Matt's professor hands out their practice mid-terms and Matt makes a D. The professor tells the class that if they can't do well in Organic Chemistry, they will not be a good doctor. Mary is working at the pool hall and is pleading with the car insurance people, trying to get an extension on her car insurance payment. Eric offers to cook the food while Annie is studying for her mid-term. Annie asks if Mary is coming home for dinner, but Eric explains hat she volunteered to work a double-shift. They discuss her financial situation. Lucy, Simon, and Ruthie walk in and Ruthie shows Annie a note that she got from the principal. Simon explains that he was late for class because of the stairs. Lucy explains that everything is going great for her in high school, but she is interrupted by a doorbell. Eric opens the door to see his father, the Colonel. Lucy, alone in the kitchen, tells the twins that she got nominated for homecoming queen.
Eric turns on the radio in the kitchen and dances around while cleaning the kitchen. Annie walks in a turns the radio off when Eric is using the broom handle as a microphone stand. Annie asks how long the Colonel will be there, but Eric doesn't really know and he is passing through on his way to New York. The Colonel stopped by Julie's house, but they had to go to Chicago, so he is at their house. Ruthie and the Colonel walk in and Ruthie explains that the food was too bland and monochromatic for her handle and offers suggestions. The Colonel praises his meal and asks about Annie's return to school. Eric finally asks why the Colonel is at their house, but doesn't give him an answer. Matt and John are at the pool hall and Matt tells John that breaking up with Heather has affected his school work and concentration. Matt hopes that his professor will understand what he is going through and give him a break. Matt warns Mary about the Colonel being at the house and how he would not approve of her not going to college. Eric forces Annie to study and not do the housework, but Annie thinks that maybe the Colonel is at the house since she started school. Annie feels bad that she can't be at the school for Ruthie, but Eric tells her that it is ok and he needs to pitch in since Annie took care of everything for so long. In the hallway, Eric congratulates Lucy for getting nominated for the homecoming queen. Simon walks into the hallway and tells them that Jim's mother forbids them continuing their friendship. Lucy asks Simon for his help during her campaign for homecoming queen and tells him that she is not asking him because she feels sorry for him. Simon agrees and thanks her for the opportunity. Ruthie complains about school and can't figure out why Annie is going to school. Ruthie tells him that she is praying to get out of Mrs. Riddle's and that Mary is not going to school. The Colonel asks if there is anything else that he doesn't know and Ruthie is happy to tell him everything. Mary's manager calls Mary into his office and Mary explains that she can't make her car insurance payment and is maxed out on her credit card. Mary asks if she can get an advance on her next paycheck, but he says no and asks her to stay and talk to him. Mary senses that it won't be a good conversation.
Eric is at home with the twins and Ruthie approaches him and tells him that she was thinking about what the note from the principal could be about and mentions an incident where she wrapped up a girl like a mummy in the bathroom. Eric tells Ruthie that the principal may have a way to solve the problem with Mrs. Riddle. Ruthie explains that they should thank God since she prayed to God to help her. Mary, the Colonel, and Annie all meet up in the hallway and Mary tells them that her manager didn't need her today and she was off. When the Colonel offers to spend time with her, she declines. At school, Simon is approached by two girls when he is giving out flyers for Lucy's homecoming queen candidacy. The girls invite Simon to a party. Simon finds Lucy and Lucy is excited about how well he is doing and Simon is excited about how he has suddenly become popular. Eric asks the Colonel to watch the twins for him, but Mary comes downstairs and Eric finds out that she has a day off of work. Eric explains that they are happy that she is paying her bills, but not happy about her not going to college. The car is teaching her responsibility even though they may not like it. The Colonel tells Eric that he needs a battle plan to deal with Mary, but Eric is confident that he doesn't need a plan, he believes that she will figure out her life. Matt gets back to the apartment and doesn't want to stress out about Organic Chemistry since it is not his problem, it is all because he and Heather aren't together anymore. John tries to get him to be more serious about studying.
Eric arrives at the principal's office and the principal suggests that since Ruthie did so well in a standardized test given last school year, she should go to a different school, Eleanor Roosevelt School, a private school. The principal explains that a 6th grader just got admitted into college and they have an opening. Eric is concerned about it. Simon is at his locker when the girls approach him again and one of the girls tells him that she would like Lucy to attend the party as well since she is popular. The Colonel meets up with Annie in the kitchen while she is studying for her college mid-term. Annie thinks that the Colonel doesn't want her to return to college, but he is happy that she is returning and wishes that Mary would follow in her footsteps. Annie tells the Colonel that she is confident that Mary will find her way in life. Mary is in the park and approached by an older man who tries to strike up a conversation, but Mary freaks out at his constant questions and tells him that she got fired and is unemployed. Mary instantly apologizes to him and spills her problems about not being able to pay for the car and the rent. The man tells her to not worry and describes his son's own experiences with trying to find his way in life. The man also explains that the most important thing is to have a college degree. When Mary explains that she is unsure if she will be attending college, the man pats her on her shoulder and walks away.
Matt is cleaning the apartment, which worries John who thinks that Matt is trying to procrastinate his studying. John gets upset that Matt is blaming Heather for not making good grades, John for his inability to study because of the dirty kitchen, and Annie for having the Colonel over so that he couldn't do his laundry at the house. John asks who he will be blaming when he fails out of the Pre-Med program. John tells him to take responsibility, but when John explains that he gets good grades, Matt blames it on John not doing anything around the apartment. Eric is describing the private school to Annie, but they decide that they should talk to Ruthie and see what she wants to do. Annie tells Eric that she knows why the Colonel is visiting them, Mary, but Eric is concerned because the Colonel can't make Mary go to college. Ruthie walks into the kitchen so that she can figure out how the meeting went with the principal. Eric explains that she can have the ability to change schools, but Ruthie gets upset because she won't have a best friend at the new school. Ruthie says that she won't be asking God for help anymore. The Colonel finds Mary playing basketball and asks her if they can go out and spend the evening together and he suggests going to the pool hall. Ruthie unloads her problems to Lucy and Lucy explains that it is a very good school and she should be proud to be accepted. Ruthie walks away wondering why God has forsaken her. Lucy confronts Simon about the party and Marie inviting Lucy to the party. Lucy explains that if she goes to the party, she will lose her popular status. At the library, Matt sees the Organic Chemistry professor and approaches him, but the professor doesn't want to hear anymore of his excuses. Matt asks for help with understanding the subject and pleads with him to help since he really wants to be a doctor. The professor explains that asking for help is a sign of maturity and not weakness so he gives Matt a copy of the pre-test to retake with the help of his book and the notes. The Colonel and Mary sit outside of the pool hall and Mary breaks down and explains that she got fired. The colonel asks what her plans are, but Mary doesn't have any other plans beyond finding another job. She asks the Colonel if he is going to yell at her and he says no.
Mary asks the Colonel if he is going to tell her parents, but he doesn't know since she has so much potential and is wasting her life. Mary explains that she has plans and she needs help. The Colonel has been waiting for her to ask him for help and Mary is happy that he is willing to help. When she tells him how much she needs, the Colonel stops her and tells her he is not helping monetarily, but with advice. The Colonel tells her to go to college and he will get her a job, but he won't loan her money. The Colonel tells Mary that since she lost the job, she needs to tell her parents, but Mary walks out mad that he won't give her money. Matt returns to the apartment and tells John that he has accepted responsibility for his failing grades. The Colonel comes downstairs in the morning to see Ruthie all sad and she tells him that she won't go to God for help any more. The Colonel tells her a story about when he first joined the Marine Corps and how scared he was. He had to tell himself that he could get through one day, then one week, and after going through this rough patch in life, he wouldn't have what he has now. The colonel tells her that there may be a hidden answered prayer some where, she just needs to give it a chance. The Colonel then gives them a check for Ruthie's tuition, but Ruthie qualifies for a scholarship. They explain that all of the kids will be doing fine. At the school, Lucy is approached by Marie and tells her that she will attend her party. When Marie leaves, Simon is concerned because if she attends the party, she will lose her social status. Lucy explains that the freshmen will now vote for her and she chose to help out Simon than worry about her social status. At Eleanor Roosevelt school, Annie runs up to Eric and tells him that she passed her test before Ruthie runs out happy that the school has horses. The principal explains their flexible school schedule and their new way of learning that they offer. Ruthie excitedly tells them that she wants to go to the school. Mary is on the phone in the kitchen asking her insurance company to not cancel her car insurance policy and tells them that she needs to be able to drive her car to find another job so she can pay for her insurance. She tells the insurance company that she will still drive her car without insurance.