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'Ugly Betty' Recap: Things Fall Apart

February 27th, 2009 10:11am EST
Ugly BettyIf you were among those who were happy that Daniel and Wilhelmina were finally in loving, fulfilling relationships… last night's "Ugly Betty" probably crushed your dreams, huh? The title of the episode pretty much says it all: Things fell apart.

It all begins with Betty making herself a Facebook page. (Really? A twenty-five-year-old New Yorker who is working in the media isn't already Facebooking?) Elena is in California, so Ignacio is moping around the house. Daniel is sick and has checked into a fancy hotel where he can watch cartoons and receive pampering. Wilhelmina is being an attentive mother to little William (who was born just last episode but looks way un-newborn-ish); and Connor is competing for the "Boyfriend of the Year" title by taking care of the baby and ordering breakfast while Willy sleeps in.

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Marc and Betty soon head to their YETI meeting. The day's topic is how economics are shaping the magazine business. Ultimately, the week's homework assignment is to get a copy of your magazine's budget and develop a presentation on it. Marc and Betty agree to work together as it's convenient - though it turns out that neither one of them is really into the numbers thing. That's when Matt jumps in and says that he's great at numbers. Maybe he and Betty could get together and discuss budgets over drinks… Betty brushes the offer aside with a thanks-but-no-thanks; and Marc later harasses her about turning down Matt for a date. Betty meekly denies that Matt was asking her out, but even she doesn't sound all that convinced.

To kick off their assignment, Marc and Betty head over to Meade's accounting department. There, the ever-impish Marc wonders if it will be weird for Betty to visit accounting where her former flame, Henry, used to work. Betty insists that she'll be fine, but her voice is doing that shakey, pitchy thing where we know she's just kidding herself. In the accounting department, she seems to wig out at the sight of Henry's old nameplate (which has yet to be removed). Jenny, the girl who is helping Betty and Marc, mentions that she and Henry have kept in touch through Facebook. She off-handedly remarks that Henry has posted pictures of himself and his girlfriend in Peru. Betty's shocked to learn that it's a totally new girl. How could Henry have moved into another serious relationship so quickly?

The Henry thing starts to eat at Betty, so Justin suggests that she use her energy to focus on a project - like the budget assignment. Betty spends an evening meticulously pouring over accounting paperwork. She is baffled when she finds that Mode's quarterly budgets aren't adding up. The magazine is short by millions of dollars.

The next day, Betty goes to Daniel's hotel. He suggests that Meade probably reallocated the budget to areas outside of Mode. No big deal. Betty is still suspicious though, so she approaches Wilhelmina and Connor. Connor gives the same spiel as Daniel about reallocating funds, and Betty walks away as disturbed as ever. Soon after, Connor makes a private call on his cell phone, and we learn that he is making mysterious money transfers.

At lunch, Betty tries to talk to Marc and Amanda about the accounting errors, but they're more interested in teasing her about not being over Henry. They quickly decide that she needs to find someone new, and Marc suggests that she call Matt. Surprisingly, Betty takes Marc's snarky advice and gives Matt a call. But she is repeatedly interrupted by Connor who needs her to sign some paperwork for Daniel. Flustered, Betty signs the papers and sets up a date with Matt.

Meanwhile, Daniel is still sick at his hotel. Molly shows up with soup and keeps trying to talk to him about something important… But Daniel is leaning over a humidifier and being all dramatic (with "I'm dying! I'm dying!" emphasis). Finally she leaves, saying that she knows it is not a good time to talk. Daniel then looks behind him and sees his open laptop. It's clear that he's been browsing engagement rings online. Realizing that Molly may be aware of his ring shopping, he assumes she is freaking out.

In other romantic entanglements, Betty has her drink with Matt. Things seem to be going pretty well. As they bond over a shared love of Pixar's "WALL-E," Betty's phone buzzes. She has a Facebook friend request from…Henry. That's when she unravels. She spills everything to Matt - her history with Henry and how she can't believe he moved on so quickly. And boy, Matt is a good sport. He sits there and listens to Betty drone on and on. Eventually she hops up to leave, but Matt has forgotten his wallet. So Betty goes to an ATM to get some cash and plans to come back to pay. At the ATM, Betty makes a totally crazy discovery: Her bank account balance is over $100,000!

Of course, Betty knows that the money isn't hers. She winds up back in Queens where she is on the phone with her bank. The money apparently came from Meade, but she doesn't know how or why. Eventually she remembers that she just left Matt at the bar. She calls to apologize but really bombs when she has to leave a voicemail and repeatedly calls Matt "Henry."

When Betty gets to Mode the next morning, Matt is waiting. Everything worked out the previous night. He started a bar tab, so maybe he'll even become a regular. Then he apologizes for pressuring Betty to go out with him when it's obvious she's still not over her ex. Betty seems unsettled by Matt's words, but her money situation is still top of mind. Down in accounting, they have determined that Betty herself authorized the transfers into her own account. Betty is horrified - she wouldn't embezzle from Meade!

Now Betty goes into serious panic mode. When she and Connor share a private elevator ride, Connor finally bears his teeth. He says that he grew up poor too and would understand why Betty would take the money. The light bulb turns on over Betty's head. Connor is the one who has been stealing from Meade. He claims that he won't say anything about the extra money in her account if she doesn't say anything about his illegal activities either. Based on the paperwork which she absentmindedly signed, both she and Daniel could go to jail for embezzlement.

Betty immediately goes to Daniel's hotel to bring him into the loop. Daniel contacts Claire, and the three prepare to go in for battle.

Meanwhile, Connor is ready to flee. He approaches Wilhelmina and tells her the truth about stealing from Meade. He admits that he has always hated Daniel (and only more so after Daniel started dating Molly). Now Connor is leaving the country with the money, and he wants Wilhelmina and the baby to join him. Wilhelmina is thunderstruck. She has Marc go collect some of her things; and she tells her trusted assistant what is going on. She has worked so long to build her career, and she can't imagine just throwing it away; but at the same time, she loves Connor.

When Betty, Daniel, and Claire arrive at Mode, all of the Meade accounts have been emptied. It's chaos. Betty sees Marc stroll into the office. Betty walks up to find him in a disenchanted daze. Unable to believe that Wilhelmina has bailed on Mode, he gives Betty the location of the runway from which Wilhelmina and Connor's private jet will depart.

Betty quickly herds Daniel and Claire, and they take off for the runway to stop Wilhelmina. They find Wilhelmina in no time, and Claire is totally nasty. Wilhelmina is dismissive of their judgments, and then we hear police sirens wailing in the background. Willy hasn't ditched Mode after all. In fact, she intends to turn Connor into the authorities. But perhaps sensing that she might defect, Connor has taken an earlier flight, so he is not onboard the jet on the runway. He soon calls Wilhelmina and is disappointed that she won't be following him; and even though he can hear the police sirens in the background, he affirms that he loves her anyway.

Wilhelmina is left heartbroken on the tarmac. Betty eventually approaches with a cup of coffee and offers a sympathetic shoulder. Wilhelmina feels that she had to choose between Connor and her career, and, once again, she learned that a girl can't have it all. She wistfully says that Betty will learn this someday - they're both career women at heart.

Betty seems dissatisfied with Wilhelmina's assessment. When she gets back to Queens, she finds that Elena has returned from Los Angeles (with presents!). Betty ends up confiding in Elena and asks if she ever had to choose between work and a personal life. With an eye twinkle and a shrug, Elena says that she couldn't have met Ignacio if she had looked at life that way.

While Betty is pondering over Wilhelmina and Elena's words, Daniel has returned to the office. There, he finds Molly writing him a note. She is crying and trying to get away, and he apologizes if she saw the engagement rings up on his laptop. He isn't trying to move things too fast. But Molly is inconsolable. She says that she and Daniel don't have a future because…(here it comes, you knew it was coming)…she has cancer. She's had it before and now it's come back. She's going to be with her family and doesn't want to have Daniel around while everything is going on. Daniel is devastated. He wants to be there for her, but she doesn't want him. As he collapses onto a couch in his office, Claire places a strong, sad hand on his shoulder.

Ultimately, Betty takes stock of her situation and opens her laptop. After confirming Henry as a Facebook friend, she returns to the bar to have another drink with Matt. Like many of the characters, Betty's personal life seems to be starting a new chapter.

So how will Meade Publications rebound from their financial disaster? And what do you think of Wilhelmina and Daniel's suddenly crumbled romantic lives? Personally, I'm disappointed that both relationships dissolved so quickly. (Why did Connor have to be a baddie? He and Willy had potential, dang it!) Thoughts, anyone? Post away!

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