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Finale Part 1/Finale Part 2 is the seventeenth and the eighteenth episode from Season 11 of Modern Family, it aired on April 8, 2020. It is also the series finale.

Plot Summary

Mitchell and Cam settle in on their new normal, and Phil and Claire decide that one of the kids needs to move out in order to take control of the house again. Meanwhile, as Gloria becomes more successful at work, she notices Jay, Manny and Joe don't seem to need her as much.[1]

Episode Description

Alex has decided to move back into the Dunphy household following her decision to take a more ethical but lower paying job and between her, Phil, Claire, Haley, Luke, Dylan and the twins the house is now crammed to bursting point. To get some space, Phil and Claire decide to move into the RV in the driveway to get away from the chaos while the kids quickly go through the food and clean clothes. Phil and Claire decide enough is enough and give the kids an ultimatum; at least one of them has to agree to move out by the end of the day. Haley, Alex and Luke are furious and none of them want to go, but Phil and Claire are adamant telling them if they don't decide between themselves then they'll choose someone at random.

Life is very happy for Mitchell and Cam at the moment with their new house and son, whom they have named Rexford after the street the house is on. Mitch in particular feels reinvigorated by his new surroundings, and the two hold a housewarming party to celebrate the newest chapter in their lives. However during the party Cam gets a phone call from the University of North Central Missouri telling him the Head Coach job he applied for but didn't get is now open again (following some drunken anti-sematic comments from the guy who beat Cam for the position) and is his if he wants it. Cam is ready to turn it down as he doesn't want to ruin Mitch's happiness, but when Mitch finds out during the party he insists Cam takes it in front of the family. Talking privately later, Cam tells Mitch he can change his mind as he understands he was in front of everyone when he said it was ok to take the job, but Mitch insists that he's ok with moving knowing that Cam has spent years supporting him and now he wants to do the same. When Lily also approves the move (stating she wants to reinvent herself anyway), Cam agrees to take it. Sal later visits and reveals she lives down the street and intends to take the two for many wild nights out while having Lily babysit her kid and pets, making Mitch feel far more positive about moving.

Gloria is beginning to get frustrated at the reversal of her and Jay's roles. For years, he was going out to work supporting her while she stayed at home, but now her realtor career is taking off while Jay is retired and she feels strange about it and that she's no longer needed around the house. Jay assures her that he, Manny and Joe will always need her.

Following the news that Mitch and Cam are leaving, Phil and Claire regret their earlier ultimatum and decide to move back into the house and that the kids don't have to leave as they want to keep the family close. However they are shocked when the kids all have their own news; Haley and Dylan have secured an apartment for them and the twins to rent, Alex's is relocating to Switzerland for her work while Luke has been accepted to the University of Oregon, meaning all the kids will be moving on. Phil and Claire are shocked, realising soon the house will be empty. They admit they'll miss the chaos.

It is soon the day when Mitch and Cam are due to leave, and many emotional goodbyes are shared... only it turns out to be too early as their flight to Missouri is delayed until that evening. The family decide to separate and reconvene later. Claire and Mitch find out their skating trophy from when they were kids was donated by Dede to the local ice rink when they wouldn't stop arguing over whose room it was displayed in. The two go straight to the ice rink to steal it back. They manage to do so without getting caught, and decide to have one final moment on the ice together.

Gloria and Joe decide to visit Gloria's family in Columbia for the summer, and Cam composes an emotional poem to Gloria stating how much she means to him. He is put out when she is unmoved by it, but then he realises she's bottling her emotions over Manny leaving on his year-long around the world trip. He encourages her to let her feelings out, and she writes her own letter to Manny while he's handcuffed in the bath (courtesy of Joe, who is trying to make Manny aware of the dangers he might face).

A cause for concern for the family is Jay who has been seen staring off into space, not hearing when people are talking to him and muttering things to himself. What no-one knows is that he's learning Spanish as a surprise so he can converse with Gloria in her native tongue. When Phil catches Jay lying on his bed asking for a spoon (as the app he's using repeats what he says in Spanish), Phil misinterprets that Jay wants some comfort and snuggles in behind him allowing the two a final embarrassing moment. Afterwards, Jay tells Phil that after years of raising his kids he should decide what he wants to do next. Jay soon reveals his surprise to Gloria when he speaks to her in Spanish, telling her he wants to come to Columbia with her saying that after years of her putting up with his family he's willing to put up with hers for one summer.

Haley and Alex pack up their old room and talk about growing up and the fun they had over the years. They decide to mess with Luke one last time, and manipulate him into dressing up like a dog so they can film themselves spraying him with a hose and making him eat from a bowl on the floor. When it's over a sad moment sets in with the three siblings, and they promise that even though they'll be apart they'll still be there for each other. Phil and Claire enter the empty bedroom and Claire gets emotional, wondering what they'll do once the kids are gone. Phil tells her that they'll do what they can, and will always leave the porch light on for them. The two decide to take a road trip in the RV during the summer.

It is now finally time to say goodbye as Mitch, Cam, Lily and Rexford are now really leaving. The family all huddle close for one last family picture, but once it is taken no-one wants to let go. Haley gets upset, knowing that soon everyone else will be leaving and everyone begins to cry as Jay states that it's not easy because not every family gets to have what they have. Phil decides to be the one to pull away from the hug, but only lasts a few seconds before running back in.

Haley and Dylan are revealed to have moved into Mitch and Cam's old apartment (Mitch having put in a good word for them with the new landlord) with Haley putting a picture of them and the twins on the mantle. The parents are then seen doing things they were seen doing in the first episode; Mitch and Cam eat cream puffs on the plane with their kids while Jay and Gloria watch Joe playing in a soccer game, Phil and Claire work the calendar for their RV trip (as they did when planning for Phil to 'shoot Luke'). A final voice-over by Jay states that change is inevitable and regardless of if you choose to fight it or accept it, it's always easier when you have a loving family around to help you. With that, the lights are seen going out in the three houses although the Dunphy's porch light turns back on, a sign that no matter what happens the family will always return.

Over the closing credits, emotional music is played as the camera pans across photos from over the years, ending on the family portrait that was taken ten years earlier of everyone laughing together.

Main Cast

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

Guest Starring

*Baby's name is not listed

Trivia

  • This episode marked the finale appearance of all of the characters, including Sal, Jotham, Ptolemy, Arvin, Ronaldo and Stefan.
  • The parents in each family—Jay, Gloria, Claire, Phil, Mitchell and Cameron—appeared in every episode, even if they had a few scenes. With the exception of Joe, every other character appeared in both the first and the last episode of season 11, and in every season, at least (Lily did not appear in last episode of season 4) .
  • Dylan and Joe are the only characters not to have starred in at least in 100 episodes.
  • Alex's room is 533 square feet.

Continuity

  • Last episode of the show.
  • Mitchell asks Cameron "Do you love it?" in regards to the mural he's painting in Rexford's room. Cam asked the same question of Mitchell when he first saw the mural that had been painted in Lily's room in Pilot.
    • Eric Stonestreet stated on Instagram that he asked Jesse Tyler Ferguson to say the line as a callback, as he felt the original line had helped him shape his take on Cameron's personality.
  • The green wrap dress that Gloria is wearing is the same dress she tried on in the dressing room to defeat Cam’s nemesis in the episode Legacy (Season 11, episode 11).

Cultural references

Reviews

  • The A.V. Club gave it a "B+": "There’s a lot of predictable comedy in here, but there’s also something that’s satisfying in just how low-key it is. The finale doesn’t necessarily shoot for outsized emotions. Instead, it makes things personal. We watch as Haley, Alex, and Luke reckon with what it means to be finally all living on their own. We see Mitchell step up to support Cam and take on a big move. We feel the conflicted emotions of Phil and Claire as they move from wanting one of their kids to move out, to lamenting their empty nest. None of this is remarkable, but I think that’s okay. It’s a finale that suits Modern Family as it is in 2020; a show that’s settled into old age."
  • IndieWire gave it "C+": "What the “Modern Family” finale ultimately proves is what we’ve all known for years: The show should’ve ended years ago, when it was better equipped to tie together all these subplots, characters, and themes. Now, we’re left with an ending that doesn’t really want to be an ending. Maybe that’s enough the casual family audience, but I have to believe modern viewers demand more."

References

Gallery