Season 2 – Episode 4: Ugly is beautiful again!
For the first time this season I felt that old pace-around-the-room gasp-audibly and laugh-out-loud feeling that I had during the entire first season of Ugly Betty. Tonight’s episode was up to the show’s fiery best.
Oh, where to begin, gentle readers! Well, Alex is struggling to relearn how to be Alexis. Rebecca Romijn is so damned vulnerable and likable she makes it work. When she first arrives at the Mode offices teetering on high heels with clown-like make-up and her shirt open to her navel you really buy it. I must say I really prefer this Alexis to the pre-amnesia model (as I’m certain I’m supposed to). Daniel confesses to her that he is responsible for their accident (though we all know it was her since she had the brake lines cut in an attempt to kill their father… phew!) and instead of rejecting him, Alexis embraces and forgives him. Their growing relationship is really quite lovely.
Meanwhile, Daniel is struggling with his confidence about his abilities as editor. Their top advertiser threatens to pull their campaign if Alexis isn’t fired—seems they have some issue with transgender folk. With Wilhelmina’s agenda-laden encouragement, Daniel tells the bigoted advertiser that he doesn’t want their business, setting off a string of advertisers who consider pulling out. The poor boy finally grows a pair of cajones, and he ends up putting the magazine’s future in jeopardy.
After interviewing the hilarious and freakish collection of magazine editors who run the full menu of Meade Publications, Wilhelmina decides she will work towards destroying Mode and starting her own mag, a la Oprah, entitled Slater. And then there’s wooden Bradford playing golf in his office. Does the man ever work? Does he ever have a line of any value? He could easily be replaced with a cardboard cutout, and I don’t think I would notice. I mean, come on people, this is Alan Dale, Toothpick Man from the X-Files! Let’s not waste him!
And holy paternity, Batman! Amanda has a breakthrough in the search for her father. When Marc suggests she research back issues of Mode from the year before she was born, she discovers a photograph of her mother Fey at Studio 54 with her rather homely assistant. With some help from PhotoShop, Amanda discovers that the ugly assistant was, in fact, Wilhelmina! She tearfully admits to Wilhelmina that she’ll keep her secret identity… secret, she’s only looking for her father (and I will have to paraphrase my favorite line of the night since I don’t have TIVO or any such thing, I love when Willy says, “If I wanted to express sympathy I couldn’t—I’m not capable”).