As much as I enjoyed crotchety Walt, if his passing meant that last night's "The Last Walt" could exist, then it was his time to go. I've been hot and cold about this season of Modern Family, but this episode will stand out as a highlight for me thanks to every storyline involved. I know some people complain about simultaneously cramming every member of the ensemble into each episode while keeping them isolated, but I've grown to accept this as a fact of life and move on. The only thing I have trouble grasping is the realization that Luke (and the actor who plays him, Nolan Gould) is growing up before our eyes, and that teenage boys can quickly stop being cute very, very quickly. He's 13 now, both in real life and on the series, and it is freaking me out.
Anyway, let's jump in and look at what made "The Last Walt" quite so entertaining:
Claire and Luke
A seemingly happy Claire breaks the news to her son that his friend passed away. Luke seems unfazed at first, but eventually both of them work through their coping mechanisms and express what accepting death means to them.
Why It Worked: Claire got to be weird and hilarious without a total nag, and Luke managed to be funny and adorable without goofing around with Phil or blasting hokey lines about hating Lily.
Best Moment: "Wow, it's hot in here; it's like 80 degrees." "He did that so the Meals on Wheels lady had to take off her sweater." Though I did like Phil's master plan of how to gradually tell Luke about Walt's condition via an extended lie.
Mitch, Cam, Jay and Merle
Jay doesn't want to spend time with Merle (Barry Corbin). Merle doesn't want to spend time with Jay. As it turns out, they both want their respective son to be the "husband" of the relationship
Why It Worked: Instead of focusing on the bickering between the couple (except on the issue of cow beds, which I'll allow), the resentment came from their fathers. Personally speaking, it's easy for me to forget that Modern Family is revolutionary as far as network sitcoms go. Watching the two ultra-masculine fathers admit their issues about their sons being "gay for each other" was a nice reminder of that, as they handled the subject matter well.
Best Moment: The aforementioned conversation about which partner was the "wife." As far as comedic moments: The laugh-off between Jay and Merle, with Mitch and Cam mistaking it for actual joy was hilarious, as was Mitch calling Jay out for lying, and noting, "Mervis isn't a name; Mervis is a sound."
Phil and Alex
After learning that Walt's estranged daughter rejected his last requests to throw his dog tags in the ocean, Phil makes it his mission to create a nice memory with Alex -- ideally "the time we delivered a baby."
Why It Worked: Besides the fact that Phil can basically do no wrong when a pesky animal is involved, this plotline had a very sweet emotional core combined with really funny interactions with a pregnant waitress.
Best Moment: After the moon name-carving story, the reveal that they were at Moonbeam Diner, and the "AD" Phil signed. I'm such a sucker.
Haley, Manny and Gloria
Haley scams everyone in her family into allowing Manny, her "uncle," to chaperone a pool party at Jay and Gloria's. When Gloria catches her in the lie, she screams at him for not having enough fun and at Haley for manipulating everyone.
Why It Worked: Did it? Manny was cute and everything, but I was just not buying anything coming out of Gloria's mouth... except for the story about Manny giving out paperwork for imperfect block structures.
Best Moment: Basically everything Manny said and did during the party, my favorite being: "I believe I was clear the bedrooms were off limits. Young lady, I don't think you're ready up here to do what you're planning to do up there."
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