Will Graham's deadly encounter with Garret Jacob Hobbs is still affecting him. Jack Crawford wakes Will up from a bad daydream at the site of Hobb's cabin in Minnesota. The cabin is rustic and littered with animal parts in various states of decay. Upstairs, the loft is splattered with deer antlers, almost from the floor to the ceiling. Jack informs Will about tips that Hobbs spent lots of time at the cabin with his daughter. Could she be an accomplice? Will doesn't buy the theory, as Abigail is still in a coma from stab wounds her father inflicted. Nevertheless, Jack insists, pondering whether Abigail was the bait Hobbs used to reel his victims in.
Will is greeted with a standing ovation when he returns to his teaching post in Quantico. His class commends his takedown of Hobbs, but Will finds the celebration inappropriate. Alana Bloom approaches Will after class, urging him to attend a few psych evaluations. Garret Hobbs was the first person Will ever shot at. When Crawford arrives, he tells Jack that he knows an experience like his can be traumatizing; he agrees with Alana that Jack needs therapy. He arranges for Jack to see Dr. Lecter, since he was there with Will when the shooting happened. He'd understand.
At his first evaluation with Hannibal, Lecter tells Will he'll declare him totally functional and approve his immediate return to the field. With formalities aside, the two are able to engage in very candid conversation. They seem to share some common guilt in orphaning Abigail Hobbs. They realize they saved her life, but are also burdened by the sense of obligation to look after her now. Will informs Hannibal about Jack's theory of Abigail's involvement in the murders. Lecter finds the notion vulgar, but entirely possible.
A new set of gruesome murders thrusts Will back into active duty. In a local forest, nine people are buried alive in shallow graves and kept in a catatonic state as a means of assisting in the growth of mushrooms. The fungi cover each victim's entire body. This killer is sadistically intricate. A tabloid blogger named Freddie Lounds shows up at the scene of the crime. She's been surreptitiously snapping photos of Crawford and Graham's crime scenes and posting them on tattlecrime.com. Under the guise of a local mother just looking after the emotional well being of her traumatized child, Freddie coaxes a low-level detective into giving her classified information about the investigation. She comes to realize Will's involvement in the case. Meanwhile, as Will attempts to enter the mind of this murderer, one of the buried bodies grabs his arm. They're still hanging on to life.
Will realizes he still hasn't conquered his trauma stemming from the Hobbs case. He voluntarily undergoes another evaluation with Hannibal. Will says he hallucinated and saw Hobbs as one of the victims in the shallow graves. Hannibal chalks the incident up to simple stress and presses on about the case itself. Will says the "farmer" of these victims kept them alive by feeding them intravenous fluids; he's using them as fertilizer to grow fungi. Hannibal wonders if this murderer is obsessed with a fungi's ability to connect in ways the human mind can't. Maybe that's what the killer's looking for, someone to understand him. Outside the office door, Freddie Lounds has been recording the conversation. When she comes in for her "appointment," Hannibal discovers her true identity and has her delete the recordings.
Hannibal invites Jack Crawford over for a gourmet dinner and a discussion about Will's mental state. But Hannibal can't resist the chance to delve into Jack Crawford's own psyche. Lecter wants to know why Jack is so delicate with Will. Is it because Jack doesn't trust him, or is it because he doesn't want to lose him? Jack tells Lecter he's already had his psych evaluation. Back at the FBI autopsy room, Will is informed that all the victims in the forest died of kidney failure. When one of the specialists mentions the use of sugar water in each victim's catheter, Will realizes they were all diabetic. In order to place them in comas, the murderer must have changed their medication; this means he had access to their pills.
Crawford discovers that 10 diabetic customers of a chain pharmacy in one Baltimore county have all gone missing in the past few weeks, the last two from the same location. Only one pharmacist in the area works at multiple stores, and he's currently on the clock. Jack, Will and a SWAT team move in. The pharmacist is gone. When Will searches his car in the parking lot, he finds a body covered in dirt in the trunk. She's still breathing. When investigators search the pharmacist's browser history at his workstation, they realize he's been reading Freddie Lounds' tabloid blog. She's recently posted an article with details on Will Graham's unstable mind. In his office, Hannibal is reading the same article.
Police storm Freddie's motel room and cuff her. Freddie's article allowed the murderer to narrowly escape their hands. Jack threatens to charge Freddie with obstruction of justice. When she agrees to stop writing about Will, Jack lets her go. Elsewhere, at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Alana Bloom wakes up a sleeping Will as she reads a book to the comatose Abigail Hobbs. Alana asks Will about Freddie's article. He doesn't want to talk about it. Alana tells Will he should view his connection to Abigail as a success. He saved her life.
Later on, when Freddie leaves her motel room, the local detective she misled stops her. He's been suspended and is furious with her deception. She tries to placate him by offering him new work in private security. But before she can finish her offer, the pharmacist suspect, whose name is Eldon, comes out of nowhere and shoots the detective in the head. Freddie is splattered with blood, and obviously shaken. Eldon, showing no signs of emotion, let's Freddie know he read her article.
Jack finds Freddie in an ambulance at the scene of the crime. She's a wreck but is coherent enough to tell Jack that Eldon the pharmacist is now looking for Will Graham; he thinks only Will can understand him. Jack asks Freddie what she divulged to Eldon. She says she told Eldon everything, including the location of Abigail Hobbs. Jack realizes time is now against him.
At Johns Hopkins Hospital, Eldon has disguised himself as a nurse and is headed for Abigail's room just as Will arrives. Jack calls Will to tell him of Eldon's sick plan; Will draws his pistol and sprints towards Abigail's room. She is gone. The nurses on the floor tell Will she was taken for tests; they are not sure who took her. Will realizes Eldon has her. Will catches Eldon just as he's wheeling Abigail out of the building. Without hesitation, Will fires one shot into Eldon's shoulder, debilitating him while keeping him alive. Eldon implores Will to understand his plans. But Will tells him he doesn't understand - and he never will.
Back in Hannibal's office, Will is continuing to rehab his own psyche. Hannibal asks if he saw Hobbs when he shot Eldon. When Will says it wasn't Hobbs he saw, Dr. Lecter knows Hobb's ghost is not what's haunting Will. He surmises what's truly haunting Will is the rush that comes from killing a man so morally bankrupt that it actually feels good. Will resists the notion, but eventually admits he liked killing Hobbs. Hannibal says killing must feel good to God as well. He does it often enough. Hannibal says it makes one feel powerful.