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'Ugly Betty' Recap: The Sex Issue

March 20th, 2009 12:18pm EDT
Ugly BettyObvious plot devices are afoot on Ugly Betty. Ignacio leaves to take Justin camping with Elena and her nephews, which means... Betty and Hilda are free to run amok! In this episode, aptly named "The Sex Issue," it seems like almost everybody tries to get a little action.

First, we've got Hilda and Archie. They are embarking on their new relationship, but Hilda seems unenthusiastic overall. Then, there is Wilhelmina, who is missing Connor something terrible. Daniel and Molly try to broaden their comfort zones; and Betty and Matt toggle with the idea of taking their relationship to the "next level" (wink, wink).

Wilhelmina continues to awaken in the night, disturbed by Connor-themed dreams. In one instance, she hears him singing "You Are My Sunshine" to baby William. In fact, she's so tired that she's started nodding off during her workday. Desperate for help, she offhandedly orders Marc to hire a night nanny.

The next night, Wilhelmina hears sounds coming from her living room. She grabs a baseball bat and proceeds to follow the noises. At last, she encounters James - her buff and dishy new night nanny who is a little overly zealous in his reading of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Oh, that sneaky Marc! Knowing that Wilhelmina is in Connor withdrawal, he's gone out of his way to hire a hunky new nanny. James' qualifications seem questionable (he's a model who has done a diaper commercial), but he is actually pretty good with the baby, so we'll ignore the resume.

While Wilhelmina tries to repress her sexual frustrations, Betty contemplates her own sex life. As she grows closer to Matt, she thinks about spending the night with him. On their way home from another good date, Betty and Matt walk back to his building. There, she hints at the idea of her staying over. Suddenly Matt gets a very Betty-esque look of panic and frantically hails a cab, shoving her in the car before she can even register what has happened.

Thus, Betty winds up back in Queens where she and Hilda trade notes on their dates that evening. Hilda has just returned from another date with Archie and is still turned off by his "nice guy" aura. Betty feels glum from the rejection.

The next day, Amanda advises Betty never to be subtle when it comes to sex. This leads Betty back to her old apartment where Marc and Amanda commence "Operation Betty Sexification." Here, we get a montage of Marc and Amanda in silly poses and saying words with a sloooooow seduuuuctive edgggggge. We see over-the-top hair flips and Amanda caressing cupcake frosting. (Oh, baby. Crumbs and chocolatey teeth!)

Meanwhile, Molly mentions to Daniel that she might do a poetry slam. Daniel's initial response is nervous laughter - he had his own bad experience with a high school rock band. In short: He got laughed off the stage for performing a cheesy song. Once Daniel sees Molly's sincerity about the poetry slam though, he supports the idea. He even invites his friends and colleagues to the event.

Betty is uber-supportive of the poetry slam idea and promises to attend. Since she took some poetry classes in college, Daniel shows her a copy of the poem Molly plans to read. Betty is immediately impressed, but she is surprised that Molly plans to read something so intimate. Daniel is perplexed. To him, the poem is just about the ocean… Betty quickly wisens him up. The ocean is a metaphor for sex. The sandy beach is Daniel's chest… The rock is his head… When Daniel realizes that "the rock" is crying in Molly's poem, he snaps into self-conscious mode.

Later, Daniel presents Molly with a few "editorial suggestions" about the piece. Molly picks up on his discomfort, and Daniel finally admits that it would embarrass him for her to read the poem in public. Molly sounds disappointed but offers to read something else without argument.

In the meantime, Hilda and Archie are out on yet another dinner date. Archie begins complimenting Hilda again, but she looks ready to gag. She's about to break up with him when an aggressive blonde approaches their table. It's one of Archie's old girlfriends, Melissa. She pulls up a chair and starts yakking away, repeating multiple times that she made a huge mistake letting Archie go. Slowly, Hilda sits up in her chair. Guess Archie looks more appealing now that there is competition for him!

Eventually, Hilda and Archie end up back at Hilda's salon where - as Marvin Gaye would say - they get it on. Apparently Hilda's pillow talk (or, maybe in this case "hair dryer talk") involves admitting everything. At first, I thought that maybe she'd knocked back a drink or two that night, and it was an alcohol-induced stupidity that kept her from shutting up. But then, as the scene wore on, she didn't seem *drunk* precisely… Anyway, basically what happens is: As she and Archie bask in the post-sex afterglow, she confesses that she was going to break up with him until Melissa came by their table. She admits that he is not usually her type and makes a joke about how he should get a tattoo on his butt. Naturally, Archie is offended and takes off in a huff.

While Hilda is killing the mood, Betty is trying to create one. She and Matt plan to see a movie that evening, and he is supposed to pick her up at Amanda and Marc's place. Of course, Amanda and Marc aren't there, and Betty is all ready to seduce her man. Matt walks into the apartment, and Betty comes around the corner in a slinky black outfit. Whipping out a mojito, she suggests that they stay in for the evening. Then she corners him and tries to work her moves. But Matt freaks out and bolts for the door with a parting "it's not you, it's me."

At this point, Betty is wondering if Matt is a virgin. Why else would he be so nervous about having sex? Hmmm. Interesting. I was actually asking myself which venereal disease Matt must have… But anyway, he doesn't have one, so don't get yourself in a tizzy.

The next morning, Betty tells Marc and Amanda that her evening went horribly awry. She can't even talk to Matt over lunch because he has to work. Amanda says that Betty should march over to his office now and demand answers. Emboldened by her Mode pals, Betty decides to go, and Marc and Amanda play tag-along. They arrive at Matt's office building and see him leaving. Gasp! He's walking down the street, clearly not working over lunch as he had said. The three Moders stalk him unseen. Eventually, Matt pauses and waves at some strange blonde before wrapping her in a hug.

Horrified that Matt might be seeing someone else, Betty watches from behind a mailbox. Before she can prevent it, Marc and Amanda push her into the open, and she makes eye contact with Matt and his blonde friend.

Betty timidly approaches, and Matt introduces the blonde woman as Helen, his therapist. He is about to have a session with her, and Helen proposes that Betty join them. Now Betty is really confused. His therapist?

The therapy session starts out awkwardly, but Betty quickly gets answers to her questions about Matt. So here it comes… the reason Matt is hesitant to have sex with Betty… (Have you made your guess yet?)… He's a recovering sex addict! Who's slept with hundreds of women!

Yeah. Whoa.

Apparently, Matt used to be a lonely rich boy, and the way he connected with people was through sex. He made a contract with Helen that he would not sleep with anyone again until he met someone really special (and thus he became "Lonely Rich Celibate Boy"). Now that he's met Betty, he wants to rework his contract with Helen.

With all this information out in the open, Matt seems relieved, but Betty is majorly freaked out.

When she returns to work, Betty confides in Daniel, and he, in turn, tells her about how Molly agreed not to read her "ocean" poem. Betty reams him out with reminders that Molly is sick and only wanted to read a poem about her love for Daniel. Why should he be ashamed? Daniel feels guilty, as could be expected.

That night, as Betty gets ready for the poetry slam, Hilda says that she has called Archie to apologize for the other night. That's when Melissa (that'd be Archie's ex, in case you forgot) walks into the salon. She tells Hilda to back off of Archie, and then she starts throwing Hilda's stuff around. A huge catfight ensues, and it's only broken up when Archie finally enters the scene.

After he breaks up the scuffle, Archie confronts Hilda. She admits that although she has always had a thing for bad boys, she does want to see what it would be like to date a nice guy. They make up and start kissing, just in time for Ignacio and Justin to come home from their camping trip.

While almost everyone else is at the poetry slam, Wilhelmina is at home, trying to seduce James. She's really working it - from lighting a roaring fire to turning on mood music. She notices that James has a little baby spit-up on his shirt and offers to wash it for him. And when he takes off his shirt, our suspicions are confirmed - he is buff, buff!

James actually seems like a sweetheart of a guy, and when Wilhelmina returns to the room to find him singing "You Are My Sunshine" to William (just like Connor did in her dream), she starts bawling. It's not long before Wilhelmina is crying into James' well-chiseled chest. He suggests that perhaps she should focus on getting real closure on her relationship with Connor - and not just look for meaningless sex. Wilhelmina thanks him for the advice. Then she says that she really just wants the sex though. She fires James and will, presumably, take solace elsewhere.

So at last, it's time for the poetry slam. Before Molly goes onstage, Daniel tells her that he would be proud for her to read the original "ocean" poem. Shocked and delighted, Molly squeals with happiness.

Betty, on the other hand, is not so happy. As she and Matt sit to listen to the poets, she starts hallucinating about every other woman at the slam, seeing them all as Matt's possible former sex partners. She doesn't want to be just one of hundreds of women he has slept with…

When the evening is over, Betty quickly goes to hail herself a cab. Matt invites her to his place, but she isn't sure she wants to sleep with him anymore. She tells him that if they did sleep together, she would feel like a number - to which he says that she would be… "Number One." It would be the first time he's slept with someone he really cares about. (Corny, right? Cute though. And about the only thing Matt could say, given the circumstances.)

Then Betty and Matt hold hands, and in a scene that can only be described as the two of them "frolicking through the streets of Manhattan," they run back to Matt's apartment for some hanky panky.

Amid all this romancing, Daniel does something special for Molly too. After the poetry slam, he pulls out an old photo from his high school rock band days (in which he looks like a member of Bon Jovi, circa 1987). He puts on his sunglasses. Then, with his guitar in hand, he serenades Molly with the cheesy love song that got him laughed off stage in high school. She looks touched and positively giddy. It's a nice ending for an episode that is ostensibly about sex - it sorta complements the idea of sharing and vulnerability.

Well folks, that's it. "Ugly Betty" is now on hiatus until May. What did you think of this spring finale? Don't forget to check back here in May when the show returns. In the words of Ah-nold… I'll be back.

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