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'Ugly Betty' Recap: There’s No Place Like Mode

February 20th, 2009 1:10pm EST
Ugly BettyOkay, you romantics out there… It was only a matter of time before Betty got another love-interest, and he has come to us in the form of a would-be sports editor named Matt.

This epidode of Ugly Betty begins at a YETI meeting where Betty is listening to a speaker from The New York Review. Betty is transfixed. She is sitting beside the woman's assistant (a fellow YETI-er) and listening with total devotion. At the end of the presentation, Betty starts to approach the speaker - and that's when she is first stopped by Matt. He makes small talk, and Betty brushes him off. She steps forward to introduce herself to the speaker. She explains her background and how she longs to break into a magazine like The New York Review. Then the woman disheartens Betty by saying that she had better change her career path fast - because right now, she is on a pure fashion track.


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This incident sets off Betty's freak-out that she has been wasting her life at Mode. Betty asks Daniel if he has any non-fashion-related projects for her, but it's Fashion Week - Mode is more fashion-focused than ever. To appease her, Daniel says that she can write the press release for Heinrich, one of Mode's Designers to Watch. Betty isn't thrilled, but at least it's something.

At the next YETI meeting, everyone matches up with a partner who they will be working with for the next year. They will shadow each other and learn about one another's magazines. Everyone sits at a table next to their chosen partners. For Betty, it's a no-brainer: She and New-York-Review-Girl are next to each other in a second. But then, the YETI-ers get a shock - they will actually be partnered with the people on their *opposite* sides. Betty looks over, and who should her partner be? Yep. It's sports guy, Matt. He seems enthusiastic about the whole thing, but Betty can barely hide her disappointment.

Their first assignment is to trail each other at work; so Matt accompanies Betty to Heinrich's loft. Betty can meet German designer Heinrich, see his designs, and then write the press release. When Betty and Matt arrive, they immediately discover that Heinrich is totally weird. He prances around in the shadows, and his dress for the Mode show looks like Edward Scissorhands designed something for the Winged Victory. No kidding. The dress has giant wings and is bedecked with little shards of glass.

Back at Mode, Betty shoos off Matt, urging him to go read back-issues of Mode at her desk. Then she tells a heavily pregnant Christina about the eccentric Heinrich. To let off steam, Betty and Christina end up writing a fake press release - complete with "get your tetnus shot" advice. It seems to cheer up Betty, and that night, she writes her real release. She has Justin give it a final edit, so she can give it to Daniel in the morning.

Speaking of other Suarez family members, Hilda and Justin throw a going away party for Elena. Now that Ignacio is back to his normal self, he doesn't need a nurse so much. This has Hilda jumping up and down like a four-year-old - Elena will be gone! Of course, Betty is more level-headed …as in, she doesn't assume that her dad is going to stop seeing Elena because he doesn't need a nurse now.

So, we get Hilda surprising the family with smiley face pancakes - only to have Ignacio and Elena waltz into the dining room hand-in-hand. Elena is wearing one of Ignacio's robes. (I gotta sympathize with Hilda here - she may be totally overreacting on the Ignacio-Elena front, but seeing your dad's new girlfriend wearing his bathrobe first thing in the morning would be a little awkward for anyone.)

Unfortunately, Betty doesn't have time to dwell on these family issues. She's just found out that her fake Heinrich press release was sent out instead of the real one (which was an expected mix-up, sure - but it leads to some funny pay-off, so we'll let the predictability slide). Apparently, Matt saw the press release on her desk and gave it to Daniel, thinking he was doing Betty a favor.

Remarkably, Daniel isn't upset. In fact, Heinrich loved Betty's press release because it wasn't one of the same boring, trite ones that people usually see. As a result, Heinrich has asked Betty to produce his fashion show at Fashion Week. Betty is a bit reluctant. She doesn't have experience producing fashion shows, and she really wants to move on to more substantive (*cough* New York Review *cough*) projects anyway. She hesitantly agrees, feeling that she can't say no.

While Betty's apprehensively climbing the fashion ranks, Wilhelmina is afraid that she's losing her touch. First, Cavalli doesn't send over a dress for her to wear. Then she gets stuck on the second row. To bump Willy's seating, Marc offers everything from tickets to the Met to a kidney, but no one is taking the bait. Since Wilhelmina has started seeing Connor, her career status has taken a hit. She determines to remind everyone that she has the most power in the fashion world.

Back in Queens, Hilda is fed up with her dad and Elena's PDA-fest. She stomps off during movie night, which leads to another fight with Ignacio. Justin is a little weirded out by the cutesy lovebirds too, but he assures his grandpa that he does like Elena. Say it with me now: "Awww…" Mark Indelicato is so good.

And meanwhile in a totally separate storyline, Daniel is battling the trash-talking tabloids. After hearing Amanda read some nasty write-ups on Molly's appearance (she's not high fashion enough), he decides to surprise his girlfriend with a makeover from two Mode stylists. Now, I can appreciate high fashion now and then, but did anyone else prefer pre-makeover Molly? I didn't even think she looked like her cute-as-a-button self anymore.

At one of the shows, The Fashion Channel's Suzuki St. Pierre calls Molly "ugly duckling," and we wonder if she's caught on to the press chatter about her. She takes a cell phone call and seems sad. When Daniel comes along, she suddenly announces that she has to leave - apparently, her landlord has called, and she has a leak in her apartment. Daniel is disappointed but resigned.

While Daniel and Willy are at these Fashion Week events, Betty is still working on producing Heinrich's show. She's totally lost. Heinrich makes all these cryptic statements like wanting a "rainbow of gray." He tells Betty to "listen to the clothes," but she claims that she's not a "clothes whisperer." What's worse, Heinrich's show is now getting a lot of buzz due to the memorable press release. Betty is really feeling the pressure - so much so that she takes it out on Matt. When he offers to take her to his sports magazine and let her forget about fashion for a while, she makes some snide quips about sports journalism. Matt finally snaps back and says that he was excited about being her partner, but she has shown zero interest in talking to him. She has totally judged him based on the word "sports." He calls her shallow and walks off.

It only takes a second for Betty to get her trademark pouty look. She rushes up to stop Matt from hopping on the elevator. She concedes his point but promises that she isn't shallow - and he admits that he didn't really think she was. With Daniel being a Fashion Week, and with the Heinrich show setbacks, Betty suggests that she tag along with him now. Matt agrees, and a wide-eyed Betty ends up in the Pistons locker room with huge, towel-clad athletes.

When Betty eventually asks Matt about how he got into the business, he confesses that sports were never really his thing. He used to think the pros were only "overpaid babies." But by getting to know the athletes and hearing their personal stories, he has become motivated. He's passionate about the human interest angle. Maybe, he suggests, Betty could try the same thing with her work in fashion?

Betty takes the consideration to heart and starts researching Heinrich's personal history. She learns all about how he grew up behind the Iron Curtain and how he lost his father. His life has been defined by pain. When she finally describes her vision of for the show, Heinrich's eyes grow misty. She plans to have a giant Berlin Wall replica as the backdrop.

Later that night, Wilhelmina is still plotting how to keep her career afloat. She knows that The Fashion Channel plans to feature her, so she turns on the TV. But her segment has been bumped for a story about doggie jean trends. She is aghast. She has always sacrificed everything for her career, and now that her personal life is going somewhere, her status has nosedived. Connor quickly gives her a very Betty-esque pep talk and tells her that she's a fighter. She just has to figure out how to get back to the top.

The next day, Betty is all set for Heinrich's show. Backstage, Daniel remarks that Molly hasn't been returning his calls since the makeover, and he is worried. Betty suggests that Daniel made a mistake with the makeover - that Molly maybe thought he wasn't happy with her the way she was… So Daniel calls his girlfriend and pours out his heart with "I love you just the way you are" assurances. Molly gets teary and says that she loves him too. He then asks about her apartment leak, and Molly gives an ambiguous "it's more serious than they thought." Now our stomachs start to sink… The camera pans away, and we see that Molly is in a doctor's office. (Gasp!) What's wrong with Molly? And when is she going to tell Daniel?

Back at Heinrich's show, everything is coming together well. Betty got tickets for Hilda and Justin, but Hilda is surprised when Elena shows up instead. Justin gave up his ticket, so his mom and Elena could have some time together. Hilda is still icy at first, but she and Elena both burst into giggles when the first model expands her wings. The two women leave to get drinks and bond over the glories of spandex and stirrup pants. Hilda finally admits that she likes Elena well enough; and Elena admits that she and Ignacio could maybe restrain some of their PDA. Okay. So the two women aren't going to break into a "Girl Just Wanna Have Fun" karaoke duet any time soon… But it seems like they are on the brink of friendship.

All the while, Heinrich's show is going beautifully, and Betty finally has a realization. Fashion isn't just shallow and meaningless… It's art. Just as she is having this epiphany, Christina announces that she is in labor. (Well, she had to be, right? Seems like she's been pregnant forever.) Unfortunately, the Iron Curtain is blocking the exits, and the only way to get Christina out of the building is to walk her down the runway. With Betty's help, Christina makes it to the end of the runway where she then collapses. She's going to have that baby right then and there! (And Heinrich is totally into it - after all, his work is all about pain…)

Seeing a chance to steal back the spotlight, Wilhelmina turns into her old demanding self. She barks orders at the models, telling them to encircle Christina and expand their wings to give her privacy. Hilda then shouts that Elena is a nurse and can help.

Soon we hear a baby's cries. There's clapping. Marc instructs the sound and lighting people to cue the music and the hydraulic lift… With angel music playing and a spotlight shining down, Wilhelmina is raised into the air, holding her new baby like he's the new Lion King cub or something. Confetti rains down.

The live birth just cements the show's status as an unforgettable hit, and everyone congratulates Betty. Matt tells her that he loved it, and he finally admits that he wasn't all that interested in learning about fashion - he really wanted to learn about her. It's a sweet, awkward moment. I think I could like Matt. He's goofy enough to complement Betty, but he's not just a male version of her.

Finally, it's just Daniel and Betty at the end of the runway. He praises Betty's ability to connect with people, and as they walk backstage, he tells her that she would make a good editor at Mode one day… assuming, you know, she works on her own style a bit.(Wink, wink)

So what did you think? Did you go for Heinrich's Fashion Week show? And what are your thoughts on Matt? Should he stick around?

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

Chelsea Fogleman
Story by Chelsea Fogleman

Starpulse contributing writer


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