Sins of the Father
Written by Seth Greenland
Directed by David Petrarca
Bill is pulling out all the stops to win the nomination, campaigning door to door and organizing a Ronald Reagan-inspired dance party for delegates.
Tensions mount between Bill, Barb and Margene over the kiss with Ben. Barb doesn't understand why Bill won't forgive an innocent mistake, and when she continues to press him, he reveals that Margene told him she had feelings for their son. Furious, Barb tells Margene she knows the truth. Marge, in turn, goes to Sarah's, where Ben is staying, to convince him to come home so everything can go back to normal, but he refuses. He does agree to show up at the campaign event at the high school but when Ben tells Barb that Bill exiled him from their home, the sugar hits the fan. Even though Bill insists it's a misunderstanding - he just asked him to cool off for a few days - Ben isn't swayed. Without his father's apology, Ben won't come home. Beside herself, Barb blames Margene for Ben's banishment and calls her a "flirt." Nicki overhears and though she's in the dark about what they're arguing about, it doesn't stop her from jumping into the fray to side with Barb against Margene when she learns Bill sent Ben away.
At the Colburn campaign, Nicki continues to feed Bill information and tips him off that Congressman Paley may be open to endorsing him after having a falling out with Colburn. Bill jumps on it and Paley shows up at Bill's 80s dance party. His endorsement leads the news, but also being reported is the story of a Lost Boy from Juniper Creek who was gunned down in a robbery. Colburn uses the incident to come out against polygamist compounds and try the violent Lost Boys as adults, pressing Bill to state his stance. At the delegate vote, no one gets a plurality so a debate and run-off are scheduled for the next day.
Marilyn Densham shows up to press Bill to rep his casino, but he blows her off. When the first delegate yields no winner, she circles back to Bill, suggesting that she voiced her doubts to Paley and he started pulling his delegates. Backed into a corner Bill agrees to introduce her to the Flutes at the casino. Marilyn wants the introduction to happen immediately, in case her leverage vanishes after the run-off vote. She shows up with "Daphne" (Nicki) as her driver and brings along Joey and the Congressman - who has invited Margene - and they all pile into her car for a road trip to the casino. Bill arrives with his entourage, and Barb (who has fled to the casino to get away from the family tensions) greets him: "Do I even want to know why the circus just rolled into town?" While Bill tries to set Barb straight on what happened with Ben, she points out he has a bigger problem: Frank and Lois have shown up.
Frank starts a fight in the casino with Joey, and Bill tosses his father out. Lois chastises him for banishing Ben, and Joey is furious when he hears, reminding him of how ruined they were by their father's exile of Bill as a teenager: "You are on the wrong path brother!"
Back inside, Marilyn lobbies Tommy for the casino's business but he refuses, leaving Marilyn rebuffed and confused about why. Later, Tommy comes across Barb alone in her office and convinces her to try his sweat lodge. They bond over their complicated lives, and he tells her his wife and two sons were killed. Moved by the experience and their talk, she flees.
In a moment stolen for himself, Bill goes to the mortuary to cover the burial costs for the lost boy, explaining: "I would have wanted someone to do the same for me."
Back at the school, Bill arrives to see posters of his mug shot from when he was a teenager plastered all over the school. Upset, Barb tears them down as Nicki comforts her. Sarah and Teenie are stunned to learn about their father's troubled past. Not shying away from the pending debate and run-off, Bill asks for someone to find Ben. Barb goes to him at Sarah's and explains Bill's past and all he's struggling with, but Ben can't get past his anger.
Before going out to the podium, Bill apologizes to Margene, "I ask you and Nicki and Barb to confront your jealousies every day...I should be held to the same standard." During the debate, Bill holds up his mug shot and explains that he was a Lost Boy, thrown out by his father. "I did things for cash that haunt me to this day," he admits. But he insists the solution is to help the teens, not further penalize them: "These boys aren't lost, they're thrown away like trash." Bill and his subdued team wait for the election results in one of the classrooms (their campaign "war room") after the debate and he gets the call: He's won the nomination. As his constituents congratulate a dazed Bill, Marilyn approaches, telling him she went directly to Jerry and found out that Bill told Tommy she was "a liar and a thief." But rather than sue him, she warns: "Looks like I am getting my pound of flesh after all."
Bill learns from Sarah that Ben has gone off with Lois. And that night at home, Barb sobs, alone, the steam of her shower offering no comfort.