As Boyz II Men once crooned, it really is so hard to say goodbye. The boy band (not to be confused with the one Luke may or may not be joining) found it hard to do so to “yesterday,” but for Claire, Phil, and even Haley, it’s hard to say goodbye to Alex. Our favorite bespectacled Dunphy may just be heading to a college half an hour away, but even so…*sniff*. And though it’s also hard to take a shot to the foot (Jay), to sell a house that looks like a spaceship (Phil), and to coach a girls soccer team (Mitch), tonight’s episode was bookended with Alex’s mini-move, so with that, we’ll start with…
Alex, with her single suitcase and lone duffel bag (yes, she’s going to school close by, but that still seems to be very, very light packing), is ready to go, and Mooooom, do not even THINK about hugging for more than five seconds. Alas, Claire can’t stop herself from taking Luke’s abandoned five-seconds-of-hugging time. Haley can, but she unexpectedly turns out to be the one Dunphy who’s allowed more than five seconds of hugging.
That’s because when the sisters arrive at Alex’s dorm room, Alex’s new roommate Maisie shows up and instantly rubs Alex the wrong way because of her, well, geekiness. (She can speak Wookiee, among other talents.) Though Alex had claimed she couldn’t wait for college so she could be around “smart people” for once, she’s afraid of being looked up to and idolized by her eager-to-please roomie — a trait Haley, of all people, notices. “You just landed in a world of superstars, and I know you’d never admit it, but you’re scared. It’s not the worst thing to have your own personal cheerleader,” she tells Alex. “I miss mine already.” And that’s when they hug. Again: *sniff.*
Meanwhile, Phil takes Luke to work with him, and Luke’s less than enthusiastic. (Actually, under that beanie and behind glasses and wearing those dangling suspenders, it’s kind of hard to tell what Luke’s thinking.) When Phil shows potential buyers around the strange house with a basement that connects back to the ground floor and hallways narrow enough to make you recall that one Inception scene, Luke can’t wait to go meet up with his peace-sign-throwing boy band friends. Eventually, Phil gets it: His son doesn’t want to go hop around on trampolines with him. So he lets Luke go.
When Claire (whose adventures I’ll get to in a minute) and Phil end the day back home, Claire gives Phil the box Luke left for him containing the duck eggs Phil pointed out earlier in the day. It’s quiet in the house, and maybe it’s a stretch to say that Luke’s present pointed to Phil and Claire becoming empty nesters, but still, once more with feeling: *sniff.*
Jay and Gloria…and Claire
Things are a lot more lighthearted over at the Pritchetts’. Everyone’s been invited to Lily’s soccer game, but no one really wants to go, including Claire, who had shown up to take advantage of Jay and Gloria’s private pool. Unfortunately, Mitch calls, and Claire picks up, forcing her to lie about why they’re late to the game. She says Jay got in an accident, but Gloria does one better: She tells Mitch that Jay shot himself in the foot.
And with that, the hijinks begin. The family can’t go to Lily’s game if Jay’s going to show up perfectly healed (and heeled), but they also can’t shoot Jay in the foot. Or can they? Gloria comes to their rescue with a pellet gun just as Manny’s doing his best Cam impression, and she manages to nip Jay right in the little toe, harming him just enough to solve their problem — or not. When the whole gang finally arrives at Lily’s game, Joe rats them all out, spilling the beans on how his mother did the shooting and that the accident was not accident at all. It’s a good thing Mitch is too distracted by his losing team at this point to care all that much, which brings us to…
Mitch and Cam
Before the fateful — or is that footful (sorry) — game, Mitch and Cam were busy running their multiple businesses out of their own home. The upstairs apartment has been rented out (hello, The Artful Lodgers!), but between Cam’s allergies and a fickle couple’s need for softer linen, their guests haven’t been easy. Mitch is also helping people with estates and wills, a job that requires peace and quiet, both of which can’t exactly be achieved when Lily and Cam are around the house.
With all that, it comes as a relief when the pair, by now strained and stressed, head to Lily’s game and get a chance to take a break. When the coach can’t make it, though, Mitch gets the job and rallies the troops with Cam’s help. Everything’s going well until Cam says girls soccer’s “not even a real sport” in the middle of an argument caused by their off-the-field stress. Cam, banished by the ref, is left peering at the game through his binoculars and advising Mitch from the parking lot. He encourages Mitch to embrace being a coach, and Mitch does, helping Lily and her team tie the game. And, voilà, Mitch and Cam realize they have to work together on their ventures. “The best offense is a good defense,” Cam proclaims. “That doesn’t even make any sense,” Mitch responds. “That’s like saying the best hat is a good shoe.” Shooting Jay’s foot, the best shoe… Gloria’s right, what is it with Americans and feet?
Speaking of which, here’s one more late ’80s/early ’90s musical reference to keep you on your toes: As Gloria Estefan once warbled, you can only get up and make it happen if you get on your feet. That mantra went for everything with this modern family tonight, whether it was dealing with becoming empty nesters, realizing you have to work with your partner to pull everything off, or sacrificing a little toe for the greater good (in this case, the better use of everyone’s time). So, to wrap up, here’s tonight’s…
Line of the Night: All of Mitch and Cam’s wordplay while dealing with their clients was hilarious (that one jab about “French toast” in particular), but I think this week’s has to go to Haley’s, “Well, I guess my five seconds is up.” It may be cheesy, but it’s sweet to see Haley and Alex care for each other.
Family MVP: She came this close to saving the family’s day and succeeded in helping the family establish the free pass rule — I’m with Jay, I’d rather not hurt Manny’s feelings and say I’d use my free pass to skip his one-man show — so for that, Gloria gets this week’s title. She’s just so badass with a pellet gun: