Last night was the first new Ugly Betty episode in a long time. Let me just say, it was a surprising delight, and I absolutely LOVE the direction in which they are taking the show (if only temporarily).
This was a flashback show (there were only a few “set up” scenes at the beginning and end) – yet instead of taking the cheap way out and showing old footage, the producers wisely took this opportunity to fill in a few holes in the story.
We get answers to the whole “Ignatio can’t get his medicine” storyline, and we also get a glimpse of what melted Betty’s heart enough to make her open to getting back together with Walter. We also see the first meeting of Betty and Henry from Accounting (which was hilarious), and a side to the Bradford/Betty relationship that had never before been revealed.
If you remember, when the season “paused”, Betty had pretty much gained everyone’s acceptance and she was even looked up to. Well, it felt strange, but the flashback went back to Betty’s first weeks at Mode (part of the storyline is her puny first paycheck). It seemed weird to see Amanda, Marc and Wilhemenia being mean to Betty and actively undermining her. Of course, what they are really trying to do is undermine Daniel.
There is a plot turn, (which is kind of unbelievable in my mind), where Daniel has been cut off from Bradford’s money; his father is trying to teach him a lesson and he’s broke. He has to entertain a prominent Japanese minimalist designer on his own dime (of which he only has about $370). Of course, the company pays for a limo and many bottles of champagne, so why Daniel has to pick up the dinner tab but not these other things is unexpained. But, it’s a small thing.
We also learn that very few of the staff at Mode make very much money – one of the biggest “payouts” of working for Mode is the “swag”: the designer clothes left over from old photo shoots. There’s a wonderful free-for-all that takes place once they allow the staff into the “closet”. This also set up the most touching scene in the episode.
Christina hid away a very in-demand Gucci bag, just for Betty. When she gives the bag to Betty, Christina tells her something along the lines of “I feel that fashion is good for the soul; it makes you feel more worthy as a person”. Ashley Jensen, who plays Christina, played this scene so well, it melted my heart. You could tell she didn’t quite believe what she was saying, yet she felt such friendship for Betty that she convinced herself it was true. I got all of this from a momentary “look” in Jension’s eyes. Her acting was that good.
Very little of the home family in this episode, but we do get to meet the pharmacist (who is MUCH hotter than Gina Gambrero IMHO). Justin was great, as usual in his limited role.
How Betty saves the day was predictable, in a general way, but not in specifics. During the last commercial break, my family had a heated discussion about where they were taking the designer for dinner. In other words, they had us “hooked”. Good writing, and the choice of restaurants turned out to be hilarious.
There was no parental advisory this week. Good work, writers!