Rachel Conroy is missing, having disappeared without a trace during Thaw Fest. Dead flowers have been left on the steps of her home. In the past, the Magic Man always sent flowers to the victim's family. The investigation will press on without help from the state police, as Dan Farmer has been called back to St. Paul. Though still hospitalized with mental issues, Griffin Conroy points Tommy in the direction of Merritt Grieves.
Grieves claims to be a collector of information regarding the Magic Man. By snatching victims in a crowd, the Magic Man is performing a basic trick known as the sleight of hand. Grieves wants the police to look at the case with fresh eyes. They need to go back to the beginning.
The widows at Dot Meadows' place inform Henley that the man she impulsively slept with after her car accident is the recently-paroled Greggy Stiviletto. Henley pays a visit to Casa de Stiviletto to retrieve her stolen hammer. But Greggy is only interested in eating waffles and sleeping with Henley again. So, they do both. While basking in the afterglow, Greggy gives Henley a gift. It's just what every girl wants: an evil-headed hammer.
Peggy Haplin visits Griffin to ask him to come back from whatever dark place he has gone. She wonders why all this is happening, as they supposedly took care of things long ago. Later, Peggy is visited by Henley, who presents the hammer to the first lady of Haplin. Henley wants $250,000 or she'll turn it over to the police.
Carl Bravin's truck is found abandoned in the woods. While visiting the Bravin house, Hobbs notices shovels in the back of Tommy's truck. There's fresh dirt on them. Tommy explains that he was helping Big Dave plant spruce saplings. Hobbs knows Tommy was lying when he later asks a clueless Dave about the saplings.
Before Tommy can move deep into the Bravin house, Hobbs tells him there's been an incident at The Bready. What they never realize is that below them, in the basement, sits a disoriented Carl Bravin, bound in a chair. His captor: Handsome Dan Farmer. When Georgia returns home, Farmer is pleased as Carl remains quiet. He says, "There's no need to drag that pretty little daughter of yours into this mess. Not again."
Tommy and Hobbes rush into The Bready where a woman's severed hand has been found atop a loaf of bread on a conveyor belt. The rings on a finger belong to Rachel Conroy, but that's not her hand. Fingerprints reveal that it belongs to Lauryn Ward, the Magic Man's first victim. A doctor confirms that Lauryn was alive when the hand was severed about 48 hours ago. That means there's a chance the other victims are alive, too.
The central principle of sleight of hand is the switch. The Magic Man has exchanged one object for another. It's no coincidence the hand was found at Rachel's workplace. Tommy takes Grieves to a greenhouse dubbed "the pit." It's a popular drinking spot with kids. It's also the place where Lauryn Ward was kidnapped. Root Beer is also there. He's supposed to be at Tommy's place, but was told he was needed at the pit. Tommy realizes that no one is watching Georgia and Emma. He calls to tell Georgia to get out of the house. Now!
After his dad bailed him out of jail, Andrew Haplin couldn't wait to see Georgia. Their reunion will have to wait, as Georgia tells Andrew to beat it as she hustles Emma C. over to the neighbor's house. When Tommy arrives, he sees light streaming from under the bathroom door. Someone is in there. Tommy kicks in the door to find his wife cowering in the tub. Rachel is frightened, but safe.
Rachel doesn't remember anything about the abduction or what happened while she was gone. Merritt Grieves tells Tommy that the reason Rachel was returned is because they went back to the beginning. The Magic Man needed them looking one way, so he could go another. They have either become part of his game, or the Magic Man has changed the way he plays. Tommy assembles his team at the station. They are going to start looking at things with fresh eyes. He says, "Mark my words. We are going to find the Magic Man."