Alex is graduating middle school and is the Valedictorian of the class. Phil knows that Claire bottles up her emotions on adolescence until the next day after the event is over, but he doesn't have the time to hear her complain the next day. He tries to hint to her that she can let her feelings out now, but she doesn't catch on.
Everybody is gathered for Alex's graduation from middle school. She's the valedictorian, although it took a robot attacking the kid who built it to make that happen. But Phil and Claire aren't there. Where are they?
FOUR HOURS EARLIER
Alex would rather work on her speech than get her nails done, to which Phil is sympathetic. (Spanish Club debates) However, he's trying to get Claire to freak out. The reason why is because Claire always freaks out the next day at any of her kids' milestones and Phil is heading to Las Vegas with his old college cheerleading buddies. He can't cancel.
Phil should look on the bright side, as Jay can't even get in his house. Neither Gloria nor Manny get the concept of hitting 9 on the phone to open the gate and not to be on the phone at the same time. And Cameron thinks Mitchell is a wuss for freaking out when Alex was born, having seen the actual delivery. And then he falls into Lily's kiddie pool, eliciting a laugh from Mitchell that Cameron did not appreciate one bit.
Claire might freak out without Phil's help, as Alex refuses to let her fix her hair and will ask Haley for a ride to the ceremony. But just to be safe, he plants himself right in the way and makes sure Claire is OK. Meanwhile, Jay finally gets inside, and Gloria notices his eye was droopy. Jay thinks his dermatologist probably had some numbing cream on there while checking for any moles. Naturally, Manny freaks and gets on WebMD...on his mobile phone.
JAY: (interview) I got botox. Stupid doctor talked me into it, and now it's drifting. I haven't felt this dumb since I shelled out $30 for that bracelet that's supposed to give me better balance. (and yes, we get a fun demonstration of that)
Haley, thankfully, is there to stop Alex's speech, where apparently she's going to thank her classmates for treating her like she was invisible. Although she admitted it was her fault, as she concentrated on grades instead of looks, popularity, and skinny jeans. Haley tells her to just use song lyrics. She warns Alex nobody will ever talk to her again, and Alex was fine with that.
Mitch and Cam make it to Jay's house, where he has to reassure everybody he's not having a stroke. Mitch asks everybody if they think it was funny Cam fell into Lily's kiddie pool. They sided with Cam...while Cam was there. When he went inside, they admitted not laughing because Cam was embarrassed enough for the day. However, Cameron crashing into Jay's patio door...and then the screen door...Claire and Jay can't hold it in. Cameron is offended and Jay takes off his sunglasses to apologize. Now everybody sees Jay's droopy eye and panic. Finally, Jay has had enough and pulls Gloria aside, telling her he had botox done. Given he was just laughing at Cameron, Gloria finds it embarrassing for Jay...and her, for some reason. Jay goes back out, and his eye is looking worse. Mitch thinks it looks like a bad botox job, and everybody figures out Jay's secret.
As Haley and Alex make it to graduation, the rest of family gets stuck inside Jay's house because of his defective gate. Claire is starting to freak out, and Phil couldn't be happier. They try to force the gate open to no avail. However, Cameron needs a paperclip, some olive oil, and a ribbon. Cameron can fix the circuits with the paperclip and the olive oil...and the ribbon was for Lily's hair. But they don't go for that, nor for Mitch's idea of calling cabs, and there's not enough time to build a rocket. However, Jay had bought a four-seater bicycle for Gloria and Manny that they never used. Phil throws Claire over the fence, and she gets injured. He tells Jay to throw him over, and Jay really isn't up for it.
Haley confronts Alex again about her speech, telling her everybody has "stuff" to deal with in life. Hers is flunking out of biology. Haley's friends keep talking about going to college, and she isn't even sure if she'll get in.
HALEY: You know what? Give your stupid little speech, be an outcast. But you're only doing it to yourself, because you're smart, pretty, and sort of funny in a way that I don't really get but other people seem to enjoy. You can either start fresh next year or be the freak who flipped off her class.
ALEX: (stunned) You really think I'm pretty?
HALEY: Shut up!
Phil and Claire aren't having much luck with the bicycle, especially when the chain breaks. Cameron works on wiring the gate while Gloria confronts Jay about getting botox. He insists it isn't about her...and it isn't about another woman like she thinks.
JAY: Most of the time I walk around, and in my head I'm 40. Then I look in the mirror and say "Who's that old man? And what's he doing in my bathroom?"
GLORIA: It's my bathroom, too. And this is the face I fell in love with! Not this one (pointing to the botoxed side), this one (pointing to the other side).
Fortunately, the gate opens...and not because Luke opened it with his mind...and everybody can go. But Phil and Claire are stuck and it's still too far to run. And now Claire has her breakdown because Alex is going to high school. It was the same time when Haley went from being her angel to a "moody, texting, snotty little princess who hates me." Phil assures her they didn't lose Haley and won't lose Alex, but Claire wants to know if he remembers Haley hugging him in her Aladdin pajamas when he came home from work and asked Daddy to take her on a magical carpet ride. And now Phil was getting emotional.
And with Alex being the middle child, she will NEVER forgive them for missing the speech. Phil is prompted into action and flags down a truck and gets a ride to the school. And Phil's Spanish is very helpful...if the Hispanic people in the truck felt like using it instead of English. But they make it JUST in the nick of time. They have to tumble down a hill to get to it (and Cam laughs at them), but Alex gives her speech.
ALEX: I find it ironic that I'm up here representing my classmates when...they're so...awesome, they should be up here themselves. But I'm up here, and I'm saying stuff because everybody's got their...stuff...whether you're popular, or a drama geek, or a cheerleader, or a nerd like me. We all have our insecurities; we're all just trying to figure out who we are. I guess what I'm trying to say is don't...stop...believing...and get this party started!
Everybody cheers and the family wants to take her out for dinner, but Alex was invited to a party. She goes, but Haley could go for some dinner.
PHIL: Oh, my God! She's back!!
(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
- Gina St. John as Principal Kaizler
- Martin Morales as Driver
- Alex graduates from middle school.
- This episode has no recurring characters.