"Fight or Flight" is the fifteenth episode from Season 6 of Modern Family, it aired on February 18, 2015.

Plot Summary

After a long reunion weekend with Phil's old cheer buddies, Claire jumps at the chance to snag the only first-class seat left on the return flight home leaving Phil in coach and both have completely opposite experiences. Meanwhile, Gloria forces Jay to teach Manny how to defend himself against a bully who attends cooking classes with him, and Mitchell, Cameron, Pepper, and their friends organize a belated baby shower for Sal.

Episode Description

Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) organize a baby shower for Sal (Elizabeth Banks) with Pepper (Nathan Lane) and Ronaldo's (Christian Barillas) help. However, they are surprised when they discover that Sal is now a teetotaler who actually cares about her son, Sammy. Though they enjoy it at first, Sal leaves the baby shower leaving Sammy behind and the two couples believe that Sal abandoned her son. Mitchell and Cameron start arguing with Pepper and Ronaldo over Sammy since both couples want to adopt him. Sal finally returns to let them know that she would never abandon her son and informs them that she went to see Sammy's dad who is actually a hockey player on the Blackhawks team which was mentioned by party guest Jotham and was unaware of Sammy's existence. It turns out he is married and Sal wishes to give her son a dad and Cam, Mitch, Pepper and Ronaldo all offer to be fathers to Sammy which makes Sal happy and she tells the guys they are so sweet.

Claire (Julie Bowen) reluctantly agrees to attend Phil's (Ty Burrell) cheerleader friends reunion during a weekend. On their flight home, she takes the only first-class seat while Phil lands in economy class. Things take an unexpected turn as Claire realizes that Dana (Natasha Leggero), the woman she is sitting with is actually a loud and obnoxious bigot, while Phil enjoys his time with a magician (Penn Jillette) and a masseuse. Claire asks Phil to switch seats but Phil avoids it by lying that he is having a terrible time himself with the people who sit next to him. Claire discovers the truth and the two of them end up fighting with Claire confessing how terrible was the weekend for her and the sacrifice she made for Phil. After Claire's confession, Phil accepts to switch his seat and let Claire have some peace and quiet.

In the meantime, Jay (Ed O'Neill) and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) finally let Manny (Rico Rodriguez) join cooking classes. However, a fellow student named Gideon (Garrett Boyd) always plays pranks on him, which gets on his nerves. Gloria forces Jay to teach Manny some self-defense notions in order to stand up for himself. As Manny manages to attack Gideon, it turns out that Gideon's bad attitude is actually due to his parents' divorce which was said by his therapist and that he was trying to apologize and be nice to Manny the moment Manny attacked him. Manny feels bad about it but he is expelled from the cooking lessons even though he apologizes. Manny and Jay realize that Gloria is the actual tyrant in their lives as she obliged them to practice violence without understanding someone's real motivations and they decide to face her when they get back home. When they do, she angrily orders them to leave and come back with more respect and a pizza. Manny and Jay go out to buy their own pizza and eat it in the car.

Luke (Nolan Gould) decides to ask Alex (Ariel Winter) and Haley's (Sarah Hyland) advice since he is attracted to a girl. When they ask him about the girl he is in a relationship with, he says that he never broke up with her because he is unable to find a way to tell her without hurting her and that she will finally realize it on her own. Alex and Haley disagree with his decision and using his phone, they text the girl a polite way of breaking up only to get a rude answer-back. The girls take it personally and they start texting with the girl while Luke enjoys the fact that they are the ones who look mean and not him since they are the ones who are sending the texts.

Main Cast

(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring



  • Phil and Claire do not share scenes with their children, Haley, Alex and Luke. This is because Phil and Claire are on an airplane while the children are at home.
  • Lily is absent in this episode.
  • In this episode, Jay teaches Manny self-defense while in real life Ed O Neill is black belt of karate.
  • This is the second episode to feature Jotham. He previously appeared in The Old Man & the Tree


  • Phil switched seats with Claire, who was travelling in first class, however you are not allowed in first class if you are not travelling in first class.
  • Although Pepper claims that he has no children and his "biological clock" is ticking, in "A Slight at the Opera" revealed that he has a son named Kyle, who was a Navy SEAL.
  • Phil and Claire were offered a free upgrade to first class for one of them, however no airlines give free upgrades.
  • Phil and Claire were supposed to be travelling together until Claire took the free upgrade, however both seats next to Phil were taken.

Cultural References

  • Luke says "she crazy", and Haley mocks him by calling him Macklemore.
  • Manny is told not to wind up his fist like Popeye.
  • The partygoers were talking about the Brawny paper towel guy and Mr. Clean.
  • Sammy's dad is a player for the "Chicago Blackhawks".