That evening, Rhoda adds to Mary's distress over the possible strike by informing her that when Rhoda was on an errand at a sign shop, she saw picketing signs being painted.
The next day, the newsroom receives word of the strike just before it is time for Ted to go on the air. Lou and Mary bid Murray and Gordy "goodbye" and Mary wishes them luck. When Ted goes on the air, he does fine until he gets to the end of the page and realizes that Murray left the rest of the story unfinished. After stammering a few minutes, Ted decides to repeat the news he's just read.
The next morning, Mary informs Lou that a guy from another news outlet harassed her on the way in, and Gordy ended up taking a swing at the guy in Mary's defense. While the two were brawling, Mary was asked to hold Gordy's sign and a journalist snapped a photo of her "protesting."
Later, Mary gets the phone call that Ted's union is now on strike, and Ted is told he won't be doing the news. Ted protests having to strike, but is told that he has to leave. Lou must go on in Ted's place, and Mary's copy skills for which she is standing in for Murray leave a lot to be desired, in Lou Grant's opinion. Lou confesses to having horrible stage fright, and says he gets clammy whenever he has to speak in front of more than six people. Mary assures him he'll be great. When he goes on the air, however, he proves her wrong with his inability to make eye contact with the camera, and when he speaks so quietly that they have to lower a boom microphone near his head.
Lou and Mary go out for a drink afterwards, and run into all the union workers at the bar, including Murray and Gordy. As Lou drinks his double Scotch, Murray, Mary, and Gordy have a good laugh about his performance as anchorman. Lou is not amused, but professes to feeling much better after having the Scotch.
The next evening, when it is time for Lou to go in front of the camera, he is absolutely smashed with alcohol. Mary tries in vain to dissuade him from going on the air, even stepping in front of him to block his way to the studio. Lou easily picks her up and sets her down out of his way. Much to Mary's delighted surprise, Lou does a fantastic job as anchor. He is calm and collected, and doesn't slur his speech at all. As he nears the end of the newscast and comes back for commercial break, he decides to imbibe a little more "courage" back in his office. When Mary calls him to go back on the air, there is no response. Lou passed out under his desk.
To everyone's relief, the strike ends within a few days, and the WJM team meets at the pub for a celebration.