San Francisco, 1982
Young Harry returns home and his father Colm asks if he's seen the ring with the blue gem that his wife gave him. Harry says that he hasn't and gives Colm a letter he got from the cruise ship line. Colm turns away and reads it, and tells Harry that they'll be spending the next three months together cruising the Caribbean. As they celebrate, Colm clutches at his chest and collapses.
Chicago, Present Day
After a round of sex, Harry dozes off in bed with his current girlfriend, Tara Wright. She slips downstairs and steals Bob's skull. As she tries to leave, the door flares with magical energy. She takes out a scroll and reads a spell, canceling the spell and unlocking the door. She puts the scroll on the doorknob and leaves. Harry hears the bell as she goes out and discovers that Tara has handcuffed him to the bedframe. He frees himself with a spell and goes downstairs to find Tara... and discovers Bob's spell is missing. When Harry reaches for the door, the scroll spell goes off, stunning him.
Harry wakes up the next morning when the phone rings. He discovers the scroll and, frustrated, shorts out the phone. At the station, Murphy hangs up and takes some pills. Her partner Sid asks if she's okay, and then tells her about a closed case that was written off as a heart attack by the former ME. He figures that it's a second look and tells Murphy that the victim was Justin Morningway, Dresden's uncle. Someone made an anonymous call suggesting that Justin's nephew Dresden was involved. Sid figures that the caller might be onto something.
Morningway Estate, Chicago, 1982
Justin takes Harry in and assures him that he can stay there as long as he wants. The boy notices a skull on the table and Justin explains that it's his new teacher, Hrothbert of Bainbridge. Bob appears and Justin explains that Bob was a sorcerer, damned for eternity inside his own skull.
Morningway Estate, Present Day
Tara arrives and calls to Justin. He steps out and she gives him the skull. When she demands her money, Justin starts to pay her but she notes that she left a pair of handcuffs behind. He points out that his instructions to her were clear: leave nothing. Justin blows a handful of dust into her face and she combusts into ash in a matter of seconds.
At the lab, Harry casts a tracking spell on Tara using the handcuffs. However, it blows up and Harry realizes that Tara is dead. Murphy knocks at the door and says that she has a few questions. He invites her in and she immediately asks what happened to Justin. Harry says that he had a heart attack and Murphy explains that they got an anonymous tip and the coroner did an autopsy. She points out that he was hiking in Peru at the time, but plans to take a second look because Justin's heart was damaged. Murphy figures that the coroner might not have known what to look for, and that she knows more about Harry now. He insists that there's nothing to see and Murphy shows him a photo of a young Harry and his father. She tells him that it was in Justin's hands and asks about his father's death of a heart attack. Harry takes offense but Murphy says that something doesn't look right and wonders why he hasn't sold Justin's house. Harry says that it's safer and tells her to get out. Once she gets to her car, Murphy calls Sid and tells him to file the paperwork to exhume the body.
At the Morningway Estate, Justin summons Bob from his skull. The spirit is surprised to see Justin alive, and Justin explains that he's a failsafe copy. He wants Bob to help him strike back, but Justin offers him the chance for an existence away from Harry. Bob notes that only Justin has the power to bring him back, but the doppelganger insists he can do it. He needs Bob alive and well so he can cast the spell to bring Justin back, and tells him that the secret is lost love. Bob mutters the name "Winifred," but the doppelganger says he can use Bob's love for life and bring him back, if he'll bring Justin back.
Morgan visits Harry and complains that he let someone steal the skull. Harry needs a way to find it and Morgan admits that something is shielding the scroll. The Warden figures that someone is putting Murphy on Harry's trail to keep him occupied. Harry wonders what Morgan is doing and the Warden gives him a small crystal skull. He explains that if Bob's skull is unshielded, it will glow and show Harry the way. When Harry examines it, Morgan slips away.
Morningway Estates, 1982
Bob teaches Harry the defense against dark magic and points out an error in his equation. Harry solves it but wonders why he has to learn it. The boy wonders if Justin uses black magic and Bob insists that it wouldn't be tolerated. The spirit explains that Justin spends time with the High Council and that it's possible that Harry could join it based on his bloodline through his mother's side of the family. Bob admits that he knew her enough to know that she was a force to be reckoned with. When Harry asks who killed her, Bob admits that no one knows but assures the boy that his bloodline is important.
At the morgue, Butters opens Justin's coffin as Murphy looks on. Harry storms in and Murphy insists that he's doing her job. He begs her to let his family beg in peace but she says that if it's a homicide, they need to know.
At the estate, Bob reaches into the cage containing his skull. The doppelganger asks if he's decided and says that if Bob brings Justin back, they can both go on with their lives. It admits that it will take Justin's place in the coffin. Bob insists that he won't kill Harry but the doppelganger says that they'll need a power source. The spirit asks who is digging up Justin's corpse and the doppelganger says that it's already been done. It takes out the arrow that killed Winifred, admitting that it wasn't an early acquisition. The doppelganger then throws it at Bob and the spirit explodes in a burst of energy.
Murphy takes Harry to an interrogation room and explains that the autopsy shows that some circular metal object compressed the arteries into Justin's heart. She points out that Harry became rich when Justin died, and then tosses him a bottle of pills. Murphy tells him that they don't stop the nightmares that she had since the previous case they worked together. Harry tells her that she had a close call and promises that she'll get better over time. He asks her for any information she finds on Justin's death and Murphy just shows him out without a word. Sid comes in and Murphy tells him to dust the bottle for Harry's fingerprints.
Back at his apartment, Harry tries to work out what to do next. He remembers discussing Justin's grimoire with Bob and how he burned it, and how the spirit lost his heart to Winifred and destroyed himself and her trying to burn her back.
At the estate, the Justin doppelganger takes the skull out and throws it to Bob, who is able to catch it. It then tells Bob to keep the bargain, and the spirit activates it.
At the apartment, the crystal activates and Harry touches it. He gets flashes of the Morningway estate and wonders what Bob is doing there.
At the station, Murphy is looking at the photo of Harry and his father. Sid comes in and tells her that they pulled a fingerprint off of Justin's cufflink and it matches Harry's thumbprint.
That night, Harry sneaks into the estate and remembers what happened five years ago.
Five Years Ago
Harry comes to see Justin after returning from South America. He wonders why he has to meet the High council and Justin assures him that it's just a formality. Justin goes to check on something and Harry stops in the study where he studied as a child. He sees the photo of himself and his father and then notices a case holding some items. As he goes over to look at it, Justin comes in and asks Harry to help him with his cufflink. As Justin gives Harry advice on how to deal with the Council, Harry notices that Justin is wearing the ring his mother gave to Colm, the ring that turned up missing. He thanks Justin for taking him in after his father died, and Justin assures him that they'll do great things together. Harry takes Justin's hand in a gesture of thanks, and secretly slips the ring off his hand.
Once Justin leaves to get ready, Harry goes to the case. Bob appears and tells him to leave it be, warning him not to do it. Harry ignores him and finds a voodoo doll in the bottom of the case. He realizes that Justin used dark magic to kill Colm. Justin comes in behind him and says that he killed Colm to save him Harry from obscurity. Harry remembers how his father told him that some people would want to use his power, and grabs Justin. Justin insists that he's a strong soul and carries the Morningway bloodline, while Colm anchored Harry's soul to the mortal realm. He asks Harry to come to the meeting so he can understand his plans, and Harry wonders who he plans to kill on the Council. Justin insists that he's clearing the way for new ideas and that whatever he's done, he's done for love.
Justin uses magic to slam a table into Harry, knocking him down. He tells Harry that he has no idea what is going on, and it's time to ring him into the picture so he can understand. Harry takes out the doll that he pocketed and uses it to cast a black magic spell on Justin. Justin collapse, clutching at his chest, and Harry pushes the ring to its chest. Bob warns him against using black magic, but Harry ignores the spirit and asks if Justin killed his mother. Justin says that his sister, Harry's mother, was filled with dangerous ideas. However, he insists that he didn't kill his sister. Bob notices Justin casting a spell to throw a wooden spar at Harry and warns him, and Harry ducks aside. Harry finishes the spell and Justin collapses, dead. Bob warns him that the Council will hunt him down for using black magic to take a life.
Bob steps out of the shadows and advances on Harry. He grabs him, says it will hurt, and apologizes... and then puts him to sleep with a spell.
Later, Bob and the Justin doppelganger take a bound and gagged Harry to the morgue. The doppelganger explains that he needs Bob's talent for raising the dead and Harry's power to bring back the real Justin. Bob tells Harry that it's been hell and it's time to leave. He then takes Harry's hockey stick and uses it to transfer Harry's life force into Justin's corpse. Bob helps Justin out of the coffin and the doppelganger admits that draining Harry's energies was the only way to bring his creator back. Justin thanks Bob for bringing him back, and admits that Harry's death will be a burden on him but one he'll have to live with.
The doppelganger gets into the coffin while Justin tells the dying Harry that he's a disgrace to his bloodline. He accuses Harry's mother of marrying beneath her and Colm for failing to see the big picture. Justin regrets that he didn't kill Colm sooner and apologizes for failing Harry. As Justin says that he plans to make a new world and wishes that Harry was there to see it, Bob steps forward and casts a spell using the hockey stick. He targets Justin, who screams in pain, and Harry falls to the ground. He frees himself and tells Bob to let go, but Bob maintains the spell until Justin disappears.
Harry runs to his friend, who explains that he had to come that far so that he could bring Justin back to finish him for good. His mortal form dies in Harry's arms... and Bob the spirit reappears. He admits that he knew he would come back because his spirit is still ensnared, and Harry admits that he can live with that.
The next morning, Murphy comes to see Harry at his apartment. She tells him that Justin's corpse no longer shows signs of a crushed heart. Murphy asks him what he did and Harry apologizes for dragging her into a dangerous world. He invites her in and says that they both help people, and that he needs to keep doing that with her. Murphy accuses him of killing Justin with black magic and Harry admits that he did. He tells her that something happened to her and he saved her, but Murphy realizes to accept that because the world she lives in is scary enough. Harry explains that Justin murdered Colm and begs her to help him in his world as long as he can so that he can make a difference. Murphy reluctantly agrees and gives him an envelope before walking out. Harry opens it and discovers that it's the photo of himself and his father.