Modern Family Recap: ‘Virgin Territory’

In a lighthearted, definitely-not-going-to-hurt-anyone’s-feelings brunch game, Mitch, Claire and Jay start revealing decades-old secrets to each other. In a shocking twist, someone’s feelings get hurt. Jay’s dismayed that what he thought was a golf hole-in-one was just Mitchell getting bored and lying. The sweet hole-in-one memory is “marred” forever, unless Mitch can go down to the golf club where Jay’s hiding and…accidentally out his dad’s fake hole-in-one in front of all his golf buddies. Whoops. It’s eventually resolved in the usual way, with Jay slipping in a revelation that he’s not as cold as he seems, and both of them moving on. I’d say these two have a fairly defined pattern to their relationship.

Meanwhile, could this be it? The Luke and Lily showdown that’s been bubbling behind the surface for a full season? Yes! Luke declares his vendetta against Lily! “We used to be the cute ones,” he tells Manny. “We need to take her down.” They construct an elaborate booby trap that ends up injuring only Cam and Lily’s blind-dolphin-feeding doll Beatrice.

I was majorly disappointed, however, to see that the vendetta ended after that, when Luke convinces Manny to take Cam’s car for a low-speed joyride to impress a girl (not just any girl, but “a dream, wrapped in a wish, poured into jeggings”). That’s a cute plotline and all, but what about the Luke and Lily War of 2012? I guess I buy the conclusion that they don’t need to compete with Lily because they’re grown-up “bad boys,” but I still feel a little cheated out of a confrontation.

Phil takes the little ladies (Alex, Haley, Lily and Beatrice) to the mall to visit the doll hospital. Due to a little mishearing of “Haley’s aversion” and a little hysterical laughter from Alex, Phil becomes the last of the Dunphys (aside from Luke) to learn that Haley is no longer a virgin. There’s a fair amount of double-meaning-speak when the two of them visit the doll doctor (“she was such a sweet little doll”), but ultimately Phil gets his message across to Haley by trusting her to pick a table in the food court. It’s a very sweet depiction of those moments when you just can’t say what you know you should, but you manage to communicate without the right words. What a cool dad.

And in other corners of the Dunphy-Pritchett-Tucker-Delgado universe, Gloria’s quest to spend time with Claire reveals that Claire’s “yoga” class is actually a gun range, Alex comes around to dolls, and Cam’s quest for an unreturned tupperware gets him into even more trouble, injury-wise. After last week, when I accused Modern Family of sometimes cramming in too many plotlines, this episode proved that lots of plotlines can work when all of them are original and fun…like a doll who feeds blind dolphins.

Modern Family Recap: ‘Virgin Territory’