Modern Family Recap: My Hero

This week on Modern Family: Mitchell’s ex-boyfriend re-emerges; Claire mulls over an offer to work for Jay; Haley teaches Alex to talk to boys; and Phil teaches Gloria to skate.

The all-inclusive episode had a bunch of little storylines going, but none so emotional and heartfelt as when Cam realized that all these years, Mitchell’s family had stayed in touch with Teddy, Mitchell’s first significant ex-boyfriend. It begins when Mitchell and Cam run into Teddy, and the guy invites them to a charity rollerskating party. When they arrive, it turns out the whole family has been invited, and charming Teddy is a big part of their lives. Cam feels betrayed (“I worked my fingers to the bone to get these jumpy Protestants to love me!”) and asks (without asking) Mitchell to tell his family to break up with Teddy. In the (unlikely) end, Jay and Cam have a heart-to-heart about how Jay didn’t like the way Mitchell was when he was with Teddy. Cam brings out the best in him. Cam eats this up and regains his sense of place in the Pritchett dynasty.

I thought Jay and Cam’s bonding moment represented a breakthrough for their characters—it’s the first time I’ve seen them interact like human beings, and it was totally believable that this was as far as each person’s disparate personality was going to bend in order to connect.

Meanwhile, Jay asks Claire to come work for his company. Claire’s hesitant because she remembers her dad being a mean boss when she worked there for half a summer 20 years ago, and it made her feel terrible every time she disappointed him. In a weird scene where she fills in at another old job—working the roller rink concessions stand—Claire realizes she’s not the woman she was back then (while her old boss touches her shoulder in a somewhat sexually inappropriate manner?). So she tells Jay she’ll accept his offer. Based on last week’s episode, I thought it was going to be revealed that the real reason Claire didn’t want to work for Jay is because his line of business is boring. But, uh, apparently Claire just wants to go back to work, doesn’t matter what it is she’s doing!

Haley and Alex had my favorite sisterly plotline of the season, in which . . . okay, I can’t hold off in telling this chronologically . . . Alex admits Haley is smart sometimes! Oh, my gosh! Left is right, up is down, my brain doesn’t know how to compute that Haley is usually dumb but sometimes smart! I guess humanity is full of contradictions. How we got there though—Haley notices Alex is trying to flirt with some boys and ends up putting them down for being dumb. Haley chastises her sister: You don’t have to diminish your own intelligence, but you don’t have to be mean, either. (I don’t think Haley used the word “diminish,” but still). By the end of the episode, the guys are lusting after Alex, and Haley drags her away to leave them wanting more. You know, I never wanted a big sister, but now I kinda wish I had someone to do that for me . . .

Oh, and Phil tries to teach Gloria to rollerskate, allowing himself to get totally beat up in the process. It yields this photo:

Photos: ABC’s Modern Family

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