One of the biggest (yet somehow subtle) "Ugly Betty
" plot progressions may be taking place. Are Betty and Amanda…friends? Maybe this plot turn is predictable, but I still find it oddly satisfying.
The ep actually begins with Betty and Amanda at odds. Being her moocher-self, Amanda has Betty singlehandedly paying for all of their food, utilities, and rent. What's worse, when Amanda finally pays off a credit card, she "celebrates" with a shopping spree. Understandably, it's driving Betty bonkers. After some prodding from Hilda, Betty lays down the law and demands Amanda cover her half of the rent. But, with Amanda's noncommittal smile, it's probably fair to assume that she'd weasel out of that deal later.
At Mode, Wilhelmina is busy avoiding Connor. She's even got Marc giving her play-by-plays of Connor's every move. Eventually she and Connor do cross paths, and Willy finds herself tongue-tied, blurting out goofball phrases like "Top 'o the mornin' to ya!" It's also during such a weird encounter that Christina finally shows up again - sporting a couple of Princess Leia buns to go along with her bun in the oven. She's now seven months pregnant with Wilhelmina and Bradford Meade's baby (I know… seven months pregnant already? She really has been out of the storyline for a while…). She tries to persuade Wilhelmina to come with her to her doctor's appointment that afternoon. Initially, Wilhelmina dismisses the suggestion, but she agrees once she realizes that it will get her out of a meeting with Connor.
With her sticky rent situation, Betty approaches Daniel about working overtime. But unfortunately, the struggling economy has hit Mode too, and they're not allowing overtime. Daniel does explain that Mode is expanding ModeNY.com (that's a real site, by the way), and says that Betty could pitch articles there to earn extra cash.
Thanks to her own financial troubles, Betty soon gets her first article idea: "A Day in Manhattan on Zero Dollars." She makes the pitch at their staff meeting. Daniel and Wilhelmina like the concept, but everyone laughs at the actual content - the always-free National American Indian Museum isn't quite glam enough for Mode. When Amanda suggests more rule-breaking ways to have free fun (as in, crashing Tom Cruise movie premiere parties), the article starts appealing to Daniel and Wilhelmina. Then… voila! Betty and Amanda are asked to team up for an article called "How I Blew Ten Grand Without Actually Spending a Dime."
So, off they go! Betty (however reluctant) and Amanda hit the town to do research.
While Betty's working out her money problems, Daniel's messing up his love life. Once again, Molly (Connor's fiancée) shows up at the office. This time, she asks Daniel to come to a charity auction at her school that night. Connor apparently can't make it, and since Daniel's loaded, she figures he's a good stand-in - he's almost sure to make a big donation. Of course, the conversation dances on the edge of flirty. Molly is definitely sending out weird vibes (Does Connor know about this?), and Daniel just stands around making googly eyes at her. Nothing is lost on Claire, who observes from afar. When she later gets Daniel alone, she puts on her best angel face and squeezes the truth out of him - specifically, that he's got a thing for Molly. Then, bam! She slaps him and insists that he end the foolishness. Not only is it bad business to pursue a colleague's future spouse, but Claire is sensitive on the infidelity subject. (Oh, Judith Light, you rock in so many ways… It's a shame you don't have more scenes these days…). Daniel agrees to cancel his plans and write Molly a big check instead.
After Christina's doctor's appointment, Marc calls to tell Wilhelmina that Connor is waiting to discuss something with her. And…you guessed it! That means Wilhelmina will be avoiding the office for the rest of the day. She suggests taking Christina back to her place for a drink (to which Christina point outs, "I'm seven months pregnant with *your* child!" Willy agrees to drink for all three of them.)
When they're finally at Wilhelmina's place, Christina begins probing about Connor. She basically guesses the truth, so Wilhelmina admits her unreciprocated feelings for Meade's CFO. The next scene did get a little sappy (not that I minded, cornball that I am). Willy says she is resigned to not having a man in her life, and then Christina tells her that she will be having a baby boy.
Meanwhile, Betty and Amanda's research is going well by Amanda's standards. Amanda scores loads of free samples at makeup counters, and she teaches Betty about buying expensive designer dresses. She buys the dress, tucks the tag, wears it once, and then returns it. At first feeling guilty, Betty starts to loosen up. Amanda even convinces her to "buy" a cashmere scarf that they can later return. They wind up at an art gallery opening where they snag free booze and spot a couple of cute guys. Amanda knows she can get the polished-looking men to buy them dinner. In the spirit of the article, Betty hesitantly goes along with the scheme.
So the gals indulge in expensive meals and champagne, courtesy of their dates. But as usual, Betty's conscience won't stop dogging her. She makes a quick bathroom phone call to Hilda, and, after some encouraging words from big sis, Betty decides to go with the flow and just have fun.
Betty gets back to the table and finds Amanda alone. (Yeah, you should already be raising an eyebrow. It's easy to see where this is going.) Evidently, the two men had to step away to make a few business calls. The ladies share a toast, and Betty admits to having a great time with Amanda. It's a feel-good female-bonding moment that lasts just long enough for their server to arrive…and leave them the check. You can see Betty's heart sinking… Their dates have bailed! In a desperate move, she asks to talk to the manager and explains that they are doing a profile on that restaurant for ModeNY.com. With forced confidence, Betty hands back the bill. It's a tense moment, drawn out for artificial suspense, but the manager ultimately comps their dinner.
Whew. Crisis averted, right? Well, the girls celebrate outside the restaurant, but the relief is short-lived. Amanda realizes that she doesn't have her wallet. Those jerks who ditched them must have stolen it. Oh, and she also had all of their rent for that month in her purse (she was going to drop it off with their landlord). The rent money is gone too. Betty momentarily looks like she's about to puke. When she regains her composure, she's just outright mad. The roomies have a humungous fight, and, even though the whole thing was mostly Amanda's fault, it's hard not to feel sorry for her when Betty storms off. It looks like Amanda genuinely feels bad.
Betty goes to Queens to talk it over with Dear Old Dad. Surprisingly, Ignacio isn't super appalled. (Maybe he's hoping Betty gets evicted, so she'll move back to Queens?) He reminds Betty that losing the rent money was an accident, and he even implies that Betty is perhaps *too* responsible. Could she learn something from Amanda? Betty considers it.
Meanwhile, Daniel's working late and eating Chinese take-out at his desk. Molly swings by to pick up the check and impulsively imbibes on some of Daniel's sweet and sour chicken. As fate would have it, she spills sauce on her white cocktail dress. Not wanting her to go out with a stain, Daniel offers one of the dresses from Mode's wardrobe closet. He calls Christina, so she can tell him where the size 6 dresses are. Of course, Christina is still with Wilhelmina, and Wilhelmina is *very* intrigued to learn that Daniel is hanging around with Connor's fiancée. Molly picks out a strapless red cocktail dress and takes her hair down. It makes you wonder, 'What kind of public school charity auction is this anyway?! And why does a kindergarten teacher need to look red carpet ready for it?' But whatev. Molly does look cute - if not a smidge overdressed.
All this leads to a dramatic moment. Daniel and Molly slowly lean in for a kiss, but Molly abruptly pulls back and leaves. It might be nothing except that Wilhelmina and Marc eventually dig up the security tape to see what Daniel and Molly were doing together. Although it's nothing too scandalous, Wilhelmina is thrilled to see the tape. She now has hope with Connor because… cue "Betty's" maudlin piano music>… Daniel is obviously in love with Molly.
After her adventurous night, Betty goes home to write the article. When she shows it to Daniel the next morning, he is impressed. In fact, he wants to give Betty and Amanda a weekly feature for the website. He also offers to finagle an advance (which might help with their rent situation…).
Betty wanders around Mode, looking for Amanda to share the good news. When she finally spots her roomie, Betty is shocked. Amanda is wearing a uniform under her coat. From the looks of it, Amanda is working at the same restaurant Jennifer Aniston worked at in "Office Space." Yup, Amanda got a second job, so she can pay her half of the rent. Awww. The girls actually look like friends when they share a smile and admit to having fun the previous night.
That night, a frazzled Amanda gets home and finds another surprise. Betty has made dinner for them and even bought her roomie a new wallet. Amanda never gets too saccharine, but heart strings are tugged when her voice cracks over the words "thank you."
Now, the biggest question is: Have Betty and Amanda moved beyond their frenemy status to being just plain friends?
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