With the ordeal surrounding the lighthouse behind them, Jack and Olivia seem to be getting their relationship back on track. After an enjoyable evening out, they head back to his place. Once settled on the couch, they are just about to kiss when Olivia sees a stranger at Jack’s window. The stranger turns out to be Eric, Jack’s estranged son. Eric is down on his luck and was hoping to stay with Jack for a few days. Eric explains he’d been living in Vancouver, Washington until his girlfriend broke it off and kicked him out. Jack readily agrees to put up Eric until he gets back on his feet. Jack was an alcoholic when Eric was growing up and he is anxious to try and repair his relationship with his son, though he is not sure how to go about doing it.
Charlotte keeps company with the unidentified stroke victim at the convalescence center, knitting and filling him in on town news to pass the time. The man can barely communicate, but he makes it clear that he wants Charlotte to take his only possession, a well-worn leather pouch, which contains a mysterious key.
Grace helps her daughter Maryellen set up an exhibit at the gallery she manages. When Justine comes by to deliver lunch, Grace sees her wearing a piece of jewelry she designed and praises Justine’s talent, leaving Maryellen feeling a bit jealous.
Olivia visits Jack at the newspaper and is surprised to find her mother there, writing her new weekly seniors’ column. Jack can’t help but notice that Charlotte is a little cool toward Olivia. Olivia tells Jack that Charlotte is still upset about Olivia’s decision in the lighthouse case, but she is sure it will blow over. She asks Jack how he is getting along with Eric. Jack is trying, but after so many years apart, he’s nervous. Olivia asks him not to put so much pressure on himself, and find something that they can do together. Charlotte chimes in and suggests fishing, even though Jack’s never picked up a fishing pole in his life. "First time for everything," Charlotte advises.
Charlotte returns to the nursing home and runs into Stan, Olivia’s ex-husband and a doctor. She is happy to see him and tells him that she sometimes wishes that he and Olivia would get back together. Stan doesn’t think his current wife would like that. Charlotte goes to visit the stroke patient and is devastated to find out he died in his sleep the night before.
Jack takes Eric out fishing on the docks on a rainy day, and Eric fills him in on his past. Three years before, he decided to leave Philadelphia with a new girlfriend, and when that ended, he left the east coast for Washington to be with another girl who caught his eye. Everything was going well for him until his recent break up.
Charlotte goes to see Olivia to ask for her help in figuring out the mysterious key from the leather pouch. Olivia, however, thinks that the pouch should be turned over to a social worker and is worried about the legality of assisting her mother in her search. Disappointed and angry that her daughter refuses to help, Charlotte leaves. Shortly after that, Charlotte finds Stan at the nursing home and asks for his help to figure out what the key means. He readily agrees.
At Moon’s, Olivia catches up with Justine, and they talk about their new dating situations. Olivia doesn’t want things to be uncomfortable between them, but Justine assures her everything is fine. Meanwhile, Grace admires Justine’s jewelry and buys a piece, once again mentioning how talented she is. When Seth comes by to see Justine, Olivia and Grace make a quick exit from the cafe. Seth has news: he has to leave town for a few weeks for a fishing job. Justine knows that this is Seth’s work, but she’s still a little deflated by his imminent departure. After they leave Moon’s, Grace tells Olivia how relieved she is that Warren is out of Justine’s life. She thinks Justine and Seth make a great couple, but Olivia isn’t so sure. Even though Olivia plays it off, Grace drags the truth out of her: that she wishes Justine would take her time dating again.
As they pass by the water, they run into Eric and Jack, returning from their unsuccessful, rainy fishing experience. Though they didn’t catch anything, Jack bought a fresh salmon, and Grace offers to cook it for them. At dinner, the four of them enjoy themselves with Olivia and Grace telling stories, until Eric breaks the mood by bringing up his father’s alcoholism. They get back into conversation, but it’s obvious there is still tension between father and son. Later, Jack confides in Olivia that things are still tough and he wishes that he and Eric had a relationship like Olivia has with her mother.
Justine goes to see Seth off, but is still struggling with how much she is going to miss him. He tells her that when she feels lonely to look up at the Polaris, the North Star, and know that he will be looking at it as well. Olivia decides to help her mother with the key after all, and is surprised when she finds Stan helping. Stan has figured out that the key belongs to a certain storage company, but he doesn’t know which branch it is from. Starting with the location at the bus stop where the stroke victim was found, Olivia deduces the most likely branch. She and Charlotte set out on an adventure together to a nearby town to see if the key is a match.
Grace asks Maryellen to feature Justine’s creations in her gallery. Maryellen is still a little jealous of the way Grace gushes over Justine and it shows. Grace assures Maryellen of how smart and talented she thinks she is. After visiting with Justine and admiring her art, Maryellen decides to follow her mother’s advice and offers to show Justine’s work. As she is leaving Maryellen’s, Grace sees Eric go into the newspaper offices and steal some money from the petty cash box. When Jack comes along soon after, Grace doesn’t give him away, but Eric is suspicious that she saw something.
Charlotte and Olivia find the storage facility and identify the specific space from the number on the key, which fits the lock. Inside the unit they find memorabilia that identifies the stroke victim as Tom Harting, a famous county singer who dropped off the map many years before. Charlotte does some further investigation and finds that he had a son in Cedar Cove. Grace confides in Olivia about the money she saw Eric steal from the Chronicle. Grace is afraid that Eric may be bad news, but Olivia isn’t sure how to deal with the information.
That night, Olivia has Jack and Eric over for dinner. Father and son are still tentative but seem to be getting along better, and Eric is even thinking of moving to Cedar Cove. Eric notices that Olivia seems a bit on edge and confesses he borrowed some money from petty cash. Jack doesn’t mind, but Olivia remains uneasy. As Charlotte fills Olivia in on Tom Harting and her hunt for his son, Jack calls Olivia and breaks a date with her. He’s going to take Eric to a Mariners game instead, and Olivia promises to see him again soon despite her disappointment.
Stan arrives shortly after that, and although he asks her out to eat, she turns him down. Charlotte locates Tom Harting’s son at a ranch outside Cedar Cove, and goes to visit him in person. Cliff is angry at Charlotte’s intrusion, and bitter about his father’s abandonment of him and his mother years before. Charlotte however, has found a demo tape that Tom left behind, and she plays it for Cliff. The song is filled with regret for mistakes made in the past, and the desire for forgiveness. The lyrics would resonate for many of the residents of Cedar Cove beyond Cliff and his father. As the song plays, Justine stares into the night sky thinking of Seth, her eyes fastened on the North Star.