Okay, so last week was good. But in six years of an increasingly rusty show, we've learned to take these as blips. So is this a blip? We'll see.
Apparently spurred by their sexy Valentine's Day, Claire and Phil are returning from a weekend away. They are offered one seat in first class. Phil assumes they'll stay together, but Claire takes it without a thought. Turns out she didn't enjoy the trip so much - it was a buddy trip with Phil's old co-cheerleaders, and it drove her nuts. She complains about it to her seatmate, who was probably on some show I watched once but I can't remember which one. The seatmate helpfully gets her a drink and hot towel. Best seatmate ever. Dull joke about how shitty economy is, and we're off to the races! Or rather, the opening credits.
Cam and Mitch throw a baby shower for Sal. Wait, is this the baby she had over half a season ago? Did they retcon the baby's age, or are Sal's friends just that lazy with planning? At least we get a cameo from Elizabeth Banks, and PEPPER! Hi, Nathan Lane, please do stay forever. You big stereotype you.
Okay, turns out that Sal's been hard to pin down, which is fair, since she seems like a bit of a drifter. By the way, baby Sammy is not black, as she predicted he would be during the wedding episode. Her fiance must be relieved. To everyone's surprise, Sal appears to have really settled down, refusing alcohol because she's still breastfeeding. (In fact, most of Cam and Mitch's friends are refusing alcohol, due to a terminal case of being boring.) Within a few minutes, she's established as a classic sanctimommy. "How does she breastfeed him if she doesn't let him near plastic?" Pepper wonders.
At Jay and Gloria's, home of the pointless plotlines, Manny has a fever. Wow, so interesting. Gloria overreacts to his face, but when he leaves the room, she decides that he's faking it, probably because someone is picking on him. In cooking class. Gloria encourages Jay to encourage Manny to fight him. I don't get this so let's move on.
Luke is apparently juggling a whole bunch of girlfriends, because apparently girls are extremely hot for wooden facial expressions. He has just dumped a girl for silly reasons - well, okay, he hasn't officially dumped her yet - so his sisters lecture him on being a Stupid Boy. He sees nothing wrong with the situation. Boys.
Phil struggles with a series of annoying people in economy. However, the situation pays off when he finds himself sitting between a masseuse and a magician. Awkward threesome? Imminent. Meanwhile, Claire's seatmate and new best friend brings her back to civilization, complete with trashy magazines and neck pillows. However, the woman appears to be a bit of a bitch. Make that a lot of a bitch.
The cleanup from the baby shower takes a while, so Pepper gets his boyfriend to help them. They discuss the new Sal. Pepper misses the "drunken whore", Cam thinks it's sweet, and Mitchell thinks it won't last. Just then, Ronaldo (the boyfriend) announces that Sal isn't in the house, the drapes are open and her car is gone. "That gin-soaked tart abandoned the little bastard!" Pepper announces. God, I want a Pepper spin-off, or at least a column in theÂ New York TimesÂ called "Bon Mot".
Now that the episode has suddenly turned into Four Men and a Baby, Mitch tries to track down the absent mother. No luck. Everyone coos over little Sammy. There is a delightful bit with Eric Stonestreet attempting to keep dreadful news positive with a baby voice. Unfortunately, it looks like baby Sammy has no mother anymore.
Claire's seatmate is wasted and eating strong cheese. Claire is about to lose it. I just want cheese now. She even tries to get Claire to join the mile-high club with a guy across the aisle. As part of a magic trick, Phil goes up the aisle and runs into Claire, who wants to switch seats. That's what you get for abandoning your husband to economy, crazy lady. Phil lies about his seatmates to make them less appealing, then sends her back with some fake turbulence.
Jay teaches Manny how to fight. This plot sucks. Though the clips of Gideon taunting Manny in cooking class are kind of hilarious. Who knew butternut squash was so sensitive a topic. Gloria takes over, and turns out to be much better at it, though she unconvincingly claims it was Jay's idea.
Alex sent Luke's girlfriend a breakup text for him, and she understandably doesn't take it well. Alex is personally offended by this for some reason. I can't even with this plot, either.
Cam and Mitch try to decide what to do after Sal's escape. Cam tentatively suggests that maybe this is for a reason - they are trying to adopt and did want a boy, after all. (Sal's partner, by the way, seems to be off the scene, judging by some comments during the party.) Mitch finds this monstrous. Cam brings up weird baby-related Bible stories (Jesus, Moses, Isaac) to convince him. And yeah, God does hate babies, doesn't he?
Unfortunately, Pepper chimes in at that moment, saying that he and Ronaldo have decided to keep the baby instead. That's right - we're going to have a Baby War, but if Pepper wins, my heart is screaming SPINOFF. Meanwhile, Claire goes back to economy and is outraged to find Phil getting a massage and learning card tricks. She pitches a fit, even though this is all technically her fault. Actually, Phil tries to call her out on this, but then she just whines about how horrible her weekend with Phil's friends was. Man, IÂ cannotÂ get over how much I hate Season 6 Claire.
Jay brings Manny to cooking class and tells him to "walk in there like a badass" and give Gideon something to think about. Gideon asks Manny if he wants a "piece of this", to which Manny turns around and breaks his nose. DAMN. Bleeding and wailing, Gideon informs him that he only wanted to share a bite of his apple crumble, as he felt bad about teasing him. What's more, he's in therapy over his parents' divorce. Jay comes out to congratulate his son on being violent. Manny tearfully explains the situation. Jay promptly blames it all on Gloria, because EOTSIATP.
Pepper still wants the baby, even though he has absolutely no idea what to do with it. Cam chides him on being so hasty, completely ignoring how he was behaving a few minutes before. More arguing back and forth. Pepper and Ronaldo wind up staging a sit-in on the couch, refusing to leave without baby "Felipe".
Claire goes back to her seat to find Phil sitting there. That's right, she won. Bleeaargh.
Jay and Manny arrive at the house determined to end Gloria's dominance once and for all. Manny tells her that he was expelled from cooking school, and Jay informs her that she's a bully. She wins, obviously, but they claim a moral victory.
The two couples continue to sling mud at each other over little Sammy. Pepper claims they're poor and ignorant, Mitch says they're prepared for a child's needs. Again, PEPPER-WITH-A-CHILD spinoff, people. At this moment, Sal waltzes in, completely confused as to why everyone on earth is adopting her baby. Turns out she had heard the Blackhawks were in town. Sammy's actual dad is on the team and didn't know about Sammy's existence, so she went to tell him about it. Apparently, she told someone, but he was super drunk. The father is married and didn't take it well. She is outraged that they would doubt her parenting skills, especially since she's insecure about it herself. Especially since Sammy has no dad. The four guys all volunteer to be Sammy's dads. It's adorable. Come on, everyone, group hug.
Tag scene - Luke continues to have girl problems. Cool I guess.
Too many plots (too many plots)! The kids were barely in the episode, Gloria and Jay were pretty mindless. Phil and Claire provided a couple of weak ha has, but let's face it, it got slow after a while. The only true gem was the baby shower, and then mostly because Nathan Lane killed it (and Ronaldo, too). All in all, one out of four ain't bad for season six. Keep going, and maybe next episode you can bring back Shelley Long?