Putting Down Roots is the ninth episode from Season 10 of Modern Family, it aired on December 5, 2018.

Plot Summary

Dede's widower, Jerry, comes to town to bequeath her possessions to the family. Mitch and Claire receive a little more of Dede than they really know what to do with, and Jay and Gloria feel sorry for Jerry and invite him to stay with them while he is in town.[1]

Episode Description

As Jay, Claire and Mitch wait for Jerry's appearance, he actually shows-up with some "gifts" from his ex-wife Dede. Jay and his children learn that Dede's ashes have been infused in a tree. Mitchell decides to keep the tree at home, but argues with Cameron and while gardening, sprains his ankle. Cal, whose mouth is stuffed with gums, sees it and manages to makes Cameron understand that his husband is injured. Jay and Gloria argue because when Gloria's family wants to stay at Jay's, Jay never accept their them. He proves it by saying that her cousin was supposed to stay one day at their place and finally left after he stayed three weeks.

Jay and Gloria notice that Jerry is sitting alone in his truck and offer to let him stay a few days. Thanks to Jerry's help, Jay and Gloria finally recouncile and as both men mourn their ex-wife at Mitch's , Mitch actually hears them without being seen from his bedroom. And he also makes amends with Cam.

Meanwhile, Phil and Claire enjoy Claire's inheritance : An old car that Phil convinces Claire to use. As Phil drives with his wife, their mojo suddenly cames back and they're discovered as they emerge from their garage, by Mitch, Cam and Haley.

Haley, Alex and Luke also receive some Dede's legs including a trunk in which Dede loved to hide, a old doll which becomes temporary Haley's and a puzzle Alex never managed to solve, unlike her brother and sister. A guilty Luke confesses that he solved it and then broke and threw away some pieces from the puzzle in order not to make Alex win. This causes Alex to fight with him until Haley intervenes. And both Alex and Luke learn that Haley is pregnant, but remain supportive towards her.

Main Cast

(The characters striked out do not appear in this episode)

  • Jay Pritchett
  • Gloria Pritchett
  • Manny Delgado
  • Joe Pritchett
  • Claire Dunphy
  • Phil Dunphy
  • Haley Dunphy
  • Alex Dunphy
  • Luke Dunphy
  • Mitchell Pritchett
  • Cameron Tucker
  • Lily Tucker-Pritchett

Guest Starring

  • Ed Begley Jr. as Jerry
  • Marcello Reyes as Cal


  • This marks the first time that Dede's husband appears on screen. He shares this name with the Dunphy's former neighbor.
  • Manny and Joe do not appear in this episode, though Jay mentions Joe. Lilly only appears in one scene.
  • For once, the press release didn't forgot all the guest cast, as they're only two guests in this episode.
  • Alex and Luke are the first characters to learn about Haley's pregnancy.


  • Jay and Gloria previously allowed Shorty to stay with them in "Sex, Lies & Kickball".
  • This is the second episode in which Haley, Alex and Luke receive an inheritance after "Goodnight Gracie" which was also an episode in which they lost their grandmother.
  • This episode was initially untitled "The Tree of Strife".
  • With this episode, the Dunphy at least own five cars, including Phil's, Claire's, Haley's, Luke's (which he obtained in "The Graduates" and this one Dede got them.
  • In "Crazy Train", Jerry was said to be a pyromaniac but here it was apparently forgotten as Jay and Gloria invite him, without thinking about this monomania.
  • Gloria's cousin was last seen in "American Skyper".
  • This is the second episode in which Claire and Phil are almost outside and never share a single scene with their kids who are inside (except from Haley at the very end) after "Fight or Flight".
  • This is the second episode after "Up All Night" in which Mitchell suffers from a broken ankle though this time his injury seems to be lighter.
  • Claire shares a scene with almost the parent cast, save Gloria. She is also seen barefoot for the second time after "Ringmaster Keifth".
  • Ed Begley Jr and Ed O Neill share the same name and the character they portray married the same wife. Ed Begley Jr is also the second actor to have been played in Me, Myself and I and to have a role in Modern Family after Toks Olagundoye who portrayed Lucy in "CHiPs and Salsa".
  • Luke's pull-over is almost the same he wore in "Tough Love", an episode which was almost broadcasted exactly one year before this episode. Also in this episode, Haley also had a brief connection with a doll.
  • In "Weathering Heights", Luke said that Alex wasn't the nicest winner, but in this episode, it seems that he also is a sore loser.
  • Haley read bedtime stories to Alex in her youth and also dropped off Luke at school. In "Good Grief" which also was an episode focusing about Dede, Phil said that he dropped Haley at school. Plus in "Good Grief", Manny and Joe weren't featured, as it is also the case for this episode.
  • In Sarge & Pea , which also was a Dede episode, Claire won a fight against Mitchell.
  • With this episode, Haley becomes the only child to appear in every episode that feature Cal.
  • Claire cooked tomato soup in "The Escape" making this episode the second to have a woman cooking this, and for a Jay's relative.

Cultural References

  • While driving, Phil and Claire listen to the music "Born to Be Wild" from Steppenwolf.
  • Jay and DeDe met Jackie Gleason (of The Honeymooners) on their honeymoon. He made a "To the moon!" joke, and later Jay says "One o' these days!" to Gloria.
  • Luke looks at DeDe's old ViewMaster
  • Joe flushed his Aquaman.
  • Mitch's favorite move is E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
  • Lily calls her fathers "yentas."


  • TV Fanatic gave it 3.5 / 5.0
  • The AV Club scored it "B+": Sarah Hyland does wonderful work as the panicked mom-to-be. She’s truly shining this season, finding a depth to Haley that nobody could have predicted was there.