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Modern Family Wiki

Putting Down Roots is the ninth episode from Season 10 of Modern Family, it aired on December 5, 2018.

Plot Summary

Dede's widower, Jerry, comes to town to bequeath her possessions to the family. Mitch and Claire receive a little more of Dede than they really know what to do with, and Jay and Gloria feel sorry for Jerry and invite him to stay with them while he is in town.[1]

Episode Description

Jay, Mitchell, and Claire all watch as Jerry comes up the driveway full of items and knickknacks- DeDe's possessions. Jay receives a jar of sand, Mitchell a box of jewelry, and Claire DeDe's old sports car. Jerry then informs the three that DeDe's ashes were infused into a tree to give to her children. Claire refuses, leaving "DeDe" with Mitchell.

Alex, Luke, and Haley all observe what they were left from DeDe- a chest of toys from when they were children. Luke discovers a puzzle that Alex was never able to solve, but Luke was. Alex angrily takes the puzzle, and Haley discovers her old doll, which she gets emotional holding due to her pregnancy.

Mitch attempts to try to plant the tree in his backyard, which upsets Cam. Cam informs Mitch he had promised that the three of them would move back to Cam's family farm someday. Mitch tries to retaliate in bringing up promises Cam failed to keep, which Cam quickly delivers. The two continue to argue, Mitch finally admitting he never wants to move to the farm, upsetting Cam. While this happens, Claire and Phil deal with DeDe's car, Phil insisting on keeping it. Phil, hoping to convince Claire to keep the car, takes her on a joyride. While listening to an old tape, Claire remembers that she had lost her virginity in the car, which visibly upsets Phil.

Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria have an argument regarding Gloria's cousin staying with the Pritchett's for too long, when they discover Jerry has yet to leave. Gloria invites Jerry to stay with them, much to Jay's dismay. Jerry informs Jay he and DeDe never argued due to Jerry's passive nature. Jay, deciding to try Jerry's method, gives a heart-felt apology to Gloria. Gloria happily accepts, and apologizes back, much to Jay's delight.

Back at the Dunphy house, Haley is disheartened to see she has mangled the doll due to her irresponsibility. Alex, while trying to solve the puzzle, discovers that Luke had broken it so it could never be solved. Alex angrily attacks him, which Haley then breaks up. Alex questions Haley's odd behavior, which Haley tearfully tells Alex the truth: she's pregnant. Luke overhears, and Alex and Luke comfort their older sister, giving her words of encouragement.

Claire and Phil arrive back home, Phil now anxiously suggesting they get rid of the car. Claire longingly remembers a talk she had with her mother regarding her sexual activities in the car, and how cool DeDe had handled it. Seeing how much it means to Claire, Phil agrees to keep it. In an attempt to make Phil more comfortable, Claire and Phil begin to have sex in the car.

Jay, alongside Jerry, head to Mitchell's house to talk to "DeDe." While Jay apologizes for being so headstrong, Jerry yells at the tree all the anger he's kept inside. Mitchell overhears his father's apology, and decides to do the same to Cam. Mitch agrees that when they need to, they'll all move to the farm. As Cam begins to list everything a farmer has to do and watch out for, Mitchell begins regretting his decision.

Main Cast

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

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

Guest Starring

  • Ed Begley Jr. as Jerry
  • Marcello Reyes as Cal


  • This marks the first time that Dede's husband appears on screen. He shares this name with the Dunphy's former neighbor.
  • Manny and Joe do not appear in this episode, though Jay mentions Joe. Lily only appears in one scene.
  • For once, the press release didn't forget all the guest cast, as there are only two guests in this episode.
  • It seems as though Alex and Luke are the first characters to learn about Haley's pregnancy, however in the next episode it seems as though Luke does not know and in A Year of Birthdays Cam and Mitch accidentally tell Haley’s parents that they were the first to find out.


  • Jay and Gloria previously allowed Shorty to stay with them in "Sex, Lies & Kickball".
  • This is the second episode in which Haley, Alex and Luke receive an inheritance after "Goodnight Gracie" which was also an episode in which they lost their grandmother.
  • This episode was initially untitled "The Tree of Strife".
  • With this episode, the Dunphy at least own five cars, including Phil's, Claire's, Haley's, Luke's (which he obtained in "The Graduates" and this one Dede got them.
  • In "Crazy Train", Jerry was said to be a pyromaniac but here it was apparently forgotten as Jay and Gloria invite him, without thinking about this monomania.
  • Gloria's cousin was last seen in "American Skyper".
  • This is the second episode in which Claire and Phil are almost outside and never share a single scene with their kids who are inside (except from Haley at the very end) after "Fight or Flight".
  • This is the second episode after "Up All Night" in which Mitchell suffers from a broken ankle though this time his injury seems to be lighter.
  • Claire shares a scene with almost the parent cast, save Gloria. She is also seen barefoot for the fifth time after " The Cover-Up", "Ringmaster Keifth","Sex, Lies & Kickball" and "I Love a Parade" .
  • Ed Begley Jr and Ed O Neill share the same name and the character they portray married the same wife. Ed Begley Jr is also the second actor to have been played in Me, Myself and I and to have a role in Modern Family after Toks Olagundoye who portrayed Lucy in "CHiPs and Salsa".
  • Luke's pull-over is almost the same he wore in "Tough Love", an episode which was almost broadcasted exactly one year before this episode. Also in this episode, Haley also had a brief connection with a doll.
  • In "Weathering Heights", Luke said that Alex wasn't the nicest winner, but in this episode, it seems that he also is a sore loser.
  • Haley read bedtime stories to Alex in her youth and also dropped off Luke at school. In "Good Grief" which also was an episode focusing about Dede, Phil said that he dropped Haley at school. Plus in "Good Grief", Manny and Joe weren't featured, as it is also the case for this episode.
  • In Sarge & Pea , which also was a Dede episode, Claire won a fight against Mitchell.
  • With this episode, Haley becomes the only child to appear in every episode that feature Cal.
  • Claire cooked tomato soup in "The Escape" making this episode the second to have a woman cooking this, and for a Jay's relative.
  • This episode could be considered as a sequel of Good Grief.
  • Jay's phone got broken again after Farm Strong but not on purpose, this time.

Cultural References

  • While driving, Phil and Claire listen to the music "Born to Be Wild" from Steppenwolf.
  • Jay and DeDe met Jackie Gleason (of The Honeymooners) on their honeymoon. He made a "To the moon!" joke, and later Jay says "One o' these days!" to Gloria.
  • Luke looks at DeDe's old ViewMaster
  • Joe flushed his Aquaman.
  • Mitch's favorite move is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
  • Lily calls her fathers "yentas."


  • TV Fanatic gave it 3.5 / 5.0
  • The AV Club scored it "B+": Sarah Hyland does wonderful work as the panicked mom-to-be. She’s truly shining this season, finding a depth to Haley that nobody could have predicted was there.