Against Axl's wishes, Frankie insists on having the entire Heck family along for the ride as they drive to his college to move him into his dorm. But the short drive turns into an eternity when Sue freaks out after discovering that Frankie forgot to fax in her essay to be a candidate for Junior Peer Leadership Advisor, and Brick proves once again that he can't be trusted when he keeps losing his new cell phone.
The first day of school is upon the Heck family, and Sue finds herself feeling a sense of freedom she's never felt before with Axl not around to make her campus life miserable. But Brick, who is beginning middle school and afraid of getting a swirlie, avoids the bathroom at all costs. Meanwhile, Frankie becomes jealous of Mike when she discovers that Axl calls and returns his texts but won't do the same for her; and Sue's feelings for Darrin surface once again when Mike calls him over to help fix the air conditioner.
After Frankie and Mike are forced to return the church van when it's discovered that their car has been repaired, Sue - who has been driving the other car - begins to freak out because she'll have to start taking the bus again. But when her parents tell her that she could get her own car if she got a job, Sue ends up working as a potato girl at a local mall eatery. Meanwhile, Frankie and Mike are called into Brick's principal's (Rachel Dratch) office and are informed that he has not attended any of his classes - and much to the family's dismay, Axl begins to spend his nights back home when he becomes fed up with having to deal with his horrible college roommate.
The citizens of Orson, Indiana celebrate the Orsontennial - the town's 100th anniversary. During this momentous event, Frankie and Mike find themselves begrudgingly trying to drive a giant cow float in the parade; Axl, Sean and Darrin resurrect Boss Co. and attempt to make some big bucks by setting up a VIP area to view the festivities; Sue, still crushing on Darrin, tries to make him jealous by pretending to be dating Brad again; and Brick tries to earn himself a place in Orson history by entering a contest to come up with the town's new motto, which will be used for the next 100 years.
As Halloween approaches, Sue holds a seance during a sleepover with her fellow Wrestlerettes and swears that she's seen the ghost of Christopher Columbus and one of his ships; Axl finds himself being hazed by the football team and not allowed to enter his own Halloween party that's being thrown in his dorm room; and the family tries in vain to give Brick advice on how to ask out a girl he likes to go with him to a Halloween dance.
Frankie is upset over constantly being made fun of by her family and finds some solace in the unconditional love she gets from a rescued dog. Frankie and Mike are stunned when Sue makes the high school volleyball team -- but, as always, there's a catch, and when Axl discovers that he is failing three of his four college classes, he calls on Brick to help him with his studies.
A busy thanksgiving dinner sees Axl trying to find a way to tell his parents he's dropped 3 out of 4 of his classes. Frankie's dad, Tag admits he can't afford the cruise he was planning. Sue is hiding a secret from her excursion with Frankie, who's trying his best to control his behavior. Then in the middle of everything unannounced guests arrive with Dr. Goodwin and Uncle Rusty's wife and kids arriving. Brick is determined to include lime green jello salad in his meal.
Frankie and Mike jump at the chance of house-sitting for Frankie over the weekend - without the kids. However the technology driven house proves too much for them to handle. Sue has been left in charge of Brick whilst their parents are away, has trouble of her own when the Glossner kids invade the house. Axl, Darrin and Sean go on a road trip for Axl to reconnect with Cassidy.
When Axl comes home from college for Christmas vacation but would rather spend time with his friends over family, he and Frankie must come up with a time management agreement that will satisfy both of them, Meanwhile, Sue's severe allergic reaction to the Christmas tree threatens to ruin her holiday, and after it's discovered that Brick lied to the school about his Christmas wrapping paper sales, he finds himself running a mini Ponzi scheme in an attempt to pay back the debt.
Frankie and Mike become concerned about Brick when he starts expressing a host of irrational fears spawned by a constant stream of news alerts showing up on his refurbished iPad. Meanwhile, Sue is both disgusted and intrigued when Derrick Glossner continues to surprise her with spontaneous kisses, and when Darrin attempts his own spinoff of Boss Co, Axl and Sean successfully shut down the new operation but end up having to finish the difficult job that their competition had started.
The ultimate prank battle is on between brother and sister when Sue discovers that Axl stole the high school's Thundering Hens mascot head over a year ago, forcing Sue to wear an embarrassing chicken head in her role as the school mascot. Meanwhile, a friendless Dr. Goodwin tries to make friends with a reluctant Frankie and invites her to accompany him to after-work social gatherings, Frankie agrees to attempt to find her dog Colin Firth's owner if Mike tries - and fails - to make friends with him; and Brick tries to muster some interest in a recommended book on Debbie Reynolds.
With the bus drivers on strike, Principal Barker asks the parents to form carpools to get the kids to and from school. But with time management not being one of Frankie's strong suits, her carpool kids find themselves facing the possibility of being on the receiving end of some tardy slips - which could ruin their chances of being invited to the "No Tardy Party." Meanwhile, Axl hits the books and becomes an expert in Astronomy - a class he's not even taking - in order to tutor a hot student, and when Mike receives two IU basketball tickets, he tries to find someone to accompany him to the game, not realizing that Sue really wants to go with him.
Excited and hungry over receiving a squatter's coupon at an all-you-can-eat buffet, the Hecks head off to church with the intent of hitting the restaurant immediately after the service. But much to their dismay, they find themselves being counseled by guest minister Reverend Deveaux when a family squabble takes place during the sermon, and with all of their pent up issues, they may never get out in time to attend their grand feast.
Mike has decided he doesn't want to attend a dinner been held for 20 years of dedicated service. Sue tries to get her fellow students to connect more with one another. Axl has a mysterious message left on his phone from a girl he was at a party with the night before. However he was too drunk to remember anything about her. Brick finds a new outfit in his cousins hand-me-down box.
After being forced by his work to take a paid vacation, Mike tries to relax but finds his alone time being invaded by Brick, who wants to cash in and implement all of the personal gift coupons he has given his dad for Father's Day and birthdays over the years. Meanwhile, Frankie is livid when she discovers that Axl has been hanging out at the Donahues for the past few days and didn't let her know that he was even in town, and Sue is horrified when she discovers that someone has given her service at Spudsy Malone's a bad review online and overreacts in her efforts to better please the customers.
Frankie is gobsmacked when she is handcuffed, arrested and taken to the police station. But when she discovers that her arrest was over an unreturned library book, she sets her sights on the only person she suspects to be the real guilty party - Brick. Meanwhile, Sue doesn't know how to express her feelings of disdain to Reverend TimTom over his new partner and girlfriend, Reverend Tammy, and Axl and Cassidy reunite during Spring Break but find themselves mostly kissing and not talking to one another.
After bumping into some old acquaintances on a walk around the neighborhood, Frankie and Mike realize that they are more interesting and charming with them than they are with each other and search for a way to remedy the situation. Meanwhile, Sue ends up with multiple dates to the prom because she is too nice to turn down any of the boys who asked her, and Brick enlists Axl's aid in preparing an "outside the box" book report.