Ugly Betty: "Plus None"

    Episode four has Betty reeling over Daniel’s new assistant, Natalie from the grief support group (by the way—who called that makeover? Who called it?). Not only is it weird to see Natalie de-punked, polished and behind a desk, but as she and Betty later butt heads over Daniel, I find myself liking the woman less and less. It’s interesting that the writers decided to villainize her. Does this mean that no one will ever be able to replace Betty? How is the Mode hierarchy set up now that Betty’s no longer at the bottom? It is a new season, isn’t it?

    Meanwhile, Daniel walks in on his mom making out with Cal Hartley (ick). Their recently rekindled flame puts Daniel and Claire on no-speaking terms. Imagine Daniel’s reaction when he finds out Claire and Cal are hiding an illegitimate half-brother from him. On that note—Daniel and Matt—potential stepbrothers in the works? And if Betty and Matt get married (stay with me here) is everyone on this show going to end up related?

    Marc stands up to Wilhelmina in an uncharacteristically principled moment when she orders him to blackmail the detective threatening to take Nico down. He changes his mind when Wilhelmina comes out with the truth about the alleged murder. However, Nico and the “detective”—really her boyfriend Jonathan, alive and well—are the ones actually blackmailing Wilhelmina.

    The episode culminates at Wilhelmina’s charity event for Tibetan orphans, where Betty proudly strolls into the room as her own plus-one, decked in an altered dress (the product of Justin’s Project Runway inspiration). At the event, Amanda stresses over how to tell Betty about her new feelings for Mark, knowing she might break Betty’s “pudgy little heart.”

    Things we liked:

    1. Betty’s newfound independence, manifested in her hitting the dance floor to “Dancing with Myself.” What a great Betty moment.
    2. Betty’s leopard-print dress, actually taken from Hilda’s closet (Justin: “Mom, remember when you put on a little weight last spring?”).
    3. Wilhelmina’s reaction to Daniel’s hug at the beginning of the episode. Who cares what the hug was about? I just love that woman and her face.

    Things we didn’t like:

    1. Natalie, obviously. She’s driving a wedge between Daniel and Betty, and she never leaves his side. What an annoying clinger. And what about those shady ulterior motives (thinking back to her mysterious phone call at the charity event)?
    2. Nico becoming a mini-version of her mother. Come on now. There’s already one Wilhelmina Slater.
    3. No Queens story lines. The Suarez household, in all its miscellaneous, misfitted, multicolored glory, is a place of great comfort that counteracts the fast-paced drama of Mode and Manhattan. Plus, I can practically smell Ignacio’s arroz con pollo through the screen.


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