After a season of wildly fluctuating success, Ugly Betty finished off its season with style and grace, and even though some stories ended up deflating considerably, others found a bit of truth in them, while one caught me completely off-guard. After what I thought was a damn good fall half of the season – some would disagree with me, especially in regards to one Ms. Lohan, but if anything, the comedy was top-notch for this show at that point – everything just kind of dropped off, and with the exception of all the YETI drama, the only thing that really got me through was Betty’s relationship with Matt.
But what’s been going on since I last checked in? David Rasche, who will forever be Sledge Hammer to me, came in as Matt’s billionaire father Cal Hartley to save the near-bankrupt Meade Publications and threw everything for a loop, pissing both Daniel and Wilhemina in the process. It’s always tough when you have an owner who knows virtually nothing about fashion and seems to design the magazine around how his dick feels. I guess that rubbed off on Matt early in his life, as we found out episodes earlier that he had been a bit of a he-bitch man-whore. (Cal Hartley, btw, once impregnated Claire Meade, but that’s neither here nor there, as the baby never came to be.)
In other news: you know that Slater-Meade baby that was created inside Christina using Wilhelmina’s egg and dead Bradford’s sperm? Turns out that, after Christina caused some major issues by becoming too attached to the child, the baby is actually hers, as she had relations with her estranged husband right around the same time as the Slater-Meade child was put in her. Hey, shit happens. This in turn led to the much-publicized exit of actress Ashley Jensen, my beloved Scottish lass from Extras, in a respectable bit of non-insanity (which is surprising from this show). I will miss you, dear Ms. Jensen. I can’t wait to see where your career goes next.
And while Marc loses any true upward mobility at YETI, he redeems his earlier vicious ways by having a nice heart-to-heart with young Justin Suarez, who was crushed upon being rejected from LaGuardia High School (a.k.a. the Fame school), only to have Marc tell him that he was also a product of the public school system, and look how fabulous he turned out.
Meanwhile, Daniel Meade has to deal with what I consider a fairly big fail in regards to his story with Molly. I dug the love square that put them together and I really liked Molly herself as a character, but once they finally became a couple, the writers just stopped caring. I understand the need for conflict, but having Molly’s cancer resurface was, in my opinion, lazy and cruel. All you’re really telling us is that Daniel can’t be happy, and when he tries to become a better man, it only hurts everybody else. What kind of message is that? And as the disease ate away at Molly, they threw out any semblance of interest in the character, only redeeming themselves (slightly) with the finale where Daniel pulls a Perry-Cox-On-Scrubs-In-That-Episode-With-Brendan-Fraser and hallucinates Molly being with him at the award show, only to find out that she had died at home that day.
But I’ve been stalling. What the hell happened to Betty? After succeeding considerably at YETI and scoring a junior editing position at a major publication (I forget which), the one and only Bernadette Peters abuses her privilege as Betty’s mentor and steals the job right out from under her. While I feel like the Bern was underused on this show, that was a damn great way to get the Great Red-Haired One out of the show and into that corner of our mind that remembers miniscule details of prime-time soap opera plots a decade down the line. And thus, Betty and Marc begin to battle for an editing job at Mode, thanks to the suicide of the previous reclusive editor Rachel Dratch (in a very bizarre role as identical twins). While Betty gets the job simply based on a coin toss, she has other shit to deal with. That’s right, Henry’s back in town.
It’s not entirely important what led to the big finale, but know this: while Henry came into town (after being involved in that whole crazy murder plot off the coast of Washington over on CBS Saturday nights) he technically had a girlfriend with him there in NY, he still managed to reignite Betty’s loins, or at least long enough to have Matt spy them having a final goodbye makeout session in a random NYC park. And as Betty loses Henry as he leaves town once again, Matt dumps her once and for all. But we’re not done with Matt, not by a longshot, because after all of this emotional wreckage, he has a surprise for her: as his father owns Meade Publications, Matt will now be working at Mode as Betty’s boss. And thus, a romantic interest becomes next season’s big villain, and I will readily admit that I did not see it coming.
So yes. It wasn’t a great season. It really couldn’t recover once Rebecca Romjin left to have her twins, and it’s also a shame that Amanda really wasn’t given much of a story at any point. But I love the way Marc came into his own this year, I liked everything revolving around any member of the Hartley clan, and while I wished that Daniel would be treated more sympathetically as a character, his arc with Molly was good while it lasted.
I’ll see you on Friday nights next season, Ugly Betty, which will hopefully not be your last season despite basically being pushed into a death slot. I wish Dollhouse as much luck as possible opposite you, and as I do not watch either Southland or Medium and cannot really pass judgment, I just hope that enough viewers find your bright and breezy counterprogramming to be a success. (Okay, I could lose Medium from the schedule, but I honestly would rather see all of them succeed, which is certainly a tall order.)