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'Ugly Betty' Recap: 'Rabbit Test'

May 1st, 2009 10:51am EDT
Ugly BettyOh, how the tables have turned on "Ugly Betty." Wilhelmina rides the subway to work, and Daniel takes the bus while Betty arrives in a limo (courtesy of her rich boyfriend). And yes, Wilhelmina and Daniel look about as traumatized by those experiences as you'd imagine.

Things have taken a turn for the worse at Mode. All the hope and promise that was established in the last episode has been tossed out the window. Come to find out, Mode's "Sex Issue" completely bombed, and the company is running out of viable financial resources. Daniel and Wilhelmina are now low on their personal cash to bail out the company too. So Betty arrives at work to discover office furniture being sold off and leased office items being returned. As she is processing the company's bleak outlook, she receives a chic package from The Hartley Charitable Foundation - that's Hartley, as in her boyfriend, Matt Hartley. Apparently Matt's Dad, Cal Hartley (a Richard Branson type "billionaire, philanthropist, and entrepreneur"), hosts this fancy Easter egg hunt at a museum every year. It's a super exclusive event to which only the crème de la crème of New York society are invited. When the invitation first arrives at Mode, Daniel assumes that it is for him, and he is thrilled. He's never been invited to the Hartley Easter Egg Hunt! His excitement soon fades when he realizes that it's Betty, and not he, who has landed the invite. What's more, Betty's family in Queens has been invited as well.

As Betty starts researching Cal Hartley on the Internet, she grows increasingly nervous. After everything went so badly with meeting Matt's mom, she hopes to leave a better impression with his dad. This extravagant egg hunt seems like a high-pressure situation for meeting her boyfriend's father. She keeps reading and eventually comes across an intriguing quote from Cal Hartley. He has publicly mentioned that he sees media companies, and particularly the magazine business, as strong areas for investment. The sentence stops Betty and Daniel in their tracks. If Cal Hartley came on board as an investor, he could save Mode! Confident that Matt will help her, Betty agrees to set up a meeting between Daniel and Hartley. Daniel and Betty are giddy from this new ray of hope.

Matt quickly brings Betty back down to Earth though. He stands totally opposed to the idea of his dad meeting with Daniel. He reminds Betty that everyone wants to meet with his father (including four former presidents). Then he gives a seemingly half-hearted excuse about not wanting to mix his personal life with his dad's business ventures.

Betty is understandably disappointed but has to abide by Matt's wishes. She goes home where her own father suggests that she simply explain the situation to Daniel. But when she gets to work the next morning, she discovers that Daniel has been up all night working on a presentation for his meeting with Cal Hartley (the meeting that she now knows will never happen). Daniel's already brought in Marketing, Sales, and various departments to help with the investment proposal. The revelation rattles Betty, and she immediately loses the nerve to tell Daniel the truth. She offers him some vague encouragement and thus implies that Matt agreed to arrange the meeting.

Of course, it isn't long before the truth catches up with Betty. Matt drops by Mode, hoping to take her to lunch and make up for not scheduling the meeting. Betty panics. She can't let Daniel see Matt! After some crazy antics, trying to keep the two men apart, Daniel finally spots Matt and makes a beeline toward him. Naturally, what's the first thing Daniel does? He thanks Matt for arranging the meeting with his father.

Awkward.

Despite how cringe-inducing this moment is, Betty resolves the whole thing surprisingly quickly. She explains to a puppy-eyed Matt that she didn't have the heart to crush Daniel with the news that there would be no Cal Hartley meeting. And she tells Daniel that she believed she could change Matt's mind about the meeting, which is why she lied. Both guys must have a lot of faith in Betty because they get over their respective grievances pretty quickly. Daniel tells her that he will come up with another plan to save Mode. But he and Wilhelmina soon discern that they have only one option: start laying off employees.

Ugly Betty



Speaking of Wilhelmina, she's got her own storyline going on here. After a home photo shoot, the photographer remarks that her baby looks nothing like her. In fact, he suggests, baby William is the spitting image of Wilhelmina's surrogate mother Christina (who is currently acting as nanny until Wilhelmina can find a replacement). This gets the wheels turning in Willy's head… Is she absolutely positive that William is hers? Marc doesn't exactly assuage her concerns when he admits that he can't see any of her or Bradford Meade in the baby. A doctor confirms that if Christina had sex around the time that the egg was implanted, then the baby might not be Wilhelmina's.

So Wilhelmina starts freaking out. Little William must be hers - otherwise, she will lose her share in Meade Publications.

She sets Marc to determining whether or not Christina had sex around the time of William's conception. This leads to Marc and Amanda trying to get Christina to do a magazine sex IQ quiz over lunch. With pointed questions about whether or not she likes to have sex in JUNE, Christina quickly figures out what is going on. As it happens, she and her husband did have sex right before the egg implantation procedure… So there's a chance that William could be hers. (Uh, she never considered this before?) Oh, and we actually get to see her husband, Stuart, for a second. He's looking much better than when we saw him last. The expensive experimental treatments (which were the reason Christina became a surrogate in the first place) seem to be working. He and Christina seem a little excited at the thought that William could be theirs.

Meanwhile, Daniel and Wilhelmina have begun handing out pink slips at Mode. Even Amanda gets laid off (which you already know will only last for, like, two seconds because the show is not getting rid of Amanda). Betty is horrified. She confronts Daniel who says that he had no choice. They have to cut their payroll if they plan to stay afloat. With a renewed sense of purpose, Betty determines to get Daniel that meeting with Cal Hartley. As she heads off to the Hartley Easter Egg Hunt, she drags Daniel along with her.

At the big event, Matt promptly introduces Betty and her family to his dad. Cal Hartley seems like your average rich guy with an okay personality. He unnerves Betty for a second when he says that he heard things did not go well between Matt's mother and Betty. But, as it happens, Cal Hartley likes Betty all the more for having displeased his ex-wife. With this encounter under their belts, the small group quickly disbands to mingle and hunt for eggs. Betty then tiptoes off to the kitchen where Daniel is waiting, disguised as a server.

Betty doesn't make it far as she tries to sneak Daniel into the festivities. Security quickly stops them, but before Daniel can be bounced out of the party, Matt intercedes. He's got that puppy dog look again, like he's disappointed with Betty, but she explains that Mode employees have started losing their jobs. She couldn't just forget about them and go hunt Easter eggs. She emphasizes that it would really mean a lot to her if he would arrange a meeting between his dad and Daniel. This argument finally wears down Matt. Pulling his father and Daniel aside, he makes the long-awaited introduction.

So Hartley and Daniel wander off to talk. Daniel keeps trying to launch into his spiel on the magazine business and why investing in Mode would be profitable to Hartley. But Hartley keeps talking about "the kids" at the Easter Egg Hunt and how it's all about "the kids…" It seems that the person who was supposed to play Flopsy the Bunny flaked out at the last second. Now they have a giant pink bunny costume but no one to play the part. Hartley suggests that Daniel don the bunny suit to make the kids happy. Then perhaps they can talk business.

In the meantime, Betty has gone to find Matt. He looks a little sad still but understands why Betty did what she did. He just did not want to see Betty and/or Mode in business dealings with his dad because - and it's now that Daniel hops into the party in his pink bunny suit - Matt says his dad is (and I quote) "like Satan." Betty watches as a bunch of snotty kids shove Daniel into a giant pastel cake. Everyone points and laughs, and it's clear that Daniel has been totally and deliberately humiliated.

After the party, Betty approaches Daniel in his frosting-smeared bunny outfit. He still looks a little bummed about the whole incident but says that he was willing to embarrass himself to save Meade Publications - because, yes, they did it! Hartley is going to invest with them. Seems like cause for cheer until we remember that Daniel is wearing a bunny suit and that Cal Hartley is obviously kinda sadistic with his investors.

While all of this is happening, Christina confronts Wilhelmina about baby William. The two women squabble but ultimately agree to get a blood test to determine maternity. When the lab results arrive at Wilhelmina's home (she waits for Christina to open them - or so she says), they discover that Wilhelmina is little William's mother. Christina is distraught - she felt "so sure" that William was hers. Willy quickly takes the opportunity to cut Christina out of William's life, firing her as nanny and demanding that she leave immediately.

The next day at Mode, everyone celebrates Cal Hartley's investment in the magazine. Amanda is back at her desk, drinking champagne and partying it up with Marc. Cal Hartley has sent Daniel a giant gift basket of carrots, and Wilhelmina hands off the baby to the new nanny.

So what was weirdest to you: The airing of an Easter episode almost three weeks after Easter? Or the arrival of Cal Hartley, otherwise known as Bradford Meade 2? And is Wilhelmina lying about baby William? I'm guessing that she's doctored the lab results because she doesn't want to lose her share in Meade Publications.

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