honor her sister. And this year the tickets are sold out and so she is upset. They then spot the blue haired girl. They ask her about Kersey. She tells them that she was supposed to meet him at the coffee shop today and that he would give her a box to drop off at the Union station. The blue haired girl is at the coffee shop and Kersey arrives and hands her the box. Just then the NCIS team places him under arrest. The box had a bomb in it. Gibbs wants to know where is the other bomb as he knows there are two. Kersey is in interrogation. Tony and Joe are watching from the observation. Gibbs tries to appeal to his orphan side and shows him photos of the people he killed, including Hall and how their families are now orphaned. Kersey refuses to look at the pictures.
Kersey says his Arabic name and spits on Hall’s picture. Joe loses it and barges inside and grabs him. He then remembers inside the HQ where he saw Brooke’s picture on the wall along with her driver’s license. He declares that Brooke is a part of it. McGee tells the team that Brooke’s laptop schedule shows that she has a catering event but there is no address listed. Abby arrives announcing that she found a match to the blueprint; it is the Senators’ house and he is hosting a Thanksgiving party for the senate committee and it is all over the news. At the house, they find the bomb in the kitchen. But there is no sign of Brooke. McGee finds the chefs’ uniform that she was wearing in her closet. Gibbs knows that she always had an escape plan.
Just then they spot a woman with a high pony tail in a cop’s uniform trying to get inside the car and escape. They surround her. Next, Paul, Joe and Gibbs are having a talk and Joe learns that he did not run away. In fact he was the one who started firing at Kersey and drove him away and got back Hall to the unit. Joe remembers the ambush again and that was what happened. He is relieved that he did not run away. Gibbs asks him to forgive himself. At the office, they are ready to leave for Gibbs’ for Thanksgiving and Tony tells Ziva that he has told Gibbs that she is going to be late. They have fitted surround sound in the office. They play the opera and leave Ziva alone with her sister’s memories. The episode ends.