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Ugly Betty Recap: Credit vs. Fault

As Seinfeld's George Costanza aptly demonstrated time and time again, life revolves around two similar yet conflicting impulses: credit and fault. We crave acknowledgment and feel slighted when praise is unjustly lavished on others, and we don't want to be blamed when our wives die after licking cheap envelope adhesive. Ugly Betty ordered the big salad last night and waded through similar territory while heating things up with models, drama, and a literal fire.

Still, Betty gets shipped off to a tiny fashion-week show and spots a young talent, Marisa (Aubrey Dollar), who's perfect for Mode's "Ten Designers to Watch" showcase. The problem: Betty has to get the idea past Wilhelmina Slater, and Willie Whisperer Marc winds up with kudos for the find. Is Betty to blame for not standing up for herself? Wilhelmina says yes, that credit comes with confidence. "Taste is having the courage of your own convictions," she says. "I get it," Betty replies. "Taste is subjective. It's what I say it is." Willie corrects her: "No, it's what I say it is." Her drag-queen doppelgänger would undoubtedly approve of that smackdown.

Still, Betty gets shipped off to a tiny fashion-week show and spots a young talent, Marisa (Aubrey Dollar), who's perfect for Mode's "Ten Designers to Watch" showcase. The problem: Betty has to get the idea past Wilhelmina Slater, and Willie Whisperer Marc winds up with kudos for the find. Is Betty to blame for not standing up for herself? Wilhelmina says yes, that credit comes with confidence. "Taste is having the courage of your own convictions," she says. "I get it," Betty replies. "Taste is subjective. It's what I say it is." Willie corrects her: "No, it's what I say it is." Her drag-queen doppelgänger would undoubtedly approve of that smackdown.

As we already knew, Amanda has really good taste — and she finally gets credit for it. This whole season we've been watching the onetime receptionist's growing ambition and waiting for her to catch a break. She teams with bizarro temp Helen (Kristen Johnston) on a quickie fashion line that doesn't make the Mode show, but scores for rescuing Marisa's dresses from a fiery disaster (more on that in a second).

On to the fault: The Suarez house catches fire. Who's to blame? Ignacio for installing a ridiculous chandelier that required an electrician? Bobby Talercio for perhaps torching the place so Hilda could collect insurance money on her failing salon? Or Justin for picking up a cigarette habit at his fancy new acting class? Looks like this is one easy way for the show to write off Bobby (Adam Rodriguez). It would be wildly annoying for Betty not to resolve this story line, so hopefully we get closure next week. (And credit must be given to the music supervisor who underscored these scenes with Beck's "Nobody's Fault But My Own" from Mutations — an album title that suits Betty quite well.)

Speaking of mysteries, Claire Meade's lost son Tyler finds his way to New York to search for the lady who left him a mega-tip at his South Dakota bar. After getting inadvertently cast as a model in the Mode show (and making Daniel jealous with his younger, fitter bod), adopted son and birth mother come face to face. Is it too much to hope for a happy ending here? So far the only thing that seems to be standing in the way is Daniel, who nearly humiliated himself as a model on the runway, but came to his senses and got a little perspective. Ironically, the show is still far from figuring out Daniel, although this episode took a few catwalk strides in the right direction. And it's been a blast watching Betty, Marc, and Amanda move past their cartoonishly over-the-top personas and show some real heart. Somebody at Betty's gotta want to take credit for that.

Other Recaps:
UglyBettyNews laments that the show has done so little with Justin this season, but admits the scene of his tossing his cigarettes was gasp-worthy.
Rickey.org can't understand why the Mode team thinks adding a Hot Topic studded belt to Marisa's dresses makes them high fashion.

Photo: Patrick Harbron/ABC