All aboard the Shenanigans Express! This week, the family takes the train to DeDe’s (a fabulous Shelley Long, back for a quick FaceTime session) wedding, but naturally, high jinks ensue when a) Phil and Cam run into their favorite author, b) Jay lets slip to DeDe’s future son-in-law that DeDe could get a bit, well, off-the-rails, c) Mitch tells Claire DeDe wanted him to write a toast instead of her, d) Alex meets a suitor, and e) Haley becomes the instigator of chaos for pretty much everyone. And that just about covers everything! Which means it’s time for…
Lesson of the Week
Don’t change just because you’re on a train.
Sure, it’s a specific rule for a specific situation, but everybody went kooky tonight over being on a train. I guess this isn’t much of a surprise — think of how much trouble they’ve been in just driving in their cars — but the Dunphys and Pritchetts have never taken well to transportation. I’m not just talking about Mitch, whose motion sickness leaves him stumbling between cars, but also about Luke, who thinks being on a trains means it’ll be easier to hook up with girls, and Manny, who thinks being on trains means wearing bygone fashions.
Their oddities were magnified in the adults, as Jay’s actions led him to deny that Gloria’s his wife (it was all to “prove” he still wasn’t over DeDe and was only insulting her out of jealousy), Phil and Cam badger author Simon Hastings to the point that the British writer would rather toss away his manuscript than think through his plot, and Alex — logical, rational Alex — even falls for James, a petty but extremely charming thief (played by Shadowhunters star and Sarah Hyland’s real-life boyfriend Dominic Sherwood), which in turn causes her to get a little too close to Manny. (Oof.) Chaos doesn’t begin to describe how much went wrong on this one train ride.
And yet, the ride wasn’t all about nuttiness. The Pritchetts, at least, grow closer by the episode’s end, as Jay eventually realizes that DeDe’s future son-in-law has just as many bad things to say about his father, who happens to have burned down his house during his last marriage. Concerned for DeDe’s wellbeing, Jay brings together the squabbling Mitch and Claire, reassures Gloria he didn’t forget she’s his wife, and the foursome agree to warn DeDe at the very least. Jay, Mitch, and Claire do their best to talk to DeDe, but of course, DeDe says she already knew. Oh well. Some trains just go nowhere — or something like that, anyway.
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Most Unexpected Combo
Phil and Cam
The spouses who married into the Pritchett family were brought together by the man behind the Silverton mystery novels, a series for which both are super enthusiastic. (Phil even writes fan fiction based on it.) But when the pair got to try and patch up the holes in the plot of Simon’s latest work — a murder on a train, conveniently — they put in enough effort to pretty much write Simon’s novel.
The Pritchett patriarch screwed things up at the start but did right by the end — even if it didn’t make a difference in DeDe’s life. Either way, as he puts it, “It’ll be ‘I do,’ ‘I do’ — I’m done.” In other words, it’s a win for Jay!
She may not have helped anyone with anything at all, but she was a one-woman show this week, wreaking havoc everywhere she went. First, she switched seats, allowing Alex to meet her false beau. Then, she pointed Gloria in the wrong direction, trapping her in the wrong car, unable to return to first class. She also wound up grabbing Alex’s fancy hat and plopping it on Lily’s head, driving Manny to think Alex was the one with a crush on him. And finally, she pokes one final hole in Simon’s plot, once more sending him into a creative abyss — until Luke saves the day by using his newfound geography knowledge (from a patient blonde he spots and tries to hit on but turns out to be a geography teacher). Who knew geography included trivia on horseshoe turns in railroad tracks?
Funniest Phil Line
There’s no way I could properly transcribe this one, but Phil’s reading of his epic fan fiction Silverton mystery titled “Open House, Closed Casket” was a highlight. Just look how dedicated he is:
Snarkiest Lily Moment
Lily totally drew parallels between Haley and Hurricane Harriet, the chaotic character in her children’s book, immediately. And yet, she tolerated Haley and only passive-aggressively egged her on.
Best Out-of-Context Screencap
Did Everything Turn Out Okay?
Mostly. The Pritchetts managed to smooth things over with DeDe’s future son-in-law, Simon Hastings can continue his next novel, and Haley can keep blowing through the world the way she always has. But I can’t imagine Alex and Manny moving on from this without always being a little awkward around each other, and Alex won’t be getting her wallet back from James anytime soon. And though Luke finally figured out how far away Lake Superior is from California, geography wasn’t the education he was hoping for. Although, in his case…it’s really best everything didn’t turn out “okay.”