While driving out to get breakfast, the Dunphys including Manny have a near death experience causing everyone to reevaluate their lives. Claire resolves to be more fun and less uptight, Haley and Alex agree not to fight anymore, Manny refuses to ever ride in a car again, Luke wants to check off his bucket list, Phil decides to be a take action type of guy and the rest of the family has to bear the brunt of all the new attitudes.
- It was a typical day at the Dunphy house. In other words, insane. Because the kids had no school, Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) were taking everyone, including Manny (Rico Rodriguez), out for breakfast. Claire had to deal with the drama of getting Mitchell to get a birthday gift for their mother, and nothing was going to stop Phil from listening to Hall & Oates. But then a garbage truck ran a stop sign and almost hit them, Phil skidding just out of the way. Needless to say, this affected everyone. Well, not Luke (Nolan Gould), who had his headphones on and didn't even notice. But Haley (Sarah Hyland) was in tears and was even hugging Alex (Ariel Winter), Manny was left to think, and Phil tried to take the high road and say that everyone was OK.
Claire, however, wouldn't leave it at that. She went right to Mitchell's (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) office and hugged him...and wouldn't let go. Not even to let him organize his schedule for the day. In fact, Claire was so not interested in schedules or work anymore, she took Mitchell's phone and wouldn't give it back to him, despite his entire office needing him to stick to his schedule. Instead, they went roller skating along the beach. Mitchell was not thrilled about it, and he was even less thrilled when they got to the overpass that he was too afraid to skate under as a kid because it was so dark. But Claire, who teased him mercilessly about it then, was determined to make sure he skated through it this time. And he did. Well, halfway anyway. They got separated and Mitchell got robbed by a homeless guy underneath the bridge. Fun time was over; he had to get back to the office, so he took her skates and skated back. And almost got hit by a car on the way back.
Haley and Alex appeared to have bonded over the experience. Alex promised to not make as much fun of Haley's intelligence (particularly behind her back), and Haley wanted them to get makeovers. Which they did, right down to waxing the hair on Alex's upper lip. Which apparently there was quite a bit of, based on the red that now occupied it. To say nothing about the two or three concussions she suffered on the way home because Haley made her take off her glasses, thinking they'd run into some cute guys. But Haley was fair; she wanted to take an interest in something Alex was doing. Which in this case was judo. Alex demonstrated a hip throw on Haley, which she thought was awesome. Until Haley admitted she threw out Alex's gym shoes and clothes so she would get a fresh start. To say nothing about taking a selfie that showed Alex in the background in pain from the waxing. And then Alex found out when Haley hugged her in the car and thought she lost her, Haley was referring to her mobile phone. The next hip throw wasn't as much fun. Which didn't even phase Claire, nor did Luke making a mess with his Mentos-and-soda jetpack. (part of the bucket list he was trying to finish) And then an alpaca walked by.
Manny was also shaken up by the near-death experience and was having trouble accepting the randomness of life. He was also feeling a bit of guilt because Gloria (Sofía Vergara) was robbed of her phone by a bicyclist the day before and he hadn't done anything to stop the thief. Still that somehow didn't stop Gloria from filing a police report.
GLORIA: This is Joseph's phone.
JAY: And this is why the terrorists hate us.
Jay (Ed O'Neill) thought he needed to talk about what just happened, but Gloria insisted on getting Manny some ice cream. Only Manny insisted on walking next to the car. Jay wasn't having it and insisted Manny get in the car. Of course, that didn't stop Manny from freaking out whenever a car got within a mile of them, so Jay told him to get out again...and get in the driver's seat. Gloria was out of her mind, but Jay insisted Manny needed to face his fear. Jay went through this already with DeDe and Mitchell's fear of the dark as a child. (JAY: He'd only blink one eye at a time. He gave girls a very wrong idea!) Gloria was ready to coddle as well, but Jay stopped them, and Gloria trying to climb over her own son to get in the driver's seat was...awkward. (I'm sure Rico was OK with it, but whatevs. :-D ) Manny never wanted to ever drive, but Jay said Gloria always wanted him to be his dad, and that's what he was doing. His own father made him get over his fear of a lake as a kid...and Jay resented the hell out of him for doing that. He relented, but Gloria spotted the thief who took her phone. This time, Manny was going to man up and he hit the accelerator to chase the thief. And almost ran over someone on skates (yes, Mitchell). BTW, the thief was never there; Gloria just wasn't thrilled about having to drive Manny everywhere when he was 40. Manny was a new man...and Jay decided he needed to walk home.
As for Phil, he realized he saved everyone from that dump truck. Suddenly he had no fear. So much so, he went to Gil Thorpe, who had stolen one of his listings and made sexual remarks about Claire, and went the full nine yards on him in front of one of his clients. Such as a malpractice attorney, some Xanax for the sleepless nights they'll have, and a promise to kill him if Gil ever disrespected his wife again. Cameron (Eric Stonestreet), who was going to play racquetball with him (PHIL: I was hoping to give him a nice spanking.), was quite impressed. And he was about to be even more impressed when Phil took Cam to the appliance store that delivered the wrong color dryer to Mitchell and Cam's house, but Mitchell didn't make the delivery driver get the correct one. Phil, however, was going to get that correct dryer for Cam and threatened the store to take the business of all of his real estate clients elsewhere. The store relented but they had no one to load the correct dryer onto the truck. No problem, Phil got down to his A-shirt and loaded that puppy onto the truck. And Cam was really liking this side of Phil. Then, as per usual, Phil took things a bit too far. He got an alpaca, Jolene II. (Yes, there was a Jolene I.) Cameron decided he had had enough, and the alpaca was, unfortunately, a spitter.
Everybody made it home, including the alpaca, and the family couldn't get over the change in Phil. But then, he knocked over a glass of milk he had poured for himself and started crying. He really wanted that milk, and despite his obsession for controlling things, he still couldn't control that. (Yes, he was crying over spilt milk.) But Claire could sympathize, given she was doing the opposite and having equally bad results. The whole family went in for a group hug, including Jay, who clearly needed one himself.