So what was the best thing about last night's "Ugly Betty
" ep? Hands-down, it was: Amanda, Amanda, Amanda. She got the best lines and shifted between catty, shallow, clueless, and then pretty darn sweet.
But anywho, the episode actually begins with a flustered Betty. She's still crushing on her neighbor, Jesse, and she's really cranked up the flirtiness dial. She waits in front of their building to give him an "extra" coffee that morning, and he casually gives her a demo of his band's latest songs. They make small talk and plan to get together at Betty's place later that night. Betty's puppy-love is clear - seriously, if she were a cartoon character, she'd have little red hearts exploding over her head.
When she gets to work, she finds a totally naked Amanda there. Apparently, Amanda has been kicked out of her apartment for back rent, so she's living at Mode now. Betty off-handedly suggests that Amanda go live with a friend or something. And, well, the next plot turn is obvious: Amanda lands on Betty's doorstep, belongings and Chinese Crested dog in hand. Sure, Betty is initially reluctant. But Amanda has nowhere to go (admitting that she doesn't have friends besides Marc), and nice girl Betty can't so no. So Betty goes across the hall and tells Jesse that they'll have to cancel their plans that night. It isn't long before Amanda has adorned the apartment with photos of herself. She walks around in her underwear and climbs in bed with Betty, claiming she "can't sleep."
At work, Betty confesses her love life problems to Christina. Amanda overhears just enough to surmise that Betty's got a secret crush. She jumps into the conversation to give a little advice - invite this mystery guy to the Mode Party for Global Warming.
It sounds like a good idea to Betty, so she later knocks on Jesse's door. She starts by explaining that she's been planning this big Mode party and that she's in charge of booking of the band, yada, yada, yada... Jesse jumps the gun and mistakenly thinks Betty is asking his band to play the Mode bash. He gets so pumped that Betty doesn't have the heart to tell him what she really meant.
Meanwhile, Marc's got love woes too. His boyfriend Cliff shows up at Mode and suggests they move in together. Marc gulps. His eyes grow wide. He hops out of his desk and scurries off, giggling about being busy and getting back to Cliff later. Ooooh. Marc's a commitment-phobe!
While Marc freaks out, Betty talks to Daniel about the misunderstanding with Jesse. Can Jesse's band play at the Mode party? Nope. Daniel's already booked Mariah Carey. (And like he's going to tell Mariah they need to bump her for Betty's neighbor's band.) Betty fills in Christina, and when Amanda approaches, and they give her the skimpy details too. So Amanda proposes they hold a Mode After-Party on the roof of Betty's building. Jesse's band can play, and Amanda can charge at the door (she's looking to pay off her credit cards).
As Betty makes these plans, the Daniel-Wilhelmina rivalry intensifies. Last week, the co-Editors-in-Chief hired Connor as CFO of Meade. Wilhelmina pushed for Connor because she believed that he and Daniel hated one another. Turns out, he and Daniel are tight pals from Harvard. Daniel has given Connor the freedom to exercise judgment, but he also assumes that if he and Wilhelmina disagree, Connor will break the tie in his favor. So Daniel's happy, and Wilhelmina is frustrated at having been duped. She gets Marc to dig up dirt on Connor, believing blackmail may be her best option. It's not all smiles for Daniel though. Claire alerts him that Connor and Wilhelmina have a private meeting scheduled for that evening. Daniel puts on a good face but privately questions Connor's allegiances.
At their meeting, Wilhelmina doesn't bring up the blackmail items, instead looking ready to concede defeat to Connor. Connor suggests they have a glass of scotch, and this soon launches Willy into a fantasy make-out session with him. (You knew it was a fantasy as soon as Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" started playing.) When the meeting is over, Marc points out that Wilhelmina didn't bring up blackmailing Connor because she's got a thing for him!
Speaking of Marc, he hasn't called back Cliff in three days. When poor Cliff finally tracks his boyfriend down, Marc admits that moving in together is a ginormous step and that he's freaked out. Hurt and disappointed, Cliff feels he made a mistake. He peels off, and we're left wondering, 'Is this the end of Marc and Cliff?'
The Mode After-Party starts off great. With a "South of the Border" theme, Betty uses old decorations from her quincinera. Ignacio does the cooking while Hilda supplies the sangria. Betty looks for Jesse to tell him that they're ready for the band to go on, but it Jesse has butterflies in his stomach. Lucky for him, Betty is the queen of pep talks (though she usually reserves them for Daniel). After her encouraging words, he goes upstairs raring to play. Before he leaves, he tells Betty how beautiful she is. Oh, and there they are - I think I could see those little cartoon hearts popping over Betty's head again.
Now the party really takes off. Marc is still feeling anxious about how he and Cliff left things. But Amanda says, hey, maybe the reason he didn't want to move in with Cliff is that Cliff isn't "the one." Jesse's band is really rockin', and he even dedicates a song to an unnamed special girl at the party. Now Betty is positively glowing, and Hilda tells her sis to ask the boy out already. Happy with all the signals, Betty determines to ask him out later that evening.
Also at the party, Wilhelmina, Daniel, and Connor inadvertently reconvene. Daniel has just learned that Connor met with folks at Conde Nast to discuss selling off some of Meade's less lucrative mags. This was something Wilhelmina had suggested but that Daniel had staunchly rejected. Here, Connor finally explodes. Pushing back on their petty bickering, he says that he's not going to cow-tow to either one of them. Selling off a few magazines is the best financial move. Wilhelmina starts to pull out the blackmail card, but Connor will have none of it. Reciting a long list of past mistakes, he argues that she can't blackmail him because he's not hiding anything he's done. With Willy and Danny put in their places, Connor walks off.
Wilhelmina soon tracks Connor down again. Apologizing, she explains that she resorts to blackmail when panicked. This explanation seemed a little weird to me, but Connor bought it. (Makes ya wonder... Is there more to this Connor guy than meets the eye? Does he have other motives?) Wilhelmina is still making goo-goo eyes at him when his cell phone rings, and he excuses himself. It's his fiancee calling.
Sigh. Wilhelmina's shoulders droop a little. She's pretty embattled in the love department.
Speaking of love, Marc is on the rebound and hooks up with a random guy at the party. Of course, Cliff shows up immediately afterwards, ready to make-up. In an emotional frenzy, Marc looks at his random hook-up then back to Cliff and blurts out, "Marry me!" Throwing his arms around Cliff, Marc looks a wee bit hysterical over what he's just asked. Cliff looks pretty touched though.
Meanwhile, Betty's hunting for Jesse. As she aimlessly walks into her apartment, she finds Amanda making out with her man! Shocked, Betty turns back down the hallway, and Amanda cluelessly starts to follow (with lines like, "I'll put a bra on the door knob next time!"). That's when Betty snaps. Through tears, she tells Amanda that she's officially kicking her out the apartment. Betty leaves, and Amanda stands uncharacteristically stunned and silent in the hallway.
Outside the building's entrance Betty is still crying. Daniel comes along, and she spills everything to him. Telling her that "men are stupid," he reassures that she really is beautiful. Awww. [Tear trickle.]
When Betty gets back in the apartment, she notices that it's trashed. Amanda then emerges from the back with a big bag of money she made off the party. She offers it all to Betty, thinking it could go toward rent. Betty doesn't soften much at first. But then Amanda says that the guy she kissed that night was stupid and not worth it -- and that she had no clue he was the one Betty liked. Now, Betty melts, and she decides that maybe Amanda can stay a little longer after all.
It's too bad about Jesse, but here's a "hooray!" for one thing: It looks like TV has a new odd couple. Betty and Amanda are roomies!
Ugly Betty Stars: America Ferrera
/ Eric Mabius
/ Alan Dale
/ Tony Plana
/ Ana Ortiz
/ Vanessa Williams
/ Ashley Jensen
/ Becki Newton
/ Mark Indelicato
/ Michael Urie
/ Rebecca Romijn
/ Kevin Sussman
/ Freddy Rodriguez
/ Illeana Douglas
/ Judith Light
/ Christopher Gorham
Story by Chelsea Fogleman
Starpulse contributing writer