The episode opens with the show’s first “Previously on…” segment recapping Mr. Squirrels’ end tag, with the unknown individual and his aid (neither of whom we never see in this episode) finding someone to run against Senator Jefferson Davis Graham, and finding Eric.
We cut to school, where Cory asks the class what’s happening in the world as part of his lesson on current events. Lucas and Farkle mention how the news and most advertisements are cover the upcoming election. Riley asks why the kids should even care about the election since they aren’t able to vote yet, Cory tells them they should care about what’s happening to the world since someday it’s going to be their world, which the kids disagreed with, Farkle especially, and he wants to rule this world. Riley’s shocked to hear Farkle say that, and he proposes the he and her go to Mars. Cory tells the kids they shouldn’t be talking like this until at least high school. Lucas asks why we can’t elect someone who cares enough to make things better for the world, Cory tells him he’s not responsible for the quality of the people who run for office. Riley asks how candidates are chosen to run, Cory begins to explain how the parties choose the best person to run, then an exasperated Eric comes in, and announces to the class the he’s running for senator of New York. After hearing this, Cory tells the class to close their books, it’s the end of the world.
Later at the bakery, Eric tells the kids, Cory, and Topanga the story of how he was chosen to run. He tells them that someone (who he calls “the bow tie man with the big glasses”) brought him in a limo, and tells him he’s the only one who could beat Senator Graham in the primary election. Eric tells everyone what the primary is, and Lucas explains that it’s the election where the voters choose each parties candidate, the Farkle explains that the winners of the primary will compete in the general election to see who goes to Washington. Eric asks Farkle if he’s a robot, and he nervously tells him no, in a rare bit of continuity from last season, Cory asks Farkle if he found birth certificate, and Farkle tells him he’s still looking for it. Cory and Topanga tell Eric that Graham is a six-term senator, and that he doesn’t even have money to run against him, but Eric tells him that “Bow Tie” said he would help him with that. Cory then tells him that he can’t beat him, and Eric tells him the Graham did terrible things while he was in office, which wins over Cory, but Topanga’s not so sure, and asks him who’s on his campaign team, he tells her that the kids could help him, which still wins Cory over, and almost convinces Topanga, but she’s not sure if having the kids help with his campaign is a good idea, a random patron tells her it’s a great idea. They all turn around and see a young man with long hair, he tells them how Graham stole money from schools, Eric asks why he would do that, and he tells him that his rich friends got him elected. the patron introduces himself as T.J. Murphy. The girls are shocked to hear about Graham’s money laundering, and encourages Eric to beat him. Farkle asks T.J. how he knows about that, he tells him that he caught him using his political website “Thorn At Your Side”. This shows Topanga that having the kids help Eric in the election would help voters see that he cares about the kids’ futures. Eric asks T.J. why he wants to help him, he tells him that he believes in him.
The next day, Cory’s teaching the class about underdogs and the power of media in politics. While he pushes the cart in the classroom, Harley asks Cory if he can sit in on the lesson. Cory asks Harley if he cares about politics, but he’s more concerned about school budgets get cut, and having Art and Music getting taken away, since without Music, Harley would do bad things (he would.). Eric comes in and tells the kids that they can win as long as they remember the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt (or F. Doctor Whosevelt as he calls him), while he starts to quote FDR’s “Fear Itself” speech, he sees Harley, but doesn’t think it’s him until after he tells the class how he would get back at him for the years of torment, and really gets a good look at him. Riley tells Harley about Eric running for senator and asks if he can count on his vote, Harley asks him what he’s going to do for the little guy, Eric tells him he never thought of him as a little guy, but compliments how well taken care of the school is, and pecks him on the cheek. Harley asks him why he did that, Eric tells him he’s supposed to do that, but Cory reminds him that he’s supposed to kiss babies, but Harley was impressed by the peck and assures him his vote. He asks Farkle (who he calls Robot) how many more votes he needs to win, Farkle tells him 3 million, then Eric has a little fun with Farkle, by asking him to burn him with laser eyes. Cory shows the class a slide show about John F. Kennedy’s run against Richard Nixon, he also goes on to tell the class that thanks to their appearance in the first televised electoral debate, John became the new (but sadly, short-lived) President of the United States. Showing the class how powerful the media is.
Later at the bakery, we finally meet Senator Graham and his aide Zachary T. Wolf. We see that Davis Graham and Topanga have something of an antagonistic relationship with one another, as Brown-Elliot (Topanga’s law firm) went against the senator’s plans to charge children $1 to play in parks and recreational areas. Topanga questions why he would do that, he claims that the money was for the state, and there’s too many kids anyway so why not. Zachary tells Graham to stop and he complies. Cory asks Eric if Zachary is the man he was talking about earlier, Eric wasn’t sure at first, until Eric has Zachary say something and he tells him that they want to discuss the finer points of the campaign, thus confirming that it’s indeed him. Cory tells Eric that Zachary works for Graham, but that doesn’t seem to affect him. Zachary asks Eric who’s running his campaign, he tells him the children are, and he and Graham are mildly amused by this. T.J. sees Zachary and taunts him a little. Eric asks how they know each other, Graham tells Eric that T.J. that he’s against him and his plans too. T.J. suggests that Graham and Eric should have three debates, but Zachary just wants them to have one debate, and they’ll decide how the election will go since they were in the senate for 30 yrs. Eric finally pieces together that Zachary is working for Graham. Eric asks Zachary why he chose him to run against Graham in the election, and he tells him it was just to make Graham look good to the public again. The two take their leave, Eric’s crushed since he realized that he was supposed to loose. T.J. and the girls try to convince him to keep going, but he decides to throw in the towel.
After the break, we cut back to school, to where Cory once again asks the class, what’s going on with the world, only this time the kids have changed their tunes about the world, and decide they want parks to play in, sticking up for the little guy, lower the voting age, and treat the world better. Cory asks what they can do to make the world better, Maya and Lucas asks him how they can even do anything since they can’t vote yet, Riley says that she would want to vote for people to have food and shelter. Cory agrees with the girls and tells Lucas that if he wants the voting age to be lowered kids need to show people that they can be trusted. Cory encourages the the class to find their issues and their passion, since the voter turnout in the last election was extremely low, and begs the kids to help prevent that. Lucas asks how they can do that, Cory tells him to tell people that care, like their parents. Cory closes out the lesson, by telling them that with the media being what it is now, they can have a voice, and encourage them to have a message.
At home, Riley and Maya try to convince Eric to get back in the election with chocolaty cereal and Chocolate Milk. At first he wouldn’t budge, but he sees the big bowl of cereal and after some singing from the girls, he gets up and drinks the chocolate milk, then shoves his face in the bowl of chocolaty cereal. He calls Maya by her actual name (he’s been calling her Moesha for most of the episode) and telling her how Graham and Wolf st them up, but Maya’s more shocked about him knowing her name. Eric tells her he’s always known her name since he cares about her, she tells him to get back in the election so she can live in a better world. Eric asks the girls if they believe they can do it, and the girls tell him yes, he asks why again, and Riley tells him it’s because they’re kids, and that’s why he wanted their help in the first place. Eric gives Riley the bowl of cereal, and she proceeds to shove her face in the bowl,while Eric looks on proudly, and regains his confidence.
After the break we cut to Washington DC, where the reporter from earlier talks about Eric’s chances in the election, and that the debate between Eric and Graham will happen at the school, an idea from the kids. She also mispronounces St. Upid Town as Stupidtown, but she did that on purpose. She closes the bulletin with her (and the country’s) hope that their unusual methods win them the election.
We then cut to the school, the two candidates have their debate, with Cory serving as moderator. He opens the floor for questions from the audience. Harley asks Graham how he would help the little guy, Graham gives a fake speech on how there are no little people in elections, and of course Harley doesn’t buy it. Lucas interjects and asks Graham how he would help non-voters (kids), Graham tells him that this election isn’t about them. Cory tell Lucas not to interrupt, since each candidate has one minute to speak, but his time was up anyway. Cory asks Eric for his opinion on Harley and Lucas’ question and he tells them that every election is about the children, but Graham disagrees with him since Eric doesn’t have kids of his own, and only came even though they’re too young to understand what’s important in the world. Farkle tells him that they know they want to live in the world, Lucas says that they should lower the voting age so they could vote against people like him. Graham is baffled since they would rather vote for Eric than him, he asks the kid why he should help the children since he never raised any kids himself. Eric tells Graham that he’s right, but despite not having his own children he still cares very much about themand wants things to be better for them. Graham tells Eric he can’t prove that, but T.J. tells Graham that he can. T.J. formally introduces himself as Thomas Jonathan Murphy, but Eric and all of us knew him better as a little orphan boy named Tommy.
We see a series of flashbacks with Eric and Tommy, from the two of them playing together to Tommy asking Eric to adopt him, to that terrible day when Eric tells him he can’t adopt him and they say goodbye to one another.
T.J. tells Graham that the day Eric had to let him go, was the hardest decisions he ever made, but he never forgot what he learned from him: kindness, honesty, and respect towards others. T.J. tells Graham that Eric sacrificed himself for the future of one child, while he sacrificed the future of children for himself. While the students record the revelation on their phones, T.J. asks him if there’s really a choice for who should win. Eric steps of his podium and looks at how great of a young man T.J. turned out to be, to which Cory tells the audience (stage, studio, and home) to applaud, while Graham and Zachary sneak away, The kids talk about the world, decide that they do have a voice, and Farkle deciding he wants to rule the Earth again. After that the kids and Topanga join Eric, T.J., and Cory on stage.
After the debate, Lucas asks Eric what he’s going to do after he wins the election, he says he’s going to adopt T.J., but T.J. tells Eric, that he can’t now, but he would love to help him with his campaign, and he accepts. Cory and Topanga run out of their bedroom carrying a couple of suitcases, Riley asks them if they know Eric might win the election, they tell her yes, and that they’re moving far far away, they wish Riley, Eric and the others good luck and flee the apartment.
Outstanding episode! Much better than the first part of this story, Will Friedle give another great performance, not just in comedy but with his sincerity, you really want to see him win this election and we can only hope he does. Graham and Wolf’s relationship is very interesting, they seems that they have a puppet/master type rapport with one another. But the real highlight of the episode was seeing Tommy again, I read hat after BMW he appeared in a couple of other shows before deciding to retire in 2007, the scene with him and Eric were very well filmed, and were actually pretty emotional. Speaking of which, I think this episode has had the best use of flashbacks since, Girl Meets Popular. Overall, what else is left to say? Great moments, great flashbacks, it’s just great!
Next time, a new teacher, and maybe a visit from an old friend.