Another week, another episode of "Ugly Betty
" in which Betty winds up a flustered mess. With all the big wigs and editors at Mode leaving for an annual Editors Retreat, Betty convinces Daniel to let her do final approval for the upcoming issue. The cover theme is "Eye of the Fashion Storm," and she sees a big career opportunity in the works.
While Betty makes career inroads, Wilhelmina still pines after Connor - in her own diva way, of course. At the retreat, Connor speaks to the group about Meade's marketplace struggles. The company's magazines aren't pulling in enough money, and he asks the group for "bold" ideas on turning the company around. Trying to focus on anything but Connor, Wilhelmina fiddles with her cell phone. Always delighted to irk Willy, Claire suggests the first bold idea: that they all hand over their PDAs and cell phones to limit distractions. Connor deems it an excellent idea, and the retreat attendees lose their communication lines.
Betty feels proud of approving Mode's latest issue, and she even takes a celebratory photograph of herself at the loading dock. But, back at the office, she sees the news on TV. Tornadoes are ripping through Kansas! Being that Mode's "Eye of the Fashion Storm" cover depicts a "fashion tornado," Betty panics. She scurries back to the loading dock to avert a PR catastrophe and tells the man there that the issue cannot ship. But the dock worker is dubious about Betty's authority and says that he needs orders from Daniel or Wilhelmina to delay shipment. After a little negotiating, Betty finagles four hours to track down Daniel. Otherwise, the issue ships as is.
Of course, the folks at the Editors Retreats don't have their cell phones anymore, so Daniel is unreachable. As Betty tries to call him, Daniel wanders around a wooded area, searching for a "bold" idea as Connor requested. He gets a surprise when a cute blond suddenly falls out of a tree and smacks him. (She is, apparently, a free-spirited, kid-at-heart tree-climber.) She twists her ankle on the fall, and Daniel helps her hobble toward the lodge, flirting all the while. Nearby, Wilhelmina and Connor meet while hunting (what they're hunting for, I have no clue). They chat until they notice Daniel and the Mystery Girl -- who is actually Connor's fiancee, Molly. Whisking her into his arms, Connor carries Molly back to the lodge. Daniel and Wilhelmina look dejectedly as their respective crushes leave together.
Back in Queens, Hilda has career setbacks. She has applied for a business permit for her salon at the advice of client and city councilman Archie Rodriguez. But her permit is rejected, and she feels bitten in the butt for being law-abiding. Not willing to lose her business, she decides to open an underground Salon Speak-Easy, complete with passwords at the door.
By now, it's clear that Betty is not going to reach Daniel on his cell phone. Desperate, she decides to drive to the lodge to tell him about their "Eye of the Fashion Storm" predicament. Naturally, Marc doesn't want to be outshined by his fellow-assistant, so he insists on joining her. And Amanda tags along because, well, she can. The three Moders pile into Cliff's car (which Marc has borrowed) and speed toward the retreat. Confined to the car, Amanda asks Marc about his and Cliff's upcoming wedding -- a topic that makes Marc instantly jittery and evasive. Then, as Amanda snoops around Cliff's glove box, she finds a receipt for two wedding rings from Tiffany's. Amanda and Betty squeal in excitement. Marc squeals in panic. Before you know it, he has lost control of the car and crashed into a tree.
Running out of time, Betty leaves Marc and Amanda by the roadside and runs toward a store they passed earlier. When she arrives, she asks the store's cashier if he can drive her somewhere. She'll even pay him. But he has three DWIs and can't drive, leaving Betty seemingly stranded in a podunk little town. She seems briefly disheartened, but then a little boy hits her with a toy airplane, and she gets an idea. Using Daniel's credit card, she hires a sky writing company to write "DANIEL CALL BETTY" in the sky above the lodge. The plan works, and Daniel wrangles back his cell phone to call his assistant.
Daniel prepares to call the loading dock and stop the new Mode issue from shipping, but Wilhelmina suggests they do otherwise. They let the issue hit the newsstands, and, before Betty knows it, the controversy is all over the news. Why is Mode so insensitive to the tornado victims in Kansas? When Betty arrives at work, the press awaits, and they've learned that she approved the issue. Daniel tries to defend her, but he can't say much without coming clean about everything. The press quickly labels Betty "Tornado Girl," and she takes a media hammering. Daniel feels terrible. He and Wilhelmina let the issue ship as a "bold" decision, and, financially, it's paid off. (The issue sells like hotcakes.) But he never expected Betty to be the fall-girl.
As Betty gets ripped in the news, and as Hilda's business goes under, the Suarez girls resort to emotional eating back in Queens. Ignacio encourages them to take charge of their situations. So, Betty goes with Hilda to see Councilman Rodriguez about her rejected small business permit. He is nice and happy to see Hilda but says he can't do anything about her permit - the law is the law. Hilda angrily turns to leave, but Betty works in one final plea with the councilman before they depart.
At work, Marc secretly pulls Betty into a copy room and gives her vague messages that amount to: "Talk to Phil at the loading dock." Betty finds Phil and presses him about why the Mode issue shipped. Initially reluctant, Phil finally spills that when Daniel called about the issue, he instructed them to ship it anyway. Betty is devastated. She returns to the office to confront her already guilt-ridden boss. He insists that he didn't know she would be blamed, but a teary Betty eventually exits, mourning her tarnished reputation.
When Betty later bumps into Marc, she thanks him for his help. Although they're not exactly pals, Marc assesses that they are both assistants and have to look out for each other. Then Betty tries to compliment him with the "Cliff's a lucky man" line, but the remark only results in Marc squirming and admitting that he proposed to Cliff because he felt guilty. He cheated at Betty's recent party, and the proposal was a gut-reaction. With a gentle "you're a good person, Marc," Betty encourages him to fess up to Cliff.
In Queens, Councilman Rodriguez visits the Suarez house. He greets Hilda with news that he's found a loophole in her business permit problem. If thirty percent of her profits come from selling items, she's allowed to be a "boutique." He suggests she sell candles alongside haircuts and perms. Happy with the development, Hilda turns flirty, and we're left to assume that she and Archie Rodriguez may have a love connection. Anyone else rolling their eyes here? I actually like Archie -- and I never cared much for Coach Tony -- but for two and a half years, we've been watching Hilda deal with work issues and romantic drama. Archie seems sweet, but the set-up is a bit boring now.
At Mode, they hold a press conference to deal with the "Eye of the Fashion Storm" controversy. When pressed on if they are firing "Tornado Girl," Wilhelmina only states that they are dealing with that issue internally. Daniel, standing in the background, finally snaps. He steps forward to take full responsibility, clearing Betty of any wrongdoing. As he spots Betty in the crowd, he mouths "I'm sorry," and Betty weepily mouths back, "Thank you."
Meanwhile, Marc calls Cliff to Mode. He first admits to having crashed Cliff's car, then the dreary piano music begins, and we know that he is going to confess everything. We later see Cliff walking away with shoulders hung. Now, I haven't opposed Betty's romantic interests fading away as characters run their course. But I really hope this isn't the end of Marc and Cliff. Their "Beauty and the Beast" love story is adorable, and Cliff's character has been seriously underused so far.
After the press conference, Daniel again sees Molly who is waiting for Connor to take her out for their anniversary. But, in light of Mode's new PR debacle with Daniel, Wilhelmina tells Connor that they will have to stay late strategizing. We then see Connor informing Molly, and the two argue. Wilhelmina looks on with a devilish smile.
Now, is it just me, or would it be kind of weird if Connor and Molly split and respectively rebounded with Wilhelmina and Daniel?
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