‘Modern Family’ series finale recap: Leave the porch light on… they’ll come back

(LOS ANGELES) — It’s been 11 seasons since fans were introduced to and fell in love with ABC’s Modern Family, but the time has sadly come to say goodbye. The Emmy Award-winning series ended with a one-hour-long season finale on Wednesday.

The final episode started out with the house in chaos. Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) are living in a trailer in their driveway because Alex (Ariel Winter), Luke (Nolan Gould), Haley (Sarah Hyland), Haley’s boyfriend Dylan (Reid Ewing), and Hayley’s twin babies have taken over the house. After a hectic morning, Phil and Clare decide that the house is too crowded and that someone needs to move out. 

Chaos is swapped for excitement as Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) prepare for their housewarming party where they also plan to introduce their newly adopted baby boy. As the couple is prepping, Cam received a phone call and receives an offer for his dream job…in Missouri.

Not wanting to disappoint Mitchell and uproot their family, he keeps the news to himself until their party is in full motion and he can’t contain his excitement anymore. Cam blurts out the news as Mitchell is giving a speech to their guests. Mitchell initially puts on a front that he supports the move but, when Claire catches him alone, he admits that he only said that because he was put on the spot in front of so many people.

He eventually does come around and the two decide to move as Lily (Aubrey Anderson-Emmons) watches them sing karaoke. 

Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Jay (Ed O’Neill) are having some issues of their own, although it’s only due to a misunderstanding. Jay has been secretly learning Spanish so he could surprise Gloria, who thinks he is ignoring her because he has headphones on. When she finally confronts him, Jay replies in Spanish and drops the bomb that he’ll be going to Columbia with her to visit family for the summer. 

After witnessing Cam and Mitchell’s situation, Phil and Claire decide that they actually don’t want the kids to move out. However, when they go to deliver the good news, they are shocked to find out everyone has made arrangements to leave. Alex is headed to Switzerland with her research team, Luke for college and Haley and Dylan have found a cute apartment to independently raise their twins in. 

The whole family gets together to bid Cam and Mitchell farewell, but their flight gets delayed. This happens a total of three times. In between flight reschedulings, a series of last-minute bonding occurs.

Alex and Haley trick Luke into recreating a family video they made as kids, in which he portrayed their pet dog. Claire and Mitchell go on a mission to retrieve a skating trophy they won when they were little and Gloria gives Manny (Rico Rodriguez), who is heading off to pursue a film career, a poem while he’s enjoying a bubble bath. 

As Claire and Phil watch the kids load boxes out of their home, it starts to set in that they are really about to become empty nesters. Claire tearfully wonders what she and her husband will do now, to which Phil emotionally responds, “What people have always done: leave the porch light on…They’ll come back.”

Finally, it’s time to say goodbye. 

The modern family shares one last embrace before going their separate ways. Cam, Mitchell, Lily, and baby Rex are on their flight, Hayley and Dylan are in their new apartment, and Jay and Gloria struggle to get out of their lawn chairs as they watch Joe play. 

The show ends with the porch light going out in front of all of the houses, but after a pause, the Dunphy’s pops back on.

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