Mercer home. Emma tries without success to contact Sutton when Ted comes in and sees the photo album on her bed. He reminisces fondly over his fashion mistakes of the past as he flips through the pages. His expression changes as he stops on a picture of him, Alec and a girl that appears to be Annie. Emma curiously notices his shift in intensity, but he flips the page quickly before she can get a good look at the photo. He turns to the picture of him with Sutton as a baby. She starts to dig, asking who took the photo. He says it was the guy from the adoption agency. She thoughtless calls him a baby broker, which offends Ted. She segues rather clunkily to ask what her birth mother did for a living. Irked, Ted says they've been over this stuff. Emma tries to casually run down a list of possible professions before rather pointedly landing on artist. Just then, her phone rings, and Ted is saved by the bell.
A bit later, Emma arrives at the darkened halls of Arroyo. Char sneaks up behind her and cups her hands over her eyes. Emma gasps, but Mads quickly announces their presence and turns on the lights to reveal a poster announcing "Sutton's" return to the Homecoming Queen race. Mads is now fully on board after Nisha crossed the line by snitching to Alec. Emma doesn't think that's reasonable justification, but her friends insist.
Back at the Mercer house, Ted stares forlornly at the picture of him, Alec, and the mystery woman (who is clearly Annie).
The next morning, "Sutton" arrives downstairs and gives Ted and Kristin the hard sell to let Laurel attend Homecoming. She explains that she's been a bad sister to Laurel and hopes the dance will be a chance to mend their relationship. We're left hanging as Emma goes to school, where Char is hard at work passing out fliers and planning campaign strategy. Unknowingly, she hands a flier to the guy who stole Sutton's laptop for Alec. She explains that they have a couple of classes together and classifies him as "fringe -- another group we need to work on." She informs "Sutton" of her busy itinerary of yearbook meetings and cupcake distribution. Char heads off to keep at it, and Laurel approaches to give "Sutton" the stank eye for returning to her campaign at the expense of sister solidarity. Emma corrects this misapprehension, telling Laurel she got her a get-out-of-jail card for the dance. Laurel gives her a huge hug and runs to tell Justin.
Emma gets a text from Ethan, who is just as puzzled as Laurel was by the reemergence of Sutton: Homecoming Queen. He can't believe Sutton would go for this development, but Emma admits she hasn't been able to reach Sutton. She says the campaign has become a monster and rattles off all of her commitments. Ethan tells her to be herself. Emma smiles and says light-heartedly, "I can't be me and [Sutton] at the same time." She admits that playing the role of Sutton Mercer has its perks (cue sidelong glance from Ethan, one of the chief perks), then begs him to come to the dance with her. Ethan is certain Sutton would not approve of being seen with him. Emma says she just wants him in the building for moral support. Still, he turns her down and walks away.