I don’t even know where to begin, except to tell you that this week’s episode of Ugly Betty had me literally standing in my favorite chair in shock, apprehension, and glee (not all at the same time, of course).
Bueno, let me try to sum things up.
Santos proposed to Hilda! Having stormed out earlier that day after Ignacio asked him to walk away now since they both knew he was going to walk away, he returns later on bended knee with emerald cut diamond in hand. Girlfriend was smart though, she first spoke with her wise-beyond-his-years son to see how he felt, and later expressed her concerns about moving too fast to Santos. She even tried to give the ring back, but after Santos left, she ran out the front door after him, and you think it's too late. When Santos jumped out from behind the door and they embraced, I was cheering from high atop my chair. Sad, I know, but Hilda deserves a break, m’ija! And truthfully, I could not be happier that Kevin Alejandro’s guest appearance is continuing. I love to watch him act, and, well, just to watch him.
Fed up with Daniel and Christina’s betrayal, Betty starts to emotionally clean house, until Hilda points out that she has run away from conflict in friendships before. Betty listens, and pushes herself to confront both of them and express her hurt. Both friendships are saved and Betty grows as a result. And it is way lucky for Daniel that she forgives him, because…
Daniel is trying to get Alexis to put his underage, blackmailing bed partner, Petra, on the next cover. Alexis refuses, and in a weak moment he confesses his situation to Henry. Just when Daniel is about to sign the magazine away in exchange for Alexis’ cooperation, Henry and Betty team up and prove that Petra is, in fact, of age, saving Daniel’s philandering butt once again. It also provides a lovely bonding moment for Henry and Betty (add sigh here).
There is clearly trouble in paradise in Henry’s relationship, and could a break-up be too far away? One can only hope, as crunchy granola Charlie kind of bugs me and I can’t imagine any viewer not wishing Betty and Henry together.
And then there’s Amanda… you have got to love Amanda. At least she is honest about her sleaziness. A fledgling hunky designer, Tavares, arrives (played by the absolutely breathtaking Mykel Shannon Jenkins), who Amanda assumes is gay. She helps him prepare for an entrée into Mode, and upon visiting his studio and undressing in front of him, discovers — in a very visible and “up front” way — that he is straight. They strike up a mutually beneficial partnership of sex, free clothes, and career boosting and there is yet another gorgeous man in the lineup (and I just love the term: “fauxmo”), at least for the next few episodes.
Then there’s Alexis. Poor Alexis. I knew from the beginning that Rodrigo, the handsome Brazilian photographer’s come-on was initiated by the evil Wilhelmina. I was hoping it wasn’t true as almost everyone has been so cruel to Alexis. Bradford — manipulated (in more ways than one) by Wilhelmina into this latest effort to get Alexis’ out of Mode’s offices — pays the sleazy photog to seduce his daughter and gives him editor-in-chief of Mode Brazil. Personally I hope he drinks a bad caipirinha and dies a slow painful death. Though I have to say, the actor who plays Rodrigo, Chilean heartthrob Cristian de la Fuente, is stunning.
The episode ended with the big cliffhanger: Betty’s father tells his daughter that he is being sent back to Mexico. Deported? Say it isn’t so, Ignacio!
I loved the homage to classic films, like Betty’s distorted memory that included a bucket of pig’s blood poured over her head and prom dress a la Stephen King’s Carrie.
This show is not showing any sign of lagging; every week provides gasps and guffaws (and the occasional hiss at Wilhemina), and there is not one weak link in this strong ensemble cast. I know it isn’t over yet, but I’m going to take a risk and say that this is the strongest first season of a television show I’ve seen in a long, long time.