Modern Family: “Goodnight Gracie” Season 4 Finale Review

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Modern Family ended its fourth season with a poignant and darkly comic episode. But it was not without its flaws.

Goodnight Gracie shows the Dunphys dealing with something every family deals with at one time or another, death. Phil’s mother has died, meaning we got another episode with Fred Willard as his father. She left behind notes for Phil and his kids. Phil’s note said to set his father up with one of their neighbors, an odd final request of a wife.

Phil struggles with this but eventually learns why she chose who she chose. We don’t know if Frank will get together with her, obviously that couldn’t happen in one episode, but the door is open.

Alex, however, may have gotten the most noteworthy note of all. It only seems to say “This is a lighter” accompanied with a lighter, while Luke and Haley got a pocket watch and a necklace and a nice note. It was compelling for Alex, who kept saying how special their bond was, to try and figure out what it meant and doubt their relationship. Too bad it was robbed of us when the note was just stuck together and she found a full note inside. Sorry but that really robbed the story of any resonance, even with kind of a cute ending.

Gloria finds herself in some trouble with the law while in Florida. Mitch brings out his skills as a lawyer to defend her. This was another massive leap in logic, as Gloria had not been to Florida for years and Mitch was not officially a lawyer anymore.

The other two subplots faired much better. Jay recognized Frank’s neighbor and eventually realizes that she is the woman he lost his virginity to before heading to Vietnam. But she doesn’t really remember him, and presents him with gifts she received from other soldiers. “She sent more men to the war than Lyndon Johnson,” Jay says in a classic line.

Cam’s friendship with the old ladies at the club was quite funny as well. He gets involved in all of their drama in typical Cam fashion. Cam had some great moments leading to a funny little subplot to accompany the heavier A material in the episode.

Modern Family‘s fourth finale was a solid conclusion to a rocky season. The dark humor and the way in which the family dealt with the tragedy felt real. Despite a few lapses in logic, it was a solid and worthy finale. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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