This summer has been exceptionally blissful in the Dunphy house, Alex is away on a humanitarian trip and the rest of the family is getting along swimmingly, but when Alex comes home, there is an immediate shift in mood. Elsewhere, Mitch and Cam have returned from their honeymoon and Mitch is acclimating to real life much quicker than the still lovey-dovey Cameron. And, Gloria has taken issue with how little effort Jay puts into his appearance and decides to give him a taste of his own medicine.
It's Jay and Gloria's anniversary and they can't seem to get on the same page on what kind of gift to give - sentimental or expensive? And, the Dunphys head to Caltech for Alex's college tour and while Claire is busy convincing her to choose this school and stay close to home, Phil, Luke and Haley branch off to participate in a psyche experiment. Mitch and Cam are taking a new family portrait with Lily to replace the old one above their mantel, but Lily gives some serious face.
Phil is putting together Mitch and Cam's wedding video for a special family screening, but when the footage reveals that he is responsible for a horrible cold that has plagued the family, he must do some creative editing. Jay and Gloria have different ways of helping Manny cope with the stresses of high school football, while coach Cam struggles between whether or not to bench him. And, Mitchell gets strangely competitive with Lily's new friend, Sydney, who is clearly a genius.
The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high.
Phil is selling the house next door and he and Claire are excited by the prospect of having wonderful new neighbors, but that quickly turns into panic when a loud and obnoxious couple come to look at the house. Jay forbids Manny to see his new girlfriend when he realizes she's the granddaughter of his biggest business rival, leading to a clash of the closet titans. Elsewhere, Mitch and Cam are determined to switch Lily out of Mrs. Plank's class since she is known to rule with an iron fist - not to mention she scares them too.
Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider.
Phil and Claire don't know if they should be happy or concerned that Haley and Andy are spending a lot of time together, however, they soon find things are not what they appear. Gloria is pushing Manny to learn Spanish instead of French so she goes ahead and hires a Spanish tutor, Diego, who also happens to be very handsome, much to Manny and Jay's chagrin. Meanwhile, Mitch and Cam meet a popular news reporter at a school function and one of them peaks her journalistic interest.
Phil cooks for Thanksgiving and enlists Luke as his sous-chef, but Claire secretly prepares another turkey when she doesn't trust them to get the job done. Meanwhile, Jay and Gloria's holiday travel plans fall through, though they come to regret not telling anyone about it; and Cameron comes up with an unusual idea to make Lily wear a dress for dinner.
When Alex tells Phil and Claire she has a boyfriend, they worry they've put too much pressure on her and has made up an imaginary boyfriend. Jay and Gloria both have parties that they are dragging the other to and Jay has a clever plan to get himself out of it, but Manny just might spoil everything. Mitch and Cam just got a beautiful white couch delivered but when Mitch is stuck helping out Brenda, a distressed co-worker, and allows her to stay - it is a mishap waiting to happen.
Haley is turning twenty-one and the whole family is taking her to a bar to celebrate! Claire really wants Haley to start seeing her as a friend rather than her uptight mom, Mitch and Cam make the sad realization that they may not be as cool as they thought, and Phil and Jay's quick pit stop to pick up Haley's gift, a new car, becomes a disaster. Back at home, Alex, Luke and Manny babysit Lily and she decides to drop the 'where do babies come from?' bomb.
While driving out to get breakfast, the Dunphys including Manny have a near death experience causing everyone to reevaluate their lives. Claire resolves to be more fun and less uptight, Haley and Alex agree not to fight anymore, Manny refuses to ever ride in a car again, Luke wants to check off his bucket list, Phil decides to be a take action type of guy and the rest of the family has to bear the brunt of all the new attitudes.
Claire is furious about neighbors Ronnie and Amber's eye-sore of a boat on their front lawn and it soon becomes an all-out war when Phil calls in the "big guns" as back up -- his dad Frank and all his retired friends to give them a taste of their own medicine. Elsewhere, Jay is trying to potty train Joe but Gloria does not think he's ready yet, and Cam secretly takes Lily to clown school behind Mitchell's back.
Phil is starting to feel the teenage cold shoulder from Luke, and with Andy hanging around a lot recently as his apprentice, he easily steps in as his new right hand man. Meanwhile, Gloria and the doctors suspect that Joe might be allergic to Stella which leaves Jay in a very tough predicament, and Mitchell is doing some freelance legal work at Jay's closet company and working with Claire becomes a very enlightening experience for the both of them.
Valentine's Day is here again which means "Juliana" and "Clive" are back, however, things get worrisome when Claire starts sensing Phil may be more into Juliana than her! Elsewhere, Jay goes from feeling disappointed to scared when Gloria's visiting sister, Sonia, becomes a larger deterrence for a romantic evening with Gloria than he thought. And, Mitchell and Cameron get themselves in a very precarious situation with their good friend Anders.
After a long reunion weekend with Phil's old cheer buddies, Claire jumps at the chance to snag the only first class seat left on the return flight home leaving Phil in coach and both have completely opposite experiences. Meanwhile, Gloria forces Jay to teach Manny how to defend himself against a bully in his cooking class, but when things backfire it seems that the real bully might be someone else. Mitch, Cameron, Pepper and the whole gang throw Sal a belated baby shower and they are all blown away by how motherhood has changed her, or has it really?.
Claire's computer becomes the hub of all the family's activities when she gets stuck at the airport and is desperate to reach Haley after a big fight. After FaceTiming with Phil and the rest of the family to help track her down, Claire quickly turns to online snooping which inevitably becomes disturbing real quick and everyone gets sucked into the online drama.
Jay and Claire scramble to shoot a Pritchett Closets commercial in response to their competitor's new and catchy ad, but there might be some creative differences between father and daughter. A peeping-Tom in the neighborhood keeps using a drone to spy on Gloria sun-bathing so Phil, Luke and Manny make it their mission to take it down. Elsewhere, a tone deaf Lily prepares to perform in her school talent show and Cameron is more worried about it than she is, and Haley's feelings for Andy become even more complicated when he gets rushed to the hospital with appendicitis.
Spring break has Claire doing some spring cleaning, while Phil struggles with not being a spring chicken when Luke starts outperforming him at seemingly everything. Haley takes Alex to a music festival to take her mind off of colleges, and Gloria and Jay challenge one another to give up Spanish soap operas and cigars respectively. However, when Gloria accompanies Cameron to his faculty talent show, she projects the soapy drama she craves onto Cam's rivalry with Senor Kaplan, and Jay tags along with Mitchell to pick up Lily from camp so he can sneak a smoke.
Jay's birthday brings everyone together and Phil is beside himself over the super cool gift he got Jay, a high-tech outdoor grill. Claire and Mitch decide they will "offer" to pay back the money Jay loaned them ages ago as their gift not really thinking he will take them up on it, and Gloria teaches Manny and Luke a lesson about drinking, while Andy gets real awkward with Haley when she brings over her new doctor boyfriend.
Jay agrees to sub in on Cam's bowling team for the finals but Cam was not fully upfront about it being an all gay league, which puts Jay in a precarious position. Phil and Claire have a surprisingly good time with unlikely dinner companions, their neighbors Ronnie and Amber, and Gloria and Mitch agree to go clubbing with Haley to prove they're still young and fun but they didn't anticipate the pre-party portion of the night.
Phil and Jay run an errand together to pick up Lily's hand me down princess castle for Joe, both though are in a mood because Phil is upset that Claire won't let him buy a videogame console, and Jay thinks Gloria is letting Joe play with too many girlie items. Mitch and Cam babysit Joe and both get the itch for another baby -- that is until Joe presents to be quite the handful! Meanwhile, Gloria tries to help Haley stand up for herself at work, and Claire tries to bribe Luke's principal to give him one of the student awards this year.
Alex's worst nightmare is realized when she gets news that she has to share the Valedictorian title with her number one competitor, Sunjay! Both sets of parents get equally caught up in the rivalry and convince Principal Brown to let them break the tie via a gym grade they both have not completed - a one mile run. Elsewhere, Gloria is studying for her upcoming U.S. citizenship test and a visit from Javier throws her off her game, and Mitch and Cam blindly agree to join a protest against a local restaurant that they are actually secretly excited about.
The family is determined to make Alex celebrate her senior ditch day and Phil, Luke and Haley forcefully take her out but end up at an unexpected detour. Claire is torn when she gets a job offer from a big hotel chain but feeling torn quickly gets replaced with feelings of confusion when she can't tell whether or not Jay really cares if she stays or goes. And with Manny groggy off of pain killers from his wisdom teeth procedure, Gloria seizes the moment to put a sabotage plan into effect to break Manny and his new girlfriend up.
The whole family is at Jay & Gloria's for Alex's graduation party, except for Phil, who ingeniously figured out a way to be there via skype and a robotic vessel after being unexpectedly detained in Seattle on a business trip. During the celebration, Jay frets about Gloria's cousin who has overstayed his welcome, Claire stresses out about giving Alex the perfect gift, Mitch hides news of being laid off from Cam and Andy's girlfriend, Beth, is in town stirring up a whole lot tension with Haley which finally leads to a realization that may have come too late.