The Poet's Fire - Recap

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A man dressed as Poe stands on the street and recites Poe's "The Raven." A man walks down the street and ignores the street performer, going to a nearby stand for some food. Meanwhile, the performer takes out a can of gasoline from his bag, douses the man, and sets him afire.

Claire dreams of Carroll in her son's bed, attacking her. She wakes up and checks with the guard, who informs her that Ryan left an hour ago.

At the Federal Detention Center, Ryan returns to the office and Debra tells him that they have identified six sets of fingerprints at Emma's house. She wonders what the connection is and Ryan admits that when he saw Carroll in a class, he was a great teacher.


Carroll is lecturing to his class as Ryan watches. The teacher talks about moral codes and tells each student to make their own unique so that it will blend into their writing.

The Present

Debra gets a call that Jordy is awake and goes with Ryan to see the killer. Jordy refuses to tell them where Joey is, figuring that he won't survive in prison since he's a correctional officer. Ryan tells Jordy that he talked to Carroll and confirmed that he's unhappy that Jordy failed. Jordy figures that Ryan is trying to play him and sings to himself until Ryan slaps him.

They're interrupted when they receive word about the man being burned to death by the Poe performer. Ryan recognizes the victim as Stan Fellows, a book critic that he interviewed. Fellows wrote a hostile review of Carroll's novels. They've checked the confetti the killer threw out and confirmed that it has Poe's poetry written on it.

At the country house, Jacob and Paul watch the news about the killings and Jacob points out that Emma is upset that Paul has been hostile toward her. They then return to the TV and say that Rick carried things out perfectly.


Jacob, Paul, Rick, Jordy, and Emma talk about different ways to kill and what unique method each of them should choose.

The Present

Paul warns Jacob that Emma wears a lot of faces and he doesn't see the Emma that his friend sees. Emma overhears them talking, comes in, and asks Paul for an explanation, but he says to forget it.

Mike checks CCTV footage and spots Rick putting on the Poe mask. They go to his home address but no one answers the door. A squad bursts in and makes sure that the place is clear. Debra takes the team in and a woman with a knife leaps out of the closet. They restrain her and she explains that she's Maggie Kester, Rick's husband, and she lives there.

Back at the FBI office, Ryan and Debra talk to Maggie, who tells them that she and Rick are separated as of six months ago. He called the previous night but didn't leave a message. Maggie says that she hid from them because she didn't know who they were and Rick has been harassing her. They've confirmed that her story checks out but Ryan asks her about a police report she filled out a couple of years ago in the emergency room. Maggie explains that Rick stabbed her when she asked for a divorce. She refused to testify because Rick said he was sorry. However, after he lost his job, Rick hung out with new friends and started saying crazy things about death.

Debra assures Maggie that they'll protect her until they find Rick. Outside, Ryan asks Debra if she believes Maggie, and Debra figures that she's a woman that wants the kind of man that she imagines in her head. Ryan wants to go find Rick and offers to talk to Carroll again, and Debra insists on going with him.

At the country home, Jacob is outside playing with Joey when Paul approaches Emma and apologizes. He suggests that they pretend they like each other and Emma agrees... and then cuts him with a knife. She tells Paul not to turn Jacob against her and walks off.

Debra goes in alone to see Carroll and asks about his hand. She then congratulates him on his work, and he thanks her for bringing him his book. Debra wonders why he had his cult torch his critics, pointing out that it seems petty


Rick meets with Carroll in prison and explains that he prefers fire. Carroll encourages him and Rick says that he wants to target the people that criticized Carroll's book.

The Present

Carroll says that he's not above revenge and that every good story needs a universal theme like revenge. He tells Debra that he only holds three people accountable for his professional downfall, and calls out to Ryan. Carroll wonders who Ryan holds accountable for his downfall and addresses the camera, saying that it must take a toll on Ryan given his heart condition. In the monitor room, Ryan walks away while Carroll smiles at Debra.

Debra finds Ryan going through the books in his office. He explains that besides himself and Fellows, the other man responsible for Carroll's downfall is the dean who denied him tenure after the book failed. The man is Phillip Barnes, a Dean of Literature.

At Winslow University, Barnes enters his office and finds Rick waiting for him. Rick asks why he denied Carroll tenure and Barnes orders him out. When he tries to shove Rick out, Rick stabs him and keeps stabbing him. Rick finally admits that he's never killed anyone with a knife before and watches as Barnes dies.

Later, the FBI is called in when Barnes' corpse is found. Debra tells Ryan that he couldn't have stopped it, but Ryan says that he could have and that Carroll is baiting him.


Ryan approaches Carroll after class and asks to pick the teacher's brain about the murders. Carroll is glad to help. However, he says that he's late for an appointment and tells Ryan to call his office.

The Present

At the country house, Jacob takes photos of Emma and Joey together. As Paul binds his wound, Joey asks Emma if he can call his mother now and she refuses.


Emma tells Jacob and Paul that they'll have to pretend to be gay so that Sarah will warm up to them. She says that Carroll thinks it's a good idea and tells them to try and kiss. When they hesitate, she asks what she should tell Carroll and Jacob says to do it. Paul hesitantly joins in and they kiss, and then break apart and laugh.

The Present

Paul grabs the phone and walks outside past the others. He gets in the car as Jacob tries to stop him, warning him that his face is all over the news. Paul tells him that he's a liar and drives away.

At the FBI control center, Ryan takes a drink of vodka hidden in his water bottle. Mike notices and comes over to talk about it, but Ryan points out Rick's credit card records.

Claire is watching a newscast about Fellows' death when Ryan calls. He tells her that they have a suspect and asks her to confirm that the toys that Rick bought are Joey's favorite toys. Ryan assures her that they're taking care of Joey, but Claire insists that she wants her son home as soon as possible. Ryan then goes to see Maggie and asks why Rick would have purchased toys. She says that it's Rick's credit card and she doesn't know.

Before Ryan can pursue the matter, Ryan calls on Maggie's cell phone. They put it on speaker phone and Maggie asks what he's done. She admits that she's with the FBI now and asks where he is, but Rick asks for Ryan. He says that it was all for Rick and hangs up. Mike tries to trace the call without success, and Debra tells Troy to take Maggie home and stay with her. When Ryan offers to go, Debra calls him on his drinking and tells him to go back to their motel and get some rest. She figures that he's overidentifying with the victims but warns him that he's unraveling. Ryan reluctantly grabs his coat, but Mike realizes that Ryan is going to pursue the case. The ex-agent figures that Rick knows where Joey is, and Mike offers to drive him.

Jacob tucks Joey in and goes to talk to Emma. He figures his friend needed to blow off steam and assures Emma that he won't go into town. Emma is waiting for Rick to call before she sends the prepared email and walks off, angry.

Paul goes to a grocery store and eyes a woman. She notices and walks off, and Paul approaches a clerk, Megan. He asks if they carry wine and jokes with her about the beer. Megan is clearly flattered and Paul asks what time she gets off.

Troy goes into Maggie's house first and makes sure that it's clear. He tells her to do what she normally does while he settles in. Mike calls and tells Troy that he's outside with Ryan, and claims that Debra knows that they're there. Troy doesn't believe that Rick will come back but Mike figures that he'll continue escalating his crime. As they wait, Mike tries to make small talk and asks if Ryan has ever gone back home to Albany. Ryan finally gets tired of it and gets out to walk the perimeter.


Ryan visits Carroll at home while Claire is out with Joey. They go over the photos of the victims and Ryan points out that the killer appears to be very romantic and fixated on Poe. Carroll gives Ryan a copy of his book and tells him to keep it, and then offers him a drink.

The Present

Paul and Megan park on a country road, kiss, and then drink more beer. She insists that they're not having sex and Paul agrees, but then he starts to choke her. When Megan tries to back away, Paul insists that he wasn't choking her but she says that she has to get home. As she goes back to her SUV, Paul slams her head into the side of the car until she passes out.

Debra goes to see Jordy and sends the orderly out. She then tells the killer that she talked to Carroll and he wants to see Jordy. Jordy says that he wants to see his mentor but Debra refuses unless Jordy talks to her.

Troy checks on Maggie, who asks if he's married. He says that he was divorced and that she wasn't the problem. Something bangs on the back door and Troy draws his gun and goes to investigate. When he opens the door, Troy doesn't see anything. As he comes back inside, Mike calls and Troy tells him that there's someone in the backyard. Mike gets out and goes to check.

Debra assures Jordy that she's telling the truth and he finally tells her that he doesn't know where they have Joey. He says that Emma, Paul, and Jacob have Joey, and that Maggie planned where they would hide Joey.

Mike finds Ryan just as Debra calls to tell them that Maggie is a cult member.

Maggie's cell phone rings and Troy reads it to her. As he says "Now," Maggie stabs him in the neck and he collapses. She then grabs her purse and runs out to where Rick is waiting in the backyard.


Rick and Maggie are at Emma's house. He stabs his wife and she complains that he went too deep. The others tell Rick that he sucks at Truth or Dare, and Emma says that they need to get Maggie to a hospital.

The Present

Ryan and Mike burst into the house and Mike puts pressure on Troy's throat while Ryan runs out. He sees Maggie running and tells her to stop. She begs Ryan to help her, but he doesn't fall for it. When Rick tries to sneak up on Ryan, the ex-agent spins and shoots him. Rick keeps going and the two men struggle, and Ryan shoots him in the chest. By the time he turns, Maggie has escaped. Ryan goes back to the house and Mike confirms that Troy is dead.

The next morning, Jacob and Emma hear a woman crying. They go to the kitchen and discover that Paul has gagged and tied up Megan. He says that she's a friend and she'll be staying with them for a while. When Emma says that Paul has lost his mind, Paul says that he's done listening to her. Jacob tells her to check on Joey and then asks what Paul is doing. Paul says that he's done being the third wheel, and asks Jacob if Emma knows what a liar he is. Jacob reminds him that they promised not to tell anyone their secret, particularly Emma.


After sharing a bottle of wine with Sarah, Paul and Jacob go back to their apartment. They joke back and forth and then finally have sex.

The Present

Jacob offers to help Paul take Megan to the basement and he reluctantly agrees.

Debra arrives at Maggie's house and admits to Ryan that she's furious that Maggie managed to fool her.


Carroll autographs his book for Ryan and admits that it hasn't been selling while. Ryan thanks him for his help and admits that sometimes he forgets to take a break. Carroll sympathizes, saying that it must get lonely, but figures that the payoff is worth it. He compliments Ryan on his talent, saying that it's remarkable, and offers him one more drink.

The Present

Ryan tells Debra that Carroll fooled him and that he has a power.

In his room, Jordy screams to Carroll that he's sorry. He then chews off his bandages and swallows them, choking himself to death.

Ryan gets a message from Claire. When he arrives, she explains that she got an email with a video attachment of Jacob and Emma showing Joey how to kill a mouse and insisting that they're just getting started. As Claire runs out of the room, on the video Emma has Joey wave to the camera and say, "Hi, Ryan."