Leslie and the gang throw a party to celebrate Ann's first day working in the Parks publicity department! Ann's so surprised that she barely acknowledges that she'll have a crabby new officemate named Stuart.
Leslie and Ben enjoy being in "the bubble" of a secret office romance. Leslie's on cloud nine until Ben tells her he has a meeting with Marlene Griggs-Knope. Leslie pretends to have no relation to the woman, but confesses to Ann later that Marlene is her mother!
Chris tries to revitalize the staff by spearheading a reorganization effort. Inexplicably, he makes Jerry the head of the publicity department. Next, he makes April a "multitasking executive aid." He then assigns Tom and Andy the task of digitizing the city archives on the dreaded fourth floor, where Tom swears he's seen someone buying meth from a vending machine.
Just before Ben's meeting with Marlene, Leslie takes Ben aside. Leslie blurts out the truth: that Marlene is in fact her mother - a judgmental, ball-busting bully. An anxious Leslie accidentally spills coffee all over Ben's shirt. He has no choice but to meet Marlene even though he's still reeling from the news and sporting a grossly-stained collared shirt. Marlene is all business. She tells Ben that the county school needs four new school buses. She's being stonewalled by the board and she demands Ben's assistance. Ben is a nervous wreck and agrees to help before adding that he actually can't make any promises.
Chris shows Ron his brand new desk, a circular table that will allow Ron to swivel in order assist everyone in the office, regardless of where they're sitting. Ron dislikes the central placement of the desk and asks why he no longer has an office with four walls.
Meanwhile, Tom and Andy visit the terrifying fourth floor where it's both freezing and humid. Their guide, an ancient woman named Ethel Beavers, shows them to a spooky, empty office.
Later, Ben confronts Leslie about lying about Marlene being her mother. Leslie apologizes and claims she just wanted to enjoy the blissful "bubble" period longer. Ben however is still embarrassed by his awkward meeting with Marlene.
Leslie asks her mother how she liked Ben. Marlene nonchalantly describes Ben as a goofy, spineless jellyfish. When Leslie tells Ben the news, he's clearly stung and embarrassed. An assistant interrupts the conversation to say that Marlene is now requesting ten school buses - not four. She obviously feels she can push Ben around. Annoyed, Ben tells Leslie he's going to have another face-to-face with Marlene and this time he's going to stand his ground. Leslie agrees to coach him on how to take charge.
Meanwhile, Donna tells Ron to stand up to Chris. After all, the circular desk idea sucks and she doesn't know how to use the strange keyboard he's given her.
Though Andy seems to love the fourth floor's charms, Tom gets increasingly uncomfortable. He flirts with Ethel, hoping she'll volunteer to do his job for him, but the scheme doesn't work. Later, Tom begs Chris to reassign him to another job, but Chris won't budge. Meanwhile, Ben vetoes Marlene's request for more school buses with a mix of confidence, arrogance and rudeness. Predictably, Marlene's impressed and soon they're bonding over Calvin and Hobbes.
April visits Andy on the fourth floor, and in no time, they make fast friends with the elderly employees. After seeing the way Ben and Marlene have hit it off, Leslie's beaming. That is, until Ben gives Leslie some terrible news: Marlene made a pass at him! Leslie's so upset that Ben decides to take matters into his own hands. He storms into Marlene's office with Leslie in tow and tells Marlene that he is secretly dating Leslie. If Marlene breathes a word about it, her daughter could be fired. Marlene chuckles and tells Leslie, "I like this one!"
Later, Ron tells Chris that the reorganization attempts are a total failure. When Chris still won't budge, Ron says he has a compromise.
Ron tells Leslie that he's agreed to humor Chris for another week. But once the time is up, Ron's going to go back to his office with its normal desk.