By Emily Exton
Updated April 28, 2010 at 12:24 PM EDT

Image Credit: Jim Wright/MTVWhen we last left The City, power girls were on the brink of explosion and destruction. Whitney was a fashion designer on the rise with a chance to show at Bryant Park, while Olivia and Erin were working on a huge Elle spot on The Today Show. Of course, Roxy threatened to ruin everything for Whitney, and the not-so-subtle mutual hatred between Olivia and Erin put the integrity of Elle in jeopardy. Yes, it may be catty, but at least it’s not silly boyfriend drama! The City has slowly and quietly moved away from just a tale of a gorgeous glamazon who moves to New York, lives in an unrealistic apartment, and dates a hot Aussie rocker; it’s become the story of an ambitious young woman attempting to make a career for herself. Though most of the players may be incredibly connected, they’re still trying to hustle just like the rest of us, which is a refreshing change from reality “stars” who simply do nothing.

Whitney only had a week to prepare for her first show at Bryant Park. Roxy helped with music and provided few inane comments, while Kelly Cutrone stuck around to stroke Whitney’s ego and remind Roxy of her utter inferiority. I love, love, love Whitney (and her pink heart print cardigan), but she lacks the ability to properly convey drama with her voice (a highly important skill in reality TV). Her lack of inflection just makes every sentence sound the same, causing those of us watching without our full attention (shame on you) to be unsure of how to feel (nervous? excited? scared? sad?) when the commercial break arrives.

But because of this, I was never really worried about the runway show coming together. Things looked tense for a second after a long pause (too long?) between models, and Emily mentioned some were out-of-order, yet in the end none of it seemed to matter as the Bergdorf buyers could be heard whispering favorable things about sleeves. With her parents in the house (how cute was mom Vicki helping out backstage?), Whitney had successfully completed her first fashion show. Mama Wolf Kelly encouraged her protegé to take a moment and soak it all in, and the two shared a sweet, tearful hug. After watching Kell on Earth, the continued mentoring of and concern for Whitney by Ms. Cutrone seems to be genuine. Question: Who does Kelly like better? Whitney, her reality TV star and budding designer, or Stefanie Skinner, her slave laboring employee who doesn’t know how to go home? Both seem to be Kelly’s favorites, so who would win in a head-to-head fashion death match? Whitney has at least 5 inches on Skinner (who’s also a smoker), but she’s been working directly under Kelly (and living in New York longer), so methinks she could have the California babe by the hair in a matter of seconds. Viva la power girls! Whitney has a ways to go before reaching Kelly’s (or Emily’s… or Andrew’s for that matter) level, but from the looks of the this season previews, she’ll be confronting Olivia about being a total bitch.

Speaking of bitch, Olivia met with Joe Zee to discuss The Today Show fiasco. As she attempted to belittle and devalue Erin’s position (“She’s a publicist… I’m an editor of the magazine,” she said, her voice dripping with condescension), Joe firmly held his ground, dropped a few choice curse words, and finally asserted himself as Olivia’s superior. In an attempt to salvage Elle‘s environment, maintain everyone’s sanity, and build up the mag’s website (another hustler), Mr. Zee suggested that Olivia try doing video blogs during Fashion Week. As a response, editor-in-chief Robbie insinuated that Olivia was a famewhore and Erin would soon be jealous of all the additional attention she’ll be getting, which is basically what happened (or will happen; stay tuned). Olivia won Most Shameless Comment of the Night when interviewing Anna Sui: “You won the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, and I was there.” Oh Olivia, you always have to reassert your presence juuust in case we couldn’t hear you teetering down the hall in a path of destruction.

What did you think of The City, PopWatchers? Do you like the more career-focused turn the show has taken? How long will Olivia and Erin’s cease-fire last? Would you buy any of the Whitney Eve line? Are you craving more Roxy? Sound off below!