Modern Family’s season finale was centered around the death of Phil’s mother Gracie. The whole family makes the trip from California to Florida to be with the emotional Dunphy patriarch as he copes with his loss and attend the funeral.

When they arrive in Florida, Phil (Ty Burrell) is presented with a box that was left by his mother for him and the children. In it, he finds a letter in which his mom posthumously asks him to set his now-widowered father up with a woman named Annie who lives down the street. After an awkward encounter where Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil believe that she’s already shacked up with someone, Phil returns when he finds out it was only her brother. He begins to talk about his mother to Annie, who hugs him when he starts to get emotional.

Meanwhile, under the guise of traditional Colombian mourning practices, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) hides her face behind a black veil to match her ebony ensemble. Truth is, Gloria is a wanted woman in Florida; her old roommate turned their apartment into the headquarters of a prostitution ring and hadn’t taken her name off of the lease. Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) ends up volunteering to help her in court, and winds up litigating (successfully) for the rest of the people there to make their case before the judge using his best courtroom theatrics. Gloria’s case is also eventually dismissed, and Mitch gets motivated to quit his desk job and get back to litigation.

Cam (Eric Stonestreet), unaware of Mitchell’s new career plans, is mingling with a group of older women in a retirement village. What starts off as an innocent discussion about books, evolves into a game of scrabble, then descends into gossip-fueled chaos when Cam accuses one of the women of cheating. And then he slanders another woman for eating all the cookies, and another for drinking.

When Jay (Ed O'Neill) is introduced to a neighbor, he recognizes her as someone from his past. Turns out, the woman took his virginity in the days leading up to his deployment to war. After unsuccessfully trying to jog her memory, he discovers that he was but one of many young men for whom she provided the intimate sendoff.

At the funeral, Alex (Ariel Winter) rises to say a few words about her late grandmother, with whom she always felt a special kinship. She takes out the gift that Gracie had left her in the box, a lighter, and ignites fireworks on her behalf. Gracie’s message to Alex was that she had uncharacteristically stolen the lighter at a restaurant she had once worked at. A man saw her and told her the secret was safe with him. That man turned out to be her husband, Phil’s dad, Alex’s grandfather (Fred Willard). Message beneath the message: Breaking the rules sometimes has amazing consequences.

Filled with both laughs and tender moments of emotion, ‘Goodbye, Gracie’ was a great episode to cap off Modern Family’s fourth season.

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