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'Ugly Betty' Recap: 'The Born Identity'

May 8th, 2009 12:55pm EDT
Ugly BettyOn last week's "Ugly Betty," DNA test results showed that baby William's mother is Wilhelmina and not Christina. This week we find Christina still devastated by that news. She has apparently been ditching work, leaving the ever-loyal Betty to cover for her. (An assistant can cover for a seamstress for days on end, and no one notices? C'mon, Mode.) Finally, the two gal pals meet for drinks and a round of darts (thrown at a picture of Wilhelmina's face), and Betty convinces Christina to come back to work.

But when Betty arrives at Mode the next day, there's no sign of Christina. Everyone else is preparing for a presentation with investor Cal Hartley, so no one seems to notice the seamstress' absence. Having learned that Hartley has a soft spot for kids, Wilhelmina brings little William to work with her - which is all fine and dandy until she realizes that William's little sweater has a loose button. Betty "takes the sweater to Christina" for mending, but we already know that there is no Christina to fix the button. Betty starts to sew the item herself, but thankfully, Christina does show up before Betty can totally riddle her hand with needle holes. Christina seems a bit melancholy when she sees William's tiny sweater, but she tries to put on a good face.

Hartley soon arrives, and the whole Mode staff gathers to kiss his investor butt. Daniel quickly tries to usher the big shot toward the fancy omelet bar, but Wilhelmina offers to show Hartley baby William instead. A professed sucker for the kiddies, Hartley (and everyone else) eagerly follows Wilhelmina into her office where William is napping. Once there, they make a shocking discovery…William is gone! Naturally, a freak-out begins. Mode is put under lockdown, and Christina is the immediate kidnapping suspect. After convincing security that she was in the wardrobe closet the whole time, the police release Christina with some reservations… Betty defends her friend, saying that Christina would never take the baby.

In spite of all this craziness around the office, Hartley tells Daniel that they must go forward with the presentation as planned. Hartley will be catching a plane to Moscow in the morning, and he wants to have signed on the dotted line with Mode before he leaves. (Yeah, Hartley's got a soft spot for the kids…not that he'll change his plans if one of them gets, you know, KIDNAPPED!) So Mode is covered in yellow crime scene tape, and Daniel struggles to walk through the presentation. Finally, he asks one last time if they could please reschedule - he's distracted because his partner's son (his half-brother) has been kidnapped. And for some inexplicable reason, Hartley agrees this time, saying that he'll come by tomorrow morning. Um, okay. Don't know why he couldn't have been that accommodating in the first place… Random!

In the meantime, Betty realizes that Christina has left the building. Chasing after her friend, Betty follows Christina down a nearby Manhattan street. We see Christina get into her car, and we see her husband, Stuart, quickly shuffling away. Worried about her pal, Betty hops into the passenger seat, and, based on Christina's expression, we can tell that something is not right: She's looking all weird and panicky. Then, we hear a tiny cooing sound, and…yep, there he is! Baby William is in the back seat (No worries…He's buckled into his car seat). Christina quickly peels away before anyone can see them, and Betty sits wide-eyed and horrified.

It's only a matter of time before Christina and Betty, the new fugitives, hit a proverbial bump in the road. They get pulled over by a police officer - but of course, it's for something totally mundane (their tail light is out, and they are soon released). Betty is furious and recalls how she defended Christina to the cops! Christina apologizes but says that she is sure that William is her son. Wilhelmina must have tampered with the DNA test results. Christina pulls out a picture of herself as a baby, and Betty can't deny that the kid in the photo does look exactly like William. Ultimately, the girls go to the safest place they can think of…Betty's house.

Speaking of Betty's house, a news crew happens to be over there. Hilda's boyfriend, Archie, has decided to run for Queen's Burrough President, and a local TV station is doing a feature on him. Archie has asked Hilda to be part of the TV spot, and she's ecstatic. Between picking out her clothes and being generally supportive of Archie, Hilda has managed to catch the news about missing baby William on TV. So, when Betty, Christina, and the baby emerge through the back door, Hilda knows just what's happened. She panics about Archie and the news crew in the next room - this could seriously hurt Archie's career! But she ultimately lends her sis a hand. Luring Archie and the crew outside, Hilda gives Betty and Christina a chance to run upstairs with the kiddo. Unfortunately for Betty, her father catches them on their way upstairs, and Christina and Betty have some explaining to do. Like Hilda, Ignacio is angry and incredulous.

All this while, Wilhelmina has been scrambling to find William. It's a dead end until a Meade Publications security officer pulls her and Marc aside to show them a surveillance tape. The footage shows Stuart walking down a stairwell with baby William in his arms. Aha! They can determine that Christina did take the baby. Wilhelmina is extra concerned now because she knows now that the truth will come out…that the baby isn't hers…that it's…Christina's! (Yawn.) I'm not sure if that was supposed to be shocking news to us or not. It was pretty obvious that Wilhelmina had doctored the DNA test results. The only question was: How would Christina figure it out? Marc seems surprised by the revelation; but he realizes that his job would be on the line too if Wilhelmina lost her stake in Meade. Thus, he sets to tracking down baby William before Christina can prove the truth. It takes Wilhelmina and Marc about two seconds to deduce that Christina would have run to Betty for help.

At this point, Betty has decided to call one person she can trust in this situation: Claire Meade. A former fugitive herself, Claire has the money and connections to get a DNA test for the baby without anyone hearing about it. The only problem with this plan? When Betty calls Mode to talk to Claire, Marc listens in on the phone call.

So when Betty, Christina, and Stuart show up at a DNA clinic with the baby, a swarm of police cars surround them. The baby is returned to Wilhelmina, and Betty is handcuffed (although Daniel's lawyers quickly get her out of this snafu). Betty encourages Daniel to talk to Wilhelmina about having another DNA test, but Willy firmly refuses. Poor Christina and Stuart are toted off in the back of a cop car.

Back at home, Betty sits at the kitchen table with Hilda, chatting about the day's events. Hilda keeps saying that she is so happy Archie didn't find out about the stolen baby in the next room. But then, Archie walks in. He's smiling and looking like his usual convivial self. Turns out that Justin's already spilled the details about Betty and the stolen baby. Archie says that he's not in favor of kidnapping in general, but he gets why Betty helped her friend. As Betty laments Wilhelmina's victory, Archie asks Betty if she has tried playing dirty yet…?

William is soon back home with Wilhelmina. Marc congratulates his boss on their win, but he looks a little morally conflicted. Something is getting to him about the whole "forging DNA test results and taking someone's kid while the biological parents are hauled off to jail" thing. He says goodnight, and then someone else shows up at Wilhelmina's door. Betty has come over with a baby jacket. She shows Wilhelmina a small pinkish splotch on the fabric and explains that it's William's spit-up - and when they have the DNA analyzed, the results will prove that Christina and Stuart are William's parents. So wouldn't it be easier for Wilhelmina to tell the truth now…? Of course, Wilhelmina ain't buyin' it. She glances at the "baby spit-up," immediately identifies it as strawberry milkshake, and brushes off Betty's claims of proof. After making one last pitch to Wilhelmina - that it will be exhausting to lie about William for the rest of his life - Betty leaves.

Something Betty says obviously resonates though because the next day Wilhelmina holds a press conference. Playing the sympathetic victim, she explains that she has just learned that the first DNA test results were "inaccurate" and that she is not little William's biological mother after all. Daniel and Claire are thrilled about this turn of events. They rush into their meeting with Hartley, feeling that they have the ammo to fire Wilhelmina once and for all. But when they get to the meeting, Hartley insists that Wilhelmina stay. If she loses her position or her stake then company, then he is going to bolt. Perplexed and disappointed, Daniel and Claire reluctantly agree, realizing that they have no choice. Without Hartley, the whole company goes under.

Later, Wilhelmina quietly approaches Betty to thank her for her reminder that the truth is always easier. What we see in flashback is that, after Betty left on the previous night, Wilhelmina met with Hartley. She told him the whole truth (about Bradford…the baby…lying to Christina…). She told Hartley that she was someone he wanted on his side - not the sort of person that he would want working against him… The implicit threat clearly works because - voila! - Wilhelmina still has her place at Mode. Still, this whole notion that Hartley would intervene for Wilhelmina seems a little flimsy to me. Obviously, the "Betty" writers want to keep Vanessa Williams on the show (because everybody knows that Wilhelmina, Marc, and Amanda get the biggest laugh lines), and I guess this is how they are writing themselves out of this one.

To save herself from an awkward situation, Willy lets Betty do the handoff of little William to Christina and Stuart. Then…oh, here come the waterworks!...we find out that Christina and Stuart are leaving. They are taking William and going back to Scotland to raise him. It's a sad and somewhat abrupt departure - Christina was Betty's first and best ally at Mode for a long while. But Ashley Jensen, the actress who plays Christina, has been underused at times, and she now has a job on a new fall show, so…Christina had to go. With a final wave as she steps onto the elevator, we say goodbye to Christina.

So what did you think? Was it Christina's time to exit the story? And what are your thoughts on the Cal Hartley plotline?

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