The return to the three plots per episode format reminds me that Modern Family works best when the show consolidates the characters. There's a lot going on in "Phil on Wire," but little of it felt important. Gloria off being annoyed at the dog and Phil managing to walk on a tightrope could have been taken out of the episode, because they contributed nothing to the episode (and Claire thinking Phil was showing his daughters what to do was a big stretch).
The main plot of the episode, Haley and Alex being in the same class, had much more substance, and I'd like to see it revisited in the future. Haley and Alex interacting is always great and this dynamic has lots of potential that the constraints of this episode tied down.
Mitch and Cam's plot was fun, mostly due to Eric Stonestreet and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, but the climax was the same as it is every week--one of them turning into a blubbering idiot. It seems like either one or both of them has to completely break down at the climax each week before calming down. Do the writers think that's why gay men do?