When a Chrome appears to have died young, Valerie recognizes it as a murder and begins an investigation. Kennex and Dorian realize that the murderer is a serial killer who is using outlawed nanobot plastic surgery to become beautiful.
- Alone in his loft apartment, a man takes out his driver and plays some virtual reality golf, admiring his shot. Someone lurks on the balcony outside. The man hears something and goes to investigate. A disfigured man with bandages on his face attacks him. He uses something like a syringe to withdraw something from the man he's just incapacitated. The victim's face sags as the liquid is withdrawn from him.
At the office, John ignores a call from Samantha, his date last night. Dorian answers for him. John explains she took every call that came in -- she "holo-blocked" him. Dorian suggests John might just be boring.
Stahl interrupts with a possible homicide. The victim is a 28-year-old "chrome" named Brian Barrow, and chromes (because they're genetically engineered) don't die young of natural causes.
Barrow is an asset manager. He's a former Olympic swimmer. Stahl doesn't believe it was a heart attack. At Barrow's apartment, Dorian notices a tiny puncture wound that goes all the way to Barrow's cerebral cortex. Dorian withdraws DNA and injects himself to scan it -- he finds seven other DNA signatures.
Back at the station, they've found all seven other people are dead, listed as suffering heart attacks. None are chromes and they don't seem to have anything in common other than the fact they're attractive.
The hooded disfigured man goes to see doctor. He presents the vial to him and tells him to "do it again," or he'll report him to the police for practicing without a license.
The doctor straps the man into a machine and injects him. The scars on his face distort and smooth.
At the station, Maldonado isn't happy to read about their case in the papers.
Stahl decides to go to a chrome club to see what she can learn about Barrow. Her fellow chromes don't like that she's a cop but were hoping Barrow was murdered so his death didn't imply there was some genetic risk to chromes of dying young.
At the club, Stahl gets stonewalled by the chrome at the door. The owner, Jake, offers to talk to Stahl.
In the car, John complains that a chrome murder is getting a disproportionate amount of attention and says it plays into his theory that technology is driving a wedge between people. Dorian agrees, and suggests they replace John's robotic leg with a tree limb, or a shovel.
Back at the club, Stahl asks the owner for their video surveillance. He's intrigued that she's a cop and mentions his brother, a chainsaw sculptor. He imagines she must know what it's like to feel like a disappointment to expectations, which comes off more understanding and insightful than it might seem. He says his brother is happy and Stahl says she is, too. He agrees to get her the surveillance.
At the lab, Rudy has gone over the "vert-autopsies" of the seven other victims, and confirms they have the same seven puncture wounds. He's annoyed they didn't warn him there's a killer of attractive people out there, he was a child model.
Upon closer examination, Rudy found the injection sites were the work of nano-bots. He found two of them in a victim and is examining them.
Back at the station, Stal finds footage of a man in bandages following Brian Barrow. On facial recognition he's recognized as one of the victims, and then as another victim around the corner.
Rudy announces that the nano bots in the victims read and reconstruct facial tissue, plastic surgery.
The killer admires a barista's emerald green eyes.
John and Dorian pay a visit to Dr. Randolph Amir, who designed the technology. He says the trials didn't go well -- it was stopping people's hearts.
Amir explains the syringe-like device is called an "actuator" and it injects the nano bots into the donor to map a part of them, then recreates that part in the patient, but the donors were dying.
Cut to the killer, Eric, bringing another vial to the doctor, who caused his disfiguration in the trials, trying to get one step closer to his ideal face. The doctor injects him with adrenaline to survive the procedure then injects the nano-bots. Eric screams as they do their work, then admires his new emerald green eyes.
In the car, Dorian starts in on John. "It is said the more flaws you have, the more human you are. Have I told you how very human you are lately?" he asks.
Stahl calls with news on the latest victim, the barista.
John and Dorian go to Chinatown to try to find out who might have sold an actuator on the black market. A crowd of people is cheering as two bots bare knuckle box. John assures Dorian he'll know his informant DiCarlo when he sees him. John asks a large woman if she knows DiCarlo. When she says no, he knocks her down cold. Her back opens up and a little person climbs out, annoyed at Kennex for breaking his exo-suit.
John shows DiCarlo a picture of the actuator. He tells them where to find a doctor who can change your face so facial rec can't find you.
John and Dorian knock on the doctor's lab. He sees them on his surveillance and injects himself with adrenaline. He goes after John when he busts in the door. Dorian pulls him off and tries to jump start his heart, but the doctor is dead.
He's Dr. Curtis McCann, one of the 20 doctors in the nano bot trials. They find an imagine of Eric, the killer. Dorian IDs his face as a composite of the nine victims, plus one other man's cheek bones. Stahl finds the cheek bones with a team and protects him.
Eric sees a cop outside his intended victim's apartment and calls the doctor. John wants Dorian to impersonate the doctor's voice, but Dorian points out he's only heard the doctor grunt when he was kicking John's butt.
Eric gives up for the moment and goes somewhere to watch a woman in a building across the way from him, clearly longing for her.
Back at the station, they notice all the victims live in the same district, where they would get 3D pictures on their licenses. They wonder if the killer works at the DMV.
At home, Eric chats with the woman across the way, Judy. His avatar is of his future face, nearly complete. She thinks he's in Arizona, but is excited he's coming to town to see her next week. He watches her type and gets a news alert. He signs off.
Stahl finds a record of a man named Eric Latham who did work at the DMV but went on disability a year ago. He looks nothing like the killer does now. The trials began a year ago. He's had 32 surgeries in the last seven years, probably suffering from dysmorphic disorder.
Cops pull up to Eric's building. Inside, Dorian sees the chat records on Eric's computer and starts a complicated search process to find Judy. John looks across the way and sees her through the window.
Over at Judy's, she takes a delivery and then is surprised to find Eric in her apartment. He explains the door was open. She stares at him somewhat blankly as he apologizes for his bandage. "I'm sure you're beautiful," she tells him, then admits she's kept something from him.
He looks around her apartment and sees laser sights everywhere. She's blind. She tells him how happy she is that they found each other, and that she doesn't care what he looks like, but thinks they could be happy together. They kiss.
Then the cops bust in. Eric runs.
John follows him up to the roof. Eric climbs up on the ledge and threatens to jump. He says "we're supposed to be loved," then plummets over the side.
At the station, Dorian asks John if he thinks there's someone out there for everyone. John says he does, even though it's old-fashioned. "Do you want me to come to a bar with you and watch you drink?" Dorian offers. "No, thanks. It got a little weird last time," John says.
John turns to Stahl and asks her if she's heard of a bar called Leo's. She says she's on her way there, and Jake the chrome joins her. John bows out.
As couples walks arm in arm around him, John sits alone in a park.