Ugly Betty 3.17 “Sugar Daddy”

We open with Betty going through her wardrobe. She holds up brightly colored outfit after outfit, makes a sad face, and tosses it onto the bed. She walks out to her family dressed all in black. Ignacio gives Hilda her coffee and stands there, surprised. Both Hilda and Justin look up and gape at Betty, who responds with her cheerful ‘Good Morning!’No, no one died- Betty is just trying to be conscious of the gloomy mood at MODE after Connor’s mad dash out of the country. Justin is astounded that his aunt Betty is… ‘almost fashionable.’There’s a funny moment where a concerned Betty asks him if he’s crying… and he responds with a clutching hug and telling her that he’s so… proud. Okay, so maybe I was the only one that found that funny. Hmm. Betty has been becoming more and more fashion conscious this season- could that be some not-so-subtle foreshadowing to Betty’s character development?

Betty sits and starts eating. Typical Casa de Suarez closeness as they recap and bemoan Connor’s assholiness and the fact that it seems like he’s going to get away with it. Ignacio is responding in all the right places but is actually watching TV behind Betty. Ah, a cooking show and OH MY GOD it’s the guy from the Sopranos! In chef’s whites! Ignacio turns up the volume and we hear, ‘…if the judges like your dish better you could win thousands of dollars.’Thousands? Gee who couldn’t use thousands of dollars in this economy? Oh, if only someone in their family were a chef… wait!

And what’s this? Betty can’t come to dinner because she has plans with her new ‘friend’, Matt? Justin and Hilda all tease her by oooooh-ing at her. I love this family. I wish I could borrow them sometimes. Anyway, apparently Betty has been seeing a lot of her goofy YETI partner. Betty blushes and gets up from breakfast to leave. She asks the assembled Suarezes if she looks serious enough for a company in ruin. Justin and Hilda nod, and Justin admonishes her not to change anything. She smiles, nods, and turns around to leave. Naturally there are two florescent bows (Dateline: Prom circa 1985) at the back of her waist. The look on Justin’s face is priceless.

Betty makes it to her desk with no problems and Matt is on the phone asking if she’d received his present yet. No present here. She puts him on hold and sets the receiver down when Daniel walks in, flipping through his mail. Ahh, Betty might be dating Matt, but her concern for Daniel always trumps. Daniel seems okay… joking a little by asking for a couple of billion dollars with his coffee and two sugars. Betty asks about Molly, which I’m glad happened fairly quickly so I won’t be wondering throughout the whole episode. Oh no… poor Daniel. And poor Molly. She wants to be left alone while she decides in whether or not she wants to go through treatment again. Completely alone. Daniel is trying to respect her wishes, but he doesn’t sound as though he particularly wants to. Cue the goofy messenger guy carrying a large box and a jar of candy tied to a yellow heart balloon to dispel the somber tension. Daniel says jokingly, ‘Someone has an admirer.’Betty tries to put her gift away, but the balloon keeps popping up from under her desk. She apologizes, and Daniel tells her that she should, ‘take happiness where you can find it. You deserve it.’Awwwww. Daniel leaves and she quickly picks up the phone and tells Mat that she’s smiling.

Cut to Wilhelmina and Marc. Wilhelmina isn’t hiding anything with her wardrobe. She’s in pink, and Vanessa Williams looks amazing. Whoa, she’s back to Season 1 and 2 Wilhelmina after firing some random MODE employee for wearing gladiator sandals. She tells Marc to burn them, and he asks her if she’s all right. Willie insists that she’s fine, that her heart is completely whole, and it’s the baby that is the reason she’s back to her less fluffy ways. She snaps out a few orders to Marc (including telling Christina to babysit because William’s nanny’s own kid has chicken pox) and hands him a list of things to pick up for her bundle of joy. Marc whines about it to Amanda and they banter back and forth. We learn that Amanda’s adopted mother has been calling, worried about Amanda and her job. Marc and Amanda decide to go shopping for the baby stuff together.

Claire, Daniel and Wilhelmina are having a meeting about MODE’s financial problems. Daniel and Willie bicker back and forth about whose fault this is, and Claire calls both children to order, telling them that ‘thousands of people are going to lose their jobs if we don’t fix this.’Gee. No pressure. Claire seems to have a great idea. There are people from Washington in town considering a federal bail-out of print media. Hmm. Sure, why not. Seems like everyone else is. Best line? Claire telling Wilhelmina to change clothes because she looks like a ‘Rich (pause).’Nice. Judith Light does a great job reminding the audience that there will always be unfinished business between these two women.

Matt escorts Betty home and kisses her goodnight. Hilda does the little ‘hoo hooo hoooooo’thing again as every big sister since the beginning of time has done to all little sisters who have a cute date. Then she jumps all over the fact that Betty paid for dinner. Matt apparently forgets his wallet frequently. Hmmm is he a dirtball? Hilda seems to think so. She and Betty talk on the couch and Betty kind of snuggles the idea of having a great job, family and guy she likes. Well that certainly can’t last long. Not on this show! Cue Justin’s panicked footsteps as he rushes in hollering for Hilda. Oh no…. an eviction notice? The Suarezes have until the end of the month to get out!

The Suarezes meet with their landlord and it’s no dice. He makes them an offer they can’t refuse. Either they meet his nephew’s (who wants to turn their home of 20 years into a recording studio) price or they are outsville. The next scene is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Ever. Daniel Meade and Wilhelmina Slater taking the bus instead of their limo across town. ‘Can you break a $50?’*snerk* Cut back to Casa (for now) de Suarez. They qualify for a loan and only have to come up with 5% of the cash- $15,000. Ignacio is grumpy over not being able to provide for everyone, so Betty and Hilda pitch in. Justin even asks that Betty ask Daniel for the money. Cut back to the bus… random icky person steps into Wilhelmina’s personal space. Daniel almost falls over because he refuses to touch the pole…the laughs keep a-comin’!

Yay, more Marc and Amanda….. walking back from all the baby shopping Marc says, ‘Ooh, if I ever see another baby as long as I live… and right about that time they both go all gaga over random Hot older dad walking towards them… with a baby. He seems friendly, comments on the baby store and reaches out to shake Marc’s hand. Marc is really blown over by Hot!Dad and disentangles his arm from Amanda introducing her as, ‘his Hag.’I giggled a little. Okay, a lot. After some chit-chat where Marc alludes to having a baby, Hot!Dad completely ignores Amanda, and he and Marc arrange to meet later for a playdate, Marc claims to be … in love! Hmmm. Hot, older gay… dad + Marc? You better not cheat on him too!

The next montage is all of Betty, Hilda, Justin and Ignacio all try to raise the money. Justin is dancing and singing on a street corner! Marc and Amanda bail on Betty, (unsurprising) Justin is making nickels (not surprising- he’s awesome!) Hilda scratches out when trying to charge more for spa treatments, and Ignacio is spending an eternity on hold while he makes a phone call…. Uh, oh. Things aren’t looking good here.

Daniel is speaking in front of a committee about how Meade Publications is a family-owned American business when the Chairman asks why the government should give money to a ‘frivolous’publication. Good question, actually. Wilhelmina jumps in…speaking up of the importance of arts in the community and the like, and Daniel chimes in with all the jobs that are connected to the publication. I know I might take a hit for this, but I really like Daniel and Wilhelmina working together as a team. It’s such a nice change from the constant stabbing each other in the back scenarios we’ve seen in seasons previous. Wonder if it will work? Hmmm. There’s hope. The assembly will reconvene on Thursday.

Back to a shot of the chef, Frankie Burrata(Steve Schirripa )… who if they’ve showed him twice means that he’s not all that random. See? You can use skills gained from watching LOST in other television recaps. Betty shares that they are a little over $9,000 dollars. Hilda complains that Justin skipped school and panhandled…but is proud of the $200.00 he made with his one man show. Ignacio comes into the room all aflutter and runs to the television and … no surprise… he’s going to enter Kitchen Rumble for $10,000!

They set up the showdown between Ignacio and Burrata like two cowboys at high noon. Between that and the bus scene I’ve been giggling like crazy. The next scene is WIlhemina and Daniel eating dinner. Willie keeps trying to antagonize Daniel but says it’s no fun when he’s off in his own little world. Yes, poor Daniel has many good reasons to be distracted. He asks her about Connor and she counters with a question about Molly. Daniel tells her that Molly is dying and the unflappable Wilhelmina seems just a little flapped. She orders more wine (a lot more wine) from the waiter.

HAHAHA they set up the Kitchen Rumble a lot like Iron Chef America/Throwdown with Bobby Flay crossover complete with Alton Brown wannabe commentator. The clock is flying and Ignacio… throws out his back! Betty steps in to finish Ignacio’s Chicken Mole aaaand…. Frankie Burrata wins. BOOO. Now what are they going to do about the house?

Next day, Betty and Daniel are walking back to her desk and she’s telling him about losing the house. Daniel offers to help her out! Betty refuses of course. But Daniel seems to be late for the next committee meeting…. But he says, ‘You know your family is important to me. We’re not done talking about this.’Awww. Go, Daniel. One fistbump later and Daniel is on his way to go and save the company. Daniel and Wilhelmina present their case….. and the Chairman whips out a newspaper article of them smiling at dinner! Oops. Looks like that wine wasn’t a good idea after all. Several minutes of grandstanding aside…. No dice. Shame on them, indeed.

Marc wants to ‘sign out’Wilhelmina’s baby. *snort*. Marc tells a teeny fib and Christina hands over the baby…. So Marc has a kid to take on his ‘playdate.’

Ignacio can’t believe his lost. He feels irresponsible for not being the one to raise the money. He and Hilda talk while she goes through the mail. Suddenly, she starts AHHHHOMG!!!!!!-ing and runs to MODE, waving a letter. There’s a check in there for… $10,000! She gives it to Betty, who looks up at Daniel’s office. Marc’s date picks him up… sans baby. It takes Marc about three seconds to ditch baby William with Amanda (who is panicking a wee bit) and go off with Hot!Dad. Hm. I wonder what his name actually is? Betty confronts Daniel with the check… and he has no idea what she’s talking about. Wait. Who on earth is sending the Suarezes mystery $10,000 checks?

With only ten minutes left things start happening even more quickly. Daniel didn’t get the bailout. Christina and Amanda have a little talk and Amanda realizes that her adopted mother must really love her… and that keeping Faye from her for so long wasn’t the huge evil deal she thought it was. Matt and Betty are at dinner and Betty is telling him about the check. He suggests that she cash it. He signs the tab aaaand… Betty recognizes the signature as the same one on the check! Matt sent her the money?!

Cut to Wilhelmina, Daniel and Claire in Daniel’s office. No, they didn’t get the bailout money, and after some sniping between the women, Daniel becomes the voice of reason and political responsibility, commenting that it’s not fair for the little taxpayers of the world to bail out Meade. And Daniel puts his own money, plans to liquidate everything he has to put back into his publications. Claire says that if the company doesn’t turn around… he will lose everything. A responsible Daniel replies, ‘I know.’Wilhelmina mentions that she doesn’t have the same sort of resources as the Meades but will contribute what she can…because it’s her son’s company too. Then they all have a huge tearful group hug while puppies and kittens frolic on the carpet. Well, okay. Maybe not.

Daniel and Claire acknowledge Daniel’s newfound grownupness…. And cut back to Betty and Matt. Then Matt drops his own bombshell- Matt’s rich! Not just rich… but R-I-C-H !! Betty seems more offended than grateful. After discussing it, Matt mentions that it’s no big deal- we throw money like this at charity all the time. Betty responds with a somber ‘I’m not your charity.’Eeek. Matt. Money you might have, but jeez. Suave move there, man. She walks out of the restaurant.

Betty tells Hilda it’s no dice on the ten thousand, and lo and behold who should walk into the Suarezes living room but… Frankie Burrata! He says that Ignacio’s Mole sauce was the best he’d had and offers him a job since he feels bad for the contest being fixed. Ignacio sold his Mole recipe for… yep, you guessed it… $10,000! YAY!

Marc seems less than thrilled with his date who only wants to talk about baby Cello, and apologizes to Amanda for the baby ditch and dash. I just love those two together. Amanda grows up a little herself and realizes that she loves and misses her parents just as much as they must love and miss her.

Daniel and Betty have a final chat, where she tells him how brave he’s being by investing his own money into his own company. This new (and improved? I’ll let you be the judge) Daniel responds that he actually feels like a coward for just letting Molly walk out of his life. He was scared to see her get worse. But he loves her…and just needs Betty to tell him that what he wants to do is really the right thing to do. He runs out of the office and man do I just want to give them both a hug right now. In the final montage, Amanda calls her mom, Wilhelmina looks sadly at a picture of Connor stashed in her desk, and Daniel finds Molly. He can’t let her go through it alone. He needs her… in his life. They kiss. (at this point I was getting a bit misty-eyed myself, I admit.) Betty and Matt meet and in typical Betty fashion she and Matt make up. She feels like she doesn’t know much about him though. He’s glad she’s not still mad at him, because he’s ‘really into her.’Geesh. They kiss.

Show closes with the Suarezes together again watching Kitchen Rumble where Betty and Ignacio appeared on television. Again the family togetherness. I just love how it’s portrayed- never overdone or sappy really. They fight, they laugh they love- but they always seem to do it together.

I was glad for a few things: Daniel’s and Betty’s friendship is obviously central to both of them. This more responsible Daniel I really like. It’s nice to see some carryover from previous seasons. I also feel really bad for Wilhelmina. After everything fell apart she is devastated- what woman wouldn’t be? But she pulls herself back up and manages to keep on being the strong independent woman we know and’ love”…

(Oh, and this is my first recap. Be gentle. :) )

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