S3 E20 The Last Walt

04/17/12 | TV-PG | CC

Phil and Claire struggle to tell Luke that their elderly neighbor, Walt, has passed away. The two of them were very close. As it turns out, Luke takes the news in stride. Actually, he has no reaction whatsoever. Claire, on the other hand, can't seem to stop smiling. It's an involuntary coping mechanism. It's also pretty freaky. Phil likens her to The Joker.

Luke makes his way over to Walt's house to swipe his TV. Okay, he didn't really steal it. Walt said he could take one thing after he died. Claire is disturbed at how emotionless her son is. She forces him to return the TV. While at Walt's place, a Meals-On-Wheels lady and a delivery guy stop by. Both are horrified by Claire's wide smile as she breaks the news of Walt's death. Claire, however, is relieved to hear that Luke will miss looking over to see Walt's TV on at night.

Cameron's dad, Merle (guest star Barry Corbin), is in town. Jay tries to get out of dinner plans because he doesn't like the guy. He feels that Merle treats Mitchell as if he were the wife in his relationship with Cam. This seems evident when Merle gives everyone new watches. Cam's is a big, strapping timepiece, while Mitchell's is more suited for someone with a "slender" arm.

The tension between the two dads spills over to their sons. Pretty soon there are two separate debates as to who is a more manly man. While putting a bed together, Jay and Merle lay their cards on the table. They eventually agree that both Mitchell and Cameron are equal in their relationship. It's a relationship they've struggled with over the years, but one they know they must accept out of love for their boys.

Haley persuades Gloria into letting her throw a pool party at her house as long as there's a responsible chaperone present. No problem. Haley asks her uncle to keep everyone in line. It's not Mitch. It's not Cam. No, Haley's Uncle Manny will be answering the call to duty. The kid's good. He knows where all the emergency exits are, and anyone who doesn't wipe their feet before entering the house will surely feel his wrath.

Walt's passing has Phil realizing that he hasn't experienced a lot of memorable moments with Alex. He persuades his daughter to join him as they toss Walt's old dog tags into the ocean. Too bad a seagull swipes them before they reach the beach. Phil is desperate to share a memorable event with Alex. That's why he drives 50 miles to a diner that serves the world's greatest milkshake. Unfortunately, the machine's busted.

The pregnant waitress is at the diner is way past her due date. What a memory it would be if her baby were delivered by a milkshake-deprived father-daughter team. That's why Phil makes lots of loud noises to try to induce labor. He fesses up to Alex that he's trying to be like Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon. He's the coolest dad ever because he wrote his daughter's initials on the lunar surface. Since there's no atmosphere, they'll be there forever.

Alex is truly touched by her dad's story. Then she's truly touched by an upset stomach from all the diner food. She vomits all over her side of the booth which sends her dad looking for a place to hurl, too. Alex will always remember this day, and not because of all the yacking. She'll never forget the time her dad went all-out to try to create a special memory for her. As for Phil, he gives Eugene Cernan a run for his money in the "coolest dad" category when he writes Alex's initials on the sign outside the Moonbeam Diner.

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