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When a Tree Falls - Recap

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The episode begins and Haley is off to do community service for her assault on a cop. She isn't much for picking up garbage, but she loves what the orange safety vest does for her. Alex may be enjoying this, but Luke's got Haley's back. In the meantime, Cameron comes home to tell Mitchell they were cutting down the tree at the park where they always picnic. Even Lily thought it was a nightmare. Cam goes to give the tree one final hug goodbye, and the next thing you know, he's climbed up it. And Lily thinks that’s a nightmare. Cam thinks he needs to show Lily the value of what's important.

And he'll do that just as soon as Mitchell takes his place in the tree. He has to go replace someone at a play where he is an understudy. Mitchell refuses, but Cam points out the tree is where Lily first rolled over, where home base was when they played hide-and-go-seek, and where they took shelter from a terrible lightning storm. Lily hears all this, and begs Mitch to save the tree. Claire takes Gloria on a Costco run at Jay's request because Gloria has a serious case of “pregnancy brain”. He takes Manny to a classmate's party; the same one Luke and Phil are attending. It's an Olympic-themed party, and Manny is only invited to represent Mexico which offends him, since he's from Colombia. Manny doesn’t want to do it, but Jay insists he get out of his comfort zone once in a while and have fun outdoors.

And take off the wingtips and change into his sporty shoes. Jay is all set to drop Manny off and leave, but it turns out the sports party involves the fathers as well. Jay hangs around and starts getting used to the insulting back and forth. Phil chides him about being a technophobe and Jay fires back about Phil not being able to drive a stick shift. In the meantime, Alex decides she wanted revenge for a bad pic Haley took of her and posted on Facebook by posting a pic of Haley picking up garbage along the highway. The plan works, until a truck scares her smartphone out of her hands and into a sewer. Haley on the other hand talks with a co-worker on community service and finds a gold bracelet, Alex falls into the mud, gets her hand stuck in the grate, and has a bag of garbage thrown on her.

Mitch is doing a pretty good job of saving the tree, even convincing a cop he is just doing this to support his partner. The cop agrees; his therapist says the same thing. But Mitchell realizes it is something he has to do and there are so many good memories of the tree. He is ready to go all night to save the tree, until he is told there are a hundred rats hidden in it. Clair tells Gloria pregnancy is tough; she couldn’t remember her own name when she was carrying Alex because there were two humans fighting for all of the resources. “What about Haley and Luke?” Gloria asks. “No, they were ok. Pretty much let me do my thing” Clair replies. But Claire insists Gloria focus on what she is doing. Later, Claire is taken into custody for shoplifting a hoody out of Costco.

Turns out, Claire put it on in the store and forgot to take it off before she left. “Listen, mister policeman, if we really wanted to steal it, you wouldn't even know it was gone” Gloria says. That doesn’t help Claire's cause. Jay continues at the party with some great Phil stories, including one where Phil went all Lloyd Dobler on Claire when they were kids, only the boom box played Olivia Newton-John's Let's Get Physical, which prompted Jay to turn the sprinkler on him. Phil is still upset for getting his boom box broken and Jay never replaced it. So Jay thinks they should get in the ring over it. If Jay wins, Phil would have to do his "Let's Get Phil-sycial" dance in front of everyone. “I never thought I'd say this, but I'd rather box my daughter's husband than my son's” Phil says.

But, it turns out Jay forgot they wore oversized gloves and Phil is holding onto a lot more anger over that boom box than anybody realized; even him. Jay later apologizes for giving Phil crap and is upset that in 25 years, they still can’t communicate. Manny is making inroads with the other kids in much the same way Jay did. Cameron returns to the tree, complete in his costume from Cats, Claire pleads her case at Costco to the manager but he thinks Claire is just another one of those bored housewives looking for a thrill. He even thinks Gloria's baby is really a turkey she stole. Just then Gloria’s water breaks. He as a result changes his tune quickly, and Claire and she get out of there. Turns out, Gloria was faking it, using a water bottle she got from the store.

She didn't want Claire to have to go through what she did just over one stupid thing. Although, Claire would appreciate if Gloria could do it one more time for the cop that is pulling her over for running a red light. Cameron wins his fight. The city workers go home for the weekend, giving Mitchell a chance to call City Hall on Monday to try to get an injunction.

Mitchell is very proud, and Cameron is happy to get down. Until he gets his costume tail caught and is now hanging from the tree. Alex finally retrieves her phone, only to have it run over by the guy who is taking Haley out on a date. Eventually Cam gets down and the tree is saved. The incident even makes the papers. The episode ends at this point.