Modern Family announced the death of a major character at the beginning of its latest Halloween episode, a death that had been teased since the summer.
In "Good Grief," Claire (June Bowen) is working on decorating her house with Phil when she gets a call from DeDe's (Shelley Long) husband with the news, which she, Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Jay (Ed O'Neill) are seen reacting to in shock at the same time.
"That was Jerry, my mom's husband," Claire tells Phil. "My mom's dead."
After the opening sequence, the family gathers to remember their fallen loved one.
"I can't believe Nana is gone," Haley says. Mitch then arrives at the house and he and Claire attempt to hug, but her elaborate spider costume makes it a little hard.
Claire realizes that Mitch is dressed as Prince Harry, but before she can ask who Cam (Eric Stonestreet) dressed as, Lily arrives and announces the arrival the Duchess of Sussex.
The adults start drinking as Cam and Phil (Ty Burrell) discuss how they will handle the emotional toll this will have on their spouses.
"You mean because the two most emotionally complicated on earth are facing the loss of the most complicated relationship in their lives?" Cam asks.
"We just have to be there for them," Phil says.
"It just feels inappropriate being dressed like this," Cam says of his pink Meghan Markle costume. "I should be wearing something darker with a capped sleeve."
"This is so surreal, I can't believe this," Mitch tells his sister. "I just talked to her right before she left, she was so excited about her trip to Greenland with her woman's group."
Claire reveals that in the call, Jerry said DeDe had a heart problem she refused to talk about, though they were not sure if that had been the cause of her premature death. The two siblings choose to avoid conversations about feelings by drinking and telling stories about their late mother.
Jay and Gloria (Sofia Vergara) later arrive and he comforts his kids. "Look I know that your mother and I had our differences but she was a good woman... and she had great legs."
"Oh really? That's your tribute?" Mitch says, Jay tries to continue the tribute but they stop him as he continues to fail.
Gloria has her own worries about DeDe passing away, remembering when she told her that she would haunt her after her death the day she married Jay. And it seems to be true, as she keeps finding a DeDe doll every time she opens the refrigerator.1comments
As the family members all honor DeDe in different ways, Claire reveals she received a voicemail from her a few days ago and she and Mitch listen to it together. In the message, she apologizes for making her angry in a previous talk and tells her she loves her. They both then hug Jay and tell him they love him, though Jay can only think about his sandwich — his way of coping with his ex-wife's death.