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''Ugly Betty'' recap: The Meade family reunion

Bradford’s death brings his family together, when Claire risks going back to jail in order to tell him goodbye

Posted on

Bob D'Amico

Ugly Betty

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
09/28/06
performer:
America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Ana Ortiz, Vanessa Williams
Producer:
Salma Hayek
broadcaster:
ABC
genre:
Comedy, Drama

”Ugly Betty” recap: The Meade family reunion

Hello again, TV Watchers! I’m baaaaack from my travels and back on the Betty beat. Thank goodness for that! Going two weeks without Willy, Betty, Justin, Marc, and Amanda was as torturous as the show’s looooong break last summer. But never fear, I’ve caught up, and — what do you know? — tonight’s Ugly Betty episode was another doozy.

First, the sad stuff: What I found most surprising about tonight’s episode was that, for once, it wasn’t the Suarez family that was getting me choked up — oddly, it was the normally dour, harsh Meade family. Between Alexis telling Bradford to go toward the light, Daniel doing his best to say, ”I love you,” and Claire’s passionate rekindling of her and Bradford’s romance, it was clear that the Meades actually do love each other, despite all their bickering, divorcing, sex changing, and jail time.

Bradford’s death was no shocker after last week’s heart attack, but I never could have imagined it would hit me so hard. (And remember how we’d been discussing the offing of a major character? There you go.) Honestly, I never liked the guy much: Compared with all the other fabulous characters on the show, Bradford was always the grumpy mogul with a thick shell and maybe, deep down, a soft center. But I cared about him tonight, mostly because of his compassion for Daniel and Claire. Especially Claire: I saw a woman desperate to reach her family and tell them — even if it was for the last time, and even if it meant going back to jail — that she loved them and wanted the best for them. That she got to settle things with Bradford before he died was hugely satisfying and so sweet.

(Also on the Claire front: Très excited that this may be the end of Yoga! Great one-liners here and there, and that final embrace with Claire was charming, but she was frickin’ annoying. Let’s just hope the producers don’t do something wacky like have her move in with the Suarez family for — ugh! — supposed comic relief. After all of Ignacio’s troubles, the last thing they need to be doing is harboring a fugitive full time.)

Now, the wicked stuff: Willy! A few weeks back, I interviewed Vanessa Williams for an upcoming story in EW, and she told me Willy would be doing some things that even Williams, who’s so used to playing the diabolical diva, couldn’t believe Willy would do. Of course she wouldn’t say exactly what those things were (a girl’s gotta have some secrets!), but I think we have a winner with her latest plan to pay off the young morgue worker. But what could she possibly be planning to do? As she stood over Bradford’s sheet-covered body, I got flashes of her crazy version of CPR last week, when she wildly pounded his chest at the altar. Honestly, the evil never ends for this woman!

NEXT: Over Bradford’s dead body

I can’t believe I’m even typing this because you all know how obsessed I am with the evil editrix, but I think this latest scheme may be taking it a tad too far: Really, she’s gonna tamper with a dead body? The woman doesn’t have much respect for the living, but the dead? C’mon! I have no doubt that she’s cunning enough to figure out another way to bring Mode down without violating Bradford’s corpse. Or, wait, maybe he’s really not dead, and Willy is pulling one of those staged, Jack Bauer-type deaths where you can come back to life after a few minutes. Never mind, that’s not possible. Even the larger-than-life Betty couldn’t get away with that….Wait a minute. Yes, of course it could! We are talking about the show where Alex Meade came back as Alexis in the form of Rebecca Romijn.

Now, the problems: Betty’s supposed departure from Mode. All I have to say is riiiight. We’ve seen it before. The girl can’t stay away from the place! So there’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll be back in an episode or two. But I’m perplexed: Why was Daniel so quick to accept Betty’s refusal of his offer? Despite the problems they’ve had recently, it was out of character for him to just kind of let her go without putting up a fight. Bradford said it best when he told Betty that she was the only one able to keep Daniel on the right path.

Sure, it makes sense that Betty would want to get out of Mode because of what the job has supposedly pushed her to do in the last year, but I think we all need to remember the wise words of Claire Meade: Before sending her off to find Bradford’s will, Claire told Betty that everything she was doing was to help the people she loved. No matter how ”bad” the things Betty’s done over the last year were, she never did anything out of selfishness or pure malice. I don’t even know if it’s possible for the girl to operate on an evil level. She needs to remember that, especially when that pesky, Guadalajara-poncho-wearing conscience shows up again. BTDubs, TV Watchers, what’d you think of that double-Betty device? I thought it was a clever but oddly overt way to get Betty to realize that she’s changed while working at Mode. Plus, it seems that Betty’s quite the visionary: Remember when she saw Ignacio making enchiladas at Mode earlier this season?

And finally, the funny stuff: How great was Mo’Nique? Loved her name, L’Amanda, her sassed-out dialogue, and her extended kiss with Henry. (With all the guest starring, Betty is like the new Will & Grace. At this point, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing because Grace was so mocked for it toward the end of its run. I have to say I haven’t been disappointed by any of the guest stars, but what do you all think?) And how funny was Claire’s makeover by Hilda? Judging from that, there’s no doubt that Hilda should open a beauty salon in Queens — she’s got the, errr, sensibilities for it! And finally, I loved Amanda in this episode. She wasn’t in it a ton, but her appearance was another gratifying example of that Betty heart. Sure, she’s super-cold and bitchy most of the time, but then the producers turned her around when she was consoling Daniel about Bradford at the vending machine.

On the whole, a great episode. It wasn’t as funny as the last couple, but Betty doesn’t always have to be. As much as I laugh at the show’s over-the-top antics and brilliant one-liners, I also get teary when it takes to pulling on my heartstrings.

So, TV Watchers, what’re your thoughts on last night’s somber episode? Who do you think will wind up in control of Meade Publications and Mode? Can the company survive without Bradford? And the most important point of discussion: Was Betty honestly wearing some sort of a fanny pack during the entire episode? Ack!

And lastly, my favorite sound bites of the evening:

6. Amanda, consoling Daniel after his father’s heart attack: ”Look, Daniel, you may never have gotten his love or approval, but at least you got his jaw line.”

5. The sweetly dorky Henry, to L’Amanda: ”I’m sweet like sugar, soft like suede, but unlike a piano, I never get played.”

4. Willy, in reference to Henry and Betty while looking for Bradford’s will: ”Let’s end this. I can’t stand another minute in this room with Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Diego.”

3. Willy: ”C’mon, do you really think I enjoy scheming, lying, and scurrying around like some rat with great cheekbones?”

2. Marc, after opening Bradford’s safe: ”Ah, Al Capone’s vault! It’s empty!”

1. Justin: ”Hey, can I eat dinner in front of the TV? They’re doing an interview on Christina Aguilera about the Meade wedding. I am such an Ag hag.”